Luke 4:29

I experienced an unusual disappointment as I read both the NIV (both 1984 and 2011) and the NLT this morning.

As I read Luke 4:29 (which is part of the passage I’m preaching on Sunday morning) I noticed that they both don’t translate a personal pronoun.

καὶ ἀναστάντες ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω τῆς πόλεως καὶ ἤγαγον αὐτὸν ἕως ὀφρύος τοῦ ὄρους ἐφ᾽ οὗ ἡ πόλις ᾠκοδόμητο αὐτῶν ὥστε κατακρημνίσαι αὐτόν· (Luk 4:29 GNT)

And they rose up and adrove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. (Luk 4:29 ESV)

They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. (Luk 4:29 NIV)

They got up, drove him out of the town,a and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. (Luk 4:29 NIVO)

and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. (Luk 4:29 NKJ)

Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, (Luk 4:29 NLT)

Although it is not a significant point on the exegesis of this passage, I do think Luke’s choice to use αὐτῶν  instead of the article is significant. In the context, the Nararenes have rejected Jesus (and so rejected God’s salvation) because they don’t like him, they are too familiar with him and they don’t think he matches their criteria for the Messiah.

At a number of points previously in the passage, it has been emphasised that Nazareth is Jesus’ hometown (vv16, 22, 24). At the end, however, this is no longer Jesus’ hometown – this is their town. It is not simple the town, neither is it his town. It is their town (the their must be referring to the πάντες…ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ of v28). In rejecting Jesus – Jesus has rejected them. Nazareth has, in a manner, forfeited its right to proundly claim to be the hometown of the Messiah who brings God’s jubilee salvation (cf Isa 61:1-2 with Lev 25:8ff).

 

One thought on “Luke 4:29

  1. Good point. Looks like it should be “their city”, but I suspect NIV may have used the def article deliberately to emphasise the attempt to kill Jesus rather than share emphasis with the location – they would have used any hill! However, the NLT doesn’t seem much bothered about translating αυτων as ‘the’.
    There are only two constructions in NT with αυτων followed by ωστε + infinitve Luk 4:29 & Matt 13:54. In Matt only the NLT translates αυτων as ‘the’, all the other versions I checked translate αυτων as you’ld expect ‘their’. More generally, most versions translate the 7 occasions of συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν “their synagogue” when they could use “the synagogue” – all except…NLT.

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