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(1.00) (Amo 1:14)

sn Rabbah was the Ammonite capital.

(0.50) (Job 31:34)

tn Heb “the great multitude.” But some commentators take רַבָּה (rabbah) adverbially: “greatly” (see RSV).

(0.43) (Job 22:5)

tn The adjective רַבָּה (rabbah) normally has the idea of “great” in quantity (“abundant,” ESV) rather than “great” in quality.

(0.43) (Psa 62:6)

sn The wording is identical to that of v. 2, except that רַבָּה (rabbah, “greatly”) does not appear in v. 6.

(0.43) (Amo 6:2)

tn Or “Great Hamath” (cf. NIV); or “Hamath the great” (cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); the word “rabbah” means “great” in Hebrew.

(0.36) (Pro 27:20)

tn Heb “eyes of a man.” This expression refers to the desires – what the individual looks longingly on. Ecclesiastes Rabbah 1:34 (one of the rabbinic Midrashim) says, “No man dies and has one-half of what he wanted.”

(0.36) (Joh 3:34)

tn Grk “for not by measure does he give the Spirit” (an idiom). Leviticus Rabbah 15:2 states: “The Holy Spirit rested on the prophets by measure.” Jesus is contrasted to this. The Spirit rests upon him without measure.

(0.30) (Jer 49:3)

tn Or “you women of Rabbah”; Heb “daughters of Rabbah.” It is difficult to tell whether the word “daughters” is used here in the same sense that it has in v. 2 (see the translator’s note there) or in the literal sense of “daughters.” The former has been preferred because the cities themselves (e.g., Heshbon) are called to wail in the earlier part of the verse and the term “daughters” has been used in the previous verse of the surrounding villages.

(0.29) (Psa 110:6)

tn Heb “he strikes [the verb is מָחַץ (makhats), translated “strikes down” in v. 5] head[s] over a great land.” The Hebrew term רַבָּה (rabbah, “great”) is here used of distance or spatial measurement (see 1 Sam 26:13).

(0.29) (Joh 1:48)

sn Many have speculated about what Nathanael was doing under the fig tree. Meditating on the Messiah who was to come? A good possibility, since the fig tree was used as shade for teaching or studying by the later rabbis (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 5:11). Also, the fig tree was symbolic for messianic peace and plenty (Mic 4:4, Zech 3:10.)

(0.25) (Exo 9:29)

sn There has been a good deal of speculation about why Moses would leave the city before praying. Rashi said he did not want to pray where there were so many idols. It may also be as the midrash in Exodus Rabbah 12:5 says that most of the devastation of this plague had been outside in the fields, and that was where Moses wished to go.

(0.25) (Ecc 5:13)

tn The noun רָעָה (raah, “evil”) probably means “misfortune” (HALOT 1263 s.v. רָעָה 4) or “injustice, wrong” (HALOT 1262 s.v. רָעָה 2.b). The phrase רָעָה רַבָּה (raah rabbah) connotes “grave injustice” or “great misfortune” (Eccl 2:17; 5:12, 15; 6:1; 10:5).

(0.21) (Deu 3:11)

sn Rabbath. This place name (usually occurring as Rabbah; 2 Sam 11:11; 12:27; Jer 49:3) refers to the ancient capital of the Ammonite kingdom, now the modern city of Amman, Jordan. The word means “great [one],” probably because of its political importance. The fact that the sarcophagus “still remain[ed]” there suggests this part of the verse is post-Mosaic, having been added as a matter of explanation for the existence of the artifact and also to verify the claim as to its size.

(0.21) (Psa 62:2)

tn The Hebrew text adds רַבָּה (rabbah, “greatly”) at the end of the line. It is unusual for this adverb to follow a negated verb. Some see this as qualifying the assertion to some degree, but this would water down the affirmation too much (see v. 6b, where the adverb is omitted). If the adverb has a qualifying function, it would suggest that the psalmist might be upended, though not severely. This is inconsistent with the confident mood of the psalm. The adverb probably has an emphatic force here, “I will not be greatly upended” meaning “I will not be annihilated.”

