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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.

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Date added or revised: 11/17/2020 7:07 AM EST
Commentary for 1 Samuel 25:41 [Abigail, a wise and humble woman]

“servant...servant...servants.” In her speech, Abigail uses three different words for “servants.” The first two refer to female servants, and Abigail refers to herself as a “servant.” The third, in the phrase “the servants of my lord,” is the common word for a male servant or slave. The first word translated “servant” in the verse is 'amah (#0519 אָמָה), and it generally referred to a female servant or female slave, a maid or handmaid, a concubine. The second “servant” in the sentence is shiphchah (#08198 שִׁפְחָה), which is considered by many scholars to refer to the lowest rank of a female slave, who was also often the female slave of the mistress of the house, although shiphchah can in some contexts simply refer to a female servant, maid, handmaid, or slave girl. However, the reader must be sensitive to the context because there are times when 'amah and shiphchah are used synonymously in the Hebrew text, especially when they are used in Hebrew poetry.

Sometimes, such as here in what Abigail said to David’s men, the difference between 'amah and shiphchah is quite important, and in this case reveals the complete humility of Abigail, and her wisdom in the way she begins to become part of David’s household. She...Read More

Date added or revised: 11/13/2020 11:37 AM EST
Commentary for 1 Samuel 25:3 [Nabal and Abigail]

“Nabal.” The name “Nabal” has more than one meaning. It is the strongest Hebrew word for “Fool,” but it can also refer to a musical instrument such as a harp, or it can refer to a container such as would contain wine. Some scholars suggest that no parent would name their child Nabal, the strongest Hebrew word for “fool” and that therefore it is a name assigned to Nabal by the Author to make a point. While that is possible, it is also possible that the parents had one of the other meanings in mind when they named him Nabal, but his wife certainly thought his name was “Fool,” so even if that was not the intended meaning for his birth name, it was the moniker by which he came to be known (1 Sam. 25:25).

Something the reader should keep in mind as they read the records of David is that in many ways David was a type of Christ and many of the records that God chose to include in the Bible about David are shadows of the life of Christ. That is certainly the case here in 1 Samuel 25, where one of the major characters is Mr. Fool who is selfish and worldly and spurns David and holds him in contempt. In contrast to Nabal, there is “Abigail,” which likely means “my father rejoices” or less likely, “my father is joy” (cp. A. Steinmann,...Read More

Date added or revised: 11/12/2020 10:11 AM EST
Appendix 4: The Dead are Dead [Improved and Expanded]

The Bible teaches that when a person dies, they are totally without life, dead in every way and will not be alive again until they are raised from the dead at the Rapture or a resurrection. Death is a huge topic, and many books have been written about it. This short appendix will attempt to enlighten the reader on the Scriptures and basic topics regarding the state of the dead.

Table of Contents

In the Beginning…The Devil’s Lie
The Origin of Christian Tradition…The Immortal Soul
The Bible Teaches the Dead are Dead
Death is the absence of life
Is death just separation from God?
Dead people are indeed “lifeless.”
Death is like “sleep”
Could anyone go to heaven before Jesus died on the cross?
Is anyone in heaven now?
The Bible’s testimony about people: they die and are dead.
Raising people up from the dead: the resurrections
Why people think the dead are alive – ghosts and apparitions
Why people think the dead are alive – near death experiences
Trust the Bible


When a man or woman dies, they are dead in every way: body, soul, and spirit. They are not alive in heaven or the Lake of Fire, which is often wrongly referred to as “hell.” Although right now every dead...Read More

Date added or revised: 11/10/2020 11:53 AM EST
Commentary for Deuteronomy 18:10 [Add to commentary: sorcery]

