ANTHOLOGICAL EXEGESIS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Robert C. Newman
Biblical Theological Seminary
Hatfield, Pennsylvania

Copyright © 2001 by Robert C. Newman. All rights reserved.
 
 

Editor's Note

Although the author is in agreement with the doctrinal statement of IBRI, it does not follow that all of the viewpoints espoused in this paper represent official positions of IBRI. Since one of the purposes of the IBRI report series is to serve as a preprint forum, it is possible that the author has revised some aspects of this work since it was first written.

ANTHOLOGICAL EXEGESIS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

In the centuries around New Testament times, the Jews were especially people of the Book. Judging from surviving literature, the more pious among them were so filled with the words of Scripture that their language of devotion and theology was often little else than chains of phrases from the Bible. Careful readers of the NT have sometimes noticed this, especially in the songs of praise recorded from the lips of Mary, Zechariah and Simeon in Luke. The same phenomenon occurs in the rabbinic literature and the writings from Qumran, especially the so-called Thanksgiving Hymns. Following Andre Robert, Daniel Patte calls such Scripture-saturated text "anthological style."(1)

The exegesis of Scripture by Jews and Christians during this period has also attracted attention.(2) A number of the early rabbis propounded rules of interpretation - some sound, some rather far-fetched.(3) The Qumran community, though providing no formal guidelines, read the OT so as to see themselves as the fulfillment of many of its prophecies.(4) Similar principles have also been discerned in the way NT writers handle the OT, especially in some of the more peculiar cases. As a result, liberal commentators often dismiss NT exegesis as fanciful and arbitrary.(5) Others accept NT interpretation on the authority of the whole revelation of God in Christ, yet feel that we cannot follow the apostles in the more unusual cases, as they had access to special revelation that we do not.(6)

Admittedly, we have neither the same gifts nor the contact with Jesus that the apostles and their associates had. Yet a number of these strange interpretations occur in controversy situations, where the author is answering an opponent who does not recognize his revelational authority. If the author hopes to convince his adversary, some more objective standard of interpretation is needed (and, I think, provided) than "Take my word for it; this is revelation."

It seems to me that some of this puzzling interpretation in the NT is the result of what we might call "anthological exegesis." The writer is not interpreting a single passage from the OT, but rather two or more passages in tandem, which he has chosen because they shed light on one another. In this paper, let us look at several such NT passages, confining ourselves to those where the writer is using two OT passages. We will try to see how the two passages mutually illuminate one another; what the NT author seems to be doing with the passages; and how he may have chosen the two for mutual exegesis in the first place.

Case One: Melchizedek in Hebrews 7

Let us begin with an example where both OT passages are explicitly mentioned by the NT author, namely the use of Genesis 14 and Psalm 110 in Hebrews 7. The writer is seeking to rescue his original readers from returning to Judaism under circumstances where it is dangerous to be Christian but safe to be a Jew. To accomplish his purpose, the author argues that the new covenant is superior to and replaces the old covenant, and he warns his readers of the danger of apostasy. As a part of this argument, he contends that Jesus is superior to the mediators of the old covenant, especially the Aaronic priesthood. This is urged by examining Genesis 14 and Psalm 110 in the light they shed on one another.

Psalm 110 is the key passage here. It was apparently chosen because it is both Messianic and priestly. Jesus himself had used the Psalm to set a puzzle for his Pharisaic opponents (Mt 22:41-46 and parallels): How could the Messiah be merely human if his father David calls him Lord? The first three verses of Psalm 110 picture David's Lord seated at the right hand of Yahweh, awaiting the time his enemies will be made his footstool, when he will rule from Zion over his enemies with willing troops. Verses 5 and 6 picture his military conquests. Verse seven is more puzzling:

He will drink from a brook beside the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.
Probably this views the Messiah stopping by a brook for refreshment so he can pursue his enemies to their complete destruction, just as Jonathan refreshed himself with honey the better to defeat the Philistines (1 Sam 14:24-30). All this military/political imagery is certainly consistent with a Messianic interpretation of the passage, however much some would wish to avoid it.

