Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Tuesday 25 January, 02005

Gospel of Matthew (1)

by Matthew Bartlett @ 1:07 am

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:

  1. “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)
  2. “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)
  3. “Out of Egypt have I called my son” — Jesus is equated with Israel (Hosea 11)
  4. “Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted …” — who knows? (Jeremiah 31)
  5. “He shall be called a Nazarene” — who knows? I can’t even find the reference.
  6. “The voice of one crying in the wilderness …” — peace & pardon are coming, God the shepherd & creator, is returning. (Isaiah 40)
  7. “Man shall not live by bread alone …” — Jesus is being Israel in the wilderness. (Deuteronomy 8)
  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)
  9. “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)
  10. “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.

3 responses to “Gospel of Matthew (1)”

  1. Deborah says:

    Neat approach. Will think about this more.

  2. Hans says:

    Some words of wisdom on Matt 2:23 from “word pictures”

    {Should be called a Nazarene} (Nazôraios êthêsetai).
    Matthew says “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets” (dia tôn prophêtôn). It is the plural and no single prophecy exists which says that the Messiah was to be called a Nazarene. It may be that this term of contempt (#Joh 1:46; 7:52|)
    is what is meant, and that several prophecies are to be combined like #Ps. 22:6,8; 69:11,19; Isa 53:2,3,4|. The name Nazareth means a shoot or branch, but it is by no means certain that Matthew has this in mind. It is best to confess that we do not know. But,
    despised as Nazareth was at that time, Jesus has exalted its fame. The lowly Nazarene he was at first, but it is our glory to be the followers of the Nazarene.

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