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From my commentary on Luke (

Birth of Yeshua at Sukkot Luke 2:1-7
By James Trimm

2:1-2 And it happened that in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the Land should be enrolled. This enrollment first happened during the governorship of Quirinius in Syria. –

that all the Land should be enrolled - “all the Land” The Old Syriac Aramaic has )(r) hlwk which is ambiguous in Aramaic. )(r) (Strong's #772) is the Aramaic equivalent of Hebrew Cr) eretz (Strong's 776). This word can mean "world" (as in Prov. 19:4) "earth" (as in Dan. 2:35) or "land" (as in Dan. 9:15) and is often used as a euphemism for "The Land of Israel" (as in Dan. 9:6). The Greek translator mistook the word to mean “world” here causing scholars to mistakenly think that Luke was speaking of one of the three empire-wide censuses which were in 28 B.C., 8 B.C., and 14 A.D. None of these dates fits well with the time of the birth of Messiah. However we learn from the Aramaic text that Luke actually refers a much smaller local census and not one of these empire-wide censuses at all. This is supported by the fact that Luke uses the phrase “this enrollment first happened” so as to contrast this enrollment by another ordered by Quirinius in 6 C.E. which Luke mentions in his second book (Acts 5:37). That census was a local census of Judah and so it stands to reason that this census was also a local census of Judah or “Ha-Eretz” “The Land” as well.

during the governorship of Quirinius in Syria - This is the reading of the Peshitta. The Old Syriac Aramaic says “in the years of Quirinius governor of Syria” .

His full name was Publius Sulpicius Quirinius. Skeptics have made much of the fact that Quirinius is known to have become Governor of Syria in 6 C.E. (several years to late to fit the time of Yeshua’s birth). However there are two very workable solutions to this apparent problem.

The first is that Quirinius may have served as governor of Syria once before, perhaps as a military governor, prior to his installation in 6 C.E.. A Latin inscription has been found recording the career of a distinguished Roman officer who, when he became imperial legate of Syria entered upon that office ‘for the second time’ (Lat. iterum). This Roman officer could very well be Quirinius.

The second is that “the years of Quirinius” actually began before he actually became governor of Syria. Quirinius was governing in Syria as a Roman Senator in charge of being the assessor of property in Syria as well as Judea (which the Romans regarded as part of Syria). His name was also mentioned in "Res Gestae - The Deeds of Augustus by Augustus" which was found in the city of Antioch Pisidia placing him as consul as early as 12 B.C.. The Greek geographer and historian Strabo (circa 63 B.C. - circa A.D. 23), seems to indicate Quirinius may have been in Syria with a special commission for military operations between 10 and 7 B.C. Moreover the Roman historian Tacitus mentions that Quirinius was appointed by Augustus to be an advisor to his young son Caius Caesar in Armenia. Caius was sent to administer Syria in 1 C.E. with Quirininus as his advisor. So there is good evidence that “the years of Quirinius” in Syria began several years before his installation as governor in 6 C.E..

2:7 and laid him in a manger – Or a Sukkah booth.

There is evidence that Yeshua was born at Sukkot. The key to calculating the date of the birth of Messiah is Luke 1:5 where we learn that Zechariah the father of Yochanan was a priest of the course of Abijah.

The priests became to numerous to all serve at the Temple all the time,
so they were divided into 24 courses (1Chron. 24). Each course served
for two weeks each year, once in the former rain (first half of the
year) and once in the latter rain (second half of the year). There were
also three weeks in which all the priests were required to serve, these
were the three pilgrimage festivals (Dt. 16:16). 24 times 2 is 48 plus
three is 51. 51 weeks is 357 days fitting nicely within the 360 day
lunar year.

The course of Abijah is the eighth course (1Chron. 24:10) which
serves the tenth week during the former rain portion of the year (this
is because during Passover and Shavuot (Pentecost) all for the priests
serve together Dt. 16:16). Zechariah had his vision while serving in
the course of Abijah in the tenth week (It will become apparent that he
was serving his first course not his second as the timing will show as
we progress). Thus Zechariah's vision took place during the 10th week of the year (The religious year beginning at Nisan/Abib around 14 days before Passover). We must add two additional weeks before Yochanon (John) could be conceived, due to the purity laws (Lev. 12:5; 15:19, 25). So Yochanon was concieved in the 12th week of the year. He was born about 40 weeks later during the 52nd week of the year (12 + 40 = 52) which brings us to Passover. Thus Yochanon was born at Passover, the very time that Elijah was, according to Jewish tradition, supposed to appear.

