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Luke xxiv. 25–27: Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart, to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scripture the things concerning himself.”
John v. 39: “ Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.”
Acts iii. 18: “But those things which God before had revealed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”
xvii. 2, 3: “ And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, (the Jews of Thessalonica,) and three sabbath-days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead: and that this Jesus whom I preach unto you is Christ.”
Ver. 11 : “ These (the Jews of Berea) were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
See also Acts ï. 16; ii. 22–24; vii. 52; viii. 35; X. 43; xiii. 27, 32, 33; xviii. 28; xxvi. 22, 27; xxviii. 23; Luke xxiv. 44, 45; John v. 46, 47; 1 Cor. xv. 3, 4, &c.
These arguments of the Apostles were addressed chiefly to Jews. But since we are able to read the Jewish scriptures as well as the Jews of that time, we can put ourselves into the same position for feeling and appreciating the force of an argument on which the Apostles laid so much stress. Let us, then, for a time imagine ourselves in the place of the Jews of Berea, and follow the Apostle's urgent exhortation to search the Old Testament whether these things were so, i. e. whether Jesus of Nazareth was he of whom Moses and the prophets wrote.
Let us first examine all the passages which the Apostles and Evangelists themselves have quoted.
Matt. i. 23: Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold a Virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
Isaiah vii. 14: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign, Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,
and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings." From ch. viii. 3, 4, it is plain that the writer is speaking of his own child.”
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Matt. ii. 6: “And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least
among the princes of Juda ; for out of thee shall come a governor that shall rule my people Israel."*
Micah v. 2: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been (or are) from of old, from everlasting." In verse 6, this personage lieve us from the Assyrian;" and in other respects the description does not agree with Jesus, who never ruled Israel.
Matt. ii. 15: “ And he was there until the death of Herod : that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my
Hosea xi. i : “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”+
* See note + page 74.
† The manifest absurdity of supposing that these texts could have any reference to Jesus has led to the opinion that Matthew only intended to quote them by way of illustration or accommodation. But it could hardly have been worth while to do this; and, besides, the phrase "then was fulfilled” shews that Matthew intended his quotations to have the same kind of meaning as that which Peter and Paul gave to theirs when they argued from the fulfilment of prophecy. It does, indeed, seem impossible that any one who examined the context could seriously intend to represent these passages as prophecies fulfilled by Jesus; but the probability is that Matthew never thought of this kind of critical inquiry. His incorrectness of quotation seems to shew that he did not even take the trouble to refer to the passages in question, but quoted them from memory.
Matt. ii. 17: “ Then (on the slaughter of the infants) was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation and weeping, and great mourning ; Rachel weeping for her children.”
Jerem. xxxi. 15: “ Thus saith the Lord, A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children because they were not. Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord, and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.” The writer speaks of the return of the Jews from captivity, during which, the land of Israel, represented under the name of Rachel their ancestress, wept for the loss of her children, the Jews.
Matt. ii. 23: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene."
This is not to be found in the Old Testament. The passage most resembling it is Judges xiii. 7, “For the child shall be a Nazarite to God," spoken of Samson.*
Matt. iii. 2: “For this (John the Baptist) is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."
Isaiah xl. 3: This verse is part of a joyful exhortation to the Jews on their return from captivity. The protection of their God then became evident, and they are therefore told to behold their God.”
Matt. iv. 13: “And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat
* See note I page 74.
in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up."
Isaiah ix. 1 : “ Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulon, and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."*
The passage seems to be part of a description of the times of Josiah. Compare Is. viii. 19 to ix. 7, with 2 Kings xxiii. 24, 25. Josiah extirpated the familiar spirits, wizards, and idols, “and like unto him was there no king before him that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.” The passage in Isaiah urges the people to leave the wizards and familiar spirits, and to seek the law and testimony: it tells them that a great light hath shined upon them as they walk in darkness; that unto them a child is born, and the government shall be upon
his shoulder, (Josiah was only eight years old when he began to reign,) that“his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,f &c., and that of the increase
* Grotius supposes the light affliction to be the transportation of the inhabitants of Naphtali, Galilee, ljon, and several other cities, by Tiglath-pileser, 2 Kings xv. 29; the more grievous affliction to be the captivity of Israel under Salmaneser, 2 Kings xvii. and xviii.; and the child to be Hezekiah.
† The word God, perhaps, formed only one syllable of the name in Hebrew, as in Immanuel, or God with us. Grotius conjectures that instead of "counsellor, the mighty God,” we should read “ consulter of the mighty God." This would agree with either Hezekiah or Josiah, who both turned to the Lord with all their heart.
of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice.” The excess of panegyric affords ground for conjecturing that the passage was written in the time of Josiah. It will be shewn that the book of Isaiah contains, probably, many fragments written at different times.
Matt. viii. 17: “ And healed all that were sick : that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
Isaiah liji. 4: “Surely, he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Whoever be the personage intended, it is plain that Matthew has not only quoted incorrectly, but given quite a different sense to that of the writer of Isaiah; for the latter speaks of the sorrows undergone by the person himself,—Matthew, of the infirmities and sicknesses which Jesus removed from others.
Matt. xii. 18: “Behold my servant, whom I have chosen ; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased : I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles," &c.
Isaiah xlii. 1: This is a description of Israel or Jacob under the name of the Lord's servant. See chap. xli. 8; xlii. 19, 25; xliii. 1.
Matt. xiii. 14: “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive,” &c.
Isaiah vi. 9: The writer is here describing the inattention of the people to their prophets, from the death of Uzziah to the captivity. Ver. 1–11.
Matt. xv. 7: “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips: but their heart is far from me."
Isaiah xxix. 13: This description was intended to