[B-Greek] Matt 4:3//Lk. 4:3
Jeffrey B. Gibson
jgibson000 at comcast.net
Wed Apr 30 17:48:32 EDT 2008
Carl Conrad wrote:
> On Apr 30, 2008, at 2:48 PM, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
>> What evidence may be put forward to support the claim that GENWNTAI in
>> Matt. 4:3//Lk. 4:3 means 'be made', not 'become', and that the hINA
>> found there is "ecbatic" or eventual?
>> Has any commentator/grammarian ever argued that these words are to be
>> taken this way in Matt. 4:3//Lk. 4:3?
> I can't tell you a thing about what commentators say, but it seems to
> me that this is really pretty straightforward:
> Mt 4:3 καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ πειράζων εἶπεν αὐτῷ· εἰ υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ θεοῦ, εἰπὲ
> ἵνα οἱ λίθοι οὗτοι ἄρτοι γένωνται. [KAI PROSELQWN hO PEIRAZWN EIPEN
> AUTWi: EI hUIOS EI TOU QEOU, EIPE hINA hOI LIQOI hOUTOI ARTOI GENWNTAI]
> Lk 4:3 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ διάβολος· εἰ υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ θεοῦ, εἰπὲ τῷ λίθῳ
> τούτῳ ἵνα γένηται ἄρτος. [EIPEN DE AUTWi hO DIABOLOS: EI hUIOS EI TOU
> QEOU, EIPE TWI LIQWi TOUTWi hINA GENHTAI ARTOS]
> I'd argue that the imperative EIPE in both sentences has the sense of
> "give the order" and that the hINA clauses are in both sentences to be
> understood as substantive clauses with hINA GENWNTAI/GENHTAI more or
> less equivalent to infinitive: "Tell these stones to turn into loaves
> of bread" and "Tell this stone to turn into a loaf of bread."
Hmm. I wonder if that makes sense in the context, given Jesus'
quotation of Deut. 8:3 as his answer, what with its conjuring up the
ideas expounded in that text of the Son's absolute covenantal right to
have God produce 'bread' him.and the question of whether or not it is
correct for the Son/Israel, when under hardship, especially the hardship
of 'hunger', to then demand that God fulfill his obligations in this
matter. Why would Jesus use a text which speaks, even if only by
implication, of the necessity of not acting as Israel had acted in
demanding a miraculous dispensation of bread from God unless he had been
petitioned to do so?
I also note some interesting evidence in Matt. 20:21, Lk. 9:45, and
In Matt. 20:21 is Jesus is petitioned, just as he is in Matt. 4:3//Lk.
4:3 (but this time by the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
cf. v. 20) to utter a command (EIPE) which, once uttered, is expected to
result in something happening and that here. Note not only that, as in
Matt. 4:3//Lk. 4:3, the description of what is to be brought about as a
result of the command (in this case, James and John granted pride of
place in the kingdom Jesus is expected to inherit) is also couched in an
analytical construction with hINA, but that the presupposition behind
the petition in Matt 20:21 is not that Jesus has powers of his own to
grant what is asked of him, but that, given his status as 'Son of the
Living God' (cf. Matt 16:16), he can give a command that will (must?) be
honoured by God.
Luke 9:45 also contains a petition to Jesus from the sons of Zebedee to
be allowed to make the command that would allow 'fire from heaven' to
come down on certain villages of Samaria and this petition is, like Matt
20:21, not only cast in a construction similar to that of Satan's/the
devil's petition in Matt. 4:3//Lk. 4:3 (though without hINA and it also
carries with it the idea 'that the command requested could only be
accomplished though the power of God' .
Matt 27:39-43 contains a challenge to the crucified Jesus made by those
who 'pass by' and deride him (cf. v. 39) to come down from his cross
which, given the form and wording of its preface, is obviously cast and
intended by Matthew (cp. Mark 15:29) specifically to recall the words of
the Devil at Matt 4:3. Notably, as v. 43 (a clear allusion to Wis
2:16-20) reveals, what the mockers wish to see is not Jesus himself
working a miracle of rescue, but God working one on his behalf:
He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him.
So I guess the question I have is while the text of Matt. 4:3//Lk. 4:3
may certainly be construed as you have done, is there syntactical or
grammatical reason that it could not also bear the meaning "Give the
command (to God) in order that these stones might be made (by God into)
I note that in his new commentary on Matthew, R.T. France thinks this is
possible if not likely.
Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
e-mail jgibson000 at comcast.net
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