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Archive for the ‘Gospel of Matthew’ Category

Jesus and Pharisees

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In Matthew 23:13-33 Jesus delivers 7 ‘woes’ to the scribes and Pharisees.  My Bible (NASB) refers to 8 woes in its sub-title, but the woe in v. 14 is absent in the earliest manuscripts.  7 woes makes good sense.  7 is a symbol of fullness, or completeness.  Matthew would like his readers to see these woes as full, complete, and impact-full.  These woes then lead into Matthew 24, where Jesus teaches about the coming destruction of Jerusalem (70 A.D.).

A    The first 2 woes involve other people (people are kept from entering the kingdom of God; a proselyte is turned into a ‘son of hell’), and end with a reference to Gehenna (~hell).

B    The middle 3 woes call the scribes and Pharisees “blind guides” (2 times), “blind men” (2 times), and “blind” (once), and are highly chiastic.

A’   The last 2 woes refer to “tombs”, and end with a reference to Gehenna (~hell).

The third woe (vs 16-22) contains 3 chiasmi.  It’s the only ‘woe’ which begins with “Woe to you, blind guides …” rather than “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites …”.  It’s a nice chiasmus.  Its basic outline is:  temple … altar … altar … temple (A B B’ A’).  It contains 2 ‘smaller’ chiasmi within it – in A and B.  I like the way the end builds from altar (B’) to temple (A’) to heaven (C).  This ‘building’ at the end should be contrasted to the ‘diminishing’ of similar terms in the explanatory passage, Matthew 5:33-37:

33  “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWSBUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’  34  But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,  35  or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING.  36  Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.  37  But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.

Combining 5:33-37 with 23:20-22 you get a list that diminishes and then expands, with ‘heaven’ forming an inclusion (bookends):  (diminishing:) heaven, earth, Jerusalem, ‘your head’ … (expanding:) altar, temple, heaven.  Combined you get a lengthy list of things a person should not swear by.  It is better to simply have your yes mean yes, and your no mean no (5:37).   Jesus’ simplifies the topic.

To understand Jesus’ reference to the scribes and Pharisees as “blind guides”, see Matthew 15:14:  “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”  The references to blindness in the 3rd to 5th woes fittingly follow the first two woes, which refer to potential followers of the scribes and Pharisees.  It’s fitting that the last 2 woes refer to tombs.  Tombs refer to ‘the end’ (at least our end ;-), and in this case, ominously lead into Jesus’ prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.

Here are the 7 woes, with 6 chiasmi:

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13  “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.   

[Verse 14 deleted]

15  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

16  “Woe to you, blind guides, who say,

A

a    ‘Whoever swears by the templethat is nothing;

b    but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ 

c    17  You fools and blind men!  Which is more important?

b’    the gold

a’    or the temple that sanctified the gold? 

B

a    18  And, ‘Whoever swears by the altarthat is nothing,

b    but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’ 

c   19  You blind men!  Which is more important?

b’    The offering,

a’    or the altar that sanctifies the offering? 

—–

B’    20  Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. 

A’   21  And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. 

C    22  And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.

23  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  

A    For you tithe mint and dill and cummin,

B    and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness

B’    but these are the things you should have done

A’    without neglecting the others

24  You blind guides,

A    who strain out

B    a gnat

B’    and a camel

A’    swallow!

25  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

A    For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish,

B    but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 

  26  You blind Pharisee,

B’    first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish,

A’    so that the outside of it may become clean also.

27  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.  28  So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,  30  and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’  31  So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.  32  Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers.  33  You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

34  “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,  35  so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.  36  Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.”

37  “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  38  Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 

39  “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’”

24:1  Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him.  2  And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” …  …  …

 

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StainGlassPeacePrayer

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Mitch Chase has written a post about The Beatitudes, pointing out that they are “carefully organized”:

Are these eight beatitudes randomly arranged? No, they are thoughtfully and carefully organized, and several literary clues will help us admire Matthew’s arrangement of them. Below are six structural observations that some New Testament scholars have made about Matthew 5:3-10.

His sixth point is that The Beatitudes have been chiastically arranged:

…  Sixth, the beatitudes fall into an interesting chiastic pattern according to tense:

  • Verb in present tense (v. 3)
  •           Future divine passive (v. 4)
  •                     Future active with object (v. 5)
  •                               Future divine passive (v. 6)
  •                               Future divine passive (v. 7)
  •                     Future middle with object (v. 8)
  •           Future divine passive (v. 9)
  • Verb in present tense (v. 10)

Nice. 

I would encourage you to go to Mitch’s blog to discover his other five interesting “structural observations”.

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From Perry Hall’s website PerryDox – here

I’ve added a little before and after the text.  I wonder if these should be viewed as part of the chiasmus – making the chiasmus larger?  Note the use of ‘enter‘ and ‘many‘ in both. 

The center could also be changed.  If you focus on the “fruit” rather than the “trees” you could display the center as follows:

C   17  “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit;

D    but the bad tree bears bad fruit.

D’   18  “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit,

C’   nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.

This may be an improvement since you would then have the beginning and end (A/A’) matching the center (D/D’).  Both the beginning/end and the center would be referring to ‘fruit’.  This would then bring the chiasmus in line with a common chiastic principle – matching the center with the end.

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13  “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.  14  “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.  15  “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

A    16  “You will know them by their fruits.

B    Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?

C   17  “Even so, every good tree bears   (a)   good fruit; but the bad tree bears   (b)   bad fruit.

C’   18  “A good tree cannot produce   (b’)   bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce   (a’)   good fruit.

B’   19  “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

A’   20  “So then, you will know them by their fruits.

21  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.  22  “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  23  “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

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In this entry I’ll be placing lots of small chiasmi.  Small chiasmi are not my primary focus so it may take some time to ‘fill this up’.

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Old Testament:

Genesis

1:27a

A    God created man

B    in His own image,

B’   in the image of God

A’   He created him

2:4

A    This is the account of the heavens

B    and the earth

C    when they were created,

C’   in the day that the LORD God made

B’   earth

A’   and heaven.

6:8-9

A    8  But Noah  /  found favor

B    in the eyes of the Lord

C    9  These are the records of the generations of Noah.

D    Noah was a righteous man,

D’   blameless

C’   in his time  [Me: ‘among his peers’];

B’   with God

A’   Noah  / walked

9:6a

A    “Whoever sheds

B    the blood

C    of man

C’   by man

B’   his blood

A’   shall be shed …”

12:16

Therefore he  [Me: Pharoah]  treated Abram well for her  [Me: Sarai’s]  sake; and gave him

A    sheep and oxen

B    and  [Me: male]  donkeys

C    and male  [Me: servants]

C’   and female servants

B’   and female donkeys

A’   and camels.

2 Samuel

18:33

The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept.  And thus he said as he walked,

A    “O my son,

B    Absalom,

A    my son, my son,

B    Absalom!

C    Would I had died instead of you,

B’    2  O Absalom,

A’    my son, my son!”

 Job

32:6-10

6  So Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite spoke out and said,

A    “I am young in years and you are old; Therefore I was shy and afraid to tell you what I think.

B    7  “I thought age should speak, And increased years should teach wisdom.

C    8  “But it is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.

B’   9  “The abundant in years may not be wise, Nor may elders understand justice.

A’   10  “So I say, ‘Listen to me, I too will tell what I think.’

Psalms

19:1

A    The heavens

B    declare

C    the glory of God

C’   the work of his hands

B’   proclaim

A’   the sky.

 72:1-2

A    1  Give the king Your justice, O God,

B    and Your righteousness to the king’s son. 

B’   2  May he judge Your people with righteousness

A’   and Your afflicted with justice.

103:1

A    Bless, O my soul,

B    the Lord

C    And all that is within me,

B’   the name of His holiness,

A’   bless, O my soul.

Proverbs

10:15

A    The wealth

B    of a rich man

C    is his fortress;

C’   the ruin

B’   of the poor

A’   is their poverty

11:19-20

A    19  He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life,

B    And he who pursues evil will bring about his own death.

B’   20  The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD,

A’   But the blameless in their walk are His delight.

Isaiah

5:20

A    Woe to those who call evil

B    good,

B’   and good

A    evil;

A    Who substitute darkness

B    for light

B’   and light

A’   for darkness;

A    Who substitute bitter

B    for sweet,

B’    and sweet

A’    for bitter!

6:10

A    “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,

B    Their ears dull,

C    And their eyes dim,

C’   Lest they see with their eyes,

B’   Hear with their ears,

A’   Understand with their hearts,

And return and be healed.”

Jeremiah

17:1-3

A    1  The sin of Judah

B    is written down

C    with an iron stylus;

C’   with a diamond point

B’   it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars,

A’   2  As they remember their children, So they remember their altars and their Asherim By green trees on the high hills … 3 … your high places for sin

Joel

2:28-29

A    28  It will come about after this

B    That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;

C    And your sons and daughters will prophesy,

D    Your old men  /  will dream dreams,

D’   Your young men  /  will see visions.

C’   29  Even on the male and female servants

B’   I will pour out My Spirit

A’   in those days.

Hosea

13:14

A    Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?

B    Shall I redeem them from death?

B’   O Death, where are your thorns?

A’   O Sheol, where is your sting?

Amos

2:11-12

A    11  “Then I raised up some of your sons to be prophets

B    And some of your young men to be Nazirites.

C    Is this not so, O sons of Israel?” declares the LORD.

B’   12  “But you made the Nazirites drink wine,

A’   And you commanded the prophets saying, ‘You shall not prophesy!’

5:24

A    Let roll down

B    like waters

C    justice

C’   and righteousness

B’   like a stream

A’   ever flowing

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New Testament:

 Matthew

19:30

A    “But many who are first

B    will be last;

B’   and the last,

A’   first.”

23:12

A    “And whoever exalts himself

B    shall be humbled;

B’   and whoever humbles himself

A’   shall be exalted.

Mark

8:35-38

34  And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 

A    35  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 

B    [Me: question:]  36  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul  /  ? 

B’   [Me: question:]  37  For what will a man give in exchange for his soul  /  ? 

A’   38  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

10:29b, 30, 31

28  Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.”  29  Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left

A    house

B    or brothers or sisters

C    or mother

C’   or father

B’   or children

A’   or farms,

for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,  30  but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age,

A   houses

B    and brothers and sisters

C    and mothers

B’   and children

A’   and farms,

along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.  31  But many

A    who are first

B    will be last,

B’   and the last,

A’   first.”

11:9b-10

And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields.  9  Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting:

A    “Hosanna!

B    Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord

B’   10  Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David;

A’   Hosanna in the highest!”

Luke

16:13

A    “No servant can serve two masters;

B    for either he will hate the one,

C    and love the other,

C’   or else he will hold to one,

B’   and despise the other.

A’   You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Romans

8:38-39a

38  For I am convinced that

A    neither death,

B    nor life,

C    nor angels, nor rulers,

D    nor things present,

D’   nor things to come,

C’   nor powers

B’   39  nor height,

A’   nor depth,

nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians

8:9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

A    that though He was rich,

B    yet for your sake He became poor,

B’   that you through His poverty

A’   might become rich.

Galations

2:16

15   We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles;

A   16   nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified

B   by the works of the Law

C   but through faith in Christ Jesus,

D   even we have believed in Christ Jesus,

C’   so that we may be justified by faith in Christ

B’   and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law

A’   no flesh will be justified.

Ephesians

2:8-9

A    8  For by grace you have been saved through faith;

B    and that not of yourselves,

C    it is the gift of God;

B’   9  not as a result of works,

A’   that no one should boast.

Philippians

1:15-17

A    15  Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife,

B    but some also from good will;

B’   16  the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;

A’    17  the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.

1 Thessalonians

5:23

A    Now the God of peace Himself,

B    sanctify you completely

C    and entirely your spirit and soul and body

B’   without blame

A’    at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John

3:9

A    No one who is born of God

B    practices sin,

C    because His seed abides in him;

B’   and he cannot sin,

A’   because he is born of God.

Revelation

3:7

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David,

A    who opens

B    and no one will shut,

B’   and who shuts

A’   and no one opens,

says this …

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The parable of the seeds is first given in Matt 13:3-9 … then comes this:
 

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”  11  And He answered and said to them,

A    1    “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,    

       2    but to them it has not been granted.   

       1′    i    12  “For whoever has,   

              ii       to him shall more be given,     

              iii     and he shall have an abundance;    

       2′    but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

B    13  “Therefore I speak to them in parables;

C    because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

D    14  “And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,

E    ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;

F    AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;

G    15  FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,

H    AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,

I    AND THEIR EYES

J    THEY HAVE CLOSED;

J’   LEST AT ANY TIME THEY SHOULD SEE

I’   WITH THEIR EYES,

H’   AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,

G’   AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I SHOULD HEAL THEM.’

F’   16  “But blessed are your eyes, because they see;

E’   and your ears, because they hear.

D’   17  “For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men desired

C’    to see what you see, and did not see it; and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

B’   18  “Hear then the parable of the sower.

A’   2′    19  “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.  This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.  20  “And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy;  21  yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.  22  “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful

      1′  23  “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth,    

              iii    some a hundredfold,   

              ii  ↓    some sixty,   

              i  ↓    and some thirty.”

Comments:

To come …  🙂

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