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(0.24) (Est 10:3)

sn A number of additions to the Book of Esther appear in the apocryphal (or deuterocanonical) writings. These additions supply further information about various scenes described in the canonical book and are interesting in their own right. However, they were never a part of the Hebrew Bible. The placement of this additional material in certain Greek manuscripts of the Book of Esther may be described as follows. At the beginning of Esther there is an account (= chapter 11) of a dream in which Mordecai is warned by God of a coming danger for the Jews. In this account two great dragons, representing Mordecai and Haman, prepare for conflict. But God responds to the prayers of his people, and the crisis is resolved. This account is followed by another one (= chapter 12) in which Mordecai is rewarded for disclosing a plot against the king’s life. After Esth 3:13 there is a copy of a letter from King Artaxerxes authorizing annihilation of the Jews (= chapter 13). After Esth 4:17 the account continues with a prayer of Mordecai (= part of chapter 13), followed by a prayer of Esther (= chapter 14), and an account which provides details about Esther’s appeal to the king in behalf of her people (= chapter 15). After Esth 8:12 there is a copy of a letter from King Artaxerxes in which he denounces Haman and his plot and authorizes his subjects to assist the Jews (= chapter 16). At the end of the book, following Esth 10:3, there is an addition which provides an interpretation to Mordecai’s dream, followed by a brief ascription of genuineness to the entire book (= chapter 11).

(0.22) (Gen 26:1)

sn This account is parallel to two similar stories about Abraham (see Gen 12:10-20; 20:1-18). Many scholars do not believe there were three similar incidents, only one that got borrowed and duplicated. Many regard the account about Isaac as the original, which then was attached to the more important person, Abraham, with supernatural elements being added. For a critique of such an approach, see R. Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 47-62. It is more likely that the story illustrates the proverb “like father, like son” (see T. W. Mann, The Book of the Torah, 53). In typical human fashion the son follows his father’s example of lying to avoid problems. The appearance of similar events reported in a similar way underscores the fact that the blessing has now passed to Isaac, even if he fails as his father did.

(0.22) (Jer 40:1)

sn Some commentators see the account of Jeremiah’s release here in 40:1-6 as an alternate and contradictory account to that of Jeremiah’s release in 39:11-14. However, most commentators see them as complementary and sequential. Jeremiah had been released from the courtyard of the guardhouse on orders of the military tribunal there shortly after Nebuzaradan got to Jerusalem and passed on Nebuchadnezzar’s orders to them. He had been released to the custody of Gedaliah who was to take him back to the governor’s residence and look after him there. However, Jeremiah remained in Jerusalem among the people there. He was mistakenly rounded up with them and led off as a prisoner to be deported with the rest of the exiles. However, when he got to Ramah which was a staging area for deportees, Nebuzaradan recognized him among the prisoners and released him a second time.

(0.22) (Dan 11:36)

sn The identity of this king is problematic. If vv. 36-45 continue the description of Antiochus Epiphanes, the account must be viewed as erroneous, since the details do not match what is known of Antiochus’ latter days. Most modern scholars take this view, concluding that this section was written just shortly before the death of Antiochus and that the writer erred on several key points as he tried to predict what would follow the events of his own day. Conservative scholars, however, usually understand the reference to shift at this point to an eschatological figure, viz., the Antichrist. The chronological gap that this would presuppose to be in the narrative is not necessarily a problem, since by all accounts there are many chronological gaps throughout the chapter, as the historical figures intended by such expressions as “king of the north” and “king of the south” repeatedly shift.

(0.22) (Joh 18:11)

sn Jesus continues with what most would take to be a rhetorical question expecting a positive reply: “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” The cup is also mentioned in Gethsemane in the synoptics (Matt 26:39, Mark 14:36, and Luke 22:42). In connection with the synoptic accounts it is mentioned in Jesus’ prayer; this occurrence certainly complements the synoptic accounts if Jesus had only shortly before finished praying about this. Only here in the Fourth Gospel is it specifically said that the cup is given to Jesus to drink by the Father, but again this is consistent with the synoptic mention of the cup in Jesus’ prayer: It is the cup of suffering which Jesus is about to undergo.

(0.22) (Gen 1:2)

sn The watery deep. In the Babylonian account of creation Marduk killed the goddess Tiamat (the salty sea) and used her carcass to create heaven and earth. The form of the Hebrew word for “deep” is distinct enough from the name “Tiamat” to deny direct borrowing; however, it is possible that there is a polemical stress here. Ancient Israel does not see the ocean as a powerful deity to be destroyed in creation, only a force of nature that can be controlled by God.

(0.22) (Gen 9:5)

tn Heb “from the hand of a man, his brother.” The point is that God will require the blood of someone who kills, since the person killed is a relative (“brother”) of the killer. The language reflects Noah’s situation (after the flood everyone would be part of Noah’s extended family), but also supports the concept of the brotherhood of humankind. According to the Genesis account the entire human race descended from Noah.

