Sunday, July 08, 2018

Quotations of Jewish Scripture - The Gospel of Matthew

This continues a survey of quotations of Jewish Scripture in different gospels. There are some notes in the previous post on the general approach in deciding whether to count something as a quotation (as opposed to an allusion or other type of reference), for anyone interested in the technical end of things.

Because I expect readers who have any interest in this topic are generally familiar with the quotations -- and because Matthew's gospel has so many of them -- I'll place those below the analysis for the reader's convenience. 

The Analysis

The first thing that will help our analysis is some sense of context for the scope of it all. The eight non-Biblical gospels that we've surveyed, together, contain a combined total of 7 passages with quotations of Jewish Scripture. The Gospel of Mark contains 14, which is more than the eight non-Biblical gospels combined. The Gospel of Matthew by itself contains 39 such passages, more than double the count from the Gospel of Mark.

In Matthew, we have a number of quotes that are attributed to specific authors: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and David. (In-line footnote: Further citations are made of other authors such as Moses, but these are more along the lines of references or allusions than quotes.) As with previous citations we've seen, some of the citations are not as exact as we'd like -- for instance, the one about the 30 pieces of silver stands out as something where the citation raises questions. Existing scholarship of these gospels has noticed that Matthew probably quotes a Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures, with evidence such as the prophecy of the virgin birth.

There is more usage of Scripture all around, compared to previous documents. From the author's point of view, the Gospel of Matthew shows much independent application of Jewish Scripture by the author. The people inside the narrative also have their own interest. People in the crowd quote Scripture; people who want to ask questions ask about Scripture; in answer Jesus quotes Scripture. Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount is seen as having portions organized around key passages of Law of Moses. All around, the Gospel of Matthew is a narrative which is saturated with Jewish Scripture, where the action occurs in a culture that honors and respects those Scriptures, and where the author shares that perspective.

The Quotations

The numbers count how many passages contain quotes of Scripture. A passage may contain more than one quote.
1.    All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
2.    “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
3.    And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
4.    Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
    weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”
5.    This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”
6.    Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
7.     “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
8.    Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
9.    “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
10.    to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
    the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
    Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.”
11.    “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,’ and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.
12.    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 
13.     “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
14.    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 
15.    This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“He took up our infirmities
    and bore our diseases.”
16.    But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’
17.    For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
    a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
18.    This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’
19.    If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
20.    This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
    the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out;
    no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
    In his name the nations will put their hope.”

21.    This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
22.    In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
23.    So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
“I will open my mouth in parables,
    I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”
24.    For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.
25.    Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’”
26.    Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
27.    This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
28.     “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
29.     “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
30.     “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
    you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
31.    Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
32.    But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you,  ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
33.    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
34.    He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’
35.    “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”
36.    “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
37.    Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
38.    Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”
39.    About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).


Martin LaBar said...

Good analysis. Thanks!

Weekend Fisher said...

Thanks for the encouragement.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF