Comments

Revised Common Lectionary Commentary

Clippings: Remembrance Sunday - November 10, 2013



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.

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9

The Roman Catholic Church considers Wisdom to be an Old Testament book; other Christians place it in the Apocrypha.

Our passage is part of a section, 3:1-4:19. The author begins by stating that immortality is the reward of the just (godly). Then, in the light of that assertion, he comments in three paragraphs of 14 verses each on three points:

  • Why do some godly people suffer? (3:4-12)
  • Why are some godly people childless? (3:13-4:6)
  • Why do some godly people live less than a full life? (4:7-19)

In each paragraph, he contrasts the fate of the just and of the wicked (ungodly). [NJBC]

Note the inclusios:

  • “foolish” (v. 2) with “foolish” (v. 12)
  • “thought” (v. 2) with “reasoning” (v. 10)
  • “hope” (v. 4) with “hope” (v. 11) [NJBC]

Verse 1: “in the hand of God”: i.e. under his protection. This expression also occurs in Isaiah 62:3. [NJBC]

Verse 1: “torment”: i.e. after death. 4:18-19 says “The unrighteous ... will become dishonoured corpses, ... because he will dash them to the ground, and shake them from the foundations; they will be left utterly dry and barren, and they will suffer anguish, and the memory of them will punish”. [NJBC]

Verse 3: “peace”: Isaiah 57:1-2 says :”The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous are taken away from calamity, and they enter into peace; those who walk uprightly will rest on their couches”. The author does not tell us the state of the souls of the just immediately after death. They are probably thought to be with God and the angelic court. [NJBC]

Verse 4: “punished”: That suffering is a punishment is a common Old Testament assumption. [NJBC]

Verse 4: “hope”: i.e. during their earthly life. [NJBC]

Verse 4: “immortality”: The first use of this noun in the Bible. [NJBC]

Verses 5-6: “disciplined ... tried”: The author picks up on Deuteronomy 8:2-5; Proverbs 3:11-12; Sirach 2:1-6; 4:17-19. [NJBC]

Verse 6: “sacrificial burnt offering”: An idea suggested by Isaiah 53:7-10, part of a Servant Song. [NJBC]

Verse 7: “visitation”: A biblical term for a divine intervention, probably referring here to divine judgement immediately after death. [NJBC]

Verse 7: “shine ... sparks”: Daniel 12:3 says “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever”. See also Obadiah 18. [NJBC]

Verse 9: “truth”: Probably the knowledge of God and of heavenly wisdom. See also 1QS (Rule of the Qumran Community) 4:22 says: “... the upright will understand knowledge of the Most High, and the wisdom of the sons of heaven will teach those of perfect behaviour. For these are those selected by God for an everlasting covenant”. [Martinez]

Verses 10-12: On the other hand, the wicked have no hope for the future; their misery is punishment.

Verse 10: “punished as their reasoning deserves”: NJBC offers punishment to match their thoughts. Their thoughts are given in 2:1-5.

Verse 11a: Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction”.

Verses 11b-12: The ideas of lack of offspring, less-than-full lifetime and lack of results from their efforts seems to be from Isaiah 53:10-11. See also Isaiah 65:23. Application of these ideas to the wicked is traditional; it is found in Proverbs 10-11 and Sirach 41:5-10. [NJBC]

Verse 12: “foolish”: In wisdom literature, folly is the equivalent of wickedness. 1:3 says “For perverse thoughts separate people from God, and when his power is tested, it exposes the foolish”. [NJBC]

Verse 12: “their children evil”: Because of the example of their parents. [NJBC]

Psalm 116:1-9

Several Aramaic features in this psalm (vv. 7, 12, 16) suggest it was composed during the last several centuries before Christ. [NJBC]

This psalm is divided into Psalms 114 (vv. 1-9) and 115 (vv. 10-19) in the Septuagint and Vulgate translations. [NJBC]

Verses 1-2: Address to the congregation. [NOAB]

Verses 3-11: The psalmist’s experience. [NOAB]

Verse 3: “snares of death”: See also Psalm 18:4-5. Snares (cords) were used for snaring birds (see Amos 3:5). This is still done (for sport) in Saudi Arabia.

Verse 3: “Sheol”: In 88:3-6 a troubled psalmist asks God to hear his plea “For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the Pit; I am like those who have no help, like those forsaken among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand. You have put me in the depths of the Pit, in the regions dark and deep”. In Genesis 37:35, when Jacob thinks he has lost his son Joseph, he says: “‘... I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning’”.

