2 Samuel 1:1-2:11
David Learns of the Deaths of Saul and Jonathan
1 After the death of Saul,[a] when David had returned from defeating the Amalekites,[b] he stayed at Ziklag[c] for two days. 2 On the third day a man arrived from the camp of Saul with his clothes torn and dirt on his head.[d] When he approached David, the man[e] threw himself to the ground.[f]
3 David asked him, “Where are you coming from?” He replied, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” 4 David inquired, “How were things going?[g] Tell me!” He replied, “The people fled from the battle and many of them[h] fell dead.[i] Even Saul and his son Jonathan are dead!” 5 David said to the young man[j] who was telling him this, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”[k] 6 The young man[l] said, “I just happened to be on Mount Gilboa and came across Saul leaning on his spear for support. The chariots and leaders of the horsemen were in hot pursuit of him. 7 When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me. I answered, ‘Here I am!’ 8 He asked me, ‘Who are you?’ I told him, ‘I’m[m] an Amalekite.’ 9 He said to me, ‘Stand over me and finish me off![n] I’m very dizzy,[o] even though I’m still alive.’[p] 10 So I stood over him and put him to death, since I knew that he couldn’t live in such a condition.[q] Then I took the crown which was on his head and the[r] bracelet which was on his arm. I have brought them here to my lord.”[s]
11 David then grabbed his own clothes[t] and tore them, as did all the men who were with him. 12 They lamented and wept and fasted until evening because Saul, his son Jonathan, the Lord’s army, and the house of Israel had fallen by the sword.
13 David said to the young man who told this to him, “Where are you from?” He replied, “I am an Amalekite, the son of a resident foreigner.”[u] 14 David replied to him, “How is it that you were not afraid to reach out your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” 15 Then David called one of the soldiers[v] and said, “Come here and strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. 16 David said to him, “Your blood be on your own head! Your own mouth has testified against you, saying ‘I have put the Lord’s anointed to death.’”
David’s Tribute to Saul and Jonathan
17 Then David chanted this lament over Saul and his son Jonathan. 18 (He gave instructions that the people of Judah should be taught “The Bow.”[w] Indeed, it is written down in the Scroll of the Upright One.)[x]
19 “The beauty[y] of Israel lies slain on your high places!
How the mighty have fallen!
20 Don’t report it in Gath,
don’t spread the news in the streets of Ashkelon,[z]
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice,
the daughters of the uncircumcised will celebrate!
21 O mountains of Gilboa,
may there be no dew or rain on you, nor fields of grain offerings![aa]
For it was there that the shield of warriors was defiled;[ab]
the shield of Saul lies neglected without oil.[ac]
22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of warriors,
the bow of Jonathan was not turned away.
The sword of Saul never returned[ad] empty.
23 Saul and Jonathan were greatly loved[ae] during their lives,
and not even in their deaths were they separated.
They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions.
24 O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet[af] as well as jewelry,
who put gold jewelry on your clothes.
25 How the warriors have fallen
in the midst of battle!
Jonathan lies slain on your high places!
26 I grieve over you, my brother Jonathan.
You were very dear to me.
Your love was more special to me than the love of women.
27 How the warriors have fallen!
The weapons of war[ag] are destroyed!
David is Anointed King
2 Afterward David inquired of the Lord, “Should I go up to one of the cities of Judah?” The Lord told him, “Go up.” David asked, “Where should I go?” The Lord replied,[ah] “To Hebron.” 2 So David went up, along with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail, formerly the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 3 David also brought along the men who were with him, each with his family. They settled in the cities[ai] of Hebron. 4 The men of Judah came and there they anointed David as king over the people[aj] of Judah.
David was told,[ak] “The people[al] of Jabesh Gilead are the ones who buried Saul.” 5 So David sent messengers to the people of Jabesh Gilead and told them, “May you be blessed by the Lord because you have shown this kindness[am] to your lord Saul by burying him. 6 Now may the Lord show you true kindness![an] I also will reward you,[ao] because you have done this deed. 7 Now be courageous[ap] and prove to be valiant warriors, for your lord Saul is dead. The people of Judah have anointed me as king over them.”
