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(0.13) (Pro 19:7)

tn Heb “not they.” The last line of the verse is problematic. The preceding two lines are loosely synonymous in their parallelism, but the third adds something like: “he pursues [them with] words, but they [do] not [respond].” Some simply say it is a corrupt remnant of a separate proverb and beyond restoration. The basic idea does make sense, though. The idea of his family and friends rejecting the poor person reveals how superficial they are, and how they make themselves scarce. Since they are far off, he has to look for them “with words” (adverbial accusative), that is, “send word” for help. But they “are nowhere to be found” (so NIV). The LXX reads “will not be delivered” in place of “not they” – clearly an attempt to make sense out of the cryptic phrase, and, in the process, showing evidence for that text.

(0.13) (Ecc 5:8)

tn Alternately, “oppression.” The term עֹשֶׁק (’osheq) has a basic two-fold range of meaning: (1) “oppression; brutality” (e.g., Isa 54:14); and (2) “extortion” (e.g., Ps 62:11); see HALOT 897 s.v. עֹשֶׁק; BDB 799 s.v. עֹשֶׁק. The LXX understands the term as “oppression,” as the translation συκοφαντίαν (sukofantian, “oppression”) indicates. Likewise, HALOT 897 s.v. עֹשֶׁק 1 classifies this usage as “oppression” against the poor. However, the context of 5:8-9 [7-8 HT] focuses on corrupt government officials robbing people of the fruit of their labor through extortion and the perversion of justice.

(0.13) (Jer 11:16)

tn The verb here has most commonly been derived from a root meaning “to be broken” (cf. BDB 949 s.v. II רָעַע) which fits poorly with the metaphor of setting the plant on fire. Another common option is to emend it to a verb meaning “to be burned up” (בָּעַר, baar). However, it is better to follow the lead of the Greek version which translates “be good for nothing” (ἠχρειώθησαν, hcreiwqhsan) and derive the verb from רָעַע (raa’) meaning “be bad/evil” (cf. BDB 949 and compare the nuance of the adjective from this verb in BDB 948 s.v. רַע 5).

(0.13) (Jer 22:18)

tn The translation follows the majority of scholars who think that the address of brother and sister are the address of the mourners to one another, lamenting their loss. Some scholars feel that all four terms are parallel and represent the relation that the king had metaphorically to his subjects; i.e., he was not only Lord and Majesty to them but like a sister or a brother. In that case something like: “How sad it is for the one who was like a brother to us! How sad it is for the one who was like a sister to us.” This makes for poor poetry and is not very likely. The lover can call his bride sister in Song of Solomon (Song 4:9, 10) but there are no documented examples of a subject ever speaking of a king in this way in Israel or the ancient Near East.

(0.13) (Lam 1:7)

tn Heb “the days of her poverty and her homelessness,” or “the days of her affliction and wandering.” The plural construct יְמֵי (yÿme, “days of”) functions in the general sense “the time of” or “when,” envisioning the time period in which this occurred. The principal question is whether the phrase is a direct object or an adverb. If a direct object, she remembers either the season when the process happened or she remembers, i.e. reflects on, her current season of life. An adverbial sense, “during” or “throughout” normally occurs with כֹּל (kol, “all”) in the phrase “all the days of…” but may also occur without כֹּל (kol) in poetry as in Job 10:20. The adverbial sense would be translated “during her poor homeless days.” Treating “days” adverbially makes better sense with line 7b, whereas treating “days” as a direct object makes better sense with line 7c.

(0.13) (Lam 2:11)

tn Heb “the daughter of my people.” Rather than a genitive of relationship (“daughter of X”), the phrase בַּת־עַמִּי (bat-ammi) is probably a genitive of apposition. The idiom “Daughter X” occurs often in Lamentations: “Daughter Jerusalem” (2x), “Daughter Zion” (7x), “Virgin Daughter Zion” (1x), “Daughter of My People” (5x), “Daughter Judah” (2x), and “Virgin Daughter Judah” (1x). In each case, it is a poetic description of Jerusalem or Judah as a whole. The idiom בַּת־עַמִּי (bat-ammi, lit., “daughter of my people” is rendered variously by the English versions: “the daughter of my people” (KJV, RSV, NASB), “my people” (NIV, TEV, CEV), and “my poor people” (NJPS). The metaphor here pictures the people as vulnerable and weak.

