Mt 21:1-3    1And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and he will send them immediately."

TJ 22:1-3    1As they approached Jerusalem at Bethphage near the Mount of Olives, Jmmanuel sent forth two disciples and said to them, 2"Go into the village that lies ahead, and forthwith you will find a female donkey tied to a post and a foal with her; untie her and bring her to me, because she is a present to me and is only temporarily being kept there at the stable. 3And if anyone questions you, say, 'Jmmanuel of Nazareth needs her'; and right away he will let you have her."

TJ 22:1-3    1Und da sie nun nahe an Jerusalem kamen, nach Bethphage an den Ölberg, sandte Jmmanuel zwei seiner Jünger aus und sprach zu ihnen: 2«Gehet hin in den Ort, der vor euch liegt, und alsbald werdet ihr eine Eselin finden angebunden und ein Füllen bei ihr; bindet sie los und führet sie zu mir, denn sie ist mir geschenkt und lagert nur zu Stalle dort. 3Und wenn euch jemand etwas wird fragen, sprecht: ‹Jmmanuel, der Nazarener, bedarf ihrer›, und alsbald wird er sie euch lassen.»

THE PROBLEM.  In Mt 21:3 the response the two disciples are told to give, if accosted, was either not realistic or could not have been satisfying to the animals' caretaker, depending upon one's interpretation of "the Lord." If it is considered to mean "Jesus," then the usage is clearly anachronistic and out of place; elsewhere in Matthew, "the Lord" refers to the Old Testament God, as in Matthew's 1st and 2nd chapters. That's what the Israelites of that day and region would automatically assume. Only later, due to Paul's preachings and epistles, did "the Lord" come to refer also to Jesus within Christian circles. On the other hand, if "the Lord" is supposed to have meant "God," then anyone bent on stealing anything could have spoken as much and have gotten away with it; clearly this would not have worked and so the disciples would not have been so advised. If the phrase had been "our lord" it would have been more sensible, except even that leaves unspecified to whom "our lord" would have referred.

SOLUTION.  The TJ verse indicates that the persons at the stable knew whom the donkey belonged to, and since the two disciples would mention Immanuel's name, the problem with the Matthean verse does not exist with the TJ verse.

The TJ text thus indicates that the choice by the writer of Matthew to alter "Jmmanuel of Nazareth" into "the Lord" rather than into "Jesus of Nazareth" generated the problem. He evidently wished to make a reverential upgrade here.

Interestingly, in the TJ account Jmmanuel reasonably asks only for the female donkey, but the two disciples apparently decided to bring the foal along, too. The writer of Matthew then made another alteration such as to have Jesus ask for them—the donkey and her foal—apparently in order to help fulfill the prophecy quoted in Mt 21:5 (discussed next) in full.

It is also interesting that the TJ verse strongly suggests Jmmanuel had been to Jerusalem before, within the previous year. This will be confirmed in the discussions following Mt 26:17-18 and Mt 26:36-48. Since an earlier trip to the Jerusalem area is not specifically mentioned in the TJ, and hence not in the synoptic Gospels either, it most likely occurred when Jmmanuel was not accompanied by his disciples; thus his disciple-writer need not have written about it. It might have occurred during the period just after Jesus/Jmmanuel sent out his disciples (see Mt 10:5 or TJ 10:5 and Mt 11:1 or TJ 11:1).

The above criticism of Matthew was prompted by the TJ text itself; only years later did I notice in an online commentary that the criticism seems to have been anticipated—the assumption is made that the owner of the ass and colt was a follower of Jesus who would understand what "the Lord" meant. In that case, however, Jesus would much more likely have told the two disciples the name of the owner so they would know whom to contact, since it would be all too probable that if they were accosted it would be by someone other than the owner himself. The fact that the phrase "the Lord" is not used previously in Matthew to designate Jesus, combined with Jesus only at that time having come to Jerusalem, further lets us know how unlikely it would be that persons in the vicinity of the ass and colt would know who "the Lord" referred to, if other than the God of Israel. Since this problem is not at all well known, it is unlikely that a hypothesized literary hoaxer would have thought of it. PHoax 0.25.

Mt 21:4-5    4This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5"Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass."

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEMS.  This refers to Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, which apparently proceeded in a manner rather closely following that of the quoted verse from Zec 9:9. Beare (p. 412) concluded these introductory verses were fed in by the compiler of Matthew, however, partly because its first portion (Tell the daughter of Zion) stems from Is 62:11 and is merged into the second part from Zechariah.

