Monday, July 9, 2012

The Piel Stem - Part 1

Those of us who learned Biblical Hebrew using Weingreen’s Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew had only a brief introduction to the force of the seven regular verb stems. For the Piel, Weignreen simply indicates “intensive action” in the chart on page 100 and a comment about the formation of the word:
“Note carefully that the Pi‘el, Pu‘al, and Hithpa‘el have Dageš Forte Characteristic in the second root-letter…thus giving greater weight to the stem and intensifying the meaning.” 
Later, Weingreen includes the helpful comment that “Some verbs are found in the Piel without a primary Qal, as בִקֵּשׁ ‘he hath sought’” (p. 105). Weingreen's introduction to Biblical Hebrew was good, and his introduction to the Piel was at least typical.

The recent grammar of Paul Joüon and T. Muraoka (A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, Rome 1993) has one of the more thorough evaluations of the Piel. In their opening statement about the Piel, Joüon and Muraoka state: “The question how the function of Piel in relation to other conjugations, notably Qal, should be defined still remains one of the major challenges facing Hebrew and Semitic languages” (par. 52, p. 154-155, emphasis added).

In the Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar by Professor E. Kautzsch the Piel and its passive stem the Pual are given just over four pages (§52 a-s, pp. 139-143). About half of this space deals with the formation of the Piel and Pual, but there are some good comments about the function of the Piel:

“The fundamental idea of Piel…is to busy oneself eagerly with the action indicated by the stem. This intensifying idea of the stem…appears in individual cases as—(a) a strengthening and repetition of the action (cf. the intensive and iterative nouns with the middle radical strengthened, §84b)—(b) a causative sense (like hifil)… (c) Denominatives are frequently formed in this conjugation, and generally express a being occupied with the object expressed by the noun, either to form or to make use of it, e.g. קנן to make a nest, to nest…” (p. 141-142)
Some of Gesenius’ fine print has a few other helpful comments about the force of specific cases. I would like to examine the various forces of the Piel stem to aid our exegesis and our understanding of this stem which “still remains one of the major challenges facing Hebrew and Semitic languages.”

Friday, June 29, 2012

Mark 5:21-43

Sermon exegesis for July 7-9, 2012.

MARK 5:21

21 Καὶ διαπεράσαντος τοῦ ᾽Ιησοῦ πάλιν εἰς τὸ πέραν συνήχθη ὄχλος πολὺς ἐπ' αὐτόν, καὶ ἦν παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν. 

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake.

διαπεράσαντος, aorist participle διαπεράω "cross over;" preliminary participle.
ὄχλος πολὺς "a large crowd," a frequent expression in Mark (14x).
συνήχθη aorist passive indicative, aorist "began to gather around."

The crowds were constantly rushing around the Sea of Galilee to find him, no matter where he went or what means he used to cross. Sometimes it was Peter's fishing skiff (Mark 6:51-55), sometimes it was in one of the "Galilee taxis" or little botas for hire (Mark 4:34-41), and of course once it was even on foot across the waves (Mark 6:47-50). But the crowds would rush around and find him, time after time.

MARK 5:22

22 καὶ ἔρχεται εἷς τῶν ἀρχισυναγώγων, ὀνόματι ᾽Ιάϊρος, καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν πίπτει πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ 

22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet.  

πίπτει πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ "fell at his feet" A position of prayer and of begging (1 Samuel 25:24; Luke 8:28), of a defeated enemy (2 Samuel 22:39; Psalm 18:38), of thanks (2 Kings 4:36). It will happen again in this very story when the woman with the flow of blood also falls at Jesus' feet (5:33).

This man was the ruler of a synagogue (Mark 5:22). There are no mentions of synagogues in the Old Testament, but they are fairly common in the New. The synagogues came into being because of the exile in Babylon. When Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:1, etc.) began carrying the Jews away into captivity, they found themselves far away from the temple (which Nebuchadnezzar burned down). God had commanded the people to bring sacrifices only to the one temple (see Exodus 25-31, especially 29:44-45; and 1 Kings 5:5 and 6:1), but now they had no temple and they were not in Jerusalem. They were in captivity for seventy years, through the reigns of Belshazzar (Daniel 8:1) and Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). Although Cyrus sent them home, ending the captivity in 539 BC, many Jews chose to stay behind. They were still in Babylon during the reign of Xerxes (Esther 10:1-3). Almost a century after the release, Nehemiah asked Artaxerxes' permission to briefly travel to Jerusalem (445 BC, see Nehemiah 2:1-9).

While they were away in this exile, how did they worship? They began to meet together to read the word of God and teach it to their children. They would also sing songs and pray. They might have said something like this: "Let's go together to so-and-so's house and read the Bible." Or they might have said, "There's no one to lead worship, so let's lead it together, taking turns." The Greek for both "go together" and "lead together" is syn-ago, so the place they went to (or took turns leading) was called a "synagogue."

The "ruler" of the synagogue was more of a chairman than an executive. He organized the rotation of who would lead, and he was also the custodian of the building (often his own house).

MARK 5:23-24

23 καὶ παρακαλεῖ αὐτὸν πολλὰ λέγων ὅτι Τὸ θυγάτριόν μου ἐσχάτως ἔχει, ἵνα ἐλθὼν ἐπιθῇς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῇ ἵνα σωθῇ καὶ ζήσῃ. 24 καὶ ἀπῆλθεν μετ' αὐτοῦ. 

