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(0.10) (Gen 35:11)

tn The name אֵל שַׁדַּי (ʾel shadday, “El Shaddai”) has often been translated “God Almighty,” primarily because Jerome translated it omnipotens (“all powerful”) in the Latin Vulgate. There has been much debate over the meaning of the name. For discussion see W. F. Albright, “The Names Shaddai and Abram,” JBL 54 (1935): 173-210; R. Gordis, “The Biblical Root sdy-sd,” JTS 41 (1940): 34-43; and especially T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 69-72. Shaddai/El Shaddai is the sovereign king of the world who grants, blesses, and judges. In the Book of Genesis he blesses the patriarchs with fertility and promises numerous descendants. Outside Genesis he both blesses/protects and takes away life/happiness. The patriarchs knew God primarily as El Shaddai (Exod 6:3). While the origin and meaning of this name are uncertain its significance is clear. The name is used in contexts where God appears as the source of fertility and life. For a fuller discussion see the note on “Sovereign God” in Gen 17:1.

(0.10) (Gen 34:7)

tn The Hebrew verb עָצַב (ʿatsav) can carry one of three semantic nuances depending on the context: (1) “to be injured” (Ps 56:5; Eccl 10:9; 1 Chr 4:10); (2) “to experience emotional pain; to be depressed emotionally; to be worried” (2 Sam 19:2; Isa 54:6; Neh 8:10-11); (3) “to be embarrassed; to be insulted; to be offended” (to the point of anger at another or oneself; Gen 6:6; 45:5; 1 Sam 20:3, 34; 1 Kgs 1:6; Isa 63:10; Ps 78:40). This third category develops from the second by metonymy. In certain contexts emotional pain leads to embarrassment and/or anger. In this last use the subject sometimes directs his anger against the source of grief (see especially Gen 6:6). The third category fits best in Gen 34:7 because Jacob’s sons were not merely wounded emotionally. On the contrary, Shechem’s action prompted them to strike out in judgment against the source of their distress.

(0.09) (1Co 10:9)

tc Χριστόν (Christon, “Christ”) is attested in the majority of mss, including many significant witnesses of the Alexandrian (P46 1739 1881) and Western (D F G) text-forms, and other mss and versions (Ψ latt sy co). On the other hand, some of the significant Alexandrian witnesses have κύριον (kurion, “Lord”; א B C P 33 104 1175 al). A few mss (A 81) have θεόν (theon, “God”). The nomina sacra for these readings are quite similar (cMn, kMn, and qMn respectively), so one might be able to account for the different readings by way of confusion. On closer examination, the variants appear to be intentional changes. Alexandrian scribes replaced the highly specific term “Christ” with the less specific terms “Lord” and “God” because in the context it seems to be anachronistic to speak of the exodus generation putting Christ to the test. If the original had been “Lord,” it seems unlikely that a scribe would have willingly created a difficulty by substituting the more specific “Christ.” Moreover, even if not motivated by a tendency to overcorrect, a scribe might be likely to assimilate the word “Christ” to “Lord” in conformity with Deut 6:16 or other passages. The evidence from the early church regarding the reading of this verse is rather compelling in favor of “Christ.” Marcion, a second-century, anti-Jewish heretic, would naturally have opposed any reference to Christ in historical involvement with Israel because he thought of the Creator God of the OT as inherently evil. In spite of this strong prejudice, though, Marcion read a text with “Christ.” Other early church writers attest to the presence of the word “Christ,” including Clement of Alexandria and Origen. What is more, the synod of Antioch in a.d. 268 used the reading “Christ” as evidence of the preexistence of Christ when it condemned Paul of Samosata. (See G. Zuntz, The Text of the Epistles, 126-27; TCGNT 494; C. D. Osburn, “The Text of 1 Corinthians 10:9, ” New Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis, 201-11; contra A. Robertson and A. Plummer, First Corinthians [ICC], 205-6.) Since “Christ” is the more difficult reading on all accounts, it is almost certainly the reading that gave rise to the others. In addition, “Christ” is consistent with Paul’s style in this passage (cf. 10:4, a text in which Marcion also reads “Christ”). This text is also christologically significant, since the reading “Christ” makes an explicit claim to the preexistence of Christ. (The textual critic faces a similar dilemma in Jude 5. In a similar exodus context, some of the more significant Alexandrian mss [A B 33 81] and the Vulgate read “Jesus” in place of “Lord.” Two of those mss [A 81] are the same mss that have “God” instead of “Christ” in 1 Cor 10:9. See the notes on Jude 5 for more information.) In sum, “Christ” has all the earmarks of authenticity here and should be considered the autographic reading.

