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(0.07) (2Pe 3:10)

tc ‡ One of the most difficult textual problems in the NT is found in v. 10. The reading εὑρεθήσεται (heurethēsetai), which enjoys by far the best support (א B K P 0156vid 323 1175 1241 1739txt 1852) is nevertheless so difficult a reading that many scholars regard it as nonsensical. (NA27 lists five conjectures by scholars, from Hort to Mayor, in this text. All conjectures were eliminated in the NA28 apparatus) As R. Bauckham has pointed out, solutions to the problem are of three sorts: (1) conjectural emendation (which normally speaks more of the ingenuity of the scholar who makes the proposal than of the truth of the conjecture, e.g., changing one letter in the previous word, ἔργα [erga] becomes ἄργα [arga] with the meaning, “the earth and the things in it will be found useless”); (2) adoption of one of several variant readings (all of which, however, are easier than this one and simply cannot explain how this reading arose, e.g., the reading of P72 which adds λυόμενα [luomena] to the verb—a reading suggested no doubt by the threefold occurrence of this verb in the surrounding verses: “the earth and its works will be found dissolved”; or the simplest variant, the reading of the Sahidic mss and a couple of other ancient versions, οὐχ [ouch] preceding εὑρεθήσεται—“will not be found”); or (3) interpretive gymnastics which regards the text as settled but has to do some manipulation to its normal meaning. Bauckham puts forth an excellent case that the third option is to be preferred and that the meaning of the term is virtually the equivalent of “will be disclosed,” “will be manifested.” (That this meaning is not readily apparent may in fact have been the reason for so many variants and conjectures.) Thus, the force of the clause is that “the earth and the works [done by men] in it will be stripped bare [before God].” In addition, the unusualness of the expression is certainly in keeping with the author’s style throughout this little book. Hence, what looks to be suspect because of its abnormalities, upon closer inspection is actually in keeping with the author’s stylistic idiosyncrasies. The meaning of the text then is that all but the earth and mankind’s works will be destroyed. Everything will be removed so that humanity will stand naked before God. Textually, then, on both external and internal grounds, εὑρεθήσεται commends itself as the preferred reading.

(0.07) (2Pe 3:9)

sn He does not wish for any to perish. This verse has been a battleground between Arminians and Calvinists. The former argue that God wants all people to be saved, but either through inability or restriction of his own sovereignty does not interfere with peoples’ wills. Some of the latter argue that the “any” here means “any of you” and that all the elect will repent before the return of Christ because this is God’s will. Both of these positions have problems. The “any” in this context means “any of you.” (This can be seen by the dependent participle which gives the reason why the Lord is patient “toward you.”) There are hints throughout this letter that the readership may be mixed, including both true believers and others who are “sitting on the fence” as it were. But to make the equation of this readership with the elect is unlikely. This would seem to require, in its historical context, that all of these readers would be saved. But not all who attend church know the Lord or will know the Lord. Simon the Magician, whom Peter had confronted in Acts 8, is a case in point. This is evident in contemporary churches when a pastor addresses the congregation as “brothers, sisters, saints, etc.,” yet concludes the message with an evangelistic appeal. When an apostle or pastor addresses a group as “Christian” he does not necessarily think that every individual in the congregation is truly a Christian. Thus, the literary context seems to be against the Arminian view, while the historical context seems to be against (one representation of) the Calvinist view. The answer to this conundrum is found in the term “wish” (a participle in Greek from the verb boulomai). It often represents a mere wish, or one’s desiderative will, rather than one’s resolve. Unless God’s will is viewed on the two planes of his desiderative and decretive will (what he desires and what he decrees), hopeless confusion will result. The scriptures amply illustrate both that God sometimes decrees things that he does not desire and desires things that he does not decree. It is not that his will can be thwarted, nor that he has limited his sovereignty. But the mystery of God’s dealings with humanity is best seen if this tension is preserved. Otherwise, either God will be perceived as good but impotent or as a sovereign taskmaster. Here the idea that God does not wish for any to perish speaks only of God’s desiderative will, without comment on his decretive will.