David’s Army Clashes with the Army of Saul
8 Now Abner son of Ner, the general in command of Saul’s army, had taken Saul’s son Ish Bosheth[aq] and had brought him to Mahanaim. 9 He appointed him king over Gilead, the Geshurites,[ar] Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and all Israel. 10 Ish Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he began to rule over Israel. He ruled two years. However, the people[as] of Judah followed David. 11 David was king in Hebron over the people of Judah for seven-and-a-half years.[at]
- 2 Samuel 1:1 sn This chapter is closely linked to 1 Sam 31. It should be kept in mind that 1 and 2 Samuel were originally a single book, not separate volumes. Whereas in English Bible tradition the books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Ezra-Nehemiah are each regarded as two separate books, this was not the practice in ancient Hebrew tradition. Early canonical records, for example, counted them as single books respectively. The division into two books goes back to the Greek translation of the OT and was probably initiated because of the cumbersome length of copies due to the Greek practice (unlike that of Hebrew) of writing vowels. The present division into two books can be a little misleading in terms of perceiving the progression of the argument of the book; in some ways it is preferable to treat the books of 1-2 Samuel in a unified fashion.
- 2 Samuel 1:1 sn The Amalekites were a nomadic people who inhabited Judah and the Transjordan. They are mentioned in Gen 36:15-16 as descendants of Amalek who in turn descended from Esau. In Exod 17:8-16 they are described as having acted in a hostile fashion toward Israel as the Israelites traveled to Canaan from Egypt. In David’s time the Amalekites were viewed as dangerous enemies who raided, looted, and burned Israelite cities (see 1 Sam 30).
- 2 Samuel 1:1 sn Ziklag was a city in the Negev which had been given to David by Achish king of Gath. For more than a year David used it as a base from which he conducted military expeditions (see 1 Sam 27:5-12). According to 1 Sam 30:1-19, Ziklag was destroyed by the Amalekites while Saul fought the Philistines.
- 2 Samuel 1:2 sn Tearing one’s clothing and throwing dirt on one’s head were outward expressions of grief in the ancient Near East, where such demonstrable reactions were a common response to tragic news.
- 2 Samuel 1:2 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the man mentioned at the beginning of v. 2) has been specified in the translation to avoid confusion as to who fell to the ground.
- 2 Samuel 1:2 tn Heb “he fell to the ground and did obeisance.”
- 2 Samuel 1:4 tn Heb “What was the word?”
- 2 Samuel 1:4 tn Heb “from the people.”
- 2 Samuel 1:4 tn Heb “fell and died.”
- 2 Samuel 1:5 tn In v. 2 he is called simply a “man.” The word used here in v. 5 (so also in vv. 6, 13, 15), though usually referring to a young man or servant, may in this context designate a “fighting” man, i.e., a soldier.
- 2 Samuel 1:5 tc Instead of the MT “who was recounting this to him, ‘How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?’” the Syriac Peshitta reads “declare to me how Saul and his son Jonathan died.”
- 2 Samuel 1:6 tc The translation follows the Syriac Peshitta and one ms of the LXX; MT adds “who was telling him this.”
- 2 Samuel 1:8 tc The present translation reads with the Qere and many medieval Hebrew mss “and I said,” rather than the Kethib which has “and he said.” See the LXX, Syriac Peshitta, and Vulgate, all of which have the first person.
- 2 Samuel 1:9 tn As P. K. McCarter (II Samuel [AB], 59) points out, the Polel of the verb מוּת (mut, “to die”) “refers to dispatching or ‘finishing off’ someone already wounded and near death.” Cf. NLT “put me out of my misery.”
- 2 Samuel 1:9 tn Heb “the dizziness has seized me.” On the meaning of the Hebrew noun translated “dizziness,” see P. K. McCarter, II Samuel (AB), 59-60. The point seems to be that he is unable to kill himself because he is weak and disoriented.
- 2 Samuel 1:9 tn The Hebrew text here is grammatically very awkward (Heb “because all still my life in me”). Whether the broken construct phrase is due to the fact that the alleged speaker is in a confused state of mind as he is on the verge of dying, or whether the MT has sustained a defect in the transmission process, is not entirely clear. The former seems likely, although P. K. McCarter understands the MT to be the result of conflation of two shorter forms of text (P. K. McCarter, II Samuel [AB], 57, n. 9). Early translators also struggled with the verse, apparently choosing to leave part of the Hebrew text untranslated. For example, the Lucianic recension of the LXX lacks “all,” while other witnesses (namely, one medieval Hebrew ms, codices A and B of the LXX, and the Syriac Peshitta) lack “still.”
- 2 Samuel 1:10 tn Heb “after his falling”; NAB “could not survive his wound”; CEV “was too badly wounded to live much longer.”
