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Jun 17, 2019

2SAMUEL 17:
Yesterday we heard how Saul's servant, Ziba, showed his loyalty and helped David on his way. And how Shimei from Saul's family cursed and persecuted David all along the way. No wonder David was exhausted after that hike. David refused to put him to death or to punish him. (But we find out later that he didn't forget about Shimei.) David's friend, Hushai, joined himself to Absalom, as David asked him to do. And Nathan’s prophecy to David was unknowingly fulfilled through Ahithophel’s advice to Absolom.

PSALM 116:
This is a poem sharing personal experience. Though this poem is not attributed to David, what we read here could be his prayer during and following what we are reading about in 2nd Samuel 17-18.

John 1a:
I always look forward each year to reading the Gospel of John. John’s Gospel is different from all the other gospels. John was probably very young when he became Jesus’ follower, perhaps 25 years old. But he seems to have waited until very late in life to begin writing, perhaps when he was 85 years old. This was long after the other Gospels and even the epistles were written. The title he gives himself in this book is ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’. This doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t love the other 11!

GNT Translation notes:
6 [CEV] [How kind You are, Lord!— //You are kind, Lord,] so good and merciful.
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John 1:2 From the very beginning [the Person who is called] the Word was with God.
19 The Jewish authorities in Jerusalem sent some priests and Levites to John to ask him, “[Whose position are you assuming?//Who are you?”]
21 “[Whose role are taking//Who are you], then?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?” “No, I am not,” John answered. “Are you the Prophet?” they asked. “No,” he replied.
27 He is coming after me, but I am not good enough [to be the servant who unties//even to untie] his sandals.”

NLT Translation notes:
[I changed the whole of Ps. 116 to become a prayer to God, like has been done in the CEV. This prayer is a prayer directly to God. Note that the first verse starts, “I love Yahweh hear sound supplication.” One can see that using the proper name (and with no pronoun ‘he’ actually there in the second phrase), that this is easy to understand as a prayer to God. But the standard translation of Yahweh is ‘the Lord’, so that ‘he’ is added in the second phase. That is why most translation sound like this is a poem talking about the Lord, not a prayer directed to Him. It is actually proper and better to understand this as a prayer, so nearly every verse changed. I note here only a few verses where I made special comments.]
Ps. 116:4 Then I called on [You, Lord://the name of the LORD:]
“[Lord, please//Please, LORD,] save me!”
[This use of ‘the name’ is a metonymy based on the Jewish avoidance of actually saying the Lord’s name. ‘The name’ stands for the whole person of the Lord. In English, calling on a name is quite unnatural. I would never call on Chad’s name. I would just call Chad or call on Chad. See v.13.]
13 I will [pour out an offering of wine to You giving thanks for Your saving me//lift up the cup of salvation]
[Before looking into this while I was recording, I wrongly guessed at the meaning of ‘lift up the cup of salvation’, as “I will drink a toast to God because of my salvation.” As it happens, that is kind of what The Message has. This just shows what happens when modern readers confront a literal translation of such a figure. And note that NLT is inconsistent in reverting to a literal translation here, while most of the time translating in a meaning-based way.]
and [I will] praise [You//the LORD’s name for saving me].
[Like we saw in verse 4, if we were really going to literally ‘praise the Lord’s name’— meaning just his name, and not praise His person, it appears like idolatry to me. (I do hear people saying things like that, but when they do I take it that they are parodying Bible language.) How often do we hear people using a phrase like, “They praised Obama’s name for his speech at…” I think almost always, when people say things like that about our president, they just praise Obama and leave his name out of it.]
17 [[[I will offer a sacrifice of thankful prayers to You.////
I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving
[and I will give thankful prayers to You.//and call on You, Lord,
because of your wonderful reputation// and call on the name of the LORD].]]]
[Note here that “sacrifice of thanksgiving” is ambiguous in English. It could mean that his offering will consist of thanksgiving, or that he will offer an animal sacrifice as an act of thanksgiving. It is likely that the former is the meaning here. And if the two halves of the parallelism in this verse are  mutually completing, then the meaning could be boiled down to this: Thankful prayers will be the sacrifice that I will offer continually to you.]
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John 1:2 He [(that is the One I am calling ‘the Word’)] existed in the beginning with God.
5 [That//The] light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth [which is the result of//resulting from] human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and [He is worthy of being fully believed//faithfulness].e And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
16 From [the abundance of Him who we call ‘the Word’//his abundance] we have all received one gracious blessing after another.
17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and [true teachings that are worthy of full belief//faithfulness] came through [Christ Jesus//Jesus Christ].
[Verse 14 and 17 represent quite a challenge for the translator. The word ‘truth’ in Greek should be taken to mean the same thing in both verses. I think the translators desired to find one word that would work here, but I feel that ‘faithfulness’ shifts the meaning from what John intended.]
19 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “[Whose place are you claiming to fulfill?//Who are you?]”
20 He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”
21“Well then, [whose place are you taking?//who are you?]” they asked. “Are you [taking Elijah’s place//Elijah]?”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”
“No.”
22 “Then [who gave you any authority to work like this?//who are  you?] We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”
23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“I am [the/a] voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Clear the way for the LORD’s coming!’”
31[Before now] I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”
33 I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest [upon, He] is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
34 I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is [God’s Chosen One.//the Chosen One of God.]”
45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very [one/person] Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”
50 Jesus [responded//asked him], “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.”
[I don’t think we use ‘asked’ to introduce rhetorical questions in English. And Greek doesn’t use this verb either.]
51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see [“]heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on[” Me,] the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.
[It is often necessary in other languages to include ‘I/Me’, because in most languages one just doesn’t talk of oneself using the third person, he. This is not grammatical in most languages.]