(0.09) (Joh 18:15)

sn Many have associated this unnamed other disciple with the beloved disciple, that is, John son of Zebedee, mainly because the phrase the other disciple which occurs here is also used to describe the beloved disciple in John 20:2, 3, 4, and 8. Peter is also closely associated with the beloved disciple in 13:23-26; 20:2-10; 21:7, and 21:20-23. But other identifications have also been proposed, chiefly because v. 16 states that this disciple who was accompanied by Peter was known to the high priest. As C. K. Barrett (St. John, 525) points out, the term γνωστός (gnōstos) is used in the LXX to refer to a close friend (Ps 54:14 LXX [55:14 ET]). This raises what for some is an insurmountable difficulty in identifying the “other disciple” as John son of Zebedee, since how could the uneducated son of an obscure Galilean fisherman be known to such a powerful and influential family in Jerusalem? E. A. Abbott (as quoted in “Notes of Recent Exposition,” ExpTim 25 [1913/14]: 149-50) proposed that the “other disciple” who accompanied Peter was Judas, since he was the one disciple of whom it is said explicitly (in the synoptic accounts) that he had dealings with the high priest. E. A. Tindall (“Contributions and Comments: John xviii.15, ” ExpTim 28 [1916/17]: 283-84) suggested the disciple was Nicodemus, who as a member of the Sanhedrin, would have had access to the high priest’s palace. Both of these suggestions, while ingenious, nevertheless lack support from the text of the Fourth Gospel itself or the synoptic accounts. W. Wuellner (The Meaning ofFishers of Men” [NTL]) argues that the common attitude concerning the low social status and ignorance of the disciples from Galilee may in fact be a misconception. Zebedee is presented in Mark 1:20 as a man wealthy enough to have hired servants, and Mark 10:35-45 presents both of the sons of Zebedee as concerned about status and prestige. John’s mother appears in the same light in Matt 20:20-28. Contact with the high priestly family in Jerusalem might not be so unlikely in such circumstances. Others have noted the possibility that John came from a priestly family, some of which is based upon a statement in Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History 3.31.3) quoting Polycrates that John son of Zebedee was a priest. For further information on possible priestly connections among members of John’s family see L. Morris (John [NICNT], 752, n. 32). None of this is certain, but on the whole it seems most probable that the disciple who accompanied Peter and gained entry into the courtyard for him was John son of Zebedee.

(0.09) (Mar 16:9)

tc The Gospel of Mark ends at this point in some witnesses (א B sys sams armmss geomss Eus Eusmss Hiermss), including two of the most respected mss (א B). This is known as the “short ending.” The following “intermediate” ending is found in some mss: “They reported briefly to those around Peter all that they had been commanded. After these things Jesus himself sent out through them, from the east to the west, the holy and imperishable preaching of eternal salvation. Amen.” This intermediate ending is usually included with the longer ending (L Ψ 083 099 579 pc); k, however, ends at this point. Most mss include the “long ending” (vv. 9-20) immediately after v. 8 (A C D W [which has unique material between vv. 14 and 15] Θ ƒ13 33 M lat syc,p,h bo); however, Eusebius (and presumably Jerome) knew of almost no Greek mss that had this ending. Several mss have marginal comments noting that earlier Greek mss lacked the verses. Internal evidence strongly suggests the secondary nature of both the intermediate and the long endings. Their vocabulary, syntax, and style are decidedly non-Markan (for further details, see TCGNT 102-6). All of this evidence indicates that as time went on scribes added the longer ending, either for the richness of its material or because of the abruptness of the ending at v. 8. (Indeed, the strange variety of dissimilar endings attests to the likelihood that early scribes had a copy of Mark that ended at v. 8, and they filled out the text with what seemed to be an appropriate conclusion. All of the witnesses for alternative endings to vv. 9-20 thus indirectly confirm the Gospel as ending at v. 8.) Because of such problems regarding the authenticity of these alternative endings, 16:8 is usually regarded today as the last verse of the Gospel of Mark. There are three possible explanations for Mark ending at 16:8: (1) The author intentionally ended the Gospel here in an open-ended fashion; (2) the Gospel was never finished; or (3) the last leaf of the ms was lost prior to copying. This first explanation is the most likely due to several factors, including (a) the probability that the Gospel was originally written on a scroll rather than a codex (only on a codex would the last leaf get lost prior to copying); (b) the unlikelihood of the ms not being completed; and (c) the literary power of ending the Gospel so abruptly that the readers are now drawn into the story itself. E. Best aptly states, “It is in keeping with other parts of his Gospel that Mark should not give an explicit account of a conclusion where this is already well known to his readers” (Mark, 73; note also his discussion of the ending of this Gospel on 132 and elsewhere). The readers must now ask themselves, “What will I do with Jesus? If I do not accept him in his suffering, I will not see him in his glory.” For further discussion and viewpoints, see Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views, ed. D. A. Black (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2008); Nicholas P. Lunn, The Original Ending of Mark: A New Case for the Authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 (London: Pickwick, 2014); Gregory P. Sapaugh, “An Appraisal of the Intrinsic Probability of the Longer Endings of the Gospel of Mark” (Ph.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 2012).sn Double brackets have been placed around this passage to indicate that most likely it was not part of the original text of the Gospel of Mark. In spite of this, the passage has an important role in the history of the transmission of the text, so it has been included in the translation.

