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Matthew 17

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The Transfiguration

17:1 Six days later 1  Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, 2  and led them privately up a high mountain. 17:2 And he was transfigured before them. 3  His 4  face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 17:3 Then Moses 5  and Elijah 6  also appeared before them, talking with him. 17:4 So 7  Peter said 8  to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, I will make 9  three shelters 10  – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 17:5 While he was still speaking, a 11  bright cloud 12  overshadowed 13  them, and a voice from the cloud said, 14  “This is my one dear Son, 15  in whom I take great delight. Listen to him!” 16  17:6 When the disciples heard this, they were overwhelmed with fear and threw themselves down with their faces to the ground. 17  17:7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Do not be afraid.” 17:8 When 18  they looked up, all they saw was Jesus alone.

17:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, 19  “Do not tell anyone about the vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” 17:10 The disciples asked him, 20  “Why then do the experts in the law 21  say that Elijah must come first?” 17:11 He 22  answered, “Elijah does indeed come first and will restore all things. 17:12 And I tell you that Elijah has already come. Yet they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted. In 23  the same way, the Son of Man will suffer at their hands.” 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist.

The Disciples’ Failure to Heal

17:14 When 24  they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, 17:15 and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, because he has seizures 25  and suffers terribly, for he often falls into the fire and into the water. 17:16 I brought him to your disciples, but 26  they were not able to heal him.” 17:17 Jesus answered, 27  “You 28  unbelieving 29  and perverse generation! How much longer 30  must I be with you? How much longer must I endure 31  you? 32  Bring him here to me.” 17:18 Then 33  Jesus rebuked 34  the demon and it came out of him, and the boy was healed from that moment. 17:19 Then the disciples came 35  to Jesus privately and said, “Why couldn’t we cast it out?” 17:20 He told them, “It was because of your little faith. I tell you the truth, 36  if you have faith the size of 37  a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; nothing 38  will be impossible for you.”

17:21 [[EMPTY]] 39 

17:22 When 40  they gathered together in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. 41  17:23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they became greatly distressed.

The Temple Tax

17:24 After 42  they arrived in Capernaum, 43  the collectors of the temple tax 44  came to Peter and said, “Your teacher pays the double drachma tax, doesn’t he?” 17:25 He said, “Yes.” When Peter came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, 45  “What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect tolls or taxes – from their sons 46  or from foreigners?” 17:26 After he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons 47  are free. 17:27 But so that we don’t offend them, go to the lake and throw out a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a four drachma coin. 48  Take that and give it to them for me and you.”

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1 tn Grk “And after six days.”

2 tn Grk “John his brother” with “his” referring to James.

3 sn In 1st century Judaism and in the NT, there was the belief that the righteous get new, glorified bodies in order to enter heaven (1 Cor 15:42-49; 2 Cor 5:1-10). This transformation means the righteous will share the glory of God. One recalls the way Moses shared the Lord’s glory after his visit to the mountain in Exod 34. So the disciples saw Jesus transfigured, and they were getting a sneak preview of the great glory that Jesus would have (only his glory is more inherent to him as one who shares in the rule of the kingdom).

4 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

5 tn Grk “And behold, Moses.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).

6 sn Commentators and scholars discuss why Moses and Elijah are present. The most likely explanation is that Moses represents the prophetic office (Acts 3:18-22) and Elijah pictures the presence of the last days (Mal 4:5-6), the prophet of the eschaton (the end times).

7 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate that the appearance of Moses and Elijah prompted Peter’s comment.

8 tn Grk “Peter answering said.” This construction is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation.

9 tc Instead of the singular future indicative ποιήσω (poihsw, “I will make”), most witnesses (C3 D L W Θ [Φ] 0281 Ë[1],13 33 Ï lat sy co) have the plural aorist subjunctive ποιήσωμεν (poihswmen, “let us make”). But since ποιήσωμεν is the reading found in the parallel accounts in Mark and Luke, it is almost surely a motivated reading. Further, the earliest and best witnesses, as well as a few others (א B C* 700 pc) have ποιήσω. It is thus more likely that the singular verb is authentic.

10 tn Or “booths,” “dwellings” (referring to the temporary booths constructed in the celebration of the feast of Tabernacles).

sn Peter apparently wanted to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles or Booths that looked forward to the end and wanted to treat Moses, Elijah, and Jesus as equals by making three shelters (one for each). It was actually a way of expressing honor to Jesus, but the next verse makes it clear that it was not enough honor.

11 tn Grk “behold, a.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated here or in the following clause because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).

