Dr. Biesenthal On Matthew 2:23 -- By: Caspar Rene Gregory

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 032:125 (Jan 1875)
Article: Dr. Biesenthal On Matthew 2:23
Author: Caspar Rene Gregory

Dr. Biesenthal On Matthew 2:231

Caspar Rene Gregory

“And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene (Ναζωραῖος κληθήσεται).”

“Though the synagogue has fallen, fallen deep, yet she was once in the possession of great knowledge. In her were many who waited for the consolation in Israel. And the understanding of her past, of her long vanished greatness, may afford the best means of reaching an understanding of the New Testament. The keys of the New Testament are in the synagogue, not in the profane writings of the Gentiles. Who would expect to gather grapes from thorns?”2

There are few theologians, or Bible readers in general, who might not be greatly embarrassed at one of the very first citations in the New Testament from the Old Testament; and that, too, a citation that should be found in several of the prophets (διὰ τῶν προφητῶν), for no trace of the passage occurs in the prophets. If this be the case with the learned or practical theologian, the embarrassment referred to increases for a missionary who wishes to preach the gospel to the Jews, and the more, because the latter are not accustomed to be easily satisfied with a half explanation, and always strike again at the plural form προφητῶν. Under such circumstances the writer may readily be excused for making a new attempt, not only, in fact, to authenticate in several ways in the “prophets” of the Old Testament these passages cited by the Evangelist, but also to dispose of still farther, and as yet less censured, linguistical difficulties, and thus, perhaps, to advance somewhat the solution of this question.

Meanwhile, before we take up the explanation of the passage,

we shall attempt to present, with all brevity, the manifold efforts of those who have preceded us.

From Jerome and Chrysostom (Origen’s Commentary begins only at xiii. 36) to the latest times, many attempts were made to give these words some possibly endurable meaning or suitable sense. Scarce one of the interpreters was entirely satisfied with the explanation offered by those before him; and no more with the explanation he himself gave. They conjectured that the book of the prophet in which Matthew’s citation should be found was lost, and hence, that it is impossible to find it in the Old Testament canon. Farther, they suggested that the citation slipped into the Gospel ...

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