What led me to become a Christian by Defend the Word
1. Quick analysis of the world around me has persuaded me that many artificial changes imposed upon us by the few we call the elite are pure exercise in futility; they are not in control but are reactionary to the changes that they do not control.
a. Politicians are not in control: Quick look at the financial market shows us that greed and volatility of the market are driven by many variables that are out of our control and not something that is preprogrammed or anticipated by the clever political or banking elite. Facts that we had to see many states attempt to bail out some of their biggest banks; shows how futile are our attempts to control human nature. When people see greed as something that is desirable and good we have to question their selflessness.
An attempt at social engineering programs by many liberal governments has led to nothing progressive again and again. Try as we may, we continue to live in a miserable failure to create utopian and fairer society. Man still earn more than women, shorter people, fatter, ethnically different and less ecstatically pleasing people are continuously overlooked and discriminated against, on the other hand those who are loud, obnoxious and selfish seem to thrive in our society. We look on the outside and overlook true potential on the inside at our own peril. Biblical truths that have established our laws in many western societies have now long gone, forgotten and ignored as something to be ashamed of.
b. “Same rules” for all don’t make things fair: Attempt to impose globalisation of the same rules and standardise methodology on the whole world by advocating airy-fairy fairness that cannot be substantiated can be seen as failed principle that is driven by the ideology and not practical truths. Legalistic approach to the standardisation of many systems like IMF banking system has led to emerging economies like Brazil, India and China but has not done anything for many millions who are still unable to support their families despite their reasonable ability and desire to do so.
United Nations and few permanent members who can control what is approved show lack of unity rather than common interests, in fact blatant self-interests often show that political divide is driven by greed and unpleasant competition and derogatory statement how one nation is superior then the other are ever-present around the table of ironically named “United Nations”.
There are big issues within our political world today, changes within political and monetary restructuring we see in Europe is frightening many, with its European Union and common currency we find many problems. Nations like Germany are unhappy that they are left to pick up the bill for countries who have not exercised same amount of caution and hard work and diligence. Countries like Greece, Portugal and Ireland had to be propped up by the funds coming from better off economies this was met with great unease by those who initially voted for unified Europe. Common market policy has a price, and increasingly many nations think it may not be worth paying and are questioning whether they should even stick with it, some would in fact like to rewrite the entire rule book.
For the music director; by the Korahites; according to the alamoth style; 2 a song.
46:1 God is our strong refuge; 3 he is truly our helper in times of trouble. 4 46:2 For this reason we do not fear 5 when the earth shakes, 6 and the mountains tumble into the depths of the sea, 7 46:3 when its waves 8 crash 9 and foam, and the mountains shake 10 before the surging sea. 11 (Selah) 46:4 The river’s channels bring joy to the city of God, 12 the special, holy dwelling place of 13 the sovereign One. 14 46:5 God lives within it, 15 it cannot be moved. 16 God rescues it 17 at the break of dawn. 18 46:6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms are overthrown. 19 God 20 gives a shout, 21 the earth dissolves. 22 46:7 The Lord who commands armies is on our side! 23 The God of Jacob 24 is our protector! 25 (Selah) 46:8 Come! Witness the exploits 26 of the Lord, who brings devastation to the earth! 27 46:9 He brings an end to wars throughout the earth; 28 he shatters 29 the bow and breaks 30 the spear; he burns 31 the shields with fire. 32 46:10 He says, 33 “Stop your striving and recognize 34 that I am God! I will be exalted 35 over 36 the nations! I will be exalted over 37 the earth!” 46:11 The Lord who commands armies is on our side! 38 The God of Jacob 39 is our protector! 40 (Selah)
a) Should we be united on global warming issue? with issues like global warming upon which we build our ideology of further economic development we toy with the processes we don’t truly understand but like to think that by tinkering around the edges we could achieve something worthwhile. Refusal to look at the holistic picture where we go back to the principle that God entrusted us with guardianship of the Gods creation and neglecting of our duties yet again for our selfish temporary interests we have decided like a brother of Jacob to sell his birth right for quick satisfaction of temporary hunger for that “sup” that is on offer that Esau could not resist. Where ever quick buck is more important than long term blessing we see self-degradation and ill-conceived efforts to create prosperity.