(0.07) (2Pe 1:19)

tn The comparative adjective βεβαιότερον (bebaioteron) is the complement to the object τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον (ton prophētikon logon). As such, the construction almost surely has the force “The prophetic word is (more certain/altogether certain)—and this is something that we all have.” Many scholars prefer to read the construction as saying “we have the prophetic word made more sure,” but such a nuance is unparalleled in object-complement constructions (when the construction has this force, ποιέω [poieō] is present [as in 2 Pet 1:10]). The meaning, as construed in the translation, is that the Bible (in this case, the OT) that these believers had in their hands was a thoroughly reliable guide. Whether it was more certain than was even Peter’s experience on the Mount of Transfiguration depends on whether the adjective should be taken as a true comparative (“more certain”) or as an elative (“very certain, altogether certain”). Some would categorically object to any experience functioning as a confirmation of the scriptures and hence would tend to give the adjective a comparative force. Yet the author labors to show that his gospel is trustworthy precisely because he was an eyewitness of this great event. Further, to say that the OT scriptures (the most likely meaning of “the prophetic word”) were more trustworthy an authority than an apostle’s own experience of Christ is both to misconstrue how prophecy took place in the OT (did not the prophets have visions or other experiences?) and to deny the final revelation of God in Christ (cf. Heb 1:2). In sum, since syntactically the meaning that “we have confirmed the prophetic word by our experience” is improbable, and since contextually the meaning that “we have something that is a more reliable authority than experience, namely, the Bible” is unlikely, we are left with the meaning “we have a very reliable authority, the Old Testament, as a witness to Christ’s return.” No comparison is thus explicitly made. This fits both the context and normal syntax quite well. The introductory καί (kai) suggests that the author is adding to his argument. He makes the statement that Christ will return, and backs it up with two points: (1) Peter himself (as well as the other apostles) was an eyewitness to the Transfiguration, which is a precursor to the Parousia; and (2) the Gentile believers, who were not on the Mount of Transfiguration, nevertheless have the Old Testament, a wholly reliable authority that also promises the return of Christ.

(0.07) (2Pe 1:15)

sn There are various interpretations of v. 15. For example, the author could be saying simply, “I will make every effort that you remember these things.” But the collocation of σπουδάζω (spoudazō) with μνήνη (mnēnē) suggests a more specific image. R. Bauckham (Jude, 2 Peter [WBC], 201-2) is right when he notes that these two words together suggest a desire to write some sort of letter or testament. Most commentators recognize the difficulty in seeing the future verb σπουδάσω (spoudasō) as referring to 2 Peter itself (the present or aorist would have been expected, i.e., “I have made every effort,” or “I am making every effort”). Some have suggested that Mark’s Gospel is in view. The difficulty with this is threefold: (1) Mark is probably to be dated before 2 Peter, (2) early patristic testimony seems to imply that Peter was the unwitting source behind Mark’s Gospel; and (3) “these things” would seem to refer, in the least, to the prophecy about Peter’s death (absent in Mark). A more plausible suggestion might be that the author was thinking of the ending of John’s Gospel. This is possible because (1) John 21:18-19 is the only other place in the NT that refers to Peter’s death; indeed, it fleshes out the cryptic statement in v. 14 a bit more; (2) both 2 Peter and John were apparently written to Gentiles in and around Asia Minor; (3) both books were probably written after Paul’s death and perhaps even to Paul’s churches (cf. 2 Pet 3:1-2, 15-16); and (4) John 21 gives the appearance of being added to the end of a finished work. There is thus some possibility that this final chapter was added at the author’s request, in part to encourage Gentile Christians to face impending persecution, knowing that the martyrdom of even (Paul and) Peter was within the purview of God’s sovereignty. That 2 Pet 1:15 alludes to John 21 is of course by no means certain, but remains at least the most plausible of the suggestions put forth thus far.

(0.07) (1Th 3:2)

tc A variety of readings occurs in this verse. Instead of “and fellow worker for God” (καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, kai sunergon tou theou), B and 1962 have “and fellow worker” (καὶ συνεργόν); א A P Ψ 0278 6 81 629* 1241 1739 1881 2464 lat co read “and servant of God” (καὶ διάκονον τοῦ θεοῦ, kai diakonon tou theou); D2 1505 M al and a few versional witnesses read “and a servant of God and our fellow worker” (καὶ διάκονον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ συνεργὸν ἡμῶν); and F G have “servant and fellow worker for God” (διάκονον καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ). The reading of the text (καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ) is found in D* 33 b d m o Ambst Pel. It may be argued that all readings that do not collocate συνεργόν with θεοῦ are secondary, as this is certainly the harder reading. Indeed, in only one other place in the NT are human beings said to be συνεργοὶ θεοῦ (sunergoi theou; 1 Cor 3:9), and the simplest (though by no means the only) interpretation is that the genitive should be taken associatively (“a fellow worker in association with God”). It is difficult to account for συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ here unless it is authentic because of the theological difficulty that would be easily seen in this wording. (However, the text in 1 Cor 3:9 is solid [Χριστοῦ(Christou) is found in 2400, a thirteenth-century minuscule; no other variants are known]. This gives some pause to attributing theological difficulty as a cause for scribal alteration in our passage.) A genealogy of the readings suggests that various scribes may have deleted τοῦ θεοῦ or swapped διάκονον for συνεργόν to remove the offense. The readings of the Byzantine text and two Western mss (F G) appear to be conflations of earlier readings, but the reading of F G nevertheless indirectly supports καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ since it does not remove the offense. Although the witnesses for καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ are minimal, the internal evidence is quite strong in favor of this reading. With hesitation, it is adopted as authentic.

