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(0.16) (Nah 1:13)

sn The terms yoke bar and shackles are figures of speech (hypocatastasis) for Assyrian subjugation of Judah. The imagery of the yoke bar draws an implied comparison between the yoking of a beast of burden to the subjugation of a nation under a foreign power, i.e., vassaldom (Lev 26:13; Jer 27:2; 28:14; Ezek 30:18; 34:27). This imagery also alludes to the Assyrian use of “yoke” imagery to describe their subjugation of foreign nations to the status of vassal. When describing their subjugation of nations, Assyrian rulers frequently spoke of causing them to “pull my yoke.” Sennacherib subjugated Judah to the Assyrian “yoke” in 701 b.c. when he invaded Judah and forced Hezekiah into a position of Assyrian vassal: “I laid waste the large district of Judah and put the straps of my yoke upon Hezekiah, its king” (“Sennacherib: The Siege of Jerusalem,” lines 13-15, in ANET 288).

(0.16) (Luk 7:2)

tn Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times… in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v. 1). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος) in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force. In addition, the parallel passage in Matt 8:6 uses the Greek term παῖς (pais), to refer to the centurion’s slave. This was a term often used of a slave who was regarded with some degree of affection, possibly a personal servant.

(0.16) (Joh 15:20)

sn A slave is not greater than his master. Jesus now recalled a statement he had made to the disciples before, in John 13:16. As the master has been treated, so will the slaves be treated also. If the world had persecuted Jesus, then it would also persecute the disciples. If the world had kept Jesus’ word, it would likewise keep the word of the disciples. In this statement there is the implication that the disciples would carry on the ministry of Jesus after his departure; they would in their preaching and teaching continue to spread the message which Jesus himself had taught while he was with them. And they would meet with the same response, by and large, that he encountered.

(0.16) (Act 2:18)

tn Grk “slaves.” Although this translation frequently renders δοῦλος (doulos) as “slave,” the connotation is often of one who has sold himself into slavery; in a spiritual sense, the idea is that of becoming a slave of God or of Jesus Christ voluntarily. The voluntary notion is not conspicuous here; hence, the translation “servants.” In any case, the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

(0.16) (Rom 9:28)

tc In light of the interpretive difficulty of this verse, a longer reading seems to have been added to clarify the meaning. The addition, in the middle of the sentence, makes the whole verse read as follows: “For he will execute his sentence completely and quickly in righteousness, because the Lord will do it quickly on the earth.” The shorter reading is found largely in Alexandrian mss (Ì46 א* A B 6 1506 1739 1881 pc co), while the longer reading is found principally in Western and Byzantine mss (א2 D F G Ψ 33 Ï lat). The longer reading follows Isa 10:22-23 (LXX) verbatim, while Paul in the previous verse quoted the LXX loosely. This suggests the addition was made by a copyist trying to make sense out of a difficult passage rather than by the author himself.

(0.16) (1Co 11:2)

tc The Western and Byzantine texts, as well as one or two Alexandrian mss (D F G Ψ 33 Ï latt sy), combine in reading ἀδελφοί (adelfoi, “brothers”) here, while the Alexandrian witnesses (Ì46 א A B C P 81 630 1175 1739 1881 2464 co) largely lack the address. The addition of ἀδελφοί is apparently a motivated reading, however, for scribes would have naturally wanted to add it to ἐπαινῶ δὲ ὑμᾶς (epainw de Juma", “now I praise you”), especially as this begins a new section. On the other hand, it is difficult to explain how the shorter reading could have arisen from the longer one. Thus, on both internal and external grounds, the shorter reading is strongly preferred.

(0.16) (2Co 1:12)

tc Two viable variants exist at this place in the text: ἁγιότητι (Jagiothti, “holiness”) vs. ἁπλότητι (Japlothti, “pure motives”). A confusion of letters could well have produced the variant (TCGNT 507): In uncial script the words would have been written agiothti and aplothti. This, however, does not explain which reading created the other. Overall ἁπλότητι, though largely a Western-Byzantine reading (א2 D F G Ï lat sy), is better suited to the context; it is also a Pauline word while ἁγιότης (Jagioth") is not. It also best explains the rise of the other variants, πραότητι (praothti, “gentleness”) and {σπλάγχνοις} (splancnoi", “compassion”). On the other hand, the external evidence in favor of ἁγιότητι is extremely strong (Ì46 א* A B C K P Ψ 0121 0243 33 81 1739 1881 al co). This diversity of mss provides excellent evidence for authenticity, but because of the internal evidence listed above, ἁπλότητι is to be preferred, albeit only slightly.