Genesis 25:29 Now Jacob cooked some stew, 46 and when Esau came in from the open fields, he was famished. 25:30 So Esau said to Jacob, “Feed 47 me some of the red stuff – yes, this red stuff – because I’m starving!” (That is why he was also called 48 Edom.) 49 25:31 But Jacob replied, “First 50 sell me your birthright.” 25:32 “Look,” said Esau, “I’m about to die! What use is the birthright to me?” 51 25:33 But Jacob said, “Swear an oath to me now.” 52 So Esau 53 swore an oath to him and sold his birthright 54 to Jacob.25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew; Esau ate and drank, then got up and went out. 55 So Esau despised his birthright. 56
Our knowledge is limited: We like to think that we are important and often use someone else’s credential and knowledge in order to claim it for our own. This royal “we” is getting in the way of honest debate and realisation that much of what one individual knows is limited to individual specialisation and that we must rely upon each other for moral and intellectual support. But most of all true understanding and knowledge is gained true biblical revelation that equips every human being that is willing to learn and change for the common good.
James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings. 21 3:14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth. 3:15 Such 22 wisdom does not come 23 from above but is earthly, natural, 24 demonic. 3:16 For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice. 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, 25 full of mercy and good fruit, 26 impartial, and not hypocritical. 27 3:18 And the fruit that consists of righteousness 28 is planted 29 in peace among 30 those who make peace.
Finally let me conclude with the many attempts to get ahead but without God in our own insignificant often illogical and overwhelmingly self-centred egotistical human endeavours we are no further then when we first started. We seem to love to go in circle even when the road is lighted with the truth of Christ. But most wonderful things do happen when instead of battling against God we stop and listen for a change. Jesus was true to his word if you seek honestly you will find the truth.
Futility of Secular Accomplishment
Ecclesiastes 1:12 I, the Teacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 45 1:13 I decided 46 to carefully 47 and thoroughly examine 48 all that has been accomplished on earth. 49 I concluded: 50 God has given people 51 a burdensome task 52 that keeps them 53 occupied. 54 1:14 I reflected on everything that is accomplished by man 55 on earth, 56 and I concluded: Everything 57 he has accomplished 58 is futile 59 – like chasing the wind! 60 1:15 What is bent 61 cannot be straightened, 62 and what is missing 63 cannot be supplied. 64 Futility of Secular Wisdom 1:16 I thought to myself, 65 “I have become much wiser 66 than any of my predecessors who ruled 67 over Jerusalem; 68 I 69 have acquired much wisdom and knowledge.” 70 1:17 So I decided 71 to discern the benefit of 72 wisdom and knowledge over 73 foolish behavior and ideas; 74 however, I concluded 75 that even 76 this endeavor 77 is like 78 trying to chase the wind! 79 1:18 For with great wisdom comes 80 great frustration; whoever increases his 81 knowledge merely 82 increases his 83 heartache.
Ask, Seek, Knock
Matthew 7:7 “Ask 9 and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door 10 will be opened for you. 7:8 For everyone who asks 11 receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 7:9 Is 12 there anyone among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 13 7:11 If you then, although you are evil, 14 know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts 15 to those who ask him! 7:12 In 16 everything, treat others as you would want them 17 to treat you, 18 for this fulfills 19 the law and the prophets.
It is true we are given great freedom but what you do with it is your responsibility and you should pay great attention to it, as your future depends on it. I just hope that as you observe the world around you, you take into account your starting position and make sure that you are not driven by prejudice but by the God-given logic and reason.
