Re: Matt 10:41-42

From: Larry Swain (
Date: Sun Aug 09 1998 - 02:41:38 EDT

On Sat, 8 Aug 1998, Don Wilkins wrote:

> First, one has to examine whether "in the name of" means "representing
> (another)" or "because he is (a prophet, righteous man)". I'm an NASB

I've always taken these words with the Mishnahic-Rab X says in the name of
Rab- a kind of short hand for saying that the speaker is speaking with the
authority of originator of the statement at that moment and is simply part
of the complex pattern of oral tradition. I'm not certain if there is
justification to this, but I've found the parallel fascinating
nonetheless. And if list members will permit me this: If Matthew is
adapting a saying of Jesus to a later situation, the previous verse simply
extends its meaning. Whoever accepts one of the disciples in Jesus' name
receives Jesus. So therefore whoever accepts Peter's (for example)
messenger accepts Peter, and by accepting Peter accepts Jesus and the
whole of the Oral Tradition from Jesus. I would (and am ) arguing
elsewhere that Matthew is representitive of the same movement in reporting
and carrying tradition that we find written in the Mishnah later. Hope
that isn't too unclear.....

> Second, what is the reward and the meaning of the genitive with it in each
> verse? Is it, e.g. the reward that a prophet receives, or that he sends. My
> inclination for the moment is that Jesus is speaking of a gift given by the
> prophet or righteous man who sends his representative, and that it is given
> in return for hospitality shown the representative.

I would tend to agree on the ground that in both the Hebrew Bible and in
the Intertestamental literature the prophets are frequently portrayed as
offering a blessing or answering a prayer in return for hospitality.

If so, the quality of > the gift probably varies with the means of the
person sending it, in a > descending scale; i.e. the gift of a prophet is
potentially greater than > that of a righteous man, whose gift in turn
might be better than that of the > disciple giving a reward for the gift
of cold water in v. 42. It can be > argued that God is ultimately or
directly the source of each of these > rewards. Some have even suggested
that the gift in each case is eternal > life, but I can't agree, based on
two things: (1) Jesus seems to be > describing *different* gifts, and (2)
this is inconsistent with his teaching > of faith in himself for salvation
(granted, this is a somewhat theological > position).

I agree with you here. I do think there is a pecking order in Matthew's
church, the 12, the disciples, etc. I'll have to double check, but it
seems to me that the Didache records a similar discussion-I'll check that
when I can get to my edition. As for the gift....the other way to look at
it is that the one who recieves a prophet receives the same heavenly
reward, but considering Near Eastern hospitality customs and if the above
is true, I rather think you're right: it is the return the prophet or
righteous man gives for the hospitality.

> > Another issue
is whether these are heavenly or earthly rewards, but this > question
would hinge largely on the sense of the genitives (again, does the >
prophet receive or give the award, a la subjective/objective genitive). >

Both. In large part it depends on how you read Matthew-for example are
the rewards in the Beatitudes other wordly or this worldly and how do you
think Matthew defines the Kingdom?

Hope that helps a little, I would be interested in discussing the finer
points offlist.

Larry Swain

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