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(0.09)(Luk 9:60)

sn There are several options for the meaning of Jesusreply <i>Let the dead bury their own deadi>: (1) Recent research suggests that burial customs in the vicinity of Jerusalem from about 20 <span class="smcaps">b.c.span> to <span class="smcaps">a.d.span> 70 involved a reinterment of the bones a year after the initial burial, once the flesh had rotted away. At that point the son would have placed his fathers bones in a special box known as an ossuary to be set into the wall of the tomb. (See, e.g., C. A. Evans, <i>Jesus and the Ossuariesi>, 26-30.) Thus Jesus could well be rebuking the man for wanting to wait around for as much as a year before making a commitment to follow him. In 1st century Jewish culture, to have followed Jesus rather than burying ones father would have seriously dishonored ones father (cf. <data ref="Bible:Tob 4:3-4">Tobit 4:3-4data>). (2) The remark is an idiom (possibly a proverbial saying) that means, “The matter in question is not the real issue,” in which case Jesus was making a wordplay on the wording of the mans (literal) request (see L&N 33.137). (3) This remark could be a figurative reference to various kinds of people, meaning, “Let the spiritually dead bury the dead.” (4) It could also be literal and designed to shock the hearer by the surprise of the contrast. Whichever option is preferred, it is clear that the most important priority is to preach the gospel (<i>proclaim the kingdom of Godi>).

(0.08)(1Jo 1:4)

sn <i>This is what we proclaim to youso that our joy may be completei>. The prologue to 1 John (<data ref="Bible:1Jn 1:1-4">1:1-4data>) has many similarities to the prologue to the Gospel of John (<data ref="Bible:Jn 1:1-18">1:1-18data>). Like the prologue to the Fourth Gospel, the prologue to 1 John introduces the reader to important themes which will be more fully developed later in the body of the work. In the case of 1 John, three of these are: (1) the importance of eyewitness testimony to who Jesus is (cf. <data ref="Bible:1Jn 4:14">4:14data>; <data ref="Bible:1Jn 5:6-12">5:6-12data>), (2) the importance of the earthly ministry of Jesus as a part of Gods revelation of himself in Jesus Christ (cf. <data ref="Bible:1Jn 4:2">4:2data>; <data ref="Bible:1Jn 5:6">5:6data>), and (3) the eternal life available to believers in Jesus Christ (<data ref="Bible:1Jn 5:11-12">5:11-12data>; <data ref="Bible:1Jn 5:20">5:20data>). Like the rest of the letter, the prologue to 1 John does not contain any of the usual features associated with a letter in NT times, such as an opening formula, the name of the author or sender, the name(s) of the addressee(s), a formal greeting, or a health wish or expression of remembrance. The author of 1 John begins the prologue with an emphasis on the eyewitness nature of his testimony. He then transitions to a focus on the readers of the letter by emphasizing the proclamation of this eyewitness (apostolic) testimony to them. The purpose of this proclamation is so that the readers might share in fellowship with the author, a true fellowship which is with the Father and the Son as well. To guarantee this maintenance of fellowship the author is writing the letter itself (line 4a). Thus, in spite of the convoluted structure of the prologue in which the authors thought turns back on itself several times, there is a discernible progression in his thought which ultimately expresses itself in the reason for the writing of the letter (later expressed again in slightly different form in the purpose statement of <data ref="Bible:1Jn 5:13">5:13data>).

(0.08)(Pro 8:1)

