Dr. Jon Lunde,
Bible and Theology Department
In Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements for
The NT Use of the OT
Christopher J. Coleman
May 2, 2006
Christian theologians today, as well as Christian theologians of yesterday have wrestled with the question of why, broadly speaking, the Jews have rejected their promised messiah; Jesus? The apostle Paul sought to answer this question in Romans 9- 11 and is a major question among modern theologians; especially as the nation of Israel relates to the \u201cpeople of God\u201d and eschatology. As I will argue, this also seems to be the overriding question that Jesus seeks to answer in Matthew 13:14-15, where he quotes Isaiah 6:9-10.
The purpose of this paper isnot to discuss eschatology per-say\u2014only if the text demands such a discussion\u2014nor discuss the relationship between the nation of Israel and the Church. The purpose of the present study is to ascertain the relationship between Isaiah 6:9-10 and Matthew 13:14-15. The methodology for understanding this relationship is as follows: (1) to understand the meaning of Isaiah 6:9-10 in its original historical, literary and theological context; (2) to understand Matthew 13:14-15 in its historical, literary and theological context; (3) then we will attempt to understand Matthew\u2019s interpretation of Isaiah 6:9-10 in light of the two previous section, this includes a study of: (i) Matthew\u2019s exegetical methods, (ii) Matthew\u2019s hermeneutical assumptions and (iii) any relationship between the NT and OT passages; and (4) we will end by presenting any theological applications that arise after all the above steps have been thoroughly completed.
Oswalt and Young argue that Isaiah 1-6 is not necessarily chronological. They argue that chapters 1-5 were prophecies in the early days of Isaiah\u2019s ministry and that chapter 6 took place, chronologically, before chapter 1-5. Isaiah or compiler(s) placed chapter 6 after chapters 1-5 for theological, logical and literary reasons.1 Oswalt argues that the theological reason for this purposeful arrangement is that Isaiah\u2019s redemptive experience with Yahweh in chapter 6 functions as a model for rebellious Israel/Judah. He says: \u201cIf the \u2018people of unclean lips\u2019 (6:5) can have the same experience that he, the \u2018man of unclean lips\u2019 had, then the dilemma Isaiah sees in Israel, and which he expresses in chapters 1-5, can be solved.\u201d2 If Oswalt\u2019s conclusion is correct, and I think it is, then we must conclude that chapters 1-5 do not provide historical context to chapter 6, but provide the problem which chapter 6 seeks to answer.
Our above discussion does not rule out a historical context for Isaiah 6, in fact the chapter begins with a historical reference: \u201cIn the year that King Uzziah died\u2026\u201d It is not so much the activities that happenedduring Uzziah\u2019s reign that are important to the
Blenkinsopp supports the theory that the location of chapter 6 is not chronological, but attributes its placement by later compiler(s), Joseph Blenkinsopp,Isaiah 1-39, The Anchor Bible (New York: Doubleday, 2000), p. 224. Both Oswalt and Young attribute chapter 6\u2019s placement to Isaiah himself or a student of his, but the final form ofIsaiah was fit together before Isaiah\u2019s death and/or the Babylonian exile.
Childs offers a brief interpretive history of how commentators have dealt with chapter 6\u2019s relation to chapters 1-5. See Brevard S. Childs,Isaiah, The Old Testament Library (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001), pp. 51-52.
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