Outreach to Judaism OUTREACH to JUDAISM


Introduction

Would God
Become a Man?

Is God One, or
Three-in-One?

Was Messiah
Supposed
to Be God?

Why Didn’t Jesus
Bring in the
Messianic Age?

If God Walked
on Earth,
What Would
He Be Like?

The Two
Servants
of Isaiah

Who is the
Servant of
Isaiah 53?

Is Lamo the
Smoking Gun
of Isaiah 53?

Who
Crucified
Jesus?

The Leader
of Isaiah’s
New Exodus

Tragedy
in Stone:
The Second
Temple

The
Champion
of Israel

Did Matthew
Murder the
Jewish
Scriptures?

Did Jesus
Fulfill the
Messianic
Prophecies?

The Mystic
Meaning
of Jacob’s
Ladder




E-MAIL


DID MATTHEW MURDER
THE JEWISH SCRIPTURES?


Rabbi Singer expresses dismay at the liberties New Testament writers take with the Jewish Scriptures. The book of Matthew especially causes him to “make skid marks”! Singer is not alone in his criticisms. Many Christian biblical scholars are also embarrassed. Ordinarily one should understand a text according to the obvious meaning the writer intended in the circumstances he faced. But Matthew appears to take quotations out of their setting and apply them in ways not intended by the original author.

Some Christian defenders of the faith argue that the New Testament writers had the liberty to use the biblical text in ways ordinary people could not, since they were inspired by God. Others argue that the rabbis also applied texts in novel ways and that Matthew was just using “rabbinic exegesis.”[1] But most ordinary readers would feel that these are not legitimate excuses.

Matthew comes in for other criticisms. Some of his quotations are free. Once he gave the wrong citation for a text.[2] Such errors are understandable when we recall that the New Testament writers did not have the Bible in book (codex) form. They could not flip back and forth between sections of the Bible to find texts. They had no concordances or computerized search programs. What they had was a bundle of parchment scrolls without chapter and verse numbers. Undoubtedly they had to rely heavily on their memories. So we should not expect total accuracy in the references to the Hebrew Scriptures.

In this article I will demonstrate that Matthew made heavy use of typology in interpreting the ancient texts, and that this method was already commonly employed by the writers of the Hebrew Scriptures. With this in view, we will see that Matthew successfully demonstrated Jesus’ fulfillment of the messianic prophecies.

Typology

Typology simply means that a person or an event can become a type or symbol of a later person or event. Bible authors loved to describe new events in terms of older ones, making the old a type of the new. Notice how the creation account is used to describe Noah’s flood.

 
Creation
 

 
The Flood
 

Waters cover the earth (Genesis 1:2).

Waters cover the earth (Genesis 7:19).

The wind moves over the face of the earth (1:2).

The wind moves over the face of the earth (8:1).

Dry land appears (1:9).

Dry land appears (8:13).

On the seventh day, a Sabbath (2:2).

After seven days, good news! (8:12-13).

To Adam and living creatures: “Be fruitful and multiply” (1:28).

To Noah and living creatures: “Be fruitful and multiply” (8:17).

Adam sins with the fruit of a tree and becomes naked (3:6-7).

Noah sins with the fruit of the vine and becomes naked (9:20-21).

Sin brings a curse (3:17-19).

Sin brings a curse (9:25).

Adam’s shame is covered (3:21).

Noah’s shame is covered (9:23).

Here we see that creation is a type of the flood, only in reverse. In creation the earth starts with chaos and becomes an ordered cosmos. In the flood the earth is returned to chaos and then restored to cosmos. Sin enters Adam’s new world and Noah’s new world producing a curse.

Another example of typology in the Bible is Isaiah’s use of exodus-from-Egypt language to describe the release from Babylonian exile. After prophesying that Judah would be taken captive to Babylon (Isa. 39:5-7), Isaiah comforted his people by depicting their glorious return from exile to their native land. In doing so he used the language of the exodus from Egypt to describe the exodus from Babylon.

