1 sn By this ritual the priests were set apart completely to the service of God. The ear represented the organ of hearing (as in “ears you have dug” in Ps 40 or “awakens my ear” in Isa 50), and this had to be set apart to God so that they could hear the Word of God. The thumb and the hand represented the instrument to be used for all ministry, and so everything that they “put their hand to” had to be dedicated to God and appropriate for his service. The toe set the foot apart to God, meaning that the walk of the priest had to be consecrated—where he went, how he conducted himself, what life he lived, all belonged to God now.
2 tn The Hebrew term תָּמִים (tamim, “blameless”) is used of men in Gen 17:1 (associated with the idiom “walk before,” which means “maintain a proper relationship with,” see 24:40); Deut 18:13 (where it means “blameless” in the sense of not guilty of the idolatrous practices listed before this; see Josh 24:14); Pss 18:23, 26 (“blameless” in the sense of not having violated God’s commands); 37:18 (in contrast to the wicked); 101:2, 6 (in contrast to proud, deceitful slanderers; see 15:2); Prov 2:21; 11:5 (in contrast to the wicked); 28:10; Job 12:4.
2 sn From all sin. Sometimes a distinction between singular “sin” and plural “sins” has been suggested: Some would see the singular all sin of 1:7 as a reference to sinfulness before conversion and the plural sins of 1:9 as a reference to sins committed after one became a Christian. This amounts to making 1:7 refer to initial justification and 1:9 to sanctification. But the phrase all sin in 1:7 is so comprehensive that it can hardly be limited to preconversion sins, and the emphasis on “walking” in 1:7 strongly suggests that the Christian life is in view (not one’s life before conversion). In 1 John 1:8 sin appears as a condition or characteristic quality, which in 1:10 is regarded as universal. Apart from forgiveness in Christ it results in alienation from God (2:15) and spiritual death (3:14). But according to 1 John 1:7, cleansing from sin is possible by the blood (representing the sacrificial death) of Jesus.
2 tn Or “they commit adultery and deal falsely.” The word “shocking” only occurs here and in 5:30, where it is found in the context of prophesying lies. This almost assures that the reference to “walking in lies” (Heb “in the lie”) is referring to false prophesy. Moreover, the references to the prophets in 5:13 and in 14:13-15 are all in the context of false prophesy, as are the following references in this chapter (23:24, 26, 32) and in 28:15. False prophets seem to be the theme of this section. This fact also makes it likely that the reference to adultery is not literal adultery, though two of the false prophets in Babylon were guilty of this (29:23). The encouragement of those who did evil also makes more sense if the prophets were preaching messages of comfort rather than doom. The verbs here are infinitive absolutes in place of the finite verb, probably to place greater emphasis on the action (cf. Hos 4:2 in a comparable judgment speech.)
2 tc Heb “he warned me against (or “from”) walking in the way of these people, saying.” Some want to change the pointing of the suffix and thereby emend the Qal imperfect וְיִסְּרֵנִי (veyissereni, “he was warning me”) to the more common Piel perfect יִסְּרַנִי (yisserani, “he warned me”). Others follow the lead of the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa and read יְסִירֵנִי (yesireni, “he was turning me aside,” a Hiphil imperfect from סוּר, sur). None of these are expected syntax. When a perfect verb is followed by a vav plus imperfect (an uncommon construction), the latter represents a contrasting shift to the future (Ps 91:14; Mal 1:4) or a modal clause, such as a purpose (Isa 41:26; Job 23:3; 41:3; Song 6:1). Otherwise the vav plus imperfect is proposed to be a preterite, often with support from the versions (Isa 41:5; 42:6). While a simple vav plus perfect might be considered, it is more likely that the vav should be repointed and the form read as a preterite (and most likely as Piel since the only two Qal finite forms are both text critical issues).
