Matthew 10:21 reads:
NRSV Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death
NA28 Παραδώσει δὲ ἀδελφὸς ἀδελφὸν εἰς θάνατον καὶ πατὴρ τέκνον, καὶ ἐπαναστήσονται τέκνα ἐπὶ γονεῖς καὶ θανατώσουσιν αὐτούς.
which made me think of Malachi 4:6 (versification from English Bible):
NRSV He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.
It’s as if two possible realities (choose wisely!) are being prophesied in each place… surely Jesus had Malachi in mind?
Maybe! The Septuagint does not have the parents-children-children-parents rhythm, but gives instead:
NETS who will restore the heart of the father to the son and the heart of a person to his neighbor so that I will not come and utterly strike the land.
LXX ὃς ἀποκαταστήσει καρδίαν πατρὸς πρὸς υἱὸν καὶ καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου πρὸς τὸν πλησίον αὐτοῦ, μὴ ἔλθω καὶ πατάξω τὴν γῆν ἄρδην.
If Jesus did have the Malachi text in mind to allude to here (of course he knew it), he sure does seem to favor the Hebrew text over its Greek translation.
This itself is not shocking, as Jesus would have known the Hebrew Scriptures (in Hebrew) well, have heard them read at synagogue, etc. But as much as the NT writers seem to employ the LXX over the Hebrew (where they diverge), this was surprising to me.
But in the post linked in the sentence above, I also found this from R.T. France (may he rest in the good Lord’s great peace!) that seems to suggest perhaps I should not be surprised (IF Jesus has Malachi in mind in the first place).
Summarizing the results so far, we may now say that of the sixty-four Old Testament quotations in the sayings of Jesus which may be regarded as certain or virtually so, twenty are to some degree independent of the LXX, and of these twenty, twelve are closer to the MT at this point. The addition of a further ten cases of likely or possible allusions to the MT against the LXX further strengthens the impression that it is wrong to speak of the Old Testament quotations in the sayings of Jesus as basically LXX form.
The textual comparisons are fun, but at the end of the day, all I really want is to be a father whose heart is turned to his children, and whose children turn their hearts to me!
7 thoughts on “Jesus and Malachi? Septuagint or Hebrew Bible? (All I Really Want)”
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.
Does it make a difference that Matthew’s Greek here appears verbatim in Mark or that it’s likely Mark’s construction here that’s one of Matthew’s sources?
Does it make a difference for whether or not Jesus might have had Malachi in mind, you mean? I can’t think of one, but what do you think?
Ah….a student/scholar who actually includes meaningful application with insightful interpretation: a delightful surprise! (thus…an erudite pastor)
I appreciate the comment, Steve, and glad you appreciated the approach! You were getting a real-time look into where my thinking/feeling was going as I typed–as I thought more about the textual issue (which I think is really interesting), I started thinking more about my own kids! I’m going to write out that Malachi verse and put it up somewhere, as it is a prayer of mine.