Monday, August 06, 2012

In The Gospel according to John, the apostle’s use of Psalm 69 implies that Psalm 69:8 is about Mary’s other sons.

This is re-publishing an older article I had written in 2009, with some changes.

Psalm 69:8-9 (English Standard Version)

"I have become a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my mother’s sons.

For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me."
(also treated as Messianic in Romans 15:3 by the apostle Paul)

Since John is the one who is quoting and alluding to Psalm 69 so much:

John 2:17 (Psalm 69:9)

John 15:25 (Psalm 69:4)

John 19:28-29 (Psalm 69:21)

In addition, the context of John 7:3-5 is about his brothers not believing in Him, and then in verses 6-8, it becomes even more clear that John is saying that Psalm 69:8 is about Mary’s others sons. John 7:6, “Jesus therefore said to them, “My time is not yet at hand, but your time is always opportune.” John 7:7, “The world cannot hate you; but it hates me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” Because verse 3 in the same context says, “His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that your disciples also may behold Your works which You are doing.” – here is a clear distinction between Jesus’ brothers and Jesus’ disciples. He contrasts between the faith and love of the disciples and the hatred and unbelief of the world. He does the same thing in John 15:25, another quote from Psalm 69. “They hated Me without a cause”. Now the context of the cross and the giving of Mary to John to care of her becomes even more important and more clear that Mary had other children. And then in John 19:27-28, where Jesus says, “Behold, your mother!”, Jesus is clearly connected her with Psalm 69, because his real brothers have disowned Him and been estranged from Him and rejected Him, and hated Him, so therefore, He commits His mother to John. In verse 28 of John 19, the Scripture says, “. . . in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I am thirsty”. Psalm 69:21 – with Matthew 27:34, 48, Mark 15:23, 36, and Luke 23:36.

In church history, some people began to make unreasonable deductions about Mary, going beyond Scripture, adding to Scripture, and contradicting Scripture.

These unreasonable deductions led to the whole series of unbiblical traditions about Mary (prayers to her, IC, BA, co-mediatrix, some even calling for co-redemptrix to be defined as dogma) and led to the over-exalting of Mary, the over-emphasis on virginity (even after marriage), and celibacy as a requirement for all ministers in the RCC in church history. It is called a “higher way of holiness”.  This implies that married folks cannot attain to a holy life, and it seems to exalt works over grace and faith.

Obviously, Psalm 69:5 is NOT about the Messiah, because He was sinless. (John 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15, Heb. 7:26; I Peter 1:19-20). This can be understood the same way that 2 Samuel 7:14a is about the Messiah, but 7:14b is not about the Messiah. So, it is possible that Psalm 69:8 is about Mary's others son who are against the Messiah and don't have faith until the resurrection and afterward, but Psalm 69:5 is not about the Messiah.

By the way, a great sermon on Psalm 69 and emotions, including other quotes in Romans 11 and Acts 1, in his series on some of the Psalms in "Thinking and Feeling with God" by John Piper is here.

The apostle John seems to want us to get the connection by looking at Psalm 69 and all the other quotes in his gospel. (and Acts 1 and Romans 11 and 15)

Moreover, "for" in Psalm 69:9 connects verse 8 and "my mother's sons" to his zeal; and John is showing the contrast between the faith of the disciples in John 2:12-22 and John 7:3-7 vs. His brothers who, because of their unbelief, are His enemies and "hated Him without a cause". (John 15:25 and alluded to in John 7:7 - the hatred of the world; from Psalm 69:4)

John 7:3-9 :

So his brothers said to him, "Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world." For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come." After saying this, he remained in Galilee.

One of the ways skeptics attack the resurrection is they say Jesus only appeared in His resurrection to His friends, believers, disciples.

Well, Jesus' brothers were not believing in Him, and so, they were His enemies in this sense, even hating Him, implied here; because they wanted Him to show Himself to the world; and it says the Jews were seeking to kill Him. (John 7:1)

They were His enemies in their unbelief; but they believed at the resurrection and afterward; especially, James (I Cor. 15:7; Galatians 1:19; Acts 15:13ff.)and Jude (writer of the epistle of Jude).

