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Exodus 3-4 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 3

[a]Meanwhile Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Leading the flock beyond the wilderness, he came to the mountain of God, Horeb.[b] There the angel of the Lord[c] appeared to him as fire flaming out of a bush. When he looked, although the bush was on fire, it was not being consumed. So Moses decided, “I must turn aside to look at this remarkable sight. Why does the bush not burn up?” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to look, God called out to him from the bush: Moses! Moses! He answered, “Here I am.” God said: Do not come near! Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your father,[d] he continued, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

The Call and Commission of Moses. But the Lord said: I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry against their taskmasters, so I know well what they are suffering. Therefore I have come down[e] to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them up from that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now indeed the outcry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen how the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 Now, go! I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I[f] that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 God answered: I will be with you; and this will be your sign[g] that I have sent you. When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will serve God at this mountain. 13 “But,” said Moses to God, “if I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what do I tell them?” 14 God replied to Moses: I am who I am.[h] Then he added: This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.

15 God spoke further to Moses: This is what you will say to the Israelites: The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.

This is my name forever;
    this is my title for all generations.

16 Go and gather the elders of the Israelites, and tell them, The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and said: I have observed you and what is being done to you in Egypt; 17 so I have decided to lead you up out of your affliction in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey. 18 They will listen to you. Then you and the elders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt and say to him: The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has come to meet us. So now, let us go a three days’ journey in the wilderness to offer sacrifice to the Lord, our God. 19 Yet I know that the king of Egypt will not allow you to go unless his hand is forced. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wondrous deeds I will do in its midst. After that he will let you go. 21 I will even make the Egyptians so well-disposed toward this people that, when you go, you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman will ask her neighbor and the resident alien in her house for silver and gold articles[i] and for clothing, and you will put them on your sons and daughters. So you will plunder the Egyptians.

Chapter 4

“But,” objected Moses, “suppose they do not believe me or listen to me? For they may say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” The Lord said to him: What is in your hand? “A staff,” he answered. God said: Throw it on the ground. So he threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and Moses backed away from it. Then the Lord said to Moses: Now stretch out your hand and take hold of its tail. So he stretched out his hand and took hold of it, and it became a staff in his hand. That is so they will believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, did appear to you.

Again the Lord said to him: Put your hand into the fold of your garment. So he put his hand into the fold of his garment, and when he drew it out, there was his hand covered with scales, like snowflakes. Then God said: Put your hand back into the fold of your garment. So he put his hand back into the fold of his garment, and when he drew it out, there it was again like his own flesh. If they do not believe you or pay attention to the message of the first sign, they should believe the message of the second sign. And if they do not believe even these two signs and do not listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry land. The water you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry land.

Aaron’s Office as Assistant. 10 Moses, however, said to the Lord, “If you please, my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and tongue.” 11 The Lord said to him: Who gives one person speech? Who makes another mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go, I will assist you in speaking[j] and teach you what you are to say. 13 But he said, “If you please, my Lord, send someone else!”[k] 14 Then the Lord became angry with Moses and said: I know there is your brother, Aaron the Levite, who is a good speaker; even now he is on his way to meet you. When he sees you, he will truly be glad. 15 You will speak to him and put the words in his mouth. I will assist both you and him in speaking and teach you both what you are to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you: he will be your spokesman,[l] and you will be as God to him. 17 Take this staff[m] in your hand; with it you are to perform the signs.

Moses’ Return to Egypt. 18 After this Moses returned to Jethro[n] his father-in-law and said to him, “Let me return to my kindred in Egypt, to see whether they are still living.” Jethro replied to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19 Then the Lord said to Moses in Midian: Return to Egypt, for all those who sought your life are dead. 20 So Moses took his wife and his sons, mounted them on the donkey, and started back to the land of Egypt. Moses took the staff of God with him. 21 The Lord said to Moses: On your return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart[o] and he will not let the people go. 22 So you will say to Pharaoh, Thus says the Lord: Israel is my son, my firstborn. 23 I said to you: Let my son go, that he may serve me. Since you refused to let him go, I will kill your son, your firstborn.

24 [p]On the journey, at a place where they spent the night, the Lord came upon Moses and sought to put him to death. 25 But Zipporah took a piece of flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and, touching his feet,[q] she said, “Surely you are a spouse of blood to me.” 26 So God let Moses alone. At that time she said, “A spouse of blood,” in regard to the circumcision.

