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.
A minority of scholars see Joel as living during the reign of Joash (837-800 BC). The majority see the book as post-exilic but vary as to whether it is early or late. Some of the arguments for dating this book are:
1:1: The prophet’s inspiration and authority are not self-generated, but come from God, whose will is disclosed through the prophet, whose personal agent he is and whom alone he must obey. See also Hosea 1:1; Micah 1:1; Zephaniah 1:1; Haggai 1:1; Zechariah 1:1 for other such declarations. [NOAB]
1:8ff: The priests are to mourn like young widows – implying that God has been husband to Judah. [NJBC]
1:10: “the ground mourns”: The earth itself mourns. [NJBC]
1:12: “people”: The Hebrew word is adam. [NJBC]
1:13: “sackcloth”: A traditional sign of mourning. [NJBC]
1:13: “Grain offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God”: The main point of contact with God has been eliminated.
1:15-20: The approach of the day of Yahweh is often pictured as God’s anger against his opponents. At times, it is his anger against Israel’s enemies, but it comes to be directed against Israel. See also Isaiah 2:5-22; Amos 5:18-25; Lamentations 1:12; Jeremiah 46:10 (“That day is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of retribution, to gain vindication from his foes ...”); Ezekiel 39:8. [CAB]
1:19: “fire ... flames”: Signs of the destruction being from God: see Zephaniah 1:14-18.
2:2: “blackness”: The Hebrew is obscure. Some scholars argue for the Hebrew word being one which translates as dawn. [NJBC]
2:3: “Before them ...”: Joel reverses the imagery of Isaiah 51:3: “For the LORD will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song”. [NJBC]
2:10: At the time of divine visitation, the sun, moon and stars will refuse to shine: Amos 8:9 says: “On that day, says the Lord GOD, I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight”. [NOAB]
2:12: “fasting ... weeping ... mourning”: Acts of penance. [CAB]
2:13: “rend your hearts”: The heart was thought to be the seat of intelligence and will. This verse is rooted in Israel’s ancient formulations of faith: see Exodus 34:6; Nehemiah 9:17, 31; Psalm 86:15. [NJBC]
2:14: “blessing”: To Joel, temple offerings are a blessing. [NOAB]
2:16: “Let the bridegroom ...”: Even preparations for the marriage ceremony should be put off. [NJBC]
2:20: “northern army”: The north was the traditional direction for trouble, so much so that to be called a northerner was to be considered a troublemaker. [NJBC] There may also be an allusion to the invading armies of Babylon and Assyria. [CAB] See also Jeremiah 1:13-16; 4:6 (“... I am bringing evil from the north, and a great destruction”). [NJBC]
2:20: “eastern sea”: Most likely the Dead Sea [NOAB], but possibly the Persian Gulf.
2:20: “western sea”: The Mediterranean. [NOAB]
2:20: “its stench and foul smell”: The smell of the rotting carcases was noted in the 1915 plague. [NJBC]
2:23: “early rain”: The text is obscure. NJBC says that “early rain” could be teacher: the words in Hebrew are sufficiently similar. Whether or not this is the case, rain, justice and teaching are connected in Isaiah 30:19-26; 1 Kings 8:35-36; 2 Chronicles 6:26-27.
In the Qumran literature, there is a figure called the Teacher of Righteousness: see, for example, CD (Damascus Document) 1:5-12; 1QpHab (*Pesher on Habakkuk) 1:13; 5:10. But the expression here is not exactly the same as at Qumran.(The word translated “vindication” can also be translated as righteousness.)
The light Palestinian plow was unable to penetrate the hard, parched earth, so the early rains were critical to agriculture.
2:28: “all flesh”: To Joel, this means primarily Jews, including those who have returned from exile: see 3:2, 17, 19-20; Ezekiel 39:29. For Peter at Pentecost, it includes all nations: see Acts 2:17. [NOAB]
2:31: “blood”: i.e. red. [NOAB]
2:31: “the great and terrible day”: In the New Testament, see Mark 13:24 (where Jesus says: “ in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light”) and Revelation 6:12. [NOAB]
2:32: “for in Mount Zion ... escape”: The same phrase is found in Obadiah 17.
Verse 8: “light”: 42:6-7 says “I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness”.
Verses 13-14: Strict observance of the Sabbath was increasingly emphasized in post-exilic Judaism: see also 56:2 and Matthew 12:1-8. [NOAB] Associating the Sabbath with concern for the poor explains the addition of these verses.
Superscription: “A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone into Bathsheba”: While the psalm itself nowhere refers to the story of David and Bathsheba, [CAB] it fits the mood that David might well have been in, having been caught red-handed.