Verse 7: “Return, O my soul, to your rest”: When someone felt faint (from hunger or fright), it was thought that his spirit had departed from him. When the person revived, the soul was thought to have returned. See also Genesis 35:18 (Rachel’s death: “As her soul was departing ...”); 1 Samuel 30:12 (of an Egyptian near starvation: “When he had eaten, his spirit revived”); Psalm 23:3 (Yahweh “restores my soul”); Daniel 10:17. [NJBC]

Verses 8-9: Description of the psalmist’s recovery. [NOAB]

Verses 12-19: The psalmist tells what he will do to recompense God for saving him from death.

Verses 13,17: “call on the name of the LORD”: While in v. 2 the psalmist has called on Yahweh’s name in fear, here he calls on it in praise in the Temple. [NJBC]

Verse 15: Why the death of God’s “faithful ones” should be precious to him is not clear. [NJBC]

1 Peter 1:3-9

Verse 3: “Blessed ...”: See also 2 Corinthians 1:3; 11:31; Ephesians 1:3; Luke 1:68. For Jewish blessings, see Psalms 66:20; 68:19; 72:18; Genesis 9:26; 1 Kings 1:48; 2 Maccabees 15:34; 2 Chronicles 6:4. [NJBC]

Verse 3: “new birth”: See also 1:23; 2:2; John 3:3, 5; Romans 6:3-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 4:19; Titus 3:5; 1 John 3:9. [CAB] As in Romans 6:3-11, baptism allows the Christian to share in the new life.

Verse 3: “living hope”: A dominant theme of 1 Peter, much more so than a word count suggests. See also 1:13, 21; 3:5, 15. [NJBC]

Verse 3: “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”: The resurrection is the foundation for Christian hope, for in him God has shown what he intends to do for the faithful. See also 1 Corinthians 15:20-28. [NOAB] “New birth” also comes to us through the resurrection. [NJBC]

Verse 4: “inheritance”: The greater part of it is yet to come. See also Romans 8:17; Colossians 1:5; Philippians 3:20; Galatians 4:7; 4:26. For Israel’s inheritance being primarily Palestine, see Deuteronomy 15:4. [NJBC]

Verse 5: “faith”: In 1 Peter, faith has a wide range of meanings: see also vv. 7, 9, 21 and 2:6-7. Here it refers to trust in God which is essential for salvation. [NJBC]

Verse 5: “the last time”: 1QS (Rule of the Qumran Community) 4:16-17 says: “... For God has sorted them into equal parts until the last day ...”

Verse 6: “this”: i.e. the whole thought of vv. 3-5. [NJBC]

Verse 6: “rejoice”: Religious and eschatological joy. See also 4:13; Matthew 5:12; Jude 24; Revelation 19:7. [NJBC]

Verse 6: “trials”: Suffering tests the quality of faith, as Psalm 26:2 and James 1:2-3 say. [NOAB] In 1 Peter, Christian experience of social dislocation in a pagan world is normally called suffering: see 1:11; 4:13; 5:9; 2:19-20; 3:14, 17; 4:1, 15, 19; 5:10. The suffering of Christians is linked with the suffering of Christ in 5:1; 2:21, 23; 3:18; 4:1. [NJBC]

Verse 7: “tested by fire”: See also Proverbs 17:3 (“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, but the LORDtests the heart”); 27:21; Psalm 66:10 (“For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried”); Jeremiah 9:7; Malachi 3:3. [CAB]

Verse 7: “when Jesus Christ is revealed”: The second coming of Christ, when he will be judge. The revelation of Christ is also mentioned in 1:13 and 5:1. [CAB]

Verse 8: “Although you have not seen him”: In 1:1, Peter has seen him. See also John 20:29 (Jesus to Thomas: “‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe”) and Acts 1:21-22 (selection of Matthias). [NJBC]

Verse 9: “souls”: i.e. self, person. The Greek word also appears in 1:22; 2:11, 25; 3:20 (NRSV: “persons”). [NJBC]

Verse 9: See also Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 10:39. [JBC]

Verse 10: “prophets”: Not Christian ones but those of the Old Testament. See also Matthew 1:22-23; Romans 1:2; 4:23; Acts 3:18. [NJBC]

Verse 11: “the Spirit of Christ”: Probably the Holy Spirit. See also 1:12; Romans 8:9; Philippians 1:19; Acts 16:7. [NJBC]

Verse 12: The prophets, and even “angels”, sought to understand what God was doing for the restoration of the faithful to him. [NOAB]

Verse 12: “things into which angels long to look”: The image is of peering through a window, as in 1 Enoch 9:1. [NJBC]

John 6:37-40

NJBC sees this passage (with v. 36) as an insertion, i.e. not connected to the immediately preceding verses. I see it as being related both to the preceding verses, 5:24-30 (Jesus as the source of life), and to the Feeding of the Five Thousand.