(0.13) (Amo 2:6)

tn Or “honest” (CEV, NLT). The Hebrew word sometimes has a moral-ethical connotation, “righteous, godly,” but the parallelism (note “poor”) suggests a socio-economic or legal sense here. The practice of selling debtors as slaves is in view (Exod 21:2-11; Lev 25:35-55; Deut 15:12-18) See the note at Exod 21:8 and G. C. Chirichigno, Debt-Slavery in Israel and the Ancient Near East (JSOTSup). Probably the only “crime” the victim had committed was being unable to pay back a loan or an exorbitant interest rate on a loan. Some have suggested that this verse refers to bribery in legal proceedings: The innocent are “sold” in the sense that those in power pay off the elders or judges for favorable decisions (5:12; cf. Exod 23:6-7).

(0.13) (Luk 11:41)

sn In Jewish culture giving alms to the poor was a very important religious observance; it was meant to be an act of mercy, kindness, and love (D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 2:1114). The implication from the text is that the Pharisees gave alms, but without any of the spiritual concern which should have motivated those generous actions. Here Jesus commands the Pharisees to give from within themselves to those in need instead of just giving of their possessions. In so doing they would show true inner purity acceptable to God. This is in keeping with the author’s social concerns elsewhere in the Gospel (cf., e.g., 1:52-53, 4:18-19, 6:20-21, 14:13).

(0.13) (Luk 11:41)

sn The expression everything will be clean for you refers to the agreement that should exist between the overt practice of one’s religious duties, such as almsgiving, and the inner condition of one’s heart, including true love for God and the poor; one is not only to wash the outside of the cup and plate, but the inside as well, since as Jesus said, God created the inside too. Religious duties are not to be performed hypocritically, i.e., for the applause and esteem of people, but rather they are to be done out of a deep love for God and a sensitivity to and concern for the needs of others. Then, everything will be clean, both hearts and lives.

(0.11) (Ecc 5:9)

tn The syntax and exegesis of the line is difficult. There are three basic interpretive options: (1) the king takes care of the security of the cultivated land: “in any case, the advantage of a country is that there is a king for the cultivated land”; (2) the king is in favor of a prosperous agricultural policy: “in any case, the advantage of a country is that there is a king who is obeyed for the sake of the agriculture”; and (3) the king exploits the poor farmers: “the produce of the land is [seized] by all, even the king is served by the fields.” Perhaps the best option in the light of the context is to take the referent of כֹּל (kol, “all”) to the government officials of 5:8 rather than to the people as a whole. The verse depicts the exploitation of the poor farmers by corrupt government officials. This is reflected in two English versions: “the increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields” (NIV); “the profit of the land is among all of them; a cultivated field has a king” (RSV margin). On the other hand, the LXX treated the syntax so the king is viewed in a neutral sense: και περισσεια γης ἐπι παντι ἐστι, βασιλευς του αργου εἰργασμενου (“The abundance of the earth is for everyone; the king is dependent on the tilled field”). Most English versions deal with the syntax so that the king is viewed in a neutral or positive sense: “the profit of the earth is for all; the king himself is served by the field” (KJV); “a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land” (NASB); “this is an advantage for a land: a king for a plowed field” (NRSV); “the greatest advantage in all the land is his: he controls a field that is cultivated” (NJPS); “a country prospers with a king who has control” (Moffatt); “a king devoted to the field is an advantage to the land” (MLB); “a king is an advantage to a land with cultivated fields” (RSV); “the best thing for a country is a king whose own lands are well tilled” (NEB); and “an advantage for a country in every respect is a king for the arable land” (NAB). See D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 3:576–77.