 
Exodus from Egypt
 

 
Exodus from Babylon
 

God pities Israel’s sufferings in Egypt (Exodus 3:7).

God pities Zion’s sufferings in Babylon (Isa. 40:2).

Israel goes out of Egypt (Ex. 12:41).

God calls Israel to go out of Babylon (Isa. 48:20; 52:11).

A lamb is slain to protect them from the destroying angel (Ex. 12:3-6).

A lamb is slaughtered to atone for their sins (Isa. 53:7).

God went before and after Israel in the pillar of cloud and fire (Ex. 13:21; 14:19-20).

God goes before them and after them as their leader and rear guard (Isa. 48:20; 52:12).

God opens up the Red Sea for Israel to cross over (Ex. 14:21-22).

God promises to open up the waters for them (Isa. 43:2, 16, 19; 51:10-11).

God provides water in the desert (Ex. 17:6).

God promises water in the desert (Isa. 35:6; 41:18; 43:20-21; 49:9-10).

God carried Israel “on eagles’ wings” (Ex. 19:4).

God promises to carry His people (Isa. 46:3-4).

Moses, “the servant of the Lord” (Deut. 34:5), was commissioned to restore to the tribes of Israel their inheritance (Ex. 3:8,10).

God commissions a new “servant of the Lord” to gather Israel and “apportion the desolate heritages” (Isa. 49:5, 8).

Notice that the God who had made a way through the sea would make a way through the desert, providing streams of water. Not only does the exodus from Egypt become a type of the exodus from Babylon, but the return to Zion becomes a type of the coming Messianic Age of peace (Isa. 35; 65:17-25).

In the Tanakh the “day of the Lord” prophecies use a local calamity to become a type of the end-time Day of Judgment. The prophet Joel sees the calamity of an invasion of locusts (Joel 1:4ff) as a type of final judgment (3:9-16). The coming destruction of the nations of the Near East (Isaiah 13 to 23) merges into a description of the final destruction of the whole world (chapter 24).

An individual can also become a type of a later personage. King David becomes a type of a future Messiah.

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in his land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely (Jer. 23:5-6; see also 30:9).

I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed [my flock] and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken (Ezekiel 34:23-24).

The prophet Elijah also becomes a type of an eschatological figure.

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse (Malachi 4:5-6).

Isaiah’s description of the fall of the king of Babylon (Isa. 14:3-13) merges into a mysterious figure called Lucifer who fell from heaven (vv. 12-15). Similarly Ezekiel saw beyond the local prince of Tyre (Eze. 28:1-10) to a cosmic king of Tyre who was once in Eden, on the holy mount of God, but was cast out for his iniquities (vv. 11-19). The earthly ruler becomes a type of Lucifer or Satan.

Typology takes events or people that are far separated in time and space and relates them by common themes. Often the earlier one becomes a symbol of a later one. But the latter may take on a transformed meaning, as illustrated by Isaiah’s use of the exodus theme. When Israel left Babylon God did not go before them in a pillar of cloud, opening up the sea before them and giving them water out of the rock. What was literal in the past takes on a spiritual meaning in the future. The pillar of cloud signifies guidance; crossing the sea means surmounting difficulties; drinking water from the rock means finding spiritual strength from God (Isa. 43:2; 55:1).

We can understand Matthew’s use of the Scriptures if we recognize that he was presenting Jesus as the fulfillment of biblical types and prophecies. Matthew’s burden was to convince his people, the Jews, that Jesus was not only the predicted Messiah, but the Savior of the world. Here are some of his arguments:

The genealogy

Matthew seeks to legitimize Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah by showing his descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob down to David and then through the royal line of kings (Matt. 1:1-17). He divides his genealogy into three sections of 14 names in each section (v. 17). Fourteen was a significant number -- the numerical value of David’s name: D (4), V (6), D (4). Here we see that Matthew is schematizing the genealogy, making it easy to memorize. It is not rigidly historical -- there are omissions in it. Three generations between Uzziah and and Jotham are omitted, perhaps because they are related to Athaliah, a heathen queen. The three sections represent three stages in life: 1. Abraham to David -- the call to greatness; 2. Solomon to the Babylonian captivity -- the fall from greatness; 3. Return from exile to Jesus -- the coming of the Deliverer. Matthew’s 42 names in his genealogy correspond to the 42 stations from Egypt to Canaan. Perhaps he is implying that Jesus is leading His people out of captivity to freedom as Moses did.

