J. F. Springer, New York
Quite a number of those who have given attention to Synoptic matters entertain the view that the Gospel of Matthew is more or less wanting in chronological arrangement. This is doubtless in part due to the assumption that the Markan account is the more primitive and that in case of any difference in order Matthew must be the one with the non-chronological sequence, and in part attributable to an exaggerated conception of what is perhaps a tendency of the Matthaean writer to group some of his materials in accordance with numerical and topical ideas.
At all events, whatever the underlying cause, there is a considerable inclination discernible that would disparage Matthew from the point of view of a chronological document. I proceed to give a couple of excerpts, one of which is in the form of a translation from the German.
These excerpts will suffice, perhaps, to illustrate the point that the historical character of the order of events in Matthew has been challenged.1
From the fact that the preceding two excerpts and the two references have been made, the reader is not to conclude that the following investigation into the chronological character of Matthew will rely on vague reasonings of writers. Nor is he to expect that names pro and con will be cited. It is proposed, on the contrary, to go to grips with the ascertainable facts, and to base results on the evidence alone.
If we wish to make a logical approach to the question whether or not the Gospel of Matthew is a chronological narrative, we will do well to begin by facing two presumptions, both favoring an affirmative answer. Under any conditions, these presumptions are to be considered sooner or later as they are consequences of part of the evidence.
Formulated, the presumptions referred to may be stated as follows:
1. Matthew is presumably a chronological narrative, precisely because it is a narrative.
2. Matthew is presumably a chronological narrative, because in effect it claims to be such.
It is scarcely necessary to go into any extended argument to show that the First Gospel is really a narrative and that its being a narrative raises the presumption that it is chronological.
As to the narrative character of the book, it is everywhere evident. Even the great sections of didactic matter are connected up with events. The Sermon on the Mount is joined on to a going up into the mountain and to a descent from it. See 5:1–2 and 8:1. The charge to the Twelve is identified with their departure upon a missionary journey. See 10:5a particularly. And it is connected at the end with the going forth of Jesus Himself upon a similar undertaking, 11:1. The discourse consisting of seven parables is linked onto the visit of His mother and brethren and also to His departure for His own country. See 13:1 and 53–54. The didactic matter of ch. 18 (bound together at 18:21) is closely connected with the preceding and following text. See 18:1 and 19:1. Similarly, the great indictment of ch. 23 is connected with the text adjacent to its terminals. See 23:1 (Tore) and 24:1. So also the long discourse of chs. 24 and 25. See 24:1, 3 and 26:1. Matthew is, in fact, made up of accounts of a considerable number of incidents relating to various phases of a single life and .of didactic passages definitely connected up with the presentation of that life. It is thus an historical narrative.
Such narratives are ordinarily set forth in chronological order. This is due doubtless to a natural tendency on the part of the writers to follow the line of least resistance. A chronological narrative is an obvious form of an intelligible account. The events and discourses belonged in a stream of reality and so were in an intelligible arrangement. A chronological narrative tends to reproduce this intelligibility. On the other hand, a distinct effort is required to create an intelligible connection upon a different basis. Whether this explanation is the true one or not, narratives tend to be chronological; so that the very fact that a document presents a considerable number of incidents and discourses belonging to a single life creates a presumption that the narrative is arranged chronologically.
We may regard the first presumption as warranted by the facts—Matthew is presumably chronological because it is an intelligible narrative.
Turning now to the second presumption, we note that the claim is made that the Matthaean narrative in effect asserts itself as following a chronological order. An inspection of the text will justify this claim.
Scattered through the narrative from one end to the other are a multitude of expressions indicating chronological sequence. On the theory that Matthew is in part a derivative of Mark, a considerable number of these chronological indications may be considered as having been derived from the Markan text. However, they are not obscure and in consequence likely to have had their precise character overlooked by a secondary writer. They are, accordingly, to be reckoned in with the other indications of historical sequence. So, then, whether Matthew is a primary or a secondary writing, we have nearly 100 more or less explicit indications of an intention to be chronological. We must conclude that Matthew is presumably a chronological narrative because of the presence everywhere of what are, in effect, assertions of an historical progression of events.2
I proceed at once to the presentation of evidence which may be used to establish with considerable certainty the proposition that Matthew is a chronologically arranged narrative. This is accomplished, however, only after an investigation of some length and complexity. The method of procedure is as follows:
First, the incidents narrated are shown, except at a few places, to be in chronological order either because historical sequence is asserted in the text itself or is indicated by other means. This method of attack results in the disclosure that the whole Gospel, except for two narrative patches totalling seven verses, consists of a series of about nineteen blocks each chronologically arranged.