Verse 36: “seen me”: In spite of “me” being present in most manuscripts, BlkJn omits this word. Though the crowd have seen his signs (see v. 26), they “do not believe” him, and so cannot believe in him, and see him as the answer to their needs.

Verse 37: The Father gives to Jesus, and draws to him (v. 44) those who come to him.

Verse 37: “Everything”: The Greek, pan ho, being neuter, is ambiguous and could refer to everything or everyone. From the context, everyone would seem to fit better, A more fitting translation is all, as this captures the ambiguity of the Greek in English. In v. 39, “all” is again pan ho. [Alan T. Perry] I note that the NRSV refers to this all as it, a literal translation of the neuter in Greek. Note however v. 45: “everyone”. Here the Greek word is masculine, so is unambiguously all people.

Verse 38: “the will of him who sent me”: In 5:19, Jesus says: “‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise”.

Verse 39: “lose nothing”: In 17:12 and 18:9, at the end of his ministry, Jesus claims that this has been accomplished. [BlkJn]

John 11:21-27

The raising of Lazarus is the crowning miracle or sign (12:17-18), revealing Jesus as the giver of life (5:25-29), and precipitating his death (11:53). [NOAB] To BlkJn, this is the third (and last) of the second group of signs. As such, it corresponds to the healing of the man at the pool of Beth-zatha (5:2-8). To JBC it is the seventh sign.

Verse 17: “Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days”: People believed that the soul hovered around one’s soul for three days and then departed. In the conventional view, Lazarus cannot possibly be restored to life. Bodies were buried on the day of death, as in the story of Ananias and his wife in Acts 5:1-10.

Verse 19: Jewish mourning ceremonies were elaborate. They were attended by many and lasted about 30 days. [NOAB]

Verse 19: “Jews”: John writes from outside Israel.

Verse 20: As in Luke 10:38-42, Martha is active and an organizer, while Mary is quieter and more contemplative. [NOAB]

Verse 20: Comments: perhaps to warn him of the rites: Jesus’ annoyance with mourners appears in Mark 5:38-39. [NJBC]

Verse 22: “whatever you ask of him”: This anticipates what Jesus tells his disciples about prayer: in 15:16 “I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name” and in 16:23 “Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you”. [BlkJn]

Verse 24: Note that Martha speaks only of resurrection, and not of judging and judgement. Popular belief (especially among Pharisees) was that all Jews (and, for some, Gentiles as well) would be raised. [JBC] Their fate would depend on their state of integrity from God’s viewpoint.

Verse 24: “on the last day”: This phrase occurs in the New Testament only in John: see also 6:39-40, 44, 54; 12:48 (where the “second death” is the ultimate extinction of all who persevere in disobedience). [BlkJn]

Verse 25: Jesus modifies Pharisaic doctrine. His words are not only about resurrection but also about the fate of those faithful to him. Jesus is not only the agent of final resurrection but also gives life now: see also Romans 6:4-5; Colossians 2:12; 3:1. Mere physical death can have no hold over the believer. [NOAB]

Verse 26: The believer has passed from the death of sin into life: see also Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8. [BlkJn]

Verse 27: “‘I believe’”: BlkJn translates this as I am convinced.

Verse 27: “‘the Messiah’”: An affirmation made by Andrew in 1:41. [BlkJn]

Verse 27: “‘the Son of God’”: An affirmation made by Nathanael in 1:49. [BlkJn]

Verse 27: “‘the one coming into the world’”: An affirmation made by those present at the Feeding of the Five Thousand in 6:14. [BlkJn]

Verse 28: We aren’t told that Jesus has committed to raising Lazarus. In faith that he will, Martha simply goes to fetch Mary: as does Andrew, in fetching his brother to Jesus (see 1:42) and as does the Samaritan woman in fetching men from her city (see 4:28-30). Martha, the organizer, assumes that Jesus wishes Mary to be present.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]


Web page maintained by

Christ Church Cathedral
© 1996-2013
Last Updated: 20131029

Click on a button below to move to another page in the site.
If you are already on that page, you will be taken to the top.

October 19
October 26
All Saints' Day
November 2