sn In this chapter wisdom is personified. In <data ref="Bible:Pr 1:20-33">1:20-33data> wisdom proclaims her value, and in <data ref="Bible:Pr 3:19-26">3:19-26data> wisdom is the agent of creation. Such a personification has affinities with the wisdom literature of the ancient Near East, and may have drawn on some of that literature, albeit with appropriate safeguards (Claudia V. Camp, <i>Wisdom and the Feminine in the Book of Proverbsi>, 23-70). Wisdom in <data ref="Bible:Pr 8">Proverbs 8data>, however, is not a deity like Egypts <i>Ma'ati> or the Assyrian-Babylonian <i>Ishtari>. It is simply presented as if it were a self-conscious divine being distinct but subordinate to God, but in reality it is the personification of the attribute of wisdom displayed by God (R. B. Y. Scott, <i>Proverbs, Ecclesiastesi> [AB], 69-72; and R. Marcus, “On Biblical Hypostases of Wisdom,” <i>HUCAi> 23 [1950-1951]: 157-71). Many have equated wisdom in this chapter with Jesus Christ. This connection works only in so far as Jesus reveals the nature of the Father, just as Proverbs presents wisdom as an attribute of God. Jesusclaims included wisdom (<data ref="Bible:Mt 12:42">Matt 12:42data>) and a unique knowledge of God (<data ref="Bible:Mt 11:25-27">Matt 11:25-27data>). He even personified wisdom in a way that was similar to Proverbs (<data ref="Bible:Mt 11:19">Matt 11:19data>). Paul saw the fulfillment of wisdom in Christ (<data ref="Bible:Col 1:15-20">Col 1:15-20data>; <data ref="Bible:Col 2:3">2:3data>) and affirmed that Christ became our wisdom in the crucifixion (<data ref="Bible:1Co 1:24">1 Cor 1:24data>, <data ref="Bible:1Co 1:30">30data>). So this personification in Proverbs provides a solid foundation for the similar revelation of wisdom in Christ. But because wisdom is a creation of God in <data ref="Bible:Pr 8">Proverbs 8data>, it is unlikely that wisdom here is to be identified with Jesus Christ. The chapter unfolds in three cycles: After an introduction (<data ref="Bible:Pr 8:1-3">1-3data>), wisdom makes an invitation (<data ref="Bible:Pr 8:4">4data>, <data ref="Bible:Pr 8:5">5data>) and explains that she is noble, just, and true (<data ref="Bible:Pr 8:6-9">6-9data>); she then makes another invitation (<data ref="Bible:Pr 8:10">10data>) and explains that she is valuable (<data ref="Bible:Pr 8:11-21">11-21data>); and finally, she tells how she preceded and delights in creation (<data ref="Bible:Pr 8:22-31">22-31data>) before concluding with the third invitation (<data ref="Bible:Pr 8:32-36">32-36data>).

(0.06)(Ecc 1:1)