(0.10) (Exo 30:11)

sn This brief section has been interpreted a number of ways by biblical scholars (for a good survey and discussion, see B. Jacob, Exodus, 829-35). In this context the danger of erecting and caring for a sanctuary may have been in view. A census would be taken to count the losses and to cover the danger of coming into such proximity with the holy place; payment was made to ransom the lives of the people numbered so that they would not die. The money collected would then be used for the care of the sanctuary. The principle was fairly straightforward: Those numbered among the redeemed of the Lord were to support the work of the Lord to maintain their fellowship with the covenant. The passage is fairly easy to outline: I. Every covenant member must give a ransom for his life to avoid death (11-12); II. The ransom is the same for all, whether rich or poor (13-15); and III. The ransom money supports the sanctuary as a memorial for the ransomed (16).

(0.10) (2Sa 21:19)

sn The Hebrew text as it stands reads, “Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite.” Who killed Goliath the Gittite? According to 1 Sam 17:4-58 it was David who killed Goliath, but according to the MT of 2 Sam 21:19 it was Elhanan who killed him. Many scholars believe that the two passages are hopelessly at variance with one another. Others have proposed various solutions to the difficulty, such as identifying David with Elhanan or positing the existence of two Goliaths. But in all likelihood the problem is the result of difficulties in the textual transmission of the Samuel passage; in fact, from a text-critical point of view the books of Samuel are the most poorly preserved of all the books of the Hebrew Bible. The parallel passage in 1 Chr 20:5 reads, “Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath.” Both versions are textually corrupt. The Chronicles text has misread “Bethlehemite” (בֵּית הַלַּחְמִי, bet hallakhmi) as the accusative sign followed by a proper name אֶת לַחְמִי (’et lakhmi). (See the note at 1 Chr 20:5.) The Samuel text misread the word for “brother” (אַח, ’akh) as the accusative sign (אֵת, ’et), thereby giving the impression that Elhanan, not David, killed Goliath. Thus in all probability the original text read, “Elhanan son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath.”

(0.10) (Job 5:15)

tn The juxtaposition of “from the sword from their mouth” poses translation difficulties. Some mss do not have the preposition on “their mouth,” but render the expression as a construct: “from the sword of their mouth.” This would mean their tongue, and by metonymy, what they say. The expression “from their mouth” corresponds well with “from the hand” in the next colon. And as E. Dhorme (Job, 67) notes, what is missing is a parallel in the first part with “the poor” in the second. So he follows Cappel in repointing “from the sword” as a Hophal participle, מֹחֳרָב (mokhorav), meaning “the ruined.” If a change is required, this has the benefit of only changing the pointing. The difficulty with this is that the word “desolate, ruined” is not used for people, but only to cities, lands, or mountains. The sense of the verse can be supported from the present pointing: “from the sword [which comes] from their mouth”; the second phrase could also be in apposition, meaning, “from the sword, i.e., from their mouth.”

(0.10) (Pro 23:11)

sn The Hebrew term describes a “kinsman-redeemer.” That individual would be a rich or powerful relative who can protect the family; he does this by paying off the debts of a poor relative, buying up the property of a relative who sells himself into slavery, marrying the widow of a deceased relative to keep the inheritance in the family, or taking vengeance on someone who harms a relative, that vengeance often resulting in delivering (“redeeming”) the relative from bondage. If there was no human “kinsman redeemer,” then the defenseless had to rely on God to perform these actions (e.g., Gen 48:16; Exod 6:6; Job 19:25; Isa 41–63). In the prophetic literature God is presented as the Redeemer in that he takes vengeance on the enemies (the Babylonians) to deliverer his people (kin). In this proverb the Lord is probably the Protector of these people who will champion their cause and set things right.

