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Jehovah’s Witnesses

English
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

According to Luke 3:1-38

3  In the 15th year of the reign of Ti·beʹri·us Caesar,* when Pontius Pilate+ was governor of Ju·deʹa, Herod+ was district ruler of Galʹi·lee, Philip his brother was district ruler of the country of It·u·raeʹa and Trach·o·niʹtis, and Ly·saʹni·as was district ruler of Ab·i·leʹne,  in the days of chief priest Anʹnas and of Caʹia·phas,+ God’s declaration came to John+ the son of Zech·a·riʹah+ in the wilderness.+  So he went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching baptism in symbol of repentance for forgiveness of sins,+  just as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of Jehovah! Make his roads straight.+  Every valley must be filled up, and every mountain and hill leveled; the crooked ways must become straight, and the rough ways smooth;  and all flesh* will see the salvation of God.’”*+  So he began to say to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him: “You offspring of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the coming wrath?+  Therefore, produce fruits that befit repentance. Do not start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones.  Indeed, the ax is already lying at the root of the trees. Every tree, then, that does not produce fine fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”+ 10  And the crowds were asking him: “What, then, should we do?” 11  In reply he said to them: “Let the man who has two garments* share with the man who has none, and let the one who has something to eat do the same.”+ 12  Even tax collectors came to be baptized,+ and they said to him: “Teacher, what should we do?” 13  He said to them: “Do not demand* anything more than the tax rate.”+ 14  Also, those in military service were asking him: “What should we do?” And he said to them: “Do not harass* anybody or accuse anybody falsely,+ but be satisfied with your provisions.” 15  Now the people were in expectation and all of them were reasoning in their hearts about John, “May he perhaps be the Christ?”+ 16  John gave the answer, saying to all: “I, for my part, baptize you with water, but the one stronger than I am is coming, the lace of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.+ He will baptize you with holy spirit and with fire.+ 17  His winnowing shovel is in his hand to clean up his threshing floor completely and to gather the wheat into his storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up with fire that cannot be put out.” 18  He also gave many other exhortations and continued declaring good news to the people. 19  But Herod the district ruler, because of being reproved by John concerning He·roʹdi·as the wife of his brother and concerning all the wicked deeds that Herod had done, 20  added this also to all those deeds: He locked John up in prison.+ 21  Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus too was baptized.+ As he was praying, the heaven was opened up,+ 22  and the holy spirit in bodily form like a dove came down upon him, and a voice came out of heaven: “You are my Son, the beloved; I have approved you.”+ 23  When Jesus+ began his work, he was about 30 years old,+ being the son, as the opinion was,of Joseph,+son of Heʹli, 24  son of Matʹthat,son of Leʹvi,son of Melʹchi,son of Janʹna·i,son of Joseph, 25  son of Mat·ta·thiʹas,son of Aʹmos,son of Naʹhum,son of Esʹli,son of Nagʹga·i, 26  son of Maʹath,son of Mat·ta·thiʹas,son of Semʹe·in,son of Joʹsech,son of Joʹda, 27  son of Jo·anʹan,son of Rheʹsa,son of Ze·rubʹba·bel,+son of She·alʹti·el,+son of Neʹri, 28  son of Melʹchi,son of Adʹdi,son of Coʹsam,son of El·maʹdam,son of Er, 29  son of Jesus,son of E·li·eʹzer,son of Joʹrim,son of Matʹthat,son of Leʹvi, 30  son of Symʹe·on,son of Judas,son of Joseph,son of Joʹnam,son of E·liʹa·kim, 31  son of Meʹle·a,son of Menʹna,son of Matʹta·tha,son of Nathan,+son of David,+ 32  son of Jesʹse,+son of Oʹbed,+son of Boʹaz,+son of Salʹmon,+son of Nahʹshon,+ 33  son of Am·minʹa·dab,+son of Arʹni,son of Hezʹron,+son of Peʹrez,+son of Judah,+ 34  son of Jacob,+son of Isaac,+son of Abraham,+son of Teʹrah,+son of Naʹhor,+ 35  son of Seʹrug,+son of Reʹu,+son of Peʹleg,+son of Eʹber,+son of Sheʹlah,+ 36  son of Ca·iʹnan,son of Ar·pachʹshad,+son of Shem,+son of Noah,+son of Laʹmech,+ 37  son of Me·thuʹse·lah,+son of Eʹnoch,+son of Jaʹred,+son of Ma·haʹla·le·el,+son of Ca·iʹnan,+ 38  son of Eʹnosh,+son of Seth,+son of Adam,+son of God.

