New International Version - UK
22 If you see your fellow Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner. 2 If they do not live near you or if you do not know who owns it, take it home with you and keep it until they come looking for it. Then give it back. 3 Do the same if you find their donkey or cloak or anything else they have lost. Do not ignore it.
4 If you see your fellow Israelite’s donkey or ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it. Help the owner to get it to its feet.
5 A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.
6 If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young. 7 You may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go, so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.
8 When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.
9 Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.[a]
10 Do not plough with an ox and a donkey yoked together.
11 Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.
12 Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.
13 If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her 14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, ‘I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,’ 15 then the young woman’s father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin. 16 Her father will say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. 17 Now he has slandered her and said, “I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.” But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.’ Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, 18 and the elders shall take the man and punish him. 19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels[b] of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.
20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.
22 If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.
23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death – the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.
25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbour, 27 for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her.
28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels[c] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
30 A man is not to marry his father’s wife; he must not dishonour his father’s bed.[d]
New English Translation
Laws Concerning Preservation of Life
22 When you see[a] your neighbor’s[b] ox or sheep going astray, do not ignore it;[c] you must return it without fail[d] to your neighbor. 2 If the owner[e] does not live near[f] you or you do not know who the owner is,[g] then you must corral the animal[h] at your house and let it stay with you until the owner looks for it; then you must return it to him. 3 You shall do the same to his donkey, his clothes, or anything else your neighbor[i] has lost and you have found; you must not refuse to get involved.[j] 4 When you see[k] your neighbor’s donkey or ox fallen along the road, do not ignore it;[l] instead, you must be sure[m] to help him get the animal on its feet again.[n]
6 If you happen to notice a bird’s nest along the road, whether in a tree or on the ground, and there are chicks or eggs with the mother bird sitting on them,[q] you must not take the mother from the young.[r] 7 You must be sure[s] to let the mother go, but you may take the young for yourself. Do this so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.
Illustrations of the Principle of Purity
9 You must not plant your vineyard with two kinds of seed; otherwise the entire yield, both of the seed you plant and the produce of the vineyard, will be defiled.[v] 10 You must not plow with an ox and a donkey harnessed together. 11 You must not wear clothing made with wool and linen meshed together.[w] 12 You shall make yourselves tassels[x] for the four corners of the clothing you wear.
Purity in the Marriage Relationship
13 Suppose a man marries a woman, sleeps with her,[y] and then rejects[z] her, 14 accusing her of impropriety[aa] and defaming her reputation[ab] by saying, “I married this woman but when I approached her for marital relations[ac] I discovered she was not a virgin!” 15 Then the father and mother of the young woman must produce the evidence of virginity[ad] for the elders of the city at the gate. 16 The young woman’s father must say to the elders, “I gave my daughter to this man and he has rejected[ae] her. 17 Moreover, he has raised accusations of impropriety by saying, ‘I discovered your daughter was not a virgin,’ but this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity!” The cloth must then be spread out[af] before the city’s elders. 18 The elders of that city must then seize the man and punish[ag] him. 19 They will fine him 100 shekels of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, for the man who made the accusation[ah] ruined the reputation[ai] of an Israelite virgin. She will then become his wife, and he may never divorce her as long as he lives.
20 But if the accusation is true and the young woman was not a virgin, 21 the men of her city must bring the young woman to the door of her father’s house and stone her to death, for she has done a disgraceful thing[aj] in Israel by behaving like a prostitute while living in her father’s house. In this way you will purge[ak] the evil from among you.
23 If a virgin is engaged to a man and another man meets[ao] her in the city and goes to bed with[ap] her, 24 you must bring the two of them to the gate of that city and stone them to death, the young woman because she did not cry out though in the city and the man because he violated[aq] his neighbor’s fiancée;[ar] in this way you will purge[as] evil from among you. 25 But if the man came across[at] the engaged woman in the field and overpowered her and raped[au] her, then only the rapist[av] must die. 26 You must not do anything to the young woman—she has done nothing deserving of death. This case is the same as when someone attacks another person[aw] and murders him, 27 for the man[ax] met her in the field and the engaged woman cried out, but there was no one to rescue her.
28 Suppose a man comes across a virgin who is not engaged and takes hold of her[ay] and sleeps with[az] her and they are discovered. 29 The man who has slept with her must pay her father fifty shekels of silver and she must become his wife. Because he has humiliated her, he may never divorce her as long as he lives.
- Deuteronomy 22:1 tn Heb “you must not see,” but, if translated literally into English, the statement is misleading.
- Deuteronomy 22:1 tn Heb “brother’s” (also later in this verse). In this context it is not limited to one’s siblings, however; cf. NAB “your kinsman’s.”
- Deuteronomy 22:1 tn Heb “hide yourself.”
- Deuteronomy 22:1 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation indicates with the words “without fail.”
- Deuteronomy 22:2 tn Heb “your brother” (also later in this verse).
- Deuteronomy 22:2 tn Heb “is not.” The idea of “residing” is implied.
- Deuteronomy 22:2 tn Heb “and you do not know him.”
- Deuteronomy 22:2 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the ox or sheep mentioned in v. 1) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Deuteronomy 22:3 tn Heb “your brother” (also in v. 4).
- Deuteronomy 22:3 tn Heb “you must not hide yourself.”
- Deuteronomy 22:4 tn Heb “you must not see.” See note at 22:1.
- Deuteronomy 22:4 tn Heb “and (must not) hide yourself from them.”
- Deuteronomy 22:4 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation indicates with “be sure.”
- Deuteronomy 22:4 tn Heb “help him to lift them up.” In keeping with English style the singular is used in the translation, and the referent (“the animal”) has been specified for clarity.
- Deuteronomy 22:5 tn Heb “a man’s clothing.”
- Deuteronomy 22:5 tn The Hebrew term תּוֹעֵבָה (toʿevah, “offense”) speaks of anything that runs counter to ritual or moral order, especially (in the OT) to divine standards. Cross-dressing in this covenant context may suggest homosexuality, fertility cult ritual, or some other forbidden practice.
- Deuteronomy 22:6 tn Heb “and the mother sitting upon the chicks or the eggs.”
- Deuteronomy 22:6 tn Heb “sons,” used here in a generic sense for offspring.
- Deuteronomy 22:7 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation seeks to reflect with “be sure.”
- Deuteronomy 22:8 tn Or “a parapet” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV); KJV “a battlement”; NLT “a barrier.”
- Deuteronomy 22:8 tn Heb “that you not place bloodshed in your house.”
- Deuteronomy 22:9 tn Heb “set apart.” The verb קָדַשׁ (qadash) in the Qal verbal stem (as here) has the idea of being holy or being treated with special care. Some take the meaning as “be off-limits, forfeited,” i.e., the total produce of the vineyard, both crops and grapes, have to be forfeited to the sanctuary (cf. Exod 29:37; 30:29; Lev 6:18, 27; Num 16:37-38; Hag 2:12).
- Deuteronomy 22:11 tn The Hebrew term שַׁעַטְנֵז (shaʿatnez) occurs only here and in Lev 19:19. HALOT 1610-11 s.v. takes it to be a contraction of words (שַׁשׁ [shash, “headdress”] and עַטְנַז [ʿatnaz, “strong”]). BDB 1043 s.v. שַׁעַטְנֵז offers the translation “mixed stuff” (cf. NEB “woven with two kinds of yarn”; NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “woven together”). The general meaning is clear even if the etymology is not.
- Deuteronomy 22:12 tn Heb “twisted threads” (גְּדִלִים, gedilim) appears to be synonymous with צִיצִת (tsitsit) which, in Num 15:38, occurs in a passage instructing Israel to remember the covenant. Perhaps that is the purpose of the tassels here as well. Cf. KJV, ASV “fringes”; NAB “twisted cords.”
- Deuteronomy 22:13 tn Heb “goes to her,” a Hebrew euphemistic idiom for sexual relations. See note at Deut 21:13.
- Deuteronomy 22:13 tn Heb “hate.” See note on the word “other” in Deut 21:15. Cf. NAB “comes to dislike”; NASB “turns against”; TEV “decides he doesn’t want.”
- Deuteronomy 22:14 tn Heb “deeds of things”; NRSV “makes up charges against her”; NIV “slanders her.”
- Deuteronomy 22:14 tn Heb “brings against her a bad name”; NIV “gives her a bad name.”
- Deuteronomy 22:14 tn The expression קָרַב אֶל (qarav ʾel) means “draw near to” or “approach,” but is also used as a euphemism for the intended purpose of sexual relations.
- Deuteronomy 22:15 sn In light of v. 17 this would evidently be blood-stained sheets indicative of the first instance of intercourse. See E. H. Merrill, Deuteronomy (NAC), 302-3.
- Deuteronomy 22:16 tn Heb “hated.” See note on the word “other” in Deut 21:15.
- Deuteronomy 22:17 tn Heb “they will spread the garment.”
- Deuteronomy 22:18 tn Heb “discipline.”
- Deuteronomy 22:19 tn Heb “for he”; the referent (the man who made the accusation) has been specified in the translation to avoid confusion with the young woman’s father, the last-mentioned male.
- Deuteronomy 22:19 tn Heb “brought forth a bad name.”
- Deuteronomy 22:21 tn The Hebrew term נְבָלָה (nevalah) means more than just something stupid. It refers to a moral lapse so serious as to jeopardize the whole covenant community (cf. Gen 34:7; Judg 19:23; 20:6, 10; Jer 29:23). See C. Pan, NIDOTTE 3:11-13. Cf. NAB “she committed a crime against Israel.”
- Deuteronomy 22:21 tn Heb “burn.” See note on Deut 21:21.
- Deuteronomy 22:22 tn Heb “lying down with.” The verb שָׁכַב (shakhav) “to lie down” can be a euphemism for going to bed for sexual relations.
- Deuteronomy 22:22 tn Heb “a woman married to a husband.”
- Deuteronomy 22:22 tn Heb “burn.” See note on the phrase “purge out” in Deut 21:21.
- Deuteronomy 22:23 tn Heb “finds.”
- Deuteronomy 22:23 tn Heb “lies down with,” a euphemism for going to bed for sexual relations.
- Deuteronomy 22:24 tn Heb “humbled.”
- Deuteronomy 22:24 tn Heb “wife.”
- Deuteronomy 22:24 tn Heb “burn.” See note on the phrase “purge out” in Deut 21:21.
- Deuteronomy 22:25 tn Heb “found,” also in vv. 27, 28.
- Deuteronomy 22:25 tn Heb “lay with” here refers to a forced sexual relationship, as the accompanying verb “seized” (חָזַק, khazaq) makes clear.
- Deuteronomy 22:25 tn Heb “the man who lay with her, only him.”
- Deuteronomy 22:26 tn Heb “his neighbor.”
- Deuteronomy 22:27 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the man who attacked the woman) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Deuteronomy 22:28 tn The verb תָּפַשׂ (taphas) means “to sieze, grab.” In all other examples this action is done against another person’s will, as in being captured, arrested, attacked, or grabbed with insistence (e.g. 1 Sam 23:26; 1 Kgs 13:4; 18:40; 2 Kgs 14:13; 25:6; Isa 3:6; Jer 26:8; 34:3; 37:13; 52:9; Ps 71:11; 2 Chr 25:23.) So it may be that the man is forcing himself on her, which is what leads the NIV to translate the next verb as “rape,” although it is a neutral euphemism for sexual relations. However, this is the only case where the object of תָּפַשׂ is a woman and the verb also also refers to holding or handling objects such as musical instruments, weapons, or scrolls. So it possible that it has a specialized, but otherwise unattested nuance regarding sexual or romantic relations, as is true of other expressions. Several contextual clues point away from rape and toward a consensual relationship. (1) The verb which seems to express force is different from the verb of force in the rape case in v. 25. (2) The context distinguishes consequences based on whether the girl cried out, an expression of protest and a basis for distinguishing consent or force. But this case law does not mention her outcry which would have clarified a forcible act. While part of what is unique in this case is that the girl is not engaged, it is reasonable to expect the issue of consent to continue to apply. (3) The penalty is less than that of a man who slanders his new wife and certainly less than the sentence for rape. (4) The expression “and they are discovered” at the end of v. 28 uses the same wording as the expression in v. 22 which involves a consensual act. (5) Although from a separate context, the account of the rape of Dinah seems to express the Pentateuch’s negative attitude toward forcible rape, not in advocating for Simeon and Levi’s actions, but in the condemnation included in the line Gen 34:7 “because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.” This is very like the indictment in v. 21 against the consenting woman, “because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.” (6) The penalty of not being allowed to divorce her sounds like v. 19, where the man is punished for disgracing his wife unfairly. His attempted divorce fails and he must provide for her thereafter (the probable point of not being allowed to divorce her.) Here too, if his holding her is not forced, but instead he has seduced her, he is not allowed to claim that his new wife is not pure (since he is the culprit) and so he must take responsibility for her, cannot divorce her, and must provide for her as a husband thereafter.
- Deuteronomy 22:28 tn Heb “lies with.”
