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I would like to comment about Mt. 9:14-17

Here I will take issue with David Stern's Jewish New Testament Commentary on Mt. 9:16 and 9:17.

On this material David Stern is dead wrong!

His identification of "old coat" = "Judaism" and "unshrunk cloth" as
"messianic faith" is completely unfounded and has absolutely no basis in the text. It is
merely an echo of the wildly inaccurate *eisogesis* of the text made by
replacement theology Christians.

The same is true of his identification of "new wine" = "messianic fath" and
"oldwineskins" = "traditional Judaism" in verse 17.

Stern has done the best to adapt the EISOGESIS of Replacement Theology
Christian commentators to somehow be fitted into his theology (and it does
not work).

There is no need. The text here has NOTHING to do with this EISOGESIS.

Let us apply the seventh rule of Hillel and read the text in context:

I will use a modified KJV reading:

Then came to him the talmidim of Yochanan, saying,
Why do we and the Pharisees fast often,
but your talmidim fast not?

That establishes the subject. The topic is not Judaism vs. Messianic faith
or Judaism vs, Christianity. The subject is why Yeshua's talmidim are not

And Yeshua said to them,

Can the children of the bridechamber mourn,
as long as the bride groom is with them?
but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them,
and then they shall fast.

No man puts a piece of new cloth onto an old garment,
for that which is put in to fill it up takes from the garment,
and the rent is made worse.

Neither do men put new wine into old wineskins;
else the wineskins burst, and the wine runs out,
and the wineskins perish
but they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

Notice the poetic parallelism. (If you are taking the Hermeneutcs class
this will make a lot more sense to you).

Notice that their are three sets of lines and that each begins with a
parallel statement:

Can the children of the bridechamber mourn,
as long as the bride groom is with them?...

No man puts a piece of new cloth onto an old garment,...

Neither do men put new wine into old wineskins;...

Yeshua is answering the question posed to him "why do not youe talmidim fast?"

He replies that they do not because the bridegroom is still with them, but
that they will fast later when he is gone.

Yeshua does not say that fasting (an observance of the Torah) has been
abolished, to the contrary he indicates that it will be time to fast when
he is gone.

Then he gives two illustrations of things that are inappropriate but become
appropriate later.

Thus the identification is:

new piece of cloth = new wine = fasting

old garment = old wineskin = Messiah present with us

The identification of the Messiah with the wineskin is also in keeping with
a similar allegory found in the Mishnah (m.Avot 4:20) in which a teacher of
Torah is likened to a wineskin:

...He who learns from children-- what is he like?
he who eats sour grapes and drinks new wine.

And he who learns from old men-- what is he like?
he who eats ripe grapes and drinks old wine.

You can have a new wineskin full of old wine,
and an old wineskin which has not even new wine in it.

Now Yeshua claimed that his teaching was older than himself (Yochanan 7:16)
This ties into the traditional understanding of a teacher as a wineskin and
his teaching as wine. Yeshua's teaching was here with us while he was here
and thus it was not a time to fast but to drink the wine and rejoice.

In fact the teaching here indicates that his talmidim would be fasting (an
observance of Jewish Law) after he left.

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Views: 150

Comment by Chochana on April 25, 2011 at 6:43am
Thank you for explaining this often misunderstood passage.


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