27 The Lord said to Aaron: Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. So he went; when meeting him at the mountain of God, he kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and all the signs he had commanded him to do. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered all the elders of the Israelites. 30 Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses, and he performed the signs before the people. 31 The people believed, and when they heard that the Lord had observed the Israelites and had seen their affliction,[r] they knelt and bowed down.

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1–4:17 After the introduction to the narrative in 2:23–25, the commissioning itself falls into three sections: God’s appearance under the aspect of a burning bush (3:1–6); the explicit commission (3:7–10); and an extended dialogue between Moses and God, in the course of which Moses receives the revelation of God’s personal name. Although in the J source of the Pentateuch people have known and invoked God’s personal name in worship since the time of Seth (Gn 4:26), for the E and P sources (see 6:2–4) God first makes this name publicly available here through Moses.
  2. 3:1 The mountain of God, Horeb: traditionally, “Horeb” is taken to be an alternate name in E source material and Deuteronomy (e.g., Dt 1:2) for what in J and P is known as Mount Sinai, the goal of the Israelites’ journey after leaving Egypt and the site of the covenant God makes with Israel. However, it is not clear that originally the two names reflect the same mountain, nor even that “Horeb” refers originally to a mountain and not simply the dry, ruined region (from Hebrew horeb, “dryness, devastation”) around the mountain. Additionally, the position of “Horeb” at the end of the verse may indicate that the identification of the “mountain of God” with Horeb (= Sinai?) represents a later stage in the evolution of the tradition about God’s meeting with Moses. The phrase “mountain of God” simply anticipates the divine apparitions which would take place there, both on this occasion and after the Israelites’ departure from Egypt; alternatively, it means that the place was already sacred or a place of pilgrimage in pre-Israelite times. In any case, the narrative offers no indications of its exact location.
  3. 3:2 The angel of the Lord: Hebrew mal’ak or “messenger” is regularly translated angelos by the Septuagint, from which the English word “angel” is derived, but the Hebrew term lacks connotations now popularly associated with “angel” (such as wings). Although angels frequently assume human form (cf. Gn 18–19), the term is also used to indicate the visual form under which God occasionally appeared and spoke to people, referred to indifferently in some Old Testament texts either as God’s “angel,” mal’ak, or as God. Cf. Gn 16:7, 13; Ex 14:19, 24–25; Nm 22:22–35; Jgs 6:11–18. The bush: Hebrew seneh, perhaps “thorny bush,” occurring only here in vv. 2–4 and in Dt 33:16. Its use here is most likely a wordplay on Sinai (Hebrew sinay), implying a popular etymology for the name of the sacred mountain.
  4. 3:6 God of your father: a frequently used epithet in Genesis (along with the variants “my father” and “your father”) for God as worshiped by the ancestors. As is known from its usage outside of the Bible in the ancient Near East, it suggests a close, personal relationship between the individual and the particular god in question, who is both a patron and a protector, a god traditionally revered by the individual’s family and whose worship is passed down from father to son. The God of Abraham…Jacob: this precise phrase (only here and in v. 15; 4:5) stresses the continuity between the new revelation to Moses and the earlier religious experience of Israel’s ancestors, identifying the God who is now addressing Moses with the God who promised land and numerous posterity to the ancestors. Cf. Mt 22:32; Mk 12:26; Lk 20:37. Afraid to look at God: the traditions about Moses are not uniform in regard to his beholding or not being able to look at God (cf. 24:11; 33:11, 18–23; 34:29–35). Here Moses’ reaction is the natural and spontaneous gesture of a person suddenly confronted with a direct experience of God. Aware of his human frailty and the gulf that separates him from the God who is holy, he hides his face. To encounter the divine was to come before an awesome and mysterious power unlike any other a human being might experience and, as such, potentially threatening to one’s very identity or existence (see Gn 32:30).
  5. 3:8 I have come down: cf. Gn 11:5, 7; 18:21. Flowing with milk and honey: an expression denoting agricultural prosperity, which seems to have been proverbial in its application to the land of Canaan. Cf. Ex 13:5; Nm 13:27; Jos 5:6; Jer 11:5; 32:22; Ez 20:6, 15.
  6. 3:11 Who am I: this question is always addressed by an inferior to a superior (to the ruler in 1 Sm 18:18; to God in 2 Sm 7:18 and its parallel, 1 Chr 17:16; 1 Chr 29:14; 2 Chr 2:5). In response to some special opportunity or invitation, the question expresses in a style typical of the ancient Near East the speaker’s humility or gratitude or need of further assistance, but never unwillingness or an outright refusal to respond. Instead the question sets the stage for further support from the superior should that be needed (as here).