(0.16) (2Pe 1:1)

tn Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). At the same time, perhaps “servant” is apt in that the δοῦλος of Jesus Christ took on that role voluntarily, unlike a slave. The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

(0.16) (Jud 1:1)

tn Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). At the same time, perhaps “servant” is apt in that the δοῦλος of Jesus Christ took on that role voluntarily, unlike a slave. The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

(0.16) (Rev 1:1)

tn Grk “slaves.” Although this translation frequently renders δοῦλος (doulos) as “slave,” the connotation is often of one who has sold himself into slavery; in a spiritual sense, the idea is that of becoming a slave of God or of Jesus Christ voluntarily. The voluntary notion is not conspicuous here; hence, the translation “servants.” In any case, the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

(0.16) (Rev 20:9)

tn On the phrase “broad plain of the earth” BDAG 823 s.v. πλάτος states, “τὸ πλάτος τῆς γῆς Rv 20:9 comes fr. the OT (Da 12:2 LXX. Cp. Hab 1:6; Sir 1:3), but the sense is not clear: breadth = the broad plain of the earth is perh. meant to provide room for the countless enemies of God vs. 8, but the ‘going up’ is better suited to Satan (vs. 7) who has recently been freed, and who comes up again fr. the abyss (vs. 3).” The referent here thus appears to be a plain large enough to accommodate the numberless hoards that have drawn up for battle against the Lord Christ and his saints.

(0.14) (Jon 1:2)

tn Heb “great city.” The adjective גָּדוֹל (gadol, “great”) can refer to a wide variety of qualities: (1) size: “large,” (2) height: “tall,” (3) magnitude: “great,” (4) number: “populous,” (5) power: “mighty,” (6) influence: “powerful,” (8) significance: “important,” (7) finance: “wealthy,” (8) intensity: “fierce,” (9) sound: “loud,” (10) age: “oldest,” (11) importance: “distinguished,” (12) position: “chief, leading, head” (HALOT 177-78 s.v. גָּדוֹל; BDB 152-53 s.v. גָּדוֹל). The phrase עִיר־גְּדוֹלָה (’ir-gÿdolah, “city”) may designate a city that is (1) large in size (Josh 10:2; Neh 4:7) or (2) great in power: (a) important city-state (Gen 10:12) or (b) prominent capital city (Jer 22:8). The phrase עִיר־גְּדוֹלָה (both with and without the article) is used four times in Jonah (1:2; 3:2, 3; 4:11). This phrase is twice qualified by a statement about its immense dimensions (3:3) or large population (4:11), so גָּדוֹל might denote size. However, size is not the issue in 1:2. At this time in history, Nineveh was the most powerful city in the ancient Near East as the capital of the mighty Neo-Assyrian Empire. It is likely that עִיר־גְּדוֹלָה here is the Hebrew equivalent of the Assyrian a„lu rabu (“the important city” = capital city of the empire), just as מַלְכִּי רַב (malki rav, “great king”; Hos 5:13; 10:6) is the equivalent of the Assyrian malku rabu (“great king” = ruler of the empire; D. Stuart, Hosea-Jonah [WBC], 448). Perhaps the closest West Semitic parallel to הָעִיר הָגְּדוֹלָה (hair haggÿdolah) is in an Amarna letter from King Abimilki of Tyre to Amenhotep IV: “Behold, I protect Tyre, the capital city (uruSurri uru rabitu) for the king my lord” (EA 147:61-63). Hebrew constructions in which a determined noun is modified by the determined adjective הָגְּדוֹלָה (“the great…”) often denote singular, unique greatness, e.g., הַנָּהָר הָגָּדֹל (hannahar haggadol, “the great river”) = the Euphrates (Deut 1:7); הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל (hayyam haggadol, “the great sea”) = the Mediterranean (Josh 1:4); הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל (hakkohen haggadol, “the great priest”) = the chief priest (Lev 21:10); and לָעִיר הַגְּדוֹלָה הַזֹּאת (lair haggÿdolah hazzot, “[to] this great city”) = this capital city (Jer 22:8). So הָעִיר הָגְּדוֹלָה may well connote “the capital city” here.