(0.09) (Mar 2:26)

tn A decision about the proper translation of this Greek phrase (ἐπὶ ᾿Αβιαθὰρ ἀρχιερέως, epi Abiathar archiereōs) is very difficult for a number of reasons. The most natural translation of the phrase is “when Abiathar was high priest,” but this is problematic because Abiathar was not the high priest when David entered the temple and ate the sacred bread; Ahimelech is the priest mentioned in 1 Sam 21:1-7. Three main solutions have been suggested to resolve this difficulty. (1) There are alternate readings in various manuscripts, but these are not likely to be original: D W 271 it sys and a few others omit ἐπὶ ᾿Αβιαθὰρ ἀρχιερέως, no doubt in conformity to the parallels in Matt 12:4 and Luke 6:4; A C Θ Π Σ Φ 074 ƒ13 and many others add τοῦ before ἀρχιερέως, giving the meaning “in the days of Abiathar the high priest,” suggesting a more general time frame. Neither reading has significant external support and both most likely are motivated by the difficulty of the original reading. (2) Many scholars have hypothesized that one of the three individuals who would have been involved in the transmission of the statement (Jesus who uttered it originally, Mark who wrote it down in the Gospel, or Peter who served as Mark’s source) was either wrong about Abiathar or intentionally loose with the biblical data in order to make a point. (3) It is possible that what is currently understood to be the most natural reading of the text is in fact not correct. (a) There are very few biblical parallels to this grammatical construction (ἐπί + genitive proper noun, followed by an anarthrous common noun), so it is possible that an extensive search for this construction in nonbiblical literature would prove that the meaning does involve a wide time frame. If this is so, “in the days of Abiathar the high priest” would be a viable option. (b) It is also possible that this phrasing serves as a loose way to cite a scripture passage. There is a parallel to this construction in Mark 12:26: “Have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush?” Here the final phrase is simply ἐπὶ τοῦ βάτου (epi tou batou), but the obvious function of the phrase is to point to a specific passage within the larger section of scripture. Deciding upon a translation here is difficult. The translation above has followed the current consensus on the most natural and probable meaning of the phrase ἐπὶ ᾿Αβιαθὰρ ἀρχιερέως: “when Abiathar was high priest.” It should be recognized, however, that this translation is tentative because the current state of knowledge about the meaning of this grammatical construction is incomplete, and any decision about the meaning of this text is open to future revision.

(0.09) (Nah 2:2)

tn The verb form שָׁב (shav) may be a perfect or a participle, probably based on the root שׁוּב (shuv, “return, restore”). It has been understood in many ways: “hath turned away” (KJV), “will restore” (NASB, NIV), “is restoring” (NRSV, ESV), or “is about to restore” (R. Smith, Micah–Malachi [WBC] 79). The past and future tense translations both treat the Hebrew form as a perfect, the past tense being the most common for the Hebrew perfect and the future tense based on an understanding of the Hebrew as a “prophetic perfect.” Typically a “prophetic perfect” is part of a report from a point of view after the events have taken place, such as a prophet reporting a vision that he has seen or is unfolding (Num 24:17). From the speaker’s perspective the events of the vision are in the past, though the corresponding events of human history will be in the future. The present tense and near future renderings are common for the participle, the latter especially true in prophecy. The Qal form of the verb is normally intransitive (“return”), but occurs here with the direct object marker. This occurs elsewhere 14 times meaning “restore,” but always with שְׁבוּת or שְׁבִית (shevut or shevit, “fortune” or “captivity”) as in Deut 30:3; Jer 29:14; Ezek 16:53; Joel 3:1; Amos 9:14; Zeph 3:20. This would be the sole example meaning “restore” without the apparently cognate direct object. Still, most scholars derive שָׁב from the root שׁוּב (shuv). W. A. Maier (Nahum, 232) contends, however, that שָׁב is derived from I שָׁבַב (shavav, “to cut off, to destroy, to smite”) which is related to Arabic sabba (“to cut”), Aramaic sibbaʾ (“splinter”), and New Hebrew. Maier admits that this would be the only occurrence of a verb from I שָׁבָב in the OT, but he argues that the appearance of the plural noun שְׁבָבִים (shevavim, “splinters”) in Hos 8:6 provides adequate support. While worth investigating, Maier’s proposal is problematic in relying on cognate evidence that is all late and proposing a rare word to replace a well-known Hebrew term which frequently appears in climactic contexts in prophetic speeches. On the other hand, it is easy to believe that a common word might be misunderstood in place of a rare term. And in this case either the verb or the syntax is rare, though an attested meaning of שׁוּב (shuv, “to restore”) makes good sense in this context. The LXX took it in a negative sense “has turned aside.” On the other hand, it is nuanced in a positive, salvific sense by the Vulgate, Targum, and Syriac. The salvific nuance is best for the following reasons: (1) its direct object is גְּאוֹן (geʾon) which should be understood in the positive sense of “majesty; exaltation; glory” (see following note on the word “majesty”); (2) the motive clause introduced by כִּי (ki, “for”) would make little sense, saying that the reason the Lord was about to destroy Nineveh was because he had turned away the pride of Judah; however, it makes good sense to say that the Lord would destroy Nineveh because he was about to deliver Judah; and (3) a reference to the Lord turning aside from Judah would be out of harmony with the rest of the book.

