Skip to main content

Yeshua read and spoke Hebrew at the Synagogue

Yeshua was a very skilled reader and speaker of the Hebrew language. Luke 4:16-17 provides us with important evidence that reveals just how skilled of a reader of Hebrew Yeshua was:

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up and according to his custom on the Shabbat he went into the synagogue and stood up to read. And he was handed the roll of the prophet Isaiah, and having opened the roll he found the place where it was written.

It is surprising how much we learn about Yeshua and a first century synagogue service for this quote:

1. Yeshua is in his hometown.

2. It was his custom to go to the synagogue on Shabbat.

3. He stood up to read.

4. Someone handed him the roll of the prophet Isaiah.

5. He opened up the scroll.

6. He found the specific reading for the day.

Now I will add a few more details about the things listed above in order to help you see even more about what Luke’s words reveal with a little research.

1. Yeshua’s home town was Nazareth, a place with about 500 residents at that time.

2. Shabbat begins at sundown Friday and ends sundown Saturday. All work ceases on Shabbat.

3. This service at the synagogue was probably held on Saturday morning.

4. A synagogue official called the hazzan selected the people who will read the scheduled sections of the Torah and the Prophets.

5. The hazzan handed Yeshua the roll of Isaiah. One of the scrolls discovered at the Dead Sea in Qumran is called the Great Isaiah Scroll. It is pictured below and probably very similar to the one Yeshua read in the synagogue that day.

6. The Isaiah roll is made up of 17 strips of leather that were sewn together to make the scroll.[i] It is particularly large, being about 24 feet long and 11 inches high with 54 columns of text.[ii] Yeshua found the portion he was to read at the 49th column, 4 lines from the bottom with no chapter or verse markers. Yeshua was more than just a reader of Hebrew, he had spent a great deal of time working with and studying the rolls of Scriptures in the synagogue too.

7. The portion he found is Isaiah 61:1-2 in Hebrew and English Bibles today. Below are the words he read to his friends and neighbors in the synagogue. The text is written in Hebrew.

Dr. David Flusser was a professor of Early Christianity and Judaism of the Second Temple Period at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and received the Israel Prize in 1980, for his contributions to the study of Jewish history. Lawrence Schiffman, chairman of the Skirball department of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University, credited Flusser with pioneering "the modern study of Christianity in the state of Israel in a scholarly context". David Flusser was a devout Orthodox Jew who applied his study of the Torah and Talmud to the study of ancient Greek, Roman and Arabic texts, as well as the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls.[iii] Below are Flusser’s words:

Jesus was a Jew in every way. Jesus was part and parcel of the world of the Jewish sages. He was no ignorant peasant, and his acquaintance with the Written and Oral Law was considerable.[iv]

If liked this study and the Real Yeshua Project, “Like the Real Yeshua Facebook Page” too and share this blog with others. Go to Yeshua’s Kingdom of Heaven Handbook at our website to download PDF versions of these studies and create your own personal copy.

I also want to “thank” the “Friends of the Real Yeshua Project” for their generosity and making it possible for us to provide this information to you and many others without cost. If you like to help too, become a “Friend of the Real Yeshua Project” -- Click Here and donate now. Thank you!

[iv] David Fluesser, Jewish Sources in Early Christianity (New York: Adama Press, 1987), pp. 7, 19.


Popular posts from this blog

Do Not Say RAQA! - Yeshua on Anger (Part 2)

In the last blog, we covered the first part of Yeshua’s lesson on Anger -- An Angry Person Should be Tried in Court like a Murderer – keep in mind that “anger” is the focus of Yeshua’s lesson. “Whoever says to a brother, ‘ RAKA ,’ shall be answerable to the Sanhedrin.” [i] Yeshua reveals that the seriousness of the offense has become greater by elevating the crime to the next highest court – the Sanhedrin . It is the highest court in the nation and would be the equivalent of our Supreme Court. What makes this offense more serious than murder, to keep things in the context established by Yeshua? It is because of what the angry person said out of anger – “ RAKA !” RAKA is the English transliteration of the Greek word found in the ancient manuscripts of Matthew. Interestingly, the Greek word is also a transliteration of a Hebrew word into Greek. Keep in mind that when a translator working on a translation of a Greek manuscript transliterates a Greek word, he only finds the

The Prayer Yeshua Prayed Twice Every Day

One of Jesus’s earliest memories was no doubt watching and listening to his family when they gathered to pray the Shema at sunrise before the day’s work began and after the working work day was over at sunset . He also heard and participated in praying the Shema at their synagogue. He was surrounded by neighbors who also prayed the same prayer in their homes every day. The Hebrew word for prayer is tefilah . It is derived from the root Pe-Lamed-Lamed and the word l'hitpalel, meaning “ to judge oneself .” This surprising word origin provides insight into the purpose of Jewish prayer. The most important part of any Jewish prayer, whether it be a prayer of petition, of thanksgiving, of praise of God, or of confession, is the introspection it provides, the moment that we spend looking inside ourselves, seeing our role in the universe and our relationship to God. [1] Most of Jewish prayers are expressed in the first person plural, "us" instead of "me," an

What is a “tittle”?

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one yod or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18) In the last blog we learned that a “jot” was really “ yod ,” the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet. So, now let’s turn our attention to “ tittle ” and see what it means. It is another one of those words you never hear or use in everyday conversations. First, let’s see look up tittle in an English dictionary and see if we can find a definition. There is a definition and it is: “a dot or other small mark in writing or printing, used as a diacritic, punctuation, etc.” However, when we look at a yod we do not find any dots or small marks.  Follow the arrow and look at the very upper left tip of the  yod . ↓  י   Do you see the small  point? When we turn to the Jewish culture of Yeshua we find that the scribes had a name for it --  קוץ  ( QOTz ). The translation of the word  קוץ  is “thorn.” [i]  When Yeshua spok