3 tn The verb לִרְעוֹת (lirʿot, “to browse”; so NAB, NIV) is from the root רָעָה (raʿah, “to feed, graze”) which is used seven times in the Song (1:7, 8a, 8b; 2:16; 4:5; 6:2, 3). All its uses appear to be either literal or figurative descriptions of sheep grazing. The verb is used twice in reference to sheep “grazing” in a pasture (1:7, 8). The participle is used once to designate “shepherds” (1:8), once in reference to two fawns which “which graze among the lilies” as a figurative description of her breasts (4:5), and twice as a figurative description of Solomon as “the one who grazes among the lilies” which is probably also a comparison of Solomon to a grazing sheep (2:16; 6:3). Therefore, it is likely that the usage of the term לִרְעוֹת (“to graze”) in 6:2 is also a figurative comparison of Solomon to a sheep grazing among garden flowers. Thus, there are two options: (1) nuance the term לִרְעוֹת as “to browse” (NAB, NIV) and take this as a literal action of Solomon walking through a real garden or (2) nuance the term לִרְעוֹת as “to graze” (NLT) and take this as a figure in which Solomon is pictured as a gazelle grazing on the flowers in a garden.
3 tc The MT reads וּבַל־יָדַעְתָּ (uval yadaʿta, “you do not know [the lips of knowledge]).” The LXX reflects a Hebrew Vorlage of וּכְלֵי־דַעַת (ukhele daʿat) “instruments of knowledge/discretion.” The textual variant involves wrong word division and orthographic confusion between ב (bet) and כ (kaf). The LXX reading here makes sense if its reading of the first colon is accepted (see earlier note) or if מִנֶּגֶד (minneged) is separative (“walk away from…”). Both would contrast the value of being with a fool and value of wise lips. The LXX of Proverbs can be loose, but this case seems to be the faithful rendering of a slightly different Hebrew copy. Either the LXX or the MT text could just as easily give rise to the other. Both readings are workable and both give the same general advice. Tg. Prov 14:7 freely interprets the verse: “for there is no knowledge on his lips.” C. H. Toy emends the text: “for his lips do not utter knowledge” as in 15:7 (Proverbs [ICC], 285).
1 tn Heb “was a great city to God/gods.” The greatness of Nineveh has been mentioned already in 1:2 and 3:2. What is being added now? Does the term לֵאלֹהִים (leʾlohim, “to God/gods”) (1) refer to the Lord’s personal estimate of the city, (2) speak of the city as “belonging to” God, (3) refer to Nineveh as a city with many shrines and gods, or (4) or simply reinforce idiomatically the city’s size? Interpreters do not agree on the answer. To introduce ideas either of God’s ownership or of dedication to idolatry, though not impossible, would be unexpected here, having no parallel or further development elsewhere in the book. The alternatives “great/large/important in God’s estimation” and “exceptionally great/large/important” could both be amplified by focus on physical size in the following phrase and are both consistent with emphases elsewhere in the book (Jonah 4:11 again puts attention on size—of population). If “great” is best understood as a reference primarily to size here, in view of the following phrase and v. 4a (Jonah went “one day’s walk”), rather than to importance, this might weigh slightly in favor of an idiomatic “very great/large,” though no example with “God” used idiomatically to indicate superlative (Gen 23:6; 30:8; Exod 9:28; 1 Sam 14:15; Pss 36:6; 80:10) has exactly the same construction as the wording in Jonah 3:3.