Jesus, the new Moses

Matthew’s account implies many similarities between Jesus and Moses. He divides his book into five blocks of Jesus’ actions and teachings, perhaps to correspond to the five books of the Torah.[3] The baby Moses was sentenced to death by Pharaoh (Exodus 1:22); the infant Jesus by Herod (Matt. 2:16). As Moses ascended the mountain to receive God’s law (Ex. 19), so Jesus ascended a mountain to proclaim his new law (Matt. 5-7). Moses and Jesus fasted 40 days and nights (Deuteronomy 9:9; Matt. 4:1-2). Moses led the twelve tribes of Israel; Jesus called twelve disciples (Matt. 10:1-4) to form the nucleus of his new Israel. Moses recounted the covenant blessings and curses (Deut. 28); Jesus proclaimed the covenant blessings (Matt. 5:1-11) and woes (23:13-36). After being on the mountain with God, Moses’ face shone (Ex. 34:29); when Jesus was on the mountain, his face shone like the sun (Matt. 17:2). Moses was the meekest man on earth (Num. 12:3); Jesus said, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29). Moses climbed Mt. Nebo alone and died there (Deut. 34:1ff); Jesus climbed Golgotha feeling forsaken and died there (Matt. 27:33, 46, 50).

Before Moses died, he promised the people, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren -- him you shall heed” (Deut. 18:15). In Judaism, especially in the Qumran sect, this passage was applied to a future Messiah. It was common in rabbinic and Qumran literature to relate Moses to the messianic age: “As the first redeemer [Moses], so the last redeemer [the Messiah].”[4] It is clear that Matthew was trying to establish that Jesus was the new Moses, coming to deliver his people from the bondage of sin. Here we see Matthew’s use of typology: Moses leading his people out of the bondage of Egypt was a type of Jesus leading his people out of the bondage of sin.

With this background we are prepared to examine Matthew’s use of Scripture.

The virgin birth

According to Matthew, Jesus was born of a virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit. He cites Isaiah’s words as confirmation:

Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son
and his name shall be called Emmanuel (Matt. 1:23 from Isa. 7:14).

Just one problem: the quotation in Isaiah comes from a different time and situation. Young King Ahaz of Judah fears Israel and Syria, who have inflicted stunning defeats on Judah (2 Chronicles 28:1-8). His solution is to bribe Assyria to come to his aid against them. Isaiah comes to tell him not to be afraid of Israel and Syria -- the real foe is Assyria (Isa. 7: 17, 20; 8:5-8). To establish his throne he must trust in God to deliver him (7:9). As a sign of God’s deliverance Isaiah states that a young woman will conceive and bear a son and call his name Immanuel (God with us), because before the child is old enough to know right from wrong the kings of Syria and Israel would both be defeated (vv. 14-16).

Singer logically asks, “How could the birth of Jesus 700 years later be a sign to King Ahaz that God was going to deliver him from his enemies?” Obviously it wasn’t. Singer also objects that the word translated “virgin” in the King James Bible (almah) actually means young woman, and is not the standard word for virgin, which is bethulah. What are we to make of these problems?

It looks as if Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled in the subsequent birth of one of his own children. The young woman who conceived was his own wife (Isa. 8:2-3). But Isaiah goes on to say that he and his children were for signs in Israel (v. 18). Their names all had meaning. The name Isaiah means YHWH will save -- the theme of his book. The name of his first son, Shear-jashub, means “a remnant shall return” -- God would save a remnant from impending destruction. The name of his second son, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, means “speed the spoil, hasten the prey” -- a reminder that Syria and Israel would soon be carried captive by Assyria (Isa. 7:3-8; compare 10:5-6) and even Judah would be overwhelmed by the formidable foe (8:7-8). This same son also appears to be called Immanuel (compare 7:14-16 with 8:3-4), a sign that God would be with His people and deliver them. Thus Isaiah and his sons were signs both of judgment and deliverance.

