Agricultural Imagery in Targum Jonathan and Matthew

in Aramaic Studies
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‭To explore the question of whether TgJon might function as background to NT texts I compare TgJon and the gospel according to Matthew. I restrict this research to agricultural imagery, because the Targum is famous for its explanation of metaphors and similes, and because much imagery in Matthew has an agricultural background. It appears that in some cases it is interesting and helpful to consult the Targumic version of the Hebrew Bible. Targumic explanation of imagery is close to that of Matthew’s, although one must be aware of the differences.‬

Agricultural Imagery in Targum Jonathan and Matthew

in Aramaic Studies




‭Translation from B.D. ChiltonThe Isaiah Targum (The Aramaic Bible, 11; Collegeville: The Liturgical Press1987) 56.


‭Cf. L. Ryken et al. (eds.)Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press1998) pp. 650 and 865. Some examples are 2Sam. 23.6; Isa. 27.4; 33.12; Nah. 1.10.‬


‭Cf. J. Ribera FloritEl Targum de Isaías: La versión aramea del profeta Isaías (Biblioteca Midrásica, 6; Valencia: Soler1988) pp. 30–31.‬


‭Translation from ChiltonThe Isaiah Targum p. 52.


‭HaywardThe Targum of Jeremiah p. 75 n. 21 remarks that the Aramaic word used here for ‘end’ commonly refers to the end time of redemption. Later Rabbinic parables use sowing and reaping in a more personal sense for being begotten and being buried (MQ 9a–b; Gen. R. 23.11) see Feldman The Parables and Similes pp. 32–33; or for being buried and resurrected (Sanh. 90b) see p. 54. The latter use is also known from Paul in his letter to the Corinthians (15.35–49).‬


‭M.C.A. KorpelA Rift in the Clouds: Ugaritic and Hebrew Descriptions of the Divine (Münster: Ugarit-Verlag1990) p. 443.‬


‭Translation from HaywardThe Targum of Jeremiah p. 113.


‭Translation from S.H. LeveyThe Targum of Ezekiel (The Aramaic Bible, 13; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark1987) p. 56.‬


‭KorpelA Rift in the Clouds p. 440.


‭Cf. Cathcart and GordonThe Targum of the Minor Prophets p. 194 n. 10: ‘The stone of MT is interpreted messianically; cf. Tg.’s king in Zion for MT’s stone at Isa. 28.16 and the Targumic interpretation of the rejected stone of Ps. 118.22 with reference to David.’ So also J.C. de Moor ‘The Targumic Background’ pp. 75–76.‬


‭Translation from ChiltonThe Isaiah Targum pp. 10–11.


‭KorpelA Rift in the Clouds p. 440 while the tower refers to Zion as Jerusalem’s highest point. See also her ‘The Literary Genre of the Song of the Vineyard (Isa. 5:1–7)’ in: W. van der Meer and J.C. de Moor (eds.) The Structural Analysis of Biblical and Canaanite Poetry (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press 1988) pp. 119–155 esp. pp. 128–129.‬


‭Cf. De Moor‘The Targumic Background’ p. 70 where he considers it a reference to the southwestern corner of the altar in which the libated wine was drained.‬


‭ChiltonThe Isaiah Targum p. 11 n. 5:1–5:15. De Moor ‘The Targumic Background’ pp. 69–70 assumes that the plural is an error and reads: ‘my sanctuary’. Later Rabbinic parables use the hedge or the fence as a symbol for the Great Synagogue (Sifre Num. 10.29; B. Bat. 91b; Ab. 1.1; Hul. 110a) see Feldman The Parables and Similes pp. 35–36.‬

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