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Top 100 Atheist Challenges

Why does Matthew apply Hosea 11:1 to Jesus (2:15) when it is obviously referring to Israel?

First, one ought to note that the practice of taking a particular text that originally designated one individual and applying that same text to a different individual was an accepted exegetical procedure of that time, as is evidenced by the many instances in which this is done by the Rabbis in the Talmud.  Thus, while the question above is perhaps an interesting one, it is by no means an objection that has any force against the authenticity of the New Testament.  As for why the application might have been made, this could be because Israel itself is referred to by God as “my firstborn son” in Exodus 4:22.

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