(0.07) (Col 3:10)

sn Put off all such things. The commands in vv. 8-9 are based on two reasons given in vv. 9-10—reasons which are expressed in terms of a metaphor about clothing oneself. Paul says that they have put off the old man and have put on the new man. Two things need to be discussed in reference to Paul’s statement. (1) What is the meaning of the clothing imagery (i.e., the “have put off” and “have been clothed”)? (2) What is the meaning of the old man and the new man? Though some commentators understand the participles “have put off” (v. 9) and “have been clothed” (v. 10) as imperatives (i.e., “put off!” and “put on!”), this use of participles is extremely rare in the NT and thus unlikely here. It is better to take them as having the semantic force of indicatives, and thus they give an explanation of what had happened to the Colossians at the time of their conversion—they had taken off the old man and put on the new when they trusted in Christ (cf. 1:4). While it is difficult to say for certain what the background to Paul’s “clothing” metaphor might be (whether it is primarily Jewish and comes from the OT, or primarily Gentile and comes from some facet of the Greco-Roman religious milieu), it is nonetheless clear, on the basis of Paul’s usage of the expression, that the old man refers to man as he is in Adam and dominated by sin (cf. Rom 6:6; Eph 4:22), while the new man refers to the Christian whose new sphere of existence is in Christ. Though the metaphor of clothing oneself primarily reflects outward actions, there is a distinct inward aspect to it, as the rest of v. 10 indicates: being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it. Paul’s point, then, is that Christians should take off their dirty clothing (inappropriate behavior) and put on clean clothing (behavior consistent with knowing Christ) because this has already been accomplished in a positional sense at the time of their conversion (cf. Gal 3:27 with Rom 13:14).

(0.07) (Act 2:38)

tn There is debate over the meaning of εἰς in the prepositional phrase εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν (eis aphesin tōn hamartiōn humōn, “for/because of/with reference to the forgiveness of your sins”). Although a causal sense has been argued, it is difficult to maintain here. ExSyn 369-71 discusses at least four other ways of dealing with the passage: (1) The baptism referred to here is physical only, and εἰς has the meaning of “for” or “unto.” Such a view suggests that salvation is based on works—an idea that runs counter to the theology of Acts, namely: (a) repentance often precedes baptism (cf. Acts 3:19; 26:20), and (b) salvation is entirely a gift of God, not procured via water baptism (Acts 10:43 [cf. v. 47]; 13:38-39, 48; 15:11; 16:30-31; 20:21; 26:18); (2) The baptism referred to here is spiritual only. Although such a view fits well with the theology of Acts, it does not fit well with the obvious meaning of “baptism” in Acts—especially in this text (cf. 2:41); (3) The text should be repunctuated in light of the shift from second person plural to third person singular back to second person plural again. The idea then would be, “Repent for/with reference to your sins, and let each one of you be baptized…” Such a view is an acceptable way of handling εἰς, but its subtlety and awkwardness count against it; (4) Finally, it is possible that to a first-century Jewish audience (as well as to Peter), the idea of baptism might incorporate both the spiritual reality and the physical symbol. That Peter connects both closely in his thinking is clear from other passages such as Acts 10:47 and 11:15-16. If this interpretation is correct, then Acts 2:38 is saying very little about the specific theological relationship between the symbol and the reality, only that historically they were viewed together. One must look in other places for a theological analysis. For further discussion see R. N. Longenecker, “Acts,” EBC 9:283-85; B. Witherington, Acts, 154-55; F. F. Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles: The Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary, 129-30; BDAG 290 s.v. εἰς 4.f.

(0.07) (Joh 20:28)

sn Should Thomas’ exclamation be understood as two subjects with the rest of the sentence omitted (“My Lord and my God has truly risen from the dead”), as predicate nominatives (“You are my Lord and my God”), or as vocatives (“My Lord and my God!”)? Probably the most likely is something between the second and third alternatives. It seems that the second is slightly more likely here because the context appears confessional. Thomas’ statement, while it may have been an exclamation, does in fact confess the faith which he had previously lacked, and Jesus responds to Thomas’ statement in the following verse as if it were a confession. With the proclamation by Thomas here, it is difficult to see how any more profound analysis of Jesus’ person could be given. It echoes 1:1 and 1:14 together: The Word was God, and the Word became flesh (Jesus of Nazareth). The Fourth Gospel opened with many other titles for Jesus: the Lamb of God (1:29, 36); the Son of God (1:34, 49); Rabbi (1:38); Messiah (1:41); the King of Israel (1:49); the Son of Man (1:51). Now the climax is reached with the proclamation by Thomas, “My Lord and my God,” and the reader has come full circle from 1:1, where the author had introduced him to who Jesus was, to 20:28, where the last of the disciples has come to the full realization of who Jesus was. What Jesus had predicted in John 8:28 had come to pass: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he” (Grk “I am”). By being lifted up in crucifixion (which led in turn to his death, resurrection, and exaltation with the Father) Jesus has revealed his true identity as both Lord (κύριος [kurios], used by the LXX to translate Yahweh) and God (θεός [theos], used by the LXX to translate Elohim).

