We’ve previously noted that the great rabbis or sages taught according to teaching techniques later known as “Pardes.” Pardes stood for peshat, remez, drash (or midrash), and sod.
We’ve looked at many remez, or remezim (plural) probably the most on this blog. If you remember past posts on remez, a remez is where the teacher will quote a verse essentially hinting at the verses before or after, bringing in the whole context of the passage to teach your audience as they would have had it memorized. Often when Jesus quotes a verse what makes his audience mad is the verse before or after. One great examples of this is Luke 19:46 when Jesus quotes Isaiah 56 and tells the audience, “it is written that my house will be a house of prayer for all but you have made it a den of robbers.”
If you read Isaiah 56 you’ll notice that the context is that all the gentiles will come to Jerusalem to seek God, and worship God at the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus is mad b/c the people have been standing in the way of gentiles, perhaps by being robbers and in other ways. The remez says that he is defending the gentiles and the people have stood in their way. Understanding the context of Isaiah 56 is paramount to understanding Jesus teaching in Luke 19:46.
The example I specifically wanted to think about today is in Matthew chapter 2. Matthew makes use of remez in his gospel when he quotes Hosea 11. In Matthew 2:15 the writer tells us, “And so was fulfilled what the Lord said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” If you read the text in Hosea 11 you’ll note that the context is God’s massive love and honor for Israel, and Matthew’s main point in chapter 2:15 in the context of a remez teaching is that Jesus is to us as Israel was to God. That would have floored the audience, they probably would have said, “Hosea is about Jesus’ love for Israel, and God is going to deal with this 4-year old child as he did with Israel? That’s amazing!
There is another excellent example of remez in Matthew 2:23 when it says that “so was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.” There was no actual prophecy saying the messiah would be a Nazarene, but when you look at this in context of remez, it is fascinating. We’ll save that for another time.