What’s New

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Below you will see a list of some of the most recent edits and updates to the REV commentary. If you click the “Read More” link at the end of each update, it will open the commentary page in a new browser window or tab.

A blue dot blue dot appearing at the right of the “What’s New” menu item indicates there has been an edit or addition since you last viewed this page.

Each commentary edit or update is separated by a solid line and includes the time of entry, the book and verse reference, and a short statement about what has been added or changed in that commentary entry along with a preview of the commentary.

We hope that this feature enables you to see the work that is currently being done on the REV commentary and to learn about God’s Word along with us.

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Date added or revised: 11/17/2022 4:19 PM EST
Commentary for Matthew 2:11 [Frankincense and myrrh]

“frankincense and myrrh.” Frankincense and myrrh were two of the more common types of incense used in the ancient world. The Magi brought incense, which made a wonderful gift because it was very portable, quite expensive, and easy to sell. Incense of various kinds was used in all kinds of things, for example in most temples, and places of worship, and also it was burned regularly in many homes.

Wendell Phillips writes, “Today we can scarcely appreciate the role of incense in the ancient world because, for one thing, it is difficult to imagine the odors of that world, requiring clouds of sweet-smelling smoke to cover them.”

Basically, the whole ancient world smelled terrible, and there were lots of reasons for that: smelly people, smelly clothes, human and animal excrement all over, dead animals (and people) rotting in the open, and garbage and more garbage everywhere you looked.

Most of the people in the ancient world bathed seldom if ever, so we can imagine what they smelled like. While there were public baths in some of the Roman cities, a lot of people did not get to take much advantage of them and there was no truly effective deodorant soap. Furthermore, the vast majority of the people did not or could not wash their...Read More

Date added or revised: 11/14/2022 3:41 PM EST
Commentary for 2 Peter 1:20 [The Origin and Nature of Scriptural Prophecy]

a matter of one’s own interpretation.” The Greek phrase ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως (idias epiluseōs) simply means “of one’s own interpretation. There are two ways to understand how this expression is functioning in the verse: 1) it is a statement about the interpretation of prophecy, or 2) it is a statement about the origin or source of prophecy. These two meanings are based on whether one understands Peter’s intention to be one of combating critics or opponents who would assert either that OT prophecy can be interpreted in various different ways depending upon one’s perspective, or that OT prophecy is not truly divine prophecy and therefore is false and cannot be trusted.

According to the first option, Peter would be establishing that the interpretation of OT prophecy is not something which can be relegated to a person’s will or their own ideas. Prophecy cannot be taken into a person’s own hands and the interpretation formed according to whatever they choose it to be. In Peter’s mind, prophecy cannot be handled in this way because each person’s own interpretation is not valid; a person is not entitled to make up their own interpretation about prophecy.

According to the second option, Peter would be responding to...Read More

Date added or revised: 11/14/2022 12:48 PM EST
Commentary for Exodus 25:9 [What is the Tabernacle?]

“the pattern of the tabernacle.” This is the first time the “Tabernacle” is used in the Bible. The word “tabernacle,” is a translation of the Hebrew word mishkan (#04908 מִשְׁכָּן), which means “dwelling” or “dwelling place,” the place where one dwells or lives. In fact, it seems that “Dwelling Place” is a more informative translation of mishkan than “Tabernacle” (the CEB, NJB, and Fox’s Schocken Bible translate mishkan as “Dwelling,” but since the English word “dwelling” can be a noun or a verb depending on the context, “Dwelling Place” seems clearer). The English word “tabernacle” comes from the Latin tabernaculum, which means “tent.” The Hebrew word mishkan means “dwelling place,” and the place where God chose to “dwell” was a "tent” among His people, which in English we call the “Tabernacle.”