(0.07) (Joh 6:70)

tn Although most translations render this last phrase as “one of you is a devil,” such a translation presupposes that there is more than one devil. This finds roots in the KJV in which the Greek word for demon was often translated “devil.” In fact, the KJV never uses the word “demon.” (Sixty-two of the 63 NT instances of δαιμόνιον [daimonion] are translated “devil” [in Acts 17:18 the plural has been translated “gods”]. This can get confusing in places where the singular “devil” is used: Is Satan or one of the demons in view [cf. Matt 9:33 (demon); 13:39 (devil); 17:18 (demon); Mark 7:26 (demon); Luke 4:2 (devil); etc.]?) Now regarding John 6:70, both the construction in Greek and the technical use of διάβολος (diabolos) indicate that the one devil is in view. To object to the translation “the devil” because it thus equates Judas with Satan does not take into consideration that Jesus often spoke figuratively (e.g., “destroy this temple” [John 2:19]; “he [John the Baptist] is Elijah” [Matt 11:14]), even equating Peter with the devil on one occasion (Mark 8:33). According to ExSyn 249, “A curious phenomenon has occurred in the English Bible with reference to one particular monadic noun, διάβολος. The KJV translates both διάβολος and δαιμόνιον as ‘devil.’ Thus in the AV translators’ minds, ‘devil’ was not a monadic noun. Modern translations have correctly rendered δαιμόνιον as ‘demon’ and have, for the most part, recognized that διάβολος is monadic (cf., e.g., 1 Pet 5:8; Rev 20:2). But in John 6:70 modern translations have fallen into the error of the King James translators. The KJV has ‘one of you is a devil.’ So does the RSV, NRSV, ASV, NIV, NKJV, and the JB [Jerusalem Bible]. Yet there is only one devil…The legacy of the KJV still lives on, then, even in places where it ought not.”

(0.07) (Joh 5:2)

tc Some mss (א [L] 33 it) read Bethzatha, while others read Bethsaida (P[66],75 B T Ws [Ψ] vg); codex D has Belzetha. A lot of controversy has surrounded the name of the pool itself: The reading of the Byzantine (or majority) text (A C Θ 078 ƒ1,13 M), Bethesda, has been virtually discarded by scholars in favor of what is thought to be the more primitive Bethzatha, even though many recent translations continue to employ Bethesda, the traditional reading. The latter is attested by Josephus as the name of a quarter of the city near the northeast corner of the temple area. He reports that the Syrian Legate Cestius burned this suburb in his attack on Jerusalem in October a.d. 68 (J. W. 2.19.4 [2.530]). However, there is some new archaeological evidence for this problem. 3Q15 (Copper Scroll) from Qumran seems to indicate that in the general area of the temple, on the eastern hill of Jerusalem, a treasure was buried in Bet ’Esdatayin, in the pool at the entrance to the smaller basin. The name of the region or pool itself seems then to have been Bet ’Esda, “house of the flowing.” It appears with the dual ending in the scroll because there were two basins. Bethesda seems to be an accurate Greek rendition of the name, while J. T. Milik suggests Bethzatha is a rendition of the Aramaic intensive plural Bet ’Esdata (DJDJ 3, 271). As for the text of John 5:2, a fundamental problem with the Bethesda reading is that it looks motivated (with an edifying Semitic etymology, meaning “House of Mercy” [TCGNT 178]). Also, apart from the Copper Scroll, the evidence for Bethesda is almost entirely shut up to the Byzantine text (C being the most notable exception, but it often has Byzantine encroachments). On the one hand, this argues the Byzantine reading here had ancient, semitic roots; on the other hand, since both readings are attested as historically accurate, a decision has to be based on the better witnesses. The fact that there are multiple readings here suggests that the original was not well understood. Which reading best explains the rise of the others? It seems that Bethzatha is the best choice.