23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

Mark and Luke tell us that the girl was actually "almost dead." For his Roman readers, Mark (5:23) translates into Greek a Latin phrase, in extremis (ἐσχάτως ἔχει "she has the end (in sight); cp. our saying "on the brink"). Matthew ("My daughter has just died," 9:18) seems to have condensed the story for us.

Jesus had been in Capernaum for some time. Why didn't this man come to him sooner? We don't know. Perhaps his faith was somewhat shaky, or brand new. He didn't want to trouble Jesus, but now, at the last second, he needed him. Don't wait until the last second to ask God for help. Our whole lives are lives of prayer. Our Lord knows how to give good gifts. Don't be afraid to ask.

     Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God.
     Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.  (Psalm 4:1)

At this point, a sick woman with a flow of blood intervened. It's difficult to include both events in a single sermon, although I feel strongly that from time to time the whole account should be bitten off and presented as a big unified account.

Since this sermon is on Jairus' daughter, we will jump ahead to verse 35 in the sermon, but here are some comments on verse 24b-34:

MARK 5:24b-28

Καὶ ἠκολούθει αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς, καὶ συνέθλιβον αὐτόν. 25 καὶ γυνὴ οὖσα ἐν ῥύσει αἵματος δώδεκα ἔτη 26 καὶ πολλὰ παθοῦσα ὑπὸ πολλῶν ἰατρῶν καὶ δαπανήσασα τὰ παρ' αὐτῆς πάντα καὶ μηδὲν ὠϕεληθεῖσα ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εἰς τὸ χεῖρον ἐλθοῦσα, 27 ἀκούσασα περὶ τοῦ ᾽Ιησοῦ, ἐλθοῦσα ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ὄπισθεν ἥψατο τοῦ ἱματίου αὐτοῦ·  28 ἔλεγεν γὰρ ὅτι ᾽Εὰν ἅψωμαι κἂν τῶν ἱματίων αὐτοῦ σωθήσομαι.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him.  25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.  26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,  28 because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed."  

How do you express your faith? This chapter gives two very powerful pictures. Here was a man with a twelve-year-old girl (Mark 5:42). He knew that Jesus could save her. Here was a woman with a twelve-year-old condition. She knew that Jesus could save her.

We don't know the woman's condition (it may have been menorrhagia, or it may have been something else), but she had suffered a long time. Jesus knew, as Jesus knows all of our troubles and rescues us from them. Notice that the woman touched the edge of Jesus' cloak. Was she thinking of Zechariah 8:23 ("…take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you'")? Or was she thinking of the Old Testament passages about making tassels on garments (Numbers 15:38-39; Deuteronomy 22:12)? Or was she remembering the hem of the robe of the priests, as she put her faith in Jesus, the Great High Priest (Exodus 39:24-26)? Whatever her thinking, she knew Jesus would heal her.

Jesus knows our problems. He knows us inside and out, and he knows what we need. When we ask Jesus for help with a specific problem, we show him our faith just by the asking. Trust in him. He is the LORD, the Good Shepherd, who always keeps his promises, who leads us and guides us, and who covered over all of our sins.

          The LORD is good,
             a refuge in times of trouble.
          He cares for those who trust in him.
                              -- Nahum the Elkoshite (Nahum 1:7)

MARK 5:29-34 

29 καὶ εὐθὺς ἐξηράνθη ἡ πηγὴ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτῆς, καὶ ἔγνω τῷ σώματι ὅτι ἴαται ἀπὸ τῆς μάστιγος. 30 καὶ εὐθὺς ὁ ᾽Ιησοῦς ἐπιγνοὺς ἐν ἑαυτῷ τὴν ἐξ αὐτοῦ δύναμιν ἐξελθοῦσαν ἐπιστραϕεὶς ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ἔλεγεν, Τίς μου ἥψατο τῶν ἱματίων; 31 καὶ ἔλεγον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ, Βλέπεις τὸν ὄχλον συνθλίβοντά σε, καὶ λέγεις, Τίς μου ἥψατο; 32 καὶ περιεβλέπετο ἰδεῖν τὴν τοῦτο ποιήσασαν. 33 ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ϕοβηθεῖσα καὶ τρέμουσα, εἰδυῖα ὃ γέγονεν αὐτῇ, ἦλθεν καὶ προσέπεσεν αὐτῷ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν. 34 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῇ, Θυγάτηρ, ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε· ὕπαγε εἰς εἰρήνην, καὶ ἴσθι ὑγιὴς ἀπὸ τῆς μάστιγός σου.

29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.  30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"  31 "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?'"  32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.  33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.  34 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."  

The woman had weakly grasped at the hem of Jesus' cloak, but it was her faith grasping at Jesus himself that was important. She believed Jesus could and would help her. That means she already had faith in him. Now she was putting that faith into action. That's what one king of Judah was doing when he said to his people, "Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful" (2 Chronicles 20:20).

Faith is the channel through which God gives not only physical healing, but also true spiritual healing. David points out both kinds of healing when he says, "The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed" (Psalm 41:3) and "heal me, for I have sinned against you" (41:4). Solomon also prayed, "Whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made...then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive." (1 Kings 8:37-39, 2 Chronicles 6:28-30).

The most important healing we have is God declaration of "not guilty." He has taken away our sins and declared our innocence (2 Chronicles 6:23).

          O LORD, I say to you, "You are my God."
             Hear, O LORD, my cry for mercy.
                              -- King David (Psalm 140:6)

Back to our story of Jairus' daughter...