- Deuteronomy 22:30 sn Beginning with 22:30, the verse numbers through 23:25 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 22:30 ET = 23:1 HT, 23:1 ET = 23:2 HT, 23:2 ET = 23:3 HT, etc., through 23:25 ET = 23:26 HT. With 24:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.
- Deuteronomy 22:30 tn Heb “take.” In context this refers to marriage, as in the older English expression “take a wife.”
- Deuteronomy 22:30 sn This presupposes either the death of the father or their divorce since it would be impossible for one to marry his stepmother while his father was still married to her.
- Deuteronomy 22:30 tn Heb “uncover his father’s skirt” (so ASV, NASB). This appears to be a circumlocution for describing the dishonor that would come to a father by having his own son share his wife’s sexuality (cf. NAB, NIV “dishonor his father’s bed”).
Song of Solomon 2
New International Version - UK
2 I am a rose[b] of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.
2 Like a lily among thorns
is my darling among the young women.
3 Like an apple[c] tree among the trees of the forest
is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
4 Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
and let his banner over me be love.
5 Strengthen me with raisins,
refresh me with apples,
for I am faint with love.
6 His left arm is under my head,
and his right arm embraces me.
7 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.
8 Listen! My beloved!
Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattice.
10 My beloved spoke and said to me,
‘Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.
11 See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
13 The fig-tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.’
14 My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding-places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
15 Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.
16 My beloved is mine and I am his;
he browses among the lilies.
17 Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
on the rugged hills.[d]
Song of Solomon 2
New English Translation
The Lily among the Thorns and the Apple Tree in the Forest
The Beloved to Her Lover:
The Lover to His Beloved:
The Beloved about Her Lover:
The Banquet Hall for the Lovesick
The Beloved about Her Lover:
The Double Refrain: Embracing and Adjuration
The Beloved to the Maidens:
The Arrival of the Lover
The Beloved about Her Lover:
8 Listen![ae] My lover is approaching![af]
Look![ag] Here he comes,
leaping over the mountains,
bounding over the hills!
9 My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag.[ah]
Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the window,
peering through the lattice.
The Season of Love and the Song of the Turtledove
The Lover to His Beloved:
10 My lover spoke to me, saying:
“Arise, my darling;
My beautiful one, come away with me!
11 Look! The winter has passed,
the winter rains are over and gone.
12 Blossoms have appeared[ai] in the land,
the time for pruning and singing[aj] has come;
the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree has ripened its figs,
the vines have blossomed and give off their fragrance.
Arise, come away my darling;
my beautiful one, come away with me!”
The Dove in the Clefts of En Gedi
The Lover to His Beloved:
14 O my dove,[ak] in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places of the mountain crags,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
The Foxes in the Vineyard
The Beloved to Her Lover:
Poetic Refrain: Mutual Possession
The Beloved about Her Lover:
16 My lover is mine and I am his;
he grazes among the lilies.[ap]
The Gazelle and the Rugged Mountains
The Beloved to Her Lover:
- Song of Solomon 2:1 tn Or “the rose of Sharon…the lily of the valleys.” There is debate whether the expressions חֲבַצֶּלֶת הַשָּׁרוֹן (khavatselet hasharon) and שׁוֹשַׁנַּת הָעֲמָקִים (shoshannat haʿamaqim) are definite (“the rose of Sharon…the lily of the valleys”) or indefinite (“a rose of Sharon…a lily”). Some translations adopt the definite sense (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NAU, NJB, NLT); others the indefinite sense (ASV, RSV, NRSV, NIV, NIB, NAB, NJPS, CEV).
- Song of Solomon 2:1 tn Heb “meadow-saffron” or “crocus.” The noun חֲבַצֶּלֶת (khavatselet) traditionally has been translated “rose” (KJV, NKJV, ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, NIV, NJPS, NLT, CEV); however, recent translations suggest “crocus” (NIV margin, NJPS margin), “narcissus” (DBY) or simply “flower” (DRA, NAB). The LXX translated it with the generic term ἀνθος (anthos, “flower, blossom”). Early English translators knew that it referred to some kind of flower but were unsure exactly which type, so they arbitrarily chose “rose” because it was a well-known and beautiful flower. In the light of comparative Semitics, modern Hebrew lexicographers have settled on “asphodel,” “meadow-saffron,” “narcissus,” or “crocus” (BDB 287 s.v. חֲבַצֶּלֶת; HALOT 287 s.v. חֲבַצֶּלֶת; DCH 3:153 s.v. חֲבַצֶּלֶת). The Hebrew term is related to Syriac hamsalaita (“meadow saffron”) and Akkadian habasillatu (“flower-stalk, marsh plant, reed”). Lexicographers and botanists suggest that the Hebrew term refers to Ashodelos (lily family), Narcissus tazetta (narcissus or daffodil), or Colchicum autumnale (meadow-saffron or crocus). The location of this flower in Sharon suggests that a common wild flower would be more likely than a rose. The term appears elsewhere only in Isa 35:1 where it refers to some kind of desert flower—erroneously translated “rose” (KJV, NJPS) but probably “crocus” (NASB, NIV, NJPS margin). Appropriately, the rustic maiden who grew up in the simplicity of rural life compares herself to a simple, common flower of the field (M. H. Pope, Song of Songs [AB], 367).
- Song of Solomon 2:1 sn Sharon is a low coastal plain stretching south from Mount Carmel. It is well watered due to the Kurkar ridges running parallel to the shore which trapped the water run-off from the Samaritan hills. The combination of low sandy hills and swampy lowlands produced heavy vegetation and an abundance of wild flowers in the area (M. H. Pope, Song of Songs [AB], 367).
- Song of Solomon 2:1 tn There is debate about the referent of שׁוֹשַׁנַּת (shoshannat, “lily”) because there are many different species of the lily family. Botanists note that among the many different species of the lily family only one grows in Palestine. This species may be identified as the Anthemis palaestina, the chamomile, a white-daisy-like plant, which was indigenous to Palestine (Fauna and Flora of the Bible, 134-36).
- Song of Solomon 2:2 sn This is an example of emblematic parallelism. An illustrative simile appears in the A-line and the subject of the comparison is in the B-line. The particles כֵּן…כְּ (ke…ken, “like…so”) form an emphatic comparative construction (e.g., Ps 123:2), see IBHS 641-42 §38.5a.
- Song of Solomon 2:2 tn Alternately, “thorn bushes.” The term הַחוֹחִים (hahokhim) is probably derived from חוֹח (khokh, “thorn-bush, briars, thistles, thorns”; HALOT 296 s.v. I חוֹחַ; BDB 296 s.v. חוֹחַ) rather than חוֹח (khokh, “crevice”; HALOT 296 s.v. II חוֹחַ): “Like a lily among the thorns” rather than “Like a lily among the rock crevices.” The picture is of a beautiful flower growing in the midst of thorn bushes (1 Sam 14:11; 2 Kgs 14:9; 2 Chr 25:18; Job 31:40; Prov 26:9; Isa 34:13; Hos 9:6) rather than a beautiful flower growing in the midst of rocky outcroppings (1 Sam 13:6; 2 Chr 33:11). The Hebrew term is related to Akkadian hahu and haiahu “thorn” and hahinnu “thorny plants” (AHw 1:308) and Aramaic hahhu (HALOT 296). The “thorn bush” is a thistle plant (Poterium spinosum) which has prickly spines covered with thistles, but also sprouts beautiful small red flowers (Fauna and Flora of the Bible, 184-85).sn The Lover accommodates her self-denigrating comparison, but heightens it to praise her: If she insisted that she was nothing more than a common flower of the field, then he insisted that all other women were like thorns by comparison. The term חוֹח (khokh, “thorn”) is often used as a figure for utter desolation and the cause of pain; it is the antithesis of fertility and beautiful luxuriant growth (Job 31:40; Isa 34:13; Hos 9:6).
- Song of Solomon 2:3 tn Like the preceding line, this is a case of emblematic parallelism. An illustrative simile appears in the A-line (object of the comparison) and the subject of comparison appears in the B-line. The particles כֵּן…כְּ (ke…ken, “like…so”) form an emphatic comparative construction (e.g., Ps 123:2); cf. IBHS 641-42 §38.5a.
- Song of Solomon 2:3 sn Apple trees were not native to Palestine and had to be imported and cultivated. To find a cultivated apple tree growing in the forest among other wild trees would be quite unusual; the apple tree would stand out and be a delightful surprise. Like a cultivated apple tree, the Lover was unique and stood out among all other men. In ancient Near Eastern love literature, the apple tree was a common symbol for romantic love and sexual fertility (S. N. Kramer, The Sacred Marriage Rite, 100-101). The “apple tree” motif is used in the Song in a similar manner (e.g., Song 2:3; 8:5). Likewise, the motif of “apples” is used as a symbol of fertility (Joel 1:12) and sexual desire (Song 2:5, 7, 9).
- Song of Solomon 2:3 tn Alternately, “I desired” or “I took delight in.” The meaning of this use of the verb חָמַד (khamad, “delight, desire”) is debated. The root has a basic two-fold range of meanings: (1) “to take pleasure in, delight in” (Job 20:20; Pss 39:12; 68:17; Prov 1:22; Isa 1:29; 44:9; 53:2) and (2) “to desire passionately, to desire illicitly” (Exod 20:17; 34:24; Deut 5:21; 7:25; Josh 7:21; Prov 1:22; 6:25; 12:12; Mic 2:2) (HALOT 325 s.v. חמד; BDB 326 s.v. חָמַד). The related noun חֶמְדָּה (khemdah) describes objects which are “delightful, precious, desirable” (HALOT 325 s.v. חֶמְדָּה). Commentators who adopt an erotic view of the extended metaphor in 2:3 opt for the sexual desire nuance: “I desired (sexually).” Those who adopt the less erotic approach favor the more general connotation: “I took delight in” or “I delight in.”
- Song of Solomon 2:3 tn Heb “I delighted and I sat down.” Alternately, “I sat down with delight….” The verbs חִמַּדְתִּי וְיָשַׁבְתִּי (khimmadti veyashavti, “I delighted and I sat down”) form a verbal hendiadys (GKC 386 §120.d): “I sat down with delight…” or “I delight to sit….” The sequence of a perfect followed by another perfect with vav conjunctive creates the coordination of the complementary verbal idea (first verb) with the idea of the main (second) verb. The main idea is indicated by the second verb; the first verb indicates the manner of action. The first verb functions adverbially while the second verb carries its full verbal sense (see IBHS 653-54 §39.2.5).
- Song of Solomon 2:3 sn The term צֵל (tsel, “shade”) is used figuratively to depict protection and relief. This term is used in OT literally (physical shade from the sun) and figuratively (protection from something) (HALOT 1024-25 s.v. צֵל): (1) Literal: The physical shade of a tree offers protection from the heat of the midday sun (Judg 9:15; Ezek 17:23; 31:6, 12, 17; Hos 4:13; Jonah 4:6; Job 7:2; 40:22). Similar protection from the sun is offered by the shade of a vine (Ps 80:11), root (Gen 19:8), mountain (Judg 9:36), rock (Isa 32:2), cloud (Isa 25:5), and hut (Jonah 4:5). (2) Figurative (hypocatastasis): Just as physical shade offers protection from the sun, the Israelite could find “shade” (protection) from God or the king (e.g., Num 14:9; Isa 30:2; 49:2; 51:16; Hos 14:8; Pss 17:8; 36:8; 57:2; 63:8; 91:1; 121:5; Lam 4:20; Eccl 7:12). The association between “shade” and “protection” is seen in the related Akkadian sillu “shade, covering, protection” (AHw 3:1101; CAD S:189). The epithets of several Akkadian deities are sillu and sululu (“Shade, Protector”). The motif of protection, rest, and relief from the sun seems to be implied by the expression וְיָשַׁבְתִּי (veyashavti, “I sat down”) in 2:3b. During the summer months, the temperature often reaches 110-130 ºF in the Negev. Those who have never personally experienced the heat of the summer sun in the Negev as they performed strenuous physical labor cannot fully appreciate the relief offered by any kind of shade! Previously, the young woman had complained that she had been burned by the sun because she had been forced to labor in the vineyards with no shade to protect her (Song 1:5-6). She had urged him to tell her where she could find relief from the sun during the hot midday hours (Song 1:7). Now she exults that she finally had found relief from the scorching sun under the “shade” which he offered to her (Song 2:3). S. C. Glickman writes: “Whereas before she came to him she worked long hours on the sun (1:6), now she rests under the protective shade he brings. And although formerly she was so exhausted by her work she could not properly care for herself, now she finds time for refreshment with him” (A Song for Lovers, 40).
- Song of Solomon 2:3 sn The term פִּרְיוֹ (piryo, “his fruit”) is a figure for the young man himself or perhaps his kisses which the young woman delights to “taste” (e.g., Song 4:11; 5:13). It is possible to take the imagery of the young woman tasting his “fruit” as kissing. Likewise, the imagery of the gazelles grazing among the lilies is probably a picture of the young man caressing and kissing his beloved (Song 2:16; 6:3).
