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(0.25) (Rut 1:2)

sn The name Naomi (נָעֳמִי, noʿomi) is from the adjective נֹעַם (noʿam, “pleasant, lovely”) and literally means “my pleasant one” or “my lovely one.” Her name will become the subject of a wordplay in 1:20-21 when she laments that she is no longer “pleasant” but “bitter” because of the loss of her husband and two sons.

(0.25) (Num 11:5)

sn As with all who complain in such situations, their memory was selective. It was their bitter cries to the Lord from the suffering in bondage that God heard and answered. And now, shortly after being set free, their memory of Egypt is for things they do not now have. It is also somewhat unlikely that they as slaves had such abundant foods in Egypt.

(0.25) (Exo 32:20)

sn Pouring the ashes into the water running from the mountain in the brook (Deut 9:21) and making them drink it was a type of the bitter water test that tested the wife suspected of unfaithfulness. Here the reaction of the people who drank would indicate guilt or not (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 419).

(0.25) (Exo 15:22)

sn The mention that they travelled for three days into the desert is deliberately intended to recall Moses’ demand that they go three days into the wilderness to worship. Here, three days in, they find bitter water and complain—not worship.

(0.25) (Exo 15:22)

tn The verb form is unusual; the normal expression is with the Qal, which expresses that they journeyed. But here the Hiphil is used to underscore that Moses caused them to journey—and he is following God. So the point is that God was leading Israel to the bitter water.

(0.25) (Exo 5:15)

sn The last section of this event tells the effect of the oppression on Israel, first on the people (15-19) and then on Moses and Aaron (20-21). The immediate reaction of Israel was to cry to Pharaoh—something they would learn should be directed to God. When Pharaoh rebuffed them harshly, they turned bitterly against their leaders.

(0.25) (Exo 1:11)

sn The verb עַנֹּתוֹ (ʿannoto) is the Piel infinitive construct from עָנָה (ʿanah, “to oppress”). The word has a wide range of meanings. Here it would include physical abuse, forced subjugation, and humiliation. This king was trying to crush the spirit of Israel by increasing their slave labor. Other terms in the passage that describe this intent include “bitter” and “crushing.”

(0.22) (Luk 22:8)

sn This required getting a suitable lamb and finding lodging in Jerusalem where the meal could be eaten. The population of the city swelled during the feast, so lodging could be difficult to find. The Passover was celebrated each year in commemoration of the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt; thus it was a feast celebrating redemption (see Exod 12). The Passover lamb was roasted and eaten after sunset in a family group of at least ten people (m. Pesahim 7.13). People ate the meal while reclining (see the note on table in 22:14). It included, besides the lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs as a reminder of Israel’s bitter affliction at the hands of the Egyptians. Four cups of wine mixed with water were also used for the meal. For a further description of the meal and the significance of the wine cups, see E. Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 523-24.

(0.22) (Mar 14:12)

sn This required getting a suitable lamb and finding lodging in Jerusalem where the meal could be eaten. The population of the city swelled during the feast, so lodging could be difficult to find. The Passover was celebrated each year in commemoration of the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt; thus it was a feast celebrating redemption (see Exod 12). The Passover lamb was roasted and eaten after sunset in a family group of at least ten people (m. Pesahim 7.13). People ate the meal while reclining (see the note on table in 14:18). It included, besides the lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs as a reminder of Israel’s bitter affliction at the hands of the Egyptians. Four cups of wine mixed with water were also used for the meal. For a further description of the meal and the significance of the wine cups, see E. Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 523-24.

(0.22) (Mat 26:17)

sn This required getting a suitable lamb and finding lodging in Jerusalem where the meal could be eaten. The population of the city swelled during the feast, so lodging could be difficult to find. The Passover was celebrated each year in commemoration of the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt; thus it was a feast celebrating redemption (see Exod 12). The Passover lamb was roasted and eaten after sunset in a family group of at least ten people (m. Pesahim 7.13). People ate the meal while reclining (see the note on table in 26:20). It included, besides the lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs as a reminder of Israel’s bitter affliction at the hands of the Egyptians. Four cups of wine mixed with water were also used for the meal. For a further description of the meal and the significance of the wine cups, see E. Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 523-24.

(0.22) (Exo 15:22)

sn The first event of the Israelites’ desert experience is a failure, for they murmur against Yahweh and are given a stern warning—and the provision of sweet water. The event teaches that God is able to turn bitter water into sweet water for his people, and he promises to do such things if they obey. He can provide for them in the desert—he did not bring them into the desert to let them die. But there is a deeper level to this story—the healing of the water is incidental to the healing of the people, their lack of trust. The passage is arranged in a neat chiasm, starting with a journey (A), ending with the culmination of the journey (A'); developing to bitter water (B), resolving to sweet water (B'); complaints by the people (C), leading to the instructions for the people (C'); and the central turning point is the wonder miracle (D).

(0.22) (Joh 18:27)

sn No indication is given of Peter’s emotional state at this third denial (as in Matt 26:74 and Mark 14:71) or that he remembered that Jesus had foretold the denials (Matt 26:75, Mark 14:72 and Luke 22:61), or the bitter remorse Peter felt afterward (Matt 26:75, Mark 14:72, and Luke 22:62).

(0.22) (Job 3:5)

tn The expression “the blackness of the day” (כִּמְרִירֵי יוֹם, kimrire yom) probably means everything that makes the day black, such as events like eclipses. Job wishes that all ominous darknesses would terrify that day. It comes from the word כָּמַר (kamar, “to be black”), related to Akkadian kamaru (“to overshadow, darken”). The versions seem to have ignored the first letter and connected the word to מָרַר (marar, “be bitter”).

(0.22) (1Sa 1:10)

tn Heb “she was bitter [in] soul.” Here “soul” (נֶפֶשׁ; nefesh) represents “the center and transmitter of feelings and perceptions” (HALOT, s.v. נֶפֶשׁ). Elsewhere (Isa 38:15; Ezek 27:31) the phrase refers to heartache. The noun first clause is making a contrast between her and Eli as part of the new setting before starting the main line of action in the following preterite verbs.

(0.22) (Rut 1:14)

sn Orpah is a literary foil for Ruth. Orpah is a commendable and devoted person (see v. 8); after all she is willing to follow Naomi back to Judah. However, when Naomi bombards her with good reasons why she should return, she relents. But Ruth is special. Despite Naomi’s bitter tirade, she insists on staying. Orpah is a good person, but Ruth is beyond good—she possesses an extra measure of devotion and sacrificial love that is uncommon.

(0.22) (Deu 2:4)

sn The descendants of Esau (Heb “sons of Esau”; the phrase also occurs in 2:8, 12, 22, 29). These are the inhabitants of the land otherwise known as Edom, south and east of the Dead Sea. Jacob’s brother Esau had settled there after his bitter strife with Jacob (Gen 36:1-8). “Edom” means “reddish,” probably because of the red sandstone of the region, but also by popular etymology because Esau, at birth, was reddish (Gen 25:25).

(0.21) (Rut 1:13)

tn Heb “for there is bitterness to me exceedingly from you.” The clause כִּי־מַר־לִי מְאֹד מִכֶּם (ki mar li meʾod mikkem) is notoriously difficult to interpret. It has been taken in three different ways: (1) “For I am very bitter for me because of you,” that is, because of your widowed condition (cf. KJV, NKJV, ASV, RSV, NJB, REB, JB, TEV). This does not fit well, however, with the following statement (“for the LORD has attacked me”) nor with the preceding statement (“You must not return with me”). (2) “For I am far more bitter than for you” (cf. NASB, NIV, NJPS, NEB, CEV, NLT). This does not provide an adequate basis, however, for the preceding statement (“You must not return with me”). (3) “For my bitterness is too much for you [to bear]” (cf. NAB, NRSV, NCV, CEV margin). This is preferable because it fits well with both the preceding and following statements. These three options reflect the three ways the preposition מן may be taken here: (1) causal: “because of, on account of” (BDB 580 s.v. מִן 2.f; HALOT 598 s.v. מִן 6), not that Orpah and Ruth were the cause of her calamity, but that Naomi was grieved because they had become widows; (2) comparative: “more [bitter] than you” (BDB 581 s.v. 6.a; HALOT 598 s.v. 5b), meaning that Naomi’s situation was more grievous than theirs—while they could remarry, her prospects were much more bleak; and (3) elative, describing a situation that is too much for a person to bear: “too [bitter] for you” (BDB 581 s.v. 6.d; HALOT 598 s.v. 5a; IBHS 267 §14.4f; e.g., Gen 4:13; Exod 18:18; Deut 17:8; 1 Kgs 19:17), meaning that Naomi’s plight was too bitter for her daughters-in-law to share. While all three options are viable, the meaning adopted must fit two criteria: (1) The meaning of this clause (1:13b) must provide the grounds for Naomi’s emphatic rejection of the young women’s refusal to separate themselves from her (1:13a); and (2) it must fit the following clause: “for the hand of the LORD has gone out against me” (1:13c). The first and second options do not provide adequate reasons for sending her daughters-in-law back home, nor do they fit her lament that the LORD had attacked her (not them); however, the third option (elative sense) fits both criteria. Naomi did not want her daughters-in-law to share her sad situation, that is, to be poor, childless widows in a foreign land with no prospect for marriage. If they accompanied her back to Judah, they would be in the same kind of situation in which she found herself in Moab. If they were to find the “rest” (security of home and husband) she wished for them, it would be in Moab, not in Judah. The Lord had already deprived her of husband and sons. She could do nothing for them in this regard because she had no more sons to give them as husbands, and she was past the age of child-bearing to raise up new husbands for them in the future—as if they could wait that long anyway (1:13a). For a discussion of these three options and defense of the approach adopted here, see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 80-81.

(0.19) (Eze 18:2)

tn This word occurs three times, in the Qal stem here and the parallel passage in Jer 31:29-30, and in the Piel stem at Eccl 10:10. In the latter passage it refers to the bluntness of an ax that has not been sharpened. Here the “bluntness” of the teeth is not due to grinding them down because of the bitter taste of sour grapes but to the fact that they have lost their “edge,” “bite,” or “sharpness” because they are numb from the sour taste. For this meaning for the word, see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 2:197.

(0.19) (Jer 31:29)

tn This word only occurs here and in the parallel passage in Ezek 18:2 in the Qal stem and in Eccl 10:10 in the Piel stem. In the latter passage it refers to the bluntness of an ax that has not been sharpened. Here the idea is of the “bluntness” of the teeth, not from having ground them down due to the bitter taste of sour grapes, but from the fact that they have lost their “edge,” “bite,” or “sharpness” because they are numb from the sour taste. For this meaning for the word see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 2:197.

(0.19) (Job 17:2)

tn The meaning of הַמְּרוֹתָם (hammerotam) is unclear, and the versions offer no help. If the MT is correct, it would probably be connected to מָרָה (marah, “to be rebellious”) and the derived form something like “hostility; provocation.” But some commentators suggest it should be related to מָרֹרוֹת (marorot, “bitter things”). Others have changed both the noun and the verb to obtain something like “My eye is weary of their contentiousness” (Holscher), or “mine eyes are wearied by your stream of peevish complaints” (G. R. Driver, “Problems in the Hebrew text of Job,” VTSup 3 [1955]: 78). There is no alternative suggestion that is compelling.



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