Defend the WordNotes on Genesis 25 46 sn Jacob cooked some stew. There are some significant words and wordplays in this story that help clarify the points of the story. The verb “cook” is זִיד (zid), which sounds like the word for “hunter” (צַיִד, tsayid). This is deliberate, for the hunter becomes the hunted in this story. The word זִיד means “to cook, to boil,” but by the sound play with צַיִד it comes to mean “set a trap by cooking.” The usage of the word shows that it can also have the connotation of acting presumptuously (as in boiling over). This too may be a comment on the scene. For further discussion of the rhetorical devices in the Jacob narratives, see J. P. Fokkelman, Narrative Art in Genesis (SSN). 47 tn The rare term לָעַט (la’at), translated “feed,” is used in later Hebrew for feeding animals (see Jastrow, 714). If this nuance was attached to the word in the biblical period, then it may depict Esau in a negative light, comparing him to a hungry animal. Famished Esau comes in from the hunt, only to enter the trap. He can only point at the red stew and ask Jacob to feed him. 48 tn The verb has no expressed subject and so is given a passive translation. 49 sn Esau’s descendants would eventually be called Edom. Edom was the place where they lived, so-named probably because of the reddish nature of the hills. The writer can use the word “red” to describe the stew that Esau gasped for to convey the nature of Esau and his descendants. They were a lusty, passionate, and profane people who lived for the moment. Again, the wordplay is meant to capture the “omen in the nomen.” 50 tn Heb “today.” 51 tn Heb “And what is this to me, a birthright?” 52 tn Heb “Swear to me today.” 53 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Esau) has been specified in the translation for clarity. 54 sn And sold his birthright. There is evidence from Hurrian culture that rights of inheritance were occasionally sold or transferred. Here Esau is portrayed as a profane person who would at the moment rather have a meal than the right to inherit. He will soon forget this trade and seek his father’s blessing in spite of it. 55 sn The style here is typical of Hebrew narrative; after the tension is resolved with the dialogue, the working out of it is recorded in a rapid sequence of verbs (“gave”; “ate”; “drank”; “got up”; “went out”). See also Gen 3:1-7 for another example. 56 sn So Esau despised his birthright. This clause, which concludes the episode, is a summary statement which reveals the underlying significance of Esau’s actions. “To despise” means to treat something as worthless or with contempt. Esau’s willingness to sell his birthright was evidence that he considered it to be unimportant. Notes on Psalm 46 1 sn Psalm 46. In this so-called “Song Of Zion” God’s people confidently affirm that they are secure because the great warrior-king dwells within Jerusalem and protects it from the nations that cause such chaos in the earth. A refrain (vv. 7, 11) concludes the song’s two major sections. 2 sn The meaning of the Hebrew term עֲלָמוֹת (alamoth, which means “young women”) is uncertain; perhaps it refers to a particular style of music. Cf. 1 Chr 15:20. 3 tn Heb “our refuge and strength,” which is probably a hendiadys meaning “our strong refuge” (see Ps 71:7). Another option is to translate, “our refuge and source of strength.” 4 tn Heb “a helper in times of trouble he is found [to be] greatly.” The perfect verbal form has a generalizing function here. The adverb מְאֹד (mÿ’od, “greatly”) has an emphasizing function. 5 tn The imperfect is taken in a generalizing sense (cf. NEB) because the situation described in vv. 2-3 is understood as symbolizing typical world conditions. In this case the imperfect draws attention to the typical nature of the response. The covenant community characteristically responds with confidence, not fear. Another option is to take the situation described as purely hypothetical. In this case one might translate, “We will not fear, even though the earth should shake” (cf. NIV, NRSV). 