Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Matthew's Infancy Narrative, 03: From Solomon to the Exile

(Part 01, Part 02)
Σολομὼν δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ῥοβοάμ,
Ῥοβοὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀβιά,
Ἀβιὰ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀσάφ,
Ἀσὰφ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσαφάτ,
Ἰωσαφὰτ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωράμ,
Ἰωρὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ὀζίαν,
Ὀζίας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωαθάμ,
Ἰωαθὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀχάζ,
Ἀχὰζ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἑζεκίαν,
Ἑζεκίας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Μανασσῆ,
Μανασσῆς δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀμώς,
Ἀμὼς δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσίαν,
Ἰωσίας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰεχονίαν καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος.

And Solomōn fathered Roboam,
and Roboam fathered Abia,
and Abia fathered Asaph,
and Asaph fathered Iōsaphat,
and Iōsaphat fathered Iōram,
and Iōram fathered Ozias,
and Ozias fathered Iōatham,
and Iōatham fathered Achas,
and Achas fathered Hezekias,
and Hezekias fathered Manassēs,
and Manassēs fathered Amōs,
and Amōs fathered Iōsias,
and Iōsias fathered Iechonias and his brothers at the deportation to Babylon.
The second set of fourteens begins with Solomon. Now Matthew is in more familiar territory here: his list of kings do not show much divergence from the list in 1 Chronicles 3. (As a consequence, we won't take much long here. ;)) The only major difference from that list is, as I've noted in part 02, Matthew's omission of at least four kings (Ahaziah, J(eh)oash, Amaziah, Jehoiakim) from the genealogy in order to arrive at the symbolic number fourteen. Another possibility as to why Matthew could have omitted exactly the first three kings is because of the curse laid upon the northern house of Ahab (1 Kings 21:21), to which they are in some degree related via Athaliah (2 Kings 11:1-3; something which both Chronicles and Matthew skips). In agreement with Matthew's practice of conforming to the OT, the omission of Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah may reflect the idea of the Lord's visiting the sin of Ahab on the third and fourth generations of his children - here even through his daughter's line (Exodus 20:5; Numbers 14:18). In any case, these three kings died violent deaths (2 Chronicles 22:1-9; 24:1-25, 28).

It's actually common for some genealogies to omit some names for some purpose or another - say, the sake of brevity (Genesis 46:21 (cf. 1 Chronicles 8:1-4); Joshua 7:1, 24; 1 Chronicles 4:1 (cf. 2:50); 6:7-9 (cf. Ezra 7:3); Ezra 5:1 (cf. Zechariah 1:1); Josephus, Life 1-5; Apocalypse of Abraham). Nowadays, we might be sticklers for total accuracy and detail, but apparently people from back then were not as scrupulous as we are. The later rabbis had the principle (b. Qiddushin, 4a) that the sons of (someone's) sons are still (that someone's) 'sons'.