The second step consists in developing a body of evidence which (1) will be found to afford, in the course of its development and in independence of the blocks, repeated support to the thesis that Matthew is a chronological account, and which (2) will be seen, in conjunction with the blocks, to corroborate the order in which these blocks occur in the text, and consequently to give further support to the same thesis as to the historical progress of the Matthaean narrative.
The Chronological Blocks
The blocks result from the process of going from incident to incident and developing the evidence indicating that the textual sequence is a reflection of the actual historical progress of events. The breaks between blocks occur because of some insufficiency of evidence close at hand. In no case is a break the result of evidence showing affirmatively that the textual advance differs from the historical.3
The historical sequences are determinable by one or more of the following three means:
1. The necessities of the case.
2. Chronological indications in the text.
3. Data found elsewhere.
In illustration of the first of these may be cited the sequence of Mt. 26:36–56 and 57–58. In the absence of a possible intervening passage, it is evident that the sequence in the text is an immediate, historical progression. The incidents themselves require it.
An example of a chronological indication in the text is supplied by the words Ετι αὐτοῦ λαλῦντος in Mt. 12:46. They require that the Visit of mother and brethren should follow immediately upon the incident of Jesus’ teaching as to the unclean spirit. The text places the accounts of these incidents in the historical sequence, and in doing so declares that sequence by the words quoted.
An historical sequence disclosed by data elsewhere may be illustrated by the transition from the narrative of 17:20  to the narrative of 17:22. In Mark we have the corresponding transition, only there the text is connected by Κἀκεῖθεν ἐξελθόντες (Mk. 9:30). This information enables us to see that Mt. 17:22 comes historically next after 17:20 .
I make for the time being no attempt to connect up one part of a discourse with another part, but deal exclusively with the narrative proper. Whether, for example, the Sermon on the Mount is an indivisible whole, delivered, if not at one sitting, still at several sittings belonging to one general occasion, or whether it consists of separable parts delivered upon various occasions— this question, I do not attempt to answer at present. Just now, I assume the Sermon on the Mount to be a unit. Similarly, with other uninterrupted discourses.
Confining ourselves, then, to the true narrative, we shall find, except at a few points scattered through the book, that it is possible to show that the incidents of Matthew succeed one another in the order in which they actually occurred.
It is certainly consistent, even with a severely chronological narrative, that the Genealogy should precede the Birth, seeing that it deals almost entirely with ancestors. This brings us to 2:1. Here begins the account of the Infancy. The visit of the wise men is first given. This is followed by the angel’s warning, the text showing the sequence, ᾿Αναχωρησάντων δὲ αὐτῶν (2:13). Next comes the slaughter of the innocents, the text again indicating the historical order, Tore (2:16):Then we have the return from Egypt, as required by the necessities of the case and also by the text, Τελευτήσαντος δὲ τοῦ Ηρῳδου (2:19).
That the beginnings of the ministry of John should not date as far back as the events of the preceding text is sufficiently shown by combining the facts that Jesus is expressly called a παιδίον upon the return from Egypt, 2:20, 21; and that John was but six months older, Lk. 1:26. Accordingly, the ministry of John is chronologically placed after the close of ch. 2. The Baptism of Jesus is placed next, and this is chronologically right, John not appearing again as a preacher in Matthew. The word Tore, 3:13, gives the sequence of events. Again, the same word, Τότε, joins on the Temptation, 4:1. Mark has Καὶ εὐθύς, Mk. 1:12.
We have here the beginning of the active Galilean ministry dated from the imprisonment of John. In all probability, the Temptation occurred before this imprisonment, but I take the safe course, and, for the time being, do not insist upon a chronological sequence in passing from 4:11 to 12.4 Verse 17 is explicitly connected in time with the preceding text.
This passage is to be regarded at present as without sure chronological connection either with the preceding or with the following text.
That the final verses of ch. 4 are to be chronologically connected with 5:1 in the order disclosed is indicated by the words, Ιδὼν δὲ τοὺς ὄχλους, particularly τούς, which refer back to ὄχλοι πολλοί in 4:25. The historical progression is indicated by the statement that ‘He went up into the mountain.’ After the Sermon on the Mount, within which is no narrative text, we have, without loss of connection, the implied statement that He came down from the mountain. The position of the statement is evidently in conformity with the chronology. The great Sermon is represented as uttered in the interval between the ascent and the descent.
