Matthew 21:4-7 - Zechariah 9:9 - and they set him thereon

Steven Avery

Evangelical Textual Criticism
The Dead Sea Scrolls and textual criticism


Comments - The White Man
Matthew doesn't quote Zechariah directly, at least not in most mss--he leaves out NEON after PWLON. I hardly think NEON would aptly describe an ass old enough for a grown man to ride.


And on:

Matthew 21:4-7 (AV)
4 All this was done,
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion,
Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek,
and sitting upon an ass,
and a colt the foal of an ass.
6 And the disciples went,
and did as Jesus commanded them,
7 And brought the ass, and the colt,
and put on them their clothes,
and they set him thereon.

All - ὅλον - is missing in corruption text
Two versional addition variants before saying, but not W-H - Zechariah Ζαχαρίου - Ἠσαΐου - Isaiah Ἠσαΐου

Upon - ἐπὶ - is missing in the corruption text.
F1 omits the final ass.

Zechariah 9:9 (AV)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem:
behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation;
lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.


This article is a good starting point.

A Donkey and Her Colt
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.




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Steven Avery

Matthew misread the Book of Zechariah - October 16, 2011
Richard H. Anderson


There is lots of counterpoint in both of these proposed misreadings by Matthew.

e.g There clearly was an earlier Zechariah, son of Berechiah.

Zechariah 1:1 (AV)
In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

The discussion of this referencing by Jesus, and the history of the Zechariahs, is quite complex. With e.g. William Pemble being referenced by Matthew Henry, John Gill and Benjamin Blayney contributing, and more recently the Luke-Acts book of Tremper Longman has a good little section, referencing J. Barton Payne's "Zechariah who Perished" (1967).

Similarly the supposed "error" on the foal in Matthew 21:5 is mostly an error in some modern version mistranslations. I have some on this here:

Matthew 21:4 - and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass

While affirming the antiquity and accuracy of Luke, and the fascinating relationship of writing to Theophilus, I believe we should be very cautious in any disparagement of the other gospel writers. Where we may hastily using arguments and positions that are generally those of skeptics rather than New Testament believers and defenders.

Steven Avery
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Steven Avery


The article is available through BAS:

Bible Review 15:4, August 1999
Searching for the Better Text
How errors crept into the Bible and what can be done to correct them
by Harvey Minkoff

Which leads to the BAS Library, where about $10 for a year looks like it goes a long way.

Limited Time Offer—For New Members Only

And the specific article is still in

Searching for the Better Text


And I am working on a page with information on the questions of the ass and foal.

Matthew 21:4-7 - Zechariah 9:9 - and they set him thereon

Not complete yet, the Eric Lyons article is a good start!

A Donkey and Her Colt
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY, USA
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