Sunday, June 15, 2008

Zacchaeus, "a Son of Abraham"

A few notes about Zacchaeus from Lk19.1ff.:

1. He is said to be an architelones, "a chief tax collector". This is a hapax, showing up in Lk19.2 only among all early Christian literature (so, BAGD). Does this office resemble that of Chuza, an epitropos, "steward" (which is also rarely found in early Christian literature)?

2. He is called huios Abraam, "a son of Abraham" (Lk19.9). The only other individual given such a title is the twelve-year-old daughter of Jairus healed by Jesus, called thuatera Abraam, "a daughter of Abraham" (13.16). What I find interesting is the entire clause: kathoti kai autos huios Abraam, "because he also is a son of Abraham". Marshall (Luke, NIGTC) suggests the reading, 'even this tax collector', concluding, "The saying probably means 'salvation must be extended to this man because even a tax collector is a Jew'" (citing O. Michel and Schweizer, TDNT). I am wondering if perhaps the kai ought to be understood as "also", thus harkening back to the daughter of Jarius as the initial child of Abraham. I realize the distance between the two pericopes probably makes my query unlikely. But, if the two individuals were known by Theophilus, perhaps Luke intended to arouse Theophilus' memory of the first (13.16) by the inclusion of the kai in the second (19.9), showing that they are two significant players in Luke's story who are embraced by God's Messiah.

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