- 2 Samuel 1:10 tc The MT lacks the definite article, but this is may be due to textual transmission error. It is preferable to read the א (alef) of אֶצְעָדָה (ʾetsʿadah) as a ה (he) giving הַצְּעָדָה (hatseʿadah). There is no reason to think that the soldier confiscated from Saul’s dead body only one of two or more bracelets that he was wearing (cf. NLT “one of his bracelets”).
- 2 Samuel 1:10 sn The claims that the soldier is making here seem to contradict the story of Saul’s death as presented in 1 Sam 31:3-5. In that passage it appears that Saul took his own life, not that he was slain by a passerby who happened on the scene. Some scholars account for the discrepancy by supposing that conflicting accounts have been brought together in the MT. However, it is likely that the young man is here fabricating the account in a self-serving way so as to gain favor with David, or so he supposes. He probably had come across Saul’s corpse, stolen the crown and bracelet from the body, and now hopes to curry favor with David by handing over to him these emblems of Saul’s royalty. But in so doing the Amalekite greatly miscalculated David’s response to this alleged participation in Saul’s death. The consequence of his lies will instead be his own death.
- 2 Samuel 1:11 tc The present translation follows the Qere and many medieval Hebrew mss in reading “his garments,” rather than “his garment,” the reading of the Kethib.
- 2 Samuel 1:13 sn Hebrew has more than one word for foreigners. Since the Amalekites were obviously not Israelites and were “inhabitants of the land” (1 Sam 27:8), adding the description ger (גֵּר) must carry more significance than just “foreigner” and “resident.” In Mosaic Law the ger (גֵּר) could join the covenant, be circumcised, offer sacrifices to the Lord, celebrate the festivals with Israel, were given equal protection under the law, and received some social welfare along with the Levites. (See notes at Exod 12:19 and Deut 29:11.) These ger (גֵּר) appear to be converts or naturalized citizens with minimally different rights (they could not own land, just houses). The young man is probably positioning himself as someone loyal to Israel, consistent the description that he came from the camp of Saul/Israel (vss 2-3). He certainly would not want to be considered one of the Amalekites that David had just fought against (vs 1). This may also explain David’s expectation that he should know better than to slay the Lord’s anointed (as Saul’s armor-bearer would not do in the true account in 1 Sam 31:4).
- 2 Samuel 1:15 tn Heb “young men.”
- 2 Samuel 1:18 tn Heb “be taught the bow.” The reference to “the bow” is very difficult here. Some interpreters (e.g., S. R. Driver, P. K. McCarter, Jr.) suggest deleting the word from the text (cf. NAB, TEV), but there does not seem to be sufficient evidence for doing so. Others (cf. KJV) understand the reference to be elliptical, meaning “the use of the bow.” The verse would then imply that with the deaths of Saul and Jonathan having occurred, a period of trying warfare is about to begin, requiring adequate preparation for war on the part of the younger generation. Various other views may also be found in the secondary literature. However, it seems best to understand the word here to be a reference to the name of a song (i.e., “The Bow”), most likely the poem that follows in vv. 19-27 (cf. ASV, NASB, NRSV, CEV, NLT); NIV “this lament of the bow.”
- 2 Samuel 1:18 sn The Scroll of the Upright One (or The Book of Yashar) is a noncanonical writing which has not been preserved. Mentioned here and in Josh 10:12-13, it apparently was “a collection of ancient national poetry” (so BDB 449 s.v. יָשָׁר).
- 2 Samuel 1:19 sn The word beauty is used figuratively here to refer to Saul and Jonathan.
- 2 Samuel 1:20 sn The cities of Gath and Ashkelon are mentioned here by synecdoche of part for the whole. As major Philistine cities they in fact represent all of Philistia. The point is that when the sad news of fallen Israelite leadership reaches the Philistines, it will be for these enemies of Israel the occasion of great joy rather than grief.
- 2 Samuel 1:21 tc Instead of the MT’s “fields of grain offerings” the Lucianic recension of the LXX reads “your high places are mountains of death.” Cf. the Old Latin montes mortis (“mountains of death”).
- 2 Samuel 1:21 tn This is the only biblical occurrence of the Niphal of the verb גָּעַל (gaʿal). This verb usually has the sense of “to abhor” or “loathe.” But here it seems to refer to the now dirty and unprotected condition of a previously well-maintained instrument of battle.