Footnotes

Or “of Emperor Tiberius.”
Or “all humans; all humanity.”
Or “the saving means of God; the salvation by God.”
Or “an extra garment.”
Or “collect.”
Or “extort by violence from; intimidate; bully.”

Study Notes

began his work: Or “began his ministry; started to teach.” Lit., “began; started.” Luke uses the same Greek expression at Ac 1:21, 22 and 10:37, 38 when referring to the start of Jesus’ earthly ministry. His public ministry involved preaching, teaching, and disciple-making.

the Passover: Jesus started his preaching activity after his baptism in the fall of 29 C.E., so this reference to a Passover early in his ministry must have been to the one celebrated in the spring of 30 C.E. (See study note on Lu 3:1 and App. A7.) A comparison of the four Gospel accounts indicates that four Passovers were celebrated during Jesus’ earthly ministry, leading to the conclusion that his ministry was three and a half years long. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (often called the synoptic Gospels) do not mention any Passover except the final one, at which Jesus died. John’s account specifically mentions three Passovers (Joh 2:13; 6:4; 11:55), and a fourth one is most likely referred to by the expression “a festival of the Jews” at Joh 5:1. This example highlights the value of comparing the Gospel accounts to gain a more complete picture of Jesus’ life.—See study notes on Joh 5:1; 6:4; 11:55.

district ruler: Lit., “tetrarch” (meaning “ruler over one fourth” of a province), a term applied to a minor district ruler or territorial prince ruling only with the approval of the Roman authorities. The tetrarchy of Herod Antipas consisted of Galilee and Perea.—Compare study note on Mr 6:14.

King Herod: That is, Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. (See Glossary, “Herod.”) Matthew and Luke use Antipas’ official Roman title of “tetrarch,” or “district ruler.” (See study notes on Mt 14:1; Lu 3:1.) His tetrarchy consisted of Galilee and Perea. However, he was popularly referred to as “the king,” the title used once by Matthew (Mt 14:9) and the only title Mark uses with reference to Herod.Mr 6:22, 25, 26, 27.

Caesarea Philippi: A town situated at the headwaters of the Jordan River at an elevation of 350 m (1,150 ft) above sea level. The town is some 40 km (25 mi) N of the Sea of Galilee and near the SW foot of Mount Hermon. It was named Caesarea by Philip the tetrarch, son of Herod the Great, in honor of the Roman emperor. In order to distinguish it from the seaport city of the same name, it was called Caesarea Philippi, which means “Caesarea of Philip.”—See App. B10.

the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius: Caesar Augustus died on August 17, 14 C.E. (Gregorian calendar). On September 15, Tiberius allowed the Roman Senate to proclaim him emperor. If the years were counted from the death of Augustus, the 15th year of Tiberius’ reign ran from August 28 C.E. to August 29 C.E. If counted from when he was formally proclaimed emperor, the 15th year ran from September 28 C.E. to September 29 C.E. John evidently began his ministry in the spring (in the northern hemisphere) of 29 C.E., which is within the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius. In Tiberius’ 15th year, John would have been about 30 years old, which was the age when the Levite priests began their service at the temple. (Nu 4:2, 3) Similarly, when Jesus was baptized by John and “began his work,” according to Lu 3:21-23, “he was about 30 years old.” Jesus’ death took place in the spring month of Nisan, so his three-and-a-half-year ministry evidently began in the fall, about the month of Ethanim (September/October). John was likely six months older than Jesus and evidently began his ministry six months before Jesus did. (Lu, chap. 1) Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that John began his ministry in the spring of 29 C.E.—See study notes on Lu 3:23; Joh 2:13.

Herod: That is, Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great.—See Glossary.

was district ruler: Lit., “was tetrarch,” that is, a minor district ruler or territorial prince ruling only with the approval of the Roman authorities.—See study notes on Mt 14:1; Mr 6:14.

Philip his brother: That is, a half brother of Herod Antipas. Philip was a son of Herod the Great by his wife Cleopatra of Jerusalem. He is sometimes referred to as Philip the tetrarch to distinguish him from his half brother also named Philip (sometimes called Herod Philip), mentioned at Mt 14:3 and Mr 6:17.—See also study note on Mt 16:13.

Ituraea: A small territory of varying and undefined boundaries located NE of the Sea of Galilee, evidently in the vicinity of the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountain ranges.—See App. B10.

