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Old 1st February 2009, 01:10 PM
Rob Rob is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sicily, Italy
Posts: 971
Default Chronology of the Sabbath at Capharnaum

Today at mass we did listen to the reading from Mark chapter 1:21-39, the one describing the healing of the possessed in the synagogue of Capharnaum. I think I managed to find the exact day in which this event occurred, thanks to Emmerich’s account in her book “Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations” volume 2 and especially thanks to Ron’s work on the Lives of Jesus and Mary. There are many things especially the timing of many events which could not be so esily discerned without the help that Ron's book gave me.

There are many other events which I am not going to relate now because I do not have enough certainty on the exact days when they occurred, since I haven’t double checked.

Mark as well as Luke in chapter 4:31-34 describe the same event, which occurred on a Sabbath (that same day Jesus cured Peter’s mother in law), here is the reasoning:

On page 255-256 volume 2 Emmerich tells us that she saw the flags with knots being raised above the synagogues and public buildings which marked the end of the months of Elul, she then tells us that the first month of Av begun with a Sabbath (Friday evening). She then describes Jesus teaching on the synagogue on Friday evening and the following day, Saturday morning when the event of the possessed occurred. From her description we must conclude that it’s the immediate Sabbath, the one on Av 1 that she is talking about.

There is another reason for this timing, on page 345 volume 2 she tells us: “On the first day of the month of Tishri the New Year was celebrated”, therefore everything described from page 255 to page 345 occurred during the month of Av, beside she describes other four Sabbaths in between. On page 285 she describes the Sabbath celebrated in Gennabris (Elul 8 ), page 307 is the Sabbath at Abelmahula (Elul 15); the Sabbath of Elul 22 is described on page 335 at Arga, following the four days of the feast for Jephte’s daughter and preceding a feast day celebrating Gedeon’s victory (Elul 23). Elul 29 (the last day of the month) was a Sabbath too celebrated in Betharamptha-Julia.

Therefore the Sabbath described on page 255-263 is the one of Elul 1 which was August 22 on the year 16 AD.

From what I gathered by reading these account and chronology, the previous Sabbath (Av 24) August 15 was celebrated at Nazareth, it was the one in which the Pharisees and angry crowd tried to push Jesus down from a steep cliff near Nazareth, this event is only described in Luke 4:14-30. Generally Luke gives many details for this early part of Jesus’ ministry than the other Gospel writers.

So coming back to the Sabbath in Capharnaum, Emmerich first describes a teaching in the synagogue, then the following day another, why? Generally a Sabbath would take place in the following way: On Friday evening, at sunset, the Sabbath officialy begun, at this point no work was allowed, the cooking must have been done in advance (for Saturday’s meals). People would then celebrate the Sabbath in the place where they were staying. Jesus and His disciples usually planned where they would celebrate the next Sabbath, this was essential because there were some scattered little places which did not have a synagogue. On the evening of Friday people would assemble inside the synagogue and pray, read from Scripture, then an explanation and teaching would occur. People usually gave this task (reading and explaining) to someone they believed in high position or of great eminence and importance. Jesus would often read and explain, first because many people knew he spoke with authority and was very learned (although they wondered how it was possible), then if they welcomed Him and His disciples well in their town for the Sabbath, they would certainly not have missed the opportunity in hearing Him teaching and explaining. The Pharisees were not much pleased (especially near the latter part of Jesus’ ministry) at hearing Him reading and explaining in the synagogue, but I think they gave Jesus this opportunity in order to trick Him and confront His teachings after the reading, so they would have something (heard by many witnesses in the synagogue) to use against Him.

After this teaching a repast would be held usually in someone’s house who temporarily hosted Jesus and his disciples. I did notice that many times some outward good looking Pharisees did so in order to show the crowds that he gave hospitality to the great Prophet Jesus. The same person would then host Jesus and the disciples during the night (if they were not lodged in an inn outside the city).

The following morning a more solemn teaching would occur at the synagogue similar to our Sunday mass. Again someone would read from the scroll and explain the teaching to everybody. After this people were dismissed and a lunch meal was held. Jesus would often perform cures outside the synagogue after the prayers on Sabbath but in many occasions He was unable to do so or unwilling (because of the Pharisees). That depended very much on the place he was visiting.

On the afternoon there would be another speech or teaching held by Jesus to a willing crowd usually outside in some garden or hilltop, or again visiting possessed or curing the sick. Many people would take the so called Sabbath promenade (as many of us do during Sunday) which was a short walk and could not be longer than a Sabbath walk; it was a day of rejoicing and rest to spent in pleasure gardens outside.

Some of us might imagine that during the Sabbath people had to stay shut in their houses and do literally nothing except the very necessary, but it was not so at all, although some very strict Sadducees might have done so from what I heard. It depended very much on the places Jesus was visiting, if they were pagan cities, Pharisiacal or Essenian or Sadduceean areas. In fact people were very influenced by these sects, so that a pharisaical city was much more stricter (no contact with pagans, following precept to the letter) than pagan towns which did not follow such rules, or followed other kind of precepts so wrongly introduced by many different sects. Palestine was a very heterogenous area during Jesus’ time.
At sunset the Sabbath was over and work could resume as normal.

On Friday evening Jesus read Isaia 49, from Emmerich’s description. This was a messianical passage, it’s interesting to notice how these passages would often come to Jesus at the time in which an important event (usually described in the Gospel) occur, such as this one. Jesus taught with much vehemence, reproaching teaching about Israel, the Pharisees did not reply but murmured with each other. At the end Jesus cured some sick outside the synagogue and went to Peter’s house for the evening and night. This house was not directly inside Capharnaum but more between the fomer place and Bethsaida (still within a Sabbath’s walk). Many sicks came to this house to be cured and so Jesus did.

