Holy Week–Hosanna!

palm sunday

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.
–Zechariah 9

Jerusalem and The Passover Feast

The ISBE sets the scene:

Pilgrimage was made annually to Jerusalem for the Passover sacrifice…
Passover in NT temple days was a spectacle of excitement and devotion. Pilgrims near and far ascended to the holy city…
Days before Passover began, Jerusalem was a hubbub…Many pilgrims…arrived early to sell or barter their wares…

And numbers? Josephus’ assessment of 3 million Jews (including the city residents) is considered an “extreme exaggeration” or symbolic. But the throngs of pilgrims would have swelled to well over one hundred thousand.

Jesus and the Crowds

John tells us that “six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was…” (John 12:1), and dined with him and his sisters. This event attracted its own crowd of disciples and others.
“Now [on the next day] when they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples” (Mat. 21), to fetch a donkey.
And then, “a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him…” (John 12:12).

So, here is the scene. With crowds of pilgrims converging on Jerusalem from every direction, some pilgrims who have heard of his approach meet Jesus, accompanied by a crowd of disciples, on the road outside of Jerusalem.

[Looking Ahead: As an important side note, let us not overlook the unfounded equating, that we may hear, of the “crowds” accompanying Jesus outside the city, shouting, “Hosanna” with the “crowd” in the city before Pilate’s seat, shouting “crucify.” Though a popular refrain, it is poor speculation, which pays no attention to the setting and has no foundation in the text itself.]

Hosanna

Hosanna is a transliteration [“to represent or spell in the characters of another alphabet” a word from a different language in one’s own language] of the Hebrew word from Psalm 118:25 which is translated, “Save now, I pray, O LORD;…”

W.F. Albright notes, in Matthew (AB) that it “is a prayer for deliverance (“Save now!”); it is not in any way a cry of praise….The meaning of the vocative [“a grammatical case in certain inflected languages to indicate the person…being addressed.”] la was misunderstood quite early, and the Greek translation therefore rendered the vocative O son of David as “to the son of David,”…[italic mine] What we have here, therefore, is an ancient liturgical text, a cry to the anointed king for deliverance”.

We see the same picture in the episode immediately preceding the Triumphal Entry, in the plea of the Two Blind Men (Mat. 20:29-34): “Take pity on us, son of David!”

“Sir, let our eyes be opened.”

[This is the first post with which I began this blog on 1 April 2012 #Palm Sunday]

 

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Holy Week, Beware Idle Conjecture

Bethphage-Church-Jerusalem-Map

Amidst the joy that begins Holy Week, someone always dredges up an unfounded conjecture [today’s example here and here] which says, “Apples are oranges.” That is this—that the crowds who shouted, “Hosanna!” were the same crowd that cried, “Crucify him!

Such an idle charge has no foundation in the text, and bears false witness akin to that at Jesus’ trial. It is like saying that Peter not only denied Jesus, but also joined the mob that called for crucifixion.

We are told that Jesus, “six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus raised from the dead” (John 12:1).

Jesus, with the once-dead Lazarus, attracted a large crowd (v. 9). The next day, with pilgrims streaming into Jerusalem from every direction, some throngs on the east side who hear of Jesus’ approach, come and join the procession of Jesus and his disciples (remember, Jesus had more than twelve; he once sent out seventy). “As soon as He was approaching…the whole crowd of the disciples began…shouting:
‘BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD…’” (Luke 19:37f).

(Note: those who had earthly expectations of a King would not have expected fulfillment until after Passover. Israel was freed from bondage following Passover, not before.)

Days later, the chief priests and elders completed their stealthy plot to kill Jesus, but “not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people” (Matt. 26:5).

Remember, the Teachers of the Law all had their own disciples. A very different entourage accompanied the Jewish leaders as they held their night trial and then proceeded to Pilate’s judgment seat. It was the chief priests and elders, encouraging the crowd that they attracted, who together shouted, “Crucify him!” (Matt. 27:22).

palm sunday

[The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat,…they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi‘ by others.” (Matt. 23)

Every Rabbi/Teacher had his own disciples/learners. The scribes and Pharisees had their own entourage of followers.

Time-line

Mt. 21:1 Bethphage (near the east side of Jerusalem)

Passover Pilgrims and Disciples: “Hosanna”

v. 10 City residents: “Who is this?”

v. 12 Cleansing the Temple

v. 18 Teaching in the Temple (Next Day)

Mt. 24:45f “Chief Priests and Pharisees…when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the people.”

Mt. 26:4 “plotted to…kill Him.”

v. 19ff Last Supper, Mt. Of Olives, Gethsemane

Then, “a great multitude with swords and clubs came from the chief priests and elders…”

and “led him away to Caiphas the high priest where the scribes and elders were assembled.

27:1ff “When morning came…they led him away..to Pilate.” (Luke: “Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate.”)

v. 20f “chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask [Pilate] for Barabas and destroy Jesus…they all said, ‘Let him be crucified.’” Luke: “Crucify Him, crucify Him!]

Holy Week–Hosanna!

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.
–Zechariah 9

Jerusalem and The Passover Feast

The ISBE sets the scene:

Pilgrimage was made annually to Jerusalem for the Passover sacrifice…
Passover in NT temple days was a spectacle of excitement and devotion. Pilgrims near and far ascended to the holy city…
Days before Passover began, Jerusalem was a hubbub…Many pilgrims…arrived early to sell or barter their wares…

And numbers? Josephus’ assessment of 3 million Jews (including the city residents) is considered an “extreme exaggeration” or symbolic. But the throngs of pilgrims would have swelled to well over one hundred thousand.

Jesus and the Crowds

John tells us that “six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was…” (John 12:1), and dined with him and his sisters. This event attracted its own crowd of disciples and others.
“Now [on the next day] when they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples” (Mat. 21), to fetch a donkey.
And then, “a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him…” (John 12:12).

So, here is the scene. With crowds of pilgrims converging on Jerusalem from every direction, some pilgrims who have heard of his approach meet Jesus, accompanied by a crowd of disciples, on the road outside of Jerusalem.

[Looking Ahead: As an important side note, let us not overlook the unfounded equating, that we may hear, of the “crowds” accompanying Jesus outside the city, shouting, “Hosanna” with the “crowd” in the city before Pilate’s seat, shouting “crucify.” Though a popular refrain, it is poor speculation, which pays no attention to the setting and has no foundation in the text itself.]

Hosanna

Hosanna is a transliteration [“to represent or spell in the characters of another alphabet” a word from a different language in one’s own language] of the Hebrew word from Psalm 118:25 which is translated, “Save now, I pray, O LORD;…”

W.F. Albright notes, in Matthew (AB) that it “is a prayer for deliverance (“Save now!”); it is not in any way a cry of praise….The meaning of the vocative [“a grammatical case in certain inflected languages to indicate the person…being addressed.”] la was misunderstood quite early, and the Greek translation therefore rendered the vocative O son of David as “to the son of David,”…[italic mine] What we have here, therefore, is an ancient liturgical text, a cry to the anointed king for deliverance”.

We see the same picture in the episode immediately preceding the Triumphal Entry, in the plea of the Two Blind Men (Mat. 20:29-34): “Take pity on us, son of David!”

“Sir, let our eyes be opened.”