MARK 5:35-36

35 ῎Ετι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος ἔρχονται ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀρχισυναγώγου λέγοντες ὅτι ῾Η θυγάτηρ σου ἀπέθανεν· τί ἔτι σκύλλεις τὸν διδάσκαλον; 36 ὁ δὲ ᾽Ιησοῦς παρακούσας τὸν λόγον λαλούμενον λέγει τῷ ἀρχισυναγώγῳ, Μὴ ϕοβοῦ, μόνον πίστευε. 

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”  36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

The idea that they shouldn't "bother the teacher" (τί ἔτι σκύλλεις τὸν διδάσκαλον) anymore reveals the awe and reverence with which people held Jesus. And yet the beginning of verse 40 (see comments below) show that the reverence could quickly fall to ridicule.

Μὴ ϕοβοῦ, μόνον πίστευε. "Stop being afraid. Just believe." These are some of the most powerfully comforting words in the Bible, because of what happens later in this story.

MARK 5:37-39

37 καὶ οὐκ ἀϕῆκεν οὐδένα μετ' αὐτοῦ συνακολουθῆσαι εἰ μὴ τὸν Πέτρον καὶ ᾽Ιάκωβον καὶ ᾽Ιωάννην τὸν ἀδελϕὸν ᾽Ιακώβου. 38 καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ ἀρχισυναγώγου, καὶ θεωρεῖ θόρυβον καὶ κλαίοντας καὶ ἀλαλάζοντας πολλά, 39 καὶ εἰσελθὼν λέγει αὐτοῖς, Τί θορυβεῖσθε καὶ κλαίετε; τὸ παιδίον οὐκ ἀπέθανεν ἀλλὰ καθεύδει. 

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 

The funeral was already underway. The familiar group of hired mourners was at the house, and the professional musicians were there. We shouldn't be shocked or confused by such things. They might be equally amazed that we put on dark or conservative clothes, that we make little noise at all and speak in hushed whispers, and that we tend to make casseroles when there is a funeral.

There was something different about this funeral, though: Jesus. Jesus arrived and claimed the girl was not dead, but sleeping. Now, it was obvious that she had died. There was no life in her body, her heart had stopped, her lungs had stopped taking in air -- she was dead. Yet David says, "Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death," calling death and sleep the same thing, from a believer's perspective (Psalm 13:3). What is the difference between death, and "sleeping death"? Sleeping death is truly death, but death that has an end, a resurrection.

MARK 5:40a

40 καὶ κατεγέλων αὐτοῦ. 

40 But they laughed at him. 

This is the word (καταγελάω) used in the translation of Job 30:1, "But now they mock me." The verb is an inceptive imperfect showing the beginning of an action repeated for some time.

Perhaps any individual member of that crowd believed jsut a little bit that Jesus could raise that little girl from the dead, but when one person laughed, the rest followed along. The devil likes to turn us down the wrong path with the "everybody else is doing it" trick. How quickly we're willing to turn away from faith and into folly! But this sin of doubt and of going along with the lemmings is also forgiven by Jesus' healing and peace.

MARK 5:40b-43

αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκβαλὼν πάντας παραλαμβάνει τὸν πατέρα τοῦ παιδίου καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ τοὺς μετ' αὐτοῦ, καὶ εἰσπορεύεται ὅπου ἦν τὸ παιδίον· 41 καὶ κρατήσας τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ παιδίου λέγει αὐτῇ, Ταλιθα κουμ, ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον Τὸ κοράσιον, σοὶ λέγω, ἔγειρε. 42 καὶ εὐθὺς ἀνέστη τὸ κοράσιον καὶ περιεπάτει, ἦν γὰρ ἐτῶν δώδεκα. καὶ ἐξέστησαν εὐθὺς ἐκστάσει μεγάλῃ. 43 καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς πολλὰ ἵνα μηδεὶς γνοῖ τοῦτο, καὶ εἶπεν δοθῆναι αὐτῇ ϕαγεῖν.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. 

When this girl rose, alive, awake and certainly hungry (καὶ εἶπεν δοθῆναι αὐτῇ ϕαγεῖν,  verse 43), she did not go instantly into heaven. In fact, we don't know what happened to her, except that she certainly grew older, and died again. But she, and you and I, will rise from the sleep of death into eternal life. Jesus showed he has the power over life and death by raising her, and by raising himself. And he promises to raise us, too.

That's news that needs to spread.

          Answer me when I call to you,
               O my righteous God,
          Give me relief from my distress;
               Be merciful to me and hear my prayer. -- King David (Psalm 4:1)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Martyrdom of Polycarp 14:1-3