- Song of Solomon 2:3 sn The term מָתוֹק (matoq, “sweet”) is used literally and figuratively. When used literally, it describes pleasant tasting foods, such as honey (Judg 14:14, 18; Prov 24:13; Ps 19:11) or sweet water (Num 33:28; Prov 9:17). Used figuratively, it describes what is pleasant to experience: friendship (Job 20:12; Ps 55:15; Prov 27:9), life (Eccl 11:7; Sir 40:18), sleep for the weary (Eccl 5:11), eloquence in speech (Prov 16:21, 24), and scripture (Ps 19:11). Those who adopt the “hyper-erotic” approach opt for the literal meaning: his “fruit” tastes sweet to her palate. The nonerotic approach takes the term in its figurative sense: The experience of his love was pleasant.
- Song of Solomon 2:3 tn Heb “my palate.” The term חִכִּי (khikki, “my palate”) is used metonymically in reference to the sensation of taste which is associated with a person’s palate. The idea of “tasting” is used as a metaphor in the OT for the experiential knowledge which is acquired through a person’s relationship with someone (e.g., Ps 34:9). Just as a person would learn whether a fruit was ripe and delicious by tasting it, so a person could learn of the quality of a person’s character by experiencing it through personal interaction. This extended metaphor compares the delights of his love to (1) the refreshment of sitting in the shade of a tree for refuge from the desert sun, and (2) the delight of tasting a sweet apple—a fruit that was not indigenous to Palestine.
- Song of Solomon 2:4 tc The MT vocalizes consonantal הביאני as הֱבִיאַנִי (heviʾani, Hiphil perfect third person masculine singular with first person common singular suffix, “He has brought me”). However, several medieval Hebrew mss vocalize the form as הֲבִיאֻנִי (haviʾuni, Hiphil imperative second person masculine singular with first person common singular suffix, “Bring me!”). This is also reflected in LXX (εἰσαγαγετε με, eisagagete me, “Bring me!”) and Syriac. This alternate vocalization tradition has several factors that make it a viable option: (1) It respects the consonantal text; (2) It is supported by the LXX and Syriac; (3) It provides a tighter parallelism with the two identical imperatival forms in 2:5a (both second person masculine plural imperatives with first person common singular suffixes); (4) It provides thematic unity to the entire poetic unit of 2:4-5; and (5) It helps make better sense of an enigmatic unit. This approach is strengthened if the MT reading וְדִגְלוֹ (vediglo, “and his banner”) is revocalized to the imperative וְדִגְלוּ (vediglu, “and feed [me]”) (see translator’s note below). In this case, the parallelism throughout 2:4-5 would be very tight. It would feature four parallel imperatives of request, all revolving around the theme of love-sickness: “Bring me into the banquet hall, feed me with love; sustain me with raisin cakes, refresh me with apples, because I am faint with love.” The weakness with the revocalization to הֲבִיאֻנִי (“Bring me!”) is that it demands, due to the dictates of synonymous parallelism, the questionable revocalization of the MT’s וְדִגְלוֹ (“and his banner”) to the imperative וְדִגְלוּ (“and feed [me]”).tn Alternately, “Bring me!”
- Song of Solomon 2:4 tn Heb “house of wine.” The expression בֵּית הַיָּיִן (bet hayyayin, lit. “house of wine” or “place of wine”) refers to a banquet house where wine is drunk or a vineyard where grapes to produce wine are grown (HALOT 409 s.v. יַיִן). G. L. Carr favors the vineyard view due to the agricultural metaphors in 2:1-5. However, most commentators favor the banquet house view because of the reference to “raisin-cakes” and “apples” (2:4) which were served at banquets in the ancient Near East. Moreover, the expression בֵּית הַיָּיִן in in Song 2:4 may be equivalent to בֵּית מִשְׁתֵּה הַיַּיִן (bet mishte hayyayin, “house of the drinking of wine”) in Esther 7:8 (HALOT 409 s.v. יַיִן). Second, raisin cakes are mentioned in this context in 2:5, and they were often eaten to celebrate festive occasions (2 Sam 6:19; Isa 16:7; Hos 3:1); therefore, the banquet motif finds support. Selected Bibliography: E. Würthwein, “Zum Verständnis des Hohenliedes,” TRu 32 (1967): 205; G. L. Carr, Song of Solomon [TOTC], 90-91.
- Song of Solomon 2:4 tc The MT vocalizes דגלו as the noun דֶּגֶל (degel) with third person masculine singular suffix וְדִגְלוֹ (vediglo, “his banner [over me is love]”). However, several medieval Hebrew mss vocalize דגלו as a Qal masculine plural imperative וְדִגְלוּ (vediglu, “Set [love before me].”) This is also reflected in LXX τάξατε ἐπ’ ἐμὲ ἀγάπην (taxate ep eme agapēn, “Set love before me!”).tn The meaning of the term דִּגְלוֹ (diglo) is debated. Five basic views have emerged: (1) “his banner over me was love.” BDB relates דִּגְלוֹ to the noun דֶּגֶל (degel, “standard, banner”; BDB 186 s.v. דֶּגֶל) which refers to (a) banners, standards (Num 1:52; 2:2) and (b) battalion, company of troops, or division of a tribe signaled by a banner or standard (Num 2:3, 10, 17-18, 25, 31, 34; 10:14, 18, 22, 25). Thus, most translations render דִּגְלוֹ as “his banner” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NJPS). However, the expression “His banner over me was love” is enigmatic. (2) “serve love to me!” Delitzsch revocalized the noun וְדִגְלוֹ (“his banner”) as an imperative וְדִגְלוּ (vediglu, “serve [me]”) from the root דָּגַל (dagal, “to serve food”) which is related to Akkadian dagalu II (“to serve food”). Delitzsch renders the passage: “Bring me into the banquet hall and serve me love…for I am faint with love.” This is supported by LXX which reads: “Bring me into the wine house, and set love before me.” However, R. Gordis points out the difficulties with Delitzsch’s proposal: (a) The meaning “serve” for דָּגַל is unparalleled in Hebrew thus, it would create a homonymic hapax legomenon; (b) We would expect the preposition לִי (li, “to me”) rather than עָלַי (ʿala, “over me”) after the imperative; and (c) The Akkadian parallel is uncertain. (3) “its banner above me is love.” HALOT relates דִּגְלוֹ to the Akkadian noun diglu (“eyesight, view, look, gaze”) and proposes the nuance “sign of an inn,” such as a flag placed over taverns (HALOT 213 s.v. דֶּגֶל). This approach renders the line: “He has brought me to the banquet hall, and its banner above me is love.” (4) “his look toward me was loving” = “he looked at me lovingly.” Several lexicons relate דִּגְלוֹ to the homonymic root דָּגַל, “look, glance” (e.g., DCH 2:415 s.v. II דָּגַל). The Hebrew noun degel II is related to the Akkadian noun diglu “eyesight, view, look, gaze” (CAD 3:21; AHw 1:14). Likewise, the Hebrew verb II דָּגַל (“to look, behold”; Song 5:10; 6:4, 10; Eccl 9:13; Ps 20:6) (BDB 186 s.v. דָּגַל; HALOT 213 s.v. I דגל; DCH 2:414 s.v. I) is related to the Akkadian verb dagalu I “to look upon, to gaze, to look with astonishment, to look at with admiration” (CAD 3:21; AHw 1:14). Those who adopt this approach render the line: “His glance upon me is love” (DCH 2:414) or “His look upon me was loving” (R. Gordis, “The Root dgl in the Song of Songs,” JBL 88 : 203-204; idem, Song of Songs and Lamentations, 81-82); or “He looked upon me with love.” (5) “his wish regarding me was lovemaking.” M. H. Pope (Song of Songs [AB], 376-77) notes that the Assyrian noun diglu may denote “wish,” i.e., desire or intent (CAD 3:136). He renders the line: “His wish regarding me was lovemaking” or “His intentions were to make love.” Pope’s suggestion has been adopted by several recent commentators (e.g., G. L. Carr, Song of Solomon [TOTC], 91).
- Song of Solomon 2:4 tn The syntax of the noun אַהֲבָה (ʾahavah, “love”) has been taken as: (1) predicate nominative: “His banner over me [was] love” or “His intention toward me [was] lovemaking” (M. H. Pope, Song of Songs [AB], 376-77; G. L. Carr, Song of Solomon [TOTC], 91); (2) genitive of attribute/content: “His banner of love [was] over me,” and (3) adverbial or adjectival accusative: “His look upon me was loving” or “He looked upon me lovingly” (R. Gordis, Song of Songs and Lamentations, 81-82). Examples of adverbial or adjectival accusatives, e.g., “I am peace” = “I am peaceful” (Ps 120:7); “I will love them as a free gift” = “I will love them freely” (Hos 14:5).
- Song of Solomon 2:5 tn The imperatives סַמְּכוּנִי (sammekhuni, “sustain me”) and רַפְּדוּנִי (rappeduni, “revive me”) are both plural in address (Piel second person masculine plural imperatives with first person common singular suffixes). Thus, some commentators suggest that the woman is speaking to a large audience, perhaps the banquet guests implied in 2:4 or the maidens mentioned in 2:7 (R. Gordis, Song of Songs and Lamentations, 82). However, the Hebrew plural can be used in reference to a single individual when functioning in an intensive sense (IBHS 122 §7.4.3a). Thus, the woman may be speaking to her beloved, as in the rest of 2:3-6, but with intense passion. Similarly, in Sumerian love literature the bride sometimes uses plural verbs in reference to herself or her bridegroom (S. N. Kramer, The Sacred Marriage Rite, 92, 99).
- Song of Solomon 2:5 sn The term אֲשִׁישׁוֹת (ʾashishot, “raisin cakes,” from אֲשִׁישָׁה, ʾashishah) refers to an expensive delicacy made of dried compressed grapes (HALOT 95 s.v. אֲשִׁישָׁה; BDB 84 s.v. אֲשִׁישָׁה; Jastrow 128 s.v. אֲשִׁישָׁה). Raisin cakes were used as cultic offerings by many ancient Near Easterners, and were especially prominent in ancient Near Eastern fertility rites (e.g., Isa 16:7; Hos 3:1). In ancient Israel they were eaten during festive celebrations, being viewed as enhancing sexual fertility (2 Sam 6:19; 1 Chr 16:3). Scholars regard the “raisin cakes” as (1) literal food viewed as an aphrodisiac to “cure” her love-sickness; (2) a figurative expression (hypocatastasis) for sexual passion or lovemaking; or (3) double entendre referring to the literal food as an aphrodisiac and her desire for lovemaking.
- Song of Solomon 2:5 tn Or “apricots.” The term תַּפּוּחִים (tappukhim, “apples,” from תַּפּוּחַ, tappuakh) occurs four times in the book (Song 2:3, 5; 7:9; 8:5) and twice outside (Prov 25:4; Joel 1:12). It is usually defined as “apples” (BDB 656 s.v. תַּפּוּחַ); however, some argue for “apricots” (FFB 92-93). The Hebrew noun תַּפּוּחַ (“apple”) is derived from the Hebrew root נָפַח (nafakh, “scent, breath”) which is related to the Arabic root nafahu “fragrant scent” (HALOT 708 s.v. נפח). Hence, the term refers to a fruit with a fragrant scent. This may explain why the mere scent of this fruit was thought to have medicinal powers in the ancient Near East (G. E. Post, Flora of Syria, Palestine and Sinai, 128). This imagery draws upon two motifs associated with apples. First, apples were viewed as medicinal in ancient Syro-Palestinian customs; the sick were given apples to eat or smell in order to revive them. Similarly, the Mishnah and Talmud refer to apples as a medication like wine and grapes. Second, apples were considered an aphrodisiac in the ancient Near East. Both motifs are combined here because the Beloved is “love-sick” and only the embrace of her beloved can cure her, as 2:6 indicates (T. H. Ratzaby, “A Motif in Hebrew Love Poetry: In Praise of the Apple,” Ariel 40 : 14).
- Song of Solomon 2:5 tn Heb “sick of love.” The expression חוֹלַת אַהֲבָה (kholat ʾahavah, “sick of love”) is an example of the causative use of the genitive construct: “I am sick because of love,” that is, “I am love-sick.” The expression חוֹלַת אַהֲבָה (kholat ʾahavah, “faint with love”) is a figure which compares physical or medical illness caused by a physically draining disease to sexual desire which is so intense that a person is so physically drained that they feel as if they could faint. The term חוֹל (khol, “sick”) refers to the physical weakness which consumes a person who is suffering from a medical illness (Gen 48:1; 1 Sam 19:14). It is used figuratively as a hyperbolic hypocatastasis for being so consumed with sexual desire that it saps one of his/her physical and emotional strength (BDB 317 s.v. 2). This is commonly referred to as “love-sickness.” It was associated with such deep longing for physical and sexual fulfillment that it weighed so heavily upon a person that he/she was physically and emotionally drained (2 Sam 13:2).
