|NET © Notes||
1 tn Grk “Then when.”
2 tn Grk “came.”
3 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Lazarus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
4 tn Grk “he had already had four days in the tomb” (an idiom).
sn There is no description of the journey itself. The author simply states that when Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been in the tomb four days already. He had died some time before this but probably not very long (cf. Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:6,10 who were buried immediately after they died, as was the common practice of the time). There is some later evidence (early 3rd century) of a rabbinic belief that the soul hovered near the body of the deceased for three days, hoping to be able to return to the body. But on the fourth day it saw the beginning of decomposition and finally departed (Leviticus Rabbah 18.1). If this belief is as old as the 1st century, it might suggest the significance of the four days: After this time, resurrection would be a first-order miracle, an unequivocal demonstration of the power of God. It is not certain if the tradition is this early, but it is suggestive. Certainly the author does not appear to attach any symbolic significance to the four days in the narrative.