Trachonitis: The name comes from a Greek root meaning “rough,” probably a reference to the roughness of the terrain in that area. Trachonitis was part of the territory previously known as Bashan (De 3:3-14) located E of Ituraea, and it measured only about 900 sq km (350 sq mi) in area. The northern limits of this territory reached to some 40 km (25 mi) SE of Damascus.

Lysanias: According to Luke’s account, Lysanias “was district ruler [lit., “was tetrarch”]” of the Roman district of Abilene at the time when John the Baptist began his ministry. An inscription found at Abila, the capital of Abilene, near Damascus of Syria (see App. B10), confirms that a tetrarch named Lysanias ruled at the same time as the Roman Emperor Tiberius. This finding refuted the claim made by some critics who had insisted that Luke confused this Lysanias with a king named Lysanias, who ruled in nearby Chalcis and was put to death about 34 B.C.E., decades earlier than the time Luke mentions.

Abilene: A Roman district, or tetrarchy, named after its capital Abila and located in the region of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains N of Mount Hermon.—See Glossary, “Lebanon Mountain range.”

Zechariah: From the Hebrew name meaning “Jehovah Has Remembered.” Some Bible translations use “Zacharias,” reflecting the Greek form of the name.

wilderness of Judea: The generally uninhabited, barren eastern slope of the Judean mountains stretching down—a drop of some 1,200 m (3,900 ft)—toward the western bank of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. John begins his ministry in a section of this region N of the Dead Sea.

chief priest Annas and . . . Caiaphas: When pinpointing the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist, Luke refers to the days when the Jewish priesthood was being dominated by two powerful men. Annas was appointed high priest about 6 or 7 C.E. by Quirinius, the Roman governor of Syria, and served until about 15 C.E. Even after Annas was deposed by the Romans and no longer held the official title of high priest, he evidently continued to exercise great power and influence as high priest emeritus and the predominant voice of the Jewish hierarchy. Five of his sons held the office of high priest, and his son-in-law Caiaphas served as high priest from about 18 C.E. to about 36 C.E. So although Caiaphas served as high priest in 29 C.E., Annas could rightly be designated a “chief priest” because of his dominant position.—Joh 18:13, 24; Ac 4:6.

John: Only in Luke’s account is John introduced as the son of Zechariah. (See study note on Lu 1:5.) Also, Luke alone mentions that God’s declaration came to John, using wording similar to that found in the Septuagint regarding the prophet Elijah (1Ki 17:2; 20:28; 21:28), who pictured John. (Mt 11:14; 17:10-13) All three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) locate John in the wilderness, but Matthew specifies it as “the wilderness of Judea,” that is, the generally uninhabited, barren eastern slope of the Judean mountains stretching down—a drop of some 1,200 m (3,900 ft)—toward the western bank of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea.—See study note on Mt 3:1.

Repent: The Greek word used here could literally be rendered “to change one’s mind,” signifying a change in thinking, attitude, or purpose. In this context, “repent” refers to a person’s relationship with God.—See study notes on Mt 3:8, 11 and Glossary, “Repentance.”

fruit that befits repentance: Refers to evidence and actions that would indicate a change of mind or attitude on the part of those listening to John.Lu 3:8; Ac 26:20; see study notes on Mt 3:2, 11 and Glossary, “Repentance.”

repentance: Lit., “change of mind.”—See study notes on Mt 3:2, 8 and Glossary.

baptize you: Or “immerse you.” The Greek word ba·ptiʹzo means “to dip; to plunge.” Other Biblical references indicate that baptism involves complete immersion. On one occasion, John was baptizing at a location in the Jordan Valley near Salim “because there was a great quantity of water there.” (Joh 3:23) When Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, they both “went down into the water.” (Ac 8:38) The same Greek word is used in the Septuagint at 2Ki 5:14 when describing that Naaman “plunged into the Jordan seven times.”

baptism in symbol of repentance: Lit., “baptism of repentance.” Baptism did not wash away sins. Rather, those baptized by John publicly repented over sins against the Law, showing their determination to change their behavior. This repentant attitude helped lead them to the Christ. (Ga 3:24) John was thereby preparing a people to see “the salvation” that God had provided.Lu 3:3-6; see study notes on Mt 3:2, 8, 11 and Glossary, “Baptism; Baptize”; “Repentance.”