- 2 Samuel 1:21 tc It is preferable to read here Hebrew מָשׁוּחַ (mashuakh) with many Hebrew mss, rather than מָשִׁיחַ (mashiakh) of the MT. Although the Syriac Peshitta understands the statement to pertain to Saul, the point here is not that Saul is not anointed. Rather, it is the shield of Saul that lies discarded and is no longer anointed. In ancient Near Eastern practice a warrior’s shield that was in normal use would have to be anointed regularly in order to ensure that the leather did not become dry and brittle. Like other warriors of his day Saul would have carefully maintained his tools of trade. But now that he is dead, the once-cared-for shield of the mighty warrior lies sadly discarded and woefully neglected, a silent but eloquent commentary on how different things are now compared to the way they were during Saul’s lifetime.
- 2 Samuel 1:22 tn The Hebrew imperfect verbal form is used here to indicate repeated past action.
- 2 Samuel 1:23 tn Heb “beloved and dear.”
- 2 Samuel 1:24 sn Clothing of scarlet was expensive and beyond the financial reach of most people.
- 2 Samuel 1:27 sn The expression weapons of war may here be a figurative way of referring to Saul and Jonathan.
- 2 Samuel 2:1 tn Heb “he said.” The referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.
- 2 Samuel 2:3 tc The expression “the cities of Hebron” is odd; we would expect the noun to be in the singular, if used at all. Although the Syriac Peshitta has the expected reading “in Hebron,” the MT is clearly the more difficult reading and should probably be retained here.
- 2 Samuel 2:4 tn Heb “house.”
- 2 Samuel 2:4 tn Heb “and they told David.” The subject appears to be indefinite, allowing one to translate the verb as passive with David as subject.
- 2 Samuel 2:4 tn Heb “men.”
- 2 Samuel 2:5 tn Or “loyalty.”
- 2 Samuel 2:6 tn Or “loyalty and devotion.”
- 2 Samuel 2:6 tn Heb “will do with you this good.”
- 2 Samuel 2:7 tn Heb “let your hands be strong.”
- 2 Samuel 2:8 sn The name Ish Bosheth means in Hebrew “man of shame.” It presupposes an earlier form such as Ish Baal (“man of the Lord”), with the word “baal” being used of Israel’s God. But because the Canaanite storm god was named “Baal,” that part of the name was later replaced with the word “shame.”
- 2 Samuel 2:9 tc The MT here reads “the Ashurite,” but this is problematic if it is taken to mean “the Assyrian.” Ish Bosheth’s kingdom obviously was not of such proportions as to extend to Assyria. The Syriac Peshitta and the Vulgate render the word as “the Geshurite,” while the Targum has “of the house of Ashur.” We should probably emend the Hebrew text to read “the Geshurite.” The Geshurites lived in the northeastern part of the land of Palestine.
- 2 Samuel 2:10 tn Heb “house.”
- 2 Samuel 2:11 tn Heb “And the number of the days in which David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.”
20 Now some Greeks[a] were among those who had gone up to worship at the feast. 21 So these approached Philip,[b] who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and requested,[c] “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew, and they both[d] went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus replied,[e] “The time[f] has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.[g] 24 I tell you the solemn truth,[h] unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone.[i] But if it dies, it produces[j] much grain.[k] 25 The one who loves his life[l] destroys[m] it, and the one who hates his life in this world guards[n] it for eternal life. 26 If anyone wants to serve me, he must follow[o] me, and where I am, my servant will be too.[p] If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
27 “Now my soul is greatly distressed. And what should I say? ‘Father, deliver me[q] from this hour’?[r] No, but for this very reason I have come to this hour.[s] 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven,[t] “I have glorified it,[u] and I will glorify it[v] again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard the voice[w] said that it had thundered. Others said that an angel had spoken to him.[x] 30 Jesus said,[y] “This voice has not come for my benefit[z] but for yours. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world[aa] will be driven out.[ab] 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people[ac] to myself.” 33 (Now he said this to indicate clearly what kind of death he was going to die.)[ad]
34 Then the crowd responded,[ae] “We have heard from the law that the Christ[af] will remain forever.[ag] How[ah] can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 Jesus replied,[ai] “The light is with you for a little while longer.[aj] Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you.[ak] The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become sons of light.”[al] When Jesus had said these things, he went away and hid himself from them.
The Outcome of Jesus’ Public Ministry Foretold
37 Although Jesus[am] had performed[an] so many miraculous signs before them, they still refused to believe in him, 38 so that the word[ao] of the prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled. He said,[ap] “Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord[aq] been revealed?”[ar] 39 For this reason they could not believe,[as] because again Isaiah said,
41 Isaiah said these things because he saw Christ’s[ax] glory, and spoke about him.
42 Nevertheless, even among the rulers[ay] many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees[az] they would not confess Jesus to be the Christ,[ba] so that they would not be put out of[bb] the synagogue.[bc] 43 For they loved praise[bd] from men more than praise[be] from God.