“practices sorcery.” The Hebrew verb is kashaph (#03784 כָּשַׁף). For our purpose, a sorcerer is “one who practices magic by using occult formulas, incantations, and mystic mutterings…it is evidently commonly employed to include the whole field of divinatory occultism.” (Merrill Unger, Biblical Demonology, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, 1994, p. 153). A sorcerer is one who seeks to control things in the natural world by summoning or controlling supernatural forces. Scholars have not been able to exactly pin down the ancient understanding of the difference between a “witch” and a “sorceress,” and the words may in fact have been basically synonymous. There seems to be very little difference between our understanding of a “witch” and a “sorcerer,” and although older versions such as the KJV use “witch,” the modern versions almost universally use “sorcerer,” which might be due to the fact that the word “witch” in our modern times usually, but not always, carries the idea of an old woman who lives alone with black cats, big pots, all kinds of weird ingredients, and who casts spells that turn people into frogs and such. That is not a true image of what witches or sorceresses are like. The real problem is that they deal...Read More

Date added or revised: 11/10/2020 8:00 AM EST
Commentary for 1 Samuel 23:1 [David makes a hard choice]

“robbing the threshing floors.” This tells us that this event took place in the late spring to early summer, because that is when the grain harvests were finished in Israel and the threshing floors were full. First came the barley harvest, which usually took place in our late April, the Israelite month of Nisan. Later came the millet and wheat harvests, the wheat harvest being concluded in late June or early July. The Bible does not tell us which grain harvest this was, but the Philistines waited until all the work of planting, caring for, and harvesting the crops was done then simply swept in to take the grain. That kind of attack was incredibly serious because if the Philistines were successful, it could well mean starvation for the people and animals in that area of Israel. Technically it was the job of King Saul to protect his people, and he had the army, but David loved the people and was in a position to help even though coming out into the open like that would expose him before Saul and could mean war and the loss of his men or even his own death. So he asked of God, and God told him to go and fight the Philistines, which he did.

Many times life presents believers with difficult choices like the choice David was faced...Read More

Date added or revised: 11/5/2020 10:07 AM EST
Commentary for 1 Samuel 22:8 [King Saul's out of control emotional life]

“there is none of you who is sorry for me.” The Hebrew word translated “sorry” is challah (#02470 חָלָה), and its meanings include to be or become weak, sick, diseased, sorry, or grieved. In this context, “sorry” fits the context and scope of Saul’s life. Here in 1 Samuel 22:8 we see another aspect of Saul’s emotionally out-of-control life. We have seen him make rash decisions, such as when he made the rash vow that kept his army from eating and so they were weak and faint and could not fight the Philistines with the vigor they should have had (1 Sam. 14:24-31). We have seen Saul be overly religious, such as when he was going to execute his son Jonathan for breaking a vow that he did not even know about (1 Sam. 14:37-45). We have seen Saul be stubborn, disobedient, and rebellious against God, such as when he did not obey God and kill the Amalekites and then made things worse by making a number of excuses to cover his sin (1 Sam. 15:1-26). We have seen Saul tormented in various ways by evil spirits that his weak mind and ungodly behavior allowed to enter his life (1 Sam. 16:14, 23). We have seen Saul have terrible outbursts of anger that could have easily resulted in murdering another person, even his own son (1 Sam....Read More

Date added or revised: 10/27/2020 1:28 PM EST
Commentary for Genesis 31:19 [the “teraphim”]

“teraphim.” Teraphim were household gods. There is some evidence they were connected with dead relatives, and also that they had something to do with the authority in the house. It has been suggested that Rachel stole them to take authority from Laban and transfer it to her husband Jacob, but there is no solid proof of that, she might well have stolen them because she used them for some kind of divination. Teraphim were used in divination, which makes sense if they somehow represented dead ancestors, because then asking of a teraphim would be like asking a dead relative (cp. 1 Sam. 15:23; Ezek. 21:21; Zech. 10:2). Teraphim were idol gods, and as such they were an abomination to god. Josiah got rid of them in Judah in accordance with the Law (2 Kings 23:24).