Jehovah: At Isa 40:3, quoted here, the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH), occurs in the original Hebrew text. (See App. C.) Luke applies this prophecy to John the Baptist. John would prepare the way of Jehovah in that he would be the forerunner of Jesus, who would represent his Father and come in his Father’s name. (Joh 5:43; 8:29) In the apostle John’s Gospel, John the Baptist applies this prophecy to himself.—Joh 1:23.

baptize you: Or “immerse you.” The Greek word ba·ptiʹzo means “to dip; to plunge.” Other Biblical references indicate that baptism involves complete immersion. On one occasion, John was baptizing at a location in the Jordan Valley near Salim “because there was a great quantity of water there.” (Joh 3:23) When Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, they both “went down into the water.” (Ac 8:38) The same Greek word is used in the Septuagint at 2Ki 5:14 when describing that Naaman “plunged into the Jordan seven times.”

baptized: Or “immersed; dipped.”—See study note on Mt 3:11.

Repent: The Greek word used here could literally be rendered “to change one’s mind,” signifying a change in thinking, attitude, or purpose. In this context, “repent” refers to a person’s relationship with God.—See study notes on Mt 3:8, 11 and Glossary, “Repentance.”

repentance: Lit., “change of mind.”—See study notes on Mt 3:2, 8 and Glossary.

fruits that befit repentance: Refers to evidence and actions that would indicate a change of mind or attitude on the part of those listening to John.—Mt 3:8; Ac 26:20; see study notes on Mt 3:2, 11 and Glossary, “Repentance.”

tax collectors: Many Jews collected taxes for the Roman authorities. People hated such Jews because they not only collaborated with a resented foreign power but also extorted more than the official tax rate. Tax collectors were generally shunned by fellow Jews, who put them on the same level as sinners and prostitutes.Mt 11:19; 21:32.

extorted: Or “extorted by false accusation.”—See study note on Lu 3:14.

those in military service: These were evidently native Jewish soldiers who may have been engaged in a type of police inspection, collecting customs or other taxes. Jewish soldiers were in a covenant relationship with Jehovah God. If they desired to be baptized in symbol of repentance of sins, they were obliged to change their conduct and no longer be guilty of extortion and other crimes for which soldiers were notorious.—Mt 3:8.

accuse anybody falsely: The Greek term translated “accuse . . . falsely” (sy·ko·phan·teʹo) used here is rendered “extorted” or “extorted by false accusation” at Lu 19:8. (See study note on Lu 19:8.) The literal meaning of the verb has been explained to be “to take by fig-showing.” There are various explanations of the origin of this word. One is that in ancient Athens, the exporting of figs from the province was prohibited. Therefore, someone who denounced others by accusing them of attempting to export figs was termed a “fig-shower.” The term came to designate a person who accused others falsely for the sake of gain, or a blackmailer.

provisions: Or “wages; pay.” The expression is used here as a military technical term, referring to a soldier’s pay, ration money, or allowance. Originally, food and other provisions may have been included as part of a soldier’s allowance. The Jewish soldiers who came to John were possibly engaged in a type of police inspection, especially in connection with customs, or the collection of taxes. John may have given this counsel because the pay given to most soldiers was low, and there evidently was a tendency for soldiers to abuse their power in order to supplement their income. The term is also used in the expression “at his own expense” at 1Co 9:7, where Paul refers to the pay to which a Christian “soldier” is entitled.

were in expectation: Or “were waiting expectantly.” Such anticipation may have resulted from the angels’ announcement of Jesus’ birth and the shepherds’ subsequent proclamation of that message. (Lu 2:8-11, 17, 18) Thereafter, at the temple, the prophetess Anna spoke freely about the child. (Lu 2:36-38) Also, the astrologers’ statement that they had come to do obeisance to “the one born king of the Jews” had an impact on Herod, the chief priests, the scribes, and all in Jerusalem.—Mt 2:1-4.

baptize you: Or “immerse you.” The Greek word ba·ptiʹzo means “to dip; to plunge.” Other Biblical references indicate that baptism involves complete immersion. On one occasion, John was baptizing at a location in the Jordan Valley near Salim “because there was a great quantity of water there.” (Joh 3:23) When Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, they both “went down into the water.” (Ac 8:38) The same Greek word is used in the Septuagint at 2Ki 5:14 when describing that Naaman “plunged into the Jordan seven times.”

