Revised Common Lectionary Commentary

Clippings: Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost - October 9, 2022

Saint Dominic contemplating the Scriptures Saint Dominic contemplating the Scriptures
Author's note:
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.

Jeremiah 29:1,4-7

Chapter 28 tells of baseless assurances of speedy return to those in Palestine. [ NOAB]

The text is from Baruch’s memoirs. It has undergone some changes. Several scholars read vv. 8-9 after v. 15 because they break the sequence of v. 7 and v. 10. [ NJBC]

Verse 1: “Jeremiah”: In the Hebrew, the name is spelt differently in 27:1-29:32 from the way it is spelt in the rest of the book, so these chapters are from a different collection.

Verse 1: “the remaining elders”: In Ezekiel 8:1, Ezekiel speaks of “the elders of Judah sitting before” him when “the hand of the Lord GOD fell upon” him. See also Ezekiel 14:1.

Verse 2: “Jeconiah”: He is also called Jehoiachin, Jechoniah and Coniah. He reigned for only three months. His father was Jehoiakim. [ HBD]

Verse 3: “Elasah ... and Gemariah”: These are the names of the scribes. “Elasah” is probably the brother of Ahikan: 26:24. “Gemariah” is also mentioned in 36:10. [ NOAB] NJBC says that he must be from the same priestly family that played an important role in the reform in the time of King Josiah: see 2 Kings 22.

Verse 3: “Zedekiah”: He ruled Judah from 597 to 586 BC. [ NOAB]

Verses 5-7: The worship of Yahweh has burst the enclosure of the holy land. This is also indicated in Ezekiel 10:18-22; 11:22-25. (In Ezekiel 10:20, “Chedar” was a major irrigation channel near Nippur in Babylon.) [ NJBC]

Verse 10: “seventy years”: This period of exile is also mentioned in 25:11-12. [ NOAB] NJBC says that an indefinite period is meant.

Verse 14: “will restore your fortunes ...”: This phrase and the rest of the verse are in the Masoretic Text but not in the Septuagint translation, so perhaps there were two versions of this book, the older one lacking these words.

Verses 15-23: Solemn warning is given to those remaining in the land of Judah that failure to obey Yahweh’s words will bring horrible judgement on them, as it did on two false prophets in Babylon, Ahab and Zedekiah, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire. [ CAB]

Verses 16-20: These verses are in the Masoretic Text but not in the Septuagint translation. [ NJBC] NOAB sees them as an editorial comment on Jeremiah’s letter; NJBC notes that being a severe attack on Zedekiah, they are strange in a letter to the exiles in Babylon.

Verse 22: “roasted in the fire”: A common punishment in Babylonia: see Code of Hammurabi 25:110, 137; Daniel 3:6. [ JBC]

Verses 24-32: A leading false prophet in Babylon, Shemaiah, writes to the high priest in Jerusalem, asking him to silence Jeremiah, for encouraging exiles to be content in Babylon. In response, Jeremiah declares Shemaiah’s divine punishment. [ CAB]

Verse 25: “Zephaniah”: He consulted Jeremiah twice in Zedekiah’s name: see 21:1 and 37:3. [ NJBC]

Verses 31-32: Jeremiah’s answer to Shemaiah is similar to the one he has given to Hananiah in 28:15-16. [ NJBC]

Psalm 66:1-12

Verses 4,7,15: “Selah”: This is probably a liturgical direction, added to the original text of the psalm. It may mean lift up, either to indicate the lifting up of the voices of the singers in a doxology, or to call for lifted-up instrumental music in an interlude in the singing. [ NOAB]

Selah is one of the greatest puzzles of the Old Testament. Its meaning seems to be connected with rising or lifting. But it is not clear whether the congregation rises or lifts up its hands, head, or eyes, or whether the music rises at the indicated points. The word probably indicates that the singing should stop to allow the congregation an interlude for presenting its homage to God by some gesture or act of worship. [ ICCPs]

Selah is also found 74 times in 39 psalms in the book of Psalms and three times in Habakkuk 3 (part of a psalm preserved there).

