What's New

Welcome to the “What's New” section of the REV website.

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 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: 12/30/2019 12:54 PM EST
Commentary for Matthew 2:16 [Add to commentary. Herod killing the babies in Bethlehem]

“he killed all the male children…in Bethlehem and all its surrounding region, from two years old and under.” Killing potential rivals was standard operating procedure for Herod. King Herod the Great was so afraid of anyone taking his throne that he even had one of his wives and three of his sons executed because he was suspicious of them. The Bible does not say how many children in Bethlehem were killed, and it is very likely that because the killing was in Bethlehem “and all its surrounding region” that no one kept count. However, the “surrounding region” could not have been very large—perhaps only a few miles—because Zechariah and Elizabeth lived in the hill country of Judah and there is no evidence that John, who was only six months older than Jesus was in danger (although he could have been older than two by the time the magi arrived, likely 18 months to 2 years after Jesus was born). In any case, demographic studies of the city of Bethlehem and the surrounding region done by scholars has led to the conclusion that almost certainly less than two dozen children were murdered, and perhaps only half that many. Although this was certainly a tragedy, Herod’s reign was so filled with violent acts including murder and death that...Read More

Date added or revised: 12/17/2019 5:49 PM EST
Commentary for Deuteronomy 21:23 [Jesus fulfills the law of Deuteronomy]

“his body is not to remain all night on the tree, but you are to surely bury him the same day.” It is amazing that this command in the Law was fulfilled in Jesus Christ even though that fulfillment was not done intentionally. It usually took people two or three days to die on a cross in Roman crucifixion, and since Roman crucifixion was done in part to terrorize the people into submitting to Rome, the Romans had no reason or intention to take Jesus’ body down from the cross in a way that fulfilled the Mosaic Law. Similarly, when the religious leaders shouted “Crucify him” to Pontus Pilate and gave Jesus to the Romans to be crucified, they had no specific intention of having the law of Moses fulfilled in Christ. But by God’s design, it was the Passover when Jesus was crucified, and the scrupulously religious Sadducees and Pharisees did not want any human body, not just Jesus’ body, hanging on a Roman cross during their feast day (John 19:31). So they directed that Jesus and the people crucified with him be treated in a way that would assure they would all die so the dead bodies could be taken down that day (John 19:32). Jesus, for his part, gave up his life, the others died by the purposely accelerated process of crucifixion....Read More

Date added or revised: 12/6/2019 3:07 PM EST
Commentary for Luke 1:17 [Add to commentary. John the Baptist was Elijah]

“to turn the hearts of fathers to their children.” This is quoted from Malachi 4:6. When the angel appeared to Zechariah and said that the boy would be “great in the sight of the Lord” (Luke 1:15), that was wonderful but not overly revealing as to who the child would really be. But all that changed in Luke 1:16-17. The angel started describing John’s calling and ministry in Old Testament terms that Zechariah, a well-educated and knowledgeable priest, would have known. The angel started using vocabulary and phrases from the Old Testament that revealed that John would be the forerunner to the Messiah.

The prophecies of the coming Messiah had been given for 4,000 years, starting with Genesis 3:15. Much later in the Old Testament, Scripture foretold there would be a messenger before the Messiah who would prepare the way for him (cp. Isa. 40:3-5; Mal. 3:1). In order to appreciate how important this forerunner was, we must remember that at that time no one knew there would be two “comings” of the Messiah: one when he died and one when he conquered. Everyone thought that when the Messiah came he would conquer the earth and set up his kingdom. This was why when Jesus told the Apostles that he would die that Peter said that would not...Read More

Date added or revised: 12/2/2019 3:00 AM EST
Commentary for Genesis 9:22 [Initial commentary: What Ham did to Noah]

The record in Genesis about Ham, his son Canaan, and Noah has been a problem for Bible scholars for generations. Ham did something to Noah that resulted in Ham’s son, Canaan, being cursed, but what did he do? Genesis 9:22 says that Ham “saw the nakedness of his father,” but what does that mean? When we study the record and pay attention to the facts and the idioms, we discover that when Noah was drunk and incapacitated, Ham had sex with Noah’s wife, and she got pregnant from that encounter and gave birth to Canaan, to whom Noah later gave a prophetic curse.

One thing that jumps out of the Noah-Ham record is that although all of Noah’s sons had children, Genesis 9 specifically points out two times that Ham is the father of Canaan (Gen. 9:18 and 9:22), and the Bible states it four times (Gen. 9:18, 22; 10:6; 1 Chron. 1:8). But why would that fact need to be so clearly stated when it is not stated that often for any of the other children of Shem, Ham, or Japheth? After all, Shem had five sons (Gen. 10:22); Ham had four sons (Gen. 10:6); and Japheth’s had seven sons (Gen. 10:2). So why say four times that Ham was the father of Canaan, and why would Noah single out Canaan and curse him? After all, Ham was the one who sinned. As we...Read More

Date added or revised: 11/27/2019 11:58 AM EST
Commentary for Leviticus 19:16 [Initial commentary. Helping others]

“endangers the life of your neighbor.” The Hebrew text reads that a person is not to “stand on the blood of your neighbor.” The exact meaning of the phrase is unclear, although the point is not. The verse before, Leviticus 19:15, is about a court of law, while the verse after, Leviticus 19:17, is about not hating your “brother,” i.e., a fellow Israelite. The idea is that people should not endanger others or stand idly by while another person is being taken advantage of or endangered (the context indicates that, for example, that would include being a witness on their behalf). These meanings are reflected in the different English translations. For example, the NIV reads, “Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life,” while the NET reads, “You must not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake,” and the NRSV reads, “you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor.” The Hebrew text can encompass all these meanings.