(0.22) (Gen 11:4)

sn The Hebrew verb פָּוָץ (pavats, translated “scatter”) is a key term in this passage. The focal point of the account is the dispersion (“scattering”) of the nations rather than the Tower of Babel. But the passage also forms a polemic against Babylon, the pride of the east and a cosmopolitan center with a huge ziggurat. To the Hebrews it was a monument to the judgment of God on pride.

(0.22) (Gen 12:1)

sn The Lord called Abram while he was in Ur (see Gen 15:7; Acts 7:2); but the sequence here makes it look like it was after the family left to migrate to Canaan (11:31-32). Genesis records the call of Abram at this place in the narrative because it is the formal beginning of the account of Abram. The record of Terah was brought to its end before this beginning.

(0.22) (Gen 25:20)

sn Some valuable information is provided here. We learn here that Isaac married thirty-five years before Abraham died, that Rebekah was barren for twenty years, and that Abraham would have lived to see Jacob and Esau begin to grow up. The death of Abraham was recorded in the first part of the chapter as a “tidying up” of one generation before beginning the account of the next.

(0.22) (Exo 2:18)

sn Two observations should be made at this point. First, it seems that the oppression at the well was a regular part of their routine because their father was surprised at their early return, and their answer alluded to the shepherds rather automatically. Secondly, the story is another meeting-at-the-well account. Continuity with the patriarchs is thereby kept in the mind of the reader (cf. Gen 24; 29:1-12).

(0.22) (Lev 26:40)

tn Heb “And.” Many English versions take this to be a conditional clause (“if…”) though there is no conditional particle (see, e.g., NASB, NIV, NRSV; but see the very different rendering in B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 190). The temporal translation offered here (“when”) takes into account the particle אָז (’az, “then”), which occurs twice in v. 41. The obvious contextual contrast between vv. 39 and 40 is expressed by “however” in the translation.

(0.22) (Num 1:1)

sn This means that the Israelites had spent nine months at Sinai, because they had arrived there in the third month following the exodus. This account does not follow a strict chronology (see Num 9:1). The difference of one month in the narrative is not a critical difference, but a literary general reference. Here begins a new section of major importance to the future of the nation – the numbering for war and for settlement.

(0.22) (Num 31:7)

sn Many modern biblical scholars assume that this passage is fictitious. The text says that they killed every male, but Judges accounts for the Midianites. The texts can be harmonized rather simply – they killed every Midianite who was in the battle. Midianite tribes and cities dotted the whole region, but that does not mean Israel went and killed every single one of them. There apparently was a core of Midianites whom Balaam had influenced to pervert Israel.

(0.22) (Rut 2:11)

tn Heb “it has been fully reported to me.” The infinitive absolute here emphasizes the following finite verb from the same root. Here it emphasizes either the clarity of the report or its completeness. See R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 153, n. 6. Most English versions tend toward the nuance of completeness (e.g., KJV “fully been shewed”; NAB “a complete account”; NASB, NRSV “All that you have done”).

(0.22) (Est 1:9)

sn Vashti is the name of Xerxes’ queen according to the Book of Esther. But in the Greek histories of this period the queen’s name is given as Amestris (e.g., Herodotus, Histories 9.108-13). The name Vashti does not seem to occur in the nonbiblical records from this period. Apparently the two women are not to be confused, but not enough is known about this period to reconcile completely the biblical and extrabiblical accounts.

(0.22) (Job 4:13)

tn The word תַּרְדֵּמָה (tardemah) is a “deep sleep.” It is used in the creation account when the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam; and it is used in the story of Jonah when the prophet was asleep during the storm. The LXX interprets it to mean “fear,” rendering the whole verse “but terror falls upon men with dread and a sound in the night.”

(0.22) (Job 11:10)

tn The denominative Hiphil of קָהָל (qahal, “an assembly”) has the idea of “to convene an assembly.” In this context there would be the legal sense of convening a court, i.e., calling Job to account (D. J. A. Clines, Job [WBC], 255). See E. Ullendorff, “The Meaning of QHLT,” VT 12 (1962): 215; he defines the verb also as “argue, rebuke.”

(0.22) (Job 15:19)

sn Eliphaz probably thinks that Edom was the proverbial home of wisdom, and so the reference here would be to his own people. If, as many interpret, the biblical writer is using these accounts to put Yahwistic ideas into the discussion, then the reference would be to Canaan at the time of the fathers. At any rate, the tradition of wisdom to Eliphaz has not been polluted by foreigners, but has retained its pure and moral nature from antiquity.

(0.22) (Job 21:29)

tn The idea is that the merchants who travel widely will talk about what they have seen and heard. These travelers give a different account of the wicked; they tell how he is spared. E. Dhorme (Job, 322) interprets “signs” concretely: “Their custom was to write their names and their thoughts somewhere at the main cross-roads. The main roads of Sinai are dotted with these scribblings made by such passers of a day.”

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