tn The meaning of <span class="hebrew">קֹהֶלֶתspan> (<span class="translit">qoheletspan>) is somewhat puzzling. The verb <span class="hebrew">קָהַלspan> (<span class="translit">qahalspan>) meansto assemble, summon” (<i>HALOTi> 1078-79 s.v. <span class="hebrew">קהלspan>), and is derived from the noun <span class="hebrew">קָהָלspan> (<span class="translit">qahalspan>, “assembly”; <i>HALOTi> 1079-80 s.v. <span class="hebrew">קָהָלspan>). Thus <span class="hebrew">קֹהֶלֶתspan> might mean: (1) convener of the assembly, (2) leader, speaker, teacher, or preacher of the assembly, or (3) member of the assembly. Elsewhere in the book, <span class="hebrew">קֹהֶלֶתspan> is used in collocation with statements about his position as king in Jerusalem (<data ref="Bible:Ec 1:12">Eccl 1:12data>), his proclamations about life (<data ref="Bible:Ec 1:2">Eccl 1:2data>; <data ref="Bible:Ec 7:27">7:27data>; <data ref="Bible:Ecc 12:8">12:8data>), and his teaching of wisdom and writing wise sayings (<data ref="Bible:Ec 12:9-10">Eccl 12:9-10data>). Thus, <span class="hebrew">קֹהֶלֶתspan> probably meansthe leader of the assemblyorspeaker of the assembly.” (See also the following study note.) Rabbinic literature treats <span class="hebrew">קֹהֶלֶתspan> as a traditional surname for Solomon, that is, “Qoheleth,” relating it to the noun <span class="hebrew">קָהָלspan>. For example, this explanation is found in rabbinic literature (Qoheleth Rabbah 1:1): “Why was his name called Qoheleth [<span class="hebrew">קֹהֶלֶתspan>]? Because his words were proclaimed in public meeting [<span class="hebrew">קָהַלspan>], as it is written (<data ref="Bible:1Ki 8:1">1 Kgs 8:1data>).” The LXX rendered it <span class="greek">ἐκκλησιαστήςspan> (<span class="translit">ekklēsiastēsspan>, “member of the assembly,” LSJ 509), as was the custom of relating Greek <span class="greek">ἐκκλησίαspan> (<span class="translit">ekklēsiaspan>, “assembly”) to Hebrew <span class="hebrew">קָהָלspan>. The books English title, “Ecclesiastes,” is simply a transliteration of the Greek term from the LXX. Symmachus’ <span class="greek">παροιμιαστήςspan> (<span class="translit">paroimiastēsspan>, “author of proverbs,” LSJ 1342 s.v.) is not a translation of <span class="hebrew">קֹהֶלֶתspan> but refers to his authorship of many proverbs (<data ref="Bible:Ec 12:9-10">Eccl 12:9-10data>). In terms of the participial form, <span class="hebrew">קֹהֶלֶתspan> is used substantively to designate the profession or title of the author. The term is used in <data ref="Bible:Pr 12:8">12:8data> with the article, indicating that it is a professional title rather than a personal surname: <span class="hebrew">הַקּוֹהֶלֶתspan> (<span class="translit">haqqoheletspan>, “the Teacher”). Substantival participles often designate the title or profession of an individual: <span class="hebrew">כֹּהֵןspan> (<span class="translit">kohenspan>), “priest”; <span class="hebrew">רֹזֵןspan> (<span class="translit">rozenspan>), “ruler”; <span class="hebrew">שֹׁטֵרspan> (<span class="translit">shoterspan>), “officer”; <span class="hebrew">נֹקֵדspan> (<span class="translit">noqedspan>), “sheep-breeder”; <span class="hebrew">שֹׁפֵטspan> (<span class="translit">shofetspan>), “judge”; <span class="hebrew">יֹצֵרspan> (<span class="translit">yotserspan>), “potter”; <span class="hebrew">כֹּרֵםspan> (<span class="translit">koremspan>), “vine-dresser”; <span class="hebrew">יֹגֵבspan> (<span class="translit">yogevspan>), “farmer”; <span class="hebrew">שׁוֹעֵרspan> (<span class="translit">shoʿerspan>), “gate-keeper”; <span class="hebrew">צוֹרֵףspan> (<span class="translit">tsorefspan>), “smelter”; and <span class="hebrew">רֹפֵאspan> (<span class="translit">rofeʾspan>), “doctor” (<i>IBHSi> 614-15 §37.2a). In terms of its feminine ending with a male referent, Joüon 1:266-67 §89.b suggests that it is intensive, e.g., <span class="hebrew">מוֹדַעַתspan> (<span class="translit">modaatspan>) “close relativefrom <span class="hebrew">מוֹדָעspan> (<span class="translit">modaʿspan>) “kinsman.” The feminine ending is used similarly in Arabic in reference to a male referent, e.g., Arabic <span class="translit">rawiyatspan> “a great narratorfrom <span class="translit">rawispan> “narrator” (C. P. Caspari, <i>A Grammar of the Arabic Languagei>, 1:233c). So <span class="hebrew">קֹהֶלֶתspan> may meanthe leader/teacher of the assemblyfrom the noun <span class="hebrew">קָהָלspan>. When used in reference to a male referent, feminine forms denote a professional title or vocational office (as in Arabic, Ethiopic, and Aramaic), e.g., <span class="hebrew">סֹפֶרֶתspan> (<span class="translit">soferetspan>), “scribe”; <span class="hebrew">פֹּכֶרֶתspan> (<span class="translit">pokheretspan>), “gazelle-catcher”; <span class="hebrew">פֶּחָהspan> (<span class="translit">pekhahspan>), “provincial governor”; and <span class="hebrew">פְּרָעוֹתspan> (<span class="translit">p<sup>esup>raʿotspan>), “princes” (GKC 393 §122.<i>ri>). Occasionally, a professional name later became a personal name, e.g., the title <span class="hebrew">סֹפֶרֶתspan> (“scribe”) became the nameSophereth” (<data ref="Bible:Ezr 2:55">Ezra 2:55data>; <data ref="Bible:Ne 7:57">Neh 7:57data>), <span class="hebrew">פֹּכֶרֶתspan> (“gazelle-catcher”) becamePokereth” (<data ref="Bible:Ezr 2:57">Ezra 2:57data>; <data ref="Bible:Ne 7:59">Neh 7:59data>), and perhaps <span class="hebrew">קֹהֶלֶתspan> (“assembler”) became the surnameQoheleth” (<i>HALOTi> 926 s.v. <span class="hebrew">פֹּכֶרֶת הַצְּבָיִיםspan>). Many translations render <span class="hebrew">קֹהֶלֶתspan> as a professional title: “the Speaker” (NEB, Moffatt), “the Preacher” (KJV, RSV, YLT, MLB, ASV, NASB), “the Teacher” (NIV, NRSV), “the Leader of the Assembly” (NIV margin), “the Assembler” (NJPS margin). Others render it as a personal surname: “Koheleth” (JPS, NJPS) andQoheleth” (NAB, NRSV margin).