- Song of Solomon 2:6 sn Ultimately, the only cure for her love-sickness is her beloved. The ancient Near Eastern love songs frequently portray the embrace of the lover as the only cure for the speaker’s love-sickness. For example, one Egyptian love song reads: “She will make the doctors unnecessary, because she knows my sickness” (Papyrus Harris 4:11). Similarly, “My salvation is her coming in from outside; when I see her, I will be healthy. When she opens her eye, my body is young; when she speaks, I will be strong. When I embrace her, she exorcises evil from me” (Papyrus Chester Beatty, C5:1-2).
- Song of Solomon 2:6 tn Alternately, “May his left hand be under my head, and [may] his right hand embrace me.” The verb חָבַק (khavaq) has a two-fold range of meanings in the Piel stem: (1) to hug someone (Gen 29:13; 33:4; 48:10; Job 24:8; Prov 4:8; Eccl 3:5; Lam 4:5) and (2) to sexually embrace a lover (Prov 5:20; Song 2:6; 8:3) (HALOT 287 s.v. חבק; BDB 287 s.v. חָבַק). The verb designates an expression of love by the position or action of one’s hands (TWOT 1:259). The term may be used here as a euphemism for sexual touching. The function of the prefixed verbal form of תְּחַבְּקֵנִי (tekhabbeqeni, “embrace me”) may be classified several ways: (1) ingressive: “His right hand is beginning to embrace me,” (2) instantaneous: “His right hand is embracing me [right now],” (3) progressive: “His right hand embraces me,” (4) jussive of desire: “May his right hand embrace me!” (5) injunction: “Let his right hand embrace me!” or (6) permission: “His right hand may embrace me.” Based upon their view that the couple is not yet married, some scholars argue for an imperfect of desire (“May his right hand embrace me!”). Other scholars suggest that the progressive imperfect is used (“His right hand embraces me”). For a striking parallel, see S. N. Kramer, The Sacred Marriage Rite, 105.
- Song of Solomon 2:7 sn Frequently, when oaths were taken in the ancient world, witnesses were invoked in order to solemnize the vow and to act as jurists should the oath someday be broken. Cosmic forces such as the “heavens and earth” were often personified to act as witnesses to an oath (e.g., Deut 32:1; Isa 1:2; Mic 1:2; 6:1-2; Ps 50:2). In this case, the “witnesses” are the “gazelles and stags of the field” (2:7; 3:5). These animals were frequently used as symbols of romantic love in the OT (Prov 5:19). And in Egyptian and Mesopotamian love literature and Ugaritic poetry the gazelle was often associated with sexual fertility. For instance, in the following excerpt from a Mesopotamian incantation text the stag is referred to in the context of sexual potency in which a woman urges an ailing male: “With the love-[making of the mountain goat] six times, with the lovemaking of a stag seven times, with the lovemaking of a partridge twelve times, make love to me! Make love to me because I am young! And the lovemaking of a stag…Make love to me!” (R. D. Biggs, Ancient Mesopotamian Potency Incantations [TCS], 26, lines 4-8).
- Song of Solomon 2:7 tn Traditionally, “hinds.” A hind is a female deer, generally less than three years old.
- Song of Solomon 2:7 tn Heb “of the field.” The Hebrew term refers to open fields or open country as the home of wild animals; if taken adjectivally this could modify the previous term: “wild young does” (cf. NRSV).sn The “gazelles” and “does of the fields” are probably zoomorphisms for love personified. In other words, the witness of this oath is “love” itself. Should the daughters violate this vow which they are asked to make, “love” itself would hold them accountable. Gazelles were often figures in Hebrew, Akkadian, and Ugaritic literature for mighty warriors or virile young men (e.g., 2 Sam 1:19; 2:18; Isa 14:9; Zech 10:3).
- Song of Solomon 2:7 tn Alternately, “arouse…awaken….” The root עוּר (ʿur) is repeated twice in 2:7 for rhetorical emphasis. The first is the Hiphil imperative (“do not awake/excite…”) and the second is the Polel imperative (“do not awake/start to move…”). The Hiphil depicts a causative action (causing love to initially awaken) and the Polel depicts an intensive action (repeated efforts to awaken love or to set love into motion). On the other hand, G. L. Carr (Song of Solomon [TOTC], 94) writes: “The meaning is not stir up, i.e., a repetition of the same act, but is rather first the act of awakening or summoning something, and then doing what is necessary to sustain the activity already begun, i.e., being so fully awakened that sleep becomes impossible (e.g., 5:2).” The terms ָתּעִירוּ (taʿiru, “arouse”; Hiphil imperative from עוּר) and תְּעוֹרְרוּ (teʿoreru, “awaken”; Polel imperative from עוּר) are probably figurative expressions (hypocatastasis) rather than literal, because the object does not refer to a person (her lover) but to an emotional state (“love”). The Hebrew root עוּר has two basic meanings: (1) to wake up and (2) to excite (HALOT 802 s.v. II עוּר). These two nuances are paralleled in the related Semitic roots: Ugaritic ʿr and ʿrr “to be excited” (UT 19.1849; 19.1926; WUS 2092) and Akkadian eru “to awake” (AHw 1:247) (HALOT 802 s.v. II). The Hiphil stem has a four-fold range of meanings: (1) to wake up someone/something, (2) to excite, put into motion, start to work, (3) to summons, (4) to disturb (HALOT 802-803 s.v. II). When used literally, the Hiphil describes waking up a sleeper (Zech 4:1) or stirring up a fire (Hos 7:4). When used figuratively, it describes stirring up (Isa 50:4; Pss 57:9; 108:3) strength (Dan 11:25), anger/wrath (Ps 78:38), jealous/zeal (Isa 42:13), and love/sexual passion (Song 2:7; 3:5; 8:4). The Polel stem has a three-fold range of meanings: (1) to awake, start to move, (2) to agitate, disturb, (3) to set in motion (HALOT 802-803 s.v. II). The expression “arouse or awaken love” is figurative (hypocatastasis). It draws an implied comparison between the literal action of arousing a person from sleep and stirring him/her up to excited action, with the figurative picture of a lover sexually stirring up, arousing and exciting the sexual passions of his beloved.sn What does the expression to “arouse or awaken love” mean? There are three major views: (1) to force a love relationship to develop prematurely rather than to allow it to develop naturally; (2) to interfere with the experience of passionate love; or (3) to stir up sexual passion, that is, to become sexually active. As noted above, אַהֲבָה (ʾahavah, “love”) probably denotes “sexual passion” (DCH 1:141 s.v. I אַהֲבָה; HALOT 18 s.v. I אַהֲבָה) and עוּר (ʿur, “awaken…arouse”) probably denotes “to stir up, excite” (HALOT 802-803 s.v. II עוּר). Likewise, the verb עוּר (“awake”) is used in Song 4:16 and Hosea 7:4 in reference to stirring up sexual passion to excitement.
- Song of Solomon 2:7 tn The syntactical function of the article on הָאַהֲבָה (haʾahavah, “love”) is debated. Most translations view this as an example of the article denoting an abstract concept. However, a few translations (KJV, AV, JB, NEB) view it as an abstract use of the article for the concrete (abstractum pro concreto), and render it as “my love” as referring either to the woman’s own feelings or the feelings of her lover. Throughout the Song, the term אַהֲבָה (ʾahavah, “love”) is not used as a term for endearment in reference to one of the lovers; it typically refers to sexual passion (Song 2:4, 5, 7; 3:5; 5:4; 8:4, 6, 7). When used of the man/woman relationship, the term אַהֲבָה (“love”) may refer to emotional love (Eccl 9:1, 6; Prov 15:17; Ps 109:4-5) or sexual love/desire (Gen 29:20; 2 Sam 1:26; 13:4, 15; Prov 5:19-20; 7:18; Jer 2:33; Song 2:4, 5, 7; 3:5; 5:4; 8:4, 6, 7) (DCH 1:141 s.v. I אַהֲבָה; HALOT 18 s.v. I אַהֲבָה). The reference to sexual desire in 2:4-5 and חוֹלַת אַהֲבָה (kholat ʾahavah, “love-sickness”) in 2:5 suggests that the use of אַהֲבָה (“love”) in 2:7 is sexual desire. Love is personified in this picture.
- Song of Solomon 2:7 tn Heb “If you arouse or if you awaken love before it pleases….” Paraphrase: “Promise that you will not arouse or awaken love until it pleases!” This line is a typical Hebrew negative oath formula in which the speaker urges his/her audience to take a vow to not do something that would have destructive consequences: (1) The expression הִשְׁבַּעְתִּי (hishbaʿti, “I adjure you”) is used when a speaker urges his audience to take an oath. (2) The conditional clause אִם־תָּעִירוּ וְאִם־תְּעוֹרְרוּ אֶת־הָאַהֲבָה (’im taʿiru veim teʿoreru ’et haʾahavah, “If you arouse or awaken love…”) reflects the typical construction of a negative oath formula which consists of two parts: (1) protasis: the warning introduced by the conditional particle אִם (“if”) and (2) apodosis: the description of the disaster or penalty which would befall the person who broke the vow and violated the condition of the oath. (3) If the consequences of violating the oath were extremely severe, they would not even be spoken; the statement of the consequences would be omitted for emphasis—as is the case here, that is, the apodosis is omitted for rhetorical emphasis. As is typical in negative oath formulas, the sanction or curse on the violation of the condition is suppressed for rhetorical emphasis. The curse was so awful that one could not or dare not speak of them (M. H. Pope, IDB 3:575-77).
- Song of Solomon 2:8 tn Heb “The voice of my beloved!” The exclamation קוֹל (qol, “Listen!”) is an introductory exclamatory particle used to emphasize excitement and the element of surprise.
- Song of Solomon 2:8 tn The phrase “is approaching” does not appear in Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
- Song of Solomon 2:8 tn The exclamation הִנֵּה־זֶה (hinneh zeh, “Look!”) is used of excited speech when someone is seen approaching (Isa 21:9).
- Song of Solomon 2:9 sn Gazelles are often associated with sensuality and masculine virility in ancient Near Eastern love literature. Gazelles were often figures in Hebrew, Akkadian, and Ugaritic literature for mighty warriors or virile young men (e.g., 2 Sam 1:19; 2:18; Isa 14:9; Zech 10:3). In ancient Near Eastern love literature gazelles often symbolize the excitement and swiftness of the lover coming to see his beloved, as in an ancient Egyptian love song: “O that you came to your sister swiftly like a bounding gazelle! Its feet reel, its limbs are weary, terror has entered its body. A hunter pursues it with his hounds, they do not see it in its dust; It sees a resting place as a trap, it takes the river as its road. May you find her hiding-place before your hand is kissed four times. Pursue your sister’s love, the Golden gives her to you, my friend!” (“Three Poems” in the Papyrus Chester Beatty 1 collection).
- Song of Solomon 2:12 tn Heb “are seen.”
- Song of Solomon 2:12 tn Alternately, “the time of singing” or “the time of pruning.” The homonymic root זָמִיר (zamir) means “song, singing” (HALOT 273 s.v. I זָמִיר; DCH 3:117 s.v. זָמִיר a), while II זָמִיר means “pruning, trimming” (HALOT 273 s.v. II; DCH 3:117 s.v. II). The intended root is debated among the ancient versions (LXX, Aquila, Symmachus, Vulgate, Targum), Hebrew lexicographers (HALOT 273; DCH 3:117), and translations: “singing” (KJV, NIV, NASB margin, NJPS margin), “pruning” (NASB, NJPS). However, rather than choosing between these two roots, it is likely that this is an example of intentional ambiguity. The preceding line draws out the meaning of זָמִיר (“trimming, pruning”): “The pomegranates are seen in the land, the time of pruning has come.” The following line draws out the meaning of זָמִיר (“singing”): “The time of singing has come, the voice of the turtledove is heard in the land.” This homonymic wordplay creates an example of “janus parallelism” between the three poetic lines which play off both root meanings of the intentionally ambiguous homonym. This elegant wordplay and the AB:BA “janus parallelism” may be represented thus: “The pomegranates are seen in the land, the time has come for pruning // singing, the voice of the turtledove is heard in the land.”
- Song of Solomon 2:14 sn The dove was a common figure for romantic love in ancient Near Eastern love literature. This emphasis seems to be suggested by his use of the term “my dove.” Just as the young man heard the voice of the turtledove in 2:12, so now he wants to hear her voice. Doves were often associated with timidity in the ancient world. Being virtually defenseless, they would often take refuge in crevices and cliffs for safety (Jer 48:28). The emphasis on timidity and the need for security is undoubtedly the emphasis here because of the explicit description of this “dove” hiding in the “clefts of the rock” and in “the hiding places of the mountain crevice.” Fortresses were sometimes built in the clefts of the rocks on mountainsides because they were inaccessible and therefore, in a secure place of safety (Jer 49:16; Obad 3). Perhaps he realized it might be intimidating for her to join him and communicate with him freely. She would need to feel secure in his love to do this. It would be easy for her to hide from such emotionally exposing experiences.