Jesus’ Final Public Words
44 But Jesus shouted out,[bf] “The one who believes in me does not believe in me, but in the one who sent me,[bg] 45 and the one who sees me sees the one who sent me.[bh] 46 I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone[bi] hears my words and does not obey them,[bj] I do not judge him. For I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world.[bk] 48 The one who rejects me and does not accept[bl] my words has a judge;[bm] the word[bn] I have spoken will judge him at the last day. 49 For I have not spoken from my own authority,[bo] but the Father himself who sent me has commanded me[bp] what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life.[bq] Thus the things I say, I say just as the Father has told me.”[br]
- John 12:20 sn These Greeks (῞Ελληνές τινες, hellēnes tines) who had come up to worship at the feast were probably “God-fearers” rather than proselytes in the strict sense. Had they been true proselytes, they would probably not have been referred to as Greeks any longer. Many came to worship at the major Jewish festivals without being proselytes to Judaism, for example, the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:27, who could not have been a proselyte if he were physically a eunuch.
- John 12:21 sn These Greeks approached Philip, although it is not clear why they did so. Perhaps they identified with his Greek name (although a number of Jews from border areas had Hellenistic names at this period). By see it is clear they meant “speak with,” since anyone could “see” Jesus moving through the crowd. The author does not mention what they wanted to speak with Jesus about.
- John 12:21 tn Grk “and were asking him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated here.
- John 12:22 tn Grk “Andrew and Philip”; because a repetition of the proper names would be redundant in contemporary English style, the phrase “they both” has been substituted in the translation.
- John 12:23 tn Grk “Jesus answered them, saying.” The participle λέγων (legōn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated here.
- John 12:23 tn Grk “the hour.”
- John 12:23 sn Jesus’ reply, the time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified, is a bit puzzling. As far as the author’s account is concerned, Jesus totally ignores these Greeks and makes no further reference to them whatsoever. It appears that his words are addressed to Andrew and Philip, but in fact they must have had a wider audience, including possibly the Greeks who had wished to see him in the first place. The words the time has come recall all the previous references to “the hour” throughout the Fourth Gospel (see the note on time in 2:4). There is no doubt, in light of the following verse, that Jesus refers to his death here. On his pathway to glorification lies the cross, and it is just ahead.
- John 12:24 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”
- John 12:24 tn Or “it remains only a single kernel.”
- John 12:24 tn Or “bears.”
- John 12:24 tn Grk “much fruit.”
- John 12:25 tn Or “soul.”
- John 12:25 tn Or “loses.” Although the traditional English translation of ἀπολλύει (apolluei) in John 12:25 is “loses,” the contrast with φυλάξει (phulaxei, “keeps” or “guards”) in the second half of the verse favors the meaning “destroy” here.
- John 12:25 tn Or “keeps.”
- John 12:26 tn As a third person imperative in Greek, ἀκολουθείτω (akoloutheitō) is usually translated “let him follow me.” This could be understood by the modern English reader as merely permissive, however (“he may follow me if he wishes”). In this context there is no permissive sense, but rather a command, so the translation “he must follow me” is preferred.
- John 12:26 tn Grk “where I am, there my servant will be too.”
- John 12:27 tn Or “save me.”
- John 12:27 tn Or “this occasion.”sn Father, deliver me from this hour. It is now clear that Jesus’ hour has come—the hour of his return to the Father through crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension (see 12:23). This will be reiterated in 13:1 and 17:1. Jesus states (employing words similar to those of Ps 6:4) that his soul is troubled. What shall his response to his imminent death be? A prayer to the Father to deliver him from that hour? No, because it is on account of this very hour that Jesus has come. His sacrificial death has always remained the primary purpose of his mission into the world. Now, faced with the completion of that mission, shall he ask the Father to spare him from it? The expected answer is no.
- John 12:27 tn Or “this occasion.”
- John 12:28 tn Or “from the sky” (see note on 1:32).
- John 12:28 tn “It” is not in the Greek text. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
- John 12:28 tn “It” is not in the Greek text. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
- John 12:29 tn “The voice” is not in the Greek text. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
- John 12:29 tn Grk “Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” The direct discourse in the second half of v. 29 was converted to indirect discourse in the translation to maintain the parallelism with the first half of the verse, which is better in keeping with English style.
