They found the colt (Lk 19:32-19:32)

“Thus,

Those who were sent

Departed.

They found it

As he had told them.”

 

ἀπελθόντες δὲ οἱ ἀπεσταλμένοι εὗρον καθὼς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς.

 

Luke indicated that these two sent unnamed disciples (δὲ οἱ ἀπεσταλμένοι) left (ἀπελθόντες) and found things (εὗρον καθὼς) just as Jesus had told them (καθὼς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς).  Everything was going according to the plan laid out by Jesus.  Matthew, chapter 21:6, and Mark, chapter 11:4, are somewhat similar.  Mark indicated that the two disciples went away or departed (καὶ ἀπῆλθον).  They did just as Jesus had directed or commanded them to do.  They found a colt tied near a door (καὶ εὗρον πῶλον δεδεμένον πρὸς θύραν), outside in the open street (ἔξω ἐπὶ τοῦ ἀμφόδου).  Then they untied it (καὶ λύουσιν αὐτόν).  Everything seemed to be going according to plan.  In Matthew, chapter 21:6, the two disciples went out (πορευθέντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ).  They did just as Jesus had directed or commanded them to do (καὶ ποιήσαντες καθὼς συνέταξεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  They brought the donkey and the colt back (ἤγαγον τὴν ὄνον καὶ τὸν πῶλον) to Jesus.  However, Matthew, chapter 21:4-5, preceded this with a quotation from Zechariah, chapter 9:9, one of the 12 minor prophets that lived in the 6th century BCE under Persian rule.  This prophet Zechariah had said that the new king would be humble, mild, or gentle, but mounted on a donkey and a colt.  However, this was a misreading of the prophet, since Zechariah had spoken of a young colt donkey, not two separate animals.  Matthew used this passage to show how Jesus was the expected Israelite king, the prince of peace.  Matthew’s intention was clear.  Jesus was the expected messiah king.  Have you ever misread something?

They spread garments and branches on the road (Mk 11:8-11:8)

“Many people

Spread their garments

On the road.

Others spread

Leafy branches

That they had cut

In the fields.”

 

καὶ πολλοὶ τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν ἔστρωσαν εἰς τὴν ὁδόν, ἄλλοι δὲ στιβάδας, κόψαντες ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν.

 

Both Matthew, chapter 21:8, and Luke, chapter 19:36, are similar but with slight differences.  Mark said that instead of crowds, it was many people (καὶ πολλοὶ) that spread out their outer garments, cloaks, or coats on the road (τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν ἔστρωσαν εἰς τὴν ὁδόν).  Meanwhile, others were cutting down leafy branches from the surrounding fields (ἄλλοι δὲ στιβάδας, κόψαντες ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν), also spreading out these branches on the road.  This event has become the great Palm Sunday celebration, the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Actually, only John, chapter 12:13, called these palm branches.  This idea of laying garments on the road can be found in 2 Kings, chapter 9:13, to protect the feet of the king.  Clearly, this was an attempt to connect Jesus with the Davidic kingship.  Was Jesus to be the new king of Israel as a son of David?

Prophecy of Zechariah (Mt 21:4-21:5)

“This took place

To fulfill

What had been spoken

Through the prophet.

Saying.

‘Tell the daughter of Zion!

Look!

Your king is coming

To you,

Humble,

Mounted on a donkey,

And on a colt,

The foal of a donkey.’”

 

Τοῦτο δὲ γέγονεν ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος

Εἴπατε τῇ θυγατρὶ Σιών Ἰδοὺ ὁ Βασιλεύς σου ἔρχεταί σοι πραῢς καὶ ἐπιβεβηκὼς ἐπὶ ὄνον καὶ ἐπὶ πῶλον υἱὸν ὑποζυγίου.

 

This is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that this activity took place (Τοῦτο δὲ γέγονεν) to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet (ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος).  Although not named, this prophet was Zechariah, chapter 9:9, one of the 12 minor prophets that lived in the 6th century BCE under Persian rule.  This prophet had said to tell the daughter of Zion (Εἴπατε τῇ θυγατρὶ Σιών) to look for their king coming to them (Ἰδοὺ ὁ Βασιλεύς σου ἔρχεταί σοι).  He would be humble, mild, or gentle (πραῢς), but mounted on a donkey (καὶ ἐπιβεβηκὼς ἐπὶ ὄνον) and a colt, that was the foal or son of a donkey (καὶ ἐπὶ πῶλον υἱὸν ὑποζυγίου).  This was an actual misreading of the prophet, since Zechariah had spoken of a young colt donkey, who had been the foal of a donkey, not two separate animals.  Matthew used this passage to show how Jesus was the expected Israelite king.  He was to be the prince of peace.  Originally, Yahweh wanted Zion or Jerusalem to shout and rejoice, because their new king was coming.  He would be triumphant, victorious, and humble at the same time, but riding on a young donkey colt.  Matthew’s intention was clear.  Jesus was the expected messiah king.