Yeshua was conceived 6 months (about 25 weeks) after Yochanon's
conception. This means Yeshua was conceived around the 37th week around Chanukah. This would mean the light of the world was conceived during the festival of lights.

Yeshua was born 40 weeks later (around week 77 that is week 25 of the following year) this brings us to the time of the fall feasts.

There are several clues that Yeshua was born at Sukkot:

1. Bethleham was "booked solid." This would not have been due
census which would have taken place over the period of a year.
Every Jew was required to come to Jerusalem for Sukkot (Dt. 16:16)
this would have over run Jerusalem as well as Bethleham just
five miles away.

2. Yeshua was born in a “manger” or stable. The Hebrew word for "stable" is "sukkah" (as in Gen. 33:17) so it is likely that Yeshua was born in a Sukkah/booth.

3. If Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkot then he would
have been circumcised on the "eighth great day" a festival following
Sukkot. This day was the original "Simchat Torah" (Rejoicing in
the Torah) which is now held the following day in Rabbinic Judaism.
So Yeshua would have entered the covenant on the day of "rejoicing
in the Torah."

4. When the angels appeared to the shepherds they made a statement
which closely echoes the ancient Sukkot liturgy "...behold, we have come to declare to you glad tidings of great joy." (Lk. 2:10-11)

5. Sukkot is symbolic of God dwelling in a "tabernacle" (body?)
with us.

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Views: 2283

Comment by Brian Forbes on September 28, 2009 at 6:18pm
James, you're a cool guy. People get all excited when someone throws a ball through a hoop or kicks a ball across a field, but man, that is nothing to the thrill I get when reading your articles. May your wisdom continue to increase!
Comment by Chuck Higgins on September 28, 2009 at 8:12pm
Please note the prophetic significance of Sukkot. G_d commanded the Jewish people to build tents for Him and themselves. In other words, they celebrated the day that G_d came to live with them, and when He did, He took upon himself the same flimsy shelter they did. Does that sound like Messiah to you?
It is also interesting to note the Tabernacles was a feast of ingathering of the Harvest (Exo 23:16 and 34:22). If Yeshua's first coming was indeed on 15 Tishri, the first day of Tabernacles, then it is quite reasonable to presume that the harvest of this earth, the ingathering of the second coming of Messiah, will also occur on precisely the same date. The unknown factor would be the year that this would happen.
Comment by Joe L. Henderson on September 28, 2009 at 10:46pm
Adam, born?
Comment by YishaiMonty on September 30, 2009 at 1:36pm
Solomon finished the Temple on the First Day of Sukkot, and the celebrated it for seven day's in the Temple! then YHVH came and dwelt in the House (Temple) on the Eight Day! (Shemini Atzeret) 2end Chronicles 5:1, 7:8-11
Now after 2000 years He is gathering us back again! To Jerusalem!
Comment by Wayne Ingalls on October 1, 2009 at 6:52am
Shalom Rabbi Trimm,

You wrote: Yeshua was born in a “manger” or stable. The Hebrew word for "stable" is "sukkah" (as in Gen. 33:17) so it is likely that Yeshua was born in a Sukkah/booth.

I think that using Gen 33:17 is not a very strong argument in favor of Yeshua being born in a sukkah. Reason being is that the Targums for this verse use use “metalan” (plural of metalah for “booths"), while retaining the Hebrew “Sukkot” for the place name.

In contrast, the Aramaic word used in Luke 2 is aurya, a cognate for urvah, as shown in examples below:

1 Kings 5:6* (CJB) Shlomo also had 40,000 stalls (urvah) for the horses used with his chariots and 12,000 horsemen.

(* 1Kings 4:26 in Christian Bibles)

2 Chronicles 32:28 (NASB) storehouses also for the produce of grain, wine and oil, pens for all kinds of cattle and sheepfolds (urvah) for the flocks.

It appears that Luke's Aramaic witness speaks literally of a sheepfold, stable or stall, not a sukkah.

