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.
63:1-66:16: This section moves towards the victory of Yahweh in a new heaven and a new earth, to be reflected in a new Temple and new priesthood, but the sombre tones of Chapters 56-59 are maintained. [NJBC]
63:7-64:12: This is a psalm of intercession. [NOAB]
63:7-14: A historical prologue recalling Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. [NOAB]
63:7: “steadfast love”: i.e. God’s continuing keeping of the covenant in spite of Israel’s waywardness. NJBC says that hesed is a dutiful love springing from a blood bond and leading to family obligations: see 43:1-7; 34. Liturgical acts allowed Israelites to participate in God’s remembrance of great redemptive acts: see Exodus 28:12 (“You shall set the two stones on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel; and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for remembrance”); 30:11-16; Leviticus 2:3; Numbers 10:8-10.
63:8: Israel is called. In Exodus 4:22-23 Yahweh commands Moses: “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: Israel is my firstborn son. I said to you, ‘Let my son go that he may worship me.’”; 19:3-6. [NOAB]
63:10: “grieved his holy spirit”: God is affected by resistance to the prophets, also in 43:24: “You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities”. Outside the New Testament, “holy spirit” occurs elsewhere only in Psalm 51:11 (where a psalmist asks of God: “Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me”) and Wisdom of Solomon 1:5 (“... a holy and disciplined spirit will flee from deceit”) and Wisdom of Solomon 9:17 (“Who has learned your counsel, unless you have given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high?”). [NJBC]
63:11-14: While five participles cast this section as a joyful hymn, that fact only sharpens the sense of frustration. A similar construct is used in 40:28 (“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God ...”) and 42:5. [NJBC]
63:11: “Where is the one ... ?”: This lays bare the agony of an honest, simple person. [NJBC]
63:13-14: Israel is safely led through Sinai to Canaan. [NOAB]
63:15-16: The prophet hopefully petitions God, who, unlike Israel’s patriarchs, is immortal. (“Israel” is Jacob.) [NOAB]
63:15: “Look down from heaven”: Also found in another psalm of agony. [NJBC]
64:1-5b: For God’s showing of his power in the old days, see Exodus 19:16-18; Judges 5:4-5; Habakkuk 3:3-15. In the Torah, humans cannot approach God (see Genesis 11:1-9, the Tower of Babel, and Exodus 33:17-23, at Mount Sinai), but God comes to them (Exodus 19-20). [NOAB]
64:1: In some other translations, this verse is 63:19b, so the numbers of the following verses are one lower than in the NRSV.
64:6: “filthy cloth”: NJBC makes reference here to Leviticus 15:19-24 (the commandment regarding a woman’s behaviour during menstruation). However, the Hebrew word translated as “filthy” only occurs once in all of the Old Testament. There appear not to be any other words from the same root in the Old Testament. The word translated here as “cloth” usually means clothing. In the Leviticus passage, it refers to the fact that any man who touches a menstruating woman needs to wash his clothes, not to any cloth or clothing worn by the menstruating woman. [Lorinda Hoover]
64:8-12: The Hebrew texts shows that the psalmist’s appeal is desperate: on the contrary, “you are our Father ...”. We really are the work of your hand”. [NJBC]
64:10: “Your holy cities”: Because the Promised Land is God’s, so are its cities. [NOAB]
65:1-12: The oracle of judgement can be divided, despite some irregularities, into the indictment (vv. 1-5), the sentencing (vv. 6-7), the promise of salvation (vv. 8-10) and new indictment and sentencing (vv. 11-12). [NJBC]
65:1-2: It was the people who were silent, not God. [NOAB]
65:1: “a nation”: Clearly the Israelites. [NJBC]
65:3: “sacrificing in gardens”: An allusion to the Canaanite nature-cult practices to which pre-exilic Israel fell prey (see Amos 2:7-8 and Jeremiah 2:8-3:5) were taking their toll again . See also 57:3-12. [NJBC]
65:4: “sit inside tombs”: For divination, to consult the dead. Apparently also an Israelite practice before the Exile: 29:4 says “Then deep from the earth you shall speak, from low in the dust your words shall come; your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost, and your speech shall whisper out of the dust”. [NOAB]