The passage 8:2–4, as will be found later on, is but loosely connected with the context, and is to be regarded, for the time being, as not definitely secured in place in so far as chronology is concerned.
With respect to The centurion’s servant, the incident recounted in 8:5–13, it is to be remarked that it belongs, chronologically, close after the descent from the mountain, 8:1. This is shown by taking into consideration both Mt. 8:5 and Lk. 7:1–2. The Lukan text discloses that Jesus entered into Capernaum shortly after the Sermon on the Mount, while the Matthaean passage connects the entrance with the cure of the centurion’s servant.
Accordingly, we are to regard 4:23—8:13 as a section of Matthew in which the narrative follows the chronology. There is the present possibility, however, that 8:2–4 is out of place.
We have, in 8:2–4, a passage whose chronological connections are apparently unexpressed in Matthew. We have here, in fact, as we pass from 8:4, an example of the moderately numerous divergences from the order disclosed in the first third of Mark. That is to say, Mt. 3:1—13:58 and Mk. 1:1—6:13 are, broadly speaking, parallel regions in which are to be noted, if we take into account the incident following each of the two sections, as many as nine divergences of either narrative from the other. At the close of Mt. 8:4, for example, the Matthaean narrative continues, after giving the unparalleled incident of The centurion’s servant, with the sojourn in Capernaum during which Peter’s mother-in-law is cured, while in the Markan narrative the incident of Touching the leper is immediately followed by the stay in Capernaum during which occurs the incident of The paralytic. See Mk. 1:40–45 and 2:1–12. In following up the Matthaean chronology, I do not at present claim at these divergence points that the First Gospel has the correct historical order unless the text itself in effect asserts the sequence. Here there is no such assertion, and so I leave the matter undecided for the time being.5
The expression, ᾿Οψίας δὲ γενομένης (8:16), is the chronological connection between the two incidents in 8:14–17.
WH brackets 9:34; and the passage 8:19–22, paralleled and extended in Lk. 9:57–62, is loosely held in the context in so far as chronological indications are concerned. It is possible that 9:2ff cannot be proved to be chronologically in sequence with the preceding text. Aside from these considerations, the section 8:18—9:33  is itself ascertainably narrated in chronological order.
We are naturally to connect 8:18 and 8:23. That Calming the storm should be chronologically followed by the incident of The great herd of swine is required by the necessities of the case. A similar consideration attaches 9:1 chronologically to the preceding text.
What we have now to do is to see that 9:2–33  follows 9:1 historically. In the first place, the incidents of the former passage are set down chronologically, as is disclosed by ἐκεῖθεν (9:9), by the fact that Matthew was the host at the feast of 9:10–13 (note αὐτου` in Mk. 2:15 and Λευείς in Lk. 5:29), by Tore (9:14), by Ταῦτα αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος (9:18), by ἐκεῖθεν (9:27) and by Αὐτῶν δὲ ἐξερχομένων (9:32). A city that possesses a synagogue, together perhaps with the city’s environs, is the scene of these events. Note in this connection that Matthew has “a ruler” (9:18); Mark, “one of the rulers of the synagogue” (5:22); and Luke, “a ruler of the synagogue” (8:41). The Markan expression perhaps indicates a large synacogue, Jairus being one of a number of rulers. Perhaps the weakest connective is Τότε at 9:14. This is adequate as an indication that there is historical sequence, but perhaps insufficient as a means of showing that the discourse concerning the children of the bride-chamber was spoken in Matthew’s house. But οἱ δέ in Lk. 5:33 strengthens the thought that it did. It seems very reasonable that all these chronologically connected incidents took place in Capernaum, the reason centering principally on the presence of a synagogue.
It may be that we can not quite prove that the events of 9:2–33  all occurred in Capernaum, but it is certainly rather easy to believe that they did. There is thus a connection with 9:1 which speaks of Jesus having gone into His own city.
If we allow this connection, then 8:18—9:33 , except for the passage 8:19–22, is a section now ascertained to be set down in historical order.
If we do not allow the connection, then we are to divide the section into two: 8:18—9:1 and 9:2–33. I follow the safer course, as is indicated by the separation of the two blocks of text at the head of this section.