After describing the gloom descending on the northern kingdom of Israel in this “the former time,” Isaiah goes on in chapter 9 to say that in the latter time God would shine great light on the northern kingdom, “Galilee of the nations” (verse 1). How? Isaiah continues:

For unto us a child is born,
          to us a son is given;
and the government will be upon his shoulder,
          and his name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
          Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
          there will be no end,
upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom,
          to establish it, and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
          from this time forth and for evermore (vv. 6-7).

Here is the clue to Matthew’s use of Immanuel, the child who was a sign of things to come. Isaiah’s child Immanuel, portent of disaster and deliverance, was a sign of another Child who would bring in the everlasting reign of justice, righteousness, and peace. Notice that it is Isaiah, not Matthew, who first uses Immanuel to point forward to this greater Child who is “mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah himself tells us that his child is a sign (8:18) before he describes a greater Child to come (9:6). Since the greater Child is “mighty God” and is given “to us,” he is literally “God with us.”

But why does Matthew translate almah (young woman) as parthenos (virgin)? The Greek translation of the Bible, called the Septuagint, had already translated it that way a century or more before Christ. Matthew may have been quoting the Septuagint. Obviously Isaiah’s child was not born of a virgin (8:3); Jesus’ birth to a virgin was unique in history. But Jesus had to be born of a virgin to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 9 that the mighty God would become a child, born “to us” as one of humanity (v. 6). How could a Child be divine and human? Matthew explains how the Holy Spirit came upon the virgin Mary, causing her to conceive before she and Joseph had come together (Matt. 1:18). Thus her Child was both divine (conceived of the Holy Spirit) and human, (conceived in a woman). If Jesus had had a human father, he would have been only human.

Rabbi Singer notes that it is not possible to demonstrate Mary’s virginity; therefore the miracle lacks credibility. The best we can say is that it was well known during Jesus’ lifetime that Joseph was not his father. Joseph himself was scandalized by Mary’s pregnancy (Matt. 1:18-19) and Jesus was accused of being illegitimate (John 8:41). Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth explains how a human child of the line of David could also be “mighty God.”

Jesus’ birthplace: Bethlehem

When Herod asked the priests where their King was to be born, they answered, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet:

And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will govern my people Israel” (Matt. 2:6, from Micah 5:2).

There is no problem with Matthew’s use of this prophecy. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The prophecy goes on to say that this “ruler” had been going forth from ancient days. He existed before his birth in Bethlehem -- a remarkable prophecy of someone who was divine.

The flight to Egypt

When Herod tried to kill the Child, Joseph took Mary and the baby and fled to Egypt until Herod died, after which they returned to Judea. Matthew says, “This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt have I called my son (Matt. 2:15).’” Here there is a real problem. The text actually says:

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
          and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
          the more they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
          and burning incense to idols (Hosea 11:1-2).

Here the reference is obviously to the nation of Israel. Matthew is clearly taking a text out of context. Or is he?

There is an important principle going on here called “corporate solidarity” -- that the many are incorporated into the one. An illustration of this principle is found in the story of Achan, where one man’s sin brought calamity on the nation (Joshua 7:1, 10-12). And by Israel’s solidarity with David, his victory over Goliath brought victory to the entire nation (1 Samuel 17:50-53). One of Matthew’s overall schemes is to show Jesus repeating Israel’s experiences and succeeding where Israel failed so that Israel could be accounted righteous. As Israel came out of Egypt, so did Jesus. As Israel went through the Red Sea at the beginning of her pilgrimage, Jesus went into the waters of baptism. As Israel was in the wilderness 40 years, Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days. Whereas Israel was tempted ten times and failed each time, Jesus was tempted three times and triumphed each time. Matthew wants to show that Jesus is Israel personified, the true Israel. By identifying with Jesus, believers can be incorporated into His victory and His salvation.