Believers need to recognize that trying to get information from idols or occult practices is a lose-lose situation. When idols are consulted or divination is used it is not God who answers the person, it is demons, and if the demons think they can get away with giving evil and harmful advice they do, and cause trouble for those who ask for answers from them (cp. Zech. 10:2). On the other hand, if the demons give good advice then people trust them and are pulled deeper into...Read More

Date added or revised: 10/23/2020 3:15 PM EST
Commentary for Genesis 25:8 [“breathed his last”]

“breathed his last.” The Hebrew verb translated “breathed his last” is the single word gava (#01478 גָּוַע), and it refers to dying. The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (W. VanGemeren editor) says that it refers to “natural death as in the case of Abraham (Gen. 25:8), Ishmael (Gen. 25:17), Isaac (Gen. 35:29), Jacob (Gen. 49:33), and Aaron (Num. 20:29). Usually, however, the suggestion is that of violent and/or untimely death.” It also says that fundamentally it is synonymous with the Hebrew verb “die” (#04191 מָוֹת muth).

The Complete WordStudy Dictionary by W. Baker and E. Carpenter says that the word is used for the death of humans and animals, but adds, “The word [gava] is apparently from a root meaning to breathe out. …Sometimes the context of the word refers to the root meaning of breathing out (Job 34:14; Ps. 104:29).” The fact that gava is related to breathing out, and thus breathing out one’s last breath and dying, is why a number of English versions translate the verb as “breathed his last” (CJB; ESV; NAB; NASB; NET; NIV; NJB; NKJV; NRSV; Rotherham; RSV; cp. CEB, CSB, “took his last breath”). It would be quite accurate to simply translate verses such as Genesis 25:8 as “Abraham...Read More

Date added or revised: 10/10/2020 7:48 AM EST
Commentary for 1 Samuel 9:17 [Rulers need to restrain ungodly behavior]

“who will restrain my people.” The Hebrew verb translated “restrain” is atsar (# 06113 עָצַר), and it means to restrain, refrain, retain, withhold.” The meaning here in 1 Samuel 9:17 is “restrain,” “hold back.” (cp. ESV: “He it is who shall restrain my people.” YLT: “this one doth restrain my people.” Schocken Bible: “This one shall keep rein on my people”). While the translation “restrain” may seem unusual, that is only because in our modern culture we do not usually think biblically about government and so we do not often express that a primary function of government is to “restrain” the people from lawlessness. We realize from the laws around us such as speed limit laws, hunting and fishing regulations, laws against indecent exposure, etc., that government makes laws that restrain the people, but we do not usually think of a primary role of government as “restraining” people.

During the Judges period, before Israel had a king, every person did that which was right in his own eyes (Judg. 21:25), but now the king would “restrain” them. Humans have a sin nature, and it is simply a fact that if there are no laws or no enforcement of the laws, people take advantage of others, hurt and oppress others, steal from others,...Read More

Date added or revised: 9/15/2020 9:50 AM EST
Commentary for Jeremiah 44:17 [Ignoring God has serious consequences]

“For then had we plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no evil.” The people miss the point and are spiritually blind. They do not see that any good times in Judah were due to God’s continued blessing on Judah because of His covenant faithfulness, and that the evil that came upon them was due to their breaking the covenant they made with God. Also, they thought that the evil that came upon Judah was due to the weakness of Yahweh, and that He could not protect them from evil. They ignored the prophets who said over and over that their evil activities would bring disaster upon them, and that there would be horrific consequences of breaking their covenant with Yahweh.

Interestingly, the spiritual blindness of the people shows up in that they seem to think that if they had been more dedicated to the Queen of Heaven she could have protected them, which is why they say they want to continue worshipping her now. But there are problems with their logic. For one thing, that “Queen” did not protect them in Judah, which is obvious from the fact that Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians (who included Ishtar in their pantheon). Also, why would the people believe that not serving the Queen of Heaven fervently enough would have...Read More