65:4: “spend the night in secret places”: i.e. in a shrine to receive visions. [NOAB]
65:5: “I am too holy for you”: i.e. being sanctified by some idolatrous rite. [NOAB]
65:8-10: Just as good clusters of grapes are separated from the bad, so God will separate the godly from the ungodly. See also Matthew 25:32-33 (the judgement of the nations). Yahweh’s “servants”, his “chosen”, will survive the ordeal and inherit the land. 57:13 says: “... whoever takes refuge in me shall possess the land and inherit my holy mountain”. [NOAB]
65:10: “Sharon”: The fertile northern coastal plain. [NOAB]
65:10: “Achor”: The desolate region west of the Dead Sea, where Israel sinned: see Joshua 7:20-24. Hosea 2:15 speaks of making “the Valley of Achor a door of hope”. [NOAB] The Promised Land will again extend from Achor (in the southeast, where Joshua began the conquest) to Sharon at the northeast extreme. See also 35:2. (“Sharon” is near Mount Carmel.) [NJBC]
65:11-12: “Fortune ... Destiny”: In the Hebrew text, these are Gad, the Syrian god of fate, and Meni, an Egyptian god of Spring and fertility. Gad is also mentioned in Joshua 11:17; 15:37. [NOAB] [NJBC]
65:13-16: The Temple personnel experience a reversal of the blessings God promised to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3.
65:17-19: Heaven and earth will be transformed: a complete transformation of the cosmos; God will rejoice in Jerusalem (see also 62:5); her mourning is over (see also 25:8). NJBC notes that the Hebrew text says that creation is happening now.
65:20-23: Those in Jerusalem will live in happiness and security. [NOAB]
65:22: “They shall not build and another inhabit ...”: i.e. they will neither be conquered, nor will armies each off the land”.
65:22: “like the days of a tree”: For Israel being like a tree, see also Jeremiah 17:8. [NOAB] The Septuagint translation has according to the days of the tree of life, seeing this as referring to Paradise (the Garden of Eden): see Genesis 2:9; Revelation 22:2, 14. [NJBC] Jeremiah 17:8 says: “They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Superscription: “Of Asaph”: Asaph was appointed by David to share in leading worship, and sang and/or played at the dedication of the Temple Solomon built, as 1 Chronicles 6:31-48 tells us.
Verse 3: “Restore us, O God”: Receive us back into a covenant relationship. See also Jeremiah 15:9. Amos and Hosea, prophets in the northern kingdom, declared that Israel’s pact with God was nullified because of the people’s infidelity. See Amos 1:3-2:6 and Hosea 1:9. (There “Lo-ammi” means not my people). [NJBC]
Verse 3: “shine”: The REB offers shine upon us.
Verse 8: “nations”: See also 78:55. Deuteronomy 7:1 names them: “the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations mightier and more numerous than you”. [NOAB]
Verse 10: “mighty cedars”: Mighty trees that are like mountains are God’s work, not that of humans.
Verse 12: Vines were usually protected by walls as a guard against humans and animals. [JBC]
Verse 16: “may they perish ...”: While in vv. 3, 7 and 19 the prayer is that through God’s showing himself (smiling) Israel may be saved, here it is that his grimace may cause Israel’s enemies to perish. [NJBC]
Verse 17: “the one at your right hand”: NOAB sees this as a personification of Israel rather than the king. 110:1 says “The LORD says to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool’”. [JBC]
Verse 17: “the one whom ...”: The Hebrew is ben ‘adam, meaning son of man. [JBC]
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Verse 1: “Sosthenes”: He may be the “official of the synagogue” who was beaten: see Acts 18:17. [NOAB] The absence of Timothy’s name probably indicates that he is already on the way to Corinth. He is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 1:1 (a letter probably written, in part, before this one).
Verse 2: “saints”: Those set apart for God’s work. [CAB]
Verse 2: “together with all those ...”: Probably a reminder that Paul’s readers are not the only Christians. In 11:16, Paul writes: “But if anyone is disposed to be contentious – we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God” and in 2 Corinthians 1:1 “To the church of God that is in Corinth, including all the saints throughout Achaia”. [NJBC]
Verse 5: Gifts mentioned in other letters are missing from this introductory section:
Verse 7: “spiritual gift”: For rules for using them, see chapters 12-14.