- Song of Solomon 2:15 tn The imperative אֶחֱזוּ (ʾekhezu, “catch”) is plural in form (Qal imperative second person masculine plural from אָחַז, ʾakhaz). Some commentators suggest that the woman is speaking to a large audience, perhaps the maidens of Jerusalem mentioned in 2:7. However, the Hebrew plural can function in an intensive sense when used in reference to a single individual (IBHS 122 §7.4.3a). As noted previously, the bride often uses the plural in reference to herself or to her bridegroom in Sumerian love literature. Thus, the woman simply may be speaking to her beloved, as in 2:16-17, but with particularly intense passion.
- Song of Solomon 2:15 sn The term “foxes” is used metaphorically. Foxes are always spoken of in a negative light in the OT and in the ancient world were particularly associated with their destructive tendencies with regard to vineyards (Judg 15:4; Neh 4:3; Ps 63:10; Lam 5:18; Ezek 13:4). The description of these foxes as being destructive here seems to confirm that this is the point of comparison in mind.
- Song of Solomon 2:15 sn In ancient Near Eastern love literature it was common to use wild animals to symbolize potential problems which could separate lovers and destroy their love. For instance, in Egyptian love songs it is the crocodile, rather than the foxes, which were used as figures for obstacles which might threaten a couple’s love. Here the “foxes” are probably used figuratively to represent potentially destructive problems which could destroy their romantic relationship and which could hinder it from ripening into marriage.
- Song of Solomon 2:15 sn The term “vineyard” is also a figure. In 1:6 she used the vineyard motif as a metaphor for her physical appearance, but here it is “our vineyards” which is probably a figure for their romantic relationship. The phrase “in bloom” makes the metaphor more specific, so that the phrase “our vineyards are in bloom” means that their romantic love relationship was in its initial stages, that is, before it had ripened into marriage.
- Song of Solomon 2:16 sn This line may be translated either as “the one who grazes among the lilies” or as “the one who feeds [his flock] among the lilies.” The latter would picture him as a shepherd pasturing his flock among a bed of flowers which they were eating, while the former would be picturing him as a gazelle feeding among a bed of flowers. Because of the occurrence of the gazelle motif in the following verse, it is most likely that this motif is present in this verse as well. Although it seems likely that he is therefore being pictured as a gazelle eating these flowers, it is far from clear as to what this figurative picture denotes. It is possible that it conveys the peaceful nature of his relationship with her because she was earlier portrayed as a lily (e.g., 2:1).
- Song of Solomon 2:17 sn Heb “until the day breathes,” which is figurative (personification) for the morning, that is, the time when the day begin its “life” (e.g., Song 4:6). Likewise, “the shadows flee” is figurative (personification) for the dawn, i.e., the time when the dark shadows of the night disappear, or the shadows of the evening which lengthen and are just as fleeting.
- Song of Solomon 2:17 tn The exact meaning of סֹב (sov, Qal imperative second person masculine singular from סָבַב, savav, “to turn”) in this context is uncertain. The imperatival form may be classified as an invitation. HALOT notes that סָבַב (“to turn”) occasionally denotes “to sit [lie] at a table” (1 Sam 16:11; Sir 9:9) and suggests that this is a figurative use of this nuance (HALOT 739 s.v. סבב 2c). The Beloved would be issuing an invitation to him to “turn aside to sit” at her table, that is, to enjoy the delights of her love. On the other hand, סֹב (“Turn!”) may simply be a synonym for the following parallel imperative דְּמֵה (demeh, “Be like!”), that is, “turn, change” (HALOT 224 s.v. דָּם). In keeping with the extended simile in which the Beloved compares him to a gazelle or stag leaping upon the mountains, the term סֹב may simply denote “turn oneself around, change direction” (HALOT 739 s.v. 1). Rather than leaping somewhere else, so to speak, she invites him to leap upon the “mountain gorges.”
- Song of Solomon 2:17 tn The expression הָרֵי בָתֶר (hare bater, “mountains of Bethar”) is difficult because there is no known mountain-range which was ever called by this name. The meaning of the noun בֶּתֶר (beter) is uncertain. DCH distinguishes between three homonymic nouns: (1) בֶּתֶר I noun “part, piece” (Gen 15:10; Jer 34:19) related to the verb בֶּתֶר “to cut in two” (Gen 15:10); (2) בֶּתֶר II noun “gorge” (Song 2:17); and (3) בֶּתֶר III place name “Bether” in Judah and 6.5 miles (11 km) SW of Jerusalem (Josh 15:59; 1 Chr 6:44; perhaps Song 2:17) (DCH 2:291 s.v. בֶּתֶר). Thus, הָרֵי בָתֶר might mean “mountains of gorge[s]” or “mountains of Bether” (DCH 2:291 s.v. III). The Hebrew root בָּתַר (batar, “cut in pieces, cut in half”) is related to Arabic batara “to cut off” (HALOT 167 s.v. בתר; BDB 144 בָּתַר). The word does not appear in Ugaritic, Akkadian, or Syriac. Aramaic בָּאתַר (baʾtar, “after, behind”) was used frequently in Northwest Semitic (DISO 45-46) and Late Hebrew (Jastrow 201 s.v. בָּאתַר); however, it offers little to this problem. Many scholars take בֶּתֶר as a genitive of description functioning as an attributive adjective. For example, BDB suggests that בֶּתֶר means “mountains of cutting,” that is, “cleft mountains” (BDB 144 s.v. בֶּתֶר), while Koehler posits “ravine,” that is, mountains with a ravine (HALOT 167 s.v. II בֶּתֶר). This is reflected in the LXX’s κοιλωμάτων (koilōmatōn, “hollow places, basin, cavity”): ὄρη κοιλωμάτων (orē koilōmatōn) “mountains with many ravines.” This approach is adopted by several translations, e.g., “rugged mountains” (NLT). On the other hand, Vulgate, Aquila, and Symmachus took it as a place name referring to the town of Bether (LXX Βαιθηρ = Mishnaic Hebrew בִּיתֵּר) located 6.5 miles (11 km) southwest of Jerusalem (Josh 15:59; 1 Chr 6:44). This approach is adopted by several translations: “mountains of Bether” (KJV, ASV, RSV, NASB, NIV margin, TEV). Theodotion takes it as a figurative expression, reading θυμιαματων (thumiamatōn, “incense”) which reflects a variant Hebrew reading of בְּשָמִים (beshamim, “balsam, perfume”) which also appears in Song 8:14. This approach is taken in a Jewish-English translation: “hills of spice” (NJPS). The botanist Löw connects Hebrew בֶּתֶר to Greek μαλαβάθρον (malabathron) which was an Indian spice plant imported to Judah. See I. Low, Die Flora der Juden, 2:117-118. The expression “cleft mountains” (הָרֵי בָתֶר) might refer simply to a rugged and jagged mountain-range (NLT “rugged mountains”; NIV “rugged hills”). However, this may be a figurative description of the woman’s cleavage because similar imagery is used in Song 4:6 to describe her breasts. The name “Tihamah” (literally “the Great Deep”) was applied to the low-lying coastland between the mountains of Yemen and the Red Sea as well as to the depression of Djauf (Dumah) because of fresh-water springs which oozed up from below (Hebrew “Tehom” and “Tehomot,” Ugaritic “Tihamaten” or “Tahamatum,” Akkadian “Tiamat”). And it appears that in an Ammonite inscription that an area near the mountainous region of Rabbath-Amman is referred to by the name “Tymtn” (literally “The Two Depressions”), rather than by its real name (W. F. Albright, “Some Comments on the Amman Citadel Inscription,” BASOR 198 [April 1978]: 38-39).sn Scholars offer three interpretations of her figurative request: (1) The Beloved desires her Lover to embrace her breasts, like a gazelle romping over mountains (mountains are figurative); (2) The Beloved entreats her Lover to leave and go back over the hills from whence he had journeyed (mountains are literal); and (3) As her Lover prepares to leave her country village, the Beloved asks him to return to her again in the same way he arrived, like a gazelle bounding over the mountains in 2:8-10 (mountains are literal).
New International Version - UK
14 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. 4 The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. 5 There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to ill-treat them and stone them. 6 But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, 7 where they continued to preach the gospel.
In Lystra and Derbe
8 In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, ‘Stand up on your feet!’ At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in human form!’ 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 ‘Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: he has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.’ 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered round him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
The return to Antioch in Syria
21 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders[a] for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25 and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
26 From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. 27 On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
- Acts 14:23 Or Barnabas ordained elders; or Barnabas had elders elected
New English Translation
Paul and Barnabas at Iconium
14 The same thing happened in Iconium[a] when Paul and Barnabas[b] went into the Jewish synagogue[c] and spoke in such a way that a large group[d] of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe[e] stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds[f] against the brothers. 3 So they stayed there[g] for a considerable time, speaking out courageously for the Lord, who testified[h] to the message[i] of his grace, granting miraculous signs[j] and wonders to be performed through their hands. 4 But the population[k] of the city was divided; some[l] sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. 5 When both the Gentiles and the Jews (together with their rulers) made[m] an attempt to mistreat[n] them and stone them,[o] 6 Paul and Barnabas[p] learned about it[q] and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra[r] and Derbe[s] and the surrounding region. 7 There[t] they continued to proclaim[u] the good news.
Paul and Barnabas at Lystra
8 In[v] Lystra[w] sat a man who could not use his feet,[x] lame from birth,[y] who had never walked. 9 This man was listening to Paul as he was speaking. When Paul[z] stared[aa] intently at him and saw he had faith to be healed, 10 he said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.”[ab] And the man[ac] leaped up and began walking.[ad] 11 So when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted[ae] in the Lycaonian language,[af] “The gods have come down to us in human form!”[ag] 12 They began to call[ah] Barnabas Zeus[ai] and Paul Hermes,[aj] because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of the temple[ak] of Zeus,[al] located just outside the city, brought bulls[am] and garlands[an] to the city gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifices to them.[ao] 14 But when the apostles[ap] Barnabas and Paul heard about[aq] it, they tore[ar] their clothes and rushed out[as] into the crowd, shouting,[at] 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures[au] just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn[av] from these worthless[aw] things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth,[ax] the sea, and everything that is in them. 16 In[ay] past[az] generations he allowed all the nations[ba] to go their own ways, 17 yet he did not leave himself without a witness by doing good,[bb] by giving you rain from heaven[bc] and fruitful seasons, satisfying you[bd] with food and your hearts with joy.”[be] 18 Even by saying[bf] these things, they scarcely persuaded[bg] the crowds not to offer sacrifice to them.
19 But Jews came from Antioch[bh] and Iconium,[bi] and after winning[bj] the crowds over, they stoned[bk] Paul and dragged him out of the city, presuming him to be dead. 20 But after the disciples had surrounded him, he got up and went back[bl] into the city. On[bm] the next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.[bn]
Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria
21 After they had proclaimed the good news in that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra,[bo] to Iconium,[bp] and to Antioch.[bq] 22 They strengthened[br] the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue[bs] in the faith, saying, “We must enter the kingdom of God[bt] through many persecutions.”[bu] 23 When they had appointed elders[bv] for them in the various churches,[bw] with prayer and fasting[bx] they entrusted them to the protection[by] of the Lord in whom they had believed. 24 Then they passed through[bz] Pisidia and came into Pamphylia,[ca] 25 and when they had spoken the word[cb] in Perga,[cc] they went down to Attalia.[cd] 26 From there they sailed back to Antioch,[ce] where they had been commended[cf] to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.[cg] 27 When they arrived and gathered the church together, they reported[ch] all the things God[ci] had done with them, and that he had opened a door[cj] of faith for the Gentiles. 28 So they spent[ck] considerable[cl] time with the disciples.
- Acts 14:1 sn Iconium. See the note in 13:51.
- Acts 14:1 tn Grk “they”; the referents (Paul and Barnabas) have been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Acts 14:1 sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9.
- Acts 14:1 tn Or “that a large crowd.”
- Acts 14:2 tn Or “who would not believe.”
- Acts 14:2 tn Or “embittered their minds” (Grk “their souls”). BDAG 502 s.v. κακόω 2 has “make angry, embitter τὰς ψυχάς τινων κατά τινος poison the minds of some persons against another Ac 14:2.”
- Acts 14:3 tn The word “there” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.
- Acts 14:3 sn The Lord testified to the message by granting the signs described in the following clause.
- Acts 14:3 tn Grk “word.”
- Acts 14:3 tn Here the context indicates the miraculous nature of the signs mentioned.
- Acts 14:4 tn BDAG 825 s.v. πλῆθος 2.b.γ has this translation for πλῆθος (plēthos).
- Acts 14:4 tn These clauses are a good example of the contrastive μὲν…δέ (men…de) construction: Some “on the one hand” sided with the Jews, but some “on the other hand” sided with the apostles.
- Acts 14:5 tn Grk “So there came about an attempt” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
- Acts 14:5 tn On this verb see BDAG 1022 s.v. ὑβρίζω.
- Acts 14:5 tn The direct object “them” is repeated after both verbs in the translation for stylistic reasons, although it occurs only after λιθοβολῆσαι (lithobolēsai) in the Greek text.
