Sunday, October 17, 2021

Jerome On Isaiah 22 And Eliakim

Roman Catholics often claim that Matthew 16 should be interpreted in light of Isaiah 22, which supposedly should lead us to the papacy. I've discussed some of the problems with that sort of argument in the past, such as in the comments section of the thread here. It's often noted that there is no support for such a reading of Isaiah 22 in the earliest centuries of church history and that Revelation 3:7, a passage discussing Jesus, is more reminiscent of Isaiah 22 than Matthew 16 is. In his commentary on Isaiah, Jerome not only sees Jesus as the equivalent of Eliakim, but even cites Revelation 3:7 in the process of discussing the passage in Isaiah. He sees Peter in the passage, but as one of the cups of Isaiah 22:24, along with the other apostles:

Eliakim means "God rising again," or "resurrection of God." Therefore, that God rising again, who is the son of Hilkiah, that is, "of the Lord's portion," will take your [the Jewish law's] place, and will be clothed with your robe, and will be strengthened by your sash, so that what you had in the letter, he possesses in the Spirit; and he will be father of those who inhabit Jerusalem, that is, the "vision of peace," which means the church, and the house of Judah, where there is the true "confession" of faith. This is why he says to the apostles, "Little children, I am with you a little longer" [John 13:33]; and to another, "Son, your sins are forgiven" [Matt 9:2]; and to another, "Daughter, your faith has saved you" [Luke 7:50]. Also, I will give to him, he says, the key of the house of David, "who opens, and no one shuts, who shuts, and no one opens" [Rev 3:7]. And this very key will be upon his shoulder, that is, during the passion. This accords with what is written in another passage: "Whose sovereignty is on his shoulder" [Isa 9:6]. For that which he will have opened up by his passion cannot be closed, and what he will have enclosed in Jewish ceremonies, no other will open….

This is also why in the Gospel it is written, "All the people were hanging from him [like hanging from the peg in Isaiah 22:24]" [Luke 19:48]. Indeed, this happened not merely at that time, but it is fulfilled up to the present day, that they hang various kinds of vessels from him, as if from the word of God, wisdom, justice, and all things by which Christ is designated….I think that the cups [in Isaiah 22:24] are the apostles, filled with the life-giving waters, of which it is said, "Bless the Lord from the fountains of Israel" [Ps 68:26]. (Thomas Scheck, trans., St. Jerome: Commentary On Isaiah [Mahwah, New Jersey: The Newman Press, 2015], p. 376, section 7:41 in the commentary)

He goes on to say that verse 25, as it applies to Christ and the church, will be fulfilled in an eschatological falling away.

You don't have to agree with all of Jerome's comments in order to recognize that he makes no reference to papal implications in the passage and that his understanding illustrates how easily the passage can be interpreted differently than Roman Catholics interpret it once we head down the path of this sort of interpretation.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you've encountered the recent debates Suan Sonna had with a few people; he's greatly popularized this argument. He appears to be the new up and comer in Roman apologetics.