(0.13) (Num 1:21)

sn There has been much discussion about the numbers in the Israelite wilderness experience. The immediate difficulty for even the casual reader is the enormous number of the population. If indeed there were 603,550 men twenty years of age and older who could fight, the total population of the exodus community counting women and children would have been well over a million, or even two million as calculated by some. This is not a figure that the Bible ever gives, but given the sizes of families the estimate would not be far off. This is a staggering number to have cross the Sea, drink from the oases, or assemble in the plain by Sinai. It is not a question of whether or not God could provide for such a number; it is rather a problem of logistics for a population of that size in that period of time. The problem is not with the text itself, but with the interpretation of the word אֶלֶף (’elef), traditionally translated “thousand.” The word certainly can be taken as “thousand,” and most often is. But in view of the problem of the large number here, some scholars have chosen one of the other meanings attested in literature for this word, perhaps “troop,” or “family,” or “tent group,” even though a word for “family” has already been used (see A. H. McNeile, Numbers, 7; J. Garstang, Joshua-Judges, 120; J. Bright, History of Israel, 144). Another suggestion is to take the word as a “chief” or “captain” based on Ugaritic usage (see R. E. D. Clarke, “The Large Numbers of the Old Testament,” JTVI 87 [1955]: 82-92; and J. W. Wenham, “Large Numbers in the Old Testament,” TynBul 18 [1967]: 19-53). This interpretation would reduce the size of the Israelite army to about 18,000 men from a population of about 72,000 people. That is a radical change from the traditional reading and may be too arbitrary an estimate. A more unlikely calculation following the idea of a new meaning would attempt to divide the numbers and use the first part to refer to the units and the second the measurement (e.g., 65 thousand and four hundred would become 65 units of four hundred). Another approach has been to study the numbers rhetorically, analyzing the numerical values of letters and words. But this method, known as gematria, came in much later than the biblical period (see for it G. Fohrer, Introduction to the Old Testament, 184; and A. Noordtzij, Numbers [BSC], 24). On this system the numbers for “the sons of Israel” would be 603. But the number of the people in the MT is 603,550. Another rhetorical approach is that which says the text used exaggerations in the numbers on an epic scale to make the point of God’s blessing. R. B. Allen’s view that the numbers have been magnified by a factor of ten (“Numbers,” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 2:688-91), which would mean the army was only 60,000 men, seems every bit as arbitrary as Wenham’s view to get down to 18,000. Moreover, such views cannot be harmonized with the instructions in the chapter for them to count every individual skull – that seems very clear. This is not the same kind of general expression one finds in “Saul has killed his thousands, David his ten thousands” (1 Sam 18:7). There one expects the bragging and the exaggerations. But in a text of numbering each male, to argue that the numbers have been inflated ten-fold to form the rhetoric of praise for the way God has blessed the nation demands a much more convincing argument than has typically been given. On the surface it seems satisfactory, but it raises a lot of questions. Everything in Exodus and Numbers attests to the fact that the Israelites were in a population explosion, that their numbers were greater than their Egyptian overlords. Pharaoh had attempted to counter their growth by killing males from the ranks. That only two midwives are named must be taken to mean that they were heads of the guilds, for two could not service a population – even of the smaller estimate given above. But even though the size had to have been great and seen as a threat, we are at a loss to know exactly how to determine it. There is clearly a problem with the word “thousand” here and in many places in the OT, as the literature will show, but the problem cannot really be solved without additional information. The suggestions proposed so far seem to be rather arbitrary attempts to reduce the number to a less-embarrassing total, one that would seem more workable in the light of contemporary populations and armies, as well as space and time for the people’s movement in the wilderness. An army of 10,000 or 20,000 men in those days would have been a large army; an army of 600,000 (albeit a people’s army, which may mean that only a portion of the males would actually fight at any time – as was true at Ai) is large even by today’s standards. But the count appears to have been literal, and the totals calculated accordingly, totals which match other passages in the text. If some formula is used to reduce the thousands in this army, then there is the problem of knowing what to do when a battle has only five thousand, or three thousand men. One can only conclude that on the basis of what we know the word should be left with the translation “thousand,” no matter what difficulties this might suggest to the reader. One should be cautious, though, in speaking of a population of two million, knowing that there are serious problems with the calculation of that number, if not with the word “thousand” itself. It is very doubtful that the population of the wilderness community was in the neighborhood of two million. Nevertheless, until a more convincing explanation of the word “thousand” or the calculation of the numbers is provided, one should retain the reading of the MT but note the difficulty with the large numbers.

