Matthew 21:4

New Testament

1 Now when they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 telling them, “Go to the village ahead of you. Right away you will find a donkey tied there, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you are to say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: 5 “Tell the people of Zion, ‘Look, your king is coming to you, unassuming and seated on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” 6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them, and he sat on them.

Genesis Rabbah 98:9


BINDING HIS FOAL UNTO THE VINE. R. Judah, R. Nehemiah, and the Rabbis discuss this verse. R. Judah explained it: When a vine has a poor yield, an ass is tied to it, [and this too is the meaning of] AND HIS ASS’S COLT (BENI ATHONO) UNTO THE CHOICE VINE. HE WASHETH HIS GARMENTS IN WINE, means in white wine. AND HIS VESTURE IN THE BLOOD OF GRAPES, means in red wine. R. Nehemiah interpreted: BINDING ‘IRO UNTO THE VINE means: He [God] binds to the vine [sc. Israel] ‘tro, which alludes to, ‘the city (ha-‘ir) which I have chosen. AND BENI ATHONO UNTO THE CHOICE VINE means: [morally] strong sons (banim ethanim) will spring from him. The Rabbis interpreted: ‘I,’ [said God], ‘am bound to the vine and choice vine’ [Israel]. HIS FOAL AND HIS COLT intimate: when he will come of whom it is written, Lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass (Zech. ix, 9). HE WASHETH HIS GARMENTS IN WINE, intimates that he [the Messiah] will compose for them words of Torah; AND HIS VESTURE IN THE BLOOD OF GRAPES—that he will restore to them their errors.’ R. Hanin said: Israel will not require the teaching of the royal Messiah in the future, for it says, Unto him shall the nations seek (Isa. xi, 10), but not Israel. If so, for what purpose will the royal Messiah come, and what will he do? He will come to assemble the exiles of Israel and to give them [the Gentiles] thirty precepts, as it says, And I said unto them: If ye think good, give me my hire ; and tf not, forbear. So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver (Zech. xi, 12). Rab said: This alludes to thirty mighty men. R. Johanan said: It alludes to thirty precepts? R. Johanan’s disciples said to him: Does not Rab hold that the verse refers only to the nations of the world?—In Rab’s view, ‘And I said unto them’ means unto Israel, while in R. Johanan’s view ‘And I said unto them’ means unto the nations of the world. In Rab’s view, when Israel are worthy, the majority [of these thirty righteous men] are in Eretz Israel and a minority of them in Babylon; while when Israel are not worthy, the majority of them are in Babylon and a minority of them in Eretz Israel.

 Notes and References

"... In contrast to Matthew’s genealogy, whose apex or fullness is reached with David, the rabbinic apex is David’s son Solomon. For the Talmudic Rabbis, the wane of Jewish fortunes begins with Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, and devolves, as in Matthew, into the utter darkness of Exile. In the rabbinic genealogy above, in the waxing period of ascent, David is the fourteenth name. (A variant reading from Exodus Rabbah 15:26 lists fifteen generations from Abraham to Solomon.) ... Some rabbinic genealogies begin the messianic chronology with Jacob’s son Judah. Genesis Rabbah 98 interprets both Genesis 49:9 (“[Judah] stoops, he crouches like a lion”) and Numbers 24:9 (“He has crouched, he has lain down like a lion”) with reference to messianic genealogy divided into generational stages in two different ways. Interpretations of the relevant verses vary accordingly. The first stage of one of these messianic lineages, tripartite like Matthew’s, begins with Judah’s son Perez and concludes with David. The second stage is from David to Zedekiah. The final stage is presumably, although it is not explicitly stated, from Zedekiah to the Messiah ..."

Basser, Herbert W. The Gospel of Matthew and Judaic Traditions: A Relevance-Based Commentary (pp. 33-34) Brill, 2015

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