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Matthew 21:3, 7

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  • Vinton A. Dearing
    I used to suppose that Matthew did not know the rules of Hebrew poetry when he wrote that Jesus rode in triumph on two animals. I am now inclined to translate
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 12, 1997
      I used to suppose that Matthew did not know the rules of Hebrew
      poetry when he wrote that Jesus rode in triumph on two animals. I am
      now inclined to translate the passage differently. Jesus could
      compose verse, as we see from Luke 12:53, so I suppose that he knew
      perfectly well that the "ass" and the "colt the foal of a she-ass" in
      Zechariah 9:9 were the same male animal, and that when he sent the
      apostles to get it, saying that they would "find an ass tethered and
      a foal with her," he meant they would identify the colt from this
      information, just as he later told those who were to prepare the Last
      Supper that they would find the house by following a man who was
      carrying a waterpot (Luke 22:10). I then find traces of recognition
      that Jesus rode only the colt in some of the earliest mss of
      Matthew and prefer their readings to the common ones. "The Lord needs
      it" (with Sinaiticus and Theta [01 and 038]) in vs. 3, and in vs. 7,
      "they put their garments on it" (ep' auton with Bezae and Phi [D or
      05 and 043]) and "they put him upon it" (epanw autou with Theta
      [038]; Bezae [D or 05] and 892 have epanw auton, but that may be only
      itacism). The fact that Jesus said the owner would send both animals
      -- or said he himself would send both animals back -- (vs. 3) does
      not affect my interpretation of the other passages, or so I believe
      -- so much so that I am inclined to emend that place in the text all
      by myself from apostelei autous to apostelei auton, but only in a
      footnote. Samuel Johnson, perhaps the greatest textual critic of
      Shakespeare, wrote, "Since I have confined my imagination to the
      margin [i.e., footnotes], it must not be considered as very
      reprehensible, if I have suffered it to play some freaks in its own
      dominion. There is no danger in conjecture, if it be proposed as
      conjecture; and while the text remains uninjured, those changes may
      be safely offered, which are not considered even by him that offers
      them as necessary or safe." I would be grateful for any comments.
      Vinton Dearing
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