But Psalm 110 includes the priestly imagery of verse 4 as well:

The LORD has sworn
and will not change his mind:
"You are a priest forever
in the order of Melchizedek."
This automatically draws our attention to Genesis 14, the only other OT passage where Melchizedek is mentioned, and raises the question: How is David's Lord to be like Melchizedek?

In Gen 14:17-20, Abram is returning home, having rescued his nephew Lot from the marauding kings, when he is met by the king of Sodom and by Melchizedek, king of Salem. The latter, we are told, was also a priest of God Most High. He greets Abram with bread, wine and a blessing. In return, Abram gives Melchizedek a tenth of everything, presumably referring to the spoils Abram had taken from the defeated kings.

In commenting on this passage, the author of Hebrews first summarizes the salient points of Gen 14 in 7:1-2a - naming Melchizedek, his kingship and priesthood, his meeting and blessing Abraham, and Abraham's giving him tithes. Then he proceeds to explain these points, noting the etymological significance of "Melchizedek" and "Salem."

Verse 3 is the most unusual part of his exegesis:

Without father or mother, without genealogy,
without beginning of days or end of life,
like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.
What is the author doing here? Certainly nothing is said of these matters in Genesis 14, and few modern exegetes would have brought them up if the writer of Hebrews had not. I believe we can understand what is happening here if we see Genesis 14 and Psalm 110 being used to cast light upon one another.

Ps 110:4 says David's Lord is "a priest forever, like Melchizedek." It is possible not only to construe this as "a priest like Melchizedek, but Jesus' priesthood is forever," but also as "Jesus and Melchizedek are alike priests forever." This is apparently what our author does. He finds that such a reading uncovers parallels between Jesus and Melchizedek that would otherwise be missed.

These parallels arise from Genesis 14 when viewed in terms of Psalm 110's "forever." The author notes that, unlike other important characters in Genesis,(7) Melchizedek's birth, death, parentage and genealogy are not given. Thus, "like the Son of God, he remains a priest forever." If this seems strained to the modern interpreter, part of the problem is our cultural distance; the author does not explain himself, since his original audience would have been more familiar with this sort of wordplay(8) than we are. We do not need to assume the writer of Hebrews believed Melchizedek was a theophany; nor need we believe he denied that Melchizedek actually had a father and mother, birth and death. Rather, the parallel is that in one sense, Melchizedek and Jesus both lack father, mother, genealogy, etc. Melchizedek literarily and Jesus as regards his deity. In another sense, of course, both have these. Whatever the author of Hebrews may have thought of Melchizedek, he was certainly aware that Jesus was born, died, and traced his lineage through Judah (e.g., Heb 7:14; 9:15).

We will not follow these passages further. The writer of Hebrews goes on to discuss the blessing and the tithe, and what they imply about superior religious authority. As with the tabernacle imagery of Heb 9:5, he does not develop all the parallels that are possible. He does not, for instance, deal with Melchizedek's provision of bread and wine, though early Christian commentators have made much of this. Nor does he do anything with the OT provisions that kept an Israelite from being both priest and king (for which reason the psalmist must go back to a Gentile model for a righteous priest/king).(9) We have seen enough to note how the NT author can draw from the OT text features otherwise unnoticed by setting two passages side-by-side and letting each provide suggestions for interpreting the other.(10)

Case Two Sarah and Hagar in Galatians 4

A second example is Paul's Sarah-Hagar allegory in Galatians 4. The apostle is combatting a Judaizing "Christianity" which seeks to proselytize his Gentile converts, getting them to depend on their own obedience to God's law for divine acceptance. Paul responds that this is a different, false gospel, not the Gospel which he had received directly from Jesus; and that it is Paul's Gospel, not theirs, which agrees with the other apostles.

In chapter 3, Paul defends his Gospel, using as arguments the Galatians' own experience, the biblical testimony regarding Abraham's justification, the curse pronounced against any disobedience to the law, the Abrahamic promise taking precedence over the Mosaic law, and the design of the law to reveal sin. Our passage continues Paul's argument by showing that believers are no longer slaves but sons, now that Jesus has redeemed us by his death from the law's curse.

Apparently as an illustration of this last point, Paul draws a comparison between the Judaizers and believers in the form of a parable or allegory based on Gen 16-21. There we see the controversy which develops between Abraham's freewife Sarah and slavewife Hagar. Sarah's barrenness is solved by having Abraham father a son through Hagar, but Hagar then begins to dispise her mistress Sarah. Years later, Sarah gives birth to Isaac, the son of God's promise, but Hagar's son Ishmael mocks Isaac. At Sarah's request (and with God's approval), Hagar and Ishmael are sent away, so that Ishmael does not inherit with Isaac.

In Gal 4:21-31, Paul compares the Hagar-Sarah situation to the Judaizer-believer one. The Judaizers, as natural sons of the covenant in bondage to the law, persecute the (Gentile) believers, who are freeborn sons of the promise. But in spite of the persecution, it is the believers, not the legalists, who will eventually inherit.

There is certainly some similarity between the Ishmael-Isaac situation and the Judaizer-believer one. Is this Paul's entire justification for his allegory? We suggest not; that the presence of a second OT text provides additional justification and also clarifies several points in Paul's discussion. In fact, this second passage was probably what led Paul to Genesis 16-21 in the first place.

Isaiah 54 - verse 1 of which is quoted by Paul near the end of his discussion in Gal 4:27 - is especially helpful in making the jump from first century Galatia to patriarchal Canaan. A passage on the future glory of Zion, it immediately follows the climactic servant song of Isaiah 53. In chapter 54, the Lord's servants (v 17) are collectively pictured as a barren woman (vv 1-10) and as an afflicted city (vv 11-17). The barren woman rejoices, because (paradoxically) she will have more children than the one with the husband (1). She will enlarge her tent and dispossess nations (2-3). She will forget the shame of her youth, the reproach of her widowhood, for God is her husband (4-5). Though a wife rejected, she will now be called back (6-8), never to be rejected again (9-10). The afflicted city, storm-lashed and comfortless, will yet be built with precious stones (11-12), her children taught by God and living in peace (13). The city will be established in righteousness, free from tyrrany and terror. This is the heritage of God's servants (14-17).

Without attempting a detailed exegesis of Isa 54, we see that it has parallels with both the situations in Galatia and in Abraham's household: one despised, in contrast to one who is prosperous; but the end will bring vindication and blessing for the despised, and the promised inheritance. All three have a measure of miraculous grace through supernatural birth: the barren woman having children (Gen 21:1-2; Isa 54:1); Gentiles born by the power of the Spirit (Gal 4:29). Isaiah 54 explains the woman/city connection made in Gal 4:25-26, especially the connection of Sarah with the heavenly Jerusalem (which city is an important theme in the latter chapters of Isaiah).(11) Though there is certainly not complete identity between the situations in Genesis 16-21, Isaiah 54 and Galatians 4, there is sufficient similarity for them to illumine one another. Probably Gen 16-21 is the OT narrative most nearly parallel to Isa 54:1-10, though the Hosea-Gomer situation (Hosea 1-3) and the Hannah-Peninnah conflict (1 Samuel 1-2) also have similarities. In any case, the two OT passages serve to complement one another and fill out Paul's illustration that the Judaizer-believer conflict has precedent in salvation history.

Case Three: The Veil of 2 Corinthians 3

As our third example, let us consider another of Paul's analogies, in which he compares the blindness of unbelieving Israel with the veil over Moses' face at Sinai. Here the first OT passage is clearly indicated by the apostle, but the second is brought in with merely a verbal allusion.

As a part of Paul's defense of his conduct and ministry, the apostle contrasts the glory of the new covenant with that of the old covenant. If the first covenant that brought death and condemnation came with glory, how much more the new covenant that brings life and righteousness (7-9). If the covenant that passes away came with glory, how much more the one that lasts forever (10-11). Verses 17-18 suggest that this new glory includes the freedom of the believer and his ever-growing likeness to his Lord.

In verse 7 and vv 12-16 we have repeated allusions to the incident described in Ex 34:29-35. Moses has just come down from Sinai with the new stone tablets of the covenant to replace those broken in the golden calf incident. Moses' face is supernaturally radiant (perhaps like Jesus' at the transfiguration) because he has been speaking with the LORD, His appearance is so unusual that Aaron and the Israelites flee in fear until Moses calls them back. Moses then gives them God's commands, apparently reading the Ten Commandments to them. After he finishes he puts a veil over his face, which he does not take off again until he goes back into God's presence. He leaves it off until he has relayed God's commands to Israel, then replaces it again.

Paul contrasts his own actions with those of Moses (2 Cor 3:12-13). Paul does not wish to veil the glory of the new covenant from his people Israel. Yet for all that, they cannot see this glory already predicted in the old covenant (Moses), for the same veil (a veil over their hearts) has not been removed (14-15). But whenever anyone turns to the Lord (comes to be in Christ), the veil is taken away (14, 16). Where the Spirit is, there is freedom [from the veil?] (17). We believers, with unveiled faces, reflect God's glory, being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord (18).

Much of this can be read as an analogy between Paul's (and our) experience and Moses' situation. In Exodus, Moses is veiled to keep Israel from seeing the reflected glory. Today, "Moses" (the OT Scripture) is veiled to keep Israel from seeing its glory (Christ). This same theme is detailed, with a different figure, in Romans 9-11. The taking away of the veil when a person turns to the Lord parallels Moses' action in removing the veil when he went into God's presence. Moses' reflecting God's glory corresponds to our reflecting Christ's glory in a transformed lifestyle.

But there is an unusual difference: in Exodus, the veil covers Moses' face; in 2 Corinthians 3 it covers their hearts. This appears to be an allusion to Lam 3:65. Note vv 64-66:

Pay them back for what they deserve, O LORD,
for what their hands have done.
Put a veil over their hearts,(12)
and may your curse be on them!
Pursue them in anger and destroy them
from under the heavens of the LORD.
This brief allusion brings in another whole dimension which serves to fill out Paul's picture. In the context of Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah is sorrowing over the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon, recognizing that this is God's judgement on his people for their unfaithfulness. But Jeremiah's enemies have not been so much the Babylonians as the unbelievers among his own people. "I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long" (3:14). "They tried to end my life in a pit" (3:43; cp. Jer 37:16). "O LORD, you have heard their insults, all their plots against me - my enemies whisper and mutter against me all day long. Look at them! Sitting or standing, they mock me in their songs." (3:61-63). Thus Lamentations adds further analogies to those of Exodus: the one veil is a curse on unbelieving Israelites for rejecting Jeremiah; the other veil a curse for rejecting Jesus. And it is a heart-veil, not a face-veil. To use another Pauline picture: "Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles come in" (Rom 11:25).

But there is a difference. Jeremiah mentions no remedy for the veil on the hearts of his enemies. But Paul sees mercy yet for unbelieving Israel: "whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away" (2 Cor 3:16). Praise God for his continuing mercy!

Case Four: The Serpent Lifted Up in John 3

Consider a second example where one OT passage is explicitly mentioned by the NT author and the other is only alluded to. In John 3, Jesus is speaking to the Jewish leader Nicodemus, who has come to see him secretly. Whatever Nicodemus' agenda may have been, Jesus begins to emphasize the necessity of having a supernatural birth in order to see God's kingdom. To Nicodemus' question of how this can be, Jesus expresses amazement that "Israel's teacher" does not understand. Jesus speaks of his own heavenly knowledge: "We speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen" (v 11); "No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven - the Son of Man" (v 13). Then he gives this comparison to explain his ministry:

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life (John 3:14-15).
Obviously, Jesus is referring to Num 21:4-9. Israel is in the wilderness, journeying around Edom. The people become impatient and begin to speak against God and Moses, complaining they lack bread and water, grumbling about the manna, and alleging that they are going to die in the desert (4-5). God fulfills their prediction by sending venomous snakes; many are bitten and die (6). The people repent, and Moses prays to God on their behalf (7). At God's instruction, Moses makes a bronze snake and puts it up on a pole. As a result, when anyone is bitten and looks at the bronze snake, he or she lives instead of dying (8-9).

The parallel between the snake and Jesus is remarkable. The Numbers 21 account involves a cycle characteristic of salvation history: unbelief (4-5) leads to death (6); repentance (7) and trust in God's provision (8-9) restores life (9). Just as the snake is God's provision for this particular sin, to which the trusting Israelite must look for escape from the sin's consequences, so Jesus is God's provision for sin in general (the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, Jn 1:29) to which the believer must look to escape sin's consequences. Just as the snake was put up on a pole, so Jesus was put up on a cross. And the life that the believer receives is not merely a renewal of mortal life, but eternal life (Jn 3:15).

The choice of a snake for the image on the pole is certainly surprising; it might well be used to argue that the resemblance between snake and Jesus is merely accidental. Yet Paul says something similar: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor 5:21).

In checking for verbal parallels between John 3:14 and Num 21:8-9, I was surprised to note that the verb "lifted up," hupso, in John has no parallel in Numbers 21. Instead the very generic "put upon" - siym al in the Hebrew, tithmi epi and histmi epi in the Greek - is employed. Perhaps John's verb, which he uses both for the snake and for the Son of Man, points to a second OT passage.

Indeed, one of the most important OT Messianic passages uses hupso in its Greek translation to refer to the Messiah - Isa 52:13. In place of the three Hebrew verbs "he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted," the Septuagint translator has settled for just two verbs, hupso and doxaz: "he will be lifted up and glorified exceedingly." Again, a combination of passages, here Numbers 21 and Isaiah 52-53, provides a much fuller picture of the atoning work of Christ than either alone, each giving important detail the other does not. In addition, the "pole" on which the snake is placed in Numbers 21 is a nes: a standard, ensign, sign, or signal. The Septuagint translates this by smeion which, together with hupso and doxazo, is an important part of the distinctive vocabulary by which John describes the ministry of Jesus. Perhaps John selected this vocabulary as a result of meditating on Jesus' words about the snake and the Son of Man both being lifted up.

Case Five: The Son from Egypt in Matthew 2

For our last example, let us consider a case where the second OT passage is not only not explicitly mentioned, but even the allusion is vague enough that the identity of the passage is uncertain. Matthew has just narrated the visit of the Magi (Mt 2:1-12). That night, an angel appears in a dream to Joseph, warning him of Herod's intent to kill Jesus and instructing him to flee to Egypt. Joseph immediately obeys, and the narrator comments:

And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son" (Mt 2:15).
The OT passage quoted here is obviously Hos 11:1, but the OT context has nothing Messianic about it. Chapter 10 ends with disaster on the northern kingdom because of its wickedness. 11:1 reads: "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son." The following verses recount Israel's departure into idolatry in spite of God's fatherly tenderness in raising, protecting and healing the nation. That there has not been a sudden change in subject is seen in the wordplay on "call" in vv 1-2: "... out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel ..." Thus, there is not a hint in Hosea that this passage is Messianic.

Of course, there was not a hint in Genesis 14 to connect Melchizedek with the Messiah, nor in Genesis 16-21 to associate Sarah and Hagar with Jerusalem, nor in Numbers 21 to connect the snake with Jesus. The Melchizedek connection came from Psalm 110, the Jerusalem connection from Isaiah 54, and the Jesus connection from Jesus himself, probably through the verb "lifted up" in Isa 52:13. Is there, perhaps, some allusion in Matthew that would point us to another OT passage to justify his treatment of Hosea 11?

I see two possibilities, which tend to reinforce each other. One is the parallel between Israel and the Messiah seen in the Servant Songs of Isaiah, chapters 41-53. In some of these passages, the servant is clearly Israel (e.g., 41:8; 44:1; 45:4; 48:20). In others, the servant is clearly not Israel, since the servant is to bring back Israel (49:5-6), is despised and abhorred by the nation (49:7), his obedience is contrasted with Israel's sin (50:1-5), his suffering is for Israel's sins rather than his own (53:4-6). Thus there is a parallel between Israel and Messiah. It would not be inappropriate, then, for Matthew to point out that, just as God called Israel out of Egypt, so he called Jesus.