The pair of incidents in 8:19–22 appear sufficiently suitable at the moment when Jesus was about to embark upon the boat. However, there seems to be no way of certainly connecting them with the preceding or following context.
We have in 9:35 a passage apparently without time connections. It might be thought that 9:35 is required to explain the definite article in 9:36. But this is no sure consideration, as may be seen by referring to 11:7.
The list of the Twelve Apostles in 10:2–4 has no real part in the movement of the narrative. It is simply a piece of information. The summoning of the Twelve and the giving of authority to them (10:1) and the sending forth (10:5) are to be regarded as consequences of the compassion mentioned in 9:36. The charge to the
BSac 80:317 (Jan 1923) p. 126
Twelve, uninterrupted by narrative, is appropriately placed and in 11:1 it is mentioned in retrospect.
The narrative of 11:2—13:53 is chronologically connected up at 11:7, 20, 25; 12:1, 9 (ἐκεῖθεν, 14, 22, 38, 46; 13.1, 24 (Αλλην), 31, 33, 34 (Ταῦτα πάντα), 36, 51 (ταῦτα πάντα) .
It is fairly clear that 13:54 follows on historically after 13:53. I take the safe course and do not, at this juncture, claim that Mt. 13:53 and 54 are in historical sequence. Going on, we find a time indication at 14:1. Clearly 14:12 and 13 are in the order of occurrence. Time indications are to be found at 14:15 and 22. Continuance is indicated at 14:34 and connection by τοῦ τόπου ἐκείνου (14:35). We may now go on by noting time indications at 15:1, 21 (ἐκεῖθεν). 22 (ἀπὸ τῶν ὁρίων ἐκείνων) , 29 (ἐκεῖθεν).
I do not, at this juncture, claim that the going up into the mountain (15:29) immediately follows the arrival at the Sea of Galilee. However, afterwards, the narrative evidently goes on in historical order. The 4,000 are fed, then the multitudes are dismissed (15:39), Jesus embarks upon the boat, and goes into the borders of Magadan.
The discussion with the Pharisees and Sadducees, recounted in 16:1–4, is followed (see last words of verse 4) by the departure of Jesus. This was accomplished by boat (Mk. 8:13). In fact, the Markan account connects this embarking with the former one (πάλιν referring to Mk. 8:10 which is parallel to Mt. 15:39). Accordingly, the discussion lies, chronologically, between Mt. 15:39 and the final words of 16:4, just as the text presents it,
The next thing is the talk with the disciples about leaven. It evidently follows in historical sequence. The immediate connection is to be seen in the words, whether we refer them to the coming to or the departure from Magadan.
The narrative flows on chronologically beginning with the incident of the confession of Peter (16:13–20). We have time indications at 16:21, 24; 17:1, 9 and 14. The connecting link joining on 17 :22–23 to the preceding text is found in Mk. 9:30.6
The incident of the fish and the stater is followed immediately by the discourse on the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, as is clearly indicated at 18:1. Discourse continues without interruption to 18:20. The passage 18:21–35 is joined on by Ton (18:21) and the short passage 19:1–2 is evidently connected closely in time with the preceding text.
The incident of 19:3–12 is joined to the next, 19:13–15, by Τότε (19:13). The connecting link which joins on the incident of the young ruler is found in the Second Gospel. At Mk. 10:17, Jesus leaves the house in which He and His disciples were in verse 10. At 19:27, we have a time indication. Jesus’ reply to Peter once begun is continued to 20:16.
The two incidents are linked by Τότε (20:20).
In so far as the Matthaean text alone is concerned, there is a possibility of a time break between 20:29 and 30. The καὶ ἰδού is scarcely to be trusted as a time connection. See 19:16. But, the genitives absolute in Mk. 10:46 show that the proceeding forth from Jericho is to be joined in time with the incident of the curing of blindness.
The drawing near to the city at 21:17 is followed by the actual entrance at 21:10. That this is the initial entrance of the Last Week is sufficiently shown by the astonishment disclosed in 21:10–11.
In view of the facts that the Markan text seems very clearly to place the incident of Purging the Temple on the second day (Mk. 11:12, 15), and that the Matthaean text does not appear distinctly to fix the day as the first, it might be thought that we could not, at the moment, very well claim 21:12–17 as in close historical sequence to the preceding text. The Matthaean account, however, in effect asserts the sequence by the1 very fact that the entrance into the Temple (21:12) is really complementary to the preceding text.8
The entrance into the Temple in 21:23 is complementary to the preceding incident which had its scene on the way to the city. The expression Τί δὲ ὑμῖν δοκεῖ; (21:27) is equivalent to a time indication. The discourse then continues without narrative interruption until we come to 21:41. The sequence of the narrative is maintained. Chronological connection is indicated at 22:1, as is shown by ἀποκριθείς and πάλιν (the latter referring back to the parables begun at 21:28 and 33).