So Christ appeared to some enemies, namely His brothers, and Saul, who became Paul.

A powerful apologetic for the resurrection.

Seems clear that John and Jesus are making this connection between the sufferings of David in Psalm 69, that his own brothers, "my mother's sons are against me"; and also this is prophesied about the Messiah and it happen that way; and so it is clearly implied and alluded to by the way John uses Psalm 69, the connection "for" in verse 9, and the contrast between the faith of the disciples and lack of faith in His brothers in John 2:12-22; then the hatred and unbelief of His brothers in John 7.

Putting it all together, it makes perfect sense why Jesus committed His mother to John, and seeing the connection of John 19 with Psalm 69 and the other gospels and giving His mother to John; (the prophesy of the giving of gall to the Messiah fulfilled in all the gospels at the cross in the same context that Jesus gives His mother to John and not his physical half-brothers - Psalm 69:21 : Matt 27:48; Luke 23:36; John 19:29; Mark 15:23) makes it even stronger that he is saying Psalm 69:8 is about Jesus' brothers, the sons of Mary.

So, the virgin birth of Christ is protected, by Scripture alone; Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke chapters 1-2; but the Perpetual Virginity of Mary doctrine and dogma is un-Scriptural and not truth, therefore, it should be abandoned.

It is a man-made tradition.


Lvka said...

OT types or prophecies aren't 100% accurate: eg, Jesus did not spend, for instance, three nights in the tomb:

Matthew 12:40  For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Hadassah said...

no real christian can dare to say that OT prophesies aren't 100% accurate. No sibling in Christ says that.

Lvka said...

So Christ did spend three nights in the tomb ?

Ken said...

"three days and three nights" was an Jewish idiom, meaning "part of three 24 hour periods". So, Jesus was in the tomb for part of Friday, all of Sat. and part of Sun, so the prophesy is still 100 % accurate, given that it is an idiom of speech.

Lvka said...

Are you sure about that ? [Source, examples, argumentaion]. (Would a Jew agree ?)

Ken said...

Yes, it is an idiom - for example, the Sabbath in Jewish thought and culture, starts on Friday evening, but it considered part of the Sabbath day.

I will try and dig up the references to this later; maybe by tomorrow or Friday - I have a lot going on right now.

Lvka said...

...that's because Jews (and Eastern Orthodoxy) count(s) the days from sunset to sunset... I'm not sure what bearing this has on the point you're trying to make...

Ken said...

From the web-site, as Muslims commonly ask the question about the phrase, "three days and three nights" in the Bible:

"The Jewish people, even in Jesus' day, did not express time as Westerners do. They expressed things in round numbers. They considered any part of a day, however small, as a full day when it was included with a period of days. Thus, they counted the day on which any period began as the first day, and then they did the same thing on the day the period ended. Thus, just as Jonah was in the belly of the giant fish "three days and nights", so Jesus was in the tomb for "three days and three nights" (Matthew 12:40). Such expressions presented no problems for the Jews. Matt. 27:63,64.

The "Jewish Encyclopedia," Vol.4, pg.474, confirms this method of reckoning time. It reads, "A short time in the morning of the seventh day counted as the seventh day; circumcision takes place on the eighth day, even though, of the first day only a few minutes remained after the birth of the child, these being counted as one day."

So, in conclusion, we read this phrase "three days and three nights" as a figure of speech, not a specific time measurement, understandable in the Jewish mindset more readily than in our Western way of thinking."

Lvka said...

Jews counted inclusively. I know that. (Greeks and Romans did the same).

And partial time-units (days, months, years, etc) are obviously counted as full time-units when measuring the length of a certain time-period. (We do the same; it's hardly a "Jewish" thing).

But this has nothing to do with what you were supposed to prove.

I wasn't implying that Jesus must've spent three whole days in the tomb (if that's what you thought). I merely said that he didn't spend three nights in it. [The first day was Friday, the second Saturday, the third Sunday: but the nights were only two].

Ken said...