(0.07) (Joh 1:21)

sn According to the 1st century rabbinic interpretation of 2 Kgs 2:11, Elijah was still alive. In Mal 4:5 it is said that Elijah would be the precursor of Messiah. How does one reconcile John the Baptist’s denial here (“I am not”) with Jesus’ statements in Matt 11:14 (see also Mark 9:13 and Matt 17:12) that John the Baptist was Elijah? Some have attempted to remove the difficulty by a reconstruction of the text in the Gospel of John which makes the Baptist say that he was Elijah. However, external support for such emendations is lacking. According to Gregory the Great, John was not Elijah, but exercised toward Jesus the function of Elijah by preparing his way. But this avoids the real difficulty, since in John’s Gospel the question of the Jewish authorities to the Baptist concerns precisely his function. It has also been suggested that the author of the Gospel here preserves a historically correct reminiscence—that John the Baptist did not think of himself as Elijah, although Jesus said otherwise. Mark 6:14-16 and Mark 8:28 indicate the people and Herod both distinguished between John and Elijah—probably because he did not see himself as Elijah. But Jesus’ remarks in Matt 11:14, Mark 9:13, and Matt 17:12 indicate that John did perform the function of Elijah—John did for Jesus what Elijah was to have done for the coming of the Lord. C. F. D. Moule pointed out that it is too simple to see a straight contradiction between John’s account and that of the synoptic gospels: “We have to ask by whom the identification is made, and by whom refused. The synoptic gospels represent Jesus as identifying, or comparing, the Baptist with Elijah, while John represents the Baptist as rejecting the identification when it is offered him by his interviewers. Now these two, so far from being incompatible, are psychologically complementary. The Baptist humbly rejects the exalted title, but Jesus, on the contrary, bestows it on him. Why should not the two both be correct?” (The Phenomenon of the New Testament [SBT], 70).

(0.07) (Joh 1:1)

tn Or “and what God was the Word was.” Colwell’s Rule is often invoked to support the translation of θεός (theos) as definite (“God”) rather than indefinite (“a god”) here. However, Colwell’s Rule merely permits, but does not demand, that a predicate nominative ahead of an equative verb be translated as definite rather than indefinite. Furthermore, Colwell’s Rule did not deal with a third possibility, that the anarthrous predicate noun may have more of a qualitative nuance when placed ahead of the verb. A definite meaning for the term is reflected in the traditional rendering “the word was God.” From a technical standpoint, though, it is preferable to see a qualitative aspect to anarthrous θεός in John 1:1c (ExSyn 266-69). Translations like the NEB, REB, and Moffatt are helpful in capturing the sense in John 1:1c, that the Word was fully deity in essence (just as much God as God the Father). However, in contemporary English “the Word was divine” (Moffatt) does not quite catch the meaning since “divine” as a descriptive term is not used in contemporary English exclusively of God. The translation “what God was the Word was” is perhaps the most nuanced rendering, conveying that everything God was in essence, the Word was too. This points to unity of essence between the Father and the Son without equating the persons. However, in surveying a number of native speakers of English, some of whom had formal theological training and some of whom did not, the editors concluded that the fine distinctions indicated by “what God was the Word was” would not be understood by many contemporary readers. Thus the translation “the Word was fully God” was chosen because it is more likely to convey the meaning to the average English reader that the Logos (which “became flesh and took up residence among us” in John 1:14 and is thereafter identified in the Fourth Gospel as Jesus) is one in essence with God the Father. The previous phrase, “the Word was with God,” shows that the Logos is distinct in person from God the Father.

(0.07) (Nah 2:11)

tn The meaning of the term לָבִיא (laviʾ) is debated. There are three basic approaches: (1) the noun “lioness,” (2) the Hiphil infinitive construct of בּוֹא (boʾ), “to bring,” shortened from לְהָבִיא (lehaviʾ) to לָבִיא (cf. Jer 39:7; 2 Chr 31:10) and (3) as לבוא, “to enter,” the Qal infinitive construct of בּוֹא (boʾ). The first option has the support of the consonantal text of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 4QpNah and Mur88. Most English versions render לָבִיא as “lioness,” the parallel term for אַרְיֵה (ʾaryeh, “lion”); so RSV, NASB, NIV, NJPS; in contrast, KJV has “old lion.” Indeed, the noun לָבִיא (“lioness” or “lion”; BDB 522 s.v. לָבִיא) occurs frequently in poetic texts (Gen 49:9; Num 23:24; 24:9; Deut 33:20; Isa 5:29; 30:6; Joel 1:6; Job 4:11; 38:39). However if lion and lioness are the subjects of the verb, one would expect the nouns to be joined by the conjunction vav (ו) and the verb to be plural rather than singular. The line, as is, would read “where lion prowled, lioness there cub of a lion”). Furthermore, the term for “lioness” differs in form in the following verse: לִבְאָה (livʾah; see HALOT 515 s.v. *לִבְאָה) not לָבִיא (laviʾ). The grammatical, syntactical, and lexical difficulties of the first approach have led several scholars to the second approach. Because the Hiphil of בּוֹא (boʾ) can depict an animal bringing food to its dependents (cf. 1 Kgs 17:6), they treat the line thus: “where the lion went to bring [food to his] lion cub” (Ehrlich, Haldar, Maier). While the picture of a male lion bringing food to its cubs seems odd zoologically, the next verse presents that exact picture clearly (it is a metaphor). The third approach involves a small change of the consonantal text, from י (yod) to ו (vav) and has the support of the LXX which renders τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν (tou eiselthein) “where the lion went to enter there.” The pesher of 4QpNah employs לבוא (laboʾ) and it is not clear whether this is a literal translation or creative word-play: “Its pesher concerns Demetrius, king of Greece, who sought to enter (לבוא) Jerusalem” (col. 1, line 4). The approach of the LXX is followed by the NRSV “where the lion goes, and the lion’s cubs, with no one to disturb them.”