The historical sequence is indicated at 22:15, 23, 34, 41 perfect tense; and 23:1. Once begun, the discourse continues to the end of the chapter.
The narrative is historically connected at 24:3 with the preceding two verses. The discourse begun in 24:4 is uninterrupted until we reach the beginning of 26:1. The first two verses here are expressly connected up with what precedes. There is a time indication at 26:3, effective to the close of verse 5. The passage concerning The precious ointment is chronologically out of place here, belonging as already said between chs. 20 and 21. A proper chronological sequence is observable between 26:5 and 14. Time connections are in evidence at 26:17 (combine with 26:2), 20, 26, 30, 31, 36, 47. The text runs along in historical sequence, in fact, until we reach, at least, the end of 26:58.
The narrative now comes into conflict with the Lukan account. If Mt. 26:59–66 and 26:69—27:1, two blocks of equal textual amount, are interchanged, exact conformity with Luke will be established. The resulting text is smooth. And the progress of the narrative seems improved, particularly in respect to the Jewish trial which is removed from the night to the day. Moreover, it is quite possible to explain the interchange as a mechanical one.9 If, however, it seems preferable to deny that in Luke we have the historical order and that Matthew was originally in agreement with that order, then the Matthaean text, as it stands today, is to be regarded as presenting the chronological progression of events. That is, we are to view Mt. 26:59–68 as occurring prior to Peter’s denials. In either case, the Matthaean narrative originally presented the events in their historical order.
The incident narrated in 27:3–10 is connected to the preceding text by the introductory word at 27:3. At 27:11, the narrative goes on with the precise matter that was begun in 27:2. Time indications, though some are perhaps unnecessary for our purpose, are given at 27:27, 32, 45, 57, 62; 28:1, 11. The procedure of the Eleven to Galilee (28:16) is certainly in place after the day of the Resurrection.
If we disregard two small sections (8:2–4 and 19–22), which do not affect the narrative, a misplacement (26:6–13) and a probable interchange (26:59–66 and 26:69—27:1), the text of Matthew has been disclosed as consisting of nineteen blocks of incidents each of which has been shown to be, within itself, in chronological sequence. The question that now comes to the fore concerns the breaks between blocks. Are these points where the author was unaware of the chronological progression? This is, at least, a possible interpretation of the breaks. In consequence, it would be very unsatisfactory to leave the matter under a cloud.
I proceed to develop a series of evidences which will be found to have two aspects. First, in assembling these evidences, one by one, without regard to the blocks, the individual evidences will each be discovered to give support to the thesis which asserts that Matthew is a narrative written in chronological order. This in itself is important. Second, it will later be seen that, when the principal evidences are considered in connection with the blocks, additional confirmation of the selfsame thesis will be developed from the fact that the order of the blocks, as that order is disclosed in Matthew, is itself heavily corroborated.
1) For other passages in authors who deal more or less in Synoptic matters, the reader may refer to Lehrbuch far Einleitung in das neue Testament (1897), D. Bernhard Weiss, S. 479; and to Hand-Commentar zum neuen Testament, Die Synoptiker (1901), H. J. Holtzmann, S. 5.
2) A list of Matthaean indications may be seen on p. 137, Bibliotheca Sacra, April, 1922.
3) It should be borne in mind that we are primarily concerned with the Matthaean narrative as it issued from the hand of the author. As we now possess the text, it discloses at 26:6–13 a misplacement and at 26:59–66 and 26:69–27:1 a probable interchange. These may, however, be satisfactorily explained as due to mechanical causes, and do not require that they be referred to the author.
4) The interval between the Baptism of Jesus and the imprisonment of John is only to be measured in the Fourth Gospel. The Baptism is a past event at Jn. 1:32 (Τεθέαμαι and ἔμεινεν). The imprisonment is still future at Jn. 3:24. Assuming that the incidents in these early chapters are in chronological order, we have in the interval between the two events with which we are concerned the gathering of a nucleus of disciples (1:35–42), a journey into Galilee (1:43—2:11), a short residence in Capernaum (2:12), a return south to Judea for the Passover (2:13–25) and the interview with Nicodemus (3:1–21). It is only necessary to allow a longer period to the interval partially represented by these incidents than to that implied in the Markan εὐθύς (Mk. 1:12) to warrant the placing of Mt. 4:12–17 after the Temptation.
