VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
Of spikenard (nardou pistikhv). So Mark. See on Mark xiv. 3.
Very precious (polutimou). Literally, of much value. Matthew has barutimou, of weighty value.
Anointed. See on xi. 2.
Feet. The Synoptists mention only the pouring on the head.
The bag (glwssokomon). Only here and xiii. 29. Originally a box for keeping the mouth-pieces of wind instruments. From glwssa, tongue, and komew, to tend. The word was also used for a coffin. Josephus applies it to the coffer in which the golden mice and emerods were preserved (1 Samuel vi. 11). In the Septuagint, of the chest which Joash had provided for receiving contributions for the repairing of the Lord's house (2 Chronicles xxiv. 8). Rev. gives box, in margin.
Bare (ebastazen). Carried away or purloined. This meaning is rather imparted by the context than residing in the verb itself, i.e., according to New Testament usage (see on x. 21). Unquestionably it has this meaning in later Greek, frequently in Josephus. 39 Render, therefore, as Rev., took away. The rendering of the A.V. is tautological.
The reading of the Received Text is, however, disputed. The best textual critics agree that the perfect, tethrhken, she hath kept, was substituted for the original reading thrhsh, the aorist, she may keep, or may have kept, by some one who was trying to bring the text into harmony with Mark xiv. 8; not understanding how she could keep for His burial that which she poured out now. Some, however, urge the exact contrary, namely, that the perfect is the original reading, and that the aorist is a correction by critics who were occupied with the notion that no man is embalmed before his death, or who failed to see how the ointment could have been kept already, as it might naturally be supposed to have been just purchased. (So Godet and Field.) According to the corrected reading, ina, in order that, is inserted after afev aujthn, let her alone, or suffer her; tethrhken, hath kept, is changed to thrhsh, may keep, and the whole is rendered, suffer her to keep it against the day of my burying. So Rev.
But it is difficult to see why Christ should desire to have kept for His embalmment what had already been poured out upon Him. Some, as Meyer, assume that only a part of the ointment was poured out, and refer aujto, it, to the part remaining. "Let her alone, that she may not give away to the poor this ointment, of which she has just used a portion for the anointing of my feet, but preserve it for the day of my embalmming." Canon Westcott inclines to this view of the use of only a part. But the inference from the synoptic narratives can be only that the whole contents of the flask were used, and the mention of the pound by John, and the charge of waste are to the same effect. There is nothing whatever to warrant a contrary supposition.
Others explain, suffer her to have kept it, or suffer that she may have kept it. So Westcott, who says: "The idiom by which a speaker throws himself into the past, and regards what is done as still a purpose, is common to all languages."
Others, again, retain the meaning let her alone, and render ina, in order that, with an ellipsis, thus: "Let her alone: (she hath not sold her treasure) in order that she might keep it," etc.
The old rendering, as A.V., is the simplest, and gives a perfectly intelligible and consistent sense. If, however, this must be rejected, it seems, on the whole, best to adopt the marginal reading of the Rev., with the elliptical ina: let her alone: it was that she might keep it. This preserves the prohibitory force of afev aujthn, which is implied in Matt. xxvi. 10, and is unquestionable in Mark xiv. 6. Compare Matt. xv. 14; xix. 14; xxvii. 49. 40 Note that the promise of the future repute of this act (Matt. xxvi. 13; Mark xiv. 9) is omitted by the only Evangelist who records Mary's name in connection with it.
Knew (egnw). Rev., more correctly, learned. They came to know.
12-19. Compare Matt. xxi. 1-11; Mark xi. 1-11; Luke xix. 29-44.
To meet (eiv upanthsin). Very literally, to a going to meet.
Cried (ekrazon). Imperfect, kept crying as he advanced.
Hosanna. Meaning O save!
Blessed (euloghmenov). A different word from the blessed of Matthew v. 3 (makariov). This is the perfect participle of the verb eujlogew, to speak well of, praise, hence our eulogy. Matthew's word applies to character; this to repute. The ascription of praise here is from Psalms cxviii. 25, 26. This Psalm, according to Perowne, was composed originally for the first celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles after the completion of the sacred temple. The words of the twenty-fifth verse were sung during that feast, when the altar of burnt-offering was solemnly compassed; that is, once on each of the first six days of the feast, and seven times on the seventh day. This seventh day was called "the Great Hosanna," and not only the prayers for the feast, but even the branches of trees, including the myrtles which were attached to the palm branch, were called "Hosannas." The King of Israel. The best texts add kai, even the king, etc.