Life is messy and evil, and many people are hurt or taken advantage of in many different ways in life, and there is a tendency for others around them to take the position, “I don’t want to get involved.” While there are some situations where that may be the correct position to take, too many...Read More

Date added or revised: 11/26/2019 11:04 AM EST
Commentary for Leviticus 16:16 [Initial commentary. God is with us even when we sin]

“that dwells with them in the midst of their uncleanness.” God does not like sin, but He understands human weakness and sin, so here we see the text making the point that God, who dwells in the Tent of Meeting over the ark of the covenant between the cherubim, lives in the midst of His people in spite of their sin. People should never feel that God abandons them because of their sin and weakness. Sin can cause God to limit His interaction with us, and continued purposeful sin can cause Him to withdraw from us, but His arms are always open to welcome us back to Him if we want to come back to Him. It is sometimes taught that God had to forsake Jesus because he “became sin,” but that is not accurate (see REV commentary on Matt. 27:46). One of the comforting messages in Scripture is that God loves people and continues to love and support us in spite of our sin and shortcomings.

Date added or revised: 10/31/2019 12:09 PM EST
Commentary for Joshua 10:9 [Initial commentary. Doing the will of God]

“marched up.” More literally, “having gone up,” but in this case “marched” catches the sense in English (cp. HCSB; ESV; NIC; NJB, RSV). This is just one example in the Bible where doing the will of God is not easy. Sometimes Christians teach that if something is the will of God then it will be easy or go smoothly, but this is just one example that shows that is not always the case. Not only did Joshua march uphill all night, then he fought all day; then he stopped the sun from going down and fought even more (Josh. 10:12-13). Like the prophecy of the Messiah in Isa. 50:7, sometimes we have to set our faces like a flint in order to do the will of God.

Date added or revised: 10/24/2019 2:22 AM EST
Commentary for Joshua 5:2 [“Knives”]

“knives.” The Hebrew word in the text of Joshua 5:2 and 5:3 is chereb (#02719 חֶרֶב), which is used over 400 times in the Old Testament and almost universally means a “sword” but does not mean a “knife.” The English Bibles almost all read “knives,” because knives were used for circumcision and also a sword cannot be made out of flint: the flint rock is not suitable for making a long blade and the weapon would be far too brittle to be used in battle. There are Hebrew words for “knife,” but God does not use them here, instead the text uses the word for “sword,” as some commentators point out (cp. David Howard, The New American Commentary). Although some lexicons give “knife” as a definition of the Hebrew word chereb, that is questionable because Joshua 5:2 and 5:3 are the only times chereb is translated “knife” in the Old Testament.

There is no doubt that the text uses the word “sword” on purpose. In telling Joshua to make “swords” and circumcise the Israelite men who had been born in the wilderness and who had never been circumcised, God was graphically pointing out and symbolically saying that we must make war on certain things that are lacking in our life—the enemy inside—before engaging the enemy outside and around us....Read More

Date added or revised: 10/15/2019 7:37 PM EST
Commentary for 1 Samuel 1:3 [Initial commentary. “Yahweh of Armies”]

“Yahweh of Armies.” 1 Samuel 1:3 is the first time in the Bible that the name of God, “Yahweh of Armies” is used. The Hebrew is translated “LORD of hosts” in many English versions, but very few people today think of a “host” in reference to an army, making that translation unclear at best. The English word “host” in the phrase “Lord of hosts” is derived from the Late Latin hostis “stranger; enemy” (same basic root as in “hostile”), and referred to an army or an orderly multitude. Thus, the “heavenly host” is the orderly army of spirit beings, and also the orderly “army” of stars in the sky, while “Yahweh of hosts” refers to God’s army of spirit beings and, in the Old Testament, Israel.

The word “host” is confusing because the English word “host” also means a person who entertains guests, but the Latin root of the entertainment type “host” is hospes, not hostis. It is too bad that both hospes and hostis developed into the English word “host,” but that is the situation. To properly understand the Bible, the student of Scripture must know that “Lord of hosts” does not refer to God’s entertainment of guests, but rather to His being the God of His “armies.”

Andrew Steinmann (Concordia Commentary: 1 Samuel) writes: “In military...Read More

Date added or revised: 10/10/2019 11:16 AM EST
Commentary for Joshua 6:5 [Add to commentary. The wall fell underneath itself]

“the wall of the city will fall down underneath itself.” This is a very literal rendering of the Hebrew text and a very real picture of what happened at Jericho. The excavations of Jericho both by Garstang in the 1920’s and Kenyon in the 1950’s show that the walls of Jericho were stone walls with a strong mud-brick wall on top of the stone wall. What happened in the destruction of Jericho was that the mud-brick wall collapsed and fell mainly on the outside of the stone wall and to the foot of it (thus “beneath” it), spreading out and up the stone wall and actually forming a kind of ramp up the stone wall. Thus, the text of Joshua is very accurate when it says that the people “will go up” and straight into the city. The Israelite warriors had to run “up” the newly formed mud-brick ramp, over the stone wall, and into the city, which they then conquered and burned.

“every man straight before him.” This is not “straight and level” but “straight ahead,” up and over the collapsed wall.

 
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