14 Οἱ δὲ οὐ καθήλωσαν μέν, προσέδησαν δὲ αὐτόν. ὁ δὲ ὀπίσω τὰς χεῖρας ποιήσας καὶ προσδεθείς, ὥσπερ κριὸς ἐπίσημος ἐκ μεγάλου ποιμνίου εἰς προσφοράν, ὁλοκαύτωμα δεκτὸν τῷ θεῷ ἡτοιμασμένον, ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εἶπεν·
.     Κύριε ὁ θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ, ὁ τοῦ ἀγαπητοῦ καὶ εὐλογητοῦ παιδός σου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ πατήρ, δι’ οὗ τὴν περὶ σοῦ ἐπίγνωσιν εἰλήφαμεν, ὁ θεὸς [ὁ] ἀγγέλων καὶ δυνάμεων καὶ πάσης τῆς κτίσεως παντός τε τοῦ γένους τῶν δικαίων, οἳ ζῶσιν ἐνώπιόν σου· 2 εὐλογῶ σε, ὅτι ἠξίωσάς με τῆς ἡμέρας καὶ ὥρας ταύτης, τοῦ λαβεῖν με μέρος ἐν ἀριθμῷ τῶν μαρτύρων ἐν τῷ ποτηρίῳ τοῦ Χριστοῦ σου εἰς ἀνάστασιν ζωῆς αἰωνίου ψυχῆς τε καὶ σώματος ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ πνεύματος ἁγίου· ἐν οἷς προσδεχθείην ἐνώπιόν σου σήμερον ἐν θυσίᾳ πίονι καὶ προσδεκτῇ, καθὼς προητοίμασας καὶ πρoεφανέρωσας καὶ ἐπλήρωσας, ὁ ἀψευδὴς καὶ ἀληθινὸς θεός. 3 διὰ τοῦτο καὶ περὶ πάντων σὲ αἰνῶ, σὲ εὐλογῶ, σὲ δοξάζω διὰ τοῦ αἰωνίου καί ἐπουρανίου ἀρχιερέως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἀγαπητοῦ σου παιδός, δι’ οὗ σοὶ σὺν αὐτῷ καὶ πνεύματι ἁγίῳ [ἡ] δόξα καὶ νῦν [καὶ ἀεὶ] καὶ εἰς τοὺς μέλλοντας αἰῶνας. ἀμήν.
14:3 [καὶ ἀεὶ] Mosquensis 160 (Latin: et in futurum in saecula saeculorum); text: Baroccianus 238; Paris 1452; Vindob. Hist. Greac.; S. Sep. Hierosl. I; Eusebius.
14:2 εἰς ἀνάστασιν ζωῆς, John 5:21.

Polycarp’s Prayer
14 1 So instead of nailing him, they started to bind him instead. When he had put his hands behind his back and had been bound (like a good ram from a large flock for sacrifice, prepared as a burnt offering1 acceptable to God), he looked up to heaven and said, 
     “Lord God Almighty, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of you, God of angels and powers and every created thing, and the whole race of the just who dwell before you, 2 I bless you because you have considered me worthy of this day and hour to receive a portion in the cup of your Christ, among the number of martyrs, to the resurrection of eternal life of both soul and body in the incorruption of the Holy Spirit. May I be received today among them as a fine and acceptable sacrifice just as you have prepared beforehand and fulfilled, O undeceiving and true God. 3 For this reason and for all these things I praise you, I bless you and I glorify you, through the eternal and heavenly high priest Jesus Christ your beloved Son, through whom to you and the Holy Spirit with him be glory now and forever, Amen.”
“now and forever, Amen,” One Greek Ms and Latin read “now, always and forever, Amen."

The body of Polycarp’s prayer is filled with Scriptural references and in fact contains very little that is not quoted verbatim from the Bible.

MPol. 14:1

Οἱ δὲ οὐ καθήλωσαν μέν, προσέδησαν δὲ αὐτόν. "So instead of nailing him, they started to bind him instead." Here is a traditional and classic μέν...δὲ clause.

καθήλωσαν aorist 3rd plural καθηλόω, "nail; nail to." Septuagint word: Psalm 119[118]:120, where the meaning might be "(my flesh) bristles up like nails."

προσέδησαν aorist 3rd plural προσδίδωμι "give over, hand over." Another Septuagint word (Ezekiel 16:34), although it occurs in the variant of Uncial D in Luke 24:30 for ἐπεδίδου (προσεδίδου) "he broke (the bread) and began to give it (over) to them..."

ὁλοκαύτωμα Greek "holocaust," whole burnt offering. Of course in the last century this word has taken on another meaning altogether because of the memory of the atrocities of the war, but such things cannot be read backward into this second century text.

δεκτὸν, "acceptable." Accusative singular δεκτός; cf. Luke 4:24. More common in the LXX.

κριός “ram,” (Latin aries, also used of a battering-ram), Gen. 22:13; Ezek. 46:6; Daniel (Theod.)  8:3, 20; and many times in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

MPol. 14:2

Κύριε ὁ θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ, “Lord God Almighty.” Amos 3:13; 4:13; 5:8, 14-16; 9:15; Hos. 12:5; Rev. 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 21:22; Apostolic Constitutions 8,15,2; cf. Didache 10:3.

πατήρ, “Father…” Apost. Const. 8,15,2, “Master, God Almighty, Father of your Christ, your blessed son…”

ὁ τοῦ ἀγαπητοῦ... σου “of your beloved,” Matt 12:8; cf. Mark 1:1; 9:7; Diog. 8:11; 1 Clement 59:2.

καὶ εὐλογητοῦ, “and blessed” Apost. Const. 8,15,2; cf. Matt 12:8.

παιδός “Son,” Isaiah 52:13; Acts 3:13, 26; 4:27, 30; Barn 9:2; Diog 8:9,11; 9:1; 1 Clem. 59:2-4; Apost. Const. 8,15,2.

Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ “Jesus Christ,” (cf. “Father” above)

δι’ οὗ “through whom,” (referring to the work of Christ on our behalf) cf. 1 Clem. 58:2; 59:2, 3; 61:3; 62; 65; 2 Clem 20:5.

τὴν περὶ σοῦ ἐπίγνωσιν εἰλήφαμεν “we have received knowledge of you” 1 Clem 59:2; cf. Did 9:2-3; 10:2; Apost Const 8,11,2.