Verse 5: “Come and see what God has done”: 46:8 says: “Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth”. See also 64:9. [ NJBC]

Verses 6-7: Just as the hymn of Exodus 15 moves from the crossing of the sea to the crossing of the Jordan and concludes with Yahweh’s eternal kingship, so in summary fashion do these verses. [ NJBC]

Verse 12: “through fire and through water”: This is a merism. Isaiah 43:2 says “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you”. See also Sirach 15:16. [ NJBC]

Verses 16-19: The story of the writer’s experience: see 18:4-6 for another such story. Narration of the troubles from which the worshipper has been saved is a regular feature of thanksgiving psalms. [ NOAB]

Verses 19-20: An inclusio with the beginning of the communal thanksgiving: “Bless our God ... let the sound of his praise be heard” in v. 8 with “God has listened ... Blessed be God ...”. [ NJBC]

It is possible that two psalms have been joined together.

2 Timothy 2:8-15

2:1-2: “my child ... faithful people ... others”: It is possible to see three generations here, so perhaps the parousia (the second coming of Christ) is now known to be delayed. See also 1 Clement 42, 44. [ NJBC]

2:2: “through many witnesses”: In the presence of is also a possible translation. Timothy’s ordination may be in view: the author writes in 1:6: “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands”. See also 1 Timothy 1:18; 4:14 but consider also Deuteronomy 19:15 (the requirement for at least two witnesses). [ NJBC] On the other hand, through many witnesses may mean that Timothy learned from Paul and what he learnt has been confirmed by many.

2:2: “entrust”: 1 Timothy 6:20 says “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you”.

2:2: Timothy’s function is to hand on apostolic teaching: see also 1:8; 2:15 (“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him ... rightly explaining the word of truth”), 24-25. [ CAB]

2:3-6: All of the illustrations make the same point: hold nothing back from your work. They are used by Paul in 1 Corinthians in a somewhat different sense: see 1 Corinthians 9:7, 24-27. These examples are often found in Greek philosophical tradition. [ NJBC]

2:3-4: Paul uses a military image in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (“... we do not wage war according to human standards ...”) and Philemon 2 (“to Archippus our fellow soldier”). [ CAB]

2:5: 4:8 says: “From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing”. See also 1 Timothy 1:18; 6:12. [ CAB]

2:8: “Remember”: See also 1:4-6 (“Recalling your tears ... I am reminded of your sincere faith ... For this reason I remind you ...”) and 3:14-15. [ CAB]

2:8: “descendant of David”: In Romans 1:3-4, Paul writes that Jesus “was descended from David according to the flesh”. [ CAB] Curiously, Christ’s resurrection is mentioned before his birth. [ NJBC]

2:8: “that is my gospel”: i.e. Paul taught this. See also Romans 1:1; 2:16 (“according to my gospel”); 16:25. Curiously, Christ’s death is mentioned before his birth. [ NJBC]

2:9-10: NJBC says that there is no thought in the Pastoral Epistles of other apostles who would act were Paul’s work impeded.

2:9: “the word of God is not chained”: In Philippians 1:12-14, Paul says that his imprisonment has made many Christians “confident in the Lord” so that they now “dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear”. [ NOAB]

2:11-13: 1 Timothy 3:16 says: “Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory”. See also 1 Timothy 6:15-16. [ JBC]

2:11: “sure”: i.e. reliable. Titus 3:8 also says “The saying is sure”. [ NJBC]

2:11: “we will also live with him”: In Romans 6:8, Paul writes “... if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him”. See also Colossians 2:12, 20; 3:1. [ CAB]

2:12: Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:8: “... Quite apart from us you have become kings! Indeed, I wish that you had become kings, so that we might be kings with you!”. Revelation 3:21 says: “To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne”. [ CAB]

2:12: “if we deny him”: In Luke 12:9, Jesus says “‘whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God’”. In Matthew 10:33, he says: “whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven”. See also Mark 8:38. [ NOAB] [ JBC]

2:13: “he remains faithful”: In Romans 3:3-8, Paul writes: “What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true, as it is written, "So that you may be justified in your words, and prevail in your judging ...”. See also Romans 11:29-32. [ JBC]

2:14-3:9: This section focuses on the negative behaviour of the false teachers and how Timothy should act in view of it. [ CAB]

2:14-26: Each of the sections (vv. 14-15, 16-21, 22, 23-26) points out actions to be avoided and urges, either directly or by implication, the contrary correct behaviour. [ NJBC]

2:14: The function of Timothy's office is to safeguard the tradition, to pass it on, and to admonish when others do not abide by it. In 3:14, he is counselled to “continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it”. See also 4:2. [ CAB]

2:14: “wrangling over words”: According to 1 Timothy 6:4-5, a characteristic activity of false teachers. [ CAB]

2:15: “rightly explaining the word of truth”: See also 1:8; 2:2, 24-25; 3:14; 4:2; 1 Timothy 6:20. [ CAB] NJBC offers guiding the word of truth aright, and says that the image is of cutting a straight line or hewing out a straight path for the word.