- John 12:30 tn Grk “Jesus answered and said.”
- John 12:30 tn Or “for my sake.”
- John 12:31 sn The ruler of this world is a reference to Satan.
- John 12:31 tn Or “will be thrown out.” This translation regards the future passive ἐκβληθήσεται (ekblēthēsetai) as referring to an event future to the time of speaking.sn The phrase driven out must refer to Satan’s loss of authority over this world. This must be in principle rather than in immediate fact, since 1 John 5:19 states that the whole world (still) lies in the power of the evil one (a reference to Satan). In an absolute sense the reference is proleptic. The coming of Jesus’ hour (his crucifixion, death, resurrection, and exaltation to the Father) marks the end of Satan’s domain and brings about his defeat, even though that defeat has not been ultimately worked out in history yet and awaits the consummation of the age.
- John 12:32 tn Grk “all.” The word “people” is not in the Greek text but is supplied for stylistic reasons and for clarity (cf. KJV “all men”).
- John 12:33 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.
- John 12:34 tn Grk “Then the crowd answered him.”
- John 12:34 tn Or “the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”).sn See the note on Christ in 1:20.
- John 12:34 tn Probably an allusion to Ps 89:35-37. It is difficult to pinpoint the passage in the Mosaic law to which the crowd refers. The ones most often suggested are Pss 89:36-37; 110:4, Isa 9:7, Ezek 37:25, and Dan 7:14. None of these passages are in the Pentateuch per se, but “law” could in common usage refer to the entire OT (compare Jesus’ use in John 10:34). Of the passages mentioned, Ps 89:36-37 is the most likely candidate. This verse speaks of David’s “seed” remaining forever. Later in the same psalm, v. 51 speaks of the “anointed” (Messiah), and the psalm was interpreted messianically in both the NT (Acts 13:22, Rev 1:5; 3:14) and in the rabbinic literature (Genesis Rabbah 97).
- John 12:34 tn Grk “And how”; the conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has been left untranslated here for improved English style.
- John 12:35 tn Grk “Then Jesus said to them.”
- John 12:35 tn Grk “Yet a little while the light is with you.”
- John 12:35 sn The warning Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you operates on at least two different levels: (1) To the Jewish people in Jerusalem to whom Jesus spoke, the warning was a reminder that there was only a little time left for them to accept him as their Messiah. (2) To those later individuals to whom the Fourth Gospel was written, and to every person since, the words of Jesus are also a warning: There is a finite, limited time in which each individual has opportunity to respond to the Light of the world (i.e., Jesus); after that comes darkness. One’s response to the Light decisively determines one’s judgment for eternity.
- John 12:36 tn The idiom “sons of light” means essentially “people characterized by light,” that is, “people of God.”sn The expression sons of light refers to men and women to whom the truth of God has been revealed and who are therefore living according to that truth, thus, “people of God.”
- John 12:37 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- John 12:37 tn Or “done.”
- John 12:38 tn Or “message.”
- John 12:38 tn Grk “who said.”
- John 12:38 tn “The arm of the Lord” is an idiom for “God’s great power” (as exemplified through Jesus’ miraculous signs). This response of unbelief is interpreted by the author as a fulfillment of the prophetic words of Isaiah (Isa 53:1). The phrase ὁ βραχίων κυρίου (ho brachiōn kuriou) is a figurative reference to God’s activity and power which has been revealed in the sign-miracles which Jesus has performed (compare the previous verse).
- John 12:38 sn A quotation from Isa 53:1.
- John 12:39 sn The author explicitly states here that Jesus’ Jewish opponents could not believe, and quotes Isa 6:10 to show that God had in fact blinded their eyes and hardened their heart. This OT passage was used elsewhere in the NT to explain Jewish unbelief: Paul’s final words in Acts (28:26-27) are a quotation of this same passage, which he uses to explain why the Jewish people have not accepted the gospel he has preached. A similar passage (Isa 29:10) is quoted in a similar context in Rom 11:8.
- John 12:40 tn Or “closed their mind.”
- John 12:40 tn Or “their mind.”
- John 12:40 tn One could also translate στραφῶσιν (straphōsin) as “repent” or “change their ways,” but both of these terms would be subject to misinterpretation by the modern English reader. The idea is one of turning back to God, however. The words “to me” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.
- John 12:40 sn A quotation from Isa 6:10.