12 sn This cloud is the cloud of God’s presence and the voice is his as well.

13 tn Or “surrounded.”

14 tn Grk “behold, a voice from the cloud, saying.” This is an incomplete sentence in Greek which portrays intensity and emotion. The participle λέγουσα (legousa) was translated as a finite verb in keeping with English style.

15 tn Grk “my beloved Son,” or “my Son, the beloved [one].” The force of ἀγαπητός (agaphtos) is often “pertaining to one who is the only one of his or her class, but at the same time is particularly loved and cherished” (L&N 58.53; cf. also BDAG 7 s.v. 1).

16 sn The expression listen to him comes from Deut 18:15 and makes two points: 1) Jesus is a prophet like Moses, a leader-prophet, and 2) they have much yet to learn from him.

17 tn Grk “they fell down on their faces.” BDAG 815 s.v. πίπτω 1.b.α.ב. has “fall down, throw oneself to the ground as a sign of devotion, before high-ranking persons or divine beings.”

18 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

19 tn Grk “Jesus commanded them, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant and has not been translated.

20 tn Grk “asked him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant and has not been translated.

21 tn Or “do the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.

22 tn Grk “And answering, he said.” This has been simplified in the translation.

23 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

24 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

25 tn Grk “he is moonstruck,” possibly meaning “lunatic” (so NAB, NASB), although now the term is generally regarded as referring to some sort of seizure disorder such as epilepsy (L&N 23.169; BDAG 919 s.v. σεληνιάζομαι).

26 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.

27 tn Grk “And answering, Jesus said.” This is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation.

28 tn Grk “O.” The marker of direct address, (w), is functionally equivalent to a vocative and is represented in the translation by “you.”

29 tn Or “faithless.”

sn The rebuke for lack of faith has OT roots: Num 14:27; Deut 32:5, 30; Isa 59:8.

30 tn Grk “how long.”

31 tn Or “put up with.” See Num 11:12; Isa 46:4.

32 sn The pronouns you…you are plural, indicating that Jesus is speaking to a group rather than an individual.

33 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “Then.”

34 tn Or “commanded” (often with the implication of a threat, L&N 33.331).

35 tn Grk “coming, the disciples said.” The participle προσελθόντες (proselqontes) has been translated as a finite verb to make the sequence of events clear in English.

36 tn Grk “For truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.” Here γάρ (gar) has not been translated.

37 tn Grk “faith as,” “faith like.”

38 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

39 tc Many important mss (א* B Θ 0281 33 579 892* pc e ff1 sys,c sa) do not include 17:21 “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” The verse is included in א2 C D L W Ë1,13 Ï lat, but is almost certainly not original. As B. M. Metzger notes, “Since there is no satisfactory reason why the passage, if originally present in Matthew, should have been omitted in a wide variety of witnesses, and since copyists frequently inserted material derived from another Gospel, it appears that most manuscripts have been assimilated to the parallel in Mk 9.29” (TCGNT 35). The present translation follows NA27 in omitting the verse number as well, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.

40 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

41 tn The plural Greek term ἀνθρώπων (anqrwpwn) is considered by some to be used here in a generic sense, referring to both men and women (cf. NRSV “into human hands”; TEV, CEV “to people”). However, because this can be taken as a specific reference to the group responsible for Jesus’ arrest, where it is unlikely women were present (cf. Matt 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12), the word “men” has been retained in the translation. There may also be a slight wordplay with “the Son of Man” earlier in the verse.

42 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

43 map For location see Map1 D2; Map2 C3; Map3 B2.

44 tn Grk “Collectors of the double drachma.” This is a case of metonymy, where the coin formerly used to pay the tax (the double drachma coin, or δίδραχμον [didracmon]) was put for the tax itself (cf. BDAG 241 s.v.). Even though this coin was no longer in circulation in NT times and other coins were used to pay the tax, the name for the coin was still used to refer to the tax itself.

sn The temple tax refers to the half-shekel tax paid annually by male Jews to support the temple (Exod 30:13-16).

45 tn Grk “spoke first to him, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in English and has not been translated.

46 sn The phrase their sons may mean “their citizens,” but the term “sons” has been retained here in order to preserve the implicit comparison between the Father and his Son, Jesus.

47 sn See the note on the phrase their sons in the previous verse.

48 sn The four drachma coin was a stater (στατήρ, stathr), a silver coin worth four drachmas. One drachma was equivalent to one denarius, the standard pay for a day’s labor (L&N 6.80).



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