Luke 2:46

46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions.

Luke 2:46 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 2:46

And it came to pass, that after three days
From their first setting out from Jerusalem, when Jesus tarried behind; or on the third day, which may be reckoned thus; the first day was spent in journeying, and the second in coming back the same journey, and the third day they sought all Jerusalem for him, when

they found him in the temple;
his Father's house, the house of God, a figure of a Gospel church, where the word and ordinances are duly administered, and where Christ is to be found. What part of the temple Christ was in, is not easy to say; it was not in the holy of holies, for none but the high priest went into that, and that only on the day of atonement; nor in the court of the priests, for he was not among them, but the doctors; nor in the court of the Israelites, where the common people worshipped: it may be best judged of, by observing where their several consistories, or courts of judicature were F1; the grand sanhedrim sat in the sanctuary, in the room Gazith; the lesser sanhedrim, which consisted of twenty three persons, and the bench of three; the one sat in the gate of the court (of the Israelites); and the other in the gate of the mountain of the house (or court of the Gentiles); it seems most likely, that he was in the room Gazith, where the grand sanhedrim sat; for here was the largest number of doctors; and it was the more amazing to his parents, to find him here; unless it should be rather thought, that he was in the synagogue in the temple, for such an one there


F2 was there; where, after service was over, he might be admitted to a conversation with the learned doctors that belonged to it: it follows,

sitting in the midst of the doctors:
the principal doctors in being at this time, were Hillell and Shammai, the one the president, and the other vice president of the council; and Rabban Simeon, the son of Hillell, who succeeded him in his office; and R. Judah, and R. Joshua, the sons of Bethira; Jonathan ben Uzziel, the author of the Chaldee paraphrase; and R. Jochanan ben Zaccai. The sanhedrim sat in a semicircular form, like the half of a round corn floor; so that they could see one another, and the prince, and the father of the court, could see them all; and before them sat three rows of the disciples of the wise men, or scholars; and in each row there were three and twenty men: the first row was next to the sanhedrim, and the second row below that, and the third row below that; and in every row they sat according to their superiority in wisdom F3: on a seat, in one of these rows, I think, Christ sat among the scholars; and this may be called sitting among the doctors, because these seats were just before them, and were in a semicircular form; at least he might be here at first; when upon the questions he put, and the answers he made, he was taken particular notice of by the doctors, who might call him up, and place him between them; for this, in some cases, was done to scholars. Thus, it is said {d},

``if one of the disciples, or scholars, say, I have something to say in favour of him, (one that is on his trial,) they bring him up, and "cause him to sit in the midst of them"; and he does not go down from thence all the whole day.''

Both hearing them:
their debates and decisions about points in the law of Moses:

and asking them questions;
upon those points. Had this been a "Midrash", or school, there would be no difficulty of producing instances of putting questions to the doctors there; but there was no such place in the temple, or synagogue, where teachers were interrogated by their hearers; for which reason I think the passages, produced by Dr. Lightfoot, are not so pertinent, since they refer to such a place: it is very likely, since there were such a number of scholars admitted to sit before the sanhedrim to hear their controversies, and determinations, and were allowed, in some cases, to speak; so they might be suffered to put questions, in order to gain knowledge.

F1 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 10. sect. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 3.
F2 Jarchi in Misn. Yoma, c. 7. sect. 1.
F3 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 4. sect. 3, 4. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 7.
F4 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 5. sect. 4.

Luke 2:46 In-Context

44 because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.
45 When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there.
46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions.
47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”