  7. 3:12 Sign: a visible display of the power of God. The ancient notion of a sign from God does not coincide with the modern understanding of “miracle,” which suggests some disruption in the laws governing nature. While most any phenomenon can become a vehicle for displaying the purposes and providence of God, here the sign intended to confirm Moses’ commission by God seems to be the burning bush itself. Since normally the giving of such a sign would follow the commission rather than precede it (see Jgs 6:11–24), some see Israel’s service of God at Sinai after the exodus from Egypt as the confirmatory sign, albeit retroactively. It is more likely, however, that its mention here is intended to establish the present episode with Moses alone as a prefigurement of God’s fiery theophany to all Israel on Mount Sinai. Serve God: Hebrew ‘-b-d, “serve,” includes among its meanings both the notion of “serving or working for another” and the notion of “worship.” The implication here is that the Israelites’ service/worship of God is incompatible with their service to Pharaoh.
  8. 3:14 I am who I am: Moses asks in v. 13 for the name of the One speaking to him, but God responds with a wordplay which preserves the utterly mysterious character of the divine being even as it appears to suggest something of the inner meaning of God’s name: ‘ehyeh “I am” or “I will be(come)” for “Yhwh,” the personal name of the God of Israel. While the phrase “I am who I am” resists unraveling, it nevertheless suggests an etymological linking between the name “Yhwh” and an earlier form of the Hebrew verbal root h-y-h “to be.” On that basis many have interpreted the name “Yhwh” as a third-person form of the verb meaning “He causes to be, creates,” itself perhaps a shortened form of a longer liturgical name such as “(God who) creates (the heavenly armies).” Note in this connection the invocation of Israel’s God as “Lord (Yhwh) of Hosts” (e.g., 1 Sm 17:45). In any case, out of reverence for God’s proper name, the term Adonai, “my Lord,” was later used as a substitute. The word Lord (in small capital letters) indicates that the Hebrew text has the sacred name (Yhwh), the tetragrammaton. The word “Jehovah” arose from a false reading of this name as it is written in the current Hebrew text. The Septuagint has egō eimi ho ōn, “I am the One who is” (ōn being the participle of the verb “to be”). This can be taken as an assertion of God’s aseity or self-existence, and has been understood as such by the Church, since the time of the Fathers, as a true expression of God’s being, even though it is not precisely the meaning of the Hebrew.
  9. 3:22 Articles: probably jewelry.
  10. 4:12 Assist you in speaking: lit., “be with your mouth”; cf. v. 15, lit., “be with your mouth and with his mouth.”
  11. 4:13 Send someone else: lit., “send by means of him whom you will send,” that is, “send whom you will.”
  12. 4:16 Spokesman: lit., “mouth”; Aaron was to serve as a mouthpiece for Moses, as a prophet does for God; hence the relation between Moses and Aaron is compared to that between God and his prophet: Moses “will be as God to,” i.e., lit., “will become God for him.” Cf. 7:1.
  13. 4:17 This staff: probably the same as that of vv. 2–4; but some understand that a new staff is now given by God to Moses.
  14. 4:18 Jethro: the Hebrew text has “Jether,” apparently a variant form of “Jethro” found in the same verse. To see whether they are still living: Moses did not tell his father-in-law his main reason for returning to Egypt.
  15. 4:21 Harden his heart: in the biblical view, the heart, whose actual function in the circulation of blood was unknown, typically performs functions associated today more with the brain than with the emotions. Therefore, while it may be used in connection with various emotional states ranging from joy to sadness, it very commonly designates the seat of intellectual and volitional activities. For God to harden Pharaoh’s heart is to harden his resolve against the Israelites’ desire to leave. In the ancient world, actions which are out of character are routinely attributed not to the person but to some “outside” superhuman power acting upon the person (Jgs 14:16; 1 Sm 16:10). Uncharacteristically negative actions or states are explained in the same way (1 Sm 16:14). In this instance, the opposition of Pharaoh, in the face of God’s displays of power, would be unintelligible to the ancient Israelites unless he is seen as under some divine constraint. But this does not diminish Pharaoh’s own responsibility. In the anthropology of the ancient Israelites there is no opposition between individual responsibility and God’s sovereignty over all of creation. Cf. Rom 9:17–18.
  16. 4:24–26 This story continues to perplex commentators and may have circulated in various forms before finding its place here in Exodus. Particularly troublesome is the unique phrase “spouse of blood.” Nevertheless, v. 26, which apparently comes from the hand of a later commentator on the original story, is intended to offer some clarification. It asserts that when Zipporah used the problematic expression (addressing it either to Moses or her son), she did so with reference to the circumcision performed on her son—the only place in the Bible where this rite is performed by a woman. Whatever the precise meaning of the phrase “spouse of blood,” circumcision is the key to understanding it as well as the entire incident. One may conclude, therefore, that God was angry with Moses for having failed to keep the divine command given to Abraham in Gn 17:10–12 and circumcise his son. Moses’ life is spared when his wife circumcises their son.
  17. 4:25 Touching his feet: a euphemism most probably for the male sexual organ (see 2 Kgs 18:27; Is 7:20); whether the genitals of the child (after Zipporah circumcised him) or of Moses (after the circumcision of his son) is not clear.
  18. 4:31 Observed…their affliction: the same phrases used in God’s dialogue with Moses in 3:16–17.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 33 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 33[a]

