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Matthew's description of Jesus taking his mount in 21:7 as "and he sat on top of them" has been a crux interpretum for centuries. Some take it literally even though it is impossible for a human to sit on two donkeys at once. Others try to avoid the problem by referring the plural pronoun "them" to the coats the disciples placed on the donkeys instead. I contend that both readings are unsatisfactory, and I bring new evidence and arguments, including Matthew's plenary reading of Zech 9:9 set forth in part 1 of the study (see CBQ 81 [2019] 62-84), to argue that the plural pronoun functions for Matthew as a whole-for-part synecdoche, where the jenny and the colt constitute a conceptual whole such that when Jesus sits on top of "them," he takes his mount on the part that fulfills the Hebrew prophecy.


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

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Journal Article

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