King Herod: That is, Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. (See Glossary, “Herod.”) Matthew and Luke use Antipas’ official Roman title of “tetrarch,” or “district ruler.” (See study notes on Mt 14:1; Lu 3:1.) His tetrarchy consisted of Galilee and Perea. However, he was popularly referred to as “the king,” the title used once by Matthew (Mt 14:9) and the only title Mark uses with reference to Herod.Mr 6:22, 25, 26, 27.

district ruler: Lit., “tetrarch” (meaning “ruler over one fourth” of a province), a term applied to a minor district ruler or territorial prince ruling only with the approval of the Roman authorities. The tetrarchy of Herod Antipas consisted of Galilee and Perea.—Compare study note on Mr 6:14.

As he was praying: In his Gospel, Luke gives the matter of prayer special attention. Only Luke mentions a number of Jesus’ prayers. For example, here Luke adds the detail that Jesus was praying at the time of his baptism. Some of the significant words that he used in his prayer on that occasion were apparently later recorded by Paul. (Heb 10:5-9) Other instances in which Luke alone mentions Jesus’ praying are Lu 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28; 11:1; 23:46.

the heaven was opened up: God evidently caused Jesus to perceive heavenly matters, which may well have included the memory of his prehuman life. Jesus’ own expressions after his baptism, particularly his intimate prayer on Passover night, 33 C.E., show that he knew of his prehuman existence, recalled the things he heard and saw his Father say and do, and remembered the glory that he himself had enjoyed in heaven. (Joh 6:46; 7:28, 29; 8:26, 28, 38; 14:2; 17:5) These memories may have been restored to Jesus at the time of his baptism and anointing.

a voice came out of the cloud: The second of three instances in the Gospel accounts when Jehovah is reported as speaking directly to humans.—See study notes on Lu 3:22; Joh 12:28.

a voice: The third of three instances in the Gospel accounts where Jehovah is reported as speaking directly to humans. The first instance occurred at Jesus’ baptism in 29 C.E. and is recorded at Mt 3:16, 17; Mr 1:11; and Lu 3:22. The second instance was in connection with Jesus’ transfiguration in 32 C.E. and is recorded at Mt 17:5; Mr 9:7; and Lu 9:35. The third instance, mentioned only in the Gospel of John, happened in 33 C.E., shortly before Jesus’ last Passover. Jehovah responded to Jesus’ request that his Father glorify His own name.

whom I have approved: Or “with whom I am well-pleased; in whom I take great delight.” The same expression is used at Mt 12:18, which is a quotation from Isa 42:1 regarding the promised Messiah, or Christ. The outpouring of holy spirit and God’s declaration concerning his Son were a clear identification of Jesus as the promised Messiah.—See study note on Mt 12:18.

whom I have approved: Or “with whom I am well-pleased.”—See study note on Mt 3:17.

like a dove: Doves had both a sacred use and a symbolic meaning. They were offered as sacrifices. (Mr 11:15; Joh 2:14-16) They symbolized innocence and purity. (Mt 10:16) A dove released by Noah brought an olive leaf back to the ark, indicating that the floodwaters were receding (Ge 8:11) and that a time of rest and peace was at hand (Ge 5:29). Thus, at Jesus’ baptism, Jehovah may have used the dove to call attention to the role of Jesus as the Messiah, the pure and sinless Son of God who would sacrifice his life for mankind and lay the basis for a period of rest and peace during his rule as King. The way that God’s holy spirit, or active force, came down upon Jesus at his baptism may have looked like the fluttering of a dove as it nears its perch.

a voice came out of heaven: The first of three instances in the Gospel accounts where Jehovah is reported as speaking audibly to humans.—See study notes on Lu 9:35; Joh 12:28.

You are my Son: As a spirit creature, Jesus was God’s Son. (Joh 3:16) From the time of his birth as a human, Jesus was a “son of God” just as perfect Adam had been. (Lu 1:35; 3:38) However, it seems reasonable that God’s words here go beyond a mere statement of Jesus’ identity. By this declaration accompanied by the outpouring of holy spirit, God evidently indicated that the man Jesus was begotten as His spiritual Son, “born again” with the hope of returning to life in heaven and anointed by spirit to be God’s appointed King and High Priest.—Compare Joh 3:3-6; 6:51; Lu 1:31-33; Heb 2:17; 5:1, 4-10; 7:1-3.

I have approved you: Or “I am well-pleased with you; I take great delight in you.” The same expression is used at Mt 12:18, which is a quotation from Isa 42:1 regarding the promised Messiah, or Christ. The outpouring of holy spirit and God’s declaration concerning his Son were a clear identification of Jesus as the promised Messiah.—See study notes on Mt 3:17; 12:18.

