On Tuesday morning the pastors of Lutheran Saints in Ministry gather in Fairborn Ohio to discuss the texts for Sunday.

These are the contributions that are brought to the table.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Matthew 11:2-11, Greek Text Study

Greek Study Matthew 11:2-11 – Advent 3

v2 ακουσας (ακουω) aor. part. "when [John ....] heard" εν + dat. "in [prison]
του Χριστου (ος) τα εργα (ον) "what [Christ] was doing" - the works = "miracles." John has heard about the miracles and wonders whether Jesus is the Christ. This is a rather bold statement on John’ part, he serves the function here of prosecutor, but right or wrong, he is the first doubter!
πεμψας (πεμπω) aor. part. "he sent" i.e. he asked some of his disciples to go to Jesus to find out about him.

v3 ειπεν (ειπον οραω) aor. "to ask" It is John's question, relayed through his disciples.
συ "[are] you" an emphatic.
ο ερχομενος (ερχομαι) pres. part. "the one coming” this has to be an acknowledged title, otherwise it makes no sense.  Jesus who has obviously come, cannot still be coming.
προσδοκωμεν (προσδοκαω) sub. "should we wait for” a deliberative subjunctive, “Do we have to wait for someone else?" The "we" obviously means " Jews", not "we disciples of John."
ετερον pro. "someone else" the sense is either a different messiah, or a messiah with different characteristics.

v4 αποκριθεις (αποκρινομαι) part. "answering ... [he said] a common Semitic construction in the NT.
πορευθεντες (πορευομαι) aor. pas. part. "going" - an imperative and so the attendant circumstance participle is also read as an imperative; "go and report".
α ακουετε και βλεπετε "what you hear and see" – i.e. words and works of Jesus. 

v5 αναβλεπουσιν (αναβλεπω) pres. "receive sight" – literally “look up again” The prefix adds the sense of "again", so the proper translation is "people who are blind see again." not "all blind people will see." This means that they who had sight, and lost it, will have it restored. NT theology dealt with blind from birth as a parental failing (cf. Jn. 8).
ευαγγελιζονται pres. pas. "the good news is proclaimed to" πτωχοι adj. "the poor" – literally “the abject poor, beggars, those who have nothing”. Only "leper" in this list is a noun, the rest are adjectives serving as nouns (interestingly, the poor remain poor!)

v6 μακαριος adj. "blessed" declaration of a favored status before God. 
μη σκανδαλισθη (σκανδαλιζω) pas. sub. "does not take offence” – remember that for the early church (and Judaism) there was a scandal at the heart of faith, for both the manner of his death, and for Christians in particular the scandal of being social outcasts.

v7 τουτων ... πορευμενων (πορευομαι) gen. pres. part. "as John's disciples were leaving" - these ones were leaving, going. 
θεασασθαι (θεαομαι) aor. inf. "behold/ gaze upon” an idiom, because literally, it mean “look at in wonderment” and is an infinitive expressing purpose, "in order to see"; "When you went out into the wilderness in order to see the prophet John, what did you expect to actually see?" This is a somewhat rare usage.

v8 αλλα "if not" – a strong adversative: if not "a reed then what?” or “If not that; then maybe this?”
ιδειν (ειδον .. οραω) aor. inf. "to see" is the more common word, which mean literally “look at” here the infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to see."
ημφιεσμενον (αμφιεννυμι) perf. pas./mid. part. "dressed [in soft clothes]" another idiom, a ‘man in a $1000 silk suit!”
οι .... φορουντες (φορεω) part. "those wearing" μαλακα adj. "fine clothes" (soft raiment) i.e. silk των βασιλεων (ευς εως) gen. "kings' [palaces]" possessive; as ‘befits a king’s abode”. So what kind of king then is Jesus?

v9 ιδειν (ειδον οραω) aor. inf. "to see" - infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to see."
περισσοτερον (περισσος) adj. comp. "more" - means "more than sufficient", so the Baptist is someone greater than προφητου (ης ου) gen. "a prophet" (not THE prophet).

v10 From Mal.3:1 influenced by Ex.23:20. 
περι + gen. "about [whom]" γεγραπται (γραφω) perf. pas. "it is/has been written
κατασκευασει (κατασκευαζω) fut. "will prepare" – actually will equip. In the Malachi 3:1 quotation, Yahweh sends the messenger to prepare for his coming. Here, Jesus identifies himself with Yahweh and has John preparing for the coming of Messiah.
την οδον (ος) "way/road" a tip of the hat to both the Persian and Roman empires, the two greatest road builders in history.

v11 γυναικων (η) gen. "[born] of women" an idiom for "mortals".
μειζων (μεγας) comp. adj. "greater" but likelier “more important than" Ιωαννου.

δε "yet" ο μικροτερος (μικρος) comp. adj. "the least in importance, influence, power”. A comparative with superlative force, usually understood that John, with regard to his status in relation to the kingdom, is part of the old Testament witness and so doesn't share the same privileges as the NT witnesses, i. e. the disciples. But theologically this is nonsense, all throughout the Old Testament share in the fulfillment of the covenant promises of the Messiah and are properly members of the Kingdom with equal status. So why is this included and why, especially is it put into the mouth of Jesus as it does not resonate with the rest of his message!  I dunno, what do you think?

No comments: