Mattityahu Jewish New Testament

chapter 21
1. As they were approaching Yerushalayim, they came to Beit-Pagei on the Mount of Olives. Yeshua sent two talmidim
Mount of Olives. Hill one-half mile east of Jerusalem, separated from the Temple site by the Kidron Valley. Beit-Pagey (Aramaic, "house of unripe figs," Bethphage) and Beit-Anyah ("house of the poor," Bethany; v. 17) were villages on its south flank, along the road leading up from Jericho. The Mount of Olives is where Yeshua rose to heaven and where he will return at his second coming (Ac 1:9-12&N).

2. with these instructions: “Go into the village ahead of you, and you will immediately find a donkey tethered there with its colt. Untie them and bring them to me.
3. If anyone says anything to you, tell him, ‘The Lord needs them’; and he will let them go at once.”
4. This happened in order to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet,
5. "Say to the daughter of Tziyon, ‘Look! Your King is coming to you, riding humbly on a donkey, and on a colt, the offspring of a beast of burden!’" (Zechariah 9:9)
6. So the talmidim went and did as Yeshua had directed them.
7. They brought the donkey and the colt and put their robes on them, and Yeshua sat on them.
The key to this passage is the citation from the Tanakh in v. 5. It conflates two verses in the Tanakh, Isaiah 62:11 and Zechariah 9:9. The former includes the lines,

"Say to the daughter of Zion,
'See your salvation comes!
See, His reward is with Him,
but His work lies ahead of Him."'

The word for "salvation" here is "yesha'," identical with the name of the Messiah, Yeshua, except for the optional letter vav. Moreover, Isaiah describes this "yesha'"as a person, and not just any person, but God — since a person who is salvation must be God. English translations, including Jewish ones, which capitalize pronouns referring to God recognize this fact by capitalizing "His" and "Him" in this passage, as is done above. One may even say thai in this verse Isaiah, writing 700 years before Yeshua was born, refers to him in his divine aspect by name. Zechariah 9:9 has these lines in it:
"Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion!...
See, your king comes to you.
He is triumphant and victorious,
humbly riding on a donkey,
yes, on a colt, the offspring of a beast of burden."

By combining the two verses Mattityahu gives a hint (renter, see 2:15N) that God, the Salvation of Israel, the Messianic King and Yeshua of Natzeret are one. Also he hints at the two comings of the Messiah and the difference between them: at his first coming Yeshua is our final atoning sacrifice, bringing salvation by his death; therefore he rides into Jerusalem humbly on a beast of burden, ready to perform the work which lies ahead of him. But he will return, triumphant and victorious, as ruling king, rewarding the faithful — although for those who are faithful now, he has already begun to share the reward which he brings with him.

On a donkey, humbly, reflecting Yeshua's first coming to die for our sins. At his second coming he will be on horseback (Rv 19:11), as befits a king.

On a donkey and on a colt (v. 5).... Yeshua sat on them (v. 7). The relationship between these two phrases has given rise to a criticism of Mallityahu which, if justified, impugns his credibility as a divinely inspired writer. In v. 5, Greek kai, here rendered "and" (but see below), seems to imply that Zechariah is writing about two donkeys. Then, in v. 7, the phrase, "and he sat on them," is ambiguous — did he sit on the robes, using them as a cushion, or on both the donkey and the colt?

The argument is that Mattityahu the tax-collector was an ignorant 'am-ha'aretz (country bumpkin; see Ac 4:13&N) unfamiliar with parallelism in Hebrew poetry, wherein the second line of a couplet sometimes adds no new information but only states differently what the first line has already said. Not knowing this, he supposed that fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy required both a donkey and a colt and therefore created the ludicrous picture of Yeshua straddling two animals at once.

One can explain it, of course, by saying he did not sit on them simultaneously but in succession, kindly giving the colt rest, since it had never been ridden. One can even find meaning in Yeshua's action: his sitting on not only the donkey but its colt symbolizes his utter humiliation at his First Coming (Pp 2:6-8), since the colt is described as the mere offspring of a beast of burden, even lower in status than the mother animal. But in fact there is no need to suppose Mattityahu thought Yeshua rode on both animals. Mattityahu was thoroughly familiar with the Tanakh, as his many quotations from it attest. Moreover, we know from the parallel passages that Yeshua rode on only one animal (Mk 11:7, Lk 19:35). Perhaps Mattityahu mentions two donkeys for a different reason, namely, to emphasize the immaturity of the colt (see Mk 11:2), too young to be separated from its mother.

Furthermore, the Greek grammar allows a different approach. In v. 5 Greek kai, corresponding to Hebrew letter vav, makes it possible to replace "and on a colt" with any of these alternative renderings: "yes, on a colt," "indeed, on a colt." "even on a colt," or "that is, on a colt." These eliminate explicitly the need for two .miiiials in order to fulfill the prophecy, without excluding the possibility that there were nevertheless two animals there.

The Talmud contains an interesting homily based on Zechariah 9:9, but it obscures the difference between his first and second comings.
"Rabbi Alexandri said, 'Rabbi Y'hoshua set two verses against each other: It is written, "And behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven" (Daniel 7:13), while elsewhere it is written, "See, your king comes unto you,... humbly riding on a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9). [He resolved the paradox by saying that] if they deserve it (he will come] with the clouds of heaven, but if not, lowly and riding on an ass.'"(Sanhedrin 98a)

The New Testament explanation, of course, is that at his first coming the Messiah was "humbly riding on a donkey," but his second coining will be with the clouds of heaven" (24:30). For similar paradoxes cited from the same page of the Talmud see MJ3:7Nand2Ke3:12N.

It has been suggested that Yeshua was an impostor who Arranged this and other scenes in order to convince the people he was the Messiah: "Here's an easy prophecy to fulfill: I'll do what it says, and then they'll believe." If riding on a donkey colt were the only qualification for Messiahship, one might take the objection seriously - or we could all be Messiahs.

Clearly Yeshua did arrange his entry into Jerusalem to fulill Zechariah's prophecy. But he also fulfilled many other prophecies which he could not have manipulated, such as the time and place of his birth (Daniel 9:24-26, Micah 5:1(2); see above, 2:1-6&NN), and his resurrection (Psalm 16:10; see Ac 2:24-32&NN). For a fuller listing of these prophecies see 26:24N and Section VII of the Introduction to the JNT.

8. Crowds of people carpeted the road with their clothing, while others cut branches from trees and spread them on the road.
9. The crowds ahead of him and behind shouted, "Please! Deliver us!" to the Son of David; "Blessed is he who comes in the name of Adonai!", "You in the highest heaven! Please! Deliver us!" (Tehelim - Psalm 118:25–26)
Shouting, "Please! Deliver us!" to the Son of David. Greek osanna transliterates Hebrew koshia' na (literally, "Save, please!"). The word, and sometimes the whole phrase, is usually rendered as if it were an acclamation of praise: "shouting, 'Hosanna to the Son of David!'"Actually "Hoshia' na" is a prayer addressed to the Messiah, quoted from Psalm 118:25-26; Psalm 118 is Messianic throughout (Mattityahu cites another important passage from it at v. 42 below). The implication is that the crowds recognized and honored Yeshua as the Messiah by shouting, "Please, deliver us, Son of David!" — "Son of David" is a Messianic title (see 1:1N), and the crowds wanted Iheir Messiah to deliver them from the Roman overlords.

Likewise, again quoting Psalm 118:25-26, they were recognizing Yeshua's Messiahship when they shouted, Blessed is he who comes in the name — that is, with the power and authority (see Ac 3:16N) — of Adonai! In other words: blessed is the Messiah, who exercises God's power and authority on earth and at the same time is present in the highest heaven, with intimate access to God himself (compare Yn 17:1-26, Pp 2:6-11). That this is the sense is clear from Yeshua's own use of the same passage at 23:39.

10. When he entered Yerushalayim, the whole city was stirred. “Who is this?” they asked.
11. And the crowds answered, “This is Yeshua, the prophet from Natzeret in the Galil.”
12. Yeshua entered the Temple grounds and drove out those who were doing business there, both the merchants and their customers. He upset the desks of the money-changers and knocked over the benches of those who were selling pigeons.
Pilgrims in Jerusalem turned to merchants for the animals and pigeons they needed for sacrifices; and they had recourse to foreign-exchange dealers because the Temple tax (see 17:24&N) was payable inTyrian rather lhan Roman coin, since the latter had heathen markings; see Mishna Sh'kalim 5:3, 6:5, 7:2. Yeshua is fully aware of this but objects to the use of the Temple grounds for these purposes; the Talmud includes curses on the Sadducean priests for their greed. The restrictions placed on business in the Temple area created monopolistic profits for the merchants and revenue for the authorities.

According to the Tanakh, "on that day," that is, in Messianic times, "there shall no longer be a merchant in the house of Adonai of Hosts" (Zechariah 14:21; the word for "merchant," "trafficker" or "trader" is, literally, "Canaanite," as at Job 40:30(41:6) and Proverbs 31:24).

13. He said to them, “It has been written, 'My house will be called a house of prayer" (Isaiah 56:7). But you are making it into a den of robbers!!" (Jeremiah 7:11)
14. Blind and lame people came up to him in the Temple, and he healed them.
15. But when the head cohanim and Torah-teachers saw the wonderful things he was doing, and the children crying out in the Temple, "Please deliver us!" to the Son of David, they were furious.
16. They said to him, “Do you hear what they’re saying?” Yeshua replied, “Of course! Haven’t you ever read, 'From the mouth of children and infants you have prepared praise for yourself?" (Tehelim - Psalm 8:3(2))
17. With that, he left them and went outside the city to Beit-Anyah, where he spent the night.
18. The next morning, on his way back to the city, he felt hungry.
19. Spotting a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. So he said to it, “May you never again bear fruit!” and immediately the fig tree dried up.
20. The talmidim saw this and were amazed. “How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?” they asked.
See Mk 11:12-14, 20-24&N.