Shealtiel, son of Neri: According to 1Ch 3:17 and Mt 1:12, Shealtiel was the son of Jeconiah, not Neri. Perhaps Shealtiel married Neri’s daughter, thus becoming his son-in-law, and could therefore be called the “son of Neri.” It was not uncommon in Hebrew genealogical listings to speak of a son-in-law as a son. In a similar way, Luke apparently called Joseph “son of Heli,” Mary’s father.—See study note on Lu 3:23.

history of Jesus Christ: Matthew traces the line through David’s son Solomon. By contrast, Luke traces the line through Nathan. (Mt 1:6, 7; Lu 3:31) Matthew traces Jesus’ legal right to the throne of David from Solomon through Joseph, who was legally Jesus’ father. Luke evidently follows the ancestry of Mary, tracing Jesus’ natural descent from David.

Joseph: Matthew’s account does not use the expression “became father to” (see study note on Mt 1:2) in describing Joseph’s relationship to Jesus. It simply says that Joseph was the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born. The Greek pronoun rendered “whom” is feminine and can refer only to Mary. So Matthew’s genealogy highlights that while Jesus is not the physical son of Joseph, he is his adoptive son and therefore a legal heir of David. Luke’s genealogy highlights that Jesus through his mother, Mary, is the natural heir of David.

Shealtiel, son of Neri: According to 1Ch 3:17 and Mt 1:12, Shealtiel was the son of Jeconiah, not Neri. Perhaps Shealtiel married Neri’s daughter, thus becoming his son-in-law, and could therefore be called the “son of Neri.” It was not uncommon in Hebrew genealogical listings to speak of a son-in-law as a son. In a similar way, Luke apparently called Joseph “son of Heli,” Mary’s father.—See study note on Lu 3:23.

began his work: Or “began his ministry; started to teach.” Lit., “began; started.” Luke uses the same Greek expression at Ac 1:21, 22 and 10:37, 38 when referring to the start of Jesus’ earthly ministry. His public ministry involved preaching, teaching, and disciple-making.

being the son, as the opinion was, of Joseph: Joseph was actually Jesus’ adoptive father, since Jesus was begotten by holy spirit. However, the people in Nazareth saw Joseph and Mary raise Jesus, so they naturally considered him to be Joseph’s son. This is indicated by other scriptures, such as Mt 13:55 and Lu 4:22, where the inhabitants of Nazareth refer to Jesus as “the carpenter’s son” and “a son of Joseph.” On one occasion, people who stumbled at Jesus remarked: “Is this not Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?” (Joh 6:42) Also, Philip told Nathanael: “We have found . . . Jesus, the son of Joseph.” (Joh 1:45) Luke’s account here confirms that Jesus’ being called “the son of Joseph” was simply current opinion.

as the opinion was: Or possibly, “as it was established by law.” This rendering has been suggested by a few scholars, since the Greek term allows for this idea. In this context, that rendering would convey the thought of being legally established according to genealogical reckonings available at the time. However, the rendering in the main text of the New World Translation is supported by most scholars.

Joseph, son of Heli: According to Mt 1:16, “Jacob became father to Joseph the husband of Mary.” In Luke’s account, Joseph is called the “son of Heli,” evidently meaning that he is Heli’s son-in-law. (For a similar case, see the study note on Lu 3:27.) When tracing the bloodline from a grandfather to a grandson through a daughter, it was customary for the Jews to focus on the men in the genealogies, which may be why Luke omits the daughter’s name and lists her husband as a son. Luke evidently traces Jesus’ descent through Mary, so it would seem that Heli was Mary’s father and the maternal grandfather of Jesus.—See study notes on Mt 1:1, 16; Lu 3:27.

Joseph, son of Heli: According to Mt 1:16, “Jacob became father to Joseph the husband of Mary.” In Luke’s account, Joseph is called the “son of Heli,” evidently meaning that he is Heli’s son-in-law. (For a similar case, see the study note on Lu 3:27.) When tracing the bloodline from a grandfather to a grandson through a daughter, it was customary for the Jews to focus on the men in the genealogies, which may be why Luke omits the daughter’s name and lists her husband as a son. Luke evidently traces Jesus’ descent through Mary, so it would seem that Heli was Mary’s father and the maternal grandfather of Jesus.—See study notes on Mt 1:1, 16; Lu 3:27.

Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel: Although Zerubbabel is frequently called “the son of Shealtiel” (Ezr 3:2, 8; 5:2; Ne 12:1; Hag 1:1, 12, 14; 2:2, 23; Mt 1:12), he is once identified as one of “the sons of Pedaiah,” a brother of Shealtiel. (1Ch 3:17-19) Zerubbabel was likely the natural son of Pedaiah, but it seems that he was legally reckoned as the son of Shealtiel. If Pedaiah died when his son Zerubbabel was a boy, Pedaiah’s oldest brother, Shealtiel, might have raised Zerubbabel as his own son. Or if Shealtiel died childless and Pedaiah performed levirate marriage on his behalf, the son of Pedaiah by Shealtiel’s wife would have been reckoned as Shealtiel’s legal heir.

Shealtiel, son of Neri: According to 1Ch 3:17 and Mt 1:12, Shealtiel was the son of Jeconiah, not Neri. Perhaps Shealtiel married Neri’s daughter, thus becoming his son-in-law, and could therefore be called the “son of Neri.” It was not uncommon in Hebrew genealogical listings to speak of a son-in-law as a son. In a similar way, Luke apparently called Joseph “son of Heli,” Mary’s father.—See study note on Lu 3:23.

Jesus: Corresponds to the Hebrew name Jeshua or Joshua, a shortened form of Jehoshua, meaning “Jehovah Is Salvation.”

Jesus: Or “Joshua (Jeshua).” Some ancient manuscripts here read “Jose(s).”—See study note on Mt 1:21.

history of Jesus Christ: Matthew traces the line through David’s son Solomon. By contrast, Luke traces the line through Nathan. (Mt 1:6, 7; Lu 3:31) Matthew traces Jesus’ legal right to the throne of David from Solomon through Joseph, who was legally Jesus’ father. Luke evidently follows the ancestry of Mary, tracing Jesus’ natural descent from David.

Joseph: Matthew’s account does not use the expression “became father to” (see study note on Mt 1:2) in describing Joseph’s relationship to Jesus. It simply says that Joseph was the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born. The Greek pronoun rendered “whom” is feminine and can refer only to Mary. So Matthew’s genealogy highlights that while Jesus is not the physical son of Joseph, he is his adoptive son and therefore a legal heir of David. Luke’s genealogy highlights that Jesus through his mother, Mary, is the natural heir of David.

Joseph, son of Heli: According to Mt 1:16, “Jacob became father to Joseph the husband of Mary.” In Luke’s account, Joseph is called the “son of Heli,” evidently meaning that he is Heli’s son-in-law. (For a similar case, see the study note on Lu 3:27.) When tracing the bloodline from a grandfather to a grandson through a daughter, it was customary for the Jews to focus on the men in the genealogies, which may be why Luke omits the daughter’s name and lists her husband as a son. Luke evidently traces Jesus’ descent through Mary, so it would seem that Heli was Mary’s father and the maternal grandfather of Jesus.—See study notes on Mt 1:1, 16; Lu 3:27.

Nathan: The son of David by Bath-sheba from whom Mary descended. (2Sa 5:13, 14; 1Ch 3:5.) In the Christian Greek Scriptures, he is mentioned only here. Luke’s genealogy of Jesus differs from Matthew’s, but the difference in nearly all the names in Luke’s account can be resolved when realizing that Luke traced the line through David’s son Nathan, whereas Matthew traced the line through David’s son Solomon. (Mt 1:6, 7) Luke apparently follows the ancestry of Mary, thus showing Jesus’ natural descent from David, while Matthew shows Jesus’ legal right to the throne of David by descent from Solomon through Joseph, who was legally Jesus’ father. Both Matthew and Luke indicate that Joseph was Jesus’ adoptive father.—See study notes on Mt 1:1, 16; Lu 3:23.

Salmon: The Greek spelling is “Sala” in some ancient manuscripts and “Salmon” in others. Salmon married Rahab of Jericho, by whom he fathered Boaz. (Ru 4:20-22; Mt 1:4, 5) 1Ch 2:11 uses a different Hebrew spelling of his name. It says: “Salma became father to Boaz.”