As I wrote, it is an idiom, a figure of speech. So there is no inaccuracy in the prophesy in Jonah, and Jesus quoting it in Matthew 12.

And your issue has nothing to do with Psalm 69 and how it implies that Mary had other children after Jesus, therefore, she was a virgin until Jesus was born, (until, - Matthew 1:25 -

'εως 'ου

but afterward, Mary and Joseph had a normal marriage with sexual relations and had James, Jude and other children. Those 2 went on to write 2 letters in the NT.

Lvka said...

You "wrote" it, but were unable to substantiate it. (The article in question simply fails to address it).

"Three days" would've indeed been accurate, that's true. But "three days and three nights" isn't. So why the double-standard ?

Ken said...

Do you know what an "idiom" is ?

Lvka said...

Yes. So unless you show me that Jews were in the habit of using the expression "N days and N nights" instead of simply saying `N days`, you have no case.

Ken said...

Lvka - you are wrong. It is you who don't have a case because you have not dealt with the real issue of this post, that is, how John used Psalm 69.

But here is plenty of evidence from the Jewish use of the phrase "3 days and 3 nights" in Jonah 1:17 that is was an idiomatic phrase:

1. The OT data (to show that 'on the third day' = 'after three days')

Gen 42.16: "And he put them all in custody for three days. 18 On the third day, Joseph said to them, "Do this and you will live, for I fear God" and they are released ON that day (from the context of verses 25-26). In this case the 'for three days' meant only 'into the third day'
1 Kings 20.29: "For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. " In this case we have 'for seven days' meant only 'into the seventh day'.

2 Chr 10.5: "And he said to them, 'Return to me again in three days" (NAS) with verse 12: "So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day as the king had directed, saying, 'Return to me on the third day." In this case 'in three days' is equivalent to 'on the third day'.

Esther 4.16: "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.'" And then in 5.1: "On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall. " In this case, "on the third day" is equivalent to "for three days, night or day".

1 Samuel 30.12: "He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights. 13 David asked him, "To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?" He said, "I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago. " In this case "for three days and three nights' somehow was fulfilled when his master left him 'three days ago'.

"Thus, the Old Testament gives the picture that the expressions 'three days,' 'the third day,' and 'three days and three nights' are used to signify the same period of time." [NT:CALC:73]

2. The Rabbinical literature also manifests this idiomatic range:
Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah, tenth in the descent from Ezra was very specific: "A day and a night are an Onah ['a portion of time'] and the portion of an Onah is as the whole of it" [J.Talmud, Shabbath 9.3 and b.Talmud, Pesahim 4a]
This understanding was used in the numerous correlations between Jonah 1.17 ('in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights') and the OT passages cited above [e.g. Mid.Rabbath on Genesis 56 (on 22.4); Genesis 91.7 (on 42.17-18)].

3. There is one NT passage that indicates this Jewish idiom.
Matt 27.63: ""Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, `After three days I will rise again.' 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. " Note that 'after three days' was somehow equivalent to 'until the third day' (not 'until the fourth day').

4. Psalm 1 - "he meditates on the law day and night" = not all day and all night, but a portion of the day and a portion of the night - it was an idiomatic phrase.

Since it was an idiom, then it is you who have no case in saying that it was not accurate. An idiom or way of saying something by nature is a saying that is equivalent to something else.

steelikat said...


You and Lvka are both saying that it is an idiom and the both of you are defining the idilom in precisely the same way.

An idiom has a definition (in fact you gave us a definition of the idiom in question), so it can be said that a person is being accurate or not (based on the definition of the idiom).

Perhaps you are not seeing it because it is somewhat subtle, but Lvka's point is logically correct. According to your definition of the idiom, the prophecy was not completely accurate. It isn't a question of not understanding that a day or night can be a partial day or night, it's a question of how many partial nights there were. There were only two partial nights (in fact they were both full nights, as it happened, the point is there wasn't a third, even partial, night).

Logically you have to change your definition of the idiom, admit the prophecy was not literally accurate, or say that Christ was laid in the tomb no later than early Friday morning at sunrise and no earlier than Thursday morning at sunrise.