Also, verse 4 is of the nature of a "Matthean" formula, and repeats, in the same order, 11 of the same 14 Greek words as are in the formula of Mt 1:22. For this reason, Davies & Allison have deduced it to be a Matthean redaction.[1]

Beare, and most other scholars, further deduce that verse 5 was the compiler's handiwork because a little later (see below) Matthew has the disciples bring the ass and the colt and put their garments on them, and has Jesus sit on them. This reads just as strangely as the Zechariah verse in that the king comes mounted on an ass and on the colt. Hence the usual deduction is that the writer of Matthew altered his source text such that Jesus would be sitting on both the ass and the colt, in agreement with the prophet's words. This in turn strongly suggests that the prophets' words of Mt 21:4-5 were fed in editorially.

SOLUTION.  The absence of a TJ cognate supports one or both pieces of this reasoning. Although a literary hoaxer might omit it for any of these reasons, then again he might not, while logic weighs strongly against the genuineness of the verse. On balance, these considerations weigh against the hoax hypothesis. PHoax 0.45.

Mt 21:7    7They [the two disciples] brought the ass and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he [Jesus] sat thereon.
TJ 22:5    5They brought the female donkey and the foal, and they laid their clothes on the old animal, and he mounted it.

TJ 22:5    5Sie brachten die Eselin und das Füllen und legten ihre Kleider auf das Alttier, und er setzte sich darauf.

THE PROBLEM.  This meaning of the Matthean verse has been questioned for ages—how could Jesus have sat on both the ass and the colt at once?[2] Its verse was taken mainly from Zechariah, where the same peculiarity is expressed:

Zec 9:9-10    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass.

The suspicion is strong, then, that if the compiler did not invent the verse, he altered a similar verse in his source document to force it to coincide with the Zechariah verse.

SOLUTION.  This TJ verse does not suffer from this problem. However, if one examines the 1978 version of TJ 22:5, one finds that it does suffer the same problem. This appears to have been an instance in which either the translator, Isa Rashid, or Eduard Meier's typist, using the German bible as a general guide for similar passages, slipped up in their work and extracted too much from that bible. So at the prompting of his ET contactor in 1989 or 1990, Meier corrected the 1978 TJ verse. This explanation cannot satisfy a negative skeptic, however, who could easily claim, though without any proof, that Meier or a collaborative hoaxer had decided to improve the TJ in this spot on his own initiative. This could give the hoax hypothesis some credibility, provided it could be shown that Eduard Meier, without benefit of any secondary education himself, could have earlier cajoled some New Testament scholar possessing uncanny intellectual brilliance and creativity into having constructed the whole TJ as well.

However, a knowledgeable scholar may argue that Mt 21:7 can be interpreted as saying that Jesus sat upon the garments atop either the colt or the ass, with "thereon" referring to the garments and not to the animals. The wording of the Greek text scholars use leaves this uncertain. In that case, a knowledgeable scholar-hoaxer would not necessarily have made a change here. PHoax 0.6.

Whether or not Jmmanuel was aware of the Zechariah verse and had it in mind when utilizing the female ass is uncertain. Probably not, since he did not ask the two disciples to fetch the foal also. But if he did have it in mind, the TJ indicates that the kind of king or messiah he regarded himself as was a king of wisdom regarding the human spirit.

The parallel text of Mark has only a colt (but one never before ridden) upon which garments were placed that Jesus sat upon (Mk 11:7). From the present viewpoint this constitutes a Markan improvement of the ambiguous or absurd Matthean text, with Jesus being treated more royally—riding a colt not an ass too, and a colt which no one else had besmirched. The same trend occurs elsewhere in Mark; e.g., at Mk 4:38 a cushion (not present in Mt 8:25) is provided for Jesus to sleep on; at Mk 14:15 a large furnished upper room is provided for the Passover, not present in Mt 26:19.

Mt 21:9    9And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!"

TJ 22:7    7And the people who walked ahead of him and those who followed him shouted and said, "Hail to the descendant of David. Praise be to him who comes to proclaim anew the teachings of truth."

TJ 22:7    7Das Volk aber, das ihm voranging und nachfolgte, schrie und sprach: «Heil dem Nachfahren Davids - gelobt sei, der da kommt und neu die Lehre der Wahrheit kündet.»

THE PROBLEM.  Beare (p. 414) pointed out that the "Blessed" quote can be identified as coming from Psalms 118:

Ps 118:26    Blessed be he who enters in the name of the LORD!....

Further, "Hosanna" has the Hebrew meaning of "Save (us), we pray." Since Jesus was not considered a savior figure until some years after the crucifixion and presumed resurrection, this also indicates editorial activity on the part of the compiler of Matthew.