Comment by Wayne Ingalls on November 8, 2009 at 12:00pm
Luke's Aramaic witness speaks literally of a sheepfold, stable or stall, not a sukkah.
Comment by Yacov Shlomo on September 18, 2010 at 11:55pm

The above is a little science that shows something interesting in the Fall Sky to include the year. The Math, IMO, is not quite acurate, but it is extremely close.
Comment by YishaiMonty on September 19, 2010 at 6:49pm
James, In Luk 1:8-11 One time, when Z'kharyah was fulfilling his duties as cohen during his division's period of service before Elohim, he was chosen by lot (according to the custom among the cohanim) to enter the Temple and burn incense{G2370 ~ Thumiao}. All the people were outside, praying, at the time of the incense burning{G2370 ~ Thumiao}, when there appeared to him an angel of YHWH standing to the right of the incense altar{G2370 ~ Thumiao}. where could I find the Tanakh passage to explain this burning of incense, instantly the Yom Kippur censor comes to mind... can you shed some light on this??? According to Strong's "G2370" is from the Hebrew "H2076 zavach" and "H6999 qatar" H6999 appears 210 times with random meaning, H2076 appears 144 times with relevance to passover and thanksgiving/peace sacrifices... whats your take?
Comment by James Trimm on September 19, 2010 at 7:39pm
From my Commentary on Luke 1:9-12 at

1:9-13 … he [Z’kharyah] was to place the incense… And an angel of YHWH who stood at the right side of the alter of incense appeared to Z’kharyah. And Z’kharyah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. And the angel said to him; Do not fear…

Why was he troubled? Why did fear fall upon him when the angel appeared? On the contrary one might expect him to be overjoyed to see an angel in the Temple. Some background to this story gives the account much more meaning. Pharisees and Sadducees differed as to how they believed the incense offering was to be made. Sadducees controlled the priesthood and the Temple (because most priests were Sadducees) but Pharisees were the majority and thus controlled the people and the courts. According to the Mishna (m.Yoma 1:5) the Pharisees would use the power of the Rabbinical courts to require the priests to agree to perform the Temple services according to the traditional method handed down by the elders and not to alter it based un Sadducee understandings and interpretations by bringing the incense into the Holy of Holies. All of this was needed because a Sadducee Priest had once taken it upon himself to alter the service. As we read in the Talmud (in the Gemara to m.Yoma 1:5):

He turned aside and wept because they suspected him
of being a Sadducee, and they turned aside and wept,
for R. Joshua b. Levi said: Whosoever suspects good folks
will suffer [for it] on his own body. Why was all this
[solemn adjuration] necessary? Lest he arrange the incense
outside and thus bring it in, in the manner of the Sadducees.

Our Rabbis taught: There was a Sadducee who had arranged
the incense without, and then brought it inside. As he left he
was exceedingly glad. On his coming out his father met him
and said to him: My son, although we are Sadducees, we are
afraid of the Pharisees. He replied: All my life was I aggrieved
because of this scriptural verse: For I appear in the cloud
upon the ark-cover. I would say: When shall the opportunity
come to my hand so that I might fulfil it. Now that such
opportunity has come to my hand, should I not have fulfilled it? It is reported that it took only a few days until he died and was thrown on the dung heap and worms came forth from his nose. Some say: He was smitten as he came out [of the Holy of Holies]. For R. Hiyya taught: Some sort of a noise was heard
in the Temple Court, for an angel had come and struck him
down on his face [to the ground] and his brethren the priests
came in and they found the trace as of a calf's foot on his
shoulder, as it is written: And their feet were straight feet, and
the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot.
(b.Yoma 19b)

In light of this passage it is clear why Z’kharyah was troubled and fearful when the angel appeared to him in the Temple after he had offered incense. Z’kharyah was almost certainly aware of this story and thus must have been worried that he had somehow offered the incense incorrectly and that the angel had appeared in order to strike him down. The angel was aware of this and immediately told him “Fear not…”.
Comment by Larry Lynn Wilson on September 19, 2010 at 11:34pm
Very good point linking the 8th day circumcision with the 8th day of life of Christ. He would have been born in 2 BC and thus on September 14/15 per the lunar calendar.

Josephus double-dates the rule of Herod as 34 years from 37 BC and 37 years from 40 BC. This means the rulership of Herod was revised and his original rule was 37 years from 37. This means he died on Shebat 2, 1 AD. Part of the revisionism was to suppress the first governor ship of Quirinius from 4-1 BCE, which includes 2 BC.

Here is a YouTube video addressing this:

Thanks for this focus.

Larry W.


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