Comments: (as mentioned later): Dwelling on the excitement of the present rather than looking forward to “the revealing of ... Christ”, his second coming, is the essence of the argument Paul will make in chapters 12-14. There Paul is saying first that:
The gifts with which they are blessed must be put into perspective. True perspective comes from love (chapter 13), maturity and humility. [Alan T Perry]
Verse 7: “as you wait”: A reminder that the fullness of God’s revelation is in the future, probably necessary because of the Corinthian Christians excitement over what they already experience. [NJBC]
Verse 8: “He will also strengthen you”: In 10:13 Paul writes: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength ...”.
Verse 9: “you were called”: In the Greek, hoi kletoi, the called ones. See also 2:2, 24; Romans 1:6, 7; 8:28. Implicit in the call to salvation (7:15, 22; Galatians 1:6; 5:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:7) is the call to glory (Romans 8:28-30; Philippians 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:12), whose author is always God (Galatians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:24). [NJBC]
Verse 9: “called into the fellowship”: The Greek word is koinonia. To Paul, it is the vital union of believers among themselves, which is their union with Christ. Their shared existence as members of his body (see 12:12-27) is highlighted in the Eucharist (see 10:16-17). [NJBC]
Verse 1: The construction of the third Temple, started by Herod the Great, was still underway in Jesus’ day. Most of the “large stones” were some 11 metres (34 feet) long by 6 metres (19 feet) wide by 4 metres (13 feet) thick. [NOAB]
Verse 2: This Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. Jesus’ prediction of its destruction is also found in 14:57-58; 15:29 (on the Cross); Matthew 26:61 (Jesus before the High Priest); Luke 19:43-44 (Jesus weeps over Jerusalem); John 2:19 (Jesus cleanses the Temple); Acts 6:14 (the arrest of Stephen). [NOAB] Jesus stands in the tradition of Old Testament prophets who had predicted this event: see Micah 3:12 (“... Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins ...”) and Jeremiah 26:18. However, in that other events mentioned in this passage seem to be meant symbolically, so may this event. [NJBC]
Verse 3: “on the Mount of Olives”: Zechariah 14:4 prophesies a day when God will intervene in human affairs, standing on the Mount of Olives, so the scene for Jesus’ eschatological discourse is highly appropriate. See also 11:1. [NJBC]
Verse 4: In Luke 17:20, Jesus says: “‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you’”. [NOAB]
Verse 6: In John 8:24, Jesus tells some Jews “‘I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he’”. 1 John 2:18 warns: “As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come”. [NOAB]
Verse 6: “will come in my name”: More than Jewish messianic pretenders (e.g. Theudas and Judas the Galilean, in Acts 5:36-37) seem to be in view here, for they will come in Christ’s name. See also vv. 21-23. [NJBC]
Verse 6: “I am he!”: This phrase must allude to the Old Testament revelation formula (see Exodus 3:14, God tells Moses “‘I AM WHO I AM’”; Deuteronomy 32:39, “See now that I, even I, am he; there is no god beside me”; Isaiah 41:4, “I, the LORD, am first, and will be with the last”) applied to Yahweh, thus contributing the implicit christological message of the text. [NJBC]
Verse 8: “birthpangs”: At the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, he said that the new era “has come near” (see 1:15 and Matthew 4:17); however, per v. 10, it will arrive only after a time of witness to his message. [NOAB] As pain precedes (and portends) birth of a child, so suffering will precede the arrival of the new era.
Verse 9: “councils”: The Greek word, synedria, refers to local Jewish courts empowered to punish Jewish offenders. [NJBC]
Verse 10: V. 11 naturally flows from v. 9, so NJBC’s observation that the vocabulary is typically Marcan suggests that this verse is an insertion by the author. Further, if Jesus was so explicit about the mission to Gentiles, why was there a debate in the early Church over this mission? See Galatians 2 and Acts 15 (the Council of Jerusalem).
