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Matthew 17:3-4

Context
17:3 Then Moses 1  and Elijah 2  also appeared before them, talking with him. 17:4 So 3  Peter said 4  to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, I will make 5  three shelters 6  – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

1 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).

2 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).

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

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

5 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.

6 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.



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