6 tn The Hiphil infinitival form is normally taken to mean “when [the earth] is altered,” being derived from מוּר (mur, “to change”). In this case the Hiphil would be intransitive, as in Ps 15:4. HALOT 560 s.v. II מור emends the form to a Niphal and derives it from a homonymic root מוּר attested in Arabic with the meaning “shake.” 7 tn Heb “heart of the seas.” The plural may be used for emphasis, pointing to the deepest sea. Note that the next verse uses a singular pronoun (“its waters,” “its swelling”) in referring back to the plural noun. 8 tn Heb “its waters.” 9 tn Or “roar.” 10 tn The three imperfect verbal forms in v. 3 draw attention to the characteristic nature of the activity described. 11 tn Heb “at its swelling.” The Hebrew word often means “pride.” If the sea is symbolic of hostile nations, then this may be a case of double entendre. The surging, swelling sea symbolizes the proud, hostile nations. On the surface the psalmist appears to be depicting a major natural catastrophe, perhaps a tidal wave. If so, then the situation would be hypothetical. However, the repetition of the verbs הָמָה (hamah, “crash; roar,” v. 3) and מוֹט (mot, “shake,” v. 2) in v. 6, where nations/kingdoms “roar” and “shake,” suggests that the language of vv. 2-3 is symbolic and depicts the upheaval that characterizes relationships between the nations of the earth. As some nations (symbolized by the surging, chaotic waters) show hostility, others (symbolized by the mountains) come crashing down to destruction. The surging waters are symbolic of chaotic forces in other poetic texts (see, for example, Isa 17:12; Jer 51:42) and mountains can symbolize strong kingdoms (see, for example, Jer 51:25). 12 tn Heb “A river, its channels cause the city of God to be glad.” sn The city of God is Jerusalem (see Pss 48:1-2; 87:2-3). The river’s “channels” are probably irrigation ditches vital to growing crops. Some relate the imagery to the “waters of Shiloah” (see Isa 8:6), which flowed from the Gihon spring to the pool of Siloam. In Isa 8:6-8 these waters are contrasted with the flood waters symbolizing Assyria. Even if this is the reality behind the imagery, the picture of a river flowing through Jerusalem is idealized and exaggerated. The river and irrigation ditches symbolize the peace and prosperity that the Lord provides for Jerusalem, in contrast to the havoc produced by the turbulent waters (symbolic of the nations) outside the city. Some see here an adaptation of Canaanite (or, more specifically, Jebusite) mythical traditions of rivers/springs flowing from the high god El’s dwelling place. The Songs of Zion do utilize such imagery at times (see Ps 48:2). The image of a river flowing through Zion may have inspired prophetic visions of an eschatological river flowing from the temple (see Ezek 47:1-12; Joel 3:18). 13 tn Heb “the holy [place] of the dwelling places of.” The adjective “holy” is used here in a substantival manner and placed in construct with the following noun (see GKC 428 §132.c). Origen’s transliterated text assumes the reading קֹדֶשׁ (qodesh, “holiness; holy place”), while the LXX assumes a Piel verbal form קִדֵּשׁ (qidesh, “makes holy”) and takes the following form as “his dwelling place.” The plural form מִשְׁכְּנֵי (mishkÿney, “dwelling places of”) is probably a plural of degree, emphasizing the special character of this dwelling place. See GKC 397 §124.b. The form stands as an appositional genitive in relation to the preceding construct noun. 14 tn Heb “Most High.” This divine title (עֶלְיוֹן, ’elyon) pictures God as the exalted ruler of the universe who vindicates the innocent and judges the wicked. See especially Pss 7:17; 9:2; 18:13; 21:7; 47:2. 15 tn Heb “God [is] within her.” The feminine singular pronoun refers to the city mentioned in v. 4. 16 tn Another option is to translate the imperfect verbal form as future, “it will not be upended.” Even if one chooses this option, the future tense must be understood in a generalizing sense. The verb מוֹט (mot), translated “upended” here, is used in v. 2 of the mountains “tumbling” into the seas and in v. 6 of nations being “upended.” By way of contrast, Jerusalem, God’s dwelling place, is secure and immune from such turmoil and destruction. 17 tn Or “helps her.” The imperfect draws attention to the generalizing character of the statement. 18 tn Heb “at the turning of morning.” (For other uses of the expression see Exod 14:27 and Judg 19:26). sn At the break of dawn. The “morning” is viewed metaphorically as a time of deliverance and vindication after the dark “night” of trouble (see Ps 30:5; Isa 17:14). There may be an allusion here to Exod 14:27 (where the Lord destroyed the Egyptians at the “break of dawn”) or, more likely, to the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrian siege, when the people discovered the dead bodies of the Assyrian army in the morning (Isa 37:36). 19 tn Heb “nations roar, kingdoms shake.” The Hebrew verb הָמָה (hamah, “roar, be in uproar”) is used in v. 3 of the waves crashing, while the verb מוֹט (mot, “overthrown”) is used in v. 2 of mountains tumbling into the sea (see also v. 5, where the psalm affirms that Jerusalem “cannot be moved”). The repetition of the verbs suggests that the language of vv. 2-3 is symbolic and depicts the upheaval that characterizes relationships between the nations of the earth. As some nations (symbolized by the surging, chaotic waters) show hostility, others (symbolized by the mountains) come crashing down to destruction. The surging waters are symbolic of chaotic forces in other poetic texts (see, for example, Isa 17:12; Jer 51:42) and mountains can symbolize strong kingdoms (see, for example, Jer 51:25). 20 tn Heb “He.” God is the obvious referent here (see v. 5), and has been specified in the translation for clarity. 21 tn Heb “offers his voice.” In theophanic texts the phrase refers to God’s thunderous shout which functions as a battle cry (see Pss 18:13; 68:33). 22 tn Or “melts.” See Amos 9:5. The image depicts the nation’s helplessness before Jerusalem’s defender, who annihilates their armies (see vv. 8-9). The imperfect verbal form emphasizes the characteristic nature of the action described. 23 tn Heb “the Lord of hosts is with us.” The title “Lord of hosts” here pictures the Lord as a mighty warrior-king who leads armies into battle (see Ps 24:10). The military imagery is further developed in vv. 8-9. 24 tn That is, Israel, or Judah (see Ps 20:1). 25 tn Heb “our elevated place” (see Pss 9:9; 18:2). 26 sn In this context the Lord’s exploits are military in nature (see vv. 8b-9). 27 tn Heb “who sets desolations in the earth” (see Isa 13:9). The active participle describes God’s characteristic activity as a warrior. 28 tn Heb “[the] one who causes wars to cease unto the end of the earth.” The participle continues the description begun in v. 8b and indicates that this is the Lord’s characteristic activity. Ironically, he brings peace to the earth by devastating the warlike, hostile nations (vv. 8, 9b). 29 tn The verb שָׁבַר (shavar, “break”) appears in the Piel here (see Ps 29:5). In the OT it occurs thirty-six times in the Piel, always with multiple objects (the object is either a collective singular or grammatically plural or dual form). The Piel may highlight the repetition of the pluralative action, or it may suggest an intensification of action, indicating repeated action comprising a whole, perhaps with the nuance “break again and again, break in pieces.” Another option is to understand the form as resultative: “make broken” (see IBHS 404-7 §24.3). The imperfect verbal form carries on and emphasizes the generalizing nature of the description. 30 tn The perfect verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive carries along the generalizing emphasis of the preceding imperfect. 31 tn The imperfect verbal form carries on and emphasizes the generalizing nature of the description. 