(0.10) (Ecc 1:15)

tn The Hebrew noun חֶסְרוֹן (khesron) is used in the OT only here and means “what is lacking” (as an antonym to יִתְרוֹן [yitron], “what is profitable”; HALOT 339 s.v. חֶסְרוֹן; BDB 341 s.v. חֶסְרוֹן). It is an Aramaic loanword meaning “deficit.” The related verb חָסַר (khasar) means “to lack, to be in need of, to decrease, to lessen [in number]”; the related noun חֹסֶר (khoser) refers to “one in want of”; and the noun חֶסֶר (kheser) means “poverty, want” (HALOT 338 s.v. חֶסֶר; BDB 341 s.v. חֶסֶר). It refers to what is absent (zero in terms of quantity) rather than what is deficient (poor in terms of quality). The LXX misunderstood the term and rendered it as ὑστέρημα (usterhma, “deficiency”): “deficiency cannot be numbered.” It is also misunderstood by a few English versions: “nor can you count up the defects in life” (Moffatt); “the number of fools is infinite” (Douay). However, most English versions correctly understand it as referring to what is lacking in terms of quantity: “what is lacking” (RSV, MLB, NASB, NIV, NRSV), “a lack” (NJPS), “that which is wanting” (KJV, ASV), “what is not there” (NEB), and “what is missing” (NAB).

(0.10) (Isa 40:20)

tn The first two words of the verse (הַמְסֻכָּן תְּרוּמָה, hamsukan tÿrumah) are problematic. Some take מְסֻכָּן as an otherwise unattested Pual participle from סָכַן (sakhan, “be poor”) and translate “the one who is impoverished.” תְּרוּמָה (tÿrumah, “contribution”) can then be taken as an adverbial accusative, “with respect to a contribution,” and the entire line translated, “the one who is too impoverished for such a contribution [i.e., the metal idol of v. 19?] selects wood that will not rot.” However, מְסֻכָּן is probably the name of a tree used in idol manufacturing (cognate with Akkadian musukkanu, cf. H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [SBLDS], 133). מְסֻכָּן may be a scribal interpretive addition attempting to specify עֵץ (’ets) or עֵץ may be a scribal attempt to categorize מְסֻכָּן. How an idol constitutes a תְּרוּמָה (“contribution”) is not entirely clear.

(0.10) (Hos 5:11)

tn The verb עָשַׁק (’ashaq, “to oppress”) may refer to (1) oppressing the poor and defenseless (BDB 798 s.v. עָשַׁק 1), or more likely to (2) oppression of one nation by another as the judgment of God (Deut 28:29, 33; 1 Chr 16:21; Pss 105:14; 119:121, 122; Isa 52:4; Jer 50:33; Hos 5:11; BDB 798 s.v. 2). The Qal passive participles עָשׁוּק (’ashuq, “oppressed”) and רְצוּץ (rÿtsuts, “crushed”) might refer to a present situation (so KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); however, the context suggests that they refer to a future situation (so NLT). When a participle is used in reference to the future, it often denotes an imminent future situation and may be rendered, “about to” (e.g., Gen 6:17; 15:14; 20:3; 37:30; 41:25; 49:29; Exod 9:17-18; Deut 28:31; 1 Sam 3:11; 1 Kgs 2:2; 20:22; 2 Kgs 7:2). For functions of the participle, see IBHS 627-28 §37.6f.

(0.09) (Jer 15:12)

tn Or “Can iron and bronze break iron from the north?” The question is rhetorical and expects a negative answer. The translation and meaning of this verse are debated. See note for further details. The two main difficulties here involve the relation of words to one another and the obscure allusion to iron from the north. To translate “literally” is difficult since one does not know whether “iron” is subject of “break” or object of an impersonal verb. Likewise, the dangling “and bronze” fits poorly with either understanding. Options: “Can iron break iron from the north and bronze?” Or “Can one break iron, even iron from the north and bronze.” This last is commonly opted for by translators and interpreters, but why add “and bronze” at the end? And what does “iron from the north” refer to? A long history of interpretation relates it to the foe from the north (see already 1:14; 4:6; 6:1; 13:20). The translation follows the lead of NRSV and takes “and bronze” as a compound subject. I have no ready parallels for this syntax but the reference to “from the north” and the comparison to the stubbornness of the unrepentant people to bronze and iron in 6:28 suggests a possible figurative allusion. There is no evidence in the Bible that Israel knew about a special kind of steel like iron from the Black Sea mentioned in later Greek sources. The word “fist” is supplied in the translation to try to give some hint that it refers to a hostile force.

