Matthew’s Hermeneutic Of Psalm 22:1 And Jer. 31:15 -- By: Keith Campbell

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 24:3 (Summer 2007)
Article: Matthew’s Hermeneutic Of Psalm 22:1 And Jer. 31:15
Author: Keith Campbell


Matthew’s Hermeneutic Of Psalm 22:1 And Jer. 31:15

Keith Campbell

Ph.D. Student in Biblical Studies (New Testament)
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina

Modern scholarship recognizes that the roots of the New Testament run deeply and pervasively into the Old Testament, anchoring the New inextricably with the Old. Myriads of scholarly pursuits have emanated from this recognition, resulting in scores of monographs and articles about the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament. One pervasive Old Testament tradition that surfaces in the New Testament, however, has gone largely unstudied, namely the lament (Matt. 23:37; 27:46; Mark 15:34; Luke 13:34). Some aspects of current research are beginning to recognize its influence on the New Testament. For example, Richard B. Hays has recently recognized a psalmic (mostly from the lament tradition) influence upon the early strata of the New Testament tradition.1 Much research, however, is still needed. This paper seeks to advance this research by examining Israel’s lament in relation to Matthew’s Gospel.

Matthew quotes from at least two established laments (Psalm 22 and Jer. 31:15), and scholars have exegeted them well. However, there seems to be no exploration into the rest of Matthew to entertain the possibility that Israel’s lament pervasively influenced his writing. This research is a step in that direction. In essence, this paper examines Matthew’s use of Psalm 22 (Matt. 27:46) and Jer. 31:15 (Matt. 2:18) and couples this use with supplemental data in Matthew to suggest that Israel’s lament influenced the composition of his Gospel.

An understanding of Matt. 27:46 and Matt. 2:18 first requires an examination of the following information: (1) the significance of the lament in the Old Testament, (2) the content and background of Psalm 22 and Jer. 31:15, (3) Matthew’s intention to contextualize Psalm 22 and Jer. 31:15, (4) Matthew’s use of Psalm 22 (Matt. 27:46) and Jer. 31:15 (Matt. 2:18), and (5) the supplemental data in Matthe...

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