Sometimes I have material left over when I edit Comments down to fit the available space. This page presents notes that landed on the clipping room floor. Some may be useful to you. While I avoid technical language in the Comments (or explain special terms), Clippings may have unexplained jargon from time to time.
A hypertext Glossary of Terms is integrated with Clippings. Simply click on any highlighted word in the text and a pop-up window will appear with a definition. Bibliographic references are also integrated in the same way.
The text is much more than a journalistic account of what happened: it is a rhythmic retelling of an experience, strongly conditioned by traditional (probably oral) Israelite forms of story telling. [FoxMoses]
13:17: “by way of the land of the Philistines”: The main military road into Canaan – along the Mediterranean. [NOAB]
13:18: “Red”: The Hebrew means reed. It appears that the word was first translated as “Red” in the Septuagint, which later translations have followed. [NJBC] See also “the sea” in 14:2, 9, 16, 21-23, 26-29.
13:18: The Hebrew word for sea can also mean lake. The reference is probably to one of the marshy lakes in the eastern Nile delta area, bordering on the wilderness of Sinai – rather than the Gulf of Suez farther south. [CAB] NJBC suggests Lake Balah; FoxMoses suggests Lake Timsah.
13:19: In Genesis 50:25-26, as he lies on his deathbed, Joseph has made the Israelites promise to take his bones with them when God “will visit you”. [NJBC] Joseph’s bones are reburied in Joshua 24:32 – marking the conquest of Canaan. [FoxMoses]
13:20: Numbers 33:6 gives the same initial itinerary.
13:20: “Etham”: Probably a frontier fortress. [NOAB]
13:21: This may reflect the ancient custom of carrying a burning brazier at the head of an army or caravan to indicate the line of march day and night. See also 3:2; 19:9; 33:9; 40:34-38; 1 Kings 8:10-11. [NOAB]
14:1-2: That these cities in the northeastern region of the Nile delta are named confirms the theory that the crossing of the sea was in the marshy lake region rather than in the Gulf itself. [CAB]
14:2: “Baal-zephon”: The name of a Canaanite deity – indicating the mixed cultural situation in this delta region bordering the land of Canaan. [CAB]
14:7: “officers”: The Hebrew may also mean teams of three or warriors or a picked team. [FoxMoses]
14:8: “boldly”: defiantly, in triumph [FoxMoses]
14:11-12: The Israelites are faint-hearted when faced with enemies, as God has predicted they would be, in 13:17. For other complaints (murmurings) against Moses (God) see 15:24; 16:2-3; 17:3; 32:1-4; Numbers 11:4-6; 12:1-2; 14:2-3; 16:13-14; 20:2-13; 21:4-5.
14:13: “deliverance”: The Hebrew word means rescue, but extending to the miraculous in the eyes of those who experience the event. [FoxMoses]
14:15: “Tell the Israelites to go forward”: Thus countering the Egyptian advance. [FoxMoses]
14:16: “divide it”: As if as natural an event as stretching out one’s hand! [FoxMoses]
14:20: “lit up”: FoxMoses says that the Hebrew is unclear.
14:21-31: The battle as described by the two traditions differs:
14:21-23: These verses are from the Priestly (P) tradition. [NJBC] Tradition heightened the miracle by attributing it to Moses’ wonder-working staff (vv. 16, 21a, 26-27) and by saying that the waters stood like walls (vv. 22b, 29b) [NOAB]
14:21: “dry land”: The same Hebrew word appears, also as a sign that all is well, in the Flood narrative, another story of deliverance (and of death). Similarly, the word translated as “dry ground” in v. 22 also appears at the end if the Flood story (see Genesis 8:14). [FoxMoses]
14:24: “At the morning watch”: i.e. before daybreak.
14:24: “threw ... into panic”: A Hebrew phrase used in the Old Testament to describe God’s effect on his enemies: see also, for example, Joshua 10:10 (the Amorites before Joshua’s army); Judges 4:15 (Sisera and his army); 1 Samuel 7:10 (the Philistines). [FoxMoses]
14:30-31: These verses show the influence of the Deuteronomist. Using language that mirrors the end of the entire Torah (see Deuteronomy 34), the text speaks of seeing, fearing, hand, eyes and the unique-to-Deuteronomy phrase “his servant Moses”: see Deuteronomy 34:5. Significantly then, the final narrative of Israel’s relationship to Egypt is cast as a classic ending in general. [FoxMoses]
We do not know what actually happened at the Sea, but that has little to do with the meaning of the text. The narrator demonstrates God’s final victory and portrays Israel’s escape in terms of a birthing (through a path, out of water), and these themes had the most influence both on later biblical tradition and on the generations of inspired Jews and Christians that heeded them. [FoxMoses]
Psalms 113-118 constitute the so-called Egyptian Hallel, used in connection with great festivals. Psalms 113-114 are sung before the Passover meal, and Psalms 115-118 afterwards. If the Last Supper was a Passover meal, these psalms are “the hymn” sung by Jesus and the disciples: see Matthew 26:30.
A hymn in praise of God’s great work in creating the nation – from leaving Egypt to crossing the Jordan. [NOAB]
Verse 3: “Jordan turned back”: Joshua 4:23 says: “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you crossed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we crossed over”.
