Re: Matt 2:23

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Tue Apr 07 1998 - 10:25:26 EDT

At 06:34 AM 4/7/98 -0600, Juan Stam wrote:
>Thanks, David, for your very helpful contribution.
>Matthew's way of using the Hebrew scriptures is certainly perplexing,
>especially his repeated use of PLHROW for things that cannot be considered
>"fulfilment" in any exegetical sense. I wonder if this is because Matthew
>(ande other biblical authors) understand both "prophesy" and "fulfillment"
>in a different way. Rachel weeping (Mt 2.18) is already in Jer 31.15 a
>quite far-fetched (for us) "prophesy" (without too clear a source in Gen),
>and then Mt puts a double-whammy on it by a far-fetched (for us) application
>to the flight to Egypt. They seem to be seeing "prophechy" in a typological
>way, as hidden salvation-history anticipations of future saving acts
>My question: how is Matthew understanding PLHROW? It seems to be, not as
>literal fulfilment (a la Nostradamus) but as to "fill out" the meaning of
>some ancient hint of saving grace. Even then, Matthew goes pretty far in
>"stretching it" to be prophecies that were "filled-out" in Jesus.

        Thank you for your comment, Juan.

        It looks to me as though PLHROW is being understood according to _sensus
plenior_ (J. M. Mart’nez, _HermenŽutica B’blica_, [Barcelona: CLIE, 1984],
p. 26). The passages about the Branch are seen as Messianic according to
this sense, and to Matthew and his audience it was significant that the
customary appellation used to refer to Jesus evoked these passages. We
must recognize, I believe, that people of the first centruy faith
communities did not take a scientific approach to understanding the
mysteries of prophecy and the Jewish messianic hope. If this seems odd -
or even incorrect - to us, it is good to remember, as someone has correctly
observed, that, as a hermeneutical principle, the _sensus-plenior_ approach
to Scripture is directly traceable to Jesus himself.

David Moore

David L. Moore
Miami, Florida, USA
Southeastern Spanish District of the A/G Dept. of Education
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