Old Testament Allusions in Matthew 3.16-17

I preached on Matthew 3.13-17 and made a chart of Old Testament allusions in Matthew 3.16-17. I post this here for my church family and others who hear the message, though I imagine others who are working on Matthew 3.16-17 may also find it interesting. I found these allusions simply by looking in the margins of Matthew 3.16-17 in my Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (27th edition).

First I try to get the gist of Matthew’s point. Then I quote the OT text in the CSB. After reading the text in its context, I try to summarize the OT argument in which the quote/allusion is found. Once I have the gist of the NT author’s argument and the OT author’s argument, I try to see how the OT author’s argument sheds light on my initial understanding of the NT author’s argument. The goal is to let the text control my understanding of the NT author’s interpretive perspective and intended meaning for his readers. Please remember that these OT allusions are not necessarily equally emphasized in Matthew’s mind.

Matt 3.17 & goalOT textOT context/argumentMatt’s application of OT thought
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”.Jesus is God’s Son and should be recognized as suchGen 22.2 – “Take your son,” he said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”Even though Abe loves Isaac, his offspring of promise, he is to willingly sacrifice him trusting God’s bigger purpose for the sacrifice and ability to keep the promise.Jesus is God’s sacrifice on Jerusalem who will actually be sacrificed as the one effective sacrifice according to God’s bigger purpose and keeping his promise including the resurrection of the Son.
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”.Jesus is God’s Son and should be recognized as suchPsalm 2.7 – I will declare theLord’s decree. He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.God’s anointed Messiah is God’s Son, using the 2 Sa 7.14 motif. He is the king of Israel and will judge the nations. He is the exclusive means for blessing for the nations.Jesus is God’s Son who will rule. He is the Messiah. He is king of Israel, judge of the nations, and the only hope fr the nations by trusting him (paying homage).
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”.Jesus is God’s Son and should be recognized as suchJer 31.20 – Isn’t Ephraim a precious son to me, a delightful child? Whenever I speak against him, I certainly still think about him. Therefore, my inner being yearns for him; I will truly have compassion on him. This is theLord’s declaration.God’s Son, Ephraim, will be restored from exile because God loves him. Though there is weeping, there will be relief and restoration as they heed the call to repent (21-22). They will experience the new covenant in the land.Jesus is Ephraim, he is Israel (cf. Matt 2.15, 18). He fulfills Israel’s hopes and calling as blessing to the nations. He brings them back from exile in himself. And, in the baptism, he repents for them (Jer 31.21-22)!
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”.Jesus is God’s Son and should be recognized as suchIsa 42.1 – “This is my servant; I strengthen him, this is my chosen one; I delight in him. I have put my Spirit on him; he will bring justice to the nations.The servant is God’s chosen and one he is pleased with. He puts his Spirit on him. He will bring justice to EPGs gently bringing in the oppressed and weak and the nations will wait for his instruction (1-4). This is part of the servant songs in Isaiah climaxing with the servant’s death and exaltation. The Spirit-justice-to-nations is both with the servant (42.1) and the Davidic King (11.2).God gives Jesus his Spirit. God delights in Jesus. God points to Jesus as the servant (and Davidic king!) who will bring justice in the Spirit’s power to restore his oppressed and weak people (among Israel AND the nations) and to judge the nations.
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”.Jesus is God’s Son and should be recognized as suchIsa 62.4 – You will no longer be called Deserted, and your land will not be called Desolate; instead, you will be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land will be married.God delights in Zion/Jerusalem and will restore her. The nations will see her glory. Salvation and redemption is coming so let it be declared to the world!The declared and anticipated restoration of Jerusalem/Zion that is to be declared to the nations is now here in Jesus, God’s Son! Recognize Jesus as the restoration of Zion among the nations, for God delights in Zion.

Most of Matthew’s allusions here seem to be connected by the Greek Old Testament (LXX) rather than the Hebrew Old Testament. I can’t highlight in the processor so I underlined the word/concept that is being alluded to in the Greek. If I underline the Hebrew it covers the pointing so I chose not to underline it.