- John 12:41 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Christ) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The referent supplied here is “Christ” rather than “Jesus” because it involves what Isaiah saw. It is clear that the author presents Isaiah as having seen the preincarnate glory of Christ, which was the very revelation of the Father (see John 1:18; John 14:9).sn Because he saw Christ’s glory. The glory which Isaiah saw in Isa 6:3 was the glory of Yahweh (typically rendered as “Lord” in the OT). Here John speaks of the prophet seeing the glory of Christ since in the next clause and spoke about him, “him” can hardly refer to Yahweh, but must refer to Christ. On the basis of statements like 1:14 in the prologue, the author probably put no great distinction between the two. Since the author presents Jesus as fully God (cf. John 1:1), it presents no problem to him to take words originally spoken by Isaiah of Yahweh himself and apply them to Jesus.
- John 12:42 sn The term rulers here denotes members of the Sanhedrin, the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews. Note the same word (“ruler”) is used to describe Nicodemus in 3:1.
- John 12:42 sn See the note on Pharisees in 1:24.
- John 12:42 tn The words “Jesus to be the Christ” are not in the Greek text, but are implied (see 9:22). As is often the case in Greek, the direct object is omitted for the verb ὡμολόγουν (hōmologoun). Some translators supply an ambiguous “it,” or derive the implied direct object from the previous clause “believed in him” so that the rulers would not confess “their faith” or “their belief.” However, when one compares John 9:22, which has many verbal parallels to this verse, it seems clear that the content of the confession would have been “Jesus is the Christ (i.e., Messiah).”sn See the note on Christ in 1:20.
- John 12:42 tn Or “be expelled from.”
- John 12:42 sn Cf. John 9:22. See the note on synagogue in 6:59.
- John 12:43 tn Grk “the glory.”
- John 12:43 tn Grk “the glory.”
- John 12:44 tn Grk “shouted out and said.”
- John 12:44 sn The one who sent me refers to God the Father.
- John 12:45 sn Cf. John 1:18 and 14:9.
- John 12:47 tn Grk “And if anyone”; the conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has been left untranslated here for improved English style.
- John 12:47 tn Or “guard them,” “keep them.”
- John 12:47 sn Cf. John 3:17.
- John 12:48 tn Or “does not receive.”
- John 12:48 tn Grk “has one who judges him.”
- John 12:48 tn Or “message.”
- John 12:49 tn Grk “I have not spoken from myself.”
- John 12:49 tn Grk “has given me commandment.”
- John 12:50 tn Or “his commandment results in eternal life.”
- John 12:50 tn Grk “The things I speak, just as the Father has spoken to me, thus I speak.”
19 Open for me the gates of the just king’s temple.[a]
I will enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the Lord’s gate—
the godly enter through it.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me,
and have become my deliverer.
22 The stone that the builders discarded[b]
has become the cornerstone.[c]
23 This is the Lord’s work.
We consider it amazing![d]
24 This is the day the Lord has brought about.[e]
We will be happy and rejoice in it.
25 Please, Lord, deliver!
Please, Lord, grant us success![f]
26 May the one who comes in the name of the Lord[g] be blessed.
We will pronounce blessings on you[h] in the Lord’s temple.[i]
27 The Lord is God, and he has delivered us.[j]
Tie the offering[k] with ropes
to the horns of the altar.[l]
28 You are my[m] God, and I will give you thanks.
You are my God and I will praise you.
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good
and his loyal love endures.[n]
- Psalm 118:19 tn Heb “the gates of justice.” The gates of the Lord’s temple are referred to here, as v. 20 makes clear. They are called “gates of justice” because they are the entrance to the just king’s palace. This has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Psalm 118:22 tn Or “rejected.”
- Psalm 118:22 tn Heb “the head of the corner.”sn The metaphor of the stone…the builders discarded describes the way in which God’s deliverance reversed the psalmist’s circumstances. When he was in distress, he was like a stone which was discarded by builders as useless, but now that he has been vindicated by God, all can see that he is of special importance to God, like the cornerstone of the building.
- Psalm 118:23 tn Heb “it is amazing in our eyes.” The use of the plural pronoun here and in vv. 24-27 suggests that the psalmist may be speaking for the entire nation. However, it is more likely that vv. 22-27 are the people’s response to the psalmist’s thanksgiving song (see especially v. 26). They rejoice with him because his deliverance on the battlefield (see vv. 10-12) had national repercussions.
- Psalm 118:24 tn Heb “this is the day the Lord has made.” Though sometimes applied in a general way, this statement in its context refers to the day of deliverance which the psalmist and people celebrate.