I forgot to mention this at the last post, but the transliteration of the names in the genealogy as they appear in Matthew's Greek text for the most part agree with the Septuagint's. Some of the differences are:
  1. Ῥαχάβ Rachab, against LXX's Ῥαάβ Raab
  2. Σαλμών Salmōn (1 Chronicles LXX's transliteration), against Ruth 4:20 LXX's Σαλμάν Salman
  3. Βόες Boes, against LXX's Βόος Boos/Βόοζ Booz (some manuscripts of Matthew 'correct' it to agree with the LXX's spelling)
  4. Ἰωβὴδ Iōbēd (the spelling found in one version of 1 Chronicles), against ᾿Ωβὴδ Ōbēd (other LXX mss., Ruth 4:17, 21-22 LXX, late mss. of Matthew)
  5. Σολομών Solomōn (the preferred form among NT writers), against Σαλομών Salomōn (1 Chr. 3:5 LXX) / Σαλωμών Salōmōn (Lucianic)
  6. Ἀσάφ Asaph, against LXX's Ἀσά Asa
  7. Ὀζίας Ozias, against 1 Chr. 3:11 LXX's Ochozia (B however has Ὀζεία Ozeia there, while A, V, and Lucian have Ὀζίας Ozias - same as Matthew's spelling; elsewhere LXX has Ὀχοζείας Ochozeias), which transliterates the Hebrew name ’Ăḥazyāhû 'Ahaziah'; 1 Chr. 3:12, however, shows confusion over the Greek for ’Uzzĭyāh(û) 'Uzziah' (B: Ἀζαρίας Azaria, A: Ἀζαρίας Azarias, Lucian: Ὀζίας Ozias; elsewhere the LXX has Ὀζεία Ozeia)
  8. Ἰωαθάμ Iōatham against LXX's Ἰωαθάν Iōathan, cf. Josephus' Ἰωαθάμος Iōathamos / Ἰωθάμης Iōthamēs
  9. Ἀμώς Amōs (attested in LXX mss.; cf. Josephus' Ἀμώσος Amōsos), compared with B's Ἀμνών Amnon or Lucian's Ἀμών Amōn for 1 Chr. 3:14, whch is a better transliteration of Hebrew ’Āmōn
Numbers 6 (Asaph), 7 (Ozias) and 9 (Amōs) are quite interesting. Some assume that Matthew had erred by confusing king Asa with the psalmist Asaph (cf. Psalms 50; 73-83; 1 Chronicles 16:5-37; 2 Chronicles 29:30) and king Am(m)on with Amos (the prophet?), or that Matthew's source had contained the spelling error, or that this is a scribal error which crept into the text quite early on. (Later manuscripts of Matthew correct the names back to 'Asa' and 'Am(m)on'.) Note, however, that as mentioned above, some Septuagint manuscripts do spell Amon's name as Amōs (cf. Josephus' Amōsos - a Grecized form of the name), which may at least account for the textual variant in 1:10.

It has been argued that if these were spelling 'errors' (one should, however, keep in mind that ancient spelling conventions were generally not as strict as modern standards - so there's almost no 'right' or 'wrong' way of spelling a word or a name; in any case, it's not as if Matthew could not have known the difference between Asaph the psalmist and Asa the king) made by Matthew, then it could have been intentional ones: Matthew deliberately spelled Asa's name as 'Asaph' and Amon's name as 'Amos' for subtle theological reasons, as allusions to the psalmist and the prophet who bore those names and to connect Jesus to priestly and prophetic threads in Israelite history - in a midrashic sort of way. (There's a little bonus in that Asaph and the "sons of Asaph" were closely associated with David; 1 Chronicles 6:31-32, 39; 1 Esdras 1:15; 5:59-60; Ascension of Isaiah 4.19. There's also a possibility that Asaph was held to be a prophet as well.) That being said, there are no overt quotations from Amos or the psalms of Asaph in Matthew's gospel (although there are possible allusions from both; Matthew 5:8 to Psalm 73:1; 10:29 to Amos 3:5; 13:35 to Psalm 78:2; 27:45 to Amos 8:9), which in the view of some commentators weakens this theory.

As for Ozias, it is generally thought that the name refers to king Uzziah - since he generally fits the description (Jehoram's (great-great-grand)son and father of Jotham). But the thing is, the transliteration problem among the different manuscripts of the Septuagint - the short form of Ahaziah in some versions of 1 Chronicles 3:11, Oz(e)ias, elsewhere stands for Uzziah - makes it unclear as to whether Uzziah (aka Azariah) or the earlier Ahaziah is being intended here. Consequently, some have thought that Matthew omitted Joash, Amaziah and Azariah/Uzziah rather than Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah from his genealogy. One explanation is that someone's eye - either Matthew, Matthew's source, or the version of the Septuagint Matthew was using - slipped from 'Ahaziah' to 'Uzziah', that is from Ochozia/Ozeia/Ozias to Ozias or to some other spelling of Uzziah (a type of scribal error known as a homoioteleuton). But the fact that Matthew is keen to achieve the number fourteen favors design over such a fortunate accident: the omission of Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah has more significance than that of Joash, Amaziah, and Uzziah/Azariah. In any case, in 1 Chronicles 3:12 LXX Uzziah appears under his other, less easily confused name 'Azariah' (Azaria(s)). It's probable that Matthew deliberately took Oz(e)ias from 1 Chronicles, intended there for Ahaziah (whose name is usually rendered as Ochoz(e)ias), but made it apply to Uzziah/Azariah according to its usual reference in the LXX.

(If you're getting fatigued, why not take a break?)

(Feeling better?)