(0.09) (Jer 33:5)

tn The translation and precise meaning of vv. 4-5 are uncertain at a number of points due to some difficult syntactical constructions and some debate about the text and meaning of several words. The text reads more literally, “33:4 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah that have been torn down on account the siege ramps and the sword 33:5 going to fight the Chaldeans and to fill them [the houses] with the dead bodies of the men whom I have killed in my anger and in my wrath, and on account of all whose wickedness I have hidden my face from this city.” There are two difficult syntactical forms (1) the participle at the beginning of v. 5, “going [or those going] to fight” (בָּאִים, baʾim), and (2) the infinitive plus suffix that introduces the next clause, “and to fill them” (וּלְמַלְאָם, ulemalʾam). The translation has interpreted the former as a verbal use of the participle with an indefinite subject “they” (= the defenders of Jerusalem who have torn down the buildings; cf. GKC 460-61 §144.i for this point of grammar). The conjunction plus preposition plus infinitive construct have been interpreted as equivalent to a finite verb (cf. IBHS 611 §36.3.2a, i.e., “and they will fill them [the houses and buildings of v. 4]”). Adopting the Greek text of these two verses would produce a smoother reading. It reads, “For thus says the Lord concerning the houses of this city and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which have been pulled down for mounds and fortifications to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill it [should be “them”] with the corpses of men whom I smote in my anger and my wrath, and I turned away my face from them [rather than from “this city” of the Hebrew text] for all their wickedness: Behold I will…” The Greek does not have the problem with the participle because it has seen it as part of a word meaning fortification. This also eliminates the problem with the infinitive because it is interpreted as parallel with “to fight.” That is, the defenders used these torn-down buildings for defensive fortifications and for burial places. It would be tempting to follow this reading. However, there is no graphically close form for “fortification” that would explain how the more difficult בָּאִים הֶחָרֶב (hekharev baʾim) of the Hebrew text arose, and there is doubt whether סֹלְלוֹת (solelot) can refer to a defense mound. W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:221, 225) has suggested reading הַחֲרַכִּים (hakharakim) in place of הֶחָרֶב (hekharev) in the technical sense of “crenels,” the gaps between the raised portion on top of the wall (which raised portion he calls “merlons” and equates with סֹלְלוֹת, solelot). He does not see בָּאִים (baʾim) as part of the original text, choosing rather to see it as a gloss. His emendation and interpretation, however, have been justly criticized as violating the usage of both סֹלְלוֹת, which is elsewhere “siege mound,” and חֲרַכִּים (kharakim), which elsewhere refers only to the latticed opening of a window (Song 2:9). Until a more acceptable explanation of how the difficult Hebrew text could have arisen from the Greek, the Hebrew should be retained, though it is admittedly awkward. G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, and T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 166, 172) have perhaps the best discussion of the issues and the options involved here.

(0.09) (Jer 11:15)

tc The meaning of this line is uncertain. The text reads somewhat literally as either, “her doing the wicked thing the many,” or, “doing it, the wicked thing, the many.” The text, relationship between words, and meaning of this whole verse have been greatly debated. Wholesale emendation based on the ancient versions is common in both commentaries and modern English versions. Many follow the lead of the Greek version, which in many cases offers a smoother reading but for that very reason may not be original. The notes that follow will explain some of these emendations but will also attempt to explain the most likely meaning of the MT, which is the more difficult and probably more original text. Since it is presumed to be the original, the text will be dealt with in the notes line for line in the MT, even though the emendations often relate to more than one line. For example, the Greek of the first two lines reads, “Why has the beloved done abomination in my house?” This ignores the preposition before “my beloved” (לִידִידִי, lididi) and treats the form “her doing” (עֲשׂוֹתָהּ [ʿasotah], Qal infinitive plus suffix) as a finite verb (עָשְׂתָה [ʿasetah], Qal perfect third feminine). The forms are similar, but the Greek is smoother. Moreover, it is difficult to explain the presence of “to” in the MT if the Greek is the original. The Greek text likewise does not have the difficulty that is exhibited in the MT by the word “the many” (הָרַבִּים, harabbim). It reads a word for “vows/votive offerings” (εὐχαί [euchai] regularly = נְדָרִים [nedarim]) in place of the word “many” (הָרַבִּים, harabbim) and takes it as part of a compound subject of the verb in the following line meaning “take away.” However, this word is far removed graphically from that in the MT, and it would be difficult to explain how the MT arose from it. The Old Latin apparently reads a word for “fat” (adipes = חֲלָבִים, khalavim) that is closer in script to the MT and would be more likely original than the Greek. However, both of these resolutions look like attempts to smooth out a difficult text. Because there is no solid support for any single reading, it is probably best to retain the MT’s “the many.” Many do retain it and take it as a second accusative of “doing it” and read, “she does the wicked thing with many [i.e., many false gods],” a use of the accusative which is hard to justify. Another alternative, taking the adjective “the many” to modify the noun “the wicked thing,” is sometimes suggested, but is not possible because the adjective is masculine plural and the noun is feminine singular, which pairing is contrary to Hebrew style. Hence one cannot read, “she has done many wicked things.” The present translation follows the suggestion in D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 4:209, that “the many” is the subject of the infinitive construct with an object suffix that anticipates the following noun “wickedness” (cf. GKC 425 §131.m), i.e., “the many do it, namely, the wickedness” (for the meaning of the noun see BDB 273 s.v. מְזִמָּה 3.b).

