I’m trying to figure out the Gospel of Matthew at the moment. One thing I’m doing is trying to understand how St Matthew uses the quotations from Moses & the prophets. Here is what I have for the ‘as it was written’ quotations in the first four chapters:
- “Behold, a virgin shall be with child …” — the child was a sign that Israel’s enemies were about to be defeated, though no thanks to Israel itself (Isaiah 7)
- “And thou Bethlehem … art not the least … for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel” — enemies surround what’s left of Israel, but this one will come and the scattered of Israel will return. He will bring peace. (Micah 5)
- “Out of Egypt have I called my son” — Jesus is equated with Israel (Hosea 11)
- “Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted …” — who knows? (Jeremiah 31)
- “He shall be called a Nazarene” — who knows? I can’t even find the reference.
- “The voice of one crying in the wilderness …” — peace & pardon are coming, God the shepherd & creator, is returning. (Isaiah 40)
- “Man shall not live by bread alone …” — Jesus is being Israel in the wilderness. (Deuteronomy 8)
- “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” — Israel demanded water at Massah, rather than trusting that God would provide. Jesus passes the test Israel failed. (Deuteronomy 6)
- “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” — when Israel gets rich, it must remember where it came from, and not turn away from God. (Deuteronomy 6)
- “The people which sat in darkness saw great light …” — a child comes to bring peace & justice, break the back of oppression. (Isaiah 9)
I think paying attention to the background texts like this pins down the interpretation of the book, like putting rocks on the corners of a tarpaulin to stop it blowing away.