Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!
Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, when he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was approaching cried out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” This cry was repeated. Mark has expanded the account found in Luke while Matthew changed it to have two unnamed blind beggars. This Lucan pericope contains the only instance where Luke has employed the phrase, “Son of David.”
The real clue to understanding the phrase, “Son of David,” is provided by Matthew who has used this phrase in seven passages in his Gospel and six of these are healing stories.
Did Bartimaeus consider Jesus to be someone like King Solomon, son David, who possessed miraculous powers of healing? Was the phrase, “Son of David,” a messianic title used by Bartimaeus?
And the people were amazed and said, “Is not this the son of David?”
Since I am only blogging, these findings, although interesting, are only preliminary. I have been meaning to check, Jesus the Healer: Possession, Trance, and the Origins of Christianity by Stevan Davies, Continuum Press, New York, (1995) to ascertain whether or not Davies identified King Solomon as the “Son of David.” I do plan to review all healings in Luke-Acts for further clues and to investigate the origin of the legends and traditions of Solomon as a healer. I am also interested in researching the phrase, “I am the Lord, your healer.”
The tradition concerning the healing powers of Solomon may be based upon Chapter 7 of the Wisdom of Solomon which recounts Solomon's request to God for wisdom (cf. 1 Kings 3) and God's response. Solomon says:
For it was he who gave me unerring knowledge of existent being,
to know the structure of the universe and the operation of the elements;
the beginning, and end, and middle of times,
the changes of the solstices and the vicissitudes of the seasons;
the cycles of years and the positions of the stars;
the natures of living creatures and the tempers of beasts;
the violent force of spirits and the reasonings of men;
the species of plants, and the virtues of roots. (7:17-20)
There is also some evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls that Solomon's name is linked with control of demons within the Qumran community. (11QPsAp)