The hour is come, that (elhluqen h wra ina). This is not equivalent to "the hour is come in which." The hour is used absolutely: the critical hour is come in order that the Son, etc.
A corn (o kokkov). Properly, the corn or grain. The article should be inserted in the translation, because Jesus is citing the wheat-grain as a familiar type of that which contains in itself the germ of life. So wheat has the article: the corn of the wheat. The selection of the corn of wheat as an illustration acquires a peculiar interest from the fact of its being addressed to Greeks, familiar with the Eleusinian mysteries celebrated in their own country. These mysteries were based on the legend of Dionysus (Bacchus). According to the legend his original name was Zagreus. He was the son of Zeus (Jupiter) by his own daughter Persephone (Proserpina), and was destined to succeed to supreme dominion and to the wielding of the thunderbolt. The jealousy of Here (Juno), the wife of Zeus, incited the Titans against him, who killed him while he was contemplating his face in a mirror, cut up his body, and boiled it in a caldron, leaving only the heart. Zeus, in his wrath, hurled the Titans to Tartarus, and Apollo collected the remains of Zagreus and buried them. The heart was given to Semele, and Zagreus was born again from her under the form of Dionysus. The mysteries represented the original birth from the serpent, the murder and dismemberment of the child, and the revenge inflicted by Zeus; and the symbols exhibited - the dice, ball, top, mirror, and apple - signified the toys with which the Titans allured the child into their power. Then followed the restoration to life; Demeter (Ceres) the goddess of agriculture, the mother of food, putting the limbs together, and giving her maternal breasts to the child. All this was preparatory to the great Eleusinia, in which the risen Dionysus in the freshness of his second life was conducted from Athens to Eleusis in joyful procession. An ear of corn, plucked in solemn silence, was exhibited to the initiated as the object of mystical contemplation, as the symbol of the God, prematurely killed, but, like the ear enclosing the seed-corn, bearing within himself the germ of a second life.
With this mingled the legend of Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, who was carried off by Pluto to the infernal world. The mother wandered over the earth seeking her daughter, and having found her, applied to Zeus, through whose intervention Persephone, while condemned to Hades for a part of the year, was allowed to remain upon earth during the other part. Thus the story became the symbol of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring, and the power of which withdraws into the earth at other seasons of the year. These features of the mysteries set forth, and with the same symbol as that employed by Christ here, the crude pagan conception of life rising out of death.
Alone (autov monov). Literally, itself alone. Rev., by itself alone.
Shall lose (apolesei). The best texts read ajpolluei, loseth. See on Luke ix. 25.
In this world. This earthly economy, regarded as alien and hostile to God. The words are added in order to explain the strong phrase, hateth his life or soul.
Shall keep (fulaxei). See on 1 Pet. i. 4.
My Father. Rev., rightly, the Father. "Very much of the exact force of St. John's record of the Lord's words appears to depend upon the different conceptions of the two forms under which the fatherhood of God is described. God is spoken of as 'the Father' and as 'my Father.' Generally it may be said that the former title expresses the original relation of God to being, and specially to humanity, in virtue of man's creation in the divine image; and the latter more particularly the relation of the Father to the Son incarnate, and so indirectly to man in virtue of the incarnation. The former suggests those thoughts which spring from the consideration of the absolute moral connection of man with God; the latter, those which spring from what is made known to us through revelation of the connection of the incarnate Son with God and with man. 'The Father' corresponds, under this aspect, with the group of ideas gathered up in the Lord's titles, 'the Son"'the Son of man;' and 'my Father' with those which are gathered up in the title 'the Son of God,' 'the Christ'" (Westcott).
Is troubled (tetaraktai). The perfect tense; has been disturbed and remains troubled. The same verb as in xi. 33. Notice that there it is said He groaned in the spirit (tw pneumati). His inward agitation did not arise from personal sorrow or sympathy, but from some shock to His moral and spiritual sense.
