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the Targum of Jonathan reads; In that day shall the Messiah of Jehovah of hosts be for a crown of glory. Jonathan however could never have thus explained the passage, unless he had believed that the future Messiah would be Jehovah incarnate: nor would he have hazarded so extraordinary an interpretation, unless he had been fully conscious of speaking the general sentiments of his contemporaries. It is well known, that the Jews so highly venerate the Targum of this writer, as to deem it something divine : yet we see that Jonathan identifies the Messiah with Jehovah himself. The doctrine in question still prevailed among the Jews at the time when Justin Martyr flourished, as is manifest from his direct appeal to Trypho.
If we produce to them, says he, those scriptures formerly rehearsed to you, which expressly shew that the Messiah is both subject to suffering and yet is the adorable God; they are under a necessity of acknowledging, that these respect the Christ. So that, while they assert that Jesus is not the Christ, they still confess, that the Christ himself shall come, and suffer, and reign, and be the adorable God: which conduct of theirs is truly most absurd and contradictory.' I need scarcely remark, that Justin could never have hazarded such language to a Hebrew antagonist, unless he knew that he had very good grounds for what he said.
But, to return to the Targums :· where the text reads, Let not God speak with us, lest we die ; ?
· Just. Dial. cum Tryph. p. 294. 2 Exod. xx. 19.
the interpretation of Onkelos runs, Let not the Word from before the Lord speak with us. So likewise, where the text reads, She called the name of Jehovah that spake unto her, Thou God seest me :' the Targum of Jonathan runs, She confessed before the Lord Jehovah, whose Word had spoken unto her; and the Targum of Jerusalem, She confessed and prayed to the Word of the Lord, who had appeared to her. Now the person, who appeared to Hagar, was the Angel of Jehovah.” The paraphrasts therefore identify the Word and the Angel. Hence it is plain, that by the Word of God they do not mean a speech uttered by God, but that they use the term to express a real person. Their very mode indeed of employing it sufficiently displays their sentiments. A word may be spoken by its utterer : but it is clear, that a word itself cannot speak. The paraphrasts however declare, that the Word, which they had in contemplation, both actively spoke, and passively was the subject of adoration : for this Word is said, both to have spoken to Hagar, and to have been invocated by her in prayer. Such a Word, consequently, must needs be a person : and, if a person, it must be distinct from Jehovah the sender, being in fact universally described as Jehovah the sent. By this personal Word they understood the Messiah; as is evident from Jonathan's interpretation of the text, Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit thou al my
right hand.' He explains its purport to be, Jehovah said unto his Word. But it is manifest, front our Saviour's conversation with the Pharisees relative to the nature and parentage of the Messiah, that they acknowledged this text to relate to him; and it appears from the Midrash Tillim, that such an application is fully recognized by the Jewish Rabbins. Hence the inference is inevitable, that the Hebrew doctors confess the Messiah to be the Word of God or the Angel of Jehovah : and hence we shall at once perceive, why St. John so pointedly bestows the title upon his divine Master. He did but employ the usual phraseology of his countrymen respecting the promised Messiah : yet, by applying the name to Jesus of Nazareth, he at once declared him to be the Messiah and that Angel of Jehovah who was confessedly the God both of the Patriarchal and of the Levitical Church.
(2.) Agreeably to this obvious conclusion, the Targums exhibit the Word with all the characteristics of the expected Messiah.
They describe him as the mediator between God and man.
Thus, in paraphrasing a text from Deuteronomy, Jonathan writes; God is near in the name of the Word of Jehovah :4 in paraphrasing a text of Hosea; God will receive the prayer of Israel by
2 Matt. xxii. 41-46.
4 Deut. iv. 7.
his Word, and have mercy upon them, and will make them by his Word like a beautiful fig-tree :' and, in paraphrasing a text of Jeremiah: I will be sought by you in my Word, and I will be inquired of by you through my Word. Thus likewise, where Abraham is said by Moses to have called on the Name of Jehovah the everlasting God; he is described by the Targum of Jerusalem, as praying in the name of the Word of Jehovah the God of the world.
They speak of him, as making atonement for sin.
Thus, in paraphrasing a text of Deuteronomy, Jonathan writes : God will atone by his Word for his land and for his people, even a people saved by the Word of Jehovah.
They exhibit him, as a redeemer.
Thus the text from Genesis, I have waited for thy salvation O Jehovah, is paraphrased as follows in the Jerusalem Targum. Our father Jacob said thus : My soul expects not the redemption of Gideon the son of Joash which is a temporal salvation, nor the redemption of Samson which is a transitory salvation ; but the redemption, which thou didst promise should come through thy Word to thy people. This salvation my soul waits for. Thus the same text is paraphrased by Jonathan, with a direct application to the Messiah : whence again we find it to be the established doctrine of
Hos. iv. 9.
2 Jerem. xxix. 14. 4 Deut. xxxii. 43.
3 Gen. xxi. 33. Gen. xlix. 18.
the ancient Hebrew Church, that the Messiah and the Word were the same person.
Our father Jacob said: I do not expect the deliverance of Gideon the son of Joash which is a temporal salvation, nor that of Samson the son of Manoah which is a transient salvation. But I expect the redemption of Messiah the son of David, who shall come to gather to himself the children of Israel.
They celebrate him as the only-begotten; and, in this character, they make him the creator of the world.
Thus we find that remarkable text of Genesis, The God Jehovah said, Behold the man is become as one of us, explained by a paraphrase equally remarkable.' The Word of Jehovah said, Behold Adam, whom I HAVE CREATED, is the onlybegotten in the world, as I am the only-begotten in the highest heavens. With the propriety or impropriety of the comparison, here instituted between the Word and the first man, we are no way concerned : * the paraphrase demonstrates all which it was adduced to demonstrate, that the Hebrew Church in the days of the Targumists believed the Word to be the only-begotten of Jehovah, and that she ascribed to him the office of the creator. This was perceived and reluctantly acknowledged by the later Rabbins, when their hostility to the gospel niade it necessary to
" Gen. iii. 22.