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The Mission of the Seventy-Two

10 After this[a] the Lord appointed seventy-two[b] others and sent them on ahead of him two by two into every town[c] and place where he himself was about to go.

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  1. Luke 10:1 tn Grk “And after these things.” Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  2. Luke 10:1 tc There is a difficult textual problem here and in v. 17, where the number is either “seventy” (א A C L W Θ Ξ Ψ ƒ1,13 M and several church fathers and early versions) or “seventy-two” (P75 B D 0181 lat as well as other versions and fathers). The more difficult reading is “seventy-two,” since scribes would be prone to assimilate this passage to several OT passages that refer to groups of seventy people (Num 11:13-17; Deut 10:22; Judg 8:30; 2 Kgs 10:1 et al.); this reading also has slightly better ms support. “Seventy” could be the preferred reading if scribes drew from the tradition of the number of translators of the LXX, which the Letter of Aristeas puts at seventy-two (TCGNT 127), although this is far less likely. All things considered, “seventy-two” is a much more difficult reading and accounts for the rise of the other. Only Luke notes a second larger mission like the one in 9:1-6.
  3. Luke 10:1 tn Or “city.”