Second, the term "son." Not only Israel, but also the Messiah is called God's son. This goes back to 2 Samuel 7, where God makes a covenant of everlasting kingship with David and his descendants, saying of David's heir, "I will be his father, and he will be my son" (7:14). This idea is picked up in Psalm 2, where the Messiah's commission contains God's words, "You are my Son" (2:7), and the natural reading of the narrator's advice to the rebellious kings is "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way" (2:12). One can hardly fail to notice that Matthew's context is King Herod's rebellious attempt to destroy God's promised Messiah. As for a parallel between Israel and its Messiah, it is not uncommon in the OT to see a nation personified in its king;(13) in fact, this seems to be a common feature of monarchy in the West as well.(14)

Besides these guesses on what OT passages might have been in Matthew's mind, another feature in the Gospel supports the idea that the author is emphasizing a parallel between Israel and Jesus. When Jesus is tempted in the wilderness by Satan, all of his Scripture quotations come from "Israel in the wilderness" passages (Dt 8:3; 6:16; 6:13). Thus Jesus himself during his temptation was apparently meditating on the wilderness testing which Israel experienced.

Conclusions

In this brief paper, we have attempted to show that the NT authors sometimes interpreted the Scripture by combining two or more OT passages in such a way that each helped interpret the other. We called this procedure "anthological exegesis" in analogy with the ancient practice of quoting Scripture by stringing together or even conflating several passages. Some of these combinations are obvious to the reader of the NT text, as a clear reference is made to each of the passages involved. Others are more difficult to detect, as one or more of the OT passages is referred to only by allusion.

The selection of passages for such treatment by the NT writer also ranges from obvious to subtle. In case one, Psalm 110 explicitly refers to Genesis 14, so the author of Hebrews merely explores (with imagination) some mutual implications. In case two, Genesis 16-21 is probably the closest narrative analogy to Isaiah 54. In case three, Paul apparently noticed the parallel ideas of veiling or covering in Exodus 34 and Lamentations 3. In case four, Jesus proposes the analogy involving "raising up" common to both Numbers 21 and Isaiah 52-53. In case five, the connection between Hos 11:1 and the Messiah involves both the designation "son" and the parallel between Israel on the one hand and the suffering servant/king Messiah on the other. It is not impossible that some of these connections were brought out by Jesus when he explained the Scriptures concerning himself to his disciples on the evening following his resurrection (Lk 24:25-27, 44-49).(15) In any case, the inspiration of Scripture provides assurance to Bible-believers that God approves this sort of procedure in comparing Scripture with Scripture.

This, of course, is no guarantee that our attempts to do anthological exegesis will be equally successful. Just as the scriptural use of typology is no assurance that all our typological guesswork is accurate, so here. But just as typology need not be restricted to examples worked out in the NT (Heb 9:5 refers to more than the author develops), so we may investigate pairs or groups of passages not treated in the NT.

More fruitful for the present, however, would be a search for other examples of anthological exegesis in the NT. The five cases treated in this paper were encountered more or less accidentally in the course of several years. A brief survey of the United Bible Societies' Greek text of the Gospels suggests some fifteen additional possibilities, not counting Gospel parallels nor allusions too vague to show up in the OT cross-reference apparatus.(16)

The identification of some procedure such as anthological exegesis appears to be helpful in understanding some of the NT passages which have been difficult to interpret by traditional exegetical models.