ὁ θεὸς ἀγγέλων “God of angels” Apost. Const. 8,12,8.

καὶ δυνάμεων “and powers” 1 Kings 17:1; Psalm 59:5; cf. Judith 9:14; 13:4.

καὶ πάσης τῆς κτίσεως “and every created thing” Judith 9:2 (cf. Colossians 1:15)

παντός τε τοῦ γένους τῶν δικαίων “and the whole race of the just”   Hermas Hs 9,17,5; cf. Mart. Polycarp 17:1.

MPol. 14:3

εὐλογῶ σε “I bless you” Acts of Paul and Thecla 24; Lk 1:64; 2:28; 24:53.

ὅτι ἠξίωσάς με “because you have considered me worthy”  4 Macc. 18:3.

τῆς ἡμέρας καὶ ὥρας ταύτης, “of this day and hour” Cf. John 12:27. He means, the moment of his martyrdom.

μέρος “a portion” Rev. 20:6.

ἐν ἀριθμῷ “among the number” Cf. Exodus 12:4; Deut. 32:8; Luke 22:3; Rev. 6:9-11; 7:4; 13:17, 18; 15:2; 1 Clement 59:2.

ἐν τῷ ποτηρίῳ  “in the cup” Mark 14:26

τοῦ Χριστοῦ σου “of your Christ” Apost. Const. 8,15,2.

εἰς ἀνάστασιν ζωῆς αἰωνίου “to the resurrection of eternal life” John 5:29

ψυχῆς τε καὶ σώματος  “soul and body” Apost. Const. 8,14,2

ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ “in the incorruption” Cf. 4 Macc 17:2

ἐν θυσίᾳ πίονι “be received as a rich sacrifice” Cf. Dan 3:39-40; 4 Macc 1:11.

πρεφανέρωσας “prepared” Cf. Didache 10:5

ὁ ἀψευδὴς καὶ ἀληθινὸς θεός “undeceiving and true God” Cf. John 17:3; Ign Rom 8:2; Apost. Con. 8,18,1

σὲ δοξάζω καὶ περὶ πάντων σὲ αἰνῶ, σὲ εὐλογῶ “I praise…bless…glorify you”    All Biblical, but found in this order first in Apost. Con. 7,47,2; 8,12,27

διὰ τοῦ αἰωνίου καί ἐπουρανίου ἀρχιερέως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ “Eternal and heavenly high priest Jesus Christ”     Polycarp 12:2; 1 Clement 61:3; Ch. 64; Apost. Con 7,47,2

ἀγαπητοῦ σου παιδός, δι’ οὗ σοὶ σὺν αὐτῷ καὶ πνεύματι ἁγίῳ δόξα καὶ νῦν καὶ εἰς τοὺς μέλλοντας αἰῶνας “Beloved son through whom…forever”   Cf. 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Clement 65:2.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Martyrdom of Polycarp 13:1-3

13 1 Ταῦτα οὖν μετὰ τοσούτου τάχους ἐγένετο, θάττον ἢ ἐλέγετο, τῶν ὄχλων παραχρῆμα συναγόντων ἔκ τε τῶν ἐργαστηρίων καὶ βαλανείων ξύλα καὶ φρύγανα, μάλιστα Ἰουδαίων προθύμως, ὡς ἔθος αὐτοῖς, εἰς ταῦτα ὑπουργούντων. 2 ὅτε δὲ ἡ πυρκαϊὰ ἡτοιμάσθη, ἀποθέμενος ἑαυτῷ πάντα τὰ ἱμάτια καὶ λύσας τὴν ζώνην ἐπειρᾶτο καὶ ὑπολύειν ἑαυτόν, μὴ πρότερον τοῦτο ποιῶν διὰ τὸ ἀεὶ ἕκαστoν τῶν πιστῶν σπoυδάζειν, ὅστις τάχιoν τοῦ χρωτὸς αὐτοῦ ἅψηται· παντὶ γὰρ καλῷ ἀγαθῆς ἕνεκεν πολιτείας καὶ πρὸ τῆς μαρτυρίας ἐκεκόσμητο. 3 εὐθέως οὖν αὐτῷ περιετίθετο τὰ πρὸς τὴν πυρὰν ἡρμοσμένα ὄργανα. μελλόντων δὲ αὐτῶν καὶ προσηλοῦν, εἶπεν· Ἄφετέ με οὕτως· ὁ γὰρ δοὺς ὑπομεῖναι τὸ πῦρ δώσει χωρὶς τῆς ὑμετέρας ἐκ τῶν ἥλων ἀσφαλείας ἄσκυλτον ἐπιμεῖναι τῇ πυρᾷ.

The Pyre is Prepared
13 1 This happened then so quickly – more quickly than it will take to relate it. The crowd wasted no time gathering wood and fuel from the shops and bathhouses. The Jews were especially energetic (as they usually are) in helping with this. 2 When the pyre was made ready, he willingly removed all his outer clothes and loosened his belt. He also tried to take off his own shoes, although he wasn’t used to doing this since each of the faithful always rushed to be the first to touch his flesh, for he was adorned with every (power) because of his godly way of life even before his martyrdom. 3 At once the material prepared for the pyre was set around him. As they were also about to nail him, he said, “Leave me as I am. He who makes it possible for me to endure the fire will also make it possible for me to remain on the pyre untroubled by nails.”

