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Luke 4:17-18
He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor...

Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.... [NIV]

In Isaiah 61:1, the word "LORD" = Yahweh in Hebrew OT.

  1. I wonder if Jesus say the written text something like this :
    The Spirit of Yahweh is on me, because Yahweh has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

  2. Assumed that Jesus didn't utter "Yahweh" but something else - say "X", I wonder in the point of view of the hearers at the time Jesus read that text, the "X" = Yahweh.

  3. I also wonder, at the time Luke write the text, is "the lord" Luke wrote = Yahweh in his mind?

PS : I'm not sure if this question is fit to ask in this site or in Christianity.SE. So I'm sorry if this question is not fit to ask in this site.

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  • Comments are not for mini-answers, they are just for questions and clarifications of the question. – curiousdannii Nov 7 '20 at 2:17
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It is very unlikely that Jesus uttered the tetragrammaton when reading this text. We are not sure if He read the text in Greek or Hebrew (or even Aramaic?) but let us assume that He read it in the the original Hebrew.

Anyone who read the Hebrew would always substitute "Adonai" (= Lord) for the YHWH when it appeared in the text so that it would not be pronounced. That is precisely why, when the Greek NT quotes the OT, the tetragrammaton always is translated by "kyrios".

This occurs many times in the NT when quoting the OT. For example, here is a partial list of places where YHWH is translated by "Kyrios" -

  • Matt 4:7 quotes Deut 6:16 and uses "kyrios" = "Lord"
  • Matt 4:10 quotes Deut 6:13
  • Matt 5:33 quotes Num 30:2 & Deut 23:21
  • Matt 21:9 quotes Ps 118:26
  • Matt 21:42 quotes Ps 118:22
  • Matt 22:37 quotes Deut 6:4, 5 & 10:12
  • Matt 22:44 quotes Ps 110:1
  • Matt 23:39 quotes Ps 118:26
  • Matt 27:9, 10 quotes Zech 11:12, 13
  • Mark 1:3 quotes Isa 40:3
  • Mark 11:9 quotes Ps 118:26
  • Mark 12:10, 11 quotes Ps 118:23
  • Mark 12:29 quotes Deut 6:4
  • Mark 12:30 quotes Deut 6:5
  • Mark 12:36 quotes Ps 110:1
  • Luke 3:4-6 quotes Isa 40:3-5
  • Luke 4:18 quotes Isa 61:1
  • Luke 4:19 quotes Isa 61:2
  • Luke 10:27 quotes Deut 6:5
  • Luke 13:35 & 38 quotes Ps 118:26
  • Luke 20:37 quotes Ex 6:3
  • Luke 20:42 quotes Ps 110:1
  • John 1:23 quotes Isa 40:3
  • John 6:45 quotes Isa 54:13 but uses θεοῦ for יְהוָ֥ה YHWH rather than Κυρίου.
  • John 12:13 quotes Ps 118:26
  • John 12:38 quotes Isa 53:1
  • Acts 2:20 quotes Joel 2:31
  • Acts 2:21 quotes Joel 2:32
  • Acts 2:25 quotes Ps 16:8
  • Acts 2:34 quotes Ps 110:1
  • Acts 3:22 quotes Deut 18:15
  • Acts 4:26 quotes Ps 2:2
  • Acts 7:31-34 quotes Ex 3:4-7
  • Acts 7:48-50 quotes Isa 66:1, 2
  • Acts 13:47 quotes Isa 49:5, 6
  • Acts 15:17 quotes Amos 9:12
  • Rom 4:3 quotes Gen 15:6 but uses θεῷ instead of κυρίῳ.
  • Rom 4:8 quotes Ps 32;1, 2
  • Rom 9:28 quotes Isa 10:22, 23
  • Rom 9:29 quotes Isa 1:9
  • Rom 10:13 quotes Joel 2:32
  • Rom 10:16 quotes Isa 53:1
  • Rom 11:3 quotes 1 Kings 19:14
  • Rom 12:19 quotes Deut 32:35, 36
  • Rom 14:11 quotes Isa 45:23
  • Rom 15:11 quotes Ps 117:1
  • 1 Cor 1:31 quotes Jer 9:24
  • 1 Cor 2:16 quotes Isa 40:13
  • 1 Cor 3:20 quotes Ps 94:11
  • 1 Cor 10:9 quotes Num 21:5, 6
  • 1 Cor 10:26 quotes Ps 24:1
  • 2 Cor 6:18 quotes 2 Sam 7:8
  • Eph 5:19 paraphrases Ps 30:4 & 92:1
  • Heb 10:30 quotes Deut 32:35, 36
  • 1 Peter 2:3 quotes Ps 34:8, 9
  • 1 Peter 3:12 quotes Ps 34:15, 16

All known copies of the LXX made by Christians show exactly the same practice.

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  • "All known copies of the LXX made by Christians show exactly the same practice." But not all copies of the LXX made by Jews... Some have יהוה, some have ΙΑΩ, some have 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄, others leave a blank space, and apparently some even have ΠΙΠΙ. Early Septuagints are fascinating and weird! (Wikipedia) – curiousdannii Nov 7 '20 at 22:30
  • @curiousdannii - I agree - that is why I worded the sentence as I did. – Dottard Nov 7 '20 at 23:57
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – curiousdannii Nov 10 '20 at 22:56
  • Thank you for the answer, Dottard. – karma Nov 12 '20 at 20:24
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From the description of events, one concludes Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah:

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written...20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph's son?” (Luke 4) [ESV]

Essentially there are two possibilities: Jesus read from a scroll written in Hebrew or Greek:

Hebrew:
1 The Spirit of the LORD [YHVH] God is upon me, because the LORD [YHVH] has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's [YHVH] favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; [ESV]

Greek:
1 Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me; he has sent me to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken in heart, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; 2 to declare the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompence; to comfort all that mourn LXX-Isaiah

Jesus [Luke]:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

First, as many commentators note, Jesus stopped reading in the middle of verse 2; He did not include "...and the day of vengeance/retribution..." Next, what Jesus said is not an exact reading of either the Hebrew or Greek texts as we have them, but is closely aligned to the LXX and follows verbatim in some places:

LXX:  1  πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾽ ἐμέ οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῗς ἀπέσταλκέν
      με ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τῇ καρδίᾳ κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῗς
      ἀνάβλεψιν
      2  καλέσαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτὸν ...