Praise of God’s Power and Providence

I

Rejoice, you righteous, in the Lord;
    praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the Lord on the harp;
    on the ten-stringed lyre offer praise.
Sing to him a new song;
    skillfully play with joyful chant.
For the Lord’s word is upright;
    all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right.
    The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord.

II

By the Lord’s word the heavens were made;
    by the breath of his mouth all their host.[b]
[c]He gathered the waters of the sea as a mound;
    he sets the deep into storage vaults.

III

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all who dwell in the world show him reverence.
For he spoke, and it came to be,
    commanded, and it stood in place.
10 The Lord foils the plan of nations,
    frustrates the designs of peoples.
11 But the plan of the Lord stands forever,
    the designs of his heart through all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people chosen as his inheritance.

IV

13 From heaven the Lord looks down
    and observes the children of Adam,
14 From his dwelling place he surveys
    all who dwell on earth.
15 The One who fashioned together their hearts
    is the One who knows all their works.

V

16 A king is not saved by a great army,
    nor a warrior delivered by great strength.
17 Useless is the horse for safety;
    despite its great strength, it cannot be saved.
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him,
    upon those who count on his mercy,
19 To deliver their soul from death,
    and to keep them alive through famine.

VI

20 Our soul waits for the Lord,
    he is our help and shield.
21 For in him our hearts rejoice;
    in his holy name we trust.
22 May your mercy, Lord, be upon us;
    as we put our hope in you.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 33 A hymn in which the just are invited (Ps 33:1–3) to praise God, who by a mere word (Ps 33:4–5) created the three-tiered universe of the heavens, the cosmic waters, and the earth (Ps 33:6–9). Human words, in contrast, effect nothing (Ps 33:10–11). The greatness of human beings consists in God’s choosing them as a special people and their faithful response (Ps 33:12–22).
  2. 33:6 All their host: the stars of the sky are commonly viewed as a vast army, e.g., Neh 9:6; Is 40:26; 45:12; Jer 33:22.
  3. 33:7 The waters…as a mound: ancients sometimes attributed the power keeping the seas from overwhelming land to a primordial victory of the storm-god over personified Sea.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Matthew 19:1-15 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

VI. Ministry in Judea and Jerusalem

Chapter 19

Marriage and Divorce. [a]When Jesus[b] finished these words,[c] he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan. Great crowds followed him, and he cured them there. Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him,[d] saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” [e]He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” [f]They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss [her]?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you,[g] whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” 10 [His] disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 He answered, “Not all can accept [this] word,[h] but only those to whom that is granted. 12 Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage[i] for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

Blessing of the Children.[j] 13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

The Rich Young Man.[k]

Footnotes:

