Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Luke reads Psalm 118

Luke cites Psalm 118 five times in Luke-Acts as follow:
118:26 in Lk. 13:35 and 19:38; 118:22 in Lk. 20:17 and Acts 4:11 and 118:25-26 in Lk. 12:13. Luke alludes to Psalm 118:2-4 with his usage of the term God-fearer. Psalm 110.1 is the only other Psalm with multiple citations to Luke-Acts. [20:42-43; 22:69; and 2:34-35].

Psalm 118 and Psalm 110 each deserve a separate article since the usage is significant. I am planning multiple articles on the Septuagint quotations in Luke-Acts.

Psalm 118 is the most-frequently quoted Psalm in the NT, specifically two passages. One passage is the words about the stone, rejected and then rehabilitated (vv.22-23). The other is the Hosanna chant of the Palm Sunday parade (25-26). Psalm 118 was Luther's favorite, especially: "I shall not die, but I shall live and recount the deeds of the Lord." According to Hebrew scholars, Psalm 118 was the song which Jesus and His disciples sang at the conclusion of the last Passover Supper.

Psalm 117 sets forth the evangelistic campaign which will be conducted by the saved remnant of Israel. This Psalm introduces Psalm 118:1-4 which gives the prediction of the evangelization of the entire nation of Israel with its proselytes.

Psalm 118:26(a) LXX states: “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord” which both Matthew [23:39], Mark [11:1-9] and Luke [13:35] copy exactly. However Matthew and Mark are using the Septuagint quotation for the entry into Jerusalem while Luke uses the quotation in a different context.

The New American Bible contains this footnote: “A thanksgiving liturgy accompanying a victory procession of the king and the people into the temple precincts.”

This footnote is significant in that Luke in his entry into Jerusalem pericope in 19:38 states: “Blessed is the King that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

Therefore one can conclude that not only did Luke read Psalm 118, but he also understood its significance. Matthew and Mark did not. Matthew and Mark in rewriting Luke missed the nuance. It is possible that Matthew and Mark rewrote Luke to be politically acceptable.

Copyrighted 2006


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