Yet another difficulty in the genealogy concerns "Iechonias and his brothers." In 1 Chronicles, Josiah's second son is Jehoiakim, who in turn has two sons - Jeconiah (aka Jehoiachin, 2 Kings 24:8-16; 2 Chronicles 36:9-10; Coniah, Jeremiah 28:4; 37:1) and Zedekiah. As one can notice, the names Jehoiachin (יהויכין, Yəhōyāḵîn) and Jehoiakim (יהויקים, Yəhōyāqîm) are quite similar to each other - the only real difference being between a couple of letters in Hebrew. In fact, the Greek Ιωακιμ Iōakim was sometimes used for both men (e.g. 2 Kings 23:36; 24:8-16), and the similarity led to confusion between the two names in 1 Esdras 1:41. Another source of confusion is that both Jehoiakim and Jeconiah had brothers named Zedekiah - which probably explains why in 2 Chronicles 36:10 king Zedekiah (Jehoiakim's brother and Jehoiachin's uncle, though scarcely older than the latter; 2 Kings 24:17; Jeremiah 37:1) is mistakenly referred to as being the brother of Jehoiachin.

These, coupled with the fact that "brothers" in the plural are mentioned (1 Chronicles 3:16 does not indicate that Jeconiah had more than one brother, although Jehoiakim's brothers appear in the preceding verse), has led some scholars to suggest (again) a scribal error: Matthew would have originally written 'Jehoiakim', but along the way some scribe had mistakenly confused Jehoiakim with Jehoiachin/Jeconiah. This would account for the mention of "brothers" and allow us to count Jeconiah in the third set of fourteen generations so as to get the number fourteen there more easily (more on that later). Now where this theory is weak is that it fails to notice Matthew's linking Jeconiah with the deportation to Babylon, an apparent reference to the Chronicler's description of Jeconiah - not Jehoiakim - as "(the) captive." ('assir; interestingly, the Septuagint and the Vulgate  treat the word as a proper name - either a part of Jeconiah's name (Iechonia-asir; LXX) or (so Vulgate and Douai-Rheims) a supposed son of Jeconiah. Did Matthew have a Greek OT which understood the word differently, or did he have a correct understanding of the Hebrew?) Plus, 1 Chronicles 3:16-17 did not offer Matthew the name 'Jehoiachin', but 'Jeconiah'/Iechonias, which is not easily confused with 'Jehoiakim'/Iōakim.

Detail from the Lachish relief
That only leaves the matter of "brothers." As mentioned, 1 Chronicles only mention a single brother of Jehoiachin/Jeconiah - Zedekiah. Perhaps "brothers" here should not be understood in the sense of 'blood siblings' but 'kinsmen' (in keeping with the broad meaning the word has in Hebrew; Genesis 13:8; 24:48; 29:12) - he certainly had cousins in the form of Zedekiah's sons (2 Kings 25:7) - or perhaps, 'fellow countrymen'; in other words, all the Jews who were exiled with him. One might argue that the parallel in 1:2 ("Judah and his brothers") and the "begat" in 1:11 demand that brothers mean "blood brothers," but at the same time we also encounter 'brotherhood' in the gospel in a wide theological sense: just as Judah and his brothers made up the people of God during their time, so does Jeconiah and his 'brothers' made up the people of God who went into exile.

The word for 'exile' here, μετοικεσία metoikesia (literally 'migration' or 'deportation'; used to translate the Hebrew gōlâ/gôlâ in 2 Kings 24:16; 1 Chronicles 5:22; Ezekiel 12:11 LXX) only occurs here throughout the New Testament - in other words, it's a hapax legomenon. Although the idea is not yet developed in depth in 1st century Judaism, the exile was not regarded as an accident of history but an act of God - He was punishing Israel for their sins or scattering Israel in order to make more proselytes or accomplishing some other wise purpose (cf. 2 Chronicles 36:15-21; 2 Baruch 1.5; b. Pesachim 87b; b. Sanhedrin 37b). So the mention of "deportation" - which is more suited to connote divine activity than the militaristic αἰχμαλωσία aichmalōsia 'captivity' - should perhaps call to mind the hand of divine providence.

And that's where we drop off for today.

1 comment:

Mark of the Vineyard said...

A new blog which might interest you:


On the Bragan rite.

You don't have to approve this comment for your post.