Israel was called God’s son, God’s firstborn, His special treasure among all the nations of the earth. But Israel often failed to bring glory to God. So God sent His Son to come down as Israel, to relive Israel’s experiences and succeed where Israel failed.

In the Torah the Balaam oracles describe both Israel and her future great king (Messiah?) as coming out of Egypt. Israel’s exodus from Egypt is described as follows:

[God] has not beheld misfortune in Jacob
          nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
          and the shout of a king is among them.
God brings them out of Egypt;
          they have as it were the horns of the wild ox (Numbers 23:21-22).

Then Balaam makes a similar declaration about Israel’s future messianic King:

[Israel’s] king shall be higher than Agag,
          and his kingdom shall be exalted.
God brings him out of Egypt;
          he has as it were the horns of the wild ox (Num. 24:7-8).

Balaam makes clear in his next oracle that he has Messiah in mind.

I see him, but not now;
          I behold him, but not nigh:
a star shall come forth out of Jacob,
          and a scepter shall rise out of Israel (Num. 24:17).

This last text is a familiar prophecy of the Messiah. The famous Bar Cocheba who led the final Jewish rebellion against Rome in 132 C.E. applied this text to the Messiah -- himself! He gave himself the name Bar Cocheba, son of a star, to fulfill this text.

So in the Torah itself both Israel and Israel’s future great King were described as coming out of Egypt. Jesus fulfilled the prophecy by his childhood sojourn in Egypt and his exodus to the land of Israel.

Jesus the Nazarene

As Matthew tells the story, upon their return from Egypt, Jesus’ parents settled in Nazareth in Galilee so that “what was spoken by the prophet might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene’” (Matt. 2:23). Here is a slight problem. There is no such text in the Bible! Judges 13:5 says that Samson would be a Nazirite to God from birth, but Jesus was not a Nazirite -- he drank the fruit of the vine. Also the name Nazareth does not come from the Hebrew word nazir, but from the word netser meaning branch.

But here is the clue. Messiah is often called the Branch.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse
          and a branch shall grow out of his roots (Isa. 11:1).

The line of Jesse (David’s father) was cut off at the time of the Babylonian exile when the last king of Judah was taken captive. The tree of David was cut off. But, as often happens when trees are cut down, shoots appear that grow into new branches. Messiah was to be a shoot growing out of the stump of David’s dynasty. Jeremiah repeats the thought:

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land (Jer. 33:15; see also Zech. 6:12).

Matthew is simply pointing out that Jesus, the Branch (netser) from David’s line, went to live in Branch-town (netsereth, Nazareth) -- a remarkable coincidence! So he is called a Branchite (Nazarene)! Matthew saw this as a fulfillment of the prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah) that Jesus was the Branch.

Quotations from Isaiah and Zechariah

Matthew’s further uses of Isaiah to show Jesus’ fulfillment of the prophecies are unassailable. As he describes Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, he quotes Isaiah 9:1-2:

The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
toward the sea, across the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles-
the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
light has dawned (Matt. 4:15-16).

Jesus’ ministry in Galilee was marked by great miracles of healing and great preaching that brought light to great multitudes of people. Matthew describes Jesus’ healings as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases” (Matt. 8:17 from Isa. 53:4). He uses the servant passage of Isaiah to describe Jesus’ compassion:

Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
          my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
          and he shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not wrangle or cry aloud,
          nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
he will not break a bruised reed
          or quench a smoldering wick,
till he brings justice to victory;
          and in his name will the Gentiles hope (Matt. 12:15-21 from Isa. 42:1-4).

Isaiah’s description of the Servant fits Jesus perfectly.

Matthew’s description of Jesus’ “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem on the Sunday before his crucifixion fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah exactly:

Tell the daughter of Zion,
Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on an ass,
even on a colt, the foal of an ass (Matt. 21:4-5 from Zech 9:9).