- Acts 14:6 tn Grk “they”; the referents (Paul and Barnabas) have been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Acts 14:6 tn Grk “learning about it, fled.” The participle συνιδόντες (sunidontes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. It could also be taken temporally (“when they learned about it”) as long as opening clause of v. 5 is not translated as a temporal clause too, which results in a redundancy.
- Acts 14:6 sn Lystra was a city in Lycaonia about 18 mi (30 km) south of Iconium, a Roman colony that was not on the main roads of Lycaonia. Because of its relative isolation, its local character was able to be preserved.
- Acts 14:6 sn Derbe was a city in Lycaonia about 35 mi (60 km) southeast of Lystra.
- Acts 14:7 tn Grk “region, and there.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, καί (kai) has not been translated and a new sentence begun in the translation.
- Acts 14:7 tn The periphrastic construction εὐαγγελιζόμενοι ἦσαν (euangelizomenoi ēsan) has been translated as a progressive imperfect.
- Acts 14:8 tn Grk “And in.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
- Acts 14:8 sn Lystra was a city in Lycaonia about 18 mi (30 km) south of Iconium.
- Acts 14:8 tn Grk “powerless in his feet,” meaning he was unable to use his feet to walk.
- Acts 14:8 tn Grk “lame from his mother’s womb” (an idiom).sn The description lame from birth makes clear how serious the condition was, and how real it was. This event is very similar to Acts 3:1-10, except here the lame man’s faith is clear from the start.
- Acts 14:9 tn Grk “speaking, who.” The relative pronoun has been replaced by the noun “Paul,” and a new sentence begun in the translation because an English relative clause would be very awkward here.
- Acts 14:9 tn Or “looked.”
- Acts 14:10 tn BDAG 722 s.v. ὀρθός 1.a has “stand upright on your feet.”
- Acts 14:10 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the man) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Acts 14:10 tn This verb is imperfect tense in contrast to the previous verb, which is aorist. It has been translated ingressively, since the start of a sequence is in view here.
- Acts 14:11 tn Grk “they lifted up their voice” (an idiom).
- Acts 14:11 tn Grk “in Lycaonian, saying.” The word “language” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in English and has not been translated.
- Acts 14:11 tn So BDAG 707 s.v. ὁμοιόω 1. However, L&N 64.4 takes the participle ὁμοιωθέντες (homoiōthentes) as an adjectival participle modifying θεοί (theoi): “the gods resembling men have come down to us.”sn The gods have come down to us in human form. Greek culture spoke of “divine men.” In this region there was a story of Zeus and Hermes visiting the area (Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.611-725). The locals failed to acknowledge them, so judgment followed. The present crowd was determined not to make the mistake a second time.
- Acts 14:12 tn The imperfect verb ἐκάλουν (ekaloun) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect.
- Acts 14:12 sn Zeus was the chief Greek deity, worshiped throughout the Greco-Roman world (known to the Romans as Jupiter).
- Acts 14:12 sn Hermes was a Greek god who (according to Greek mythology) was the messenger of the gods and the god of oratory (equivalent to the Roman god Mercury).
- Acts 14:13 tn The words “the temple of” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. The translation “the priest of (the temple/shrine of) Zeus located before the city” is given for this phrase by BDAG 426 s.v. Ζεύς.
- Acts 14:13 sn See the note on Zeus in the previous verse.
- Acts 14:13 tn Or “oxen.”
- Acts 14:13 tn Or “wreaths.”sn Garlands were commonly wreaths of wool with leaves and flowers woven in, worn on a person’s head or woven around a staff. They were an important part of many rituals used to worship pagan gods. Although it was an erroneous reaction, the priest’s reaction shows how all acknowledged their power and access to God.
- Acts 14:13 tn The words “to them” are not in the Greek text, but are clearly implied by the response of Paul and Barnabas in the following verse.
- Acts 14:14 sn The apostles Barnabas and Paul. This is one of only two places where Luke calls Paul an apostle, and the description here is shared with Barnabas. This is a nontechnical use here, referring to a commissioned messenger.
- Acts 14:14 tn The participle ἀκούσαντες (akousantes) is taken temporally.
- Acts 14:14 tn Grk “tearing their clothes they rushed out.” The participle διαρρήξαντες (diarrēxantes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. This action is a Jewish response to blasphemy (m. Sanhedrin 7.5; Jdt 14:16-17).
- Acts 14:14 tn So BDAG 307 s.v. ἐκπηδάω 1, “rush (lit. ‘leap’) out…εἰς τὸν ὄχλον into the crowd Ac 14:14.”
- Acts 14:14 tn Grk “shouting and saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes, in v. 15) has not been translated because it is redundant.sn What follows is one of two speeches in Acts to a purely pagan audience (Acts 17 in Athens is the other). So Paul focused on God as Creator, a common link.
- Acts 14:15 tn Grk “with the same kinds of feelings,” L&N 25.32. BDAG 706 s.v. ὁμοιοπαθής translates the phrase “with the same nature τινί as someone.” In the immediate context, the contrast is between human and divine nature, and the point is that Paul and Barnabas are mere mortals, not gods.
- Acts 14:15 tn Grk “in order that you should turn,” with ἐπιστρέφειν (epistrephein) as an infinitive of purpose, but this is somewhat awkward contemporary English. To translate the infinitive construction “proclaim the good news, that you should turn,” which is much smoother English, could give the impression that the infinitive clause is actually the content of the good news, which it is not. The somewhat less formal “to get you to turn” would work, but might convey to some readers manipulativeness on the part of the apostles. Thus “proclaim the good news, so that you should turn,” is used, to convey that the purpose of the proclamation of good news is the response by the hearers. The emphasis here is like 1 Thess 1:9-10.
- Acts 14:15 tn Or “useless,” “futile.” The reference is to idols and idolatry, worshiping the creation over the Creator (Rom 1:18-32). See also 1 Kgs 16:2, 13, 26; 2 Kgs 17:15; Jer 2:5; 8:19; 3 Macc 6:11.
- Acts 14:15 tn Grk “and the earth, and the sea,” but καί (kai) has not been translated before “the earth” and “the sea” since contemporary English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.
- Acts 14:16 tn Grk “them, who in.” The relative pronoun (“who”) was replaced by the pronoun “he” (“In past generations he”) and a new sentence was begun in the translation at this point to improve the English style, due to the length of the sentence in Greek and the awkwardness of two relative clauses (“who made the heaven” and “who in past generations”) following one another.
- Acts 14:16 tn On this term see BDAG 780 s.v. παροίχομαι. The word is a NT hapax legomenon.
- Acts 14:16 tn Or “all the Gentiles” (in Greek the word for “nation” and “Gentile” is the same). The plural here alludes to the variety of false religions in the pagan world.
- Acts 14:17 tn The participle ἀγαθουργῶν (agathourgōn) is regarded as indicating means here, parallel to the following participles διδούς (didous) and ἐμπιπλῶν (empiplōn). This is the easiest way to understand the Greek structure. Semantically, the first participle is a general statement, followed by two participles giving specific examples of doing good.
- Acts 14:17 tn Or “from the sky” (the same Greek word means both “heaven” and “sky”).
- Acts 14:17 tn Grk “satisfying [filling] your hearts with food and joy.” This is an idiomatic expression; it strikes the English reader as strange to speak of “filling one’s heart with food.” Thus the additional direct object “you” has been supplied, separating the two expressions somewhat: “satisfying you with food and your hearts with joy.”
- Acts 14:17 sn God’s general sovereignty and gracious care in the creation are the way Paul introduces the theme of the goodness of God. He was trying to establish monotheism here. It is an OT theme (Gen 8:22; Pss 4:7; 145:15-16; 147:8-9; Isa 25:6; Jer 5:24) which also appears in the NT (Luke 12:22-34).
- Acts 14:18 tn The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is regarded as indicating means.
- Acts 14:18 tn BDAG 524 s.v. καταπαύω 2.b gives both “restrain” and “dissuade someone fr. someth.,” but “they scarcely dissuaded the crowds from offering sacrifice,” while accurate, is less common in contemporary English than saying “they scarcely persuaded the crowds not to offer sacrifice.” Paganism is portrayed as a powerful reality that is hard to reverse.
- Acts 14:19 sn Antioch was a city in Pisidia about 90 mi (145 km) west northwest of Lystra.
- Acts 14:19 sn Iconium was a city in Lycaonia about 18 mi (30 km) north of Lystra. Note how Jews from other cities were chasing Paul (2 Cor 11:4-6; Gal 2:4-5; Acts 9:16).
- Acts 14:19 tn The participle πείσαντες (peisantes) is taken temporally (BDAG 791 s.v. πείθω 1.c).
- Acts 14:19 tn Grk “stoning Paul they dragged him.” The participle λιθάσαντες (lithasantes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 14:20 tn Grk “and entered”; the word “back” is not in the Greek text but is implied.
- Acts 14:20 tn Grk “And on.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
- Acts 14:20 sn Derbe was a city in Lycaonia about 35 mi (60 km) southeast of Lystra. This was the easternmost point of the journey.
- Acts 14:21 sn Lystra was a city in Lycaonia about 35 mi (60 km) northwest of Derbe.
- Acts 14:21 sn Iconium was a city in Lycaonia about 18 mi (30 km) north of Lystra.
- Acts 14:21 sn Antioch was a city in Pisidia about 90 mi (145 km) west northwest of Lystra.
- Acts 14:22 tn Grk “to Antioch, strengthening.” Due to the length of the Greek sentence and the tendency of contemporary English to use shorter sentences, a new sentence was started here. This participle (ἐπιστηρίζοντες, epistērizontes) and the following one (παρακαλοῦντες, parakalountes) have been translated as finite verbs connected by the coordinating conjunction “and.”
- Acts 14:22 sn And encouraged them to continue. The exhortations are like those noted in Acts 11:23; 13:43. An example of such a speech is found in Acts 20:18-35. Christianity is now characterized as “the faith.”
- Acts 14:22 sn This reference to the kingdom of God clearly refers to its arrival as future, although this does not automatically rule out a present manifestation of the kingdom as well. The nature of the kingdom of God in the NT and in Jesus’ teaching has long been debated by interpreters and scholars, with discussion primarily centering around the nature of the kingdom (earthly, heavenly, or both) and the kingdom’s arrival (present, future, or both). An additional major issue concerns the relationship between the kingdom of God and the person and work of Jesus himself. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21; Acts 1:3.
- Acts 14:22 tn Or “sufferings.”
- Acts 14:23 sn Appointed elders. See Acts 20:17.
- Acts 14:23 tn The preposition κατά (kata) is used here in a distributive sense; see BDAG 512 s.v. κατά B.1.d.
- Acts 14:23 tn Literally with a participle (προσευξάμενοι, proseuxamenoi) rather than a noun, “praying with fasting,” but the combination “prayer and fasting” is so familiar in English that it is preferable to use it here.
- Acts 14:23 tn BDAG 772 s.v. παρατίθημι 3.b has “entrust someone to the care or protection of someone” for this phrase. The reference to persecution or suffering in the context (v. 22) suggests “protection” is a better translation here. This looks at God’s ultimate care for the church.
- Acts 14:24 tn Grk “Then passing through Pisidia they came.” The participle διελθόντες (dielthontes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 14:24 sn Pamphylia was a province along the southern coast of Asia Minor.
- Acts 14:25 tn Or “message.”
- Acts 14:25 sn Perga was a city in Pamphylia near the southern coast of Asia Minor.
- Acts 14:25 sn Attalia was a seaport in the province of Pamphylia on the southern coast of Asia Minor, about 12 mi (20 km) southwest of Perga.
- Acts 14:26 sn Antioch was the city in Syria (not Antioch in Pisidia) from which Paul’s first missionary journey began (see Acts 13:1-4). That first missionary journey ends here, after covering some 1,400 mi (2,240 km).
- Acts 14:26 tn Or “committed.” BDAG 762 s.v. παραδίδωμι 2 gives “commended to the grace of God for the work 14:26” as the meaning for this phrase, although “give over” and “commit” are listed as alternative meanings for this category.
- Acts 14:26 tn BDAG 829 s.v. πληρόω 5 has “to bring to completion an activity in which one has been involved from its beginning, complete, finish” as meanings for this category. The ministry to which they were commissioned ends with a note of success.
- Acts 14:27 tn Or “announced.”
- Acts 14:27 sn Note that God is the subject of the activity. The outcome of this mission is seen as a confirmation of the mission to the Gentiles.
- Acts 14:27 sn On the image of opening, or of the door, see 1 Cor 16:9; 2 Cor 2:12; Col 4:3.
- Acts 14:28 tn BDAG 238 s.v. διατρίβω gives the meaning as “spend” when followed by an accusative τὸν χρόνον (ton chronon) which is the case here.
- Acts 14:28 tn Grk “no little (time)” (an idiom).
New International Version - UK
The council at Jerusalem
15 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: ‘Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.’ 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they travelled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.’
6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: ‘Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles should hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.’