(0.09) (Sos 7:2)

tn The noun שֹׁרֶר (shorer) is a hapax legomenon, appearing in the OT only here. There is debate whether it means “navel” or “vulva”: (1) Lys and Pope suggest that שֹׁרֶר is related to Arabic srr (“secret place, pudenda, coition, fornication”). They suggest that this is contextually supported by three factors: (a) His descriptive praise of her is in ascending order, beginning with her feet and concluding with her hair. The movement from her thighs (7:1b), to her vulva (7:2a), and then to her waist (7:2b) would fit this. (b) The descriptive comparison to a glass of wine would be grotesque if her navel were in view—her navel was moist or filled with liquid?—but appropriate if her vulva were in view. (c) The navel would be a somewhat synonymous reference to the belly which is already denoted by בִּטְנֵךְ (bitnekh, “belly”) in the following line. Because 7:1-7 does not use synonymous parallelism, the term שֹׁרֶר would have to refer to something other than the belly. (2) The term שֹׁרֶר denotes “navel”: (a) It may be related to the bi-consonantal noun שֹׁר (shor, “navel, umbilical cord”) (Prov 3:8; Ezek 16:4). (b) Mishnaic Hebrew שָׁרָר (sharar) denotes “navel, umbilical cord” (Jastrow 1634 s.v. שָׁרָר). For example, in a midrash on the Book of Numbers, the noun שֹׁרֶר appears in an allusion to Song 7:3 to justify the seating of the Sanhedrin in the middle of the synagogue: “As the navel (שֹׁרֶר) is placed in the centre of the body, so are the Sanhedrin…” (Num. Rab. 1:4). On the other hand, the meaning “vulva” never appears in Mishnaic Hebrew. Therefore, apart from this disputed usage there is no evidence that this term was ever used in this manner in Hebrew. (c) Rather than שֹׁרֶר being related to Arabic sirr (“pudenda”), it could just as easily be related to the Arabic noun surr “navel.” It is methodologically more sound to define שֹׁרֶר as “navel” than as “vulva.” (d) The nuance “navel” is not as out of line contextually as Lys and Pope suggest. The navel would not be out of place in the ascending order of praise because the בִּטְנֵךְ (“abdomen”) which follows may be viewed as both above and below the navel. The figurative association of the שֹׁרֶר as a mixing bowl filled with wine does not imply that this bodily part must actually be moist or filled with liquid as Pope suggests. The point of comparison is not physical or visual but one of function, i.e., it is intoxicating. The comparison of the navel to a mixing bowl of wine is no more out of line than the comparison of the belly to a heap of wheat in the next line. In fact, the two go together—she is both the “drink” and “food” for Solomon. The shape of the navel is as congruent with the metaphor of the “round bowl” as the vulva; both are round and receding. (3) Since both terms are derived from the same geminate root—Hebrew שֹׁרֶר and Arabic srr—it is more prudent to take the term as a synecdoche of whole (lower region) for the parts (including navel and vulva). The attempt to decide between these two options may be illegitimately splitting hairs. See K&D 18:123; J. S. Deere, “Song of Solomon,” BKCOT, 199-200; D. Lys, “Notes sur de Cantique,” VTSup 17 (1969): 171-78; M. H. Pope, Song of Songs (AB), 617; G. L. Carr, Song of Solomon (TOTC), 157.

(0.09) (Ecc 1:2)

tn The term הֶבֶל (hevel, “futile”) is repeated five times within the eight words of this verse for emphasis. The noun הֶבֶל is the key word in Ecclesiastes. The root is used in two ways in the OT, literally and figuratively. The literal, concrete sense is used in reference to the wind, man’s transitory breath, evanescent vapor (Isa 57:13; Pss 62:10; 144:4; Prov 21:6; Job 7:16). In this sense, it is often a synonym for “breath” or “wind” (Eccl 1:14; Isa 57:13; Jer 10:14). The literal sense lent itself to metaphorical senses: (1) breath/vapor/wind is nonphysical, evanescent, and lacks concrete substance thus, the connotation “unsubstantial” (Jer 10:15; 16:19; 51:18), “profitless” or “fruitless” (Ps 78:33; Prov 13:11), “worthless” (2 Kgs 17:15; Jer 2:5; 10:3), “pointless” (Prov 21:6), “futile” (Lam 4:17; Eccl 1:2, 14; 2:1, 14-15), (2) breath/vapor/wind is transitory and fleeting—thus, the connotation “fleeting” or “transitory” (Prov 31:30; Eccl 6:12; 7:15; 9:9; 11:10; Job 7:16) and (3) breath/vapor/wind cannot be seen thus, the idea of “obscure,” “dark,” “difficult to understand,” “enigmatic” (Eccl 11:10). See HALOT 236-37 s.v. I הֶבֶל; BDB 210-11 s.v. I הֶבֶל. The metaphorical sense is used with the following synonyms: תֹּהוּ (tohu, “empty, vanity”; Isa 49:4), רִיק (riq, “profitless, useless”; Isa 30:7; Eccl 6:11), and לֹא הוֹעִיל (loʾ hoʿil, “worthless, profitless”; Is 30:6; 57:12; Jer 16:19). It is parallel to “few days” and “[days] which he passes like a shadow” (Eccl 6:12). It is used in reference to youth and vigor (11:10) and life (6:12; 7:15; 9:9), which are “transitory” or “fleeting.” The most common parallels to הֶבֶל in Ecclesiastes are the phrases “chasing after the wind” (רְעוּת רוּחַ, reʿut ruakh) in 2:11, 17, 26; 7:14 and “what profit?” (מַה־יִּתְרוֹן, mah yitron) or “no profit” (אֵין יִתְרוֹן, ʾen yitron) in 2:11; 3:19; 6:9. It is used in reference to enigmas in life (6:2; 8:10, 14) and to the future which is obscure (11:8). It is often used in antithesis to terms connoting value: טוֹב (tov, “good, benefit, advantage”) and יֹתְרוֹן (yoteron, “profit, advantage, gain”). Because the concrete picture of the “wind” lends itself to the figurative connotation “futile,” the motto “This is futile” (זֶה הֶבֶל, zeh hevel) is often used with the metaphor, “like striving after the wind” (רְעוּת רוּחַ, reʿut ruakh)—a graphic picture of an expenditure of effort in vain because no one can catch the wind by chasing it (e.g., 1:14, 17; 2:11, 17, 26; 4:4, 6, 16; 6:9). Although it is the key word in Ecclesiastes, it should not be translated the same way in every place.