Quotations from the Psalms

In describing Jesus’ sufferings and crucifixion, the gospel writers draw heavily from Psalm 22, a psalm of dereliction. This is not unusual, because David is a type of Jesus (see above).[5] On the cross Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt.27:46 from Ps. 22:1). Other parts of the psalm met striking fulfillment in the experience of Jesus.

All who see me mock at me,
          they make mouths at me, they wag their heads;
“He committed his cause to the Lord; let him deliver him,
          let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” (vv. 7-8).

Many bulls encompass me,
          strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
they open wide their mouths at me,
          like a ravening and roaring lion.

I am poured out like water,
          and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax,
          it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
          and my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
          thou dost lay me in the dust of death.

Yea, dogs are round about me;
          a company of evildoers encircle me;
          they have pierced my hands and feet-
I can count all my bones-
          they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
          and for my raiment they cast lots (vv. 16-18).

There is no biblical parallel in David’s life to the details of this psalm, but it accurately describes the experience of Jesus. Here is someone surrounded by enemies -- compared to ferocious bulls, lions, and dogs -- who challenge him to save himself: “The rulers scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!’” (Luke 23:35). His bones are out of joint (from hanging on the cross); his tongue sticks to his mouth from extreme thirst -- “I thirst” (John 19:28). His enemies divide his garments by casting lots -- “And they cast lots to divide his garments” (Luke 23:34). He appears to be stripped naked, his bones sticking out, while the crowds gawk at his shame.

The sentence, “They have pierced my hands and feet” fits the process of crucifixion exactly, but the translation is problematical. Here Singer argues for an alternate translation, “like a lion [they are at] my hands and my feet,” connecting it with v. 13, “they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.” The Hebrew words for “they have pierced” are almost identical with “like a lion” but the verb in the Hebrew is obscure. The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Tanakh written a century or two B.C.E., uses the word orusso which means dig or bore, hence pierce. Many English Bibles have “they have pierced,” but include “like a lion” in the margin.

The argument is a moot one, however, since the New Testament does not quote this verse as a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion. It uses instead Zechariah 12:10: “They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (John 19:37; see also Revelation 1:7).

So Matthew appears not to be as irresponsible as a superficial reading might indicate. He has a larger picture in mind than a one-on-one correspondence. He sees Jesus as the fulfillment of the types of the Tanakh: Jesus is the new Moses, the new Israel, the new David. Matthew demonstrates that Jesus really does fulfill the prophecies of the Jewish Scriptures.





1 “The Talmud . . . is just as radical in its reinterpretation of Scripture as is the New Testament,” David Novak, a Jewish editor of First Things, published by Religion and Public Life, in a letter of the May, 2003 issue, p. 2.

2 Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 27:9-10 from Zech. 11:12-13).

3 The Gospel of Matthew is divided into five sections, each one consisting of Jesus’ deeds followed by His teachings. Each new unit is introduced by words like: “When Jesus had finished these sayings.” The blocks of teachings in the five sections consist of the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7), instructions to the twelve (chapter 10), the parables of the kingdom (chapter 13), principles of the kingdom (chapter 18), and final warnings (chapters 19-25). There is also an introduction (birth narrative, etc.) and a conclusion (death, resurrection, and ascension).

4 The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, s.v. “Moses,” p. 449.

5 Notice that Jesus was born in David’s city, Bethlehem of Judea -- a feat that took a decree of Caesar Augustus to accomplish, since his parents were from Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:1-7). As David defeated the giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17) so Christ defeated the devil (Matt. 4:1-11). As David was a shepherd, Messiah was to be a shepherd (Isa. 40:11; John 10:11). David as king, ruling in justice and righteousness, was a type of Messiah to come who would sit on David’s throne and rule with righteous judgment (Isa. 9:7; Revelation 11:15).

Copyright © 2003-2013 Beatrice S. Neall, Ph.D.

This website is not affiliated with Rabbi Tovia Singer or Outreach Judaism.