Lightfoot, Works

Rob Bradshaw has collected John Pitman’s 13-volume set of John Lightfoot’s works.

Among other things, Lightfoot’s works include a series of “Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations” on Matthew–1 Corinthians (i.e., discussions of texts in light of select Talmudic and other Jewish literary parallels).

Via a convenient master table of contents page, the set is available in one PDF file per printed volume.

Tempting a Hen to Play a Chick(en)

In Matt 4:5–7; Luke 4:9–12, Jesus cites Deut 6:16 in response to his temptation at the temple. The full text there runs “you shall not test Yahweh, your God, as you tested him at Massah” (Deut 6:16; לא תנסו את־יהוה אלהיכם כאשר נסיתם במסה) and refers to Israel’s grumbling about their lack of water in Exod 17:1–7. In this narrative, Exodus reports that Moses “[] called the name of the place ‘Massah’ and ‘Meribah’ on account of the dispute of the sons of Israel and of their testing Yahweh, saying, ‘Is Yahweh in our midst or not?’” (Exod 17:7; ויקרא שם המקום מסה ומריבה על־ריב בני ישראל ועל נסתם את־יהוה לאמר היש יהוה בקרבנו אם־אין; cf. Num 20:2–13). Although this interpretation is Exodus’s own, Exodus does not directly narrate the people’s posing this question (Exod 17:1–6). Instead, they demand water from Moses and inquire whether lacking it indicates that they have been brought into the wilderness to die of thirst (Exod 17:2–3). Thus, the pericope’s interpretive conclusion seems to represent the recorded speech as tantamount to having asked the question “Is Yahweh in our midst or not?” (Exod 17:7; היש יהוה בקרבנו אם־אין).

When Jesus quotes Deut 6:16 to the devil, he quotes only the first part of the text about the inappropriateness of testing God and omits the direct reference to Massah (Matt 4:7; Luke 4:12). Yet, the connection with Massah apparently helps make Deut 6:16 an apt retort to the temptation in which the devil has taken Jesus to “the pinnacle of the temple” (Matt 4:5; Luke 4:9; τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ). Once there, the devil urges Jesus to jump and trust Yahweh’s angels to catch him, in the words of Ps 91:11–12, “lest you should strike your foot on a stone” (Matt 4:6; Luke 4:11; μήποτε προσκόψῃς πρὸς λίθον τὸν πόδα σου).

Yahweh “will [indeed] command his angels” (τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ ἐντελεῖται), and they will indeed minister to Jesus (Matt 4:7, 11; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:10). Yet, Yahweh is himself one who does touch foot to stone: when Israel was at Massah, Yahweh said to Moses, “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb” (Exod 17:6; הנני עמד לפניך שם על־הצור בחרב).‭1

Thus, even as Jesus enacts what should have been Israel’s proper response of trusting Yahweh, so he also enacts Yahweh’s faithful care over his people.2 In Ps 91:4, somewhat earlier than the devil’s quotation, the psalmist says Yahweh “will cover you with his pinion, and under his wings you will seek refuge” (באברתו יסך לך ותחת־כנפיו תחסה). In one respect, though much differently than the devil now suggests, Jesus is the properly trusting recipient of his Father’s care (Matt 4:6, 11; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:11). In another, Jesus is the hen that would gather her chicks to protect them—even at the cost of his own life—if they would but come under his “wings” (Matt 23:29–39; Luke 13:31–35; πτέρυγες).3


1 Perhaps also in the background of this interchange is an exegetical tradition about Massah like that represented in Tg. Ps.-J. Exod 17:6: “Behold, I will stand before you there at the place where you saw the mark of the foot on the rock at Horeb” (Kaufman, Pseudo-Jonathan; האנא קאים קדמך תמן באתרא דתיחמי רושם ריגלא על טינרא בחורב). Thus, on the targumist’s reading, “the foot” (ריגלא) had apparently come into contact with “the rock at Horeb” (טינרא בחורב) with sufficient force to leave a “mark” (רושם).

2 Cf. Augustine, Enarrat. Ps., 40.5 (Schaff, NPNF1, 8:121).

3 Cf. Augustine, Enarrat. Ps., 91.5 (ibid., 8:447); Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, 570–72.

Review of Biblical Literature Newsletter (October 31, 2012)

The latest reviews from the Review of Biblical Literature include:

New Testament and Cognate Studies

Second Temple Judaism

Runge, "Relative Saliency and Information Structure in Mark's Parable of the Sower"

Steven Runge has the latest article in Biblical and Ancient Greek Linguistics: “Relative Saliency and Information Structure in Mark’s Parable of the Sower.” According to the abstract:

This study applies the cognitive model of Chafe and Givón, and the information-structure model of Lambrecht as applied by Levinsohn and Runge to the Markan explanation of the Parable of the Sower (4:14–20). The primary objective is to identify and analyze other linguistic devices, besides demonstratives, which might clarify the apparent prominence given to the unfruitful scatterings in Mark’s account. This study provides the necessary framework for comparing Mark’s pragmatic weighting of saliency to that found in Matthew and Luke’s accounts in order to determine whether Mark’s version is consistent with or divergent from the other traditions.

For the full text of the article in PDF format, see here.

Journal of Theological Studies 63, no. 2

The Journal of Theological Studies
The Journal of Theological Studies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Journal of Theological Studies 63, no. 2 includes:

  • Max Rogland, ” ‘Moses Used to Take a Tent’?: Reconsidering the Function and Significance of the Verb Forms in Exodus 33:7–11″
  • C. A. Strine, “The Role of Repentance in the Book of Ezekiel: A Second Chance for the Second Generation”
  • Benjamin Schliesser, ” ‘Abraham Did not “Doubt” in Unbelief’ (Rom. 4:20): Faith, Doubt, and Dispute in Paul’s Letter to the Romans”
  • Harry Tolley, “Clement of Alexandria’s Reference to Luke the Evangelist as Author of Jason and Papiscus
    Runar M. Thorsteinsson, “Justin and Stoic Cosmo-Theology”
  • Alison Bonner, “Was Patrick Influenced by the Teaching of Pelagius?”
  • Stephen Hampton, ” ‘Welcome Dear Feast of Lent’: Rival Understandings of The Forty-Day Fast in Early Stuart England”

Bock, Theology of Luke and Acts

Darrell Bock

In the second volume to be released in Zondervan’s Biblical Theology of the New Testament series, Darrell Bock takes up Luke and Acts. On the text’s product page, the Westminster Bookstore has assembled a 5-part playlist of YouTube interviews from Zondervan about the volume.