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Matthew 12:38-42 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Signs in Jonah and the Queen of the South

Matthew 12:38-42 – Signs in Jonah and the Queen of the South

|| Luke 11:29-32

MT12:38 Some of the scribes and Pharisees[1] responded to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign[2] from you.” MT12:39 Jesus answered them, saying, “A wicked and adulterous generation[3] keeps seeking for a sign; and, no sign will be given it other than the sign of Jonah.[4] MT12:40 For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish[5] three days and three nights, just so will the Son of Humankind be in the heart of the earth[6] three days and three nights.[7] MT12:41 Male[8] Ninevites will stand up [again][9] in the judgment[10] with this generation and will condemn it[11] – because they repented at the preaching of Jonah,[12] and, look! something more of Jonah is present![13] MT12:42 The queen of the south[14] will be raised up in the judgment with this generation[15] and will condemn it – because she came from earth’s limits[16] to hear the wisdom of[17] Solomon; and, look! something more of Solomon is present.[18]

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[1] The scribes and Pharisees: Have some of them repented and changed their tune? Has the warning of the Nazarene made them think? They now address as “Teacher” the one they insinuated was in league with Beelzebul.

[2] We wish to see a sign: Paul writes, “Jews ask for signs.” (1 Corinthians 1:22; Luke 11:29) It is said of a certain Rabbi that when he was asked when Messiah would come, he responded, “I am afraid you will ask me for a sign.”

[3] Wicked and adulterous generation: Jesus does not compromise or water down his response. Surely the words are directed at the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus is to use the whole condemnatory phrase again at Matthew 16:4. Or, GDSP: wicked and faithless. On the derogatory adulterous compare Jeremiah 3:6-11.

Jonah mosaic in Aquileia cathedral

Jonah mosaic in Aquileia cathedral – Mosaic of the biblical story of Jonah; in the cathedral in Aquileia, Italy. – SCALA/Art Resource, New York

[4] The sign of Jonah: This cryptic must have grabbed at the Pharisees who loved riddles. They knew the Book of Jonah well. How could this prophet be involved here?

[5] Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish: Jesus believes in the account of Jonah and the great fish which is nowhere described as a whale.

[6] Heart of the earth: Meaning Hades or the grave.

[7] Three days and three nights: A Hebraism meaning any part of three days or less. It is clear Jesus was to be raised the third day for he so states (Matthew 16:21; 17:23; Luke 24:46). Compare 1 Kings 12:12ff (Hosea 6:2; 1 Corinthians 15:4).

[8] Male: There are a number of Greek words that may be translated “man (men).” Here the Greek is ANDRES (ANDROS).

[9] Stand up [again]: The Greek is ANASTESONTAI and essentially means the same as the English “resurrected.” Related words occur in the third century BC Jewish Greek Septuagint (LXX): Job 14:12 (ANASTE), Job 42:17 (ANASTESESTHAI, ANISTESIN), Isaiah 26:19 (ANASTESONTAI), Daniel 12:13 (ANASTESE). Jesus uses forms of the word over a dozen times. Compare John 5:28, 29 where the Nazarene alludes to Isaiah 26:19 LXX.

[10] In the judgment: Or, Judgment Day. Or, NEB: when this generation is on trial; WEY: awake at the judgment. See the key words Judgment Day and resurrection. See Revelation 20:5, 12-14.

[11] Will condemn it: Or, LAM: find it guilty; KNX: will leave it without excuse.

[12] They repented at the preaching of Jonah: Read Jonah chapter 3. Tens of thousands of people responded to Jonah’s warning and as a result the city was spare, much to the disappointment of Jonah who was then taught another divine lesson.

[13] Something more of Jonah is present: Or, KJV: behold, a greater than Jonas is here; TCNT: here is more than a Jonah; WEY: and, mark! there is One greater than Jonah here. He means himself.

[14] Queen of the south: Jesus means the Queen of Sheba who journeyed to hear Solomon for herself (1 Kings 10:1-10). It was not Solomon per se but his God which motivated her, for the account reads, “the report regarding Solomon with regard to the name of Yehowah.”