13:1 θάττον Attic adverb; comparative (neuter accusative singular) of ταχέως “quickly, without delay.” In Homeric Greek, ταχέως was not the comparative of ταχύς, although the superlative τάχιστα was used. Instead, Homer preferred θᾶσσον (adv) and θᾶσσων (adj). The form θάττον survives in the Fathers only here and in 1 Clement 65:1. Cf. Autenreith's A Homeric Dictionary, 1876/1901.

13:1 φρύγανα "bathhouses," the public baths, where water was heated in an elaborate system of pipes and used a considerable amount of wood and sometimes other fuel such as charcoal.

13:1 ὑπουργούντων present active participle m gen pl ὑπουργέω, “be helpful.” Test. Dan. 3:4.

13:1 ὡς ἔθος αὐτοῖς "as they usually are," not so much anti-semitism as the bitterness of experience expressing itself by one who has been persecuted in this way.

13:2 ἡ πυρκαϊά (some mss. read πυρά as in verse 3 below) “pyre; funeral pyre; conflagration.” According to Lampe, the verb πυρκαϊάζω “cause to burn, blaze up” also occurs.

13:3 ἡρμοσμένα perfect passive participle neuter nom/acc plural ἁρμόζω, “fit, fit together.” Dg. 12:9. In the middle, it can mean “betrothed” as in 2 Cor. 11:2; commonplace as “fit in” in Hermas (Hs 9,7,2 and 4; 9,9,3; Hv 3,2,8; 3,6,5; 3,7,6).

13:3 ὄργανα “a work, tool; instrument.” Apart from the Fathers (2 Clem. 18:2; IRom 4:2) this is mainly a Septuagint word (2 Sam. 6:5,14; 1 Chr. 5:13; 6:17; 15:16; 16:5; 2 Macc. 12:27; 13:5; 4 Macc. 10:7).

13:3 προσηλοῦν present infinitive of the -όω contract verb προσηλόω, “fasten, nail” (here “nail” since the nails, ἥλων, are specifically mentioned). Cp. Colossians 2:14.

13:3 τῆς ὑμετέρας possessive adjective, fem gen sg ὑμετέρoς, “your.”

13:3 ἄσκυλτον adj., accusative singular from ἄσκυλτος “untroubled; not tortured; undisturbed.” This is the only occurrence in the Fathers; it does not occur in the NT or LXX. It occurs in the Apostolic Constitutions (1,3,8), and the adverb ἀσκύλτως “without flinching, without budging, without trouble” occurs in later  Byzantine Greek.

13:3 ἥλων gen. plural ἥλoς “nail(s).”

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Martyrdom of Polycarp 12:1-3

The father of Christians; the destroyer of our gods!
12 1 Ταῦτα δὲ καὶ ἕτερα πλείονα λέγων θάρσους καὶ χαρᾶς ἐνεπίμπλατο, καὶ τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ χάριτος ἐπληροῦντο, ὥστε οὐ μόνον μὴ συμπεσεῖν ταραχθέντα ὑπὸ τῶν λεγομένων πρὸς αὐτόν, ἀλλὰ τοὐαντίον τὸν ἀνθύπατον ἐκστῆναι, πέμψαι τε τὸν ἑαυτοῦ κήρυκα ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ σταδίου κηρῦξαι τρίς· Πολύκαρπος ὡμολόγησεν ἑαυτὸν Χριστιανὸν εἶναι. 2 τούτου λεχθέντος ὑπὸ τοῦ κήρυκος, ἅπαν τὸ πλῆθος ἐθνῶν τε καὶ Ἰουδαίων τῶν τὴν Σμύρναν κατοικούντων ἀκατασχέτῳ θυμῷ καὶ μεγάλῃ φωνῇ ἐπεβόα· Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τῆς Ἀσίας διδάσκαλος, ὁ πατὴρ τῶν Χριστιανῶν, ὁ τῶν ἡμετέρων θεῶν καθαιρέτης, ὁ πολλοὺς διδάσκων μὴ θύειν μηδὲ προσκυεῖν. ταῦτα λέγοντες ἐπεβόων καὶ ἠρώτων τὸν Ἀσιάρχην Φίλιππον, ἵνα ἐπαφῇ τῷ Πολυκάρπῳ λέοντα. ὁ δὲ ἔφη, μὴ εἶναι ἐξὸν αὐτῷ, ἐπειδὴ πεπληρώκει τὰ κυνηγέσια. 3 τότε ἔδοξεν αὐτοῖς ὁμοθυμαδὸν ἐπιβοῆσαι, ὥστε τὸν Πολύκαρπον ζῶντα κατακαῦσαι. ἔδει γὰρ τὸ τῆς φανερωθείσης αὐτῷ ἐπὶ τοῦ προσκεφαλαίου ὀπτασίας πληρωθῆναι, ὅτε ἰδῶν αὐτὸ καιόμενoν πρoσευχόμενoς εἰπεν ἐπιστραφεὶς τοῖς σὺν αὐτῷ πιστοῖς προφητικῶς· Δεῖ με ζῶντα καῆναι.