(0.12) (Ecc 12:9)

tn Heb “he weighed and studied.” The verbs וְאִזֵּן וְחִקֵּר (vÿizzen vekhiqqer, “he weighed and he explored”) form a hendiadys (a figurative expression in which two separate terms used in combination to convey a single idea): “he studiously weighed” or “carefully evaluated.” The verb וְאִזֵּן (conjunction + Piel perfect 3rd person masculine singular from II אָזַן (’azan) “to weigh; to balance”) is related to the noun מֹאזֵן (mozen) “balances; scales” used for weighing money or commercial items (e.g., Jer 32:10; Ezek 5:1). This is the only use of the verb in the OT. In this context, it means “to weigh” = “to test; to prove” (BDB 24 s.v. מאזן) or “to balance” (HALOT 27 II אָזַן). Cohen suggests, “He made an examination of the large number of proverbial sayings which had been composed, testing their truth and worth, to select those which he considered deserving of circulation” (A. Cohen, The Five Megilloth [SoBB], 189).

(0.12) (Sos 7:2)

sn The expression אַגַּן הַסַּהַר (’aggan hassahar, “round mixing bowl”) refers to a vessel used for mixing wine. Archaeologists have recovered examples of such large, deep, two handled, ring-based round bowls. The Hebrew term אַגַּן (“mixing bowl”) came into Greek usage as ἂγγος (angos) which designates vessels used for mixing wine (e.g., Homer, Odyssey xvi 16) (LSJ 7). This is consistent with the figurative references to wine which follows: “may it never lack mixed wine.” Selected Bibliography: J. P. Brown, “The Mediterranean Vocabulary for Wine,” VT 19 (1969): 158; A. M. Honeyman, “The Pottery Vessels of the Old Testament,” PEQ 80 (1939): 79. The comparison of her navel to a “round mixing bowl” is visually appropriate in that both are round and receding. The primary point of comparison to the round bowl is one of sense, as the following clause makes clear: “may it never lack mixed wine.” J. S. Deere suggests that the point of comparison is that of taste, desirability, and function (“Song of Solomon,” BKCOT, 202). More specifically, it probably refers to the source of intoxication, that is, just as a bowl used to mix wine was the source of physical intoxication, so she was the source of his sexual intoxication. She intoxicated Solomon with her love in the same way that wine intoxicates a person.

(0.12) (Isa 6:13)

tn The Hebrew text has “which in the felling, a sacred pillar in them.” Some take מַצֶּבֶת (matsevet) as “stump,” and translate, “which, when chopped down, have a stump remaining in them.” But elsewhere מַצֶּבֶת refers to a memorial pillar (2 Sam 18:18) and the word resembles מַצֶּבָה (matsevah, “sacred pillar”). בָּם (bam, “in them”) may be a corruption of בָּמָה (bamah, “high place”; the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has במה). אֳשֶׁר (’asher, “which”) becomes a problem in this case, but one might emend the form to וּכְּאֲשֵׁרָה (ukÿasherah, “or like an Asherah pole”) and translate, “like one of the large sacred trees or an Asherah pole.” Though the text is difficult, the references to sacred trees and a sacred pillar suggest that the destruction of a high place is in view, an apt metaphor for the judgment of idolatrous Judah.