Herod summoned the Magi (Mt 2:7-2:7)

“Then Herod secretly called

For the Magi.

He learned

From them

The exact time

When the star had appeared.”

 

Τότε Ἡρῴδης λάθρᾳ καλέσας τοὺς μάγους ἠκρίβωσεν παρ’ αὐτῶν τὸν χρόνον τοῦ φαινομένου ἀστέρος

 

Then Herod (Ἡρῴδης) secretly called (λάθρᾳ καλέσας) the magi (τοὺς μάγους).  It is not clear why he had to do this secretly, since they seem to have publicly went to him.  He wanted to know from them (ἠκρίβωσεν παρ’ αὐτῶν) the exact time (τὸν χρόνον) when this star had first appeared (τοῦ φαινομένου ἀστέρος).  This was an attempt by Herod to figure out when this new king was born.

Bethlehem as described by the prophet Micah (Mt 2:5-2:6)

“They told Herod.

‘In Bethlehem

Of Judea.

It has been written

By the prophet.’

‘You!

O Bethlehem!

In the land of Judah,

Are by no means least

Among the rulers of Judah.

From you

Shall come a ruler

Who is to shepherd

My people Israel.’”

 

οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· Ἐν Βηθλέεμ τῆς Ἰουδαίας· οὕτως γὰρ γέγραπται διὰ τοῦ προφήτου·

Καὶ σύ, Βηθλέεμ γῆ Ἰούδα, οὐδαμῶς ἐλαχίστη εἶ ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν Ἰούδα· ἐκ σοῦ γὰρ ἐξελεύσεται ἡγούμενος, ὅστις ποιμανεῖ τὸν λαόν μου τὸν Ἰσραήλ.

 

Interesting enough the response from the Jerusalem Sanhedrin was a quote from the prophet Micah, chapter 5:2.  These priests and scribes told Herod (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ) that the place for the birth of this new king had to be Bethlehem in Judea (Ἐν Βηθλέεμ τῆς Ἰουδαίας).  The prophet Micah, without mentioning him by name, had written about this (οὕτως γὰρ γέγραπται διὰ τοῦ προφήτου).  The quote from Micah is a paraphrase of Micah, as there was no mention of Ephrathah here.  Micah had uttered this ode about the small town of Bethlehem, where King David came from also.  Thus, this new ruler of Israel would be from this same place or part of the Davidic bloodline, as Matthew has pointed out.  Bethlehem was in the land of Judah (Βηθλέεμ γῆ Ἰούδα), not far from Jerusalem, about 6 miles.  Bethlehem was not the least among the various clans of Judah (οὐδαμῶς ἐλαχίστη εἶ ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν Ἰούδα).  The new leader or ruler would shepherd or lead (ἐξελεύσεται ἡγούμενος, ὅστις ποιμανεῖ) the Lord’s people of Israel (τὸν λαόν μου τὸν Ἰσραήλ).  Matthew with this citation, made the clear connection between, David, Bethlehem, and Jesus.

 

The questions of the Magi (Mt 2:2-2:2)

“The Magi asked.

‘Where is the child

Who has been born

King of the Jews?

We have observed

His star

At its rising

In the east.

We have come

To pay him homage.’”

 

λέγοντες Ποῦ ἐστιν ὁ τεχθεὶς βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; εἴδομεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ καὶ ἤλθομεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ.

 

These magi, because it was more than one, wanted to know where the new born child was (Ποῦ ἐστιν ὁ τεχθεὶς) who was going to be the King of the Jews (βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων).  They had observed his star rising in the east (εἴδομεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ).  They had come to pay homage or worship this new king (ἤλθομεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ).  These seem like legitimate questions from these eastern magi for King Herod.  They might have assumed that this new king would be the child of the current king, since King Herod had the title of King of the Jews.  As astrologers, they had seen this special star in the east.  They were outsiders, not Jewish, so that their insertion into this story indicated a universal appeal to the infant Jesus, who was to be ruler of the Jews.

The new assembly (Mic 2:12-2:13)

“I will surely gather

All of you!

O Jacob!

I will gather

The survivors of Israel!

I will set them together

Like sheep in a fold,

Like a flock in its pasture.

It will resound

With people.

The one who breaks out

Will go up

Before them.

They will break through.

They will pass the gate,

Going out by it.

Their king will pass on

Before them,

Yahweh at their head.”

Micah seemed to talk about a restoration, when nothing has happened yet.  Perhaps, this is a later addition.  Nevertheless, Yahweh wanted to gather all the people of Jacob with the survivors from northern Israel.  They were going to be one flock of sheep.  They would break out of their holding area when someone would lead them out through the gate.  This would be their new king, Yahweh.