5) In Bibliotheca Sacra for April and July, 1922, the present writer published a detailed account of his discovery that the text of Mark is susceptible of being so divided that it is possible to explain its principal body of deviations in order from the Matthaean progression of incidents as due to a single accident resulting in a mechanical derangement in an early MS. of the Second Gospel. In accordance with this discovery, one may assume that at some point of time, Mark existed in the Matthaean order. There is a small additional region of discrepancy in Mk. 11. Particularly in view here, however, are the discrepancies in order observable upon a comparison of the first third of Mark with the parallel region in Matthew. A brief statement of the discovery relative to this third of Mark may be found in Methodist Review, issue for July-August, 1922, pp. 653f.
Under the hypothesis of derivation, if Mark was primary, then Matthew was derived from a Mark in the Matthaean order. This MS. of the Second Gospel may or may not have been in primitive order; and, if Matthew was primary, then Mark was derived in the Matthaean order and the derangement occurred later. Thus it is possible, under the hypothesis of derivation from Mark, to conceive of Matthew coming either from a Mark in the primitive order or from a Mark in the deranged order. This hypothesis thus permits us to view the Matthaean order of events as primitive or deranged. The hypothesis, however, of a primary Matthew countenances only the Matthaean order as primitive.
If we reject derivation, and maintain the mutual independence of the first two Gospels, then the mechanical explanation simply tells us how our present Mark could have come by its present order. The Matthaean order is, under these conditions, the primitive one.
As long as the mechanical explanation is tenable, it is impossible to maintain a clash between the order of events in Matthew and that in Mark, whether we assume derivation or independence and whether we assume a prior Mark or a prior Matthew.
It is now clear that under all conditions, except one, the Matthaean order is the primitive order. It would thus represent the true historical progression of events. But under the assumption that Matthew was derived from Mark, the question as to which of the two orders is really the primitive one is left undecided. That is the state of affairs, at least until additional evidence is brought forward or old evidence is further interpreted. In the April issue of Bibliotheca Sacra, p. 141, “Chronological Differences,” item 3, attention is called to two divergences, in one of which Matthew departs from a progression of incidents expressly defined in Mark (at 4:35) and in the other of which Mark deviates from a sequence definitely stated by Matthew (at 9:18). These deviations afford a means of determining which of the two orders of events is primitive and historical. If we favor the present Markan order, then we are opposed by the express statement in Matthew (9:18) that the combined incident of the ruler’s daughter and the woman with the issue of blood immediately followed the discourse concerning the children of the bride-chamber. In Mark, as many as nine distinct incidents intervene. These occupy in the narrative a very considerable extent of text from 2:23 to 5:21 (or 20)—just about three chapters. But, if we favor the Matthaean order, the apparent statement in Mark (4:35) to the effect that the incident of the storm on the sea followed close upon the discourse beginning with the parable of the Sower is taken out of the position where it contradicts the Matthaean sequence at 13:53–54 and made to follow Mk. 1:38. The expression, “And on that day, when even was come,” then (its in very well with the Markan text and suits the Matthaean parallel at 8:18 and 23. Both these verses would then refer to the evening following that defined at 8:16. In short, the Matthaean order of events is, by the foregoing: considerations, shown to be the primitive one. The apparently insuperable difficulty presented, by the order which now obtains in Mark, when Mt. 9:18 is taken into account, and the difficulty involved in the present position of Mk. 4:35 are both removed.
So, then, under any and all circumstances of derivation and independence and of Markan and Matthaean priority, the order of events disclosed in Matthew is to be viewed as the primitive one rather than the order in our present Mark.
Those who hold to derivation are not, by the results of the mechanical explanation that have so far been traced, compelled to choose Matthaean priority. But, if they choose Markan priority, they are obliged to accept the primitiveness of the Matthaean order.