(0.07) (Jer 51:3)

tc The text and consequent meaning of these first two lines are uncertain. The Masoretic reads literally, “Against let him string. Let him string, the one who strings his bow, and against let him raise himself up in his coat of armor.” This makes absolutely no sense, and the ancient versions and Hebrew mss did not agree in reading this same text. Many Hebrew mss and all the versions, as well as the Masoretes themselves (the text is left unpointed with a marginal note not to read it), delete the second “let him string.” The LXX (or Greek version) left out the words “against” at the beginning of the first two lines. It reads, “Let the archer bend his bow, and let the one who has armor put it on.” The Lucianic recension of the LXX and some Targum mss supplied the missing object “it” and thus read, “Let the archer ready his bow against it, and let him array himself against it in his coat of mail.” This makes good sense but does not answer the question of why the Hebrew text left off the suffix on the preposition twice in a row. Many Hebrew mss and the Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate (the Latin version) change the pointing of “against” (אֶל [ʾel]) to “not” (אַל [ʾal]) and thus read, “Let the archer not string the bow, and let him not array himself in his armor.” However, many commentators feel that this does not fit the context because it would apparently be addressed to the Babylonians, not the enemy, which would create a sudden shift in addressee with the second half of the verse. However, if it is understood in the sense taken here, it refers to the enemy not allowing the Babylonian archers to get ready for the battle, i.e., a surprise attack. This sense is suggested as an alternative in J. Bright, Jeremiah (AB), 346, n. u-u, and J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah (NICOT), 747, n. 5, and is the interpretation adopted in TEV, and probably also in NIrV.

(0.07) (Jer 33:2)

tn Or “I, the Lord, made the earth. I formed it in such a way as to firmly establish it”; Heb “Thus says the Lord who makes/does it, the Lord who forms it to establish it, whose name is the Lord.” It is unclear what the antecedent of “it” is. The Greek version supplies the object “the earth.” However, as D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 4:269, notes, this is probably a smoothing of a text that had no object other than the pronoun. No other text or version has an object other than the pronoun. It could be argued that “the earth” is to be understood as the intended referent from other contexts within the book of Jeremiah (Jer 10:12, 16; 51:15) where these verbs refer to the Lord as creator, and from the prior context in 32:17, where the Lord’s power as creator is the basis for the assertion that nothing is too hard for him. This is the object that is supplied in a number of modern English versions and commentaries. However, the use of the feminine singular pronoun in other contexts to refer to an indefinite reality that is spelled out in the preceding or following context (cf. 2 Kgs 19:25; Isa 22:11; 37:26; 44:7) lends credence to the suggestion by the committee for The Hebrew Old Testament Project that the pronoun refers to the work or plan of the Lord, a view that is reflected in the NJPS and has been adopted here. For the use of the verb “form” here in the sense of “plan,” see BDB 427 s.v. יָצַר 2.b and compare the usage in Isa 22:11 and 37:26. The best discussion of options is given in G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC), 169-70, who see the pronoun referring ahead to the great and hidden things of v. 3. As in several other cases, our translation has opted for a first person introduction, rather than the third person of the original, because the Lord himself is speaking.