The following morning Jesus again taught in the synagogue at Capharnaum and that is when many possessed begun to cry after Him, one of them in particular shouted the famous words: “Let us alone. What are we to you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know you who you are: the Holy One of God”. Jesus then commanded him to be silent and freed the possessed. At this point people became amazed, both for the miracle and teachings, perhaps from the previous evening too (which was a Sabbath lectio too). Later that afternoon Jesus cured Peter’s mother in Law too.

So summarizing, Jesus teaching at Nazareth to the angry crowd occurred on Saturday 15 August 16 AD (Av 24):


{4:16} And he went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. And he entered into the synagogue, according to his custom, on the Sabbath day. And he rose up to read.
{4:17} And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. And as he unrolled the book, he found the place where it was written:
{4:18} “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because of this, he has anointed me. He has sent me to evangelize the poor, to heal the contrite of heart,
{4:19} to preach forgiveness to captives and sight to the blind, to release the broken into forgiveness, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of retribution.”
{4:20} And when he had rolled up the book, he returned it to the minister, and he sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him.
{4:21} Then he began to say to them, “On this day, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
{4:22} And everyone gave testimony to him. And they wondered at the words of grace that proceeded from his mouth. And they said, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”
{4:23} And he said to them: “Certainly, you will recite to me this saying, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ The many great things that we have heard were done in Capernaum, do here also in your own country.”
{4:24} Then he said: “Amen I say to you, that no prophet is accepted in his own country.
{4:25} In truth, I say to you, there were many widows in the days of Elijah in Israel, when the heavens were closed for three years and six months, when a great famine had occurred throughout the entire land.
{4:26} And to none of these was Elijah sent, except to Zarephath of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
{4:27} And there were many lepers in Israel under the prophet Elisha. And none of these was cleansed, except Naaman the Syrian.”
{4:28} And all those in the synagogue, upon hearing these things, were filled with anger.
{4:29} And they rose up and drove him beyond the city. And they brought him all the way to the edge of the mount, upon which their city had been built, so that they might thrown him down violently.
{4:30} But passing through their midst, he went away.

The freeing of the possessed at Capharnaum happened the following Sabbath, 22 August 16 AD (Elul 1) in the morning, including the cure of Peter’s mother in Law (in the afternoon):


{4:31} And he descended to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And there he taught them on the Sabbaths.
{4:32} And they were astonished at his doctrine, for his word was spoken with authority.
{4:33} And in the synagogue, there was a man who had an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,
{4:34} saying: “Let us alone. What are we to you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know you who you are: the Holy One of God.”
{4:35} And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and depart from him.” And when the demon had thrown him into their midst, he departed from him, and he no longer harmed him.
{4:36} And fear fell over them all. And they discussed this among themselves, saying: “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they depart.”
{4:37} And his fame spread to every place in the region.
{4:38} Then Jesus, rising up from the synagogue, entered into the house of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in the grip of a severe fever. And they petitioned him on her behalf.
{4:39} And standing over her, he commanded the fever, and it left her. And promptly rising up, she ministered to them.
{4:40} Then, when the sun had set, all those who had anyone afflicted with various diseases brought them to him. Then, laying his hands on each one of them, he cured them.
{4:41} Now demons departed from many of them, crying out and saying, “You are the son of God.” And rebuking them, he would not permit them to speak. For they knew him to be the Christ.
{4:42} Then, when it was daytime, going out, he went to a deserted place. And the crowds sought him, and they went all the way to him. And they detained him, so that he would not depart from them.
{4:43} And he said to them, “I must also preach the kingdom of God to other cities, because it was for this reason that I was sent.”
{4:44} And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.
For to me, to live is Christ; and to die is gain (Phil 1:21)

Last edited by Rob : 1st February 2009 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 1st February 2009, 01:11 PM
Rob Rob is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sicily, Italy
Posts: 971

{1:21} And they entered into Capernaum. And entering into the synagogue promptly on the Sabbaths, he taught them.
{1:22} And they were astonished over his doctrine. For he was teaching them as one who has authority, and not like the scribes.
{1:23} And in their synagogue, there was a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,
{1:24} saying: “What are we to you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.”
{1:25} And Jesus admonished him, saying, “Be silent, and depart from the man.”
{1:26} And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, departed from him.
{1:27} And they were all so amazed that they inquired among themselves, saying: “What is this? And what is this new doctrine? For with authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
{1:28} And his fame went out quickly, throughout the entire region of Galilee.
1:29} And soon after departing from the synagogue, they went into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
{1:30} But the mother-in-law of Simon lay ill with a fever. And at once they told him about her.
{1:31} And drawing near to her, he raised her up, taking her by the hand. And immediately the fever left her, and she ministered to them.
{1:32} Then, when evening arrived, after the sun had set, they brought to him all who had maladies and those who had demons.
{1:33} And the entire city was gathered together at the door.
{1:34} And he healed many who were troubled with various illnesses. And he cast out many demons, but he would not permit them to speak, because they knew him.

{8:14} And when Jesus had arrived at the house of Peter, he saw his mother-in-law lying ill with a fever.
{8:15} And he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose up and ministered to them.
{8:16} And when evening arrived, they brought to him many who had demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word. And he healed all those having maladies,
{8:17} in order to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah, saying, “He took our infirmities, and he carried away our diseases.”
For to me, to live is Christ; and to die is gain (Phil 1:21)
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Old 1st February 2009, 01:47 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Posts: 12,628

Those dates seem corret to me.
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