Sunday, August 15, 2010 6:42 AM

To Be Put Out of The Synagogue

Sunday, August 15, 2010 6:42 AM
Sunday, August 15, 2010 6:42 AM

It is helpful to understand the cultural background to Bible verses. It takes us back to that time and puts us in the scene. Here are a few verses in John. Reading the verses we do not get a sense of what it means to be put out of the Synagogue. It was not like today where you can just go to another church. Back then you lost all communication with your friends and family, but you also lost the ability to conduct business or even hold a job. You could not even buy your daily needs.

John9.18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” [1]

To be put out of the synagogue was to be excommunicated. The Jews had three types of excommunication: one lasting thirty days, during which the person could not come within six feet of anybody else; one for an indefinite time, during which the person was excluded from all fellowship and worship; and one that meant absolute expulsion forever. These judgments were very serious because no one could conduct business with a person who was excommunicated.[2]

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Jn 9:18–23). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson's new illustrated Bible commentary (Jn 9:22–23). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

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