21. Yeshua answered them, “Yes! I tell you, if you have trust and don’t doubt, you will not only do what was done to this fig tree; but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea!’ it will be done.
22. In other words, you will receive everything you ask for in prayer, no matter what it is, provided you have trust.”
23. He went into the Temple area; and as he was teaching, the head cohanim and the elders of the people approached him and demanded, “What s’mikhah do you have that authorizes you to do these things? And who gave you this s’mikhah?”
24. Yeshua answered, “I too will ask you a question. If you answer it, then I will tell you by what s’mikhah I do these things.

Hebrew s'mikhah, rendering Greek exousia ("authority"), means "leaning" or "laying" on of hands in the ordination ceremony for a judge, elder or rabbi. Laying on of hands is. in the Tanakh, a symbolic act that confers or transfers an office, along with its duties and privileges, by dramatizing God's bestowal of the blessings and giftings needed for the work. In Judaism the practice is traced back to Moses' ordination of Joshua and of the seventy elders (Numbers 11:16-17, 24-25; 27:18-23; Deuteronomy 34:9; see also Ac 8:17,9:17, 13:3, 19:6,28:8; 1 Ti 4:4, 5:22; 2 Ti 1:6).

A rabbinic ordinand was granted the right to judge and to decide points of halakhah (see 16:19N, 18:18-20N) by a board of three elders, at least one of whom had also received s'mikhah. The cohanim (2:4N) and elders, who are also P'rushim (v. 45, 3:7N), are asking: "What kind of ordination did you receive that entitles you to teach as authoritatively as you do (7:28-29&N), to decide points of halakhah as you do (12:1-15&NN), and to disturb the peace in the Temple courts (vv. 12-17 above)? And who dared give you such an ordination (so that we can interrogate him too)?" Yeshua does not answer their question (although see Yn 5:27. Mk 1:22-27N) but instead puts them on the defensive (21:29-22:46).

25. The immersion of Yochanan — where did it come from? From Heaven or from a human source?” They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From Heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’
26. But if we say, ‘From a human source,’ we are afraid of the people, for they all regard Yochanan as a prophet.
27. So they answered Yeshua, “We don’t know.” And he replied, “Then I won’t tell you by what s’mikhah I do these things.
28. “But give me your opinion: a man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29. He answered, ‘I don’t want to’; but later he changed his mind and went.
30. The father went to his other son and said the same thing. This one answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he didn’t go.
31. Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they replied. “That’s right!” Yeshua said to them. “I tell you that the tax-collectors and prostitutes are going into the Kingdom of God ahead of you!
32. For Yochanan came to you showing the path to righteousness, and you wouldn’t trust him. The tax-collectors and prostitutes trusted him; but you, even after you saw this, didn’t change your minds later and trust him.
33. “Now listen to another parable. There was a farmer who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower; then he rented it to tenants and left.
34. When harvest-time came, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his share of the crop.
35. But the tenants seized his servants — this one they beat up, that one they killed, another they stoned.
36. So he sent some other servants, more than the first group, and they did the same to them.
37. Finally, he sent them his son, saying, ‘My son they will respect.’
38. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance!’
39. So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
41. They answered him, “He will viciously destroy those vicious men and rent out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him his share of the crop when it’s due.” 42. Yeshua said to them, “Haven’t you ever read in the Tanakh, 'The very rock which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone! This has come from Adonai, and in our eyes it is amazing'? (Tehelim - Psalm 118:22–23)
Only a few months later Kefa told the Sanhedrin, "This Yeshua is the stone rejected by you builders which has become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else! For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by whom we must be saved!" (Ac 4:11-12&NN).

43. Therefore, I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to the kind of people that will produce its fruit!”
The Kingdom of God will be taken away from you. Yeshua is not saying that the Christians will replace the Jews as God's people, as many Christians teach. Rather, he is warning that Jewish leaders who do not look out for God's interests (vv. 33-42) will be deprived of sharing in his rulership; and this task, with its rewards, will fall to a different group of Jewish leaders, the Messianic Jewish talmidim caring for Yeshua's Messianic Community (see 18:18-20&N). Before long, of course, this community comes to include Gentile Christians, some of whom become leaders too. In Sifre, a collection of midrashim compiled in the 4th century but including much older material, the rabbis, making a similar point in their discussion of Deuteronomy 32:9, told a similar parable about a king who leased a field to tenants.

The manuscripts which have v. 44 probably borrowed it from Lk 20:18.

45. As the head cohanim and the P’rushim listened to his stories, they saw that he was speaking about them.
46. But when they set about to arrest him, they were afraid of the crowds; because the crowds considered him a prophet.

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