2 sn Many theologians identify or associate the serpent with Satan. In this view Satan comes in the disguise of a serpent or speaks through a serpent. This explains the serpent’s capacity to speak. While later passages in the Bible indicate there was a satanic presence behind the serpent (see Rev 12:9 and 20:2), the immediate context first pictures the serpent as one of the animals of the field created by God (see vv. 1, 14). An ancient Jewish interpretation explains the reference to the serpent in a literal manner, attributing the capacity to speak to all the animals in the orchard. This text (Jub. 3:28) states, “On that day [the day the man and woman were expelled from the orchard] the mouth of all the beasts and cattle and birds and whatever walked or moved was stopped from speaking because all of them used to speak to one another with one speech and one language [presumed to be Hebrew, see 12:26].” Josephus, Ant. 1.1.4 (1.41) attributes the serpent’s actions to jealousy. He writes that “the serpent, living in the company of Adam and his wife, grew jealous of the blessings which he supposed were destined for them if they obeyed God’s behests, and, believing that disobedience would bring trouble on them, he maliciously persuaded the woman to taste of the tree of wisdom.” However, Scripture does not mention all the animals speaking, and there is no evidence of animals with capacity for intelligent speech. So more probably Satan, like God with Balaam's ass (Num 22:28), enabled the serpent. He spoke through it. Arnold Fruchtenbaum (The Book of Genesis [Ariel’s Bible Commentary], 91), citing Baba Batra and Midrash Rabbah, Bereishit 18:6, gives quotes to show this was the view of rabbinic writings.
3 tn Heb “may they bless one another by him,” that is, use the king’s name in their blessing formulae because he is a prime example of one blessed by God (for examples of such blessing formulae, see Gen 48:20 and Ruth 4:11). There is some debate on whether the Hitpael form of בָּרַךְ (barakh, “bless”) is reflexive-reciprocal (as assumed in the present translation) or passive. The Hitpael of בָּרַךְ occurs in five other passages, including the hotly debated Gen 22:18 and 26:4. In these two texts one could understand the verb form as passive and translate, “all the nations of the earth will be blessed through your offspring,” or one could take the Hitpael as reflexive or reciprocal and translate, “all the nations of the earth will pronounce blessings [i.e., on themselves or one another] by your offspring.” In the first instance Abraham’s (or Isaac’s) offspring are viewed as a channel of divine blessing. In the second instance they are viewed as a prime example of blessing that will appear as part of the nations’ blessing formulae, but not necessarily as a channel of blessing to the nations. In Deut 29:18 one reads: “When one hears the words of this covenant [or “oath”] and invokes a blessing on himself (Hitpael of בָּרַךְ) in his heart, saying: ‘I will have peace, even though I walk with a rebellious heart.’” In this case the Hitpael is clearly reflexive, as the phrases “in his heart” and “I will have peace” indicate. The Hitpael of בָּרַךְ appears twice in Isaiah 65:16: “The one who invokes a blessing on himself (see Deut 9:18) in the land will invoke that blessing by the God of truth; and the one who makes an oath in the land will make that oath by the God of truth.” A passive nuance does not fit here. The parallel line, which mentions making an oath, suggests that the Hitpael of בָּרַךְ refers here to invoking a blessing. Both pronouncements of blessing and oaths will appeal to God as the one who rewards and judges, respectively. Jer 4:2 states: “If you swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ with truth, integrity, and honesty, then the nations will pronounce blessings by him and boast in him.” A passive nuance might work (“the nations will be blessed”), but the context refers to verbal pronouncements (swearing an oath, boasting), suggesting that the Hitpael of בָּרַךְ refers here to invoking a blessing. The logic of the verse seems to be as follows: If Israel conducts its affairs with integrity, the nation will be favored by the Lord, which will in turn attract the surrounding nations to Israel’s God. To summarize, while the evidence might leave the door open for a passive interpretation, there is no clear cut passive use. Usage favors a reflexive or reciprocal understanding of the Hitpael of בָּרַךְ. In Ps 72:17 the Hitpael of בָּרַךְ is followed by the prepositional phrase בוֹ (vo, “by him”). The verb could theoretically be taken as passive, “may all the nations be blessed through him” (cf. NIV, NRSV) because the preceding context describes the positive effects of this king’s rule on the inhabitants of the earth. But the parallel line, which employs the Piel of אָשַׁר (ʾashar) in a factitive/declarative sense, “regard as happy, fortunate,” suggests a reflexive or reciprocal nuance for the Hitpael of בָּרַךְ here. If the nations regard the ideal king as a prime example of one who is fortunate or blessed, it is understandable that they would use his name in their pronouncements of blessing.