2:16: “profane chatter”: In 1 Timothy 6:20, Timothy is advised to “ avoid the profane chatter”. [ CAB]

2:16: “impiety”: The opposite of piety (Greek: eusebia ), a virtue often praised by the author: see Titus 1:1 (where eusebia is translated as “godliness”). [ NJBC]

2:17: “Hymenaeus”: In 1 Timothy 1:20, he is paired with Alexander. [ NJBC] Here he is still part of the community but there he has been “turned over to Satan”, expelled. [ CAB]

2:18: “the resurrection has already taken place”: In Acts of Paul and Thecla 14, a different pair of opponents of Paul, Demas (see 2 Timothy 4:10) and Hermogenes (see 2 Timothy 1:15) teach that the resurrection, which Paul says is to come, has already taken place in the children we have, and that we are risen again (already) because we have come to know the true God. Their teaching is that resurrection is purely spiritual: they deny the future bodily resurrection and glorification, restricting resurrection to the mystical experience in baptism or conversion. [ NJBC]

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:12: “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead?”. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 says “As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here”. It seems that this misunderstanding predates the Pastoral Epistles.

2:19-20: The language is from 1 Corinthians 3:10-12 and Romans 9:19-24 (“... Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? ...”). The image of God as the potter is also found in Jeremiah 18:1-11 and Wisdom of Solomon 15:7. [CAB] [NJBC]

2:19: “God’s firm foundation”: 1 Corinthians 3:10-12 identifies the foundation of the Church as Christ; Ephesians 2:20 sees it as “the apostles and prophets”, with Christ as its “cornerstone”. Here it is probably God’s true revelation. [ NJBC]

2:19: “inscription”: NJBC offers seal. Two texts serve as a seal or distinguishing mark upon this “firm foundation”.

2:19: “‘The Lord knows those who are his’”: The quotation is from Numbers 16:5. To NOAB, the notion here is predestination. The quotation is from the account of God’s destruction of Korah and other opponents of Moses. God knows who are his own, and destroys those who are not! [ NJBC]

2:19: “‘Let everyone who calls ...’”: This may be a combination of Sirach 35:3 (or 7:2) with Leviticus 24:16. It warns true believers to shun wrongdoing. [ NJBC]

2:20-21: Although the Church is a mixed body containing both valuable and ignoble members (the various “utensils”), the ignoble, through cleansing, can become valuable. [ NJBC]

2:20: “In a large house”: Such as the church is. [ NOAB]

2:21: ” ready for every good work”: For the Pastoral Epistles, this is a hallmark of the true believer. Titus 1:16 speaks of those “profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work”. See also Titus 3:1; 2 Timothy 3:17. [ NJBC]

2:22: Flee passion and pursue virtue. [ NJBC]

2:22: “passions”: 4:3 foretells a time when “people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths”. See also 1 Timothy 6:9. This may be an allusion to the negative actions listed in vv. 14-16, 23. [ CAB]

2:22: “from a pure heart”: 1 Timothy 1:5 says: “But the aim of such instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith”. See also 1 Timothy 3:9 (“with a clear conscience”) and 2 Timothy 1:3. [ NJBC]

2:23: See also 1 Timothy 1:4, 7; 4:7; 6:4, 20. [ CAB] This verse is close in language to Titus 3:9-10, verses that refer specifically to the behaviour of false teachers: “... avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless ...”. [ NJBC]

2:25: “correcting opponents with gentleness”: Nothing is gained by becoming angry; patience and avoidance of controversy may lead some to repentance. [ NOAB]

2:25: “God may perhaps grant that they will repent ...”: NJBC offers God may give them a change of heart. Despite the hostility of the author to false teachers, he remains convinced that God “desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (see 1 Timothy 2:4).

