Wealth And Wisdom In Matthew 6:19-34 -- By: Batara Sihombing

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 57:1 (NA 2006)
Article: Wealth And Wisdom In Matthew 6:19-34
Author: Batara Sihombing


Wealth And Wisdom In Matthew 6:19-341

Batara Sihombing

This dissertation has three objectives. First, it demonstrates that the background to Matthew 6:19-34 can be found in the Jewish wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and Dead Sea Scrolls. Parallel ideas about money include that those who love money will never find satisfaction (Prov. 8:17-21; Eccl. 5:9-11); they will be taken captive by it (Sir. 31:5; 4QInstructionb, II, 17-18); the love of money will lead to idolatry (T. Jud. 19:1; 17:1; 18:2); and the love of money is the mother of all evil (Ps.-Phoc. 42-47). Other parallels include Wisdom literature's encouragement to pursue wisdom because it is greater than any earthly value (Wis. 7:7-14; cf. Matt. 6:33); to share possessions with others in need, according to the principles of willingness and proportion (Tob. 4:6-7; cf. Matt. 6:22-23).

Second, the dissertation shows that the subject of wealth is central to Matthew 6:19-34. The first part (vv. 19-24) contains a triad on the nature of true treasure (Matt. 6:19-24) and the second part (vv. 25-34) encourages people to overcome anxiety. From a form-critical point of view the themes of Matthew 6:19-34 echo Jewish wisdom tradition and a redaction-critical point of view demonstrates that the arrangement of Matthew 6:19-34 relates to the question of wealth. It encourages people to know the true treasure (Matt. 6:19-24) and to live as God’s children by ignoring anxiety (Matt. 6:24-34), serving God (Matt. 6:24) and seeking his kingdom first (Matt. 6:33). Jesus’ wisdom teaching is much closer to the Jewish wisdom tradition than to that of Greek Cynics. The principle of two ways (Prov. 4:10-14) can be found in treasures in heaven or on earth (Matt. 6:19-21), the sound or unsound eye (Matt. 6:22-23), God or mammon (Matt. 6:24), and being God’s children or like the Gentiles (Matt. 6:3...

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