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Verse 9

Matthew 27:9. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy The words here quoted are not in any copy of Jeremiah extant. But they bear a strong resemblance to the words of Zechariah 11:12-13. One MS., not of great account, has Ζεχαριου , of Zechariah. Another adds no name to the word prophet, and there is none added in the Syriac version, the words being only, which was spoken by the prophet. And it seems, from a remark of Augustine, that some copies in his time named no prophet. Indeed it is not improbable that the name Jeremiah was inserted by some officious transcriber. Or we may suppose, with Bishop Hall, that in copying the words, Jeremiah was put down for Zechariah, a blunder which transcribers might easily commit, especially if the names were written by abbreviation, Ιριου for Ζριου , as the bishop says he has seen in some ancient MSS. But if the present reading is retained, we may allow, that, as the Jewish Scriptures were divided into three parts, the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, what was found in the prophets might properly enough be said to be in Jeremiah, if his prophecies stood first in the collection, just as our Lord affirmed that whatever was in the Hagiographa concerning him, was contained in the Psalms, because the Psalms stood first in that division of the Scriptures. Or, we may adopt the solution offered by Grotius, who observes, that the Jews had many prophecies handed down to them by tradition, such as the prophecy of Enoch, Judges 1:14-15, and the traditionary prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem mentioned by Josephus, and that the later prophets often allude to and repeat the words of the former. He therefore declares it to be his opinion, that the prophecy concerning the thirty pieces of silver, recorded Zechariah 11:12-13, which represented symbolically, according to the manner of the prophets, the things that were to befall the Messiah, was originally acted and spoken by Jeremiah, as Matthew affirms; but that Zechariah, who in many particulars followed Jeremiah, was directed by the Spirit to repeat it afterward, and preserve it in writing among his other prophecies; and that the Jews had preserved the knowledge of this fact by tradition; wherefore, though it be now found in Zechariah, being originally spoken by Jeremiah, Matthew has committed no error here in referring it to him. See note on Zechariah 11:12-13.

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