b-greek-digest V1 #70

b-greek-digest             Monday, 8 January 1996       Volume 01 : Number 070

In this issue:

        Re: Keys of death & hell 
        Re: Keys of death & hell
        Re: Translating


From: Scott Anthony McKellar <smckella@cln.etc.bc.ca>
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 1996 21:48:21 -0800
Subject: Re: Keys of death & hell 

I'm have been a lurker for some time now and I thought I would hazard some
thoughts.  I am sure my treatment is breezy and lacking somewhat, compared
to the heavy weights on this list, but I would appreciate your comments on
my treatment of Matt 16:19.

><> ( ) ><>

Verse 19 is composed of three clauses in Greek.  Verse 19a is a leading
statement which is followed by a couplet;

(19a) I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, 	
      (19b) and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,
      (19c) and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in
           	heaven." NRSV

What is the significance of "the keys of the kingdom?"

  Most commentators at least mention the possible verbal allusion  to Isa.
22:22.  As I mentioned above on verse 18, there seems to be general
agreement that  Rev 3:7 quotes Isa. 22:22.[1]   

Revelation 3:7
Greek word order. . . the key [_ten klein_] of David,  the one opening and
no one shuts, the one shutting and no one opens.

Isaiah 22:22
Hebrew word order --And I will give the key [_mapteah_ ] of house of David
on his shoulders, he that opens and no one shuts, he that shuts and no one

	While the argument for an exact quote of Isa. 22 in Revelation 3:7 is
quite certain, at the most we have an allusion here in Matt 16.   Davies
and  Allison are representative of many commentators who do take verse 19
as an allusion from Isa. 22:22.[2]  They note that keys are normally
associated with "opening" and "closing" not "binding" and "loosing" (only
here in the Greek Bible is _kleis_ (keys) used with _luw_ (to loose)). 
They also note ""binding" and "loosing" (19b-c) do not  naturally go with
keys (v. 19a), but they do go with  "opening" and "closing."  The change
from "opening" and "closing"  to "binding" and "loosing" may be due to the
shift of nuance from Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek . [3] 
	It is difficult to see what tradition history would be assigned to "the
keys" in Matt 16:19 if the allusion is not to Isa. 22, as seems obvious. 
The passage in Isa. 22 implies the transfer of Prime-ministerial authority
to the recipient.  John D. W. Watts notes that in this passage the change
of Prime-ministers from Shebna to Eliakim contains the fullest description
of this position of honor and authority that exists in Scripture.  At this
point in its development the term "steward" apparently means the one who
represents the king,  much like the _vizier_ in Egypt who governed with
full authority in the Pharoh's name.[4]   One should note here, that in
Isaiah 22, the Royal Steward is also told that 'he shall be a *father* to
the inhabitants of Jerusalem.'  The implications of  this allusion to
Isaiah 22 is that Peter  is the recipient of unique prime-ministerial
authority over the kingdom of heaven.  He is the royal "steward" of the
King.  The King's representative, who has full authority to act on the
King's behalf.  In the context of Matt 16  the "binding and loosing" would
be understood in terms of teaching authority and the power to declare what
is permitted and not permitted.  Davies and Allison favor this view and
note that it harmonizes with the dominant Rabinnic usage of "the key of
David" and "binding and loosing" in the period just following the NT. [5] 
Although these Rabbinic materials may be of questionable value because of
their late date, several NT passages hint at the same concept in Jewish
usage contemporary with Jesus.

	 In Luke 11:52 Jesus says to the scribes and Pharisees,

"Woe to you lawyers!  For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did
not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering." NRSV

The parallel in Matthew 23:13 reads;

"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  for you lock people
out of the kingdom of heaven.  For you do not go in yourselves, and when
others are going in, you try to stop them." NRSV

Entrance into the kingdom of heaven is blocked by the false doctrine of the
scribes and Pharisees.   Earlier in in this same passage (Matt 23:2-3) we
have another interesting detail;

"The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses seat [Greek _kathedras_];
therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they
do, for they do not practice what they teach. 

	As teachers of the Law, the scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses _Kathedras_
and, therefore, are stewards of Moses authority.  As we noted [this was
originally a two part post on Matt 16:18-20] in verse 18, Peter is renamed
by Jesus in a similar pattern to Abraham in Gen 17. Davies and Allison see
intriguing parallels between Matt 16 and Gen 17. [6]  In both passages a
name is changed to indicate the creation of a new people of God.  I would
also add that both are covenantal foundations or "fathers" of their newly
created people.  As we noted earlier Isa. 51:1-2reflects on Abraham's
fatherhood and calls him a "rock" (LXX  _petran_) Interestingly enough
earlier in Matthew (3:9) John the Baptist is reported to issue a warning to
the Jews based on Isa 51:1-2;

"Do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father' for I
tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham."  