SOLUTION.  It is interesting to notice that TJ 22:7 uses the phrase "descendant of David" whereas in Matthew it is instead "Son of David." One finds no use of the phrase "Son of David" in any of Paul’s writings or even in Ignatius's epistles in the early 2nd century. Instead, Paul, when wishing to emphasize Jesus' lineage from David, used the phrase "descended from David," and Ignatius used "seed of David." Thus it is very unlikely that crowds of people at that time would have shouted out "Son of David." It may even be that "Son of David" as applied to Jesus did not become a well-known phrase until after the Gospel of Matthew came out.

Since it is not very likely that a literary hoaxer would have done enough homework to be able to come to the above conclusions, while the non-genuineness of Matthew here speaks against the TJ-hoax hypothesis, for this verse I would assign PHoax 0.35.

Mt 21:11    11And the crowds said, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee."

TJ 22:9    9The people replied, "It is Jmmanuel, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee, who brings anew the teachings of truth."

TJ 22:9    9Das Volk aber sprach: «Das ist Jmmanuel, der Prophet aus Nazareth in Galiläa, der da bringt neu die Lehre der Wahrheit.»

THE PROBLEM.  This is the response received by the people inside Jerusalem who had asked others what was going on. Beare (p. 414) commented on the incongruity of Mt 21:11 in comparison to Mt 21:9 where Jesus was referred to solely as the Son of David: Why would they acclaim him using one description outside the gates of Jerusalem and use quite another description inside the gates?

SOLUTION.  In the TJ verse, we see that the description of Jmmanuel as one who brings "the teachings of truth" is common to both TJ 22:9 and its antecedent, TJ 22:7 (see above). Thus, the TJ's description has changed only in part, and Beare's criticism or question, which is obscure and generally unknown, would not apply to it. That is, the part of the description that changed did so because those inside the city didn't know who it was and needed a more precise description: "the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee." This is another example of a solution to a criticism far too minor for a literary hoaxer to have been aware of or concerned with. PHoax 0.25.

Mt 21:12-13    12And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you make it a den of robbers."

TJ 22:10-12    10Jmmanuel went into the temple in Jerusalem and became furious when he saw that traders, vendors, dove merchants and money changers had established themselves there. 11Jmmanuel was very upset and said to them, "It is written: 'The temple is to be a place of teaching and a place of contemplation.' But you make it into a den of thieves." 12In his anger he overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of the dove merchants; and he drove them all out with a donkey driver's whip.

TJ 22:10-12     10Und Jmmanuel ging in den Tempel hinein in Jerusalem, und ward zornig als er sah, dass sich die Händler und Verkäufer und Taubenkrämer und Wechsler daselbst niedergelassen hatten. 11Jmmanuel erregte sich und sprach zu ihnen: «Es stehet geschrieben: ‹Der Tempel soll ein Ort der Lehre sein und ein Ort der Nachdacht›, ihr aber macht eine Räuberhöhle daraus.» 12Im Zorn stiess er um der Wechsler Tische und der Taubenkrämer Stühle; und er trieb sie alle hinaus mit der Peitsche eines Eseltreibers.

THE PROBLEM.  In Matthew, Jesus apparently drives out all in the temple who are selling and buying. Beare (p. 416) found it utterly incredible that all the attendants of the numerous oxen, sheep, goats and pigeons could be driven out by just one person.

SOLUTION.  In the TJ version, it is implied that Jmmanuel drove out only the money changers and dove dealers, not everyone else. Moreover, that he could do this much appears to have been due to his use of a whip, as the TJ indicates; Matthew mentions no whip or other implement. As the people in the vicinity of Jmmanuel and his cracking whip ran toward the exits, so also would those farther away in the temple to escape the commotion.

FURTHER DISCUSSION.  The writer of Matthew omitted mention of the whip probably so as to reduce the degree of inconsistency or tension between the image of Jesus as a humble peacemaker versus a man of action as this scene indicates. For the same reason he also omitted any mention of Jmmanuel's anger. The writer of Mark, having access to Matthew but not to the TJ, consequently also mentions no whip, and alleviates the incredibility of the scene Beare referred to by saying only that Jesus "began to drive out those who sold" (Mk 11:15). The writer of Luke, though he had had some access to the TJ, follows Mark on this (Lk 19:45). The writer of John, however, also having had some access to the TJ, does mention use of a whip (Jn 2:15), and allows "all" to have been driven out of the temple.

It is interesting also that Jmmanuel stated the temple should be a place of "teaching and contemplation," while the writer of Matthew altered this into "prayer," probably in keeping with a verse in Isaiah:

Is 56:7     for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

Although prayer has always been an important function of a synagogue, it has also been called a "place of instruction" or "place of sanctuary."[3] Hence, "teaching and contemplation" lie within the diversity of functions served by the synagogue.