Arni: This is a variant form of the name Ram (Greek, A·ramʹ) found at Mt 1:3, 4. At 1Ch 2:9, Ram is listed as one of “the sons of Hezron,” and Ru 4:19 says: “Hezron became father to Ram.” Some manuscripts use “Ram” here in Luke’s account, but there is good manuscript support for using the variant form “Arni.”

son of Cainan: A few ancient manuscripts omit “son of Cainan” here. This omission is in harmony with the Masoretic text of Ge 10:24; 11:12, 13; and 1Ch 1:18, where Shelah is listed as the son of Arpachshad. However, the name Cainan appears in these genealogical lists in existing copies of the Greek Septuagint, such as the Codex Alexandrinus of the fifth century C.E. A large number of manuscripts of the Gospel of Luke support the inclusion of the expression “son of Cainan,” so it is retained in most Bible translations.

son of Adam: Luke traces Jesus’ genealogy back to Adam, the forefather of all mankind. This is in line with Luke’s intent to write good news for all people, addressing both Jews and non-Jews. Matthew, on the other hand, who seems to have written his Gospel especially for the Jews, traces Jesus’ genealogy back to Abraham. The universal appeal of Luke’s Gospel can also be seen in his recording that Christ’s message and works could bring good no matter what a person’s background—a Samaritan leper, a rich tax collector, and even a condemned thief dying on a stake.—Lu 17:11-19; 19:2-10; 23:39-43.

Adam, son of God: This reference goes back to the origin of mankind and agrees with the Genesis account that the first man was created by God and in God’s image. (Ge 1:26, 27; 2:7) This statement also sheds light on other inspired statements, such as Ro 5:12; 8:20, 21; and 1Co 15:22, 45.

Media

Tiberius Caesar
Tiberius Caesar

Tiberius was born in 42 B.C.E. In 14 C.E., he became the second emperor of Rome. Tiberius lived until March 37 C.E. He was emperor throughout Jesus’ ministry, so Tiberius was the ruling Caesar when Jesus said regarding the tax coin: “Pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar.”—Mr 12:14-17; Mt 22:17-21; Lu 20:22-25.

Coin Made by Herod Antipas
Coin Made by Herod Antipas

These photos show both sides of a copper alloy coin that was minted about the time that Jesus was engaged in his ministry. The coin was commissioned by Herod Antipas, who was tetrarch, or district ruler, of Galilee and Perea. Jesus was likely passing through Herod’s territory of Perea on his way to Jerusalem when the Pharisees told Jesus that Herod wanted to kill him. Jesus responded by calling Herod “that fox.” (See study note on Lu 13:32.) Since most of Herod’s subjects were Jewish, the coins he made depicted such emblems as a palm branch (1) and a wreath (2), images that would not offend the Jews.

The Wilderness
The Wilderness

The original-language words rendered “wilderness” in the Bible (Hebrew, midh·barʹ and Greek, eʹre·mos) generally refer to a sparsely settled, uncultivated land, often steppelands with brush and grass, even pastures. Those words may also apply to waterless regions that could be called true deserts. In the Gospels, the wilderness generally referred to is the wilderness of Judea. This wilderness is where John lived and preached and where Jesus was tempted by the Devil.Mr 1:12.

Sandals
Sandals

In Bible times, sandals consisted of flat soles made of leather, wood, or other fibrous material strapped to the foot by leather laces. Sandals were used as symbols in some types of transactions and as a word picture. For example, a widow under the Law removed a sandal from the man who refused to perform brother-in-law marriage with her, and his name was reproachfully called “The house of the one who had his sandal removed.” (De 25:9, 10) The transfer of property or of right of repurchase was represented by a person’s handing his sandal to another. (Ru 4:7) To untie another’s sandal laces or to carry his sandals was considered a menial task often done by slaves. John the Baptist referred to this practice to denote his inferiority to the Christ.

Threshing Tools
Threshing Tools

Two of the replica threshing sledges (1) shown here are turned upside down, exposing the sharp stones that were embedded in the underside of the sledge. (Isa 41:15) As shown in the second photo (2), a farmer would spread sheaves of grain on a threshing floor, stand on the sledge, and have an animal, such as a bull, pull him across the grain. The hooves of the animal and the sharp stones on the underside of the sledge would cut and break down the grain stalks, releasing the grain. The farmer would then use a winnowing fork, or shovel (3), to throw the threshed grain into the air. The wind would carry off the chaff, leaving the heavier grain to fall to the ground. Threshing is used in the Bible as a fitting symbol of how Jehovah’s enemies will be beaten and cut to pieces. (Jer 51:33; Mic 4:12, 13) John the Baptist used threshing to illustrate how the righteous would be separated from the wicked.