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New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

C3

Verses Where the Divine Name Does Not Appear as Part of Direct or Indirect Quotations in the Book of Matthew

MATTHEW 1:20 “Jehovah’s angel”

REASON(S): Available Greek manuscripts use the term Kyʹri·os (Lord) here, but there are good reasons for using the divine name in the main text. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, Kyʹri·os can refer to Jehovah God or to Jesus Christ, depending on the context. Here the context indicates that the one referred to is God. The expression “Jehovah’s angel” occurs many times in Hebrew in the “Old Testament,” starting at Genesis 16:7. When “Jehovah’s angel” occurs in early copies of the Greek Septuagint, a translation of the “Old Testament,” the Greek word agʹge·los (angel; messenger) is followed by the divine name written with Hebrew characters. That is how this expression is handled at Zechariah 3:5, 6 in a copy of the Greek Septuagint found in Nahal Hever, Israel, which some scholars have dated between 50 B.C.E. and 50 C.E. It is noteworthy that when later copies of the Greek Septuagint replaced the divine name with Kyʹri·os in this and many other verses, the definite article was not included before Kyʹri·os, where it would be expected according to standard grammatical usage, making Kyʹri·os tantamount to a proper name. So the Hebrew Scripture background and the unexpected absence of the definite article indicate that Kyʹri·os is here used as a substitute for the divine name, and therefore, the name Jehovah is used in the main text.

SUPPORT:

  • A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, revised and edited by F. W. Danker, 2000, (pp. 576-577) lists Matthew 1:20, 24; 2:13, 19; 28:2 under the definition of “lord” as “a designation of God.” It goes on to say: “Without the art[icle] . . . , like a personal name.”

  • The reference work Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 1991, (Vol. 2, pp. 329-330) lists Matthew 1:20, 24; 2:13, 19; 28:2 as verses where Kyʹri·os is “used in the NT [New Testament] of Yahweh/God.”

  • The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel, by R.C.H. Lenski, on page 44 says of this verse: “We have no article with [the Greek words agʹge·los Ky·riʹou, “Lord’s angel”], and thus this is one of Yahweh’s angels . . . We may well assume that this angel is Gabriel, the same one who appeared to Mary, ‘the Mighty One of Jehovah,’ or, ‘Hero of Jehovah.’”

  • The ‘Holy Scriptures,’ by J. N. Darby, 1949, says in a footnote on this verse (as well as in footnotes on Matthew 1:24 and 2:13): “‘Lord’ without the article, signifying, as often, ‘Jehovah.’”

  • The Restored New Testament, by Willis Barnstone, 2009, states in a footnote on the expression “an angel of the Lord”: “From the Greek . . . (angelos kyriou), from the Hebrew . . . (malakh yahweh), . . . A literal rendering would be Yahweh’s malakh or ‘messenger.’” In the main text of Matthew 28:2, this translation reads: “An angel of Yahweh.”

  • The Complete Jewish Bible, by David H. Stern, 1998, uses capital and small capitals for the word “ADONAI” in this verse. In the introduction to this Bible, the translator explains: “The word ‘ADONAIis used . . . wherever I, as the translator, believe ‘kurios’ is the Greek representation of the tetragrammaton.”

  • The Companion Bible, with notes by E. W. Bullinger, 1999 printing, uses capital and small capitals for LORD in the main text of Matthew 1:20 and adds this footnote: “the LORD = Jehovah.”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J3, 4, 7-14, 16-18, 22-24, 28-36, 38-41, 43, 45-52, 55, 59-61, 63, 65, 66, 88, 90, 93-96, 100-102, 104-106, 110, 114-117, 125, 128

MATTHEW 1:22 “spoken by Jehovah”

REASON(S): Available Greek manuscripts use the term Kyʹri·os (Lord) here, but there are good reasons for using the divine name in the main text. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, Kyʹri·os can refer to Jehovah God or to Jesus Christ, depending on the context. Here the context indicates that the one referred to is God. The quotation that immediately follows (Matthew 1:23) is taken from Isaiah 7:14, which is the prophetic message spoken by Jehovah through Isaiah. Also, it is noteworthy that in this verse the Greek definite article was not included before Kyʹri·os, where it would be expected according to standard grammatical usage, making Kyʹri·os tantamount to a proper name. So the Hebrew Scripture background and the unexpected absence of the definite article indicate that Kyʹri·os is here used as a substitute for the divine name.

