Logos Free Book for February 2022 – Broadman Bible Commentary: Matthew-Mark

Logos Free Book of the Month

The Logos Free Book of the Month for February 2023 is Broadman Bible Commentary: Matthew-Mark. This is volume eight of the set first published by Broadman in 1969. The book includes general articles introducing the New Testament and commentary on Matthew (by Frank Stagg) and Mark (Henry Turlington). The commentary is from a Southern Baptist perspective, and the Genesis volume raised quite a controversy when it was first published. the “general articles” include The Religious and Cultural Background of the New Testament (T.C. Smith), The History of Early Christianity (E. Glenn Hinson), The Text and Canon of the New Testament (James A. Brooks), The Theology of the New Testament (William L. Hendricks), and Contemporary Approaches in New Testament Study (Ray Summers).

Want the free book but don’t have Logos Bible Software? Go get the inexpensive Logos Fundamental ($49.99) or Basic (free) packages (scroll down to the bottom of that page for the Basic version). Install the software on a PC or Mac, use the web version, or even use the iOS or Android app.

In addition to this free commentary, Logos is offering deep discounts on other resources from B&H (with a couple of W&S on the side).

  • Kenneth Kitchen, The Bible in Its World: The Bible and Archaeology Today, $0.99
  • Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook, $1.99
  • Linda Bellevile, Philippians: A New Covenant Commentary (New Covenant Commentary, Wipf & Stock), $2.99
  • R. W. Moberly, From Eden to Golgotha: Essays in Biblical Theology, $3.99
  • Travis Dickinson, Paul Gould, R. Keith Loftin, Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel, $4.99
  • Anthony Thiselton, Puzzling Passages in Paul: Forty Conundrums Calmly Considered, $5.99
  • John S. Hammett, Grant R. Osborne, Carl R. Trueman, Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: Three Views, $6.99
  • Wayne House and Dennis Jowers, Reasons for Our Hope: An Introduction to Christian Apologetics, $7.99
  • Doug Moo, The Old Testament in the Gospel Passion Narratives, $8.99
  • Greg Beale, The Use of Daniel in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature and in the Revelation of St. John, $9.99
  • Adam McClendon Jr. and John Beck Cartwright, Approaching the New Testament: A Guide for Students, $11.99
  • Christian George, editor, The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, vol. II: His Earliest Outlines and Sermons between 1851 and 1854,$13.99
  • Pre-Order and Save: Eric Redmond, Exalting Jesus in Judges and Ruth (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary), $7.99

Several great books on this list. Beale’s The Use of Daniel in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature and in the Revelation of St. John is a Wipf & Stock reprint of the 1984 publication of his 190 Cambridge dissertation. Doug Moo’s The Old Testament in the Gospel Passion Narratives is a Wipf and Stock reprint of the 1983 Sheffiled publication of Moo’s St. Andrews dissertation. Although now a generation old, both are excellent and worth reading.  Anthony Thiselton is always good. Linda Bellevile on Philippians in the New Covenant series (from Wipf & Stock) should be good, I have enjoyed the commentaries in that series.

NSBT Sale at Logos

In addition to the Logos Free Book of the Month, there is also a stealthy “flash sale” on individual books in the New Studies in Biblical Theology series, $19.99 through February 15. I have reviewed many of these volumes over the years, so go read my review (links below) before you choose which volumes to add to your Logos Library. The sale is on the whole series, not just the volumes I have reviewed.

Discounts on the new version of Logos Bible Software end on February 13 @ 11:59 p.m. (PST).   Here is my first look review. As expected, there are various upgrade paths for current users, from “not expensive at all” to “I need a second mortgage on the house” and everything in between. Use this link to save 15% and get some free books, or use the PARTNEROFFER10 coupon code when you check out.

I have been using the new version for a while now on a Mac with the M1 and the speed improvement is quite noticeable. You millage may vary, but even if you are an older system, the changes to the way Logos handles files and indexing will speed things up considerably.If you are an iOS user, Logos upgraded the iPad and iPhone apps with some very cool features and a modern look and feel. You can still get Logos Fundamental ($49.99) or Basic (free) packages and take advantage of the free Logos Book of the Month promotion. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the free / cheap packages. All it takes is a Faithlife account, and you can read your books using the iOS or Android app, the Logos web app, or the (much more powerful) desktop version for both Windows or Mac.

All the links are Logos Affiliate links, so buy a few books and help out Reading Acts. The deals go away on February 28, so be sure to check out all the Logos deals right away!