12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up. ‘Brothers,’ he said, ‘listen to me. 14 Simon[a] has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
16 ‘“After this I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,
17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things”[b] –
18 things known from long ago.[c]
19 ‘It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.’
The council’s letter to Gentile believers
22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorisation and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul – 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them.
Disagreement between Paul and Barnabas
36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’ 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
New English Translation
The Jerusalem Council
15 Now some men came down from Judea[a] and began to teach the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised[b] according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 When Paul and Barnabas had a major argument and debate[c] with them, the church[d] appointed Paul and Barnabas and some others from among them to go up to meet with[e] the apostles and elders in Jerusalem about this point of disagreement.[f] 3 So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia[g] and Samaria, they were relating at length[h] the conversion of the Gentiles and bringing great joy[i] to all the brothers. 4 When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received[j] by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported[k] all the things God had done with them.[l] 5 But some from the religious party of the Pharisees[m] who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary[n] to circumcise the Gentiles[o] and to order them to observe[p] the law of Moses.”
6 Both the apostles and the elders met together to deliberate[q] about this matter. 7 After there had been much debate,[r] Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that some time ago[s] God chose[t] me to preach to the Gentiles so they would hear the message[u] of the gospel[v] and believe.[w] 8 And God, who knows the heart,[x] has testified[y] to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us,[z] 9 and he made no distinction[aa] between them and us, cleansing[ab] their hearts by faith. 10 So now why are you putting God to the test[ac] by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke[ad] that neither our ancestors[ae] nor we have been able to bear? 11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through[af] the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are.”[ag]
12 The whole group kept quiet[ah] and listened to Barnabas and Paul while they explained all the miraculous signs[ai] and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 After they stopped speaking,[aj] James replied,[ak] “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon[al] has explained[am] how God first concerned himself[an] to select[ao] from among the Gentiles[ap] a people for his name. 15 The[aq] words of the prophets agree[ar] with this, as it is written,
16 ‘After this[as] I[at] will return,
and I will rebuild the fallen tent[au] of David;
I will rebuild its ruins and restore[av] it,
17 so that the rest of humanity[aw] may seek the Lord,
namely,[ax] all the Gentiles[ay] I have called to be my own,’[az] says the Lord,[ba] who makes these things 18 known[bb] from long ago.[bc]
19 “Therefore I conclude[bd] that we should not cause extra difficulty[be] for those among the Gentiles[bf] who are turning to God, 20 but that we should write them a letter[bg] telling them to abstain[bh] from things defiled[bi] by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled[bj] and from blood. 21 For Moses has had those who proclaim him in every town from ancient times,[bk] because he is read aloud[bl] in the synagogues[bm] every Sabbath.”
22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided[bn] to send men chosen from among them, Judas called Barsabbas and Silas,[bo] leaders among the brothers, to Antioch[bp] with Paul and Barnabas. 23 They sent this letter with them:[bq]
From the apostles[br] and elders, your brothers,[bs] to the Gentile brothers and sisters[bt] in Antioch,[bu] Syria,[bv] and Cilicia, greetings! 24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused[bw] you, upsetting[bx] your minds[by] by what they said,[bz] 25 we have unanimously[ca] decided[cb] to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 26 who[cc] have risked their lives[cd] for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.[ce] 27 Therefore we are sending[cf] Judas and Silas[cg] who will tell you these things themselves in person.[ch] 28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us[ci] not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules:[cj] 29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols[ck] and from blood and from what has been strangled[cl] and from sexual immorality.[cm] If you keep yourselves from doing these things,[cn] you will do well. Farewell.[co]
30 So when they were dismissed,[cp] they went down to Antioch,[cq] and after gathering the entire group[cr] together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they read it aloud,[cs] the people[ct] rejoiced at its encouragement.[cu] 32 Both Judas and Silas, who were prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with a long speech.[cv] 33 After[cw] they had spent some time there,[cx] they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them.[cy] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch,[cz] teaching and proclaiming (along with many others)[da] the word of the Lord.[db]
Paul and Barnabas Part Company
36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s return[dc] and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord[dd] to see how they are doing.”[de] 37 Barnabas wanted to bring John called Mark along with them too, 38 but Paul insisted[df] that they should not take along this one who had left them in Pamphylia[dg] and had not accompanied them in the work. 39 They had[dh] a sharp disagreement,[di] so that they parted company. Barnabas took along[dj] Mark and sailed away to Cyprus,[dk] 40 but Paul chose Silas and set out, commended[dl] to the grace of the Lord by the brothers and sisters.[dm] 41 He passed through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening[dn] the churches.
- Acts 15:1 sn That is, they came down from Judea to Antioch in Syria.
- Acts 15:1 tc Codex Bezae (D) and a few other witnesses have “and walk” here (i.e., instead of τῷ ἔθει τῷ Μωϋσέως [tō ethei tō Mōu>seōs] they read καὶ τῷ ἔθει τῷ Μωϋσέως περιπατῆτε [kai tō ethei tō Mōu>seōs peripatēte]). This is a decidedly stronger focus on obedience to the Law. As well, D expands vv. 1-5 in various places with the overall effect of being “more sympathetic to the local tradition of the church at Jerusalem” while the Alexandrian witnesses are more sympathetic to Paul (TCGNT 377). Codex D is well known for having a significantly longer text in Acts, but modern scholarship is generally of the opinion that the text of D expands on the original wording of Acts, with a theological viewpoint that especially puts Peter in a more authoritarian light. The expansion in these five verses is in keeping with that motif even though Peter is not explicitly in view.sn Unless you are circumcised. These teachers from Judea were teaching that Gentiles could not be saved unless they kept the law of Moses in regard to circumcision. Thus according to them a Gentile had first to become a proselyte to Judaism, including circumcision, before one could become a Christian. This party is sometimes known (collectively) as Judaizers. They did not question that Gentiles could come into the community, but disagreed with Paul and Barnabas on what basis they could do so.
- Acts 15:2 tn Grk “no little argument and debate” (an idiom).
- Acts 15:2 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the church, or the rest of the believers at Antioch) has been specified to avoid confusion with the Judaizers mentioned in the preceding clause.
- Acts 15:2 tn Grk “go up to,” but in this context a meeting is implied.
- Acts 15:2 tn Or “point of controversy.” It is unclear whether this event parallels Gal 2:1-10 or that Gal 2 fits with Acts 11:30. More than likely Gal 2:1-10 is to be related to Acts 11:30.
- Acts 15:3 sn Phoenicia was an area along the Mediterranean coast north of Palestine in ancient Syria.
- Acts 15:3 tn L&N 33.201 indicates that ἐκδιηγέομαι (ekdiēgeomai) means to provide detailed information in a systematic manner, “to inform, to relate, to tell fully.” “Relating at length” conveys this effectively in the present context.
- Acts 15:3 tn For ἐποίουν (epoioun) in this verse BDAG 839 s.v. ποιέω 2.c has “they brought joy to the members.”
- Acts 15:4 tn BDAG 761 s.v. παραδέχομαι 2 has “receive, accept” for the meaning here.
- Acts 15:4 tn Or “announced.”
- Acts 15:4 tn “They reported all the things God had done with them”—an identical phrase occurs in Acts 14:27. God is always the agent.
- Acts 15:5 sn See the note on Pharisee in 5:34.
- Acts 15:5 sn The Greek word used here (δεῖ, dei) is a strong term that expresses divine necessity. The claim is that God commanded the circumcision of Gentiles.
- Acts 15:5 tn Grk “them”; the referent (the Gentiles) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Acts 15:5 tn Or “keep.”
- Acts 15:6 tn The translation for ἰδεῖν (idein) in this verse is given by BDAG 279-80 s.v. εἶδον 3 as “deliberate concerning this matter.” A contemporary idiom would be to “look into” a matter.
- Acts 15:7 tn Or “discussion.” This term is repeated from v. 2.
- Acts 15:7 tn Or “long ago” (an idiom, literally “from ancient days”). According to L&N 67.26, “this reference to Peter having been chosen by God sometime before to bring the gospel to the Gentiles can hardly be regarded as a reference to ancient times, though some persons understand this to mean that God’s decision was made at the beginning of time. The usage of ἀφ᾿ ἡμερῶν ἀρχαίων is probably designed to emphasize the established nature of God’s decision for Peter to take the gospel to the Gentiles beginning with the centurion Cornelius. The fact that this was relatively early in the development of the church may also serve to explain the use of the idiom.”
- Acts 15:7 sn God chose. The theme of God’s sovereign choice is an important point, because 1st century Jews believed Israel’s unique position and customs were a reflection of God’s choice.
- Acts 15:7 tn Or “word.”
- Acts 15:7 tn Or “of the good news.”
- Acts 15:7 tn Grk “God chose among you from my mouth the Gentiles to hear the message of the gospel and to believe.” The sense of this sentence in Greek is difficult to render in English. The Greek verb ἐκλέγομαι (eklegomai, “choose”) normally takes a person or thing as a direct object; in this verse the verb has neither clearly stated. The translation understands the phrase “from my mouth,” referring to Peter, as a description of both who God chose and the task to be done. This coupled with the following statement about Gentiles hearing the message of the gospel leads to the more dynamic rendering in the translation.
- Acts 15:8 sn The expression who knows the heart means “who knows what people think.”
- Acts 15:8 tn Or “has borne witness.”
- Acts 15:8 sn By giving them…just as he did to us. The allusion is to the events of Acts 10-11, esp. 10:44-48 and Peter’s remarks in 11:15-18.
- Acts 15:9 tn BDAG 231 s.v. διακρίνω 1.b lists this passage under the meaning “to conclude that there is a difference, make a distinction, differentiate.”
- Acts 15:9 tn Or “purifying.”
- Acts 15:10 tn According to BDAG 793 s.v. πειράζω 2.c, “In Ac 15:10 the πειράζειν τὸν θεόν consists in the fact that after God’s will has been clearly made known through granting of the Spirit to the Gentiles (v. 8), some doubt and make trial to see whether God’s will really becomes operative.” All testing of God in Luke is negative: Luke 4:2; 11:16.
- Acts 15:10 sn A yoke is a wooden bar or frame that joins two animals like oxen or horses so that they can pull a wagon, plow, etc. together. Here it is used figuratively of the restriction that some in the early church wanted to place on Gentile converts to Christianity of observing the law of Moses and having males circumcised. The yoke is a decidedly negative image: Matt 23:4, but cf. Matt 11:29-30.
- Acts 15:10 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”
- Acts 15:11 tn Or “by.”
- Acts 15:11 tn Or “Jesus, just as they are.” BDAG 1016-17 s.v. τρόπος 1 translates καθ᾿ ὃν τρόπον (kath’ hon tropon) here as “in the same way as.”sn In the same way as they are. Here is an interesting reversal of the argument. Jews are saved by grace (without law), as Gentiles are.
- Acts 15:12 tn BDAG 922 s.v. σιγάω 1.a lists this passage under the meaning “say nothing, keep still, keep silent.”
- Acts 15:12 tn Here in connection with τέρατα (terata) the miraculous nature of these signs is indicated.
- Acts 15:13 tn BDAG 922 s.v. σιγάω 1.b lists this passage under the meaning “stop speaking, become silent.”
- Acts 15:13 tn Grk “answered, saying”; the redundant participle λέγων (legōn) has not been translated.
- Acts 15:14 sn Simeon is a form of the apostle Peter’s Aramaic name. James uses Peter’s “Jewish” name here.
- Acts 15:14 tn Or “reported,” “described.”
- Acts 15:14 tn BDAG 378 s.v. ἐπισκέπτομαι 3 translates this phrase in Acts 15:14, “God concerned himself about winning a people fr. among the nations.”
- Acts 15:14 tn Grk “to take,” but in the sense of selecting or choosing (accompanied by the preposition ἐκ [ek] plus a genitive specifying the group selected from) see Heb 5:1; also BDAG 584 s.v. λαμβάνω 6.
- Acts 15:14 sn In the Greek text the expression “from among the Gentiles” is in emphatic position.
- Acts 15:15 tn Grk “And the.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
- Acts 15:15 sn The term agree means “match” or “harmonize with.” James’ point in the introduction argues that many of the OT prophets taught this. He gives one example (which follows).
- Acts 15:16 tn Grk “After these things.”
- Acts 15:16 sn The first person pronoun I refers to God and his activity. It is God who is doing this.
- Acts 15:16 tn Or more generally, “dwelling”; perhaps, “royal tent.” According to BDAG 928 s.v. σκηνή the word can mean “tent” or “hut,” or more generally “lodging” or “dwelling.” In this verse (a quotation from Amos 9:11) BDAG refers this to David’s ruined kingdom; it is possibly an allusion to a king’s tent (a royal tent). God is at work to reestablish David’s line (Acts 2:30-36; 13:32-39).
- Acts 15:16 tn BDAG 86 s.v. ἀνορθόω places this verb under the meaning “to build someth. up again after it has fallen, rebuild, restore,” but since ἀνοικοδομέω (anoikodomeō, “rebuild”) has occurred twice in this verse already, “restore” is used here.