(0.07) (Jer 31:3)

tn Or the translation of verses 2-3 could be, “The people of Israel who survived the onslaughts of Egypt and Amalek found favor in the wilderness as they journeyed to find rest. At that time long ago the Lord manifested himself to them. He said, ‘I have…That is why I have drawn you to myself through my unfailing kindness.’” There is debate whether the reference here is to God’s preservation of Israel during their wandering in the Sinai desert or his promise to protect and preserve them on their return through the Arabian desert on the way back from Assyria and Babylon (see e.g., Isa 42:14-16; 43:16-21; Jer 16:14-15; 23:7-8). The only finite verbs in vv. 2-3a before the introduction of the quote are perfects, which can denote either a past act or a future act viewed as certain of fulfillment (the prophetic perfect; see GKC 312-13 §106.n, and see examples in Jer 11:16; 13:17; 25:14; 28:4). The phrase at the beginning of v. 3 can either refer to temporal (cf. BDB 935 s.v. רָחוֹק 2.b, and Isa 22:11) or spatial distance (cf. BDB 935 s.v. רָחוֹק 2.a[2], and Isa 5:29; 59:14). The verb in the final clause in v. 3 can refer to either the extension of God’s love, as in Pss 36:10 and 109:12 (cf. HALOT 645-46 s.v. מָשַׁךְ Qal.3), or the drawing of someone to him in electing, caring love, as in Hos 11:4 (cf. BDB 604 s.v. מָשַׁךְ Qal.1). The translation has opted for the prophetic reference to future deliverance because of the preceding context, the use of מֵרָחוֹק (merakhoq) to refer to the far-off land of exile in Jer 30:10; 46:27; and 51:50, and the reference to survivors from the sword being called on to remember the Lord in that far-off land in 51:50.

(0.07) (Jer 11:15)

tn Heb “for [or when] your wickedness then you rejoice.” The meaning of this line is uncertain. The Greek version, which reads, “or will you escape by these things,” (presupposing a Hebrew text אִם עַל זוֹת תָּעוּזִי, ʾim ʿal zot taʿuzi), is far removed from the reading in the MT (אָז תַּעֲלֹזִי [ʾaz taʿalozi]; the rest of the Hebrew line has been left out because the Greek reads it with the preceding line). It again appears to be an attempt to smooth out a difficult text. The translation retains the MT but rewords it so it makes better sense in English. The translation presupposes that the phrase “your wickedness” is the object of the verb “take joy,” and that the adverb “then” refers back to the offering of sacred flesh, i.e., “even then [or “at that time”]” as a constructio ad sensum. For a similar use of the adverb (אָז, ʾaz) compare Gen 13:7. For the use of כִּי (ki) meaning “that” after a question, see BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.f. A possible alternative would be to read as UBS, Preliminary Report, 4:209 do: “When trouble reaches you, then will you exult?” If the text of the whole verse followed here, the more difficult text, is not the original one, the most likely alternative would be, “What right does my beloved have to be in my house? She has done wicked things [reading עָשְׂתָה מְזִמֹּת, ʿasetah mezimmot]. Can fat pieces [reading הַחֲלָבִים, hakhalavim] and sacred meat take away your wickedness from you [reading יַעֲבִרוּ מֵעָלַיִךְ רָעָתֵכִי, yaʿaviru meʿalayikh raʿatekhi]? [If it could,] then you could rejoice.” It should be emphasized that the text of the verse is uncertain in a number of places and open to more than one interpretation. However, regardless of which text or interpretation of it is followed, the Masoretic as interpreted here, the Greek as given in the notes, or an emended text based on both, the overall meaning is much the same. Judah has done evil, and the Lord rejects their superficial attempts to placate him through ritual without change of behavior. The particulars are different; the point is the same.

(0.07) (Jer 11:15)

tn The meaning of this line is also uncertain. The Hebrew text reads somewhat literally, “holy meat they pass over from upon you.” The question of the subject of the verb is the main problem here. The verb is masculine plural, and the only subjects available are “holy meat,” which is singular; a “they” which goes back to “the many”; or a noun from the end of the preceding line that is combined with “holy meat.” The latter is the solution of the Greek version, which reads, “Will votive offerings [or pieces of fat (following the Old Latin)] and holy meats take away from you your wickedness?” However, that resolution has been rejected in the preceding note as smoothing out the difficulties of the first two lines. It also leaves out the כִּי (ki) at the beginning of the following line and takes the noun “your wickedness” as the object of the verb. That certainly would make for an easier reading of both this line and the next, and the assumption that כִּי may not be in the text is possible because it could be explained as a double writing of the pronoun on the end of the preceding phrase, “from upon you” (מֵעָלָיִךְ, meʿalayikh). However, besides being the smoother reading, it leaves the last line too short poetically. The solution of the UBS, Preliminary Report, 4:209 is that “they” (referring back to “the many”?) is the subject. They read, “so that they carry away from you even sacrificial flesh.” But who are “they” and “you?” Are “they” the priests and “you” the people? (See 1 Sam 2:10-17 for a possible parallel.) This, however, introduces too many unknowns into the text. The translation adopted is based on a revocalization of the form “from upon you” (מֵעָלָיִךְ, meʿalayikh) to “your treacherous acts” (מַעֲלָיִךְ, maʿalayikh; for this noun cf. BDB 591 s.v. I מַעַל 2), a solution that is also proposed in the margin of the NJPS, which reads, “Can your treacheries be canceled by sacral flesh?” For the nuance of the verb presupposed here (= be removed, cease to exist), see BDB 718 s.v. עָבַר Qal.6.c and compare usage in Job 30:15. While this solution does preserve the consonantal text and is accepted here, it should be acknowledged that there is no ancient support for it, and the reading of the noun “treacheries” in place of the compound preposition “from upon” is purely speculative.