(0.09) (Psa 72:17)

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.

(0.09) (Psa 22:16)

tc The Masoretic text reads “like a lion, my hands and my feet.” The reading is difficult and the ancient versions vary, so the textual difficulty is probably very early. Without a verb, the syntax appears broken and the role of “hands and feet” unclear. One option is to understand the verb of the previous line to apply again, a poetic technique called ellipsis and double duty. But “my hands and feet” would be an odd object for a verb meaning “they encircled.” Otherwise, the broken syntax may represent the emotional outcry of the Psalmist, first mentioning the lion as part of the third person description, but suddenly shifting to the first person perspective and crying out as the lion attacks, pinning down his hands and feet (a scene depicted in ancient Near Eastern art). But this development seems late textually. All the other witnesses have a verb instead of “like a lion.” The LXX says “they dug my hands and feet; the verb ὀρύσσω (orussō) means “to burrow in the ground, to dig.” A Qumran witness seems to read similarly, “they dug.” Instead of the MT’s כארי (kᵉʾariy; like a lion”), the scroll from Nahal Hever has a verb form כארו (kaʾaru) ending with vav instead of yod. Supposing that the א (ʾaleph) is a superfluous spelling variant, the form would be understood as כרו (karu) from the root כרה (karah), meaning “they dug.” In that case, the Qumran scroll and the LXX agree because כרה is one of the two verbs translated in the LXX by ὀρύσσω. But as both these verbs mean “to dig [in the dirt]” this has not helped us understand the context. Assuming that the enemies are still the subject, we might expect “they dug a pit for my hands and feet.” In fact the Hebrew words behind “they dug a pit” look similar (כרו בור) so it is not hard to imagine that one of these two would be overlooked by a scribed and dropped from the text. Some suppose that “to dig [in the ground]” means “to pierce” in reference to hands and feet (possibly from the root כור). Other variants and suggestions include “they bound,” or “they picked clean” (from אָרָה, ʾarah, “to pluck”) my hands and feet. Or “my hands and feet are consumed,” or “worn out.” The latter two assume a copying error of resh for lamed, making the verb come from כלה. P. Craigie (Psalms [WBC], 1:196) opts for this last but also cites Syriac and Akkadian for additional root K-R-H meaning “to be shrunken, shriveled.” The Akkadian verb (karu) is said of body parts and can refer to paralysis, which is the kind of metaphor which occurs in battle contexts elsewhere (e.g. Ps 76:5). It would be very natural to read “my hands and my feet” as the subject of the verb because verb-subject is typical word order. There is no decisive answer to the problem and the NET translation includes the lion imagery (cf. v. 13) and supposes a verb that conveys an attack.

(0.09) (Deu 22:28)