Reference Notes

1. Daniel Patte, Early Jewish Hermeneutic in Palestine SBL Dissertation Series no. 22 (Missoula, Montana: Scholars Press, 1975), 169-75, esp. 172n77.
2. Frederic W. Farrar, History of Interpretation (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1886); Robert M. Grant and David Tracy, A Short History of the Interpretation of the Bible 2nd ed. (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984); R. P. Ackroyd and C. F. Evans, eds., The Cambridge History of the Bible. Vol. 1: From the Beginnings to Jerome (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970); Richard N. Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975); Moisés Silva, Has the Church Misread the Bible? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Academie, 1987).
3. Louis Jacobs, "Hermeneutics," Encyclopaedia Judaica 8:366-72; Moses Mielziner, Introduction to the Talmud 5th ed. (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1968), part II; J. Weingren, From the Bible to Mishna (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1976), chap I; Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis, chap 1; Patte, Early Jewish Hermeneutic, chaps I-VI.
4. William H. Brownlee, The Midrash Pesher of Habakkuk (Missoula, Montana: Scholars Press, 1979), 23-36; Patte, Early Jewish Hermeneutic, part II, esp. chap X; Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis, 38-45.
5. As Longenecker notes (214), S. Vernon McCasland, "Matthew Twists the Scripture," Journal of Biblical Literature 80 (1961), 143-48, is a classic example of this. Similar remarks may been seen in a number of the more liberal commentaries on the passages we will consider here. See also H. M. Kuitert, Do You Understand What You Read? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), chap 3.
6. Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis, 214-20.
7. Except for a few wives, everyone who is named in Genesis 1-13 is given either birth, death or genealogical notice. In Genesis 14, the kings are only identified by name and realm; Mamre and his relatives are given a tribal (i.e., genealogical) designation.
8. Wordplay is common throughout rabbinic literature, especially in the non-legal (haggadic) parts. For instance, the Yale Judaica edition of Pesikta Rabbati, a collection of rabbinic sermon materials, has over four pages of index for wordplays: William G. Braude, ed., Pesikta Rabbati 2 vols. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), 991-995.
9. Robert C. Newman, "The New Testament Model of Messiah," IBRI Research Report 6 (1980).
10. Note a possible exploratory approach to the passages. Will construing "forever" with "like Melchizedek" yield significant parallels? Perhaps we moderns should give more attention to the fruitfulness of an exegetical possibility, rather than just whether it is obvious in the context. Of course, the possibility must have support elsewhere, and the exegete should be able to make some case why his or her suggestion is worthy of consideration.
11. Besides Isa 54:11-17, see also chapters 60, 62 and 65-66. There are intimations of this earlier in Isaiah (4:2; 27:13; 31:5; 33:20-21; and 52:11). These appear to form the OT background to the NT teachings not only in Gal 4:26, but also Heb 12:22, Rev 3:12 and especially Revelation 21-22.
12. In spite of the NIV rendering "veil," a different word meginnah, "covering," is used here than in Ex 34, where masweh, "veil," occurs. The distinction is preserved in the Septuagint, with huperaspismos and kalumma, respectively. The allusion thus involves synonyms rather than the same word.
13. Perhaps this is related to the practice of naming tribes by their founding ancestor. In any case, we see Rezin identified with Aram and the son of Remaliah identified with Ephraim in Isa 7:8-9. Nebuchadnezzar and his empire are both represented by the head of the statue in Daniel 2. A plague falls on Israel for David's sin in 2 Samuel 24, and on Judah for Manasseh's sin in Jer 15:4.
14. Both Napoleon and Louis XIV are reported to have said, "I am the state," Bartlett, Familiar Quotations 11th ed., 1060. Shakespeare occasionally uses nation names for the king's own name, e.g. "England" for King John, "France" for King Philip, and even "Austria" for Lymoges, Duke of Austria, King John, Act I.
15. This, rather than a (non-extant) early Christian testimony book, may explain the similar use of several OT passages by NT writers.
16. Gospel passages (not counting parallels) which look like possibilities include Mt 2:6 (Mic 5:2, 2 Sam 5:2); Mt 4:6-7 (Ps 91:11-12, Dt 6:16); Mt 10:34-37 (Mic 7:6, Dt 33:9); Mt 11:10 (Ex 23:20, Mal 3:1); Mt 19:4-9 (Gen 1-2, Dt 24:1); Mt 21:13 (Isa 56:7, Jer 7:11); Mt 21:42-44 (Ps 118:22-23, Dan 2:34-35, 44-45); 22:23-33 (Dt 25:5, Ex 3:6); 22:34-40 (Dt 6:5, Lev 19:18); Mt 26:64 (Ps 110:1, Dan 7:13); Mt 27:9-10 (Zech 11:12-13, Jer 32:6-9); Mk 1:2-3 (Mal 3:1, Isa 40:3); Mk 7:10 (Ex 20:12, Ex 21:17); Jn 12:38-41 (Isa 53:1, Isa 6:10); Jn 19:36 (Ex 12:46, Num 9:12, Ps 34:20).