Thursday, March 25, 2010

Matthew 2:13-18

Maybe this won't be true once I get past the Nativity, but at least for this part of the New Testament, I associate every few verses with a song.

I read these verses and note Matthew's attempts to further link Jesus to obscure, seemingly unrelated passages from the Old Testament. For example, Matthew says that a prophet proclaims "Out of Egypt I will call my son." Matthew reminds me of those people who pick up the Bible, open a page at random, and seek wisdom from the verse they find. After all, in Hosea 11:1, the son God is referring to is the nation of Israel. Hosea 11:2 talks about Israel, the son, making sacrifices to idols such as Baal. Although the prophets tend to be cryptic in their prophecies, why would Matthew interpret this verse as referring to a coming Messiah?

The jealous Herod, fearing the birth of a new king and lacking the knowledge of the magi about exactly where he's located, orders that all boys two and under should be killed. Perhaps there's archaeological evidence of this massacre, or independent confirmations, but again, it seems that Matthew might be making up an event to fit with a prophecy from Jeremiah 31. Jeremiah is a prophet who exhorted the people of Israel to behave better during the time of the Babylonian exile. Matthew takes a verse to show that Jeremiah foretold the death of the infants--Rachel is weeping for her children and refuses to be comforted. It seems that only in the case of Biblical exegesis would anyone give credence to Matthew's attempt to link Jesus to Old Testament Messianic prophecy. At least, that's the way it seems to an atheist who rolls her eyes at yet another tenuous connection which proves nothing about Jesus's divinity.

I like the rendition below of The Coventry Carol by The Cambridge Singers even though this isn't the way I sing it. I think I'll learn the version below on guitar. If I start now, maybe I'll be able to play it by Christmas.

Lullay, thou little tiny child, by by lully lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny child, by by lully lullay.

O sisters, too, how may we do, for to preserve this day;
This poor youngling for whom we sing, by by lully lullay.

Herod the king, in his raging, charged he hath this day;
His men of might in his own sight, all children young to slay.

Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee, and ever morn and day.
For thy parting, nor say nor sing, by by lully lullay.

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