Saturday, August 29, 2020

"You say that I am" in Luke 22:70

The verse, Luke 22:70 reads: "So they all said, "Are you the Son of God, then?" And he said to them, ‘You say that I am’." (ESV).

“You say that I am”, in English, is ambiguous but in German the phrase is: "Du hast es gesagt" means "you said it" which carries an entirely different meaning from the English phrase "You say that I am". In German, the idiom means "Yes, you are right, for you have recognized it", while in English it means "Hey, *YOU* are saying that, but *I'm not* saying that!"

In the German, for example, the Luther Bible 1912 version (https://www.biblestudytools.com/lut/lukas/22.html) reads this way:

Lucas22:70 Da sprachen sie alle: Bist du denn Gottes Sohn? Er aber sprach zu ihnen: Ihr sagt es, denn ich bin's.

Translation: “They all spoke. Are you then God’s Son? He then said to them: You have said it, for I am he.”

So which is it? In Luke 22:70, did Yeshua agree that he, indeed, is the Messiah, or did he dodge the question and not answer as the English implies?

In Luke 22:70 we find the word "said/say") three times. The Aramaic root word in all three instances is: "אמר", (amar), which means "to say, to speak, to command, to tell, to relate."

The first time it is written in the verse, (rendered in English as "they all said"), the Aramaic is written as "אמרין", (amar'yn), meaning exactly what we expect. They simply spoke! In context, the speakers, who are identified as the Jewish elders and scribes (Luke 22:66), have uttered a statement, indeed a question. That is, they spoke (as it is understood in English): "and they said 'Does this mean, then, that you are the Son of God?' " and the question was directed at Yeshua!

The second time the word is used is when the verse reads "And he [Yeshua] answered them...".

The word “said” (“answered” in some versions) in Aramaic is "אמרי", (amar'i), which is exactly the same meaning as when the word was first used. That is, it is simply stating that Yeshua spoke back to them but this time it is only "him" speaking and not "them" (that is, a singular, not a plural response). Thus, he responded to them with a reply.

But that reply includes the 3rd time the same Aramaic word is used in the verse and it is again "אמרין", (amar'yn) but this time it is Yeshua speaking as to THEIR declarative so the meaning of the Aramaic word is not the same as it has been previously used. Here, 'You say that I am', means "affirm" or as in this: "(you) have seen that it is true." This understanding is simply NOT carried by the English word “say/said” used 3 times in the English verse”!

In other words the first time "said" is written in the verse, the scripture is simply documenting what the Jewish elders and scribes actually spoke. They uttered a question "Does this mean, then, that you are the Son of God?" The second time the word is used is when Yeshua replied (said/answered), the meaning is exactly the same, i.e., he responded to them by speaking.

But the third time the word is used, the meaning in the Aramaic is entirely different than conveyed in the English! There, it carries the meaning of the German phrase "Du hast es gesagt" which means "you said it" or “it is so”. Yeshua is acknowledging that they are correct! Therefore he literally acknowledges that he is the Messiah!

Unfortunately, in English, the reader only sees "you say that I am", which, in its ambiguity, the reader interprets it to mean "YOU say that I am, but I am neither confirming nor denying it." But, as we have now seen, in the Aramaic, Yeshua is actually saying "Correct, you have affirmed it."

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