(0.07) (Isa 9:6)

tn גִּבּוֹר (gibbor) is probably an attributive adjective (“mighty God”), though one might translate “God is a warrior” or “God is mighty.” Scholars have interpreted this title in two ways. A number of them have argued that the title portrays the king as God’s representative on the battlefield, whom God empowers in a supernatural way (see J. H. Hayes and S. A. Irvine, Isaiah, 181-82). They contend that this sense seems more likely in the original context of the prophecy. They would suggest that having read the NT, we might in retrospect interpret this title as indicating the coming king’s deity, but it is unlikely that Isaiah or his audience would have understood the title in such a bold way. Ps 45:6 addresses the Davidic king as “God” because he ruled and fought as God’s representative on earth. Ancient Near Eastern art and literature picture gods training kings for battle, bestowing special weapons, and intervening in battle. According to Egyptian propaganda, the Hittites described Rameses II as follows: “No man is he who is among us, It is Seth great-of-strength, Baal in person; Not deeds of man are these his doings, They are of one who is unique” (See Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, 2:67). According to proponents of this view, Isa 9:6 probably envisions a similar kind of response when friends and foes alike look at the Davidic king in full battle regalia. When the king’s enemies oppose him on the battlefield, they are, as it were, fighting against God himself. The other option is to regard this title as a reference to God, confronting Isaiah’s readers with the divinity of this promised “child.” The use of this same title that clearly refers to God in a later passage (Isa 10:21) supports this interpretation. Other passages depict Yahweh as the great God and great warrior (Deut 10:17; Jer. 32:18). Although this connection of a child who is born with deity is unparalleled in any earlier biblical texts, Isaiah’s use of this title to make this connection represents Isaiah’s attempt (at God’s behest) to advance Israel in their understanding of the ideal Davidic king for whom they long.

(0.07) (Sos 2:7)

tn Alternately, “arouse…awaken….” The root עוּר (ʿur) is repeated twice in 2:7 for rhetorical emphasis. The first is the Hiphil imperative (“do not awake/excite…”) and the second is the Polel imperative (“do not awake/start to move…”). The Hiphil depicts a causative action (causing love to initially awaken) and the Polel depicts an intensive action (repeated efforts to awaken love or to set love into motion). On the other hand, G. L. Carr (Song of Solomon [TOTC], 94) writes: “The meaning is not stir up, i.e., a repetition of the same act, but is rather first the act of awakening or summoning something, and then doing what is necessary to sustain the activity already begun, i.e., being so fully awakened that sleep becomes impossible (e.g., 5:2).” The terms ָתּעִירוּ (taʿiru, “arouse”; Hiphil imperative from עוּר) and תְּעוֹרְרוּ (teʿoreru, “awaken”; Polel imperative from עוּר) are probably figurative expressions (hypocatastasis) rather than literal because the object does not refer to a person (her lover) but to an emotional state (“love”). The Hebrew root עוּר has two basic meanings: (1) to wake up and (2) to excite (HALOT 802 s.v. II עוּר). These two nuances are paralleled in the related Semitic roots: Ugaritic ʿr and ʿrr “to be excited” (UT 19.1849; 19.1926; WUS 2092) and Akkadian eru “to awake” (AHw 1:247) (HALOT 802 s.v. II). The Hiphil stem has a four-fold range of meanings: (1) to wake up someone/something, (2) to excite, put into motion, start to work, (3) to summons, (4) to disturb (HALOT 802-803 s.v. II). When used literally, the Hiphil describes waking up a sleeper (Zech 4:1) or stirring up a fire (Hos 7:4). When used figuratively, it describes stirring up (Isa 50:4; Pss 57:9; 108:3) strength (Dan 11:25), anger/wrath (Ps 78:38), jealous/zeal (Isa 42:13), and love/sexual passion (Song 2:7; 3:5; 8:4). The Polel stem has a three-fold range of meanings: (1) to awake, start to move, (2) to agitate, disturb, (3) to set in motion (HALOT 802-803 s.v. II). The expression “arouse or awaken love” is figurative (hypocatastasis). It draws an implied comparison between the literal action of arousing a person from sleep and stirring him/her up to excited action, with the figurative picture of a lover sexually stirring up, arousing and exciting the sexual passions of his beloved.

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