12 1 As he spoke these and other things, he was filled with courage and joy, and his face was filled with grace, so that not only did he not collapse in terror at what was said, but on the contrary, the proconsul was amazed. He sent his herald into the center of the stadium to announce three times, “Polycarp has confessed that he is a Christian!” 
     2 When the herald said this, the whole crowd of Gentiles and Jews who lived in Smyrna yelled with uncontrolled anger and cried out: “This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the destroyer of our gods; the one who teaches many not to sacrifice or to worship!” 
     They said this, shouting and asking for Philip the Asiarch to set a lion upon Polycarp. But he said that he had no right to do that since he had ended the animal hunts. 
     3 Then it occurred to them to start shouting all together that he burn Polycarp alive (for it was necessary the vision be fulfilled that had appeared to him when he saw his pillow burning as he prayed and turned and said prophetically to those faithful who were with him, “I must be burned alive”).¹
¹ 12:3 Cf. Genesis 38:24; Judges 15:6, etc.

12:1 θάρσους acc pl θάρσος “courage.”

12:1 ἐνεπίμπλατο imperfect active indicative 3 sg ἐμπίμπλημι, “fill, satisfy; enjoy.” Proverbs 30:15.

12:1 συμπεσεῖν future active infinitive συμπίπτω, “collapse, fall.”

12:2 λεχθέντος aorist passive participle masc/neut gen sg λέγω “say, speak, tell.” The unusual thing here is that in the aorist passive, the expected participle of λέγωwould be ῥηθείς as in Matthew 3:3; Genesis 45:27; Daniel 8:26 (Theod); 1 Esdras 1:45; 2 Macc. 14:11; 3 Macc. 5:30, or the very common neuter sg. ῥηθέν Mt. 1:22; 2:15, 17, 23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 21:4; 22:31; 24:15 and 27:9. This more rare form occurs in the LXX in Joshua 24:27 (τὰ  λεχθέντα) and in Esther 1:18: “the noble ladies of Persia and Media who have heard (λεχθέντα) of the queen's behavior.”

12:2 ἀκατασχέτῳ rare adjective (ἀκατάσχετον 3 Macc. 6:17) “uncontrollable.” Cp. ἀκατάστατον James 3:8.

12:2 Ἀσιάρχην  “Asiarch,” the head of the confederation of the principal Roman cities in Asia Minor, the Commune Asiae. He presided over the games and was effectively the chief priest of Asia.

12:2 Φίλιππον “Philip,” called a Trallian (Τραλλιανοῦ) in chapter 21, where he is also described as “high priest” (ἀρχιερέως). Strabo says that Trallians were often made Asiarchs because of the wealth of their city. This Philip is also mentioned in an inscription at Olympia dating to 149 AD (Ὀλυμπιάδι σλβ', the 239th Olympics).

12:2  ἐπεβόα (imf 3rd sg) and ἐπεβόων (m gen pl ptc) ἐπιβoάω, “cry out loudly.” Cf. Acts 25:24 (v.l. TR); MPol 3.

12:2 λέοντα acc m sg λέων, “lion.” Eccl. 9:4, etc.

12:2 τὰ κυνηγέσια “(animal) hunt.” Only here in our lit., but related to the verb κυνηγέω in the Septuagint (καὶ  ἦν  Ησαυ  ἄνθρωπος  εἰδὼς  κυνηγεῖν  ἄγροικος, “Esau became sure of the hunt/a skillful hunter,” Genesis 25:27) and the noun κυνήγιoν (Sirach 13:19).

12:3 ὀπτασίας “vision,” fem acc pl ὀπτασία, 2 Cor. 12:1; also something like “appearance,” Sirach 43:2; 43:16; etc. Also “public appearance,” in the Additions to Esther 4:17[23].

12:3 καῆναι aorist passive infinitive; καίω “burn,” passive “be burned.”

Friday, May 18, 2012

Martyrdom of Polycarp 11:1-2

11 Ὁ δὲ ἀνθύπατος εἶπεν· Θηρία ἔχω, τούτοις σε παραβαλῶ, ἐὰν μὴ μετανοήσῃς. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Κάλει, ἀμετάθετος γὰρ ἡμῖν ἡ ἀπὸ τῶν κρειττόνων ἐπὶ τὰ χείρω μετάνοια· καλὸν δὲ μετατίθεσθαι ἀπὸ τῶν χαλεπῶν ἐπὶ τὰ δίκαια. 2 ὁ δὲ πάλιν πρὸς αὐτόν· Πυρί σε ποιῶ δαπανηθῆναι, εἰ τῶν θηρίων καταφρονεῖς, ἐὰν μὴ μετανοήσῃς. ὁ δὲ Πολύκαρπος [εἶπεν]· Πῦρ ἀπειλεῖς τὸ πρὸς ὥραν καιόμενον καὶ μετ’ ὀλίγον σβεννύμενον· ἀγνοεῖς γὰρ τὸ τῆς μελλούσης κρίσεως καὶ αἰωνίου κολάσεως τοῖς ἀσεβέσι τηρούμενον πῦρ. ἀλλὰ τί βραδύνεις; φέρε, ὃ βούλει.

Polycarp Threatened with Wild Beasts
11 The proconsul said, “I have wild animals – I will throw you to them unless you change your mind.” But he replied, “Call for them! A change from better to worse is impossible for us. But it is right to change from evil to good.” 
     2 Again he said, “I will have you consumed by fire if you despise wild animals – unless you change your mind.” Polycarp replied, “You threaten fire that burns for an hour and is soon quenched, for you are ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and the eternal punishment reserved for the wicked. But why are you waiting? Come! Do what you will!”

11:1 θηρία “wild animals.” The idea of fighting wild animals in the arena is present in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 15:32) but begins to be a more and more prevalent theme throughout the Fathers: IRom. 4:1f.; 5:3; ISmyr. 4:2; MPol 3; 11; Hv 3,2,1.