tn The verb תָּפַשׂ (taphas) means “to sieze, grab.” In all other examples this action is done against another person’s will, as in being captured, arrested, attacked, or grabbed with insistence (e.g. 1 Sam 23:26; 1 Kgs 13:4; 18:40; 2 Kgs 14:13; 25:6; Isa 3:6; Jer 26:8; 34:3; 37:13; 52:9; Ps 71:11; 2 Chr 25:23.) So it may be that the man is forcing himself on her, which is what leads the NIV to translate the next verb as “rape,” although it is a neutral euphemism for sexual relations. However, this is the only case where the object of תָּפַשׂ is a woman and the verb also also refers to holding or handling objects such as musical instruments, weapons, or scrolls. So it possible that it has a specialized, but otherwise unattested nuance regarding sexual or romantic relations, as is true of other expressions. Several contextual clues point away from rape and toward a consensual relationship. (1) The verb which seems to express force is different from the verb of force in the rape case in v. 25. (2) The context distinguishes consequences based on whether the girl cried out, an expression of protest and a basis for distinguishing consent or force. But this case law does not mention her outcry which would have clarified a forcible act. While part of what is unique in this case is that the girl is not engaged, it is reasonable to expect the issue of consent to continue to apply. (3) The penalty is less than that of a man who slanders his new wife and certainly less than the sentence for rape. (4) The expression “and they are discovered” at the end of v. 28 uses the same wording as the expression in v. 22 which involves a consensual act. (5) Although from a separate context, the account of the rape of Dinah seems to express the Pentateuch’s negative attitude toward forcible rape, not in advocating for Simeon and Levi’s actions, but in the condemnation included in the line Gen 34:7 “because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.” This is very like the indictment in v. 21 against the consenting woman, “because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.” (6) The penalty of not being allowed to divorce her sounds like v. 19, where the man is punished for disgracing his wife unfairly. His attempted divorce fails and he must provide for her thereafter (the probable point of not being allowed to divorce her.) Here too, if his holding her is not forced, but instead he has seduced her, he is not allowed to claim that his new wife is not pure (since he is the culprit) and so he must take responsibility for her, cannot divorce her, and must provide for her as a husband thereafter.

(0.09) (Jud 1:12)

tn Though σπιλάδες (spilades) is frequently translated “blemishes” or “stains,” such is actually a translation of the Greek word σπίλοι (spiloi). The two words are quite similar, especially in their root or lexical forms (σπιλάς [spilas] and σπίλος [spilos] respectively). Some scholars have suggested that σπιλάδες in this context means the same thing as σπίλοι. But such could be the case only by a stretch of the imagination (see BDAG 938 s.v. σπιλάς for discussion). Others suggest that Jude’s spelling was in error (which also is doubtful). One reason for the tension is that in the parallel passage, 2 Pet 2:13, the term used is indeed σπίλος. And if either Jude used 2 Peter or 2 Peter used Jude, one would expect to see the same word. Jude, however, may have changed the wording for the sake of a subtle wordplay. The word σπιλάς was often used of a mere rock, though it normally was associated with a rock along the shore or one jutting out in the water. Thus, the false teachers would appear as “rocks”—as pillars in the community (cf. Matt 16:18; Gal 2:9), when in reality if a believer got too close to them his faith would get shipwrecked. Some suggest that σπιλάδες here means “hidden rocks.” Though this meaning is attested for the word, it is inappropriate in this context, since these false teachers are anything but hidden. They are dangerous because undiscerning folks get close to them, thinking they are rocks and pillars, when they are really dangerous reefs.

(0.09) (Jud 1:7)

tn Grk “strange flesh.” This phrase has been variously interpreted. It could refer to flesh of another species (such as angels lusting after human flesh). This would aptly describe the sin of the angels, but not easily explain the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. It could refer to the homosexual practices of the Sodomites, but a difficulty arises from the use of ἕτερος (heteros; “strange,” “other”). When this is to be distinguished from ἄλλος (allos, “another”) it suggests “another of a different kind.” If so, would that properly describe homosexual behavior? In response, the language could easily be compact: “pursued flesh other than what was normally pursued.” However, would this find an analogy in the lust of angels (such would imply that angels normally had sexual relations of some sort, but cf. Matt 22:30)? Another alternative is that the focus of the parallel is on the activity of the surrounding cities and the activity of the angels. This is especially plausible since the participles ἐκπορνεύσασαι (ekporneusasai, “having indulged in sexual immorality”) and ἀπελθοῦσαι (apelthousai, “having pursued”) have concord with “cities” (πόλεις, poleis), a feminine plural noun, rather than with Sodom and Gomorrah (both masculine nouns). If so, then their sin would not necessarily have to be homosexuality. However, most likely the feminine participles are used because of constructio ad sensum (construction according to sense). That is, since both Sodom and Gomorrah are cities, the feminine is used to imply that all the cities are involved. The connection with angels thus seems to be somewhat loose: Both angels and Sodom and Gomorrah indulged in heinous sexual immorality. Thus, whether the false teachers indulge in homosexual activity is not the point; mere sexual immorality is enough to condemn them.

(0.09) (2Jo 1:9)

tn The genitive τοῦ Χριστοῦ (tou Christou, “of Christ”) is difficult because it may be understood as objective (the teaching about Christ), subjective (Christ’s own teaching), or both (M. Zerwick’s “general” genitive [Biblical Greek §§36-39]; D. B. Wallace’s “plenary” genitive [ExSyn 119-21]). An objective genitive (with Christ as the object of the “apostolic” teaching) might seem to be the obvious reading in context, especially since verse 7 makes reference to what a person “confesses” about Jesus Christ. A good case can also be made for a subjective genitive, however, since other Johannine uses of the genitive following the noun διδαχή (didachē, “teaching”) favor a subjective sense here. In John 7:16, 17 Jesus himself refers to “my teaching” and “teaching from me,” and 18:19 refers to “his (Jesus’) teaching.” Rev 2:14, 15 refers to the “teaching of Balaam” and “the teaching of the Nicolaitans,” both of which are clearly subjective in context. In the present context, to speak of “Christ’s teaching” as a subjective genitive would make Christ himself (in the person of the indwelling Spirit) the teacher, and this is consistent with the author’s position in 1 John 2:27 that the community does not need other teachers. In 1 John 2:27 it is the Paraclete, referred to as “his anointing,” who does the teaching. Since the dispute with the opponents concerns the salvific significance of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, the “teaching” here would refer to Jesus’ own teaching (reflected in the Gospel of John) concerning his person and work. Since this is ultimately one with the apostolic eyewitness testimony about Jesus, it is perhaps best to view the genitive here as both objective and subjective (perhaps the author deliberately intended not to be specific).

