Did Jesus blaspheme? (Mt 9:3-9:4)

“Then some of the scribes

Said to themselves.

‘This man is blaspheming.’”

But Jesus,

Perceiving their thoughts,

Said.

‘Why do you think evil

In your hearts?’”

 

καὶ ἰδού τινες τῶν γραμματέων εἶπαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Οὗτος βλασφημεῖ.

καὶ εἰδὼς ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν εἶπεν Ἵνα τί ἐνθυμεῖσθε πονηρὰ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν;

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 2:6-8, and Luke, chapter 5:21-22, about the scribes and blasphemy.  Interesting enough, Matthew does not mention the Pharisees here.  Some of these scribes seem to be talking to themselves, but not to others (καὶ ἰδού τινες τῶν γραμματέων εἶπαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς).  These scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed.  They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.  They might have been the fore-runners of the rabbinic class that was developing at that time.  They thought that Jesus was blaspheming (Οὗτος βλασφημεῖ).  Blasphemers used scurrilous or irreverent language about God.  Jesus seemed to know what they were thinking (καὶ εἰδὼς ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν) and saying to themselves.  He asked them why they had such evil thoughts in their hearts (εἶπεν Ἵνα τί ἐνθυμεῖσθε πονηρὰ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν).  Thus, Jesus turned the tables on them by exposing their evil thoughts.

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