It is quite implausible that a literary hoaxer could have constructed the TJ verses above, which give more detail than Matthew, and at the same time eliminate the Matthean problem without generating even worse problems of his own. PHoax 0.3.

Mt 21:15    15But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant.

TJ 22:14    14But when the chief priests and scribes saw the great deeds he was performing, and the people as they shouted in the temple, saying, "Hail to the descendant of David," they became indignant.

TJ 22:14    14Da aber die Hohenpriester und Schriftgelehrten sahen die grossen Taten, die er tat, und das Volk, das im Tempel schrie und sagte: «Heil dem Nachfahren Davids!», da wurden sie entrüstet.

THE PROBLEMS.  Here Beare (p. 417) noted that the indignation of the chief priests and scribes was aroused not so much by the healing miracles as by the acclamations of the children. He found it entirely inappropriate that they would be upset over the behavior of mere children while seemingly not even noticing the violent actions Jesus had taken, referring to his driving the money changers and other buyers and sellers out of the temple.

We furthermore again see that the inclusion of "Hosanna" brings in the theology of the compiler and of the church (since its meaning is "save us, we pray").

SOLUTION.  TJ 22:14 is seen not to suffer from Beare's criticism. The attitude of strong praise towards Jmmanuel inside the temple on the part of a large number of adults, not children, could indeed have been more threatening to the chief priests and scribes than Jmmanuel's angry actions had been. The reason why the compiler altered "people" into children must have been to maintain consistency with his alteration of TJ 22:15 into Mt 21:16, wherein he introduced "babes and sucklings," to be discussed next. In addition, we see that Jmmanuel did not drive out the traders and money changers, as did Matthew's Jesus, when a lot of children were portrayed as being present to be in harm's way.

In the TJ, "Hosanna" again does not appear, as is to be expected if it is genuine. And though in the TJ Jmmanuel is called the "descendant of David" again—several times overall, it is only by virtue of the Jewish custom of tracing the lineage through a step father (Joseph) that this descent is applicable.

Mt 21:16    16and they [chief priests and scribes] said to him, "Do you hear what these [children] are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read 'Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast brought perfect praise'?"
TJ 22:15    15When they asked him, "Do you hear what these people are saying?" Jmmanuel said to them, "Are you so afraid of the truth that it angers you?"

TJ 22:15    15Alsdann sprachen sie zu ihm: «Hörst du auch, was diese Leute sagen?», da aber sprach Jmmanuel zu ihnen: «Fürchtet ihr die Wahrheit, da ihr euch darüber so erregt?»

THE PROBLEM.  Beare (p. 418) noted the irrationality of expecting praise to God to come from the mouths of infants or sucklings. The citation derives from the following psalm:

Ps 8:1-2    O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth! Thou whose glory above the heavens is chanted by the mouth of babes and infants....

The writer of Matthew's penchant for inserting Old Testament verses to give an air of authority has here produced a nonsensical result.

SOLUTION.  In the TJ verse, the chief priests and scribes are upset because Jmmanuel did not deny the implication that he was the messiah whose coming the prophets had foretold. As already discussed, many scholars have conjectured that the compiler of Matthew had been a scribe, converted from Judaism to Christianity. Given this, Jmmanuel's reply in the TJ would likely have incensed this compiler greatly. The implication that a fellow scribe would not face up to the truth would demand editing.

It is interesting to note that, except for the word "Amen," the writer of Matthew did not retain any mention of "truth" in his gospel, except once in a question spoken insincerely by Pharisees (Mt 22:16). However, "truth" is mentioned some 130 times by Jmmanuel in the TJ. Could it be that the writer of Matthew avoided the word because he was engaged in a great act of untruth? Or because for him the only meaning of "truth" would be in reference to what was written in the Scriptures?

Upon treating this and the previous verse as a unit in regard to the hoax hypothesis, I find it beyond reasonable credibility to believe that a hoaxer could remain so consistent within his own set of values and logic while exhibiting the "creativity" shown by TJ 22:15b, all the while eliminating the problems raised by the Matthean text. PHoax 0.25.

Mt 21:18-23    18In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he was hungry. 19And seeing a fig tree by the wayside he went to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only. And he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" And the fig tree withered at once. 20When the disciples saw it they marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?" 21And Jesus answered them, "Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will be done. 22And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith."
    23And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?"

