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Enemies under foot; Jesus as passive in debate?

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  • Bob Schacht
    This past month has given us lots of time to think about enemies. Psalm 110:1 was a NT favorite in this regard: RSV Psalm 110:1 The LORD
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2001
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      This past month has given us lots of time to think about enemies. Psalm
      110:1 was a NT favorite in this regard:
      RSV Psalm 110:1 <A Psalm of David.> The LORD says to my lord: "Sit at my
      right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool."

      I would guess that it would have been a popular thought in America recently
      if Americans knew their Bibles well enough to remember it.

      Enemies ("echthros {ech-thros'} • from a primary echtho (to
      hate); hateful (passively, odious, or actively, hostile); TDNT -
      2:811,285; adj • AV - enemy 30, foe 2; 32 • 1) hated, odious, hateful 2)
      hostile, hating, and opposing another 2a) used of men as at enmity with
      God by their sin 2a1) opposing (God) in the mind 2a2) a man that is
      hostile 2a3) a certain enemy 2a4) the hostile one 2a5) the devil who
      is the most bitter enemy of the divine government )

      Psalm 110:1 is adopted in the Triple Tradition
      Mark 12:36 David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declared, `The Lord
      said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet.'

      The context here is odd, however; the point is not about enemies, but about
      the odd construction "The Lord said to my Lord," posed as a conundrum to
      his listeners in the Temple area in Jerusalem (Mark), but to a crowd of
      Pharisees in Matthew, and to some Sadducees in Luke.

      Mat 22:44 `The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy
      enemies under thy feet'?

      Luke 20:42 For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, `The Lord said to
      my Lord, Sit at my right hand, 43 till I make thy enemies a stool for thy
      feet.'

      Luke liked it so much that he also used it in Acts 2, where he has Peter
      use it to make a Christological point:
      34 For David did not ascend into the heavens; but he himself says, `The
      Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand,
      35 till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet.'

      and Paul also uses it to make a Christological point in 1 Cor 15:
      25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

      and the author of Hebrews also uses it Christologically:
      1:13 But to what angel has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand, till I make
      thy enemies a stool for thy feet"?

      10: 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for
      sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 then to wait until his
      enemies should be made a stool for his feet.

      But with all this smoke, the Jesus Seminar rates the triple tradition
      saying as straight black. Psalm 110 seems definitely to have been on the
      minds of early Christians. But if they were the ones who thought up
      applying it to Jesus, why then does the triple tradition-- each with its
      own audience-- have Jesus make an entirely unrelated point? It seems to me
      at least as plausible that Jesus *did* use Psalm 110 to pose a conundrum,
      and after several decades of trying to make sense of it, they decided to
      use it Christologically.

      In connection with the passage in Mark, the Jesus Seminar (T5G p. 105)
      writes, "In both healing and debate, Jesus appears to have been a passive
      participant." Is this sound analysis, or does the JSem's methodology skew
      the data towards this hypothesis? For example, by arguing that the early
      church "would have been inclined... to represent Jesus as making
      pronouncements on a variety of topics", does this prevent them from seeing
      Jesus as anything but passive? This claim strikes me as being rather odd.
      Nevertheless, the Reddest of the Red sayings, according to T5G, is Matthew
      5:39-41, where Jesus is not being passive at all: Neither Matthew nor Luke
      present these sayings as replies to someone else. In fact, it would appear
      that the logic used to consider Jesus' alleged use of Psalm 110 as not
      authentic should also apply to Matthew 5:39-41, shouldn't it?

      What do others think?

      Bob


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