In Exodus 25:8 God said that Israel was to make a holy place for Him so that He could dwell among them, and that place was the “mishkan,” the “Dwelling” (the “Tabernacle”). Israel had gone down into Egypt as a large family, the family of Jacob, but many years later they came out of Egypt as a nation. God chose Israel out of all the nations of earth (Exod. 19:5-6) and made a blood covenant with them (Exod. 24:5-8) that they...Read More

Date added or revised: 10/25/2022 1:37 PM EST
Commentary for Numbers 6:2 [The Nazirite Vow]

The term “Nazirite” is derived from the Hebrew word nazir, which means “separated” (“Nazirite” should not be confused with “Nazarene,” which refers to a person who comes from the town of Nazareth).

Ordinarily, a person makes the Nazirite vow for themselves and sets the duration of the vow, and during that time the person commits to being “separated,” or especially holy to God (Num. 6:8). Although there are incidences when a parent makes the vow for the child such as Hannah apparently did with Samuel (1 Sam. 1:11), those would be rare. The phrase “all the days of his separation” (Num. 6:4; cp. Num. 6:4-6) indicates the limited time of the vow.

According to the book of Numbers, the Nazirite vow required the man or woman who made the vow to observe the following:

  • Abstain from wine, beer, wine vinegar, grapes (of things from grapes such as seeds), grape juice, or raisins (Num. 6:3).
  • Do not cut your hair but allow it to grow (Num. 6:5).
  • Do not touch a dead body (Num. 6:6).

If the Nazirite breaks the vow, he or she must shave their head and do sacrifices (Num. 6:9-11). When the period of the vow is over, there is a lot to be done, including bringing a year-old male lamb as a burnt offering; a year-old female lamb as a sin offering;...Read More

Date added or revised: 10/22/2022 9:21 AM EST
Commentary for Exodus 25:30 [What is the “Bread of the Presence” (KJV “shewbread”)?]

“the Bread of the Presence.” The “Bread of the Presence” was 12 huge cakes of bread that were placed on a table in the Tabernacle or Temple every week (for more on the table, see Exodus 25:23-30). The Bread of the Presence showed God’s blessing of food for His people. The Hebrew phrase is more literally, “bread of [the] face,” but the word “face” was often used to indicate one’s personal presence. An abundance of food was one of the hallmarks of God’s presence and favor. There was plenty of food in the Garden of Eden, there will be plenty of food in Christ’s future Millennial kingdom on earth, and God promised Israel that there would be an abundance of food if they obeyed Him (cp. Deut. 28:4-5, 11-12). These extremely large cakes of bread symbolized God’s blessing of food.

The Bread of the Presence in the Tabernacle consisted of 12 huge cakes of bread, like huge pancakes. Each cake was made from two-tenths of an ephah of flour. An ephah is a dry measure that is about 23 quarts (5.6 gallons; 22 liters). So two-tenths of an ephah is roughly four and a half quarts, or a little over a gallon of fine flour. So these would have been very large wheat cakes. The cakes were stacked up on the table in two separate stacks of six cakes...Read More

Date added or revised: 9/2/2022 10:29 AM EST
Commentary for Isaiah 34:14 [The female demon Lilith]

“Lilith.” Lilith is mentioned only here in Isaiah 34:14 in the Bible. She is a female spirit or demon in some ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform texts, including texts from Sumer, Assyria, and Babylonia, and that fits here in Isaiah as well. That Lilith is a female demon has been doubted by many, and they point out that Lilith is not mentioned except here in the Bible. But Lilith would not need to be described in detail or said to be a demon if the common understanding in the culture at the time was that she was a demon. Furthermore, if she was a demon she would not likely be named more than once in the Bible because God does not magnify or legitimatize demons in the Bible by giving their names. The only other demon who is named in the Bible is “Legion,” and he is only named in the one record when Christ met the demoniac man (Mark 5:9; Luke 8:30). We do not even know the actual name of the Devil. He is called by many descriptions that are used as names, such as the “Devil,” but “Devil” is the word “slanderer” (see Appendix 14, “Names of the Devil”).