[15] Raised up in the judgment with this generation: From the Nazarene here we know the Ninevites, the queen of Sheba, and that generation will be resurrected (Acts 24:15).

[16] She came from earth’s limits: She traveled 1,200 miles from northern Africa. This was one serious effort on her part and her entourage. The great trade routes to and from Jerusalem were classically great.

[17] To hear the wisdom of: The contrast between the effort of this godly lady and the Nazarene’s generation is stark. What do they have before them and instead of listening to wisdom they accuse him of demonism and ask for an evidence.

[18] Something more of Solomon is present: Solomon is said to have written 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:32). He wrote Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. And, yet, this crowd as much more before them in Jesus. How Solomon will fair in the resurrection is left to the judgment of God.

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Preceding

Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple

Matthew 12:9-21 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Is It Lawful to Cure on the Sabbath?

Matthew 12:22-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: the Charge of Demonism

Matthew 12:31-32 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blasphemy against the Pneuma

Matthew 12:33-37 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment Day

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Related

  1. Matthew 12丨C. H. Spurgeon
  2. The Sign of Jonah: Swallowed in Death, Raised in Life (Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:38–41)
  3. Matthew 12, Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath,blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the sign of Jonah, Jesus’ brothers and sisters.
  4. 4-30-2018 Bible Study – Life of Messiah Study 46
  5. Did Jesus Really Spend Three Days in the Heart of the Earth?
  6. Bible study: what difference does the resurrection of Jesus make?
  7. Looking for a Sign
  8. Favorite 21 Signs of the Prophets
  9. This Wicked and Perverse Generation
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Matthew 12:22-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: the Charge of Demonism

Matthew 12:22-30 – The Charge of Demonism

|| Mark 3:23-30; Luke 11:14-23

MT12:22 Then they approached Jesus with a demonized person[1] – blind and mute – and he cured him, so the speechless man spoke[2] and began seeing. MT12:23 And the crowds were beside themselves[3] and were saying, “Is this person not the Son of David?”[4] MT12:24 But when the Pharisees heard this,[5] they said, “This fellow does not exorcise demons save by Beelzebul,[6] the ruler of the demons.” MT12:25 Realizing their thoughts, Jesus told them: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be devastated.[7] Every town or house divided against itself will not remain standing. MT12:26 And so if Satan[8] exorcised Satan he was divided against himself. So, how would his kingdom[9] remain standing? MT12:27 And, if I am exorcising demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons[10] exorcise?[11] Therefore, they will be your judges.[12] MT12:28 But, if I exorcise demons by God’s Pneuma,[13] really the Realm of the God has passed you by.[14] MT12:29 Or, how is anyone able to enter a powerful person’s[15] home and grab his [valuable] cups[16] without first binding the powerful person? And only then can his home be pillaged.[17] MT12:30 The person not with me is against me,[18] and the person not assembling with me scatters.[19]

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File:Ilyas Basim Khuri Bazzi Rahib - Jesus Heals a Demon-possessed Boy - Walters W59248B - Full Page.jpg

Jesus Heals a Demon-possessed Boy – 1684 – folio from Walters manuscript W.592,

[1] Demonized person: Or, KJV: possessed with a devil; WEY: demoniac. Compare Matthew 9:32.

[2] Speechless man spoke: We wonder at his first words.

[3] Beside themselves: Or, KJV: the people were amazed; WMS: dumbfounded; PME: wild with excitement.

[4] The Son of David: One of the earliest designations given Jesus (Matthew 1:1). Note, Joseph is also so-called (Matthew 1:20). See footnotes on Matthew 9:27.

[5] Pharisees heard this: The whole incident must drive them wild with hatred: they see the miracle and note the crowd’s reaction. The focus is on the Nazarene and this arouses their jealousy.

[6] Beelzebul: See footnotes on Matthew 10:25. Jesus makes it clear this is a cryptic name for Satan.

[7] Devastated: Or, KJV: brought to desolation; WEY: in which civil war rages; GDSP: destruction; PME: bound to collapse.

[8] Satan: The Jewish clergy have really called Jesus Satan. This is about the worst accusation that can be made against a godly person. It is even beyond “apostate.” See the notes on Matthew 4:10 and 5:22.