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Biblical Studies Carnival 203 for January 2023

Heather Theissen posted the 203rd Biblical Studies Carnival at Matters of Interpretation. Other than the most terrifying carnival pictures ever, Heather’s carnival is fantastic. In addition to the usual categories, she included “Text Criticism, History of Reception,” “Archeology – Antiquities – History” and “Popular Culture.” If you scroll all the way to the bottom, she explains the carnival pictures as “Busó Festivities at Mohács: masked end-of-winter carnival custom.” Think of it as the Groundhog’s Day in Hungary. Biblical Studies Carnivals are always educational.

Biblical Studies Carnival 203

Next time someone says academic blogging is dead, point them to Heather’s Biblical Studies Carnival. Make sure you put Heather’s blog on your regular reading list.

In case you missed it, I was interviewed about 1 Enoch on the podcast Talk Junkies. Go watch the interview and then by my book, The Book of 1 Enoch for Beginners. it’s cheap and available on Amazon or wherever books are sold (maybe). Here is a post summarizing the podcast.

Here is what is happening with future carnivals: Ben the  Amateur Exegete (@amateurexegete) hosts in February 2023 (Due March 1). So now is the time for you to volunteer to host a carnival in 2023. If you have questions, contact me at plong42@gmail.com and I’ll answer as best I can. Veterans or rookies, we need people to host. Volunteer early and get your preferred month.

 

 

Jesus Gives the Sign of Bread and Wine – Matthew 26:26-30

Some of the details we are familiar with are not found in this version. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 is the earliest written version of the Lord’s Supper (or Communion, or Eucharist), Luke 22:19-23 has similar words focusing on the bread and wine. What is important about 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 is that Paul uses the words “on the night he was betrayed” and all three synoptic gospels include the prediction of betrayal as part of the meal.

bread wine

There were many other parts of a Passover meal which Jesus does not reinterpret as anticipating his death. Jesus does not comment on eating lamb or the bitter herbs, etc. All of this is completely familiar to a Jewish reader, in the same way an American does not need to explain to Americans the food on the table at a thanksgiving meal (everyone knows:  turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, cranberry sauce, that weird sweet potato dish with the marshmallows, etc.) Matthew only includes the elements of the meal Jesus uses to explain the kind of death he was about to die, the two elements which become part of Christian worship practice in the earliest Christian communities.

The bread is his body (26:26). Remember this is unleavened bread, Jesus broke (κλάω) the bread. The verb s only used for breaking bread in the New Testament (Matt 14:19, 15:26, the two feeding miracles and this passage). As in English, “break bread” can refer to eating a meal (Acts 20:7, 11, although this arguably could be a communion). In classical Greek the verb is used for breaking branches (‘snap” for example, BrillDAG).  

In Deuteronomy 16:3, the unleavened bread was called “bread of affliction.” If the bread is unleavened, then breaking the bread is a visual analogy to what is about to happen to Jesus’s body. Although his bones are not broken, his body will be beaten and abused. Nolland (and others) suggest sharing the bread occurred during a question an answer part of the Passover meal based on Exodus 12:26-27. By sharing the bread, Jewish families were demonstrating that they were part of the community that was redeemed from slavery in Egypt by the blood of the lamb (Matthew, 1075). They are looking back to the salvation event of the Old Testament, when God imitated a covenant with his people.

The cup is the blood of the covenant (26:27-28). During the Passover meal, there were four cups of wine associated with stages in the meal. Most scholars think this is the third cup, the cup of blessing. It came after the meal and the father pronounced a blessing on the cup (as Jesus does in verse 27).

Sharing a cup of wine is unusual for a Passover meal. Each person has their own cup to drink from when the blessing is offered. Think of the way protestants do communion. Everyone gets  their own mini-cup rather than sharing a single cup of wine. This may be logistical, sharing a single cup among 500 people is not practical.  In this case, the sharing may indicate the covenant Jesus is inaugurate is for all the disciples equally. We often make the point that sharing the bread and the cup is a sign of Christian unity, based on 1 Corinthians 11.

Matthew does not include the word “new” (1 Cor 11:25; Luke 22:20).  In the King James Version, the words “new testament” appear, but the word “new” is likely not part of Matthew’s original text. It was added by later scribes who knew the communion liturgy from 1 Corinthians 11:25 or Luke 22:20. The word “testament” is a translation of the Greek word διαθήκη, now commonly translated as “covenant” because “testament” does not mean the same thing as covenant in contemporary English.