SUPPORT:

  • The reference work Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 1991, (Vol. 2, pp. 329-330) lists Matthew 1:22 as a verse where Kyʹri·os is “used of Yahweh.”

  • The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel, by R.C.H. Lenski, on page 52 says of this verse: “The formula here used: ‘in order that it be fulfilled what was spoken by the Lord (Κύριος [Kyʹri·os] for Yahweh) through the prophet,’ is used almost constantly by Matthew throughout his Gospel with only occasional variation. . . . The actual speaker thus is Yahweh, and the prophet the medium or mouthpiece through (διά [di·aʹ]) which he speaks.’”

  • The ‘Holy Scriptures,’ by J. N. Darby, 1949, says in a footnote on this verse and on Matthew 2:15: “‘Lord’ without the article, signifying, as often, ‘Jehovah.’”

  • The Companion Bible, with notes by E. W. Bullinger, 1999 printing, uses capital and small capitals for LORD in the main text of Matthew 1:22 and adds this explanation in Appendix 98: “Used of Jehovah . . . and printed ‘LORD’ throughout.”

  • Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, by Vine, Unger, and White, makes this comment on the use of the divine name in this verse: “Kurios is the Sept. and NT representative of Heb. Jehovah (‘LORD’ in Eng. versions), see Matt. 4:7; Jas. 5:11, e.g., of adon, Lord, Matt. 22:44, and of Adonay, Lord, 1:22.”

  • Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 2006, by William D. Mounce, makes this definition under listing number 3261: “Kyrios . . . the Lord, Jehovah, Mt. 1:22.”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J1-4, 7-14, 16-18, 22-24, 26, 28-36, 38-41, 43, 45-50, 52, 59-61, 63, 65, 66, 88, 90, 93-95, 100-102, 104-106, 110, 114-117, 130

MATTHEW 1:24 “the angel of Jehovah”

REASON(S): See comment on Matthew 1:20.

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J1-4, 7-14, 16-18, 22-24, 28-36, 38-41, 43, 45-50, 52, 59-61, 63, 65, 66, 88, 90, 93-95, 100-102, 104, 105, 110, 115-117, 128

MATTHEW 2:13 “Jehovah’s angel”

REASON(S): See comment on Matthew 1:20.

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J1-4, 6-14, 16-18, 22-24, 28-36, 39, 40, 43, 45-50, 52, 59-61, 63, 65, 66, 88, 90, 93-95, 100-102, 104-106, 110, 114-117, 128, 130

MATTHEW 2:15 “spoken by Jehovah”

REASON(S): The quotation that immediately follows in this verse is taken from Hosea 11:1, and Hosea 11:11 clearly shows that this is a statement made by Jehovah God.​—See comment on Matthew 1:22.

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J1, 3, 4, 6-14, 16-18, 22-24, 28-36, 38-41, 43, 45-50, 52, 59, 61-63, 65, 66, 88, 93-95, 100-102, 104-106, 110, 114-117, 125, 128, 130

MATTHEW 2:19 “Jehovah’s angel”

REASON(S): See comment on Matthew 1:20.

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J1-4, 6-14, 16-18, 22-24, 28-36, 38-40, 43, 45-50, 52, 59-61, 63, 65, 66, 88, 90, 93-95, 100-102, 104-106, 114-117, 125, 128, 130

MATTHEW 28:2 “Jehovah’s angel”

REASON: See comment on Matthew 1:20.

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J1-4, 7-13, 16-18, 22-24, 28-36, 38, 40, 41, 43, 45-47, 49-52, 55, 60, 61, 63, 65, 66, 88, 90, 93-95, 100-102, 104-106, 114-117, 128