Verse 11: In John 14:26, Jesus says: “‘... the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you”. See also John 16:7-11 and Luke 12:11-12. [NOAB]
Verse 12: “Brother will betray brother”: The idea of the end-times as a time of societal breakdown is common in contemporary Jewish apocalyptic writings: see, for example, 2 Esdras 5:9; 6:24; Jubilees 23:19; 2 Baruch 70:3. [NJBC]
Verse 13: “the one who endures to the end will be saved”: There is a message of patient endurance throughout the passage. [NJBC]
Verses 14-23: By foretelling the events described in these verses, Jesus prepares his followers for what they will encounter. [NJBC]
Verse 14: “the desolating sacrilege”: This would remind Jesus’ hearers of the desecration of the Temple: in 168 BC, Antiochus IV Epiphanes set up a statue of Olympian Zeus in the Temple; indeed, he tried to wipe out Judaism. Jesus’ inclusion of reference to a second such sacrilege leads me to think that the other signs of the end of the era should not be taken literally. Jesus is probably speaking symbolically of the elevation of the Roman emperor to being a god and the destruction of the Temple (and with it, the termination of the Judaic sacrificial system) or of general desertion of God’s ways. Note also that the Roman governor Caligula gave a similar order in 40 AD for a statue of himself as Jupiter to be placed in the Temple. [CAB] See 1 Maccabees 1:54 (“they [the agents of Antiochus] erected a desolating sacrifice on the altar of burnt offering”); 1:59 (“... they offered sacrifice on the altar that was on top of the altar of burnt offering”); Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11.
When this happens, the faithful must flee to the countryside immediately.
Verse 14: “(let the reader understand)”: This comment may refer to the events leading up to the destruction of the Temple or of Caligula’s abortive plan. Perhaps the phrase is a code intended to avoid Roman hostility.
Verse 19: “suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation”: So Jesus speaks not of warfare, but of something much more serious. This alludes to Daniel 12:1: “There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence.” [NJBC]
Verse 20: “if the Lord had not cut short those days”: Daniel 12:7 suggests that God has established a time schedule for the coming of the Kingdom. For the idea of shortening the time, see two contemporary apocalyptic books: 1 Enoch 80:2; 2 Baruch 20:1-2; 83:1, 6. [NJBC]
Verse 23: “I have already told you everything”: NJBC offers I have foretold to you all these things.
Verses 24-27: The images of cosmic signs, the Son of Man, and the gathering of the chosen are all found in the Old Testament, but here they are brought together, with the second coming of Jesus, “the Son of Man”, as the key event. His glorious arrival will be the final proof of God’s victory over the forces of evil. The Old Testament texts echoed are Isaiah 13:10; 34:4; Ezekiel 32:7; Amos 8:9; Joel 2:10, 31; 3:15; Haggai 2:6, 21, but in no instance does such an image precede the coming of the Son of Man. The list of portents is a way of saying that all creation will signal his coming. [NJBC]
Verse 26: “they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’”: Daniel 7:13 says “As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him.” An NRSV footnote says that “human being” is son of man in the Aramaic original. See also 8:38; Matthew 10:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. [NOAB] To Mark, “the Son of Man” is clearly Jesus, not the human figure in angelic form of Daniel 7:13. Whether Jesus spoke of himself as “the Son of Man” is debated, but see 14:61-62. [NJBC]
Verse 27: “he will ... gather his elect from the four winds”: In Zechariah 2:6, Yahweh disperses the chosen. God’s gathering of the chosen is found in Deuteronomy 30:4; Isaiah 11:11, 16; 27:12; Ezekiel 39:27 and elsewhere in the Old Testament and in contemporary Jewish writings. [NJBC]
Verse 30: “this generation”: The normal meaning of this phrase would be the people of our time, and the words would refer to the next twenty to thirty years; however, what Jesus meant is uncertain. In 9:1, Jesus says: “‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power’”. [NOAB] V. 32 should be noted: only the Father knows when the end-times will be. [NJBC]
Verse 32: In Acts 1:6-7, the disciples ask Jesus: “‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’”. He replies: “‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority’”. [NOAB]
Verse 33: Ephesians 6:18 says “Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints”. See also Colossians 4:2. [NOAB]
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