παραβαλῶ "I shall throw (you)" The transitive use of παραβάλλω doesn't occur in the New Testament except in a variant reading like the cognate Byzantine phrase in Mark 4:30 pointed out by BAG: πoίᾳ παραβολῇ παραβάλωμεν αὐτὴν; “With what sort of parable shall we use in comparing it?” The transitive meaning does occur elsewhere in the Fathers: 1 Clement 55:6 (relating the Esther story); Diognetus 7:7.

11:2 δαπανηθῆναι aor pass inf δαπανάω, which has a primary meaning of “spend” but here takes a secondary meaning of “expend; destroy; be consumed (by fire).” A similar meaning occurs in 2 Macc. 1:23; 2:10; and in Hermas (Hm 12,1,2).

11:2 καιόμενον “burning,” present passive participle καίω “burn.” The theme of hell as a burning fire is present throughout the Bible. Isaiah ends his final chapter with this warning about "those who rebelled against me:" "Their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind" (Isaiah 66:24). Jude describes the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah this way: "They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire" (Jude 7).

11:2 ἀσεβέσι “godless, impious.” Adjective, masc dative plural ἀσεβής. 1 Peter 4:18. Accused of being an atheist, Polycarp proclaims God's judgment on men like the proconsul who are utterly godless.

11:2 βραδύνεις “(Why) do you delay” present active indicative  3 sing. βραδύνω (cp. 1 Timothy 3:15).

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Martyrdom of Polycarp 10:1-2

10 1 Ἐπιμένοντος δὲ´πάλιν αὐτοῦ καὶ λέγοντος· Ὄμοσον τὴν Καίσαρος τύχην, ἀπεκρίνατο· Εἰ κενοδοξεῖς, ἵνα ὀμόσω τὴν καίσαρος τύχην, ὡς σὺ λέγεις, προσποιεῖ δὲ ἀγνοεῖν με, τίς εἰμι, μετὰ παρρησίας ἄκουε· Χριστιανός εἰμι. εἰ δὲ θέλεις τὸν τοῦ Χριστιανισμοῦ μαθεῖν λόγον, δὸς ἡμέραν καὶ ἄκουσον. 2 ἔφη ὁ ἀνθύπατος· Πεῖσον τὸν δῆμον. ὁ δὲ Πολύκαρπος εἶπεν· Σὲ μὲν κἂν λόγου ἠξίωσα· δεδιδάγμεθα γὰρ ἀρχαῖς καὶ ἐξουσίαις ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ τεταγμέναις τιμὴν κατὰ τό προσῆκον, τὴν μὴ βλάπτουσαν ἡμᾶς, ἀπονέμειν· ἐκείνους δὲ οὐχ ἡγοῦμαι ἀξίους τοῦ ἀπολογεῖσθαι αὐτοῖς.

“I am a Christian.”
10 Since he persisted and said, “Swear by the Fortunes of Caesar,” he answered, “If you vainly expect that I will swear by—as you say—the Fortune of Caesar, and act as if t I don’t know who I am, then listen to me openly: I am a Christian! If you want to learn the teaching of Christianity,u then name the day and hear about it. 2 The proconsul replied, “Persuade the people.” Polycarp answered, “To you indeed I consider myself accountable, for we have been taught to give honor the rulers and authorities appointed by God as long as it does not harm us. As for these, I don’t consider myself worthy to defend myself before them.”
10:2 "worthy to defend myself before them" or perhaps "bound to defend myself before them."

10:1 Ὄμοσον “Swear” is an aorist (II Aor.) imperative from ὀμνύω or ὄμνυμι. This is the primary verb in Jesus' words to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:20-22. Moulton says that “Verbs in -υμι, of more than two syllables, are without the 2nd aorist. But those of two syllables are generally only used in the 2nd aorist (he includes several examples)” (The Analytical Greek Lexicon, Revised 1978 Edition, p. xxxvi). ὄμοσον, the verb before us, follows the 2nd aorist pattern:

ὄμοσον     2nd singular
ὀμότω       3rd singular
  ὄμοτε        2nd plural
ὀμότωσαν 3rd plural
ὄμοτον      2nd dual
ὀμότων      3rd dual

10:1 προσποιεῖ “pretend, act as if.” Present active indicative 3 sg προσποιέομαι. Cf. Luke 24:28; Susanna 1:10 (the translations find this passage difficult, but KJV’s “yet durst not shew another his grief” catches the mood if not the grammar).

10:1 Χριστιανισμοῦ “Christianity” a word found only in this document and the letters of Ignatius (IRo 3:3; IMg 10:1,3; IPhld 6:1).

10:2 λόγον accusative singular, but here in the sense of “an account” rather than simply “word,” Compare Hebrews 4:13, πρὸς ὃν ἡμῖν ὁ λόγος “to whom we must give account.”

10:2 δεδιδάγμεθα perfect passive participle m nom pl διδάσκω, “teach.” Polycarp’s point is that Christians abide by all laws of the Empire except where those laws clearly circumvent the authority of God himself (Acts 5:29).

10:2 προσῆκον present active participle  neuter nom sg προσήκω, a Septuagint word (1 Esdras 5:50; 2 Macc. 3:6) “be near, to have come/arrived at.”

10:2  ἀπολογεῖσθαι present middle infinitive  ἀπολογέομαι, “defend oneself,” a natural occurrence of the middle voice retaining its middle force.