  1. 19:1–23:39 The narrative section of the fifth book of the gospel. The first part (Mt 19:1–20:34) has for its setting the journey of Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem; the second (Mt 21:1–23:39) deals with Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem up to the final great discourse of the gospel (Mt 24–25). Matthew follows the Marcan sequence of events, though adding material both special to this gospel and drawn from Q. The second part ends with the denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees (Mt 23:1–36) followed by Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem (Mt 23:37–39). This long and important speech raises a problem for the view that Matthew is structured around five other discourses of Jesus (see Introduction) and that this one has no such function in the gospel. However, it is to be noted that this speech lacks the customary concluding formula that follows the five discourses (see note on Mt 7:28), and that those discourses are all addressed either exclusively (Mt 10; 18; 24; 25) or primarily (Mt 5–7; 13) to the disciples, whereas this is addressed primarily to the scribes and Pharisees (Mt 23:13–36). Consequently, it seems plausible to maintain that the evangelist did not intend to give it the structural importance of the five other discourses, and that, in spite of its being composed of sayings-material, it belongs to the narrative section of this book. In that regard, it is similar to the sayings-material of Mt 11:7–30. Some have proposed that Matthew wished to regard it as part of the final discourse of Mt 24–25, but the intervening material (Mt 24:1–4) and the change in matter and style of those chapters do not support that view.
  2. 19:1 In giving Jesus’ teaching on divorce (Mt 19:3–9), Matthew here follows his Marcan source (Mk 10:2–12) as he does Q in Mt 5:31–32 (cf. Lk 16:18). Mt 19:10–12 are peculiar to Matthew.
  3. 19:1 When Jesus finished these words: see note on Mt 7:28–29. The district of Judea across the Jordan: an inexact designation of the territory. Judea did not extend across the Jordan; the territory east of the river was Perea. The route to Jerusalem by way of Perea avoided passage through Samaria.
  4. 19:3 Tested him: the verb is used of attempts of Jesus’ opponents to embarrass him by challenging him to do something they think impossible (Mt 16:1; Mk 8:11; Lk 11:16) or by having him say something that they can use against him (Mt 22:18, 35; Mk 10:2; 12:15). For any cause whatever: this is peculiar to Matthew and has been interpreted by some as meaning that Jesus was being asked to take sides in the dispute between the schools of Hillel and Shammai on the reasons for divorce, the latter holding a stricter position than the former. It is unlikely, however, that to ask Jesus’ opinion about the differing views of two Jewish schools, both highly respected, could be described as “testing” him, for the reason indicated above.
  5. 19:4–6 Matthew recasts his Marcan source, omitting Jesus’ question about Moses’ command (Mk 10:3) and having him recall at once two Genesis texts that show the will and purpose of the Creator in making human beings male and female (Gn 1:27), namely, that a man may be joined to his wife in marriage in the intimacy of one flesh (Gn 2:24). What God has thus joined must not be separated by any human being. (The NAB translation of the Hebrew bāśār of Gn 2:24 as “body” rather than “flesh” obscures the reference of Matthew to that text.)
  6. 19:7 See Dt 24:1–4.
  7. 19:9 Moses’ concession to human sinfulness (the hardness of your hearts, Mt 19:8) is repudiated by Jesus, and the original will of the Creator is reaffirmed against that concession. (Unless the marriage is unlawful): see note on Mt 5:31–32. There is some evidence suggesting that Jesus’ absolute prohibition of divorce was paralleled in the Qumran community (see 11QTemple 57:17–19; CD 4:12b–5:14). Matthew removes Mark’s setting of this verse as spoken to the disciples alone “in the house” (Mk 10:10) and also his extension of the divorce prohibition to the case of a woman’s divorcing her husband (Mk 10:12), probably because in Palestine, unlike the places where Roman and Greek law prevailed, the woman was not allowed to initiate the divorce.
  8. 19:11 [This] word: probably the disciples’ “it is better not to marry” (Mt 19:10). Jesus agrees but says that celibacy is not for all but only for those to whom that is granted by God.
  9. 19:12 Incapable of marriage: literally, “eunuchs.” Three classes are mentioned, eunuchs from birth, eunuchs by castration, and those who have voluntarily renounced marriage (literally, “have made themselves eunuchs”) for the sake of the kingdom, i.e., to devote themselves entirely to its service. Some scholars take the last class to be those who have been divorced by their spouses and have refused to enter another marriage. But it is more likely that it is rather those who have chosen never to marry, since that suits better the optional nature of the decision: whoever can…ought to accept it.
  10. 19:13–15 This account is understood by some as intended to justify the practice of infant baptism. That interpretation is based principally on the command not to prevent the children from coming, since that word sometimes has a baptismal connotation in the New Testament; see Acts 8:36.
  11. 19:16–30 Cf. Mk 10:17–31. This story does not set up a “two-tier” morality, that of those who seek (only) eternal life (Mt 19:16) and that of those who wish to be perfect (Mt 19:21). It speaks rather of the obstacle that riches constitute for the following of Jesus and of the impossibility, humanly speaking, for one who has many possessions (Mt 19:22) to enter the kingdom (Mt 19:24). Actual renunciation of riches is not demanded of all; Matthew counts the rich Joseph of Arimathea as a disciple of Jesus (Mt 27:57). But only the poor in spirit (Mt 5:3) can enter the kingdom and, as here, such poverty may entail the sacrifice of one’s possessions. The Twelve, who have given up everything (Mt 19:27) to follow Jesus, will have as their reward a share in Jesus’ (the Son of Man’s) judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Mt 19:28), and all who have similarly sacrificed family or property for his sake will inherit eternal life (Mt 19:29).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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