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(0.37) (Neh 3:15)

tn The Hebrew word translated “Siloam” is הַשֶּׁלַח (hashelakh, “water-channel”; cf. ASV, NASB, NRSV, TEV, CEV “Shelah”). It apparently refers to the Pool of Siloam whose water supply came from the Gihon Spring via Hezekiah’s Tunnel built in 701 b.c. (cf. Isa 8:6). See BDB 1019 s.v. שִׁלֹחַ; W. L. Holladay, Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon, 372. On the etymology of the word, which is a disputed matter, see HALOT 1517 s.v. III שֶׁלַח.

(0.32) (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.

(0.31) (Psa 23:2)

tn Both genitives in v. 2 indicate an attribute of the noun they modify: דֶּשֶׁא (desheʾ) characterizes the pastures as “lush” (i.e., rich with vegetation), while מְנֻחוֹת (menukhot) probably characterizes the water as refreshing. In this case the plural indicates an abstract quality. Some take מְנֻחוֹת in the sense of “still, calm” (i.e., as describing calm pools in contrast to dangerous torrents), but it is unlikely that such a pastoral scene is in view. Shepherds usually watered their sheep at wells (see Gen 29:2-3; Exod 2:16-19). Another option is to take מְנֻחוֹת as “resting places” and to translate, “water of/at the resting places” (i.e., a genitive of location; see IBHS 147-48 §9.5.2e).

(0.31) (2Ki 3:16)

tn Heb “making this valley cisterns, cisterns.” The Hebrew noun גֵּב (gev) means “cistern” in Jer 14:3 (cf. Jer 39:10). The repetition of the noun is for emphasis. See GKC 396 §123.e. The verb (“making”) is an infinitive absolute, which has to be interpreted in light of the context. The translation above takes it in an imperatival sense. The command need not be understood as literal, but as hyperbolic. Telling them to build cisterns is a dramatic way of leading into the announcement that he would miraculously provide water in the desert. Some prefer to translate the infinitive as an imperfect with the Lord as the understood subject, “I will turn this valley [into] many pools.”

(0.25) (Joh 5:1)

tc The textual variants ἑορτή or ἡ ἑορτή (heortē or hē heortē, “a feast” or “the feast”) may not appear significant at first, but to read ἑορτή with the article would almost certainly demand a reference to the Jewish Passover. The article is found in א C L Δ Ψ ƒ1 33 892 1424 pm, but is lacking in P66,75 A B D T Ws Θ ƒ13 565 579 700 1241 pm. Overall, the shorter reading has somewhat better support. Internally, the known proclivity of scribes to make the text more explicit argues compellingly for the shorter reading. Thus, the verse refers to a feast other than the Passover. The incidental note in 5:3, that the sick were lying outside in the porticoes of the pool, makes Passover an unlikely time because it fell toward the end of winter and the weather would not have been warm. L. Morris (John [NICNT], 299, n. 6) thinks it impossible to identify the feast with certainty.

(0.25) (Psa 46:4)

sn The city of God is Jerusalem (see Pss 48:1-2; 87:2-3). The river’s “channels” are probably irrigation ditches vital to growing crops. Some relate the imagery to the “waters of Shiloah” (see Isa 8:6), which flowed from the Gihon spring to the pool of Siloam. In Isa 8:6-8 these waters are contrasted with the flood waters symbolizing Assyria. Even if this is the reality behind the imagery, the picture of a river flowing through Jerusalem is idealized and exaggerated. The river and irrigation ditches symbolize the peace and prosperity that the Lord provides for Jerusalem, in contrast to the havoc produced by the turbulent waters (symbolic of the nations) outside the city. Some see here an adaptation of Canaanite (or, more specifically, Jebusite) mythical traditions of rivers/springs flowing from the high god El’s dwelling place. The Songs of Zion do utilize such imagery at times (see Ps 48:2). The image of a river flowing through Zion may have inspired prophetic visions of an eschatological river flowing from the temple (see Ezek 47:1-12; Joel 3:18).

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