6) That the Last Journey began in Galilee and not at some point nearer Jerusalem is indicated by Mt. 27:55; Mk. 15:40–41; Lk. 23:55; 24:6–7. In Matthew, the necessity for this journey, though not its actual commencement, is set forth as early as 16:21 which, because of the closely connected ( ᾿Απὸ τότε) account of Peter’s confession, is to be synchronized with Jn. 6:69. Accordingly, the Johannine events narrated from the beginning of ch. 7 on to the end are to be regarded as occurrences which took place after the great event of Mt. 16:13–20. It is desirable to see that there is no necessary clash between the Last Journey, which presumably paralleled the eastern bank of the Jordan from Galilee south to the neighborhood of the mouth of that river, and the non-Galilean events narrated in the Johannine blocks 7:1—8:20 (Temple, 7:14; 8:20); 8:21—10:21 (Temple, 8:59); 10:22–42 (Temple, 10:23; Beyond Jordan, 10:40); 11:1–57 (Judaea, 11:7–8, 18; Ephraim, 11:54). The period of time extends from before the Feast of Tabernacles to a point not many days before the Feast of Passover. It seems almost necessary to connect 11:54 and 55. Cf. 11:1. But, even so, there is no necessity to understand that, when Jesus and His disciples left Ephraim, they directed their steps towards Jerusalem. An interval of time is permissible, and in this they may very well have gone into Galilee and there been joined by many others (Mt. 17:22).
The entire series of non-Galilean events narrated in Jn. 7:1— 11:54 may apparently be located in the Matthaean progression of incidents in an interval between the cure of the possessed son (17:14–20 ) and the assembling in Galilee (17:22). The Last Journey would follow immediately upon the gathering together of the company. If narrated in John, this Journey would begin after 11:54 (or perhaps 11:57) and would overlap (possibly 11:55–57 and certainly) 12:1–19.
There is no necessity impelling us to regard the journey of Mk. 9:30, which Jesus wished to keep secret, as identical with the assembling together of Mt. 17:22. The former may very well cover a long period, while the latter refers evidently to a short length of time, as for example the earlier days of the small total involved in a journey to one of the three great feasts. In short, we may find, during the course of the Markan journey, or in an interval between it and the Matthaean occasion, time for the Johannine visits to Jerusalem and its vicinity. The narrative Jn. 7:1—10:42 may be concerned with but a single visit. The visit covered by 11:1–57 has no reference to Jerusalem. Consequently, no discrepancy need be seen with Mt. 16:21, where Jesus speaks of the necessity to “go unto Jerusalem,” and the Jerusalem visit or visits in John. The going up at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles was done, “not publicly, but as it were in secret” (Jn. 7:10). There are public activities later (Jn. 7:14, 37; 8:12; 10:22). But there is no approach to the city described that resembles that of the Last Journey when great multitudes attended His progress (Mt. 20:29; Mk. 10:46; Jn. 12:12, 19). The period of movement through Galilee when secrecy was desired (Mk. 9:30) may well be more or less identical with that of the secret ascent to Jerusalem in Jn. 7:10.
7) The incident of the Precious Ointment (Mt. 26:6–13) belongs between chs. 20 and 21, as may be seen by referring to Jn. 12:1–8 and noting particularly the time indications given in verses 1 and 12. The Johannine narrative requires that the incident precede the Entrance into Jerusalem, whereas the present position in Matthew is much later. The wrong position of the Matthaean passage may be explained as due, not to any mistake of the writer of the First Gospel, but to an accident to a roll or codex containing the text. This particular matter is treated, briefly in a paper, chiefly due to the present writer, presented April, 1922, at the annual meeting of the American Oriental Society and now awaiting publication with the Augustana Quarterly (New London, Minn.).
8) The accounts of Cursing the fig tree (21:18–19a) and the Lesson from the withered fig tree (21:19b–22) are connected on historically Πρωί (21:18) and παραχρῆμα (21:19b). In Mark, the text presents the order—Entrance into Jerusalem, Cursing the fig tree, Purging the Temple, Lesson from the withered fig tree. We thus have the second and third incidents in reverse order from that presented in Matthew. This results in the first part of the episode concerning the fig tree coming in advance of the cleansing of the Temple, though on the same day (the second of the Last Week). However, the Matthaean text specifies its order, as already shown.
The Markan order admits of explanation on the basis of an accident to a common ancestor of our extant copies and versions. See, as to this matter, the article already cited in Bibliotheca Sacra. See particularly April, 1922, p. 133 (bottom) and pp. 151-152 (“The Minor Disagreement in Order”).
9) This whole matter is treated in an article by the present writer, entitled “A Notable Textual Interchange in Matthew,” and at the present moment unpublished though completely written.