(0.12) (Jer 23:5)

sn This passage and the parallel in Jer 33:15 are part of a growing number of prayers and prophecies regarding an ideal ruler to come forth from the Davidic line who will bring the justice, security, and well-being that the continuing line of Davidic rulers did not. Though there were periodic kings like Josiah who did fulfill the ideals set forth in Jer 22:3 (see Jer 22:15), by and large they were more like Jehoiakim who did not (see Jer 22:13). Hence the Lord brought to an end the Davidic rule. The potential for the ideal, however, remained because of God’s promise to David (2 Sam 7:16). The Davidic line became like a tree which was cut down, leaving only a stump. But from that stump God would bring forth a “shoot,” a “sprig” which would fulfill the ideals of kingship. See Isa 11:1-6 and Zech 3:8, 6:12 for this metaphor and compare Dan 4:14-15, 23, 26 for a different but related use of the metaphor.

(0.12) (Nah 2:5)

tn Heb “mantelet.” The Hebrew noun סֹכֵךְ (sokhekh, “mantelet”) is a military technical term referring to a large movable shelter used as a protective cover for soldiers besieging a fortified city, designed to shield them from the arrows shot down from the city wall (HALOT 754 s.v.; BDB 697 s.v.). This noun is a hapax legomenon (a word that only occurs once in the Hebrew Bible) and is derived from the verb III סָכַךְ (sakhakh, “to cover; to protect”; TWOT 2:623-24). K. J. Cathcart (Nahum in the Light of Northwest Semitic [BibOr], 95) suggests that the translation “mantelet” is supported by the use of the verb III סָכַךְ in Ps 140:7 [8]: “Yahweh, my Lord, my fortress of safety; shelter (סַכֹּתָּה, sakotah) my head in the day of arms.” This is reflected in several recent English versions: “wheeled shelters” (NJPS), “protective shield” (NIV), “covering used in a siege” (NASB margin), and “mantelet” (ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV). Cf. also TEV “the shield for the battering ram.”

(0.12) (Mar 1:2)

tc Instead of “in Isaiah the prophet” the majority of mss read “in the prophets” (A W Ë13 Ï Irlat). Except for Irenaeus (2nd century), the earliest evidence for this is thus from the 5th (or possibly late 4th) century (W A). The difficulty of Irenaeus is that he wrote in Greek but has been preserved largely in Latin. His Greek remains have “in Isaiah the prophet.” Only the later Latin translation has “in the prophets.” The KJV reading is thus in harmony with the majority of late mss. On the other hand, the witnesses for “in Isaiah the prophet” (either with the article before Isaiah or not) are early and geographically widespread: א B D L Δ Θ Ë1 33 565 700 892 1241 2427 al syp co Ir. This evidence runs deep into the 2nd century, is widespread, and is found in the most important Alexandrian, Western, and Caesarean witnesses. The “Isaiah” reading has a better external pedigree in every way. It has the support of the earliest and best witnesses from all the texttypes that matter. Moreover it is the harder reading, since the quotation in the first part of the verse appears to be from Exod 23:20 and Mal 3:1, with the quotation from Isa 40:3 coming in the next verse. The reading of the later mss seems motivated by a desire to resolve this difficulty.

(0.12) (Joh 1:5)

tn Or “comprehended it,” or “overcome it.” The verb κατέλαβεν (katelaben) is not easy to translate. “To seize” or “to grasp” is possible, but this also permits “to grasp with the mind” in the sense of “to comprehend” (esp. in the middle voice). This is probably another Johannine double meaning – one does not usually think of darkness as trying to “understand” light. For it to mean this, “darkness” must be understood as meaning “certain people,” or perhaps “humanity” at large, darkened in understanding. But in John’s usage, darkness is not normally used of people or a group of people. Rather it usually signifies the evil environment or ‘sphere’ in which people find themselves: “They loved darkness rather than light” (John 3:19). Those who follow Jesus do not walk in darkness (8:12). They are to walk while they have light, lest the darkness “overtake/overcome” them (12:35, same verb as here). For John, with his set of symbols and imagery, darkness is not something which seeks to “understand (comprehend)” the light, but represents the forces of evil which seek to “overcome (conquer)” it. The English verb “to master” may be used in both sorts of contexts, as “he mastered his lesson” and “he mastered his opponent.”



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