Please understand that I am simply explaining the logic, I am not arguing with either of you. My own personal solution to this dilemma is to suspect that your definition is not generous enough, that is, that it is not enough to say that "day" idiomatically meant "portion of a day" and night idiomatically meant "portion of a night. "three days and three nights" must have idiomatically meant something so short as parts of three days and parts of only TWO nights, even though that sounds like a contradiction.

I tink if yo would draw out.the timeline in a diagram and circle the days or portions of days as well as the nights or portions of nights you would see what I'm getting at. This really deserves a drawing or diagram.

Ken said...

On the timeline of the diagram of the days and nights of Jesus in the tomb - yes -

Norman Geisler has an excellent diagram of that in his book, "When Critics Ask". I am too tired/lazy/don't feel like it - right now to go get the page number (it is downstairs), but I looked at it earlier today. Google books doesn't show any of the book.

The problem is when a Biblical author intends for something to be taken as idiom, and its a prophesy, then it is accurate according to the author's intended meaning - which is the proper way to do hermeneutics.

So, I would not have said, "It is not 100 % accurate" as Lvka has written.

But Lvka's issue about Matthew 12:38-40 and Jonah is a distraction and took us away from the subject of the post - Psalm 69 and John's use of it, that it implies that Psalm 69:8 is about Mary's other children she had after Jesus, and that shows that the "perpetual virginity" doctrine was unbiblical and wrong.

Lvka said...

you have not dealt with the real issue of this post, that is, how John used Psalm 69.

But Lvka's issue is a distraction and took us away from the subject of the post - Psalm 69 and John's use of it

Well, in that case, please excuse me, Ken:

Psalm 69:5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.

Ken said...

I guess you didn't read the article; I dealt with that.

Lvka said...

I dealt with that.

Yeah... here's how you "dealt" with it:

Obviously, Psalm 69:5 is NOT about the Messiah, because He was sinless. (John 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15, Heb. 7:26; I Peter 1:19-20).


So "obviously" prophetic Psalms aren't 100% accurate then.

This can be understood the same way that 2 Samuel 7:14a is about the Messiah, but 7:14b is not about the Messiah.

Then why can't we say the same about Psalm 69:8 as well ?

Ken said...

Then why can't we say the same about Psalm 69:8 as well ?

Because of all of the rest of my argumentation of how John uses John 69 in the context of His enemies and His unbelieving brothers in John 7, etc. and the whole argument of my article, which you are ignoring.

I see no reason to rehash the whole article here. Go back and read it carefully and and look up all the ways that both John and Paul use Psalm 69 in different places.

You don't seem to have read it once with understanding.

I know of another RC apologist who told me I offered a very credible and persuasive exegesis with this.

Lvka said...

I did read your article, Ken. Yes, your argumentation is convincing. There's nothing wrong with your reasoning. From a purely logical perspective, it's A.O.K. - pardon the pleonasm.

But just because something is plausible, doesn't mean it's true as well.

Take, for instance, the fifth verse of the Psalm: you said it's NOT about Christ... yet, to a certain extent, it certainly seem to point to Him: we are told by Saint Paul that the Cross, for those who perish, is foolishness. At the same time, we know from the Holy Gospels that the Pharisees accused our Redeemer of sin on at least several occasions. Furthermore, Christ did take upon Himself the sin of the world and the curse of death. So -from this perspective- that verse DOES point to Him. But, obviously, not in a very literal manner. -- The same can be said about verse eight pointing to Mary, albeit not in a very rigidly-literal manner. You yourself gave the example of 2 Samuel 7:14, and I pointed you to the sign of Jonah: and, of course, numerous other such examples of small deviations from the literal meaning of prophetic passages can be found as well throughout the Old Testament. That's what I've been trying to say.

Ken said...

I did read your article, Ken. Yes, your argumentation is convincing. There's nothing wrong with your reasoning. From a purely logical perspective, it's A.O.K. - pardon the pleonasm.

Thank you! I appreciate that.

That it took that long to the main issue is something.