(0.09) (1Co 13:12)

tn Grk “we are seeing through [= using] a mirror by means of a dark image.” Corinth was well known in the ancient world for producing some of the finest bronze mirrors available. Paul’s point in this analogy, then, is not that our current understanding and relationship with God is distorted (as if the mirror reflected poorly), but rather that it is “indirect,” (i.e., the nature of looking in a mirror) compared to the relationship we will enjoy with him in the future when we see him “face to face” (cf. G. D. Fee, First Corinthians [NICNT], 648). The word “indirectly” translates the Greek phrase ἐν αἰνίγματι (ejn ainigmati, “in an obscure image”) which itself may reflect an allusion to Num 12:8 (LXX οὐ δι᾿ αἰνιγμάτων), where God says that he speaks to Moses “mouth to mouth [= face to face]…and not in dark figures [of speech].” Though this allusion to the OT is not explicitly developed here, it probably did not go unnoticed by the Corinthians who were apparently familiar with OT traditions about Moses (cf. 1 Cor 10:2). Indeed, in 2 Cor 3:13-18 Paul had recourse with the Corinthians to contrast Moses’ ministry under the old covenant with the hope afforded through apostolic ministry and the new covenant. Further, it is in this context, specifically in 2 Cor 3:18, that the apostle invokes the use of the mirror analogy again in order to unfold the nature of the Christian’s progressive transformation by the Spirit.

(0.06) (Rut 1:13)

tn Heb “for there is bitterness to me exceedingly from you.” The clause כִּי־מַר־לִי מְאֹד מִכֶּם (ki-mar-li meod mikkem) is notoriously difficult to interpret. It has been taken in three different ways: (1) “For I am very bitter for me because of you,” that is, because of your widowed condition (cf. KJV, NKJV, ASV, RSV, NJB, REB, JB, TEV). This does not fit well, however, with the following statement (“for the LORD has attacked me”) nor with the preceding statement (“You must not return with me”). (2) “For I am far more bitter than for you” (cf. NASB, NIV, NJPS, NEB, CEV, NLT). This does not provide an adequate basis, however, for the preceding statement (“You must not return with me”). (3) “For my bitterness is too much for you [to bear]” (cf. NAB, NRSV, NCV, CEV margin). This is preferable because it fits well with both the preceding and following statements. These three options reflect the three ways the preposition מן may be taken here: (1) causal: “because of, on account of” (BDB 580 s.v. מִן 2.f; HALOT 598 s.v. מִן 6), not that Orpah and Ruth were the cause of her calamity, but that Naomi was grieved because they had become widows; (2) comparative: “more [bitter] than you” (BDB 581 s.v. 6.a; HALOT 598 s.v. 5b), meaning that Naomi’s situation was more grievous than theirs – while they could remarry, her prospects were much more bleak; and (3) elative, describing a situation that is too much for a person to bear: “too [bitter] for you” (BDB 581 s.v. 6.d; HALOT 598 s.v. 5a; IBHS 267 §14.4f; e.g., Gen 4:13; Exod 18:18; Deut 17:8; 1 Kgs 19:17), meaning that Naomi’s plight was too bitter for her daughters-in-law to share. While all three options are viable, the meaning adopted must fit two criteria: (1) The meaning of this clause (1:13b) must provide the grounds for Naomi’s emphatic rejection of the young women’s refusal to separate themselves from her (1:13a); and (2) it must fit the following clause: “for the hand of the LORD has gone out against me” (1:13c). The first and second options do not provide adequate reasons for sending her daughters-in-law back home, nor do they fit her lament that the LORD had attached her (not them); however, the third option (elative sense) fits both criteria. Naomi did not want her daughters-in-law to share her sad situation, that is, to be poor, childless widows in a foreign land with no prospect for marriage. If they accompanied her back to Judah, they would be in the same kind of situation in which she found herself in Moab. If they were to find the “rest” (security of home and husband) she wished for them, it would be in Moab, not in Judah. The Lord had already deprived her of husband and sons. She could do nothing for them in this regard because she had no more sons to give them as husbands, and she was past the age of child-bearing to raise up new husbands for them in the future – as if they could wait that long anyway (1:13a). For a discussion of these three options and defense of the approach adopted here, see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 80-81.

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