	Matthew is drawing together themes from Jewish understandings of the Old
Testament and Jesus' own  teachings to demonstrate that Peter is the new
father Abraham who rules with teaching authority from the _Kathedras_ of
Christ and His kingdom.  A kingdom which has both continuity and
discontinuity with the old order.  As God's Royal Steward, Peter is also
the representative of the heavenly King.  This calling is unique, and is
not confused with the general authority to bind and loose given to all the
disciples in Matt 18:18.  The other disciples are give authority "to bind
and loose" but are not vested with authority of the prime-minister, or
Royal Steward.  In Jewish terms they are probably thought of a Rabbis
but not the Chief Rabbi (if such an analogy holds an water).  They are to
be thought of as fathers but not the unique covenantal father (the new
Abraham) of the new people of  God.


[1] cf. Robert G. Bratcher _Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament_,
Helps For Translators.  [London, New York: United Bible Societies,1961]
p.75.  See also Appendix III _loci citati vel allegati_ in Nestle-Alands 26
ed._Novum Testamentum Graece_, p. 759, which lists both Matt 16:19 and Rev.
3:7 as possible OT quotes or verbal allusions for Isa. 22:22

[2] J. A. Emerton, "Binding and Loosing--Forgiving and Retaining," Journal
of Theological Studies 13 (1962), pp. 325-31, as quoted in W. D. Davies and
Dale C. Allison Jr._The Gospel According to Saint Matthew_ in _The
International Critical Commentary_ ed. J. A. Emerton, C.E.B. Cranfield, and
G.N. Stanton [Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1991] Volume 2, p. 640.  Cf also J.
Jeremias TDNT III: 744-753 under the heading "B. The Power of the Keys." 
Jeremias notes that Matt 16 has a strong Semitic character.  He also notes
numerous examples in the biblical and later Jewish usage which show that
"handing over the keys implies full authorization [cf. esp. Rev. 1:18; 3:7;
11:6].  He who has the keys has full authority.  Thus when Eliakim is given
the keys of the palace he is appointed the royal steward (Isa. 22:22, cf.
15)" [p. 750]  He states further "Hence handing over the keys implies
appointment to full authority.  He who has the keys has on the one side
control, e.g., over the council chamber or treasury, cf. Mt 13:52, and on
the other the power to allow or forbid entry, cf. Rev. 3:7." [p. 751]

[3]Davies and Allison  _Ibid_ p. 640. They cite the Aramaic _Targum to
Isaiah_ 22:22 as well a LX at Gen. 42:27; Job 39:5; Ps. 101:20; Isa. 5:27;
14:17; 58:6; and Jer 47:4 were the Hebrew _patah_ is rendered by the Greek

[4] John D.W. Watts, _Word Biblical Commentary_ Vol. 24 _Isaiah 1-33 ed D.
A. Hubbard, et. al. [Waco:Word books, 1985] pp. 289-290.

[5] Davies and Allison _Ibid_ , p. 638-639, quoting H. L. Strack/P.
Billerbeck, _Kommentar zum N. T. aus Talmudd und Midrasch_ (Munich, 5th
ed., 1969) 1:738-41.  Cf  also _The Theological Dictionary of the New
Testament_ (TDNT) II: 60-61 by F. Buchsel on "binding and loosing"  He
states based on the Hebrew and Aramaic words for this expression: "the
customary meaning of the Rabbinic expressions is equally incontestable,
namely, to declare forbidden or permitted, and thus to impose or remove an
obligation, by doctrinal decision."  Buchsel is reluctant to transfer this
meaning to the disciples because they are never called rabbis.  Even though
the Hebrew only rarely means "to impose or remove a ban, to expel from and
receive back into the congregation.  Nevertheless, this meaning is
attested, and must therefore be considered as the true sense of _dein kai
luein_ [bind and loose] in Mt. 16:19; and 18:8."  

[6]  Davies and Allison _Ibid_ , p. 624.


Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
Scott Anthony McKellar ~ Abbotsford, BC
><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  ><>  <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
 + et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam +


From: "James A.DeBruhl" <74764.1710@compuserve.com>
Date: 07 Jan 96 01:45:42 EST
Subject: me


From: Carlton Winbery <winberyc@popalex1.linknet.net>
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 1996 09:15:34 +0400
Subject: Re: Keys of death & hell

>I'm have been a lurker for some time now and I thought I would hazard some
>thoughts.  I am sure my treatment is breezy and lacking somewhat, compared
>to the heavy weights on this list, but I would appreciate your comments on
>my treatment of Matt 16:19.
I see nothing "breezy" or "lacking" in your treatment of this verse.  It is
a bit "fresh" in LA this morning (weather and your treatment).

Carlton L. Winbery
Prof. Religion
LA College, Pineville, La


From: "Charles W. Bradley" <74034.676@compuserve.com>
Date: 08 Jan 96 00:03:12 EST
Subject: Re: Translating

>What "they are teaching in seminaries these days" is the need >to try to
examine the available evidence without prejudice to try >to let the evidence
lead us to conclusions rather than let our >conclusions reinterpret the

Heb 5:12  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one
teach you again which [be] the first
principles of the oracles of God; 

Heb 11: 1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen. 2  For by it the elders obtained a
good report. 3  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the
word of God, so that things which are seen
were not made of things which do appear.

Charles Bradley
Hopewell Presbyterian Church


End of b-greek-digest V1 #70


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