Luke: 18 πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾽ ἐμέ οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέν
      με κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους
      ἐν ἀφέσει
      19 κηρύξαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτόν [GNT]

Luke: 18 πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾽ ἐμέ οὗ ἕνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίζεσθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέν
      με ἰὰσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς
      ἀνάβλεψιν ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσειι
      19 κηρύξαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτόν [TR]

The beginning, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor..." is one portion where the LXX is quoted verbatim:

LXX:  πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾽ ἐμέ οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς
Luke: πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾽ ἐμέ οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς

The LXX has an important difference from the Hebrew: the Tetragrammaton is not simply YHVH, but אדני יהוה, literally adonai YHVH (not Sovereign LORD as in the NIV). In other words, the original Hebrew text for Isaiah 61 includes adonai (Lord) which is typically used in place of the Tetragrammaton. Thus, if Jesus had pronounced YHVH, He should also have included "Lord" and said "Lord YHVH."

If Jesus was reading from the Hebrew Isaiah, then He failed to call YHVH, "Lord." This would not have caused those who heard what Jesus said to "marvel at the gracious words..." Rather, they would have been offended over Jesus' failure to acknowledge YHVH as "Lord" and such a "misreading" would very likely be considered blasphemy.

Conclusion
Jesus did not pronounce the Tetragrammaton when He read from the scroll of Isaiah in Nazareth.

As can be seen by the textual variations found in manuscripts of Luke, it is possible the manuscript Jesus was reading from had variations from what is considered to be the original text. However, it is most unlikely any Hebrew manuscript would omit "adonai" from the phrase adonai YHVH אדני יהוה. Therefore the evidence strongly supports the conclusion Jesus read from a Greek translation of Isaiah.

Moreover, if Jesus had decided to alter the text, as differences suggest He may have done in other places, then He still would have been required to include adonai to avoid failing to acknowledge YHVH as Lord. The failure of any manuscript evidence of "Lord Lord..." in Luke not only eliminates that possibility, but, clearly, if Jesus had called YHVH by name and not acknowledged Him as "Lord" then He was guilty of blasphemy and therefore would not have been sinless
(cf. Hebrews 4:15).

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  • Thank you for the answer, Revelation Lad. I wonder if Jesus (and the hearers) have in mind "Yahweh" (as the Hebrew version has "Yahweh" in the text) when He utter the word "Lord" ? – karma Nov 12 '20 at 20:23
  • @karma It is an interesting question because "Lord" appears separately as well and one could not assume every "Lord" was intended as a replacement for YHVH. It also presupposes an understanding of the Hebrew text. If the scroll was in Greek, then I would not think a Hebrew scroll was available. Similar to Christian churches who only use a certain translation and place that in the pew (so Hebrew in Jerusalem and Greek elsewhere?). My sense is that given the consistent use of "Lord" the hearers would understand YHVH is Lord and should always be addressed as such, not by the Name, as it is today. – Revelation Lad Nov 13 '20 at 20:34
  • Thank you for your further explanation, Revelation Lad. – karma Nov 14 '20 at 7:16
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Reciting God's Name "YHVH" (יֱהֹוִ֖ה) as “Adonai” is a Mishnaic Tradition of the Pharisees - documented in (Pesahim 50a.19) :

Pesahim 50a.19

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: The World-to-Come is not like this world. In this world, God’s name that is written with the letters yod and heh is read as Adonai, which begins with the letters alef and dalet. God’s name is not pronounced in the same way as it is written. However, in the World-to-Come it will all be one, as God’s name will be both read with the letters yod and heh and written with the letters yod and heh. (אָמַר רַב נַחְמָן בַּר יִצְחָק לֹא כָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה נִכְתַּב בְּיוֹד הֵי וְנִקְרָא בְּאֶלֶף דָּלֶת אֲבָל לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא כּוּלּוֹ אֶחָד נִקְרָא בְּיוֹד הֵי וְנִכְתַּב בְּיוֹד הֵי)

[https://www.sefaria.org/Pesachim.50a.19?with=all&lang=bi]

  • Why would Jesus have followed the Mishnaic traditions of the Pharisees (Pesahim 50a.19; cf. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews ii.12.4), instead of proclaiming His Father's Name - as It is written?

  • In regards to the Gospel of Luke 4:18, "ר֛וּחַ אֲדֹנָ֥י יֱהֹוִ֖ה עָלָ֑י" was uttered by Yeshua in order for us to know & recognize The Spirit of Adonai YHVH [is] on Him.

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    what evidence to have for your assertion, especially when we know that the pronunciation of the tetragrammaton had been lost during the Babylonian captivity and was only known to the priests before that anyway? – Dottard Nov 7 '20 at 1:15
  • Thank you for the answer, חִידָה. – karma Nov 12 '20 at 20:24

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