32 tn Heb “wagons he burns with fire.” Some read “chariots” here (cf. NASB), but the Hebrew word refers to wagons or carts, not chariots, elsewhere in the OT. In this context, where military weapons are mentioned, it is better to revocalize the form as עֲגִלוֹת (’agilot, “round shields”), a word which occurs only here in the OT, but is attested in later Hebrew and Aramaic. 33 tn The words “he says” are supplied in the translation for clarification. 34 tn Heb “do nothing/be quiet (see 1 Sam 15:16) and know.” This statement may be addressed to the hostile nations, indicating they should cease their efforts to destroy God’s people, or to Judah, indicating they should rest secure in God’s protection. Since the psalm is an expression of Judah’s trust and confidence, it is more likely that the words are directed to the nations, who are actively promoting chaos and are in need of a rebuke. 35 tn Elsewhere in the psalms the verb רוּם (rum, “be exalted”) when used of God, refers to his exalted position as king (Pss 18:46; 99:2; 113:4; 138:6) and/or his self-revelation as king through his mighty deeds of deliverance (Pss 21:13; 57:5, 11). 36 tn Or “among.” 37 tn Or “in.” 38 tn Heb “the Lord of hosts is with us.” The title “Lord of hosts” here pictures the Lord as a mighty warrior-king who leads armies into battle (see Ps 24:10). The military imagery is further developed in vv. 8-9. 39 tn That is, Israel, or Judah (see Ps 20:1). 40 tn Heb “our elevated place” (see Pss 9:9; 18:2). Notes on James 3 21 tn Grk “works in the gentleness of wisdom.” 22 tn Grk “This.” 23 tn Grk “come down”; “descend.” 24 tn Grk “soulish,” which describes life apart from God, characteristic of earthly human life as opposed to what is spiritual. Cf. 1 Cor 2:14; 15:44-46; Jude 19. 25 tn Or “willing to yield,” “open to persuasion.” 26 tn Grk “fruits.” The plural Greek term καρπούς has been translated with the collective singular “fruit.” 27 tn Or “sincere.” 28 tn Grk “the fruit of righteousness,” meaning righteous living as a fruit, as the thing produced. 29 tn Grk “is sown.” 30 tn Or “for,” or possibly “by.” Notes on Ecclesiastes 1 45 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4. 46 tn Heb “I gave my heart” or “I set my mind.” The term לִבִּי (libbi, “my heart”) is an example of synecdoche of part (heart) for the whole (myself). Qoheleth uses this figurative expression frequently in the book. On the other hand, in Hebrew mentality, the term “heart” is frequently associated with one’s thoughts and reasoning; thus, this might be a metonymy of association (heart = thoughts). The equivalent English idiom would be “I applied my mind.” 47 tn Heb “with wisdom,” that is, with careful reflection in light of principles observed by the sages. 48 tn Heb “to seek and to search out” (לִדְרוֹשׁ וְלָתוּר, lidrosh vÿlatur). This is an example of a verbal hendiadys (the use of two synonymous verbs to state a common idea in an emphatic manner). The terms are used because they are closely related synonyms; therefore, the similarities in meaning should be emphasized rather than the distinctions in meaning. The verb דָּרַשׁ (darash) means “to inquire about; to investigate; to search out; to study” (HALOT 233 s.v. דרשׁ; BDB 205 s.v. דָּרַשׁ). This verb is used literally of the physical activity of investigating a matter by examining the physical evidence and interviewing eye-witnesses (e.g., Judg 6:29; Deut 13:15; 17:4, 9; 19:18), and figuratively (hypocatastasis) of mentally investigating abstract concepts (e.g., Eccl 1:13; Isa 1:17; 16:5; Pss 111:2; 119:45). Similarly, the verb תּוּר (tur) means “to seek out, discover” (HALOT 1708 s.v. תּוּר 1.c; BDB 1064 תּוּר 2). The verb תּוּר is used literally of the physical action of exploring physical territory (Num 13:16-17; 14:6, 34-36; Job 39:8), and figuratively (hypocatastasis) of mentally exploring things (Eccl 1:13; 7:25; 9:1). 49 tn Heb “under heaven.” sn Qoheleth states that he made a thorough investigation of everything that had been accomplished on earth. His position as king gave him access to records and contacts with people that would have been unavailable to others. 