(0.05)(Isa 6:10)

sn Do we take this commission at face value? Does the Lord really want to prevent his people from understanding, repenting, and being healed? Verse <data ref="Bible:Is 6:9">9data>, which ostensibly records the content of Isaiahs message, is clearly ironic. As far as we know, Isaiah did not literally proclaim these exact words. The Hebrew imperatival forms are employed rhetorically and anticipate the response Isaiah will receive. When all is said and done, Isaiah might as well preface and conclude every message with these ironic words, which, though imperatival in form, might be paraphrased as follows: “You continually hear, but dont understand; you continually see, but dont perceive.” Isaiah might as well command them to be spiritually insensitive because, as the preceding and following chapters make clear, the people are bent on that anyway. (This ironic command is comparable to saying to a particularly recalcitrant individual, “Go ahead, be stubborn!”) Verse <data ref="Bible:Is 6:10">10bdata> is also clearly sarcastic. On the surface it seems to indicate Isaiahs hardening ministry will prevent genuine repentance. But, as the surrounding chapters clearly reveal, the people were hardly ready or willing to repent. Therefore, Isaiahs preaching was not needed to prevent repentance! Verse <data ref="Bible:Is 6:10">10bdata> reflects the peoples attitude and might be paraphrased accordingly: “Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their mind, repent, and be restored, and they certainly wouldnt want that, would they?” Of course, this sarcastic statement may also reveal that the Lord himself is now bent on judgment, not reconciliation. Just as Pharaohs rejection of Yahwehs ultimatum ignited judgment and foreclosed, at least temporarily, any opportunity for repentance, so the Lord may have come to the point where he has decreed to bring judgment before opening the door for repentance once more. The sarcastic statement in verse <data ref="Bible:Is 6:10">10bdata> would be an emphatic way of making this clear. (Perhaps we could expand our paraphrase: “Otherwise they mightrepent, and be restored, and they certainly wouldnt want that, would they? Besides, its too late for that!”) Within this sarcastic framework, verse <data ref="Bible:Is 6:10">10adata> must also be seen as ironic. As in verse <data ref="Bible:Is 6:9">9data> the imperatival forms should be taken as rhetorical and as anticipating the peoples response. One might paraphrase: “Your preaching will desensitize the minds of these people, make their hearing dull, and blind their eyes.” From the outset the Lord might as well command Isaiah to harden the people because his preaching will end up having that effect. Despite the use of irony, we should still view this as a genuine, albeit indirect, act of divine hardening. After all, God did not have to send Isaiah. By sending him, he drives the sinful people further from him, for Isaiahs preaching, which focuses on the Lords covenantal demands and impending judgment upon covenantal rebellion, forces the people to confront their sin and then continues to desensitize them as they respond negatively to the message. As in the case of Pharaoh, Yahwehs hardening is not arbitrarily imposed on a righteous or even morally neutral object. Rather his hardening is an element of his righteous judgment on recalcitrant sinners. Ironically, Israels rejection of prophetic preaching in turn expedites disciplinary punishment, and brings the battered people to a point where they might be ready for reconciliation. The prophesied judgment (cf. <data ref="Bible:Is 6:11-13">6:11-13data>) was fulfilled by 701 <span class="smcaps">b.c.span> when the Assyrians devastated the land (a situation presupposed by <data ref="Bible:Is 1:2-20">Isa 1:2-20data>; see especially vv. <data ref="Bible:Is 1:4-9">4-9data>). At that time the divine hardening had run its course and Isaiah is able to issue an ultimatum (<data ref="Bible:Is 1:19-20">1:19-20data>), one which Hezekiah apparently took to heart, resulting in the sparing of Jerusalem (see <data ref="Bible:Is 36-39">Isa 36-39data> and cf. <data ref="Bible:Je 26:18-19">Jer 26:18-19data> with <data ref="Bible:Mic 3:12">Mic 3:12data>).This interpretation, which holds in balance both Israels moral responsibility and the Lords sovereign work among his people, is consistent with other pertinent texts both within and outside the Book of Isaiah. <data ref="Bible:Is 3:9">Isa 3:9data> declares that the people of Judahhave brought disaster upon themselves,” but <data ref="Bible:Is 29:9-10">Isa 29:9-10data> indicates that the Lord was involved to some degree in desensitizing the people. <data ref="Bible:Zec 7:11-12">Zech 7:11-12data> looks back to the pre-exilic era (cf. v. <data ref="Bible:Is 6:7">7data>) and observes that the earlier generations stubbornly hardened their hearts, but <data ref="Bible:Ps 81:11-12">Ps 81:11-12data>, recalling this same period, states that the Lordgave them over to their stubborn hearts.”