- Psalm 118:25 sn A petition for deliverance and success seems odd in a psalm thanking God for deliverance, but it is not unique (see Ps 9:19-20). The people ask God to continue to intervene for them as he has for the psalmist.
- Psalm 118:26 sn The people refer here to the psalmist, who enters the Lord’s temple to thank him publicly (see vv. 19-21), as the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
- Psalm 118:26 tn The pronominal suffix is second masculine plural, but the final mem (ם) is probably dittographic (note the mem [מ] at the beginning of the following form) or enclitic, in which case the suffix may be taken as second masculine singular, referring to the psalmist.
- Psalm 118:26 tn Heb “from the house of the Lord.”
- Psalm 118:27 tn Heb “and he has given us light.” This may be an elliptical expression, with “his face” being implied as the object (see Num 6:25; Pss 31:16; 67:1; 80:3, 7, 19). In this case, “his face has given us light” = “he has smiled on us,” or “he has shown us his favor.” Another option (the one reflected in the translation) is that “light” here symbolizes divine blessing in the form of deliverance. “Light” is often used as a metaphor for deliverance and the life/blessings it brings. See Pss 37:6; 97:11; 112:4; Isa 49:6; 51:4; Mic 7:8. Some prefer to repoint the preterite form וַיָּאֶר (vayyaʾer, “he made light”) as a jussive וְיָאֵר (veyaʾer; “may he make light [for us]”).
- Psalm 118:27 tn The Hebrew noun חַג (khag) normally means “festival,” but here it apparently refers metonymically to an offering made at the festival. BDB 291 s.v. חַג 2 interprets the word in this way here, citing as comparable the use of later Hebrew חֲגִיגָה, which can refer to both a festival and a festival offering (see Jastrow 424 s.v. חֲגִיגָה).
- Psalm 118:27 tn The second half of v. 27 has been translated and interpreted in a variety of ways. For a survey of major views, see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 122.
- Psalm 118:28 sn You are my God. The psalmist speaks again (see v. 21), responding to the words of the worshipers (vv. 22-27).
- Psalm 118:29 tn Or “is forever.”
27 The one who is greedy for gain[a] troubles[b] his household,[c]
but whoever hates bribes[d] will live.
28 The heart[e] of the righteous considers[f] how[g] to answer,[h]
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.[i]
- Proverbs 15:27 tn Heb “the one who gains.” The phrase בּוֹצֵעַ בָּצַע (botseaʿ batsaʿ) is a participle followed by its cognate accusative. This refers to a person who is always making the big deal, getting the larger cut, or in a hurry to get rich. The verb, though, makes it clear that the gaining of a profit is by violence and usually unjust, since the root has the idea of “cut off; break off; gain by violence.” The line is contrasted with hating bribes, and so the gain in this line may be through bribery.
- Proverbs 15:27 sn The participle “troubles” (עֹכֵר, ʿokher) can have the connotation of making things difficult for the family, or completely ruining the family (cf. NAB). In Josh 7:1 Achan took some of the “banned things” and was put to death: Because he “troubled Israel,” the Lord would “trouble” him (take his life, Josh 7:25).
- Proverbs 15:27 tn Heb “his house.”
- Proverbs 15:27 tn Heb “gifts” (so KJV). Gifts can be harmless enough, but in a setting like this the idea is that the “gift” is in exchange for some “profit [or, gain].” Therefore they are bribes (cf. ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT), and to be hated or rejected. Abram, for example, would not take anything that the king of Sodom had to offer, “lest [he] say, “I have made Abram rich” (Gen 14:22-24).
- Proverbs 15:28 tn Or “mind.” The term לֵב (lev) can refer to the “mind” or “heart” and represent a person’s thinking, feeling, or will.
- Proverbs 15:28 tn The verb יֶהְגֶּה (yehgeh) means “to muse; to meditate; to consider; to study.” It also involves planning, such as with the wicked “planning” a vain thing (Ps 2:1, which is contrasted with the righteous who “meditate” in the law [1:2]).
- Proverbs 15:28 tn The word “how” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Proverbs 15:28 tc The LXX reads: “the hearts of the righteous meditate faithfulness.”sn The advice of the proverb is to say less but better things. The wise—here called the righteous—are cautious in how they respond to others. They think about it (heart = mind) before speaking.
- Proverbs 15:28 sn The form is plural. What they say (the “mouth” is a metonymy of cause) is any range of harmful things.