50 tn This phrase does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is added in the translation for clarity. 51 tn Heb “the sons of men/mankind.” 52 tn The phrase עִנְיַן רָע (’inyan ra’, “rotten business, grievous task”) is used only in Ecclesiastes (1:13; 2:23, 26; 3:10; 4:8; 5:2, 13; 8:16). It is parallel with הֶבֶל (hevel) “futile” in 4:8, and describes a “grave misfortune” in 5:13. The noun עִנְיַן (’inyan, “business”) refers to something that keeps a person occupied or busy: “business; affair; task; occupation” (HALOT 857 s.v. עִנְיָן; BDB 775 s.v. עִנְיָן). The related verb עָנַה (’anah) means “to be occupied, to be busy with” (with the preposition בְּ, bet), e.g., Eccl 1:13; 3:10; 5:19 (HALOT 854 s.v. III עָנָה; BDB 775 s.v. II עָנָה). The noun is from the Aramaic loanword עִנְיָנָא (’inyana’, “concern, care”). The verb is related to the Aramaic verb “to try hard,” the Arabic verb “to be busily occupied; to worry to be a matter of concern,” and the Old South Arabic root “to be troubled; to strive with” (HALOT 854 s.v. III עָנָה). The phrase עִנְיַן רָע is treated creatively by English translations: “sore travail” (KJV, ASV), “sad travail” (YLT), “painful occupation” (Douay), “sorry business” (NEB), “sorry task” (Moffatt), “thankless task” (NAB), “grievous task” (NASB), “trying task” (MLB), “unhappy business” (RSV, NRSV, NJPS), and “heavy burden” (NIV). 53 tn The syntax of this line in Hebrew is intentionally redundant, e.g. (literally), “It is a grievous task [or “unpleasant business”] that God has given to the sons of man to be occupied with it.” The referent of the third masculine singular suffix on לַעֲנוֹת בּוֹ (la’anot bo, “to be occupied with it”) is עִנְיַן רָע (’inyan ra’, “a grievous task, a rotten business”). 54 tn Or “that keeps them occupied” or “that busies them.” The verb II עָנַה (’anah, “to be occupied with”) is related to the noun עִנְיַן (’inyan, “business, task, occupation”) which also occurs in this verse. The verb עָנַה means “to be occupied, to be busy with” (with the preposition בְּ, bet), e.g., Eccl 1:13; 3:10; 5:19 (HALOT 854 s.v. III עָנָה; BDB 775 s.v. עָנָה). The Hebrew verb is related to the Aramaic verb “to try hard,” the Arabic verb “to be busily occupied; to worry; to be a matter of concern,” and the Old South Arabic root “to be troubled; to strive with” (HALOT 854). 55 tn The phrase “by man” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity. 56 tn Heb “under the sun.” 57 tn As mentioned in the note on “everything” in 1:2, the term הַכֹּל (hakkol, “everything”) is often limited in reference to the specific topic at hand in the context (e.g., BDB 482 s.v. כֹּל 2). The argument of 1:12-15, like 1:3-11, focuses on secular human achievement. This is clear from the repetition of the root עָשַׂה (’asah, “do, work, accomplish, achieve”) in 1:12-13. 58 tn The phrase “he has accomplished” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity. 59 tn This usage of הֶבֶל (hevel) denotes “futile, profitless, fruitless” (e.g., 2 Kgs 17:15; Ps 78:33; Prov 13:11; 21:6; Eccl 1:2, 14; 2:1, 14-15; 4:8; Jer 2:5; 10:3; Lam 4:17; see HALOT 236–37 s.v. I הֶבֶל; BDB 210–11 s.v. I הֶבֶל). The term is used with the simile “like striving after the wind” (רְעוּת רוּחַ, rÿ’ut ruakh) – a graphic picture of an expenditure of effort in vain because no one can catch the wind by chasing it (e.g., 1:14, 17; 2:11, 17, 26; 4:4, 6, 16; 6:9; 7:14). When used in this sense, the term is often used with the following synonyms: לְתֹהוּ (lÿtohu, “for nothing, in vain, for no reason”; Isa 49:4); רִיק (riq, “profitless; useless”; Isa 30:7; Eccl 6:11); לֹא הוֹעִיל (“worthless, profitless”; Is 30:6; 57:12; Jer 16:19); “what profit?” (מַה־יִּתְרוֹןֹ, mah-yyitron); and “no profit” (אֵין יִּתְרוֹן, en yyitron; e.g., 2:11; 3:19; 6:9). It is also used in antithesis to terms connoting value: טוֹב (tov, “good, benefit, advantage”) and יֹתְרוֹן (yotÿron, “profit, advantage, gain”). Despite everything that man has accomplished in history, it is ultimately futile because nothing on earth really changes. 