TJ 21:11-14    11"Truly, truly, I say to you, if you are knowledgeable and comprehending and embrace wisdom, and if you practice love truthfully and do not doubt, not only will you do such things with blind eyes, but when you say to the fig tree: 'Dry up' it will dry up. Or when you say to a mountain: 'Lift yourself up and throw yourself into the sea,' it will come to pass. 12Be knowledgeable in truth and wisdom, so that your spirit and your consciousness will become powerful. 13And when you are knowledgeable and live in the truth of wisdom, your spirit and your consciousness will be filled with infinite power. 14Then everything you command or ask for in prayer, you will receive if you trust in it."

TJ 21:11-14    11«Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch: Wenn ihr wissend seid und verstehend und der Weisheit huldigt, und wenn ihr in Wahrheit Liebe übt und nicht zweifelt, so werdet ihr nicht nur solches mit blinden Augen tun, sondern, wenn ihr sagt zum Feigenbaum er solle verdorren, dann wird er verdorren, oder wenn ihr werdet sagen zu einem Berge: Hebe dich auf und wirf dich ins Meer, so wird’s geschehen. 12Denn seid wissend in Wahrheit und Weisheit, so euer Geist und euer Bewusstsein mächtig werden. 13Und so ihr wissend seid und in Wahrheit der Weisheit lebt, so also sind euer Geist und euer Bewusstsein mit unendlicher Kraft erfüllt. 14Alles, was ihr dann befehlet oder bittet im Gebet, wenn ihr darauf vertraut, werdet ihr’s empfangen.»

TJ 22:17     17And when Jmmanuel returned again to the temple and taught, the chief priests, scribes, and the elders of the people came to him and asked, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you the authority?"

TJ 22:17     17Und als Jmmanuel abermals in den Tempel kam und lehrte, traten zu ihm die Hohenpriester und Schriftgelehrten und die Ältesten im Volk und sprachen: «Aus welcher Vollmacht tust du das, und wer hat dir die Vollmacht gegeben?»

THE PROBLEM.  Beare (p. 419) found the cursing of the fig tree in Matthew to be very much out of keeping with Jesus' image, and so did not believe this miracle to be based on fact. He strongly suggested that the compiler of Matthew in hindsight must have been comparing the fig tree to Israel, and its drying up to the devastation of Israel and its temple in the war of 66-70 A.D. Other scholars have found other reasons not to believe this miracle.[4]

SOLUTION.  The TJ fig-tree metaphor finds its Matthean cognate only in Mt 21:21-22. The TJ has no cognate to Jesus' cursing of the fig tree, and its only reference to a fig tree drying up is in the verse presented, TJ 21:11. Apparently, then, the TJ's mention of the potential to cause a fig tree to dry up is what prompted the compiler to invent the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree. He wished to show that Jesus could actually wield this power. This is one of the relatively few instances where the writer of Matthew utilized a piece from the TJ in the wrong order—here he moved back a ways (one chapter) within the TJ rolls to extract and edit TJ 21:11-14, which he had previously omitted. We see from TJ 22:17, which follows immediately after Jmmanuel's overnight stay in Bethany (TJ 22:16 and Mt 21:17), that the tree-cursing episode was a Matthean insert.

In the TJ the capability of causing a fig tree to dry up or a mountain to move are more easily seen as being figurative examples of how great the power of the knowledgeable spirit is, than as literal examples of how that power, if knowledgeable, might be applied.

From TJ 22:17 we see that scribes had been present among those who accosted Jmmanuel this time, and that once again the writer of Matthew omitted them. Such omission is again plausible if this writer had once been a scribe, while their insertion by a literary hoaxer is less plausible, since direct motivation for that would be missing. This, combined with the implausibility that Jesus/Jmmanuel caused the fig tree to wither, together suggest PHoax 0.35.

Mt 21:28-32    28"What do you think? A man had two sons, and he went to the first son and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' 29 And he answered, 'I will not'; but afterward he repented and went. 30 And he went to the second son and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir,' but did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him."

TJ 22:24-30    24“But what do you think? A man had two sons and went to the first one and said, 'My son, go and work today in the vineyard.' 25He answered, saying, 'Yes father, I will go.' Yet he did not go. 26So he went to the other son and said, 'My son, go and work today in the vineyard.' 27 But he answered and said, 'I don't want to do it and therefore I will not go.' However, he soon felt remorse and went. 28Now I ask you, which of the two did the will of the father?” And they said, “The latter, of course.” 29But Jmmanuel spoke to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the publicans and prostitutes will recognize the wisdom of knowledge before you do. 30Johannes and the prophets came to you and taught you the right way, and you did not trust them; but the publicans and prostitutes did trust them. And although you recognized it, you nevertheless did not do penance and change your mind, so that you would trust them from that time on."