Verse 1: “blot out ...”: This recurs in v.
Verse 5: “born guilty”: See also Psalm 58:3 and Isaiah 48:8. The psalmist confesses to having had a sinful nature even from the moment of conception. [NOAB] The notion of lifelong sinfulness is also found in Genesis 8:21: “... for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth” (although the psalmist may simply be confessing that he has been thoroughly sinful).
Verses 6-12: Renewed prayer for deliverance. [NOAB]
Verse 7: “Purge me with hyssop” : This may refer to some ceremony of sprinkling of blood or water, using branches or a bush. The reference may be metaphorical. See Exodus 12:22, Leviticus 14:51. NOAB sees it as definitely metaphorical.
Verse 10: “clean heart”: Literally fidelity in that which is secret, i.e. the depths of his being.
Verse 10: “right spirit”: God’s action in humans which saves them and keeps them faithful. Ezekiel speaks of a new heart and a new spirit (see Ezekiel 11:19, 36:27). Jeremiah also speaks of a new spirit (and a new covenant) in Jeremiah 24:7, 31:33.
Verses 13-17: The psalmist says: when you give me your joy, I will instruct (proclaim my experience publicly and this lead sinners back to God) and praise God – rather than offer sacrifice in thanksgiving. [NOAB]
Verses 18-19: NOAB believes that this psalm may date from David’s time, and that these verses was added later to modify the anti-sacrificial spirit of vv. 13-17 and to adapt the psalm to liturgical use.
This is a psalm of thanksgiving, of deep religious sensitivity, but it can also be seen as a hymn of praise. [JBC]
Verse 3: For the association of the forgiveness of sin with healing of physical illness in the New Testament, see Mark 2:10-11. The association of sin with illness is found in both the Old Testament (see Job; Psalms 32:3-5; 107:17) and the New Testament (see John 9 and James 5:14-16). [NJBC]
Verse 5: “satisfies”: NJBC offers fills your lifetime with.
Verse 5: “the eagle’s”: The vigour of the eagle was proverbial: Isaiah 40:31 says: “those who wait for the LORDshall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”. [NOAB]
Verse 7: In Exodus 33:13, Moses says: “Now if I have found favour in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favour in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people”. [NOAB]
Verse 8: This is a quotation from Exodus 34:6.
Verses 19-22: The conclusion, in hymnic style. [JBC]
Verse 21: “all his hosts”: i.e. the divine council, the army of heaven, indeed all in heaven. They are to join in praising God enthroned in heaven. [NJBC]
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
5:16: “from a human point of view”: For the by worldly standards interpretation, see also 1 Corinthians 1:26. Another interpretation is: humanity in its weakness, temporality and inclination for self-seeking: see Romans 8:4-5, 12; Galatians 4:23, 29. [CAB]
5:17: “there is”: This is not in the Greek, but is supplied to make sense. [NJBC]
5:17: “a new creation”: In apocalyptic Judaism (see 1 Enoch 72:1-2; 2 Baruch 32:6; Jubilees 4:26; 1QS 4:25) a new creation inaugurated the end-times. 1QS (Qumran Rule of the Community) 4:25 says: “For God has sorted them into equal parts until the appointed end and the new creation. ...” [Martinez].
5:19: “reconciliation”: It restores us to authenticity.
5:20: “entreat”: Beg is another translation.
5:21: “he made ... no sin”: As Messiah (see Isaiah 53:9 and Psalms of Solomon 17:40-43), Christ was acknowledged as sinless (see Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; John 8:46; 1 John 3:5), yet through God’s choice (see Romans 8:3), he came to stand in that relationship to God which normally is the result of sin; he became part of sinful humanity. [NJBC]
6:1: Human cooperation is essential if the power of the gospel is to act effectively. In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul says: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain”. The word translated “in vain” is kenos, meaning (in Paul’s usage) non-productive. [NJBC] Note also 1 Corinthians 1:17: “For Christ did not send me to baptise but to proclaim the gospel ... so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power”. Emptied here is kenou. (The REB translates this clause lest the cross of Christ be robbed of its effect.) In 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Paul says that being baptized and sharing in the Lord’s supper alone do not assure us of salvation: we also need to be productive (in spreading the good news).
6:3-7: Paul’s ministry is characterized not by success by human standards, but by hardship – and virtues which God bestows through his power at work through the apostles. [CAB] Paul’s self-recommendation is the antithesis of that of his opponents (5:12); he stresses suffering (4:10-11) and internal attitudes, not external trappings of spiritual power. [NJBC]
6:6-7: He has endured them through gifts of the Spirit:
6:10: “sorrowful”: Paul has refused help from the Christians at Corinth because “friends who came from Macedonia” had already helped him sufficiently (see 11:7-11). He did not wish to burden the Christians at Corinth with a request for support (see 12:14-18).
