Friday, July 26, 2019

Stump the Priest: The Deuterocanonical Books in the New Testament

The Maccabean Martyrs, which we read about in 2 Maccabees 7
who are also referenced in Hebrews 11:35

Question: "Does the New Testament quote from the deuterocanonical books?"

There are no direct, complete quotations from the deuterocanonical books in the New Testament, but this is also true of several books in the Hebrew Old Testament canon, such as Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 2nd Kings, 1st and 2nd Chronicles, Esther, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, and several of the Minor Prophets. So obviously this is not proof that these books are not Scripture.

However, direct quotations are not the only way that the New Testament makes use of Old Testament texts. Often we find allusions to these texts, that would have generally been picked up by those familiar with them, and there are many allusions to the deuterocanonical books in the New Testament.

Here are some of the clearer examples:

1. In the sermon on the mount, Christ says:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" (Matthew 6:19-20).
The parallel passage in Luke says:
" Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth" (Luke 12:33).
There is nothing parallel to this text in the Jewish canon, but there is in book of Sirach:
"Lose thy money for thy brother and thy friend, and let it not rust under a stone to be lost. Lay up thy treasure according to the commandments of the most High, and it shall bring thee more profit than gold. Shut up alms in thy storehouses: and it shall deliver thee from all affliction. It shall fight for thee against thine enemies better than a mighty shield and strong spear" (Sirach 29:10-13).
2. In both Matthew 11:25 and Luke 10:21, we find Christ using the phrase "Lord of heaven and earth" in prayer. This is a familiar phrase to us now, but it is not found anywhere in the Old Testament, except in Tobit 7:18.

3. In Matthew 27:43:, we find the chief priests, elders, and scribes mocking Christ as he hung on the Cross, and saying:
"He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God."
You find margin references in most Bibles that point you to Psalm 22:8 [21:8 in the LXX], which says:
"He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him."
Now this passage is close, and certainly this is a prophecy of this mockery, but the assumption of these mockers is that God coming to Christ's aid would vindicate that he is in fact the Son of God, which is not specified in that psalm. However, it is specified in the Wisdom of Solomon:
"For if the just man be the son of God, he will help him, and deliver him from the hand of his enemies" (Wisdom 2:18).
4. In the John 10:22, we find a reference to the "feast of the dedication" (better known to us as Hanukkah, which was established during the Maccabean period, and we find the establishment of that feast recorded in 1 Maccabees 4:59:
"Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness."
5. In Romans 1:20-32, if you have a Cambridge KJV with margin notes, you will see that they reference all of Wisdom chapters 13 through 15 as parallel to this passage, but this is most obvious in the first part of each of these respective sections:
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened" (Romans 1:20-21).
"Surely vain are all men by nature, who are ignorant of God, and could not out of the good things that are seen know him that is: neither by considering the works did they acknowledge the workmaster" (Wisdom 13:1).
And further on in that section, St. Paul makes the connection between falling into idolatry and sexual immorality, which clearly parallels Wisdom 14:12,24-27:
"For the devising of idols was the beginning of spiritual fornication, and the invention of them the corruption of life. They kept neither lives nor marriages any longer undefiled: but either one slew another traitorously, or grieved him by adultery.... So that there reigned in all men without exception blood, manslaughter, theft, and dissimulation, corruption, unfaithfulness, tumults, perjury, disquieting of good men, forgetfulness of good turns, defiling of souls, changing of kind, disorder in marriages, adultery, and shameless uncleanness. For the worshipping of idols not to be named is the beginning, the cause, and the end, of all evil." 
6. In Ephesians 6:13-17, where St. Paul speaks of putting on the armor of God, there are definite parallels with a passage from the Wisdom of Solomon, which speaks figuratively of armor actually worn by God Himself, and this connection is also noted in the Cambridge KJV margin notes:
"He shall take to him his jealousy for complete armour, and make the creature his weapon for the revenge of his enemies. He shall put on righteousness as a breastplate, and true judgment instead of an helmet. He shall take holiness for an invincible shield. His severe wrath shall he sharpen for a sword, and the world shall fight with him against the unwise" (Wisdom 5:17-20).
Most directly parallel is the reference to the "breastplate of righteousness," which in the Greek text of Wisdom is "ἐνδύσεται θώρακα δικαιοσύνην"" and in Ephesians it is "ενδυσαμενοι τον θωρακα της δικαιοσυνης."

7. In Hebrews 11:35, as St. Paul recounts the heroes of the Faith of the Old Testament, we read:
"Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection."
In the original 1611 King James text, there were not nearly as many margin cross references as in later editions, but for this verse, it refers the reader to 2 Maccabees 7, in which we read about seven brothers who were tortured to death for their faith, and were encouraged to not give in by their mother, and notably, in verse 14, we read:
"So when he [the fourth brother] was ready to die he said thus, "It is good, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God to be raised up again by him: as for thee [Antiochus], thou shalt have no resurrection to life"" (2 Maccabees 7:14).
For More Information, See:

Stump the Priest: What is the "Apocrypha"?

Stump the Priest: The Septuagint vs. the Masoretic Text