Matthew describes the blood as “poured out for many” and adds the phrase “for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 14:24).  Blood “poured out” (ἐκχέω) can refer to a violent death (Gen 9:6, referring to murder; the blood of the martyrs is “poured out” Matt 23:35; Acts 22:20, Stephen), so “poured out” may evoke Jesus’s physical death on the cross. But the word is used in the Septuagint in the context of sacrifice (Lev 4:7, for example). The word is commonly associated with drink offerings, pouring out a little bit of wine on an altar (Sirach 50:15, the high priest Simon son of Onias poured out the “blood of the grape” on the altar and made a pleasing odor to the Most High).

In LXX Exodus 24:6 Moses sprinkled (imperfect of ἐκχέω) blood on the altar when he read the book of the Covenant to the people. This is a very important Old Testament text for the last supper since God is inaugurating the original (old) covenant with blood, and seventy elders go up the mountain, see God’s glory and “ate and drank” (24:11). A covenant is usually established with a sacrifice and a shared meal (eating and drinking, almost always wine). Both Mark and Luke understand Jesus’s death as providing forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4; Luke 1:77), but Matthew makes the connection between the sacrifice that Jesus is about to make and the forgiveness of sins.

Finally, Jesus predicts he will not drink the fruit of the vine again until he drinks new wine with the disciples in his Father’s kingdom (26:29). The point here is that the breaking of the body and the shedding of blood is in the very near future. Jesus is about to pour out his blood to inaugurate the new covenant.

But the idea of drinking wine in the kingdom of God evokes the eschatological banquet (Isa 25:6-8). The parable of the Wedding Banquet (Matt 25:1-13) describes the soon-coming kingdom of God as like a wedding banquet as doe the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt 25:1-12).

The other way the Old Testament described the banquet at the beginning of the kingdom is a victory banquet, Psalm 23:4-5, the Lord makes a victory banquet in the presence of the anointed one’s enemies. Revelation 19 calls the utter devastation of the enemies of God the “marriage supper of the lamb” (and then calls on the birds to come consume the corpses).

They sing a final hymn and return to the Mount of Olives for the night. What was that last hymn? Likely one of the Hallel psalms (113-118). On the way, Jesus predicts Peter too will betray Jesus.

Did Jesus Tell Judas to Betray Him? – Matthew 26:20-25

During the meal Christians traditionally call the last supper, Jesus announces that one of the disciples will betray him. Many other things would have been said and done that evening, but Matthew is only interested in the prediction of betrayal and the bread and wine. Matthew has already told his readers Judas approached the chief priests to betray Jesus. Jesus’s response to his anointing at Bethany may have prompted Judas to make this offer, but it is not clear what motivated Judas’s betrayal of Jesus.

Judas Betrayal

The ESV properly translates the verb ἀνάκειμαι, “recline.” They are not sitting on chairs at a table (like the DaVinci painting). But they would be sitting on the outside of a u-shaped set of low tables (so that part of the painting is not bad). This arrangement allows for conversation during the meal.

When Jesus announces one of the disciples will betray him, they are all upset, and they all wondered if they were the betrayer (Matthew 26:20-22). The disciples have been “sorrowful” before in Matthew. In Matthew 17:23, when Jesus predicted his crucifixion, the disciples were “very sorrowful.”

In fact, Jesus says “Woe to the betrayer!” (26:24).  Woe introduces a bad situation for someone.  Jesus pronounced “woe” in several condemnations of the Pharisees in Matthew 23:13-29.  There are several examples of people who are “better to not be born.” Job, for example, cursed the day he was born (Job 3:3). In 1 Enoch 38:2, sinners are “better off never born” since they end up in a place of torment.

If the title Son of Man is based on Daniel 7:14, then it is remarkable that anyone would (or could) betray the Son of Man. No one in the first century would imagine the Danielic Son of Man failing at his mission to judge the nations because someone betrayed him.

Jesus gives a sign: the one who has dipped his hand in the dish with him will be the betrayer (26:23). Judas seems to confirm this sign (26:25). But they all were sharing food, so how is this sign helpful? It is not appropriate to use a modern Seder and try to find a particular moment when Jesus said this. John Nolland suggests this is the appetizer stage of the meal (Matthew, 1066). Was Jesus sharing a bowl of hummus with Judas? The verb ἐμβάπτω is an aorist participle, suggesting the dipping is over and now Jesus is pointing out that it was a sign to the betrayer.  But later, he points out that prior to sharing the unleavened bread, the lettuce or green herbs were dipped into a sauce “with which the words about the betrayal are associated” (Matthew, 1074).

