01 February 2013

Hosea 11 in Matthew 2

Perhaps the most difficult use of the OT anywhere in the NT is the quotation of Hosea 11:1 in Matthew 2:15. In the current JETS Greg Beale argues that if we read Matthew 2:15 under the assumption of divine authorship of the whole Bible, and under the assumption that Matthew read Hosea 11:1 in the broader context of Hosea 11, and recognize what earlier texts Hosea himself is drawing on (Num 23-24), then actually both Matthew and Hosea are reading and writing in a way that is responsible according to grammatical/historical exegesis.

The upshot of the article, in Dr. Beale's conclusion:
Therefore, Matthew contrasts Jesus as the 'son' (2:15) with Hosea's 'son' (11:1). The latter who came out of Egypt was not obedient, and was judged but would be restored (11:2-11), while the former did what Israel should have done: Jesus came out of Egypt, was perfectly obedient, ddi not deserve judgment but suffered it anyway for guilty Israel and the world in order to restore them to God. Matthew portrays Jesus to be recapitulating the history of Israel because he sums up Israel in himself. Since Israel disobeyed, Jesus has come to do what they should have, so he must retrace Israel's steps up to the point they failed, and then continue to obey and succeed in the mission Israel should have carried out. The attempt to kill the Israelite infants, the journey of Jesus and his family into Egypt and back to the Promised Land again is the same basic pattern of Israel of old. Hence, Jesus did what Israel should have done but did not do. This use of Hos. 11:1 also is an example of how important Exodus patterns were to Matthew and the other NT writers in understanding the mission of Jesus and the church. Jesus' journey out of Egypt is identified as Israel's eschatological exodus out of Egypt to which Israel's first exodus out of Egypt pointed. 
--G. K. Beale, 'The Use of Hosea 11:1 in Matthew 2:15: One More Time,' Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 55 (2012): 710

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