- Acts 15:17 tn Or “so that all other people.” The use of this term follows Amos 9:11 LXX.
- Acts 15:17 tn Here καί (kai) introduces an explanatory clause that explains the preceding phrase “the rest of humanity.” The clause introduced by καί (kai) could also be punctuated in English as a parenthesis.
- Acts 15:17 tn Or “all the nations” (in Greek the word for “nation” and “Gentile” is the same). sn Note the linkage back to v. 14 through the mention of Gentiles. What Simeon explained is what the OT text says would happen.
- Acts 15:17 tn Grk “all the Gentiles on whom my name has been called.” Based on well-attested OT usage, the passive of ἐπικαλέω (epikaleō) here indicates God’s ownership (“all the Gentiles who belong to me”) or calling (“all the Gentiles whom I have called to be my own”). See L&N 11.28.
- Acts 15:17 sn A quotation from Amos 9:11-12 LXX. James demonstrated a high degree of cultural sensitivity when he cited a version of the text (the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament) that Gentiles would use.
- Acts 15:18 sn Who makes these things known. The remark emphasizes how God’s design of these things reaches back to the time he declared them.
- Acts 15:18 sn An allusion to Isa 45:21.
- Acts 15:19 tn Or “I have decided,” “I think.” The verb κρίνω (krinō) has a far broader range of meaning than the often-used English verb “judge.” BDAG 568 s.v. κρίνω 3 places this use in Acts 15:19 in the category “judge, think, consider, look upon” followed by double accusative of object and predicate. However, many modern translations give the impression that a binding decision is being handed down by James: “it is my judgment” (NASB, NIV); “I have reached the decision” (NRSV). L&N 22.25, on the other hand, translate the phrase here “I think that we should not cause extra difficulty for those among the Gentiles.” This gives more the impression of an opinion than a binding decision. The resolution of this lies not so much in the lexical data as in how one conceives James’ role in the leadership of the Jerusalem church, plus the dynamics of the specific situation where the issue of Gentile inclusion in the church was being discussed. The major possibilities are: (1) James is handing down a binding decision to the rest of the church as the one who has ultimate authority to decide this matter; (2) James is offering his own personal opinion in the matter, which is not binding on the church; (3) James is voicing a consensus opinion of all the apostles and elders, although phrasing it as if it were his own; (4) James is making a suggestion to the rest of the leadership as to what course they should follow. In light of the difficulty in reconstructing the historical situation in detail, it is best to use a translation which maintains as many of the various options as possible. For this reason the translation “Therefore I conclude” has been used, leaving open the question whether in reaching this conclusion James is speaking only for himself or for the rest of the leadership.
- Acts 15:19 tn Or “trouble.” This term is a NT hapax legomenon (BDAG 775 s.v. παρενοχλέω).
- Acts 15:19 tn Or “among the nations” (in Greek the word for “nation” and “Gentile” is the same).
- Acts 15:20 tn The translation “to write a letter, to send a letter to” for ἐπιστέλλω (epistellō) is given in L&N 33.49.
- Acts 15:20 tn Three of the four prohibitions deal with food (the first, third and fourth) while one prohibition deals with behavior (the second, refraining from sexual immorality). Since these occur in the order they do, the translation “abstain from” is used to cover both sorts of activity (eating food items, immoral behavior). sn Telling them to abstain. These restrictions are not on matters of salvation, but are given as acts of sensitivity to their Jewish brethren, as v. 21 makes clear. Another example of such sensitivity is seen in 1 Cor 10:14-11:1.
- Acts 15:20 tn Or “polluted.”
- Acts 15:20 sn What has been strangled. That is, to refrain from eating animals that had been killed without having the blood drained from them. According to the Mosaic law (Lev 17:13-14), Jews were forbidden to eat flesh with the blood still in it (note the following provision in Acts 15:20, and from blood).
- Acts 15:21 tn Grk “from generations of old”; the translation “fr. ancient times” is given by BDAG 192 s.v. γενεά 3.b.
- Acts 15:21 tn The translation “read aloud” is used to indicate the actual practice; translating as “read” could be misunderstood to mean private, silent reading.
- Acts 15:21 sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9.
- Acts 15:22 tn BDAG 255 s.v. δοκέω 2.b.β lists this verse under the meaning “it seems best to me, I decide, I resolve.”
- Acts 15:22 sn Silas. See 2 Cor 1:19; 1 Thess 1:1; 2 Thess 1:1 (= Silvanus).
- Acts 15:22 sn Antioch was a city in Syria (not Antioch in Pisidia).
- Acts 15:23 tn Grk “writing by their hand” (an idiom for sending a letter).
- Acts 15:23 tn Grk “The apostles.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.
- Acts 15:23 tn Grk “brothers,” but “your” is supplied to specify the relationship, since without it “brothers” could be understood as vocative in English.
- Acts 15:23 tn Grk “to the brothers who are from the Gentiles.”
- Acts 15:23 sn Antioch was a city in Syria (not Antioch in Pisidia).
- Acts 15:23 tn Grk “and Syria,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.
- Acts 15:24 tn Here BDAG 990-91 s.v. ταράσσω 2 states, “Of mental confusion caused by false teachings ταρ. τινά Ac 15:24 (w. λόγοις foll.).”
- Acts 15:24 tn BDAG 71 s.v. ἀνασκευάζω describes this verb with a figurative meaning: “to cause inward distress, upset, unsettle.”
- Acts 15:24 tn Grk “souls.”
- Acts 15:24 tn Grk “by words”; L&N 25.231 translates the phrase “they troubled and upset you by what they said.”
- Acts 15:25 tn Grk “having become of one mind, we have decided.” This has been translated “we have unanimously decided” to reduce the awkwardness in English.
- Acts 15:25 tn BDAG 255 s.v. δοκέω 2.b.β lists this verse under the meaning “it seems best to me, I decide, I resolve.”
- Acts 15:26 tn Grk “men who,” but this can be misleading because in English the referent could be understood to be the men sent along with Barnabas and Paul rather than Barnabas and Paul themselves. This option does not exist in the Greek original, however, since ἀνθρώποις (anthrōpois) is dative and must agree with “Barnabas and Paul,” while ἄνδρας (andras) is accusative. By omitting the word “men” from the translation here, it is clear in English that the phrase refers to the immediately preceding nouns “Barnabas and Paul.”
- Acts 15:26 tn Grk “who have risked their souls”; the equivalent English idiom is “risk one’s life.” The descriptions commend Barnabas and Paul as thoroughly trustworthy.
- Acts 15:26 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”
- Acts 15:27 tn This verb has been translated as an epistolary aorist.
- Acts 15:27 sn Judas and Silas were the “two witnesses” who would vouch for the truth of the recommendation.
- Acts 15:27 tn Grk “by means of word” (an idiom for a verbal report).
- Acts 15:28 tn This is the same expression translated “decided” in Acts 15:22, 25. BDAG 255 s.v. δοκέω 2.b.β lists “decide” as a possible gloss for this verse, and this translation would be consistent with the translation of the same expression in Acts 15:22, 25. However, the unusually awkward “the Holy Spirit and we have decided” would result. Given this approach, it would be more natural in English to say “We and the Holy Spirit have decided,” but changing the order removes the emphasis the Greek text gives to the Holy Spirit. Thus, although the similarity to the phrases in 15:22, 25 is obscured, it is better to use the alternate translation “it seems best to me” (also given by BDAG): “it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us.” Again the scope of agreement is highlighted.
- Acts 15:28 tn L&N 71.39 translates “indispensable (rules)” while BDAG 358 s.v. ἐπάναγκες has “the necessary things.”
- Acts 15:29 tn There is no specific semantic component in the Greek word εἰδωλόθυτος that means “meat” (see BDAG 280 s.v. εἰδωλόθυτος; L&N 5.15). The stem—θυτος means “sacrifice” (referring to an animal sacrificially killed) and thereby implies meat.
- Acts 15:29 tc Codex Bezae (D) and a few other witnesses lack the restriction “and from what has been strangled” (καὶ πνικτῶν, kai pniktōn), though the words are supported by a wide variety of early and significant witnesses otherwise and should be considered authentic.sn What has been strangled. That is, to refrain from eating animals that had been killed without having the blood drained from them. According to the Mosaic law (Lev 17:13-14), Jews were forbidden to eat flesh with the blood still in it (note the preceding provision in this verse, and from blood).
- Acts 15:29 tc Codex Bezae (D) as well as 323 614 945 1739 1891 sa and other witnesses have after “sexual immorality” the following statement: “And whatever you do not want to happen to yourselves, do not do to another/others.” By adding this negative form of the Golden Rule, these witnesses effectively change the Apostolic Decree from what might be regarded as ceremonial restrictions into more ethical demands. The issues here are quite complicated, and beyond the scope of this brief note. Suffice it to say that D and its allies here are almost surely an expansion and alteration of the original text of Acts. For an excellent discussion of the exegetical and textual issues, see TCGNT 379-83.
- Acts 15:29 tn Grk “from which things keeping yourselves.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (ὧν, |ōn) has been replaced by a pronoun (“these things”) and a new English sentence begun. The participle διατηροῦντες (diatērountes) has been translated as a conditional adverbial participle (“if you keep yourselves”). See further L&N 13.153.
- Acts 15:29 tn The phrase ἔρρωσθε (errōsthe) may be understood as a stock device indicating a letter is complete (“goodbye,” L&N 33.24) or as a sincere wish that the persons involved may fare well (“may you fare well,” L&N 23.133).
- Acts 15:30 tn Or “sent away.”
- Acts 15:30 sn Antioch was a city in Syria (not Antioch in Pisidia).
- Acts 15:30 tn Or “congregation” (referring to the group of believers).
- Acts 15:31 tn Grk “read it.” The translation “read aloud” is used to indicate the actual practice of public reading; translating as “read” could be misunderstood to mean private, silent, or individual reading.
- Acts 15:31 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the people) is specified in the translation for clarity.
- Acts 15:31 tn Or “at its encouraging message.”
- Acts 15:32 tn Here λόγου (logou) is singular. BDAG 599-600 s.v. λόγος 1.a.β has “in a long speech” for this phrase.
- Acts 15:33 tn Grk “And after.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
- Acts 15:33 tn The word “there” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.
- Acts 15:33 tc A few mss add 15:34 “But Silas decided to stay there.” Verse 34 is lacking in P74 א A B E Ψ M bo. It is included in a shorter form, with a few minor variations, by (C) 33 36 323 453 614 (945) 1175 1739 1891 al sa, and in a longer form (“But Silas decided to stay with them, and only Judas departed”) by D l. The verse is almost certainly not a part of the original text of Acts, but was added to harmonize with the statement about Silas in v. 40. The present translation follows NA28 in omitting the verse number, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.
- Acts 15:35 sn Antioch was a city in Syria (not Antioch in Pisidia).
- Acts 15:35 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.
- Acts 15:35 sn The word of the Lord is a technical expression in OT literature, often referring to a divine prophetic utterance (e.g., Gen 15:1, Isa 1:10, Jonah 1:1). In the NT it occurs 15 times: 3 times as ῥῆμα τοῦ κυρίου (rhēma tou kuriou; Luke 22:61, Acts 11:16, 1 Pet 1:25) and 12 times as λόγος τοῦ κυρίου (logos tou kuriou; here and in v. 36; Acts 8:25; 13:44, 48, 49; 16:32; 19:10, 20; 1 Thess 1:8; 4:15; 2 Thess 3:1). As in the OT, this phrase focuses on the prophetic nature and divine origin of what has been said.
- Acts 15:36 tn Grk “Returning let us visit.” The participle ἐπιστρέψαντες (epistrepsantes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 15:36 tn See the note on the phrase “word of the Lord” in v. 35.
- Acts 15:36 tn BDAG 422 s.v. ἔχω 10.b has “how they are” for this phrase.
- Acts 15:38 tn BDAG 94 s.v. ἀξιόω 2.a has “he insisted (impf.) that they should not take him along” for this phrase.
- Acts 15:38 sn Pamphylia was a province in the southern part of Asia Minor. See Acts 13:13, where it was mentioned previously.
- Acts 15:39 tn Grk “There happened a sharp disagreement.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
- Acts 15:39 tn BDAG 780 s.v. παροξυσμός 2 has “sharp disagreement” here; L&N 33.451 has “sharp argument, sharp difference of opinion.”
- Acts 15:39 tn Grk “taking along Mark sailed.” The participle παραλαβόντα (paralabonta) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 15:39 sn Cyprus is a large island in the Mediterranean off the south coast of Asia Minor.
- Acts 15:40 tn Or “committed.” BDAG 762 s.v. παραδίδωμι 2 gives “be commended by someone to the grace of the Lord” as the meaning for this phrase, although “give over” and “commit” are listed as alternatives for this category.
- Acts 15:40 tn Grk “by the brothers.” Here it it is highly probable that the entire congregation is in view, not just men, so the translation “brothers and sisters” has been used for the plural ἀδελφῶν (adelphōn),.
- Acts 15:41 sn Strengthening. See Acts 14:22; 15:32; 18:23.