PuritanCalvinist said...

I would not necessarily use this Psalm to contradict the perpetual virginity. The perpetual virginity is clearly contradicted by the use of the brothers of Jesus [which, other than citations from the LXX, always means "full brother" in the 200 years surrounding the time of the Christ. And, no, Matthew 1:2 doesn't count, because the mention of the brothers of Judah is obviously mentioned because these were the tribes of Israel. However, there is no tribe of "Joseph." His sons, who were not the brothers of Judah, had one of the twelve tribes named after them].

The conversational implicatures involved in Matthew 1:25, and the semantic issues surrounding εως ου, as well as the bookend it forms with 1:18, and the complete and total absence of marital celibacy in first century Judaism, and the condemnation of it in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 speak loudly against this doctrine as well. Psalm 69 is mere icing on the cake to show that Jesus even fulfilled this aspect of the Psalm in having full brothers and sisters.

I had a dialogue with Lvka on this topic a while back:

Suffice it to say that, when you have to say that Joseph was a polygamist, assume first century Jews would have certain background assumptions rather than proving it, and even confuse etymology [even in only one language family, indo-European!] with linguistics as a whole, and the fields of semantics and pragmatics imparticular, you know that the perpetual virginity is on its last legs academically. The only reason anyone believes this anymore after looking at the evidence is because their church says so. Anyone fairly examining the evidence will come to only one conclusion: Jesus had other full, biological brothers and sisters.

God Bless,

Lvka said...


You are the only person I know of who (contrary to all we know from Scripture and history) says that OT Jews did NOT practice polygamy.

Apart from that, your argument also conveniently ignores the existence of dialects, as well as the tremendous role that the LXX played in shaping the way Jews spoke Greek (ater all, the average Greek would neither read nor hear being read from ancient Greek writings the way diaspora Jews would every Sabbath day). When I drew your attention to these not-so-little-facts, you conveniently chose to exit the conversation and leave them unanswered.

Robert Derrick said...

It is obvious from plain Scripture that Jesus had brothers and sisters, and so Mary had other children by Joseph after Jesus' birth. Paul even refer's to James as the Lord's brother(Galatians 1:19).

The effort of orthodox catholics to deny this are to claim the obvious Scriptures are only talking about half-brothers, cousins, Jospeh of another marriage. There is of course no Scripture for that, and the plainess of Scripture is beyond dispute.

Why then the perpetual virgin Mary? As with all other false doctrine not in Scripture, it's merely made out of the air to staisfy some humanistic or mystical need to believe something other than the plain truth. How can they make-up something so plainly contradictory to scripture? The same way other things are made up so blatantly, such as forbidding priests to marry and other dietary requirements on 'holy days and weeks', when Paul denounces all such rules as false will worship and devils' doctrines.(1 Tim 4:1-3)(Col 2:21-23)

The bottom line is many so-called spiritual and ministerial 'leaders' love to add personal things to Scripture in order to have a personal rule over their followers. It's not enough to simply be the voice of one crying in the widlerness what thus saith the Lord, but they want to be a head-in-charge as well. It gives them a feeling of religious importance that denies sole Headship and Authority over the believers by Jesus only.

So far as there being Scriptures that are not '100% correct', concerning 3 days and 3 nights, it would be more accurate to say not all Scripture is 100% literal, though still by inspiration of God and true. (it's a type of rule that people who take away from Scriptural authority also like to add to it unscriptural things...)

The case in Esther 4:16 did accurately represent 3 days and nights being fulfilled without the last night included (unless you want to say she jumped the gun and went into the court early. Which was defintiely NOT her character...)

And a good enough case can be made for Jesus' crucifixion being on a Wednesday and resurrection on Saturday, encompassing several sabbaths, as the Greek suggests. Which upsets the traditional Easter sunrise. But like Christmas and other tradiational Christian traditions, they don't have to be literally true, neither are they necessarily evil and to be avoided. Paul's words on respect of holy days and such things were left to personal conscience and choice, so long as believers weren't judged by them either way, whether to do them or not (Romans 14:1-10)