TJ 22:24-30    24«Was dünkt euch aber?: Ein Mann hatte zwei Söhne und ging zum ersten und sprach: ‹Mein Sohn, gehe hin und arbeite heute im Weinberge›. 25Er aber antwortete und sprach: ‹Ja, Vater, ich gehe hin›; und er ging doch nicht hin. 26Also ging er zum anderen und sprach: ‹Mein Sohn, gehe hin und arbeite heute im Weinberge›. 27Der aber antwortete und sprach: ‹Ich will’s nicht tun und so gehe ich nicht hin›, doch bald aber reute es ihn und er ging hin. 28So frage ich euch: Welcher unter den zweien hat des Vaters Willen getan?» und sie sprachen: «Selbstredend der Letzte.» 29Jmmanuel aber sprach zu ihnen: «Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch: Die Zöllner und Huren mögen wohl eher die Weisheit des Wissens erkennen als ihr. 30Johannes und die Propheten kamen zu euch und lehrten euch den rechten Weg und ihr vertrautet ihnen nicht; aber die Zöllner und Huren vertrauten ihnen; und obwohl ihr’s sahet, tatet ihr dennoch nicht Busse und habt nicht geändert euren Sinn, dass ihr ihnen danach auch vertraut hättet.»

THE PROBLEMS.  Jesus' reply doesn't hold any definite meaning, because it is quite unclear what is meant for one person to "go into the kingdom of God before" another person. It hasn't been explained previously, nor is it explained subsequently. Does it mean that persons who "go into the kingdom" later first have to suffer some time period in hell or in limbo, while those who enter the kingdom earliest do not experience any such waiting period? Does it mean that the bones of those who will enter the kingdom later than others will not collect themselves together into resurrected bodies until some later period of time? Does it mean that the tax collectors and harlots will die before the chief priests and elders do, and thus go to heaven first? Or does it mean that the chief priests and elders will never get to heaven at all?

In the only other places within Matthew where tax collectors (or publicans) are mentioned, they are spoken of in the most derogatory of terms (Mt 5:46, 18:17). Yet here they are mentioned with approval. This sudden turn-about suggests that one of the two sets of verses is the more original and the other is the work of the writer of Matthew.[5]

SOLUTION.  The TJ verses derive from a teacher of wisdom, the Matthean verses do not. The writer of Matthew had to alter the TJ verses into something compatible with early Christian faith, which the TJ's stress on "the wisdom of knowledge" was not. The publicans' and harlots' willingness to repent and trust in John and the prophets meant that they were beginning to recognize some wisdom. And just what does it mean to possess "the wisdom of knowledge?" It can only mean having the capability of making correct decisions and judgments on how and when to take proper actions or not take them, based upon knowledge of the facts. The publicans and prostitutes would come to recognize the value of this before the chief priests, scribes and elders would, in future lives if not in their present lives.

We may see from the TJ or discussion of Mt 18:17 that the earlier verses excoriating the tax collectors were the ones wholly inserted by the writer of Matthew, while here he goes along more closely with the TJ verses. Either he simply overlooked the fact that this would produce an inconsistency, or he went along with the TJ's approval of tax collectors because they were mentioned in association with harlots. If the former possibility applies, it would be an instance of "Matthean fatigue"—the writer of Matthew making alterations at Mt 18:17 and earlier, then later forgetting to make a change here that would make his text consistent with his earlier alterations.

DISCUSSION.  It is interesting to note that the TJ verses refer to John and the prophets, while in Matthew it is just John. This suggests that the writer of Matthew did not wish to go so far as to accuse chief priests and elders of not trusting the prophets. Presumably Jmmanuel was referring here to prophets who had come before himself and John, and among whose teachings were things that neither the priests and other religious authorities of that day nor of his present day trusted.

It is also interesting to notice the different order in which the two sons are addressed in the TJ account versus the Matthean account. NT scholars have long been aware of both versions of the story within different Gospel manuscripts, and the evidence supporting each version is of comparable weight. Either version can be supported by logical arguments, although I find the TJ version to be slightly more logical because the father would not likely ask the second son to go out and work if the first son had actually gone out into the field.

The presence of a meaningless concept within the Matthean pericope in place of a meaningful one in the TJ's pericope, favors the TJ's genuiness over Matthew here. PHoax 0.45.

Mt 21:42    42Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: 'The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?"
TJ 22:42-43    42Jmmanuel spoke to them, "You have recognized the meaning, and you have also read it in the scriptures: 'The stone that the builders threw away became the cornerstone.' 43Therefore I tell you, I am like the son of the administrator of the vineyard, and you are like the vine-dressers that leased the vineyard."