[9] His kingdom: Satan has his own kingdom and there are those within the realm of that kingdom. These are those he rules over and who have becomes “sons of the wicked one.” The major characteristic which differentiates the two kingdoms is hatred and love (Matthew 13:38; John 8:44; 1 John 3:10).

[10] Your sons: The rabbis were called “father” and thus their own disciples were their children or sons. Or, NJB: your experts; WEY: your disciples. Compare 1 Kings 20:35; 2 Kings 2:3.

[11] Exorcise: Josephus records a case of casting out demons (Antiquities 8. 2. 5). He also reports the Jewish rabbis used a herb or drug Macherus (Wars of the Jews 7. 6. 3). In the Jewish apocryphal book Tobit there is an example of the exorcism of a maiden with whom a wicked demon was in love (Tobit 6:16; 8:1-4).

[12] They will be your judges: It is possible the “they” are the rabbis own “sons” who will critique their master’s words and actions in this accusation. Or, RIEU: you stand condemned by them; NEB: if this is your argument, they themselves will refute you.

[13] By God’s Pneuma: In Luke 11:19, 20 this is God’s “finger.” Thus, the Pneuma or Spirit is likened to God’s finger, a very small part of all that God is.

[14] Passed you by: Or, KJV: comes unto you; RHM: has come upon you unawares; MOF: reached you already; GDSP: overtaken you; PME: swept over you unawares. As matters develop the Pharisees are in a highly dangerous situation with relation to God and the unforgivable sin: they have called Jesus an apostate and demonized (Matthew 5:22). It is possible, therefore, that their opportunity to become part of the realm of Nazarene profession (the Christian Church) is dim indeed. They may have missed their opportunity (Matthew 23:13, 15, 33).

[15] Powerful person’s: Or, strong man’s. Compare Isaiah 49:24-26.

[16] Grab his [valuable] cups: Or, KJV: spoil his goods; RHM: seize his goods; TCNT: carry of his goods.

[17] Home be pillaged: Or, KJV: spoil his house; MON: rob his house; WMS: make a clean sweep of his house; WEY: ransack his house.

[18] Not with me is against me: Compare Luke 9:50.

[19] Not assembling with me scatters: Or, GDSP: anyone who does not join me in gathering, scatters; BAS: he who does not take part with me in getting people together, is driving them away. The Greek is SYNAGON related to “synagogue.” How does one gather or assemble with Christ?

 

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Preceding

Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple

Matthew 12:9-21 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Is It Lawful to Cure on the Sabbath?

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Related

  1. casting out demons and the battle of the wills
  2. March 30, 2018: “Possession”
  3. SGW, 2-16-18, Luke 11:14-28
  4. Fourth Monday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 10:24-31 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Do Not Fear – Preach!

Matthew 10:24-31 – Do Not Fear – Preach!

|| Mark 4:22; Luke 12:2-9

MT10:24 “A disciple[1] is not above the teacher nor a slave above his Master. MT10:25 It is satisfactory if the disciple becomes like his teacher,[2] and the slave like his Master. If they call the lord of the house ‘Beelzebul,’[3] how much more those of the household. MT10:26 So, you should not fear them.[4] For there is nothing concealed[5] which will not be revealed,[6] and nothing hidden[7] which will not become known. MT10:27 What I tell you in the dark, tell in the light; and, what your ear hears, preach on the housetops.[8] MT10:28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul.[9] Rather, continue to fear the One capable of destroying[10] both soul and body in Gehenna.[11] MT10:29 Are not two sparrows[12] sold for an assarion?[13] And not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s [awareness].[14] MT10:30 The very hairs of your head are numbered.[15] MT10:31 So, do not be afraid. You differ [greatly] from many sparrows.[16]

[1] Disciple: The Greek is MATHETES from which the English “mathematics” comes. Though “disciple” is related to “discipline” or that great effort to learn math. The word “Disciple” occurs 76 times in Matthew, 46 times in Mark, 38 times in Luke, 79 times in John, and 30 times in Acts. The word occurs nowhere else in the Christian Bible. No woman is ever called a “disciple” until Tabitha (Dorcas).