6:13: “children” : In 1 Corinthians 13:11, Paul says: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways”.
2 Corinthians is a composite of several letters. In 7:2ff, Paul says that he has learnt through Titus that his letter (the one we are reading) has led his critics to a change of heart, that they desire to correct the problems in the community. They have developed obedience and a sense of awe, realizing what God is doing amongst them through the apostle and his aides.
Verse 1: “piety”: The Greek word is dikaiosune, elsewhere translated as righteousness. [BlkMt]
Verse 1: “your Father in heaven”: God in his majesty and transcendence. [NOAB]
Verse 2: “hypocrites”: Originally the Greek word, hypokrites, was a theatrical term meaning actor, then one who played a part or acted a false role in public life. In 23:18 it refers to false interpreters of scripture, religious teachers who fail in their responsibility. [NJBC]
Verse 2: “received their reward”: The Greek word, apecho, literally means paid in full. [BlkMt]
Verse 4: According to BlkMt, this verse means avoid all scheming for human attention and praise; give filial obedience to God and with brotherly concern for those in need. It is also possible that it is hyperbole emphasizing that pious acts should be performed without public notice.
Verse 4: “will reward you”: Probably at the end of time. [NOAB]
Verses 5-8: The positive teaching about prayer is that it should be sincere personal communication with God and be brief because it is for our good, not God’s, for he already knows what we need. [NJBC]
Verse 5: “stand”: Standing was the usual posture for prayer; they appear to be very pious. [BlkMt]
Verse 6: “go into your room”: To avoid temptation to impress others. [BlkMt]
Verses 9-15: The parallel is Luke 11:2-4. There the model of prayer is given in a simpler form. There God is addressed intimately and affectionately as Father. [CAB] Because the version of the Lord’s Prayer here is more formal than the one in Luke, NJBC suggests that Matthew added to the earliest form, the version in Luke.
The versions of the Lord’s Prayer are compared in the following table:
Matthew’s form is closer to Jewish prayers, and Luke’s to other Christian prayers. The Lord’s Prayer is probably based on Jewish prayers.
The doxology For the kingdom, ... (For thine is the kingdom... ) was added in the early Church. It is based on David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:11-13. It is found in some early manuscripts.
Verses 9-11: Three petitions concerning God’s glory. [NOAB]
Verse 9: “hallowed”: i.e. be held in reverence. [BlkMt]
Verse 9: “your name”: i.e. as God has made himself known. [BlkMt]
Verse 10: “Your kingdom come”: The prayer presupposes that the kingdom is not yet here in its fulness. [NJBC]
Verse 10: “on earth as it is in heaven”: This phrase belongs to each of the above petitions. [NOAB] A certain analogy between heaven and earth, which is found in Plato and Babylonian ideas of the temple and the ziggurat. [NJBC]
Verses 11-13: Three petitions concerning our needs. [NOAB]
Verse 11: “bread”: The meaning may be:
Verse 11: “daily”: Various meanings of the rare Greek word have been proposed. There are four possible translations: tomorrow’s, daily, needful, or future. Perhaps all four are intended. [NJBC]
Verse 12: “as we also have forgiven our debtors”: We cannot ask for ourselves what we deny to others. [NOAB]
Verse 13: “do not bring us to the time of trial”: Two interpretations are suggested:
Verses 16-18: Isaiah 58:5 says: “Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”. Especially pious Jews fasted twice a week (as did Christians). In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, the Pharisee says: “I fast twice a week”. [NOAB]
Verse 16: “fast”: Fasting was understood as: humbling oneself before God (see Isaiah 58:3-9), strengthening prayer (see Tobit 12:8 and 2 Chronicles 30:3) as related to almsgiving, and as an expression of mourning (see 9:14-15). In Mark 2:18-20 and Matthew 9:14-15, Jesus tells the disciples not to fast during his lifetime, but fasting will be acceptable after his departure. Jews do not have a season of fasting like Lent, but they do observe a few days of communal fasting, especially Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and the ninth day of the month Ab. [NJBC]
Verse 16: “disfigure their faces ... show”: The Greek words are similar, so there is word-play here. [NJBC]
Verse 19: “rust”: Iron implements may be in view; however the Greek word can also mean worm. Worms also invaded clothing. [BlkMt]
Verse 20: “treasures in heaven”: i.e. God’s gifts in recognition of obedience and fidelity. [CAB]
Verse 21: “heart”: The heart was considered to be the seat of will rather than of emotion.
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