Verse 4: CAB sees this verse as describing Israel’s enemies in poetic language.
Verses 1-18: The poetic style of this hymn and the imagery of its celebration of the triumph of Yahweh show clear affinity with sacred poems found by archeologists at sites in the Near East dating from this epoch, especially at Ugarit in Syria. The defeat by Israel of the nations named in vv. 14-15 occurred centuries later; this indicates that the hymn achieved its present form no earlier than the time of Solomon or David. [CAB]
Verse 2: See also 14:12-14.
Verse 3: See also 14:14 (“The LORD will fight for you ...”), 14:25 (“... the LORD is fighting for them [Israel]”); Psalm 24:8 (“Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle”).
Verses 4-10: A recital of the divine warrior’s victory at the sea. See also Psalm 78:12-13. [NOAB] Yahweh, like Baal in Ugaritic texts, is pictured as a storm god battling his enemies with wind, lightning and thunder. [NJBC]
Verse 4: “his picked officers were sunk”: There is an implication that the Egyptian officers were in boats. This differs from the traditions found in Chapter 14.
Verses 8-10: The language is influenced by the ancient myth of a divine battle against the sea, the chaotic power hostile to the rule of the gods. See also Psalms 77:16-19; 114:3-6; Habakkuk 3:8. [NOAB]
Verse 14: “Philistia”: The coastal region at the eastern end of the Mediterranean settled by Philistine about 1175 BC. So this song was presumably written later, but probably before the Monarchy. [NOAB]
Verse 17: Canaan is described as a mythical cosmic mountain, Zaphon, the location of God’s “abode” and “sanctuary”. See also Psalm 48:1-3. [NOAB] The impression is that God brought them to Canaan without the forty-year delay mentioned elsewhere in the Pentateuch and Joshua. [NJBC]
Verse 17: “the sanctuary”: Understood by later generations as Jerusalem, the site of the Temple on Mount Zion, but the poem is earlier than David’s conquest of Jerusalem in the tenth century. The whole land may be referred to as Yahweh’s mountain, as is the case in Deuteronomy 32:13; Ezekiel 39:4, 17, etc.
Verse 21: One of the oldest poetic couplets in the Bible. It may have been composed by an eye-witness of the event.
Verse 2: Paul may be referring to those who on certain occasions refrain from eating meat. See also 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; 10:23-33. [CAB] Their reason for abstaining may lie in their pre-Christian background: see Daniel 1:8 (Daniel abstains from “the royal rations of food and wine”) and Judith 8:6.
Verse 3: See also Colossians 2:16-19.
Verse 5: “Let all be fully convinced in their own minds”: See also v. 14 and 1 Corinthians 8:7: “... Since some [converts] have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled”.
Verse 6: “the day”: The Sabbath may be intended.
Verse 8: Paul says, in Philippians 1:21: “For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain”.
Verse 11: “praise”: The Greek word, exomolesetai, here has the sense of admitting, confessing.
Verse 14: See also v. 5 and Acts 10:9-16 (Peter’s vision); 1 Corinthians 8:7. This is a parenthetical comment: ritual cleanliness is not a property of anything created ; it is how it is used that matters. This verse may echo Jesus’ saying regarding the Pharisees’ distinction between clean and unclean: see Matthew 15:11 (“it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles”) and Leviticus 17:15 (“All persons, ... who eat what dies of itself or what has been torn by wild animals, shall wash their clothes, and bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the evening; then they shall be clean”). [NJBC]
Verse 15: “ruin”: i.e. falling away from Christ.
Verses 17-21: In 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, Paul writes: “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other”.
Verse 17: “the kingdom of God”: A term infrequently used by Paul, it here speaks of life in the present, rather than God’s kingdom of the future, as it does elsewhere in his writings: 1 Corinthians 4:20; 6:9-10; 15:24, 50; Galatians 5:21; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Colossians 1:13. [CAB]
Verse 22: “who have no reason to condemn themselves ...”: i.e. who are free from misgivings about the rightness of their practices/conduct. [NOAB]
Verse 23: What you do against your conscience is “sin”. [NOAB]
Verse 23: “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin”: For both the strong and the weak, to make one’s own practice mandatory for others is to usurp God’s place: to do so is sin. Perhaps Paul has the incident in Galatians 2:12-13 in mind.
Verses 21-22: In Luke 17:4, Jesus says: “‘if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive”.
Verse 21: “another member of the church”: A footnote in the NRSV says that the Greek means literally my brother. The word ekklesia (church) does not actually appear in the Greek, but it does in v. 17, so the sense is clear.
Verse 22: While God promises “sevenfold vengeance” on anyone who kills Cain (see Genesis 4:15), Lamech says that anyone who kills him will be avenged “seventy-sevenfold” (see Genesis 4:24). Thus he exceeds the law of retaliation, which permits one-for-one retaliation. (See Exodus 21:23-25). [NJBC] [HBD] Jesus expects the inverse.
Verse 28: “slaves”: An Old Testament way of referring not only to slaves but also to court officials or ministers. Here perhaps tax gatherers or finance ministers.
Verses 32-33: See also Luke 7:41-43 (the parable of the two debtors).
Verse 34: “tortured”: According to NOAB, in order to discover whether the debtor was concealing any money or valuables.
© 1996-2003 Chris Haslam
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