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Chapter Four

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Chapter Summary

This chapter assesses the interrelationship between Matthew's crowds and the "people" in Matthew. The crowds are never mentioned prior to Jesus' ministry. In Matthew, the crowds are only mentioned after Jesus has begun his ministry, and, in the same way, once the crowds side with their leaders at 27:25, they are not mentioned again. The people of Israel can be divided into two camps: the "leaders of the people" and "the crowds". The behaviour of Jesus as shepherd affords a vivid contrast. The crowds correspond to the sheep and the leaders of the people to the irresponsible shepherds. The way is paved for Yahweh's promised leader of Israel, who will shepherd his people Israel (2:6). Matthew further uses the traditional image of lost sheep to characterize the crowds, and his use of pastoral imagery in the gospel is especially appropriate for elucidating the evangelist's understanding of the crowds.

Keywords: Jesus' ministry; lost sheep of Israel; Matthew's crowds; Yahweh



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