[b-hebrew] Mashiah

J. Raymond Kelley jraykelley at prodigy.net
Sun Aug 29 18:27:07 EDT 2004

Peter Kirk wrote:

> On 29/08/2004 07:57, Yigal Levin wrote:
>> ... I don't know of a single
>> place in the Tanakh where I would read the word Ma$iax to LITERALLY mean
>> "Messiah" in the later sense.
>> Does anyone have any examples to the contrary?
> How about Daniel 9:25,26? This is a passage whose interpretation is 
> very controversial among Christians, and I would be rather interested 
> to hear what Jews make of it as well.
> And then there are passages like Psalm 2:2, 132:10,17, 1 Samuel 2:10 
> which refer primarily to the anointed king of Israel but are taken by 
> many to have a secondary reference to the Messiah.

I really should leave this stuff to all y'all ... but ...

My first reaction to Shoshanna's comment was to note the level of 
emotional attachment to the words used -- especially when my own 
immediate reaction was akin to  the concept of translation that Peter 
Kirk phrased so well, to wit:

> If you call him Christ, you are calling him Mashiach but just in a 
> different language.

Which seemed to me ... well ... obvious.  (one of the reasons that I 
avoid offering comment despite considering so many of you member of my 
family -- having been a list member for most of the 8 years to which 
someone else recently made reference --  is my tendency to leaving 
stream of consciousness American idioms in my writing rather than 
cleaning up my writing to the higher scholarly quality I believe that 
you respectfully deserve).

I read Yigal's comment after reading Dave Washburn's comment responding 
to Shoshanna about the Jews making the "identification" first ...

... and I then quickly jotted down the following (only to hit "save" 
rather than "send", because I really have so much more respect for 
reading what most of you have to say than what I have to add).  But, 
since Peter mentioned the above, I pull out my draft and send it --

Yigal --

For a quick comparison of translations -- which I leave up to you as to 
whether it reflects the distinction between how you "would read the word 
Ma$iax" and how another might translate the same word.

Daniel 9:25-26

> 25  Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the 
> commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the 
> Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street 
> shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.    26  
> And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not 
> for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall 
> destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with 
> a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 

The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

> 25 Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the word 
> to restore and to build Jerusalem unto one anointed, a prince, shall 
> be seven weeks; and for threescore and two weeks, it shall be built 
> again, with broad place and moat, but in troublous times.
> 26 And after the threescore and two weeks shall an anointed one be cut 
> off, and be no more; and the people of a prince that shall come shall 
> destroy the city and the sanctuary; but his end shall be with a flood; 
> and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
Jewish Bible, Jewish Publication Society 1917

Expositions of various quality (whether concurring or differing with 
your interpretation) are easily found in a quick web search -- and, of 
course, one could argue that tomes have been written on the subject.  I 
have not included any examples except the following (more out of a 
concern that I be accused of presenting one side over the other on the 
emotional topic which arises over the use of this specific term).

Without proferring a position of my own, I do, however, offer the 
following text from Edersheim's (dated, but by virtue of that dating, 
public domain) Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah which indicates 
sources for discussion of both the term and the idea (it would not be 
surprising to me to find that many chains of "Jesus as Messiah" 
reasoning in various Christian writings could be traced back to 
Edersheim's works)

(for ease of reference the more complete text, including the list to 
which he refers in the quoted text, can be found on the net at

> THE following list contains the passages in the Old Testament applied 
> to the Messiah or to Messianic times in the most ancient Jewish 
> writings. They amount in all to 456, thus distributed: 75 from the 
> Pentateuch, 243 from the Prophets, and 138 from the Hagiorgrapha, and 
> supported by more than 558 separate quotations from Rabbinic writings. 
> Despite all labour care, it can scarcely be hoped that the list is 
> quite complete, although, it is hoped, no important passage has been 
> omitted. The Rabbinic references might have been considerably 
> increased, but it seemed useless to quote the same application of a 
> passage in many different books. Similarly, for the sake of space, 
> only the most important Rabbinic quotations have been translated in 
> extenso. The Rabbinic works from which quotations have been made are: 
> the Targumim, the two Talmuds, and the most ancient Midrashim, but 
> neither the Zohar (as the date of its composition is in dispute), nor 
> any other Kabbalistic work, nor yet the younger Midrashim, nor, of 
> course, the writings of later Rabbis. I have, however, frequently 
> quoted from the well-known work Yalkut, because, although of 
> comparatively late date, it is really, as its name implies, a 
> collection and selection from more than fifty older and accredited 
> writings, and adduces passages now not otherwise accessible to us. And 
> I have the more readily availed myself of it, as I have been 
> reluctantly forced to the conclusion that even the Midrashim preserved 
> to us have occassionally been tampered with for controversial 
> purposes. I have quoted from the best edition of Yalkut (Frankfort a. 
> M., 1687), but in the case of the other Midrashim I have been obliged 
> to content myself with such more recent reprints as I possessed, 
> instead of the older and more expensive editions. In quoting from the 
> Midrashim, not only the Parashah, but mostly also the folio, the page, 
> and frequently even the lines are referred to. Lastly, it only remains 
> to acknowledge in general that, so far as possible, I have availed 
> myself of the labours of my predecessors - specially of those of 
> Schöttgen. Yet, even so, I may, in a sense, claim these references 
> also as the result of my own labours, since I have not availed myself 
> of quotations without comparing them with the works from which they 
> were adduced - a process in which not a few passages quoted had to be 
> rejected. And if any student should arrive at a different conclusion 
> from mine in regard to any of the passages hereafter quoted, I can at 
> least assure him that mine is the result of the most careful and 
> candid study I could give to the consideration of each passage. With 
> these prefatory remarks I proceed to give the list of Old Testament 
> passages Messianically applied in ancient Rabbinic writings.

I go back to the little kids's table now ... and be quiet.

Ray Kelley

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list