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Thank you, Andrew.

  The question of what did different groups in Israel, and the population at large, to the extent that there may have been a more or less coherent national consensus among them, want or expect to happen is the heart of the problem. Not knowing that, it’s difficult to interpret the textual evidences of what people did. Perhaps we will forever be faced with a palette of undecidable possible interpretations of “what Jesus thought he was accomplishing.”  

Regarding Moses, the thing I was alluding to was that Moses did lead — or at least oversee — Israel in battle against hostile nations during the journey out of Egypt and into Canaan. The Exodus from Egypt was an exercise of Divine power, but there was at least some ‘arm of the flesh’ combat afterward. There’s a lot of bloodshed in the subsequent history of Israel’s judges and kings. To the extent that the people of Israel in AD30 thought that the man riding up to Jerusalem was, or had pretensions to be, Israel’s next king, I think it’s highly probable that many of them were thinking in terms of these historical precedents (this seems to me reinforced, if not confirmed, by the deliberations reported in Jn 11: 45-50; they clearly saw Roman intervention and national ruin as a probable outcome of a widespread popular following of Jesus). It seems probable to me that some — and perhaps many — of the people who were following Jesus were following because they viewed him in this way. Perhaps the disappointed Emmaus road disciples are among this group.

Perhaps Hezekiah, the greatest of all the kings, is a good OT model for the kind of king Jesus could have been (and perhaps intended to be, had the nation heeded his call to repentance) — reforming the religious life of the nation and relying on YHWH, rather than military might, to protect Israel from whatever enemies arose. Matthew’s genealogy goes back through Hezekiah. I am impressed that the people seem to have regarded Jesus’ Davidic ancestry to be significant; David was a mighty, bloody-handed warrior-king. Perhaps “son of David” is simply an acknowledgment of Jesus’ status as messiah/son of YHWH/king of Israel, but I suspect that for many, this title would have had resonances of the kind of king over Israel that David had been. 

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