2:26: “him ... his”: While the Greek pronouns are ambiguous as to their antecedent(s), both probably refer to “the devil”. [ NJBC]

Luke 17:11-19

Verse 11: “On the way to Jerusalem”: Luke’s description of Jesus’ journey towards returning to the Father begins at 9:51: “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”. Later, in 19:28, Luke writes: “After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem”. Jesus has entered a new stage in his career; he is on the last leg of his journey to God. [ CAB] [ NJBC]

Verse 11: “through the region between Samaria and Galilee”: The word translated “region” is meson (meaning middle). This verse illustrates Luke’s ignorance of the geography of Palestine. In 9:52, Jesus left Galilee and entered Samaria, so being on the way to Jerusalem, he cannot now be in Galilee. [ BlkLk] Perhaps he means an area where Jews came into contact with Samaritans.

Verse 12: In the Bible, leprosy is a skin disorder of uncertain nature. Several diseases were referred to by this name: see Leviticus 13:1-59; Numbers 5:1-4. Matthew 8:2 tells of a single leper coming to Jesus and saying: “‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean’”. [ NOAB]

Verse 13: “Master”: Peter calls Jesus “Master” in 5:5; 8:45; 9:33. In v. 6, Jesus has told his disciples: if you had the slightest faith (faith the size of a mustard seed), you could work miracles.

Verse 14: “‘Go and show yourselves to the priests”: Leviticus 13:2-3 commands: “When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a leprous disease on the skin of his body, he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests. The priest shall examine the disease on the skin of his body, and if the hair in the diseased area has turned white and the disease appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is a leprous disease; after the priest has examined him he shall pronounce him ceremonially unclean”. See also Leviticus 13:49 and 14:2-32.

Verse 15: “saw”: i.e. understood what had happened. Not only does he see that he is healed; he sees too that he has found God and his salvation. He is converted. [ NJBC]

Verse 15: “praising God”: Luke’s favourite response to manifestation of divine power and mercy. See also 2:20 (the shepherds); 5:25 (a paralytic), 26 (the crowd); 7:16 (at the raising of the widow’s son); 13:13 (a woman who had been crippled); 18:43 (a blind beggar); 23:47 (the centurion at the Cross); Acts 4:21; 21:20. The Samaritan praises God for what Jesus, God’s agent, has done. [ NJBC]

Verse 16: “thanked him”: The word used for thank has connotations of proclaiming God’s forgiveness. While the word in the Greek is eucharistein, it appears that it has not yet acquired an exclusively liturgical connotation. It also occurs in a non-*eucharistic sense in John 11:41, and frequently in the Pauline epistles. [ BlkLk]

Verse 16: “Samaritan”: On the role of Samaritans in Luke/Acts, see also Luke 9:51-55 (the people of a Samaritan village “did not receive” Jesus); 10:33 (the Good Samaritan); Acts 8:4-25 (Philip proclaims the good news in Samaria). To Jews, Samaritans were considered unclean and were despised, both because of their ancestry (they had mixed blood, being the descendants of Jews left behind during the Exile and of Gentiles whom the Assyrians resettled in Israel) and because they had their own temple and a variant version of the Scriptures. [ NJBC]

Verse 17: “the other nine”: Presumably they were Jews. [ NOAB]

Verse 18: In 7:2-10, we read of the centurion whose slave is gravely ill. He says to Jesus: “only speak the word, and let my servant be healed”. Jesus then says to the crowd following him: “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith”.

Verse 18: “foreigner”: i.e. not a member of the Jewish community. [ CAB]

Verse 19: “your faith has made you well”: The same Greek word for made well is used in Matthew 9:21-22; Mark 5:23, 28, 34; 10:52; Luke 8:36, 48, 50; 18:42. See also Mark 11:23-24. [ NOAB]

For other miracles in Luke’s travel narrative, see 11:14 (curing the dumb man) and 13:10-17 (curing the long-crippled woman). See also 14:1-6 (curing a man with edema).

What was promised in 2 Kings 5:8-19a (the healing of Naaman, the Syrian commander) and repeated in 4:27 and 7:22 has come to fulfilment in Jesus: God’s salvation is for all peoples. [ NJBC]

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