Judas directly asks Jesus if he is the betrayer, using the title “rabbi” for Jesus. When the other disciples asked, they said “Lord.” Is this an indication Judas does not acknowledge Jesus as Lord? When Judas approaches Jesus in the Gethsemane, he will also call him rabbi. The title is not necessarily cold, nor does it indicate a lack of faith in Jesus. But Matthew presents the other disciples as calling Jesus Lord, and they too will flee and deny Jesus.

Writing many years after the event, John says Jesus dips a morsel of bread and hands it to Judas. When Judas took the bread “Satan entered him” (John 13:26-30). Then Jesus tells him to do what he is about to do quickly, and he goes off into the darkness. John comments that the disciples do not know why Judas left, thinking Jesus tasked him with giving a gift to the poor since he was the “keeper of the moneybag.” John wrote as an eyewitness many years after Judas’s betrayal and explain why Judas betrayed Jesus: Jesus told him to!

Jesus’s response is “you have said so” seems ambiguous. Sometimes this is interpreted as the English phrase “you said it,” implying agreement. When the high priest asks him directly if he is the Messiah, Jesus will similarly respond “you have said so.”  In that case the high priest understands the response as agreement, Jesus has blasphemed! So here, Jesus’s ambiguous response to Judas is an agreement that Judas is the betrayer.

Preparing the Upper Room – Matthew 26:17-19

After Jesus is anointed at Bethany and Judas offers to betray him, Jesus instructs his disciples to prepare for the Passover meal. Matthew 26:17-19 is a summary of Mark 14:12-16. Matthew omits the sign (a man carrying a jug) and he does not describe the room as a large, upper room, or a “guest” room.

Upper Room

The Cenacle Today

The first day of Unleavened Bread refers to the first day of a seven-day festival starting on Nisan 15, beginning with the Passover meal on the evening of Nisan 15. Based on Exodus 12:18, on Nisan 14 a family would dispose of all the leaven in the house. The first meal eaten with unleavened bread is the Passover meal. This explains the tradition of matzah crackers at Passover. Matzah made of flour and water. In Sephardic tradition allows for eggs in the mix; Ashkenazi forbid eggs. The flour must be from one of the five grains: wheat, barley, spelt, rye or oat. There are many variations on this recipe among different Jewish communities.

In the context of the first Passover, The Israelites left Egypt so quickly they could not wait for bread to rise, so they ate unleavened bread. Sometimes matzah is called “poor man’s bread,” so it reminds the Jews of their slavery in Egypt, the “bread of affliction” (Deut 16:3).

Jesus has a disciple in Jerusalem who allows Jesus and his disciples to use a room in his house (26:17-18) The Greek word δεῖνα means “a certain man,” a person the speaker does not wish to name (BDAG; used only here). Jesus identifies himself as the teacher, and that his time is at hand.

Who is this unnamed disciple? A (possibly) wealthy disciple who owns a house in Jerusalem with a room large enough for at least thirteen men to eat. This implies cooking area and people to prepare and serve the meal (although this could be done by the disciples themselves along with Jesus’s female followers). Oddly, this unknown disciple is not mentioned again (was he not invited to the Passover meal he was hosting?) Did Jesus have any wealthy followers in Jerusalem? John suggests both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were both members of the Sanhedrin. Joseph owned a tomb near the city, which may indicate wealth. The linen they used to prepare Jesus’s body was costly and seventy-five pounds of spices was a very  expensive burial gift (John 19:38-42).

In Mark, the location is called an “upper room,” although Matthew just refers to a house (ESV, the word does not appear in Greek; πρὸς σὲ “with you.” Nolland has “at your place” (Matthew, 1064). Since the traditional location of the upper room is near several large homes from the first century, it is possible the room is a large space used for storage in a mansion-like home. (See here for the mansions possibly belonging to the high priests Caiaphas and Annas.)

The traditional location of the upper room is near the Zion Gate, near the Tomb of David. Although the location shown to tourists is certainly not the upper room (it is an old mosque abandoned after the six-day war), the area has many large homes (both suggested locations for Caiaphas’s home is not far; proximity to David’s Tomb fits well with Peter’s sermon in Acts 2).

With the meal prepared, Jesus predicts two betrayals, with the sign of the bread and wine between.