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Matthew 12:38-42

Context
The Sign of Jonah

12:38 Then some of the experts in the law 1  along with some Pharisees 2  answered him, 3  “Teacher, we want to see a sign 4  from you.” 12:39 But he answered them, 5  “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 12:40 For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish 6  for three days and three nights, 7  so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 12:41 The people 8  of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented when Jonah preached to them 9  – and now, 10  something greater than Jonah is here! 12:42 The queen of the South 11  will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon – and now, 12  something greater than Solomon is here!

1 tn Or “Then some of the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.

2 tn Grk “and Pharisees.” The word “some” before “Pharisees” has been supplied for clarification.

sn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7.

3 tn Grk “answered him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant, but the syntax of the sentence was changed to conform to English style.

4 sn What exactly this sign would have been, given what Jesus was already doing, is not clear. But here is where the fence-sitters reside, refusing to commit to him.

5 tn Grk “But answering, he said to them.” This construction is somewhat redundant in English and has been simplified in the translation.

6 tn Grk “large sea creature.”

7 sn A quotation from Jonah 1:17.

8 tn Grk “men”; the word here (ἀνήρ, anhr) usually indicates males or husbands, but occasionally is used in a generic sense of people in general, as here (cf. BDAG 79 s.v. 1.a, 2).

9 tn Grk “at the preaching of Jonah.”

10 tn Grk “behold.”

11 sn On the queen of the South see 1 Kgs 10:1-3 and 2 Chr 9:1-12, as well as Josephus, Ant. 8.6.5-6 (8.165-175). The South most likely refers to modern southwest Arabia, possibly the eastern part of modern Yemen, although there is an ancient tradition reflected in Josephus which identifies this geo-political entity as Ethiopia.

12 tn Grk “behold.”



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