(0.09) (1Jo 3:4)

sn The Greek word ἀνομία (anomia) is often translated “iniquity” or “lawlessness” and in the LXX refers particularly to transgression of the law of Moses. In Jewish thought the ideas of sin (ἁμαρτία, hamartia) and lawlessness or iniquity (ἀνομία) were often equated because sin involved a violation of the Mosaic law and hence lawlessness. For example, Ps 51:5 LXX sets the two in parallel, and Paul in Rom 4:7 (quoting Ps 32:1) does the same. For the author, it is not violation of the Mosaic law that results in lawlessness, since he is writing to Christians. The ‘law’ for the author is the law of love, as given by Jesus in the new commandment of John 13:34-35. This is the command to love one’s brother, a major theme of 1 John and the one specific sin in the entire letter which the opponents are charged with (3:17). Since the author has already labeled the opponents “antichrists” in 2:18, it may well be that he sees in their iniquitous behavior of withdrawing from the community and refusing to love the brethren a foreshadowing of the apocalyptic iniquity of the end times (cf. 2 Thess 2:3-8). In Matt 24:11-12 Jesus foretold that false prophets would arise in the end times (cf. 1 John 4:1), that lawlessness (anomia) would increase, and that “the love of many will grow cold” (which would certainly fit the author’s portrait of the opponents here).

(0.09) (2Pe 2:4)

tc The reading σειραῖς (seirais, “chains”) is found in P72 P Ψ 33 1739 M vg sy, while σιροῖς (sirois [or σειροῖς, seirois], “pits”) is found in א A B C 81. The evidence is thus fairly evenly divided. Internally, the reading adopted here (σειραῖς) is a rarer term, perhaps prompting some scribes to replace it with the more common word. However, this more common term is not a synonym and hence does not follow the normal pattern of scribes. As well, the use of the genitive ζόφου (zophou) in “chains of darkness” is a bit awkward (a rare genitive of place), perhaps prompting some scribes to change the imagery to “pits of darkness” (in which case ζόφου is an attributive genitive). A further point that complicates the issue is the relationship of 2 Peter to Jude. Jude’s parallel (v. 6) has δεσμοῖς (desmois, “chains”). Apart from the issue of whether 2 Peter used Jude or Jude used 2 Peter, this parallel suggests one of two possibilities: either (1) since these two books obviously have a literary relationship, σειραῖς is autographic, or (2) early scribes, recognizing that these two books shared their material, changed σειροῖς to σειραῖς to conform the wording, at least conceptually, to Jude 6. On balance, σειραῖς looks to be original because scribes were not prone to harmonize extensively between books other than the Gospels (although 2 Peter and Jude do display some of this harmonizing). Further, such harmonization is often, if not usually, verbally exact, but δεσμοῖς is not a variant here.

(0.09) (1Pe 3:18)

tc The variants here are legion (B. M. Metzger produces eight variants in a nice layout of the evidence [TCGNT 622]). Most of these variants involve pronouns, prepositions, or word order changes, but the major problem involves whether Christ “suffered” (ἔπαθεν, epathen) or “died” (ἀπέθανεν, apethanen). The witnesses that read ἀπέθανεν are P72 א*,2 A Cvid Ψ 0285 5 436 442 614 630 945 1175 1241 1243 1505 1611 1735 1739 1852 2344; the witnesses that read ἔπαθεν are B L P 81 2492 M. Although the external evidence slightly favors ἀπέθανεν, such may be a secondary reading. Intrinsically, ἔπαθεν both fits the context better, especially the verbal link between v. 17 and v. 18 (note in particular the introductory causal ὅτι [hoti, “because”] and the emphatic καί [kai, “also”]), and fits the author’s style (1 Peter never uses ἀποθνῄσκω [apothnēskō], but uses πάσχω [paschō] 11 other times, more than any other NT book). However, scribes would most likely realize this, and might conform the verb in v. 18 to the author’s typical usage. It may be argued, however, that scribes tended to alter the text in light of more common NT idioms, and did not have as much sensitivity to the literary features in the immediate context. In this instance, it may not be insignificant that the NT collocates ἀποθνῄσκω with ἁμαρτία (hamartia, “sin”) seven other times, though only once (1 Cor 15:3) with a meaning similar to what would be demanded here, but collocates πάσχω with ἁμαρτία in only one other place, 1 Pet 4:1, where the meaning also detours from what is seen here. All in all, a decision is difficult, but ἔπαθεν is to be preferred slightly.

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