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153Re: [ematthew] the occasion of the demand for a sign in Matt. 16:1

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  • MillerJimE@AOL.COM
    Nov 14, 2004
      "Glorifying the God of Israel" implies to me that they were Jews. I
      understand how a reader might conclude that this "God of Israel" implies
      non-Israelites, but it doesn't seem odd to me to have a Jewish crowd using that phrase.
      I always assumed the crowd was Jewish until I read your post. The previous
      Syro-Phoenician woman was very clearly specified as non-Jewish. I assumed a
      similar specification would be needed for the crowd if it was non-Jewish.
      Also there are two other problems with a non-Jewish identity. Would
      non-Jews be called "this evil and adulterous generation"? Adulterous implies
      Israel, not gentile listeners. The gentiles are not God's people, therefore
      cannot be adulterous. Second, the "sign of Jona" would mean a lot more to a Jewish
      audience than a non-Jewish audience. Jonah, of course, was the figure of a
      Jewish story.
      What intrigues me on this issue is something of a parallel in the Gospel
      of John 6:26. Jesus had fed the 5000 (not 4000, I know), and there was the
      crossing of the sea, and the audience is clearly Jewish, as part of the
      discourse occurres in the synagogue. Jesus tells the crowd, "Amen, amen I say to you,
      you do not seek me because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of
      the loaves." Matthew's crowd seeks signs but John's crowd does not -- it just
      seeks to fill its belly. If John was familiar with the synoptics, this
      contrast in John is quite intriguing.

      Jim Miller

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