(0.21) (Ecc 2:21)

tn The noun רָעָה (raah, “evil”) probably means “misfortune” (HALOT 1263 s.v. רָעָה 4) or “injustice; wrong” (HALOT 1262 s.v. רָעָה 2.b). The phrase רָעָה רַבָּה (raah rabbah) connotes “grave injustice” or “great misfortune” (e.g., Eccl 2:17; 5:12, 15; 6:1; 10:5). It is expressed well as: “This too is…a great misfortune” (NAB, NIV, MLB) and “utterly wrong!” (NEB).

(0.18) (Luk 13:32)

sn That fox. This is not fundamentally a figure for cleverness as in modern western culture, but could indicate (1) an insignificant person (Neh 4:3; 2 Esd 13:35 LXX); (2) a deceiver (Song Rabbah 2.15.1 on 2:15); or someone destructive, a destroyer (Ezek 13:4; Lam 5:18; 1 En. 89:10, 42-49, 55). Luke’s emphasis seems to be on destructiveness, since Herod killed John the Baptist, whom Luke calls “the greatest born of women” (Luke 7:28) and later stands opposed to Jesus (Acts 4:26-28). In addition, “a person who is designated a fox is an insignificant or base person. He lacks real power and dignity, using cunning deceit to achieve his aims” (H. W. Hoehner, Herod Antipas [SNTSMS], 347).

(0.18) (Joh 8:56)

tn What is the meaning of Jesus’ statement that the patriarch Abraham “saw” his day and rejoiced? The use of past tenses would seem to refer to something that occurred during the patriarch’s lifetime. Genesis Rabbah 44:25ff, (cf. 59:6) states that Rabbi Akiba, in a debate with Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai, held that Abraham had been shown not this world only but the world to come (this would include the days of the Messiah). More realistically, it is likely that Gen 22:13-15 lies behind Jesus’ words. This passage, known to rabbis as the Akedah (“Binding”), tells of Abraham finding the ram which will replace his son Isaac on the altar of sacrifice – an occasion of certain rejoicing.

(0.18) (Joh 9:2)

sn The disciples assumed that sin (regardless of who committed it) was the cause of the man’s blindness. This was a common belief in Judaism; the rabbis used Ezek 18:20 to prove there was no death without sin, and Ps 89:33 to prove there was no punishment without guilt (the Babylonian Talmud, b. Shabbat 55a, although later than the NT, illustrates this). Thus in this case the sin must have been on the part of the man’s parents, or during his own prenatal existence. Song Rabbah 1:41 (another later rabbinic work) stated that when a pregnant woman worshiped in a heathen temple the unborn child also committed idolatry. This is only one example of how, in rabbinic Jewish thought, an unborn child was capable of sinning.

(0.18) (Joh 12:3)

sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. With a note characteristic of someone who was there and remembered, the author adds that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfumed oil. In the later rabbinic literature, Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7.1.1 states “The fragrance of good oil is diffused from the bedroom to the dining hall, but a good name is diffused from one end of the world to the other.” If such a saying was known in the 1st century, this might be the author’s way of indicating that Mary’s act of devotion would be spoken of throughout the entire world (compare the comment in Mark 14:9).

(0.18) (Joh 12:34)

tn Probably an allusion to Ps 89:35-37. It is difficult to pinpoint the passage in the Mosaic law to which the crowd refers. The ones most often suggested are Ps 89:36-37, Ps 110:4, Isa 9:7, Ezek 37:25, and Dan 7:14. None of these passages are in the Pentateuch per se, but “law” could in common usage refer to the entire OT (compare Jesus’ use in John 10:34). Of the passages mentioned, Ps 89:36-37 is the most likely candidate. This verse speaks of David’s “seed” remaining forever. Later in the same psalm, v. 51 speaks of the “anointed” (Messiah), and the psalm was interpreted messianically in both the NT (Acts 13:22, Rev 1:5, 3:14) and in the rabbinic literature (Genesis Rabbah 97).

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