TJ 22:42-43    42Jmmanuel sprach zu ihnen: «Ihr habt’s erkannt, und so habt ihr’s auch gelesen in der Schrift, da geschrieben steht: ‹Der Stein, den die Bauleute verworfen haben, der ist zum Eckstein geworden›. 43Darum sage ich euch: So wie der Sohn des Weinbergverwalters bin ich, und so wie die Weinbergpachter seid ihr.»

THE PROBLEM.  This Matthean verse comes right after the parable of the wicked tenant-farmers, and its citation is from Ps 118:22. Beare (p. 430) noted some discrepancies here. The citing of this verse seems to have caused an unexplained jump from the image of a vineyard to the image of a building. Also, there is no particular reason why Jesus should have expected his listeners to liken the murdered son in the parable to a rejected stone that is later given the key position, since he had not yet been crucified and Christianity had not yet developed.

SOLUTION.  The TJ verses were the originals, and Beare's objections do not apply to them. In the two succeeding verses in the TJ, not present in Matthew, Jmmanuel warns the chief priests, scribes and elders that they should not disregard or falsify his teachings, as they had of earlier prophets. Hence, the Psalms citation with its message of rejection is applicable, and we may notice that it, unlike most of the compiler's Old Testament insertions, is mentioned as being a citation of scripture.

Since Jmmanuel's listeners would not have understood the relevance of the scriptural verse, he provided it, through his prophetic foresight. But why did the compiler of Matthew not include this second TJ verse, TJ 22:43, which explains the parable? It was likely because in the TJ's parable of the wicked tenant-farmers, the son of the administrator does not die, but survives within the tomb in which he is placed, and after three days and nights flees. The writer of Matthew likely detested this thought so much that he hastily omitted TJ 22:43, which refers back to the administrator's son's survival (TJ 22:39), rather than alter it. This was an unthinkable thought—that Jesus would survive the crucifixion—and the writer did not want to have anything to do with it.

It is to be pointed out that TJ 22:43, along with TJ 22:39, was the occasion at which the chief priests, scribes and elders learned that Jmmanuel prophesied he would survive a state of near-death for three days and three nights, as did the son of the administrator in his parable of the wicked vineyard tenants. (See Mt 27:63 and TJ 30:67-68.) However, Matthew does not present any such occasion; its passion prophecy of Mt 12:39-40 of course does not say anything about Jesus surviving three days of being buried. It was furthermore couched in terms of the Son of man, and has been objected to as being non-genuine. The passion prophecy of Mt 16:4 mentioned only the sign of Jonah without further amplification, and that of Mt 16:21 was spoken just to the disciples.

Once again the Matthean verse provides strong indications that it is not genuine, while the two TJ verses escape the Matthean criticism by text that a literary hoaxer would not likely be creative enough to invent. PHoax 0.25.

Mt 21:43    43"Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it."

TJ 22:46    46"Therefore I say to you, peace and joy shall be taken from you and your people for all eternity, and all shall be given to a people who bring forth their fruits."

TJ 22:46    46«Darum sage ich euch: Der Friede und das Glück sollen von euch genommen werden und also von eurem Volke in alle Zukunft, und alles soll einem Volke gegeben werden, das seine Früchte bringen wird.»

THE PROBLEMS.  This verse is supposed to apply the lesson taught by the preceding parable of the wicked vineyard farmers, summarized by its following cited psalm: "The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone," to the contemporary situation of Jesus' listeners. A key problem Beare (p. 431) reported is that the kingdom of God is prophesied to be taken away from just his listeners ("you"), who were a small group of chief priests, elders and Pharisees, whereas in the parable all the tenants were guilty of brutalizing and finally killing the householder's son. The parable's tenants and the psalm's "builders" then should represent the men of Judah, Beare reasoned. If the kingdom of God were to be taken away and given to some other nation, this meant that it was to be taken away from all of Israel, not just from a small group of religious leaders.

Beare further noted (p. 430) that the fate that the wicked tenant farmers would suffer was to be a "miserable death," while in Mt 21:43 the fate is much milder, as if in the parable the tenants had been threatened only with cancellation of their lease on the vineyard.

SOLUTION.  As seen by the parallel TJ verse, the thing that would be taken away was "peace and joy," and it would be taken away from not only Jmmanuel's listeners but from their people also; i.e., from the people of Israel. Thus Beare's reasoning here seems to have been valid. Moreover, a fate of having peace and joy taken away for an indefinite future time is a sufficiently dreadful threat as to escape from Beare's second criticism above. This TJ verse is adjacent to three others not present in Matthew, which warn that if Jmmanuel's teachings were to be disdained or falsified, then dire consequences would ensue.