What shall I say? A natural expression out of the depths of our Lord's humanity. How shall I express my emotion? Some commentators connect this with the following clause, shall I say, Father, save me, etc. But this does not agree with the context, and represents a hesitation in the mind of Jesus which found no place there. 41 Save me. The shrinking from suffering belongs to the human personality of our Lord (compare Matthew 39); but the prayer, save me from this hour, is not for deliverance from suffering, but for victory in the approaching trial. See Heb. v. 7. The expression is very vivid. "Save me out of this hour."
For this cause. Explained by glorify thy name. For this use, namely, that the Father's name might be glorified.
Shall be cast out (ekblhqhsetai exw). In every case but one where the word ejkballw occurs in John, it is used of casting out from a holy place or society. See ii. 15; ix. 34, 3; 3 John 10; Apoc. xii. 2. Compare John x. 4.
From the earth (ek thv ghv). Literally, out of the earth.
Will draw (elkusw). See on vi. 44.
All men (pantav). Some high authorities read panta, all things.
Unto Me (prov emauton). Rev., rightly, unto myself: in contrast with the prince of this world.
35 With you (meq umwn). The best texts read panta, among you.
While ye have (ewv). The best texts read wJv, as: walk in conformity with the fact that you have the Light among you.
Lest darkness come upon you (ina mh sxotia umav katalabh). Rev., better, that darkness overtake you not. On overtake see on taketh, Mark ix. 18; and perceived, Acts iv. 13.
Hardened (pepwrwken). See on the kindred noun pwrwsiv, hardness, Mark iii. 5.
Understand (nohswsin). Rev., better, perceive. Mark has suniwsin, understand. See on understanding, Luke ii. 47.
Be converted (ejpistrafwsin). See on Matt. xiii. 15; Luke xxii. 32. Rev., more accurately, turn, with the idea of turning to or toward something (epi).
His glory. In the vision in the temple, Isa. vi. 1, 3, 5.
Of Him. Christ.
Believed on Him (episteusan eiv auton). See on i. 12. It is to be noted that John here uses of this imperfect faith which refused to complete itself in confession, the formula for complete faith. Compare believed in His name (ii. 23), and see note there.
Confess Him (wmologoun). The Him, or, Rev., it, is not in the text. The verb is used absolutely. They did not make confession. See on Matthew vii. 23; x. 32; xiv. 7.
Lest they should be put out of the synagogue (ina mh aposunagwgoi genwntai). Better, that they should not be, etc. Compare Rev., ver. 35. On the phrase, be put out of the synagogue, see on ix. 22.
Than (hper) The word cannot be rendered by a corresponding word in English The force is, "more than the glory of God, though He is so much more glorious." The word is found nowhere else in the New Testament. Some authorities read uper, above.
Believeth - on Him that sent Me (pisteuei - eiv ton pemyanta me). This is the first and almost the only place in the Gospel where the words believe on are used with reference to the Father. This rendering in v. 24 is an error. See xiv. 1. The phrase is constantly associated with our Lord. At the same time it is to be noted that it contemplates the Father as the source of the special revelation of Christ, and therefore is not absolutely an exception to the habitual usage. The same is true of xiv. 1.
I am come (elhluqa). The perfect tense, pointing to the abiding result of His manifestation. Compare v. 43; vii. 28; viii. 42; xvi. 28; xviii. 37. Abide in darkness. The phrase occurs only here. Compare 1 John ii. 9, 11; also viii. 12; xii. 35.
Came (hlqon). The aorist tense, pointing to the purpose of the coming, as I am come (ver. 46) to the result. Compare viii. 14; ix. 39; x. 10; xii. 27, 47; xv. 22. Both tenses are found in viii. 42; xvi. 28.
The word (o logov). Comprehending all the sayings (rhmata).
The same (ekeinov). That. The pronoun of remote reference Westcott finely remarks: "The resumptive, isolating pronoun places in emphatic prominence the teaching which is regarded as past, and separated from those to whom it was addressed. It stands, as it were, in the distance, as a witness and an accuser."
The last day. Peculiar to John. See vi. 39.
Say - speak (eipw - lalhsw). The former relating to the substance, and the latter to the form of Jesus' utterances.