As we might well imagine, as time went on more and more was added about Lilith—who she was and what she did—and we have to be careful not to think of that newer information as having...Read More

Date added or revised: 8/31/2022 9:19 AM EST
Commentary for Matthew 11:19 [Wisdom is declared to be right by the works that follow]

“But wisdom is declared righteous by her works.” When people do wise things and they work out well, then the “wisdom” that they applied is shown to be true wisdom. Many things that are “wise” from a godly point of view are “foolishness” to the world (1 Cor. 1:18-25), but actually, the “wisdom” of this world is foolishness with God (1 Cor. 3:19). Believers need to be confident that when they obey God, no matter how foolish it seems to the world and no matter how loud the unbelievers mock, in the end, the true wisdom will be shown to be the right way, and the “worldly wisdom” will be shown to be foolish.

In the context of Matthew 11:19, the primary examples of people who were wise in a godly way are John the Baptist and Jesus, and their works, though foolish in the eyes of the world, will prove to be wise and right in the end, and the same is true for all believers who follow God’s guidance. Sometimes the true wisdom of following God is not revealed until much later or even until the Day of Judgment. The “wise” action of Jesus in following God’s guidance and going to the cross was not revealed until his resurrection and actually will not be fully revealed until all the righteous people whose salvation was paid for by Jesus’...Read More

Date added or revised: 8/24/2022 3:10 PM EST
Commentary for 2 Chronicles 13:18 [Get humble or be humbled]

“subdued.” The Hebrew is the same word that is translated as “humbled” in many other places. This is an interesting reflection on life, because people can humble themselves before God, or they will eventually “be humbled” by outside forces, even by God Himself. Israel would not humble themselves before God, so they were humbled by the Judean army, who had Yahweh on their side.

Date added or revised: 8/23/2022 3:57 PM EST
Commentary for John 2:19 [If you all (you Jews) destroy this temple]

“If you destroy this temple.” In the Greek text, the verb translated “destroy” is in the second person plural, meaning “you all.” What Christ said was, if “you all” destroy this temple I will raise it up. Also, when a verb is in the imperative mood (in this case “destroy”) and is combined with kai (“and”) and with a future indicative verb (which in this case is the verb translated “I will raise”), then the force of the verb is very likely conditional. This explains the translation, “If you (all) destroy….”

The reason that the false witnesses at the trial of Jesus were false witnesses is that they did not correctly represent what Jesus said, but spoke as if Jesus had said he would destroy the temple, which he did not say but would have threatened the very livelihood of the priests at Jesus’ trial. The reason that what these witnesses said was so important is that in the Greco-Roman world the destruction of a temple was a capital offense, and if Jesus was convicted of that he could be put to death, but their witnesses did not agree.

“I will raise it up in three days.” Jesus gave this very fitting answer to the question the Jews were asking, which was basically, “What sign are you going to show us that proves you have the...Read More

Date added or revised: 8/14/2022 7:19 AM EST
Commentary for 2 Chronicles 11:16 [The migration from Israel to Judah]

“Those from every tribe of Israel.” This is important historically, because people tend to think that after the United Kingdom of Israel under David and Solomon split into “Judah” in the south and “Israel” in the north, that only Judeans and Benjamites were in Judah, but that is not the case. The southern kingdom, “Judah,” had men and women from every tribe in it, as well as priests and Levites who had originally been assigned by Joshua to live in every tribal area. This means that people from every tribe of Israel—all 12 tribes—were preserved in the Babylonian exile to return to Judah and eventually make up the “Jews” who were in Judea and Galilee at the time of Christ.

When Jeroboam set up his golden calves in Bethel and Dan and set up his own priests who were not descendants of Aaron and changed the calendar given to Moses by God (1 Kings 12:25-33), there was an exodus of the truly godly people from the Kingdom of Israel to the Kingdom of Judah. That many godly people left Israel accelerated the downward move into idolatry and godlessness in Israel that eventually led to its destruction by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17). It also shows that truly godly people can determine Good from Evil and Right from Wrong, and that sometimes...Read More