It must be mentioned that when modern scholars read a prophecy like this, which seems to have been fulfilled the past 2,000 years, they will immediately assume it is the work of a literary hoaxer using hindsight. Without any conception of a mechanism, spiritual or otherwise, by which a valid long-range prophecy could be made, they must assume that there can never have been anyone with such a capability of long-range precognition. However, research of the past thirty years that scholasticism overlooks suggests that this assumption may not be warranted.[6] Given that many people have been able to recall (verified) incidents from their past lives, and some have been hypno-regressed into unverified future lives, a true prophet, or highly evolved soul, may be able to accurately foresee a future life of his and thereby prophesy as to what he "knew" from that future life. If anyone on Earth had that capability, it was Jmmanuel alias Jesus. Given also that the Matthean verse discloses errors in logic that could stem from redaction, the hoax hypothesis is not supported here. PHoax 0.4.

Mt 21:44     44"And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but when it falls on any one, it will crush him."
TJ 22:48     48"The burden of the Israelite people will be like a heavy stone of the seven Great Ages. Whosoever falls upon this stone will be smashed to pieces, and whosoever it falls upon will be crushed."

TJ 22:48     48«Die Last des israelitischen Volkes wird sein wie ein schwerer Stein der sieben grossen Zeitalter, und wer auf diesen Stein fällt, der wird zerschellen; auf wen aber er fällt, den wird er zermalmen.»

THE PROBLEM.  This Matthean verse is left out of the main text of many Bibles, although the textual evidence supporting it is overwhelming.[7] Yet Beare (p. 425) and others note that it is seemingly misplaced in Matthew, since if it had come a verse earlier it could more easily be connected with the "cornerstone" from the citation of Psalms 118, as occurs in Lk 20:18. Even then, however, Beare observed that a cornerstone is expected to be solidly in place within a building, and not lying loose where someone could trip over it or where it could fall on someone. Because the verse seems misplaced, the Greek text that scholars favor has relegated the verse to a footnote (or to the critical apparatus).

SOLUTION.  This TJ verse follows another one, not paralleled in Matthew, warning the chief priests, scribes and elders of the penalties to accrue both to them and to the Israelites if they disregard the true laws of El. There was nothing that the compiler of Matthew could do with such a verse but omit it, since it speaks of God as being an overseer of certain human populations. By the omission also of the unacceptable first half of TJ 22:48, but with the retention of the rest of it, the "stone" verse (Mt 21:44) didn't make sense. Thus, the TJ verse and context give a karmic explanation to this harsh verse, and the reference is to a different stone than a cornerstone—a "heavy stone of the seven Great Ages." These seven Great Ages are given a context and meaning in the TJ's 32nd chapter.

The TJ verse is especially strong confirmation of the TJ's genuineness. Not only does it form a part of Jmmanuel's theme of the karmic burden the Jewish people would have to face, but it is an almost impossibly brilliant solution to this "stone" problem for any hoaxer to have created. This solution to the problem is not to be found in any previous literature, yet is a solution fully consistent with the TJ's teachings. PHoax 0.1.

Regarding the appearance of Mt 21:44 in Luke, there are at least two possibilities. First, the writer of Luke noticed that it was out of place in Matthew, but that it could make some sort of sense if he placed it right after his "cornerstone" verse. The second, less likely possibility is that the writer of Matthew had omitted it, but the writer of Luke utilized it at the time he had access to the TJ; later, a scribe assimilated it into Matthew from Luke, but misplaced it by one verse.

Upon accumulating the individual probabilities for hoax listed above for this chapter (Mt 21 and TJ 22), we obtain a probability for hoax of only 0.00011.

Go Back to:Make Comment in: Go On to:
Verse Comparison, Introduction & Index                                   my Blog                                         Matthew 22


1. Davies, W. D., and Allison, Dale C., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, Scotland: T. & T. Clark Ltd., 1988), p. 211.

2. See, for example, Sandmel, Samuel, Anti-Semitism in the New Testament? (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978), p. 59.

3. Levine, Lee I., "The nature and origin of the Palestinian synagogue reconsidered," JBL 115 (1996), pp. 425-448; see p. 430.

4. See, e.g., Davies and Allison, Critical Commentary, vol. 3, p. 149.

5. Tuckett, C. M., The Revival of the Griesbach Hypothesis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 149-150.

6. See, e.g., Goldberg, Bruce, Past Lives, Future Lives (New York: Ballantine Books, 1982, 1988).

7. The verse is present in Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph), Codex Vaticanus (B), and many other major manuscripts—ones scholars value highly.

hit counter