“Out Of Egypt I Called My Son”: Intertextuality And Metalepsis In Matthew 2:15 -- By: Charles L. Quarles

Journal: Southeastern Theological Review
Volume: STR 08:1 (Spring 2017)
Article: “Out Of Egypt I Called My Son”: Intertextuality And Metalepsis In Matthew 2:15
Author: Charles L. Quarles


“Out Of Egypt I Called My Son”:
Intertextuality And Metalepsis In Matthew 2:15

Charles L. Quarles

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Matthew rightly interpreted Hos 11:1 as a reference to the historic exodus that anticipated an eschatological exodus led by the Messiah. Matthew was attentive to the fact that Hosea repeatedly used the image of the Egyptian bondage to portray Israel’s Assyrian exile and thus utilized the image of the exodus to portray Israel’s restoration (Hos 2:14-15; 8:13; 9:6; 11:5). Like his Jewish contemporaries, Matthew recognized that the Messiah would fulfill the prophecy regarding the coming of a prophet like Moses (Deut 18:15-19) and thus would lead God’s people on the promised new exodus from this continuing exile. Matthew quoted Hos 11:1 because he saw Jesus’ return from Egypt as signaling the beginning of this new exodus.

Key Words: Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:15; new Exodus; new Moses; NT use of the OT

Martin Pickup referred to Matt 2:15 as the passage “that many Bible believers regard as the most troubling case” of the NT use of the OT.1 The text is such an important test case for hermeneutical theories that one recent book on hermeneutics required each contributor to offer an interpretation of Matt 2:7-15 and explain this specific verse.2

Four major views of Matthew’s use of Hosea exist. Each of these has multiple variations and scholars often combine multiple approaches. The atomistic interpretation view claims that Matthew was attracted to the text simply because it mentioned the departure of a divine son from Egypt. Matthew either misunderstood or was completely disinterested in the original sense of the text. Although some scholars see Matthew’s atomistic interpretation as faulty, others argue that Matthew’s approach was legitimate for the period since it was consistent with midrashic interpretation.3

The recapitulation of Israel view sees Matthew’s use of Hos 11:1 as prompted by the notion of the Messiah’s corporate identification with Israel that results in him reliving major events in Israel’s history.4 Thus Matthew applied Hos 11:1 to the Messiah on the basis of an “Israel typology.”5

The Messianic prophecy view (championed by Barnabas Lindars) suggests that Matthew identified the Messiah as the “son” of Hos 11:1 under the influence of ...

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