matt 11:12

by peacefulpete 18 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • LittleToe

    Sorry, I completely disagree with that synopsis.
    Matt.10:23 speaks of fleeing, not fighting.
    The sword (or figuratively war/judgement) would be thrown to the land/earth, their extending to their families (likely against them, not by them) being a consequence.
    It's a chapter of persecution and boldly standing up for the cause in the face of legal action, despite the likely torturous consequences including martyrdom.

    Another way to interpret 11:12 may potentially be this:
    From John until now people have pressed to get into the kingdom, but the violent [men] have seized them.

    It's dependant on the question of what is the object (auto) of harpazo (violence / seizing). Is it the kingdom, or those who have been struggling to get into it?

  • Narkissos
    From John until now people have pressed to get into the kingdom, but the violent [men] have seized them.

    Impossible: the object is autèn (feminine singular, referring to the basileia = the Kingdom).

  • LittleToe

    I'm happy to bow to your wisdom on this matter. You're the linguist.
    How would you translate, contextualise and interpret it?

  • Leolaia

    LittleToe....Matthew 10:23 concerns fleeing, but in v. 35 Jesus says that "I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother," and the underlying text being quoted from Micah 7:5-6 (LXX) is focused on the treatment of parents by their children: "The son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law". Is it just hate directed at Christian children by parents? Luke 14:26 says: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple" (cf. Gospel of Thomas 55:1-2, 101:1).

    Re Matthew 11:12, as Narkissos pointed out, it is the kingdom that is being seized and the ones doing the seizing are the biastai "violent ones," who are equivalent to the ones "entering [the kingdom] violently" in the Lukan parallel. Luke clearly did not interpret the Q logion (cf. Q 16:16, "The Law and the Prophets < > until John. From then on the kingdom of God is violated and the violent plunder it" in the critical edition) as applying to opposers and persecutors but to those entering the kingdom, i.e. Christians. This interpretation, moreover, is consistent with the probable OT source of the passage (Micah 2), wherein the sheep breaking through the wall and the one who made the initial breach into the wall are both subjects of the verb prts "to break into". The allusion to John the Baptist and the Law and Prophets is also intelligible on this interpretation; it was not until John the Baptist came along, with a baptism of repentence, that people were able to enter the kingdom of God.

  • Narkissos


    Frankly I don't know. One of the main problems is that the middle form biazetai can have either active or passive force.

    Moreover, the interpretation depends on the context, and there are at least three possible contexts for this saying (Q, Matthew and Luke):

    In Q (= Luke 16:13,16f):

    No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
    From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered / exerted violence, and the violent take it by force.
    The law and the prophets were in effect until John came; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone tries to enter it by force / is forced into it.
    But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one stroke of a letter in the law to be dropped.

    But even this apparent context may be misleading, as the three sayings do not necessary belong to the same strata of Q (Kloppenborg, for instance, believes that the mention of the law in v. 16f is late).

    The general impression I get in the context above is one of radical urgency due to the current lack of authoritative references (the law and the prophets), something like "now each man for himself" -- which would fit well with the rupture of family ties in the wider context. This would imply an active reading of biazetai. However, what follows (the law will not pass away, with or without the example case of repudiation in v. 18) seems to temper it somehow.

    Now there may be in this saying and others, upstream of Q, a distinct tradition about a "violent Jesus", as Eisenman believes. Who knows?

    I'm afraid it doesn't help a lot...

  • LittleToe

    Leo:As Narkissos has shown, there are parallels to "hate" that have a different connotation that is far more in line with the general "Jesus-message".

    There are plenty of struggle texts, with camels and needles coming to mind (as well as experimental spirituality, of which Christianity is only one disciplne).
    Unless there are distinct "zealot glosses" I'm at a loss to read that into the text. The overall message and tenor is not really zealot.

    Narkissos:Thanks for that.

    Leo / Narkissos / Pete:I'm interested in the potential "layering" of the NT (esp. the gospels). Is there any particular work you could recommend, for me to read?
    Meanwhile, are there any distinct layers in the two chapters in question?

    Thanks for your forebearance.

  • ozziepost

    'Morning LT!

    I'd reckon on checking out a good commentary, eh?


  • LittleToe

    Ozzie:To be honest, they don't seem to throw much more light on it than a straight read
    It seems the text only reads a certain way when you take it in isolation, or make a patchwork quilt of it, with other authors.

    I am fascinated with the idea of marginal insertions and compilation, though.
    "Who Wrote the Bible" was quite an eye-opener, regardless of the precise conclusions the author came to.

  • A Paduan
    A Paduan

    He said therefore to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits that befit repentance............

    And the multitudes asked him, "What then shall we do?"


    I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit

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