Though Isaiah 42.1 has no matching terminology, its concepts and idea of God’s pleasure in his servant/son are close enough. Furthermore, Isaiah 42.1-3 is clearly a text in Matthew’s mind as he writes his book because he quotes it in Matthew 12.18-21. It is also interesting that Jeremiah 31.20 is alluded to here since Jeremiah 31.15 is quoted in Matthew 2.18 regarding hope, massacre, exile, and the sonship of Israel connected to the sonship of Jesus. Jeremiah 31 seems to be a dominant section of Scripture in Matthew’s mind in the first 3 chapters of his book.

Matt 3.17 / Gen 22.2οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητόςκαὶ εἶπεν Λάβε τὸν υἱόν σου τὸν ἀγαπητὸν ὃν ἠγάπησας, τὸν Ἰσαάκ,וַיֹּ֡אמֶר קַח־נָ֠א אֶת־בִּנְךָ֙ אֶת־יְחִֽידְךָ֤ אֲשֶׁר־אָהַ֨בְתָּ֙ אֶת־יִצְחָ֔ק
Matt 3.17 / Psalm 2.7οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητόςΚύριος εἶπεν πρὸς μέ Υἱός μου εἶ σύ,ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε·יְֽהוָ֗ה אָמַ֘ר אֵלַ֥י בְּנִ֥י אַ֑תָּה אֲ֝נִ֗י הַיּ֥וֹם יְלִדְתִּֽיךָ
Matt 3.17 / Jer 31.20οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητόςυἱὸς ἀγαπητὸς Ἐφράιμ ἐμοί (Je 38:20 in LXX)הֲבֵן֩ יַקִּ֨יר לִ֜י אֶפְרַ֗יִם
Matt 3.17 / Isa 42.1ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησαἸακὼβ ὁ παῖς μου, ἀντιλήμψομαι αὐτοῦ· Ἰσραὴλ ὁ ἐκλεκτός μου, προσεδέξατο αὐτὸν ἡ ψυχή μου· ἔδωκα τὸ πνεῦμά μου ἐπʼ αὐτόν, κρίσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἐξοίσειהֵ֤ן עַבְדִּי֙ אֶתְמָךְ־בּוֹ֔ בְּחִירִ֖י רָצְתָ֣ה נַפְשִׁ֑י נָתַ֤תִּי רוּחִי֙ עָלָ֔יו מִשְׁפָּ֖ט לַגּוֹיִ֥ם יוֹצִֽיא
Matt 3.17 / Isa 62.4ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησακαὶ οὐκέτι κληθήσῃ Καταλελιμμένη, καὶ ἡ γῆ σου οὐ κληθήσεται ἔτι Ἔρημος· σοὶ γὰρ κληθήσεται Θέλημα ἐμόν, καὶ τῇ γῇ σου Οἰκουμένη, ὅτι εὐδόκησεν Κύριος ἐν σοί, καὶ ἡ γῆ σου συνοικισθήσεται.לֹֽא־יֵאָמֵר֩ לָ֨ךְ ע֜וֹד עֲזוּבָ֗ה וּלְאַרְצֵךְ֙ לֹא־יֵאָמֵ֥ר עוֹד֙ שְׁמָמָ֔ה כִּ֣י לָ֗ךְ יִקָּרֵא֙ חֶפְצִי־בָ֔הּ וּלְאַרְצֵ֖ךְ בְּעוּלָ֑ה כִּֽי־חָפֵ֤ץ יְהוָה֙ בָּ֔ךְ וְאַרְצֵ֖ךְ תִּבָּעֵֽל׃

About pjtibayan

P. J. loves Jesus Christ and lives to share life and share Jesus together with Bethany Baptist Church of Bellflower primarily to Southeast Los Angeles County. P. J. has been pastoring since 2002 and earned a doctorate in biblical theology from Southern Seminary (D.Min.). He blogs regularly at gospelize.me
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