"out of Egypt" not a proof text (Hos 11)

John Richards jhr at universalist.worldonline.co.uk
Tue Dec 19 14:41:31 EST 2000

> My conclusion is that Matthew was a much better exegete of the OT than a
> of modern scholars, and we would be wise to learn from what he says.
> Dan Wagner

It would be comforting for Christians to think so! However, since the phrase
"a lot of modern scholars" is very much more vague than Matthew's very
explicit fulfilled "prophecies", we could perhaps agree!

"Behold a VIRGIN shall conceive . . . " ?? If he was such a good OT scholar,
why did he not realise that the LXX here was a bad translation?! Anyway,
since there is no "antitype" of a virgin birth in the Jewish scriptures, how
can this be a "type"? Matthew clearly intends it as a direct prophecy of a
unique miraculous event.

"That he should be called a NAZARENE." ?? (From having lived in Nazareth? -
and what "prophet"?)

Furthermore, I cannot accept your over subtle interpretation of "Out of
Egypt did I call my son." No one in the early church could have read the
passage without taking it as a fulfilment of a direct prophecy about Jesus,
the "Son of God", particularly as in those first few chapters Matthew has
been piling them up, one after another, to prove that the Jewish scriptures
pointed directly and explicitly to Jesus. It is perfectly true that
deliverance from Egypt was the archetypal example of other Jewish
liberations. I do not dispute that, but Matthew here is being rather
pedestrianly literalistic, as he very frequently is. He even has Jesus
effectively sitting on two donkeys at the same time so as to "fulfil" the
prophecy about "an ass and the foal of an ass", which being such a good OT
scholar he has not recognised as Hebrew poetic repetition.

I am afraid that unfortunately we have to admit that Matthew has sadly
misused the Hebrew scriptures to mine it for fulfilled prophecies in a way
that was never intended by the original writers. This is not to deny the
profundity and spiritual truth of the Death/Resurrection of the Messiah
theme. But that is another matter, and outside the scope of this List.

John Richards

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