60 tn Heb “striving of wind.” The word “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text; it has been added in the translation to make the comparative notion clear. 61 tn The term מְעֻוָּת, mÿ’uvvat (Pual participle masculine singular from עָוַת, ’avat, “to bend”) is used substantively (“what is bent; what is crooked”) in reference to irregularities in life and obstacles to human secular achievement accomplishing anything of ultimate value. 62 tn A parallel statement occurs in 7:13 which employs the active form of עָוַת, (’avat, “to bend”) with God as the subject: “Who is able to strengthen what God bends?” The passive form occurs here: “No one is able to straighten what is bent” (מְעֻוָּת לֹא־יוּכַל לֹתְקֹן, mÿ’uvvat lo’-yukhal lotÿqon). In the light of 7:13, the personal agent of the passive form is God. 63 tn The Hebrew noun חֶסְרוֹן (khesron) is used in the OT only here and means “what is lacking” (as an antonym to יִתְרוֹן [yitron], “what is profitable”; HALOT 339 s.v. חֶסְרוֹן; BDB 341 s.v. חֶסְרוֹן). It is an Aramaic loanword meaning “deficit.” The related verb חָסַר (khasar) means “to lack, to be in need of, to decrease, to lessen [in number]”; the related noun חֹסֶר (khoser) refers to “one in want of”; and the noun חֶסֶר (kheser) means “poverty, want” (HALOT 338 s.v. חֶסֶר; BDB 341 s.v. חֶסֶר). It refers to what is absent (zero in terms of quantity) rather than what is deficient (poor in terms of quality). The LXX misunderstood the term and rendered it as ὑστέρημα (usterhma, “deficiency”): “deficiency cannot be numbered.” It is also misunderstood by a few English versions: “nor can you count up the defects in life” (Moffatt); “the number of fools is infinite” (Douay). However, most English versions correctly understand it as referring to what is lacking in terms of quantity: “what is lacking” (RSV, MLB, NASB, NIV, NRSV), “a lack” (NJPS), “that which is wanting” (KJV, ASV), “what is not there” (NEB), and “what is missing” (NAB). 64 tn Heb “cannot be counted” or “cannot be numbered.” The term הִמָּנוֹת (himmanot, Niphal infinitive construct from מָנָה, manah, “to count”) is rendered literally by most translations: “[cannot] be counted” or “[cannot] be numbered” (KJV, ASV, RSV, MLB, NEB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, JPS, NJPS). However, the nuance “count” might function as a metonymy of effect for cause, that is, “to supply.” What is absent cannot be supplied (cause) therefore, it cannot be counted as present (effect). NAB adopts this approach: “what is missing cannot be supplied.” 65 tn Heb “I spoke, I, with my heart.” Notes on Matthew 7 9 sn The three present imperatives in this verse (Ask…seek…knock) are probably intended to call for a repeated or continual approach before God. 10 tn Grk “it”; the referent (a door) is implied by the context and has been specified in the translation here and in v. 8 for clarity. 11 sn The actions of asking, seeking, and knocking are repeated here from v. 7 with the encouragement that God does respond. 12 tn Grk “Or is there.” 13 sn The two questions of vv. 9-10 expect the answer, “No parent would do this!” 14 tn The participle ὄντες (ontes) has been translated concessively. 15 sn The provision of the good gifts is probably a reference to the wisdom and guidance supplied in response to repeated requests. The teaching as a whole stresses not that we get everything we want, but that God gives the good that we need. 16 tn Grk “Therefore in.” Here οὖν (oun) has not been translated. 17 tn This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo”), referring to both males and females. 18 sn Jesus’ teaching as reflected in the phrase treat others as you would want them to treat you, known generally as the Golden Rule, is not completely unique in the ancient world, but here it is stated in its most emphatic, selfless form.