[2] Disciple becomes like his teacher: Jesus’ main point is that the disciples can expect to be condemned and spoken against during their work. This should not surprise them because the same is happening to their Teacher. They become like their Teacher in sharing his abuse and reproach.

[3] Beelzebul: Possibly a cryptic name for Satan meaning “Lord (owner) of Dung” or “Lord (owner) of Flies.” The contemptuous designation occurs as an accusation against the Nazarene at Matthew 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15, 18. Compare 2 Kings 1:2.

[4] Not fear them: Courage is an absolutely necessity for a disciple of the Nazarene. Jesus knows that some households and some towns will not accept or receive the disciples well. He knows they are likely to call his apostles names. Note what he had told them in his Mountain Teachings (Matthew 5:10-12). Fear is a tool of the Devil.

[5] Concealed: Those who speak evil against the disciples will be exposed in the Judgment (Matthew 12:36). Secret slander will finally be revealed.

[6] Revealed: The Greek is APOKALYPSTHESETAI. Compare Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; 1 Corinthians 4:5; John 3:19-21. Imagine the evil talk which has gone on throughout the centuries as inquisitors plotted to entrap or accuse innocent Christians?

[7] Hidden: The Greek is CRYPTON. PME: nor any thing private which will not be made public.

[8] Tell in the light; and, what your ear hears, preach on the housetops: Jesus often spoke to his disciples in private (Matthew 17:19; 20:17; 24:3; Mark 4:34; 6:31; 7:33; 9:28; 13:3). He wants his disciples to preach these things. Compare Luke 12:3. NEB: you must repeat in broad daylight; BAS: what comes to your ear secretly; MOF: what you hear in a whisper.

[9] Are unable to kill the soul: This verse is viewed by some to prove the soul is immortal and continues to exist after death. Jesus possibly has in mind the future life as a spirit person. He is saying: while your persecutors may kill you physically, they cannot destroy your True Life. Compare Luke 12:4; 21:19. The Greek for soul here is PSYCHEN and between the Jewish Greek Bible (LXX) and the Christian Bible occurs about 1,000 times. Of these over 100 state the soul is mortal and destructible. Not once is the soul ever stated to be immortal as in the Platonic idea. See commentaries and dictionaries under “soul.”

[10] The One capable of destroying: That is The God. Note that Jesus says the soul is mortal and destructible.

[11] Gehenna: Some render the Greek GEHENNE as hell (KJV), the pit (GDSP), the fires of destruction (PME). See notes on Matthew 5:22. Gehenna is a symbol of eternal destruction and called “Second Death” in Revelation 20:14, 15.

[12] Sparrows: On another occasion Jesus uses five sparrows. The Greek allows for any small bird. Such birds were sold for a penny, roasted over a spit (Light From the Ancient East, by A. Deissmann, 1965, pp. 273, 274).

[13] Assarion: A Roman coin about a half-penny. The widow’s LEPTON was ten times less. One-sixteenth of a denarius. KJV: a farthing; ASV: a penny.

[14] Father’s [awareness]: The literal Greek is not one falls without your Father. TCNT: without your Father’s knowledge; BECK: with your Father’s permission. Jesus teaches how sensitive and aware the Life Source of the Universe is. Some Christians loose every bit of self-worth or self-esteem. This thought ought to encourage any that just as God notes the birds, He is well aware of our own plights. Compare 1 Peter 5:7.

[15] Hairs of your head are numbered: Compare Luke 12:7. Or, KNX: he takes every hair of your head into his reckoning. Some estimate the average head of hair to include about 100,000. The hair of the head is used metamorphicly in the Bible (1 Samuel 14:45; 2 Samuel 14:11; 1 Kings 1:52; Psalm 40:12; 69:4; Luke 21:18; Acts 27:34).

[16] You differ [greatly] from many sparrows: KJV: you are of more value than many sparrows; WEY: you are more precious than a multitude of sparrows

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Preceding

Matthew 10:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Twelve Given Authority

Matthew 10:1-4 – Calling of the apostles – by Calvin

Matthew 10:5-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus’ Orders: Territory, Theme, Trust

Matthew 10:11-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for the Sheep

Matthew 10:16-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Forth as Sheep among Wolves

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