RE: Rev 21:3e

From: Ben Crick (
Date: Tue Jan 18 2000 - 12:52:36 EST

On Sun 17 Jan 2000 (11:44:27), wrote:
> Could you please explain why it is you think that the second option is
> more natural, unless it was solely because of the possible allusion to
> Leviticus 20, etc.?

 Dear Alan,

 Your "options" again:
>> 1) the prepositional phrase is the compliment of ESTAI, making AUTWN QEOS a
>> pendent nominative ("God himself shall be with them--their God" [or "as
>> their God"]), or
>> 2) the prepositional phrase modifies O QEOS, and the compliment of ESTAI is
>> AUTWN QEOS ("[the] God [who is] with them shall be their God" or "*God with
>> them* shall be their God").

 I think that the "pendent nominative" as you call it, your option 1(b),
 is the smoothest: "God himself shall be with them [as] their God". Jerome
 in the Vulgate has /et ipse Deus cum eis erit eorum Deus/ "And God himself
 shall be with them, their God". "Their God" may be placed last in the clause
 for emphasis: "The very God who is their God will be with them"; but I think
 AUTWN QEOS is in apposition to AUTOS hO QEOS "God himself will be with them
 as their God".

> Both options yield possible allusions: the first to Ezek 34:30 especially,
> though with the more familiar covenantal refrain of "his people/their God"
> behind it; the second matching the refrain more closely and so alluding
> most probably to Lev 26:11-12, or more likely Ezek 37:27 or Zech 8:8.
> Additionally, an allusion to Is 7:14 becomes possible with the second option.

 LAOS MOU, does have AUTWN with QEOS, but the structure is different.
 Ezekiel 34 uses the sheep-and-shepherd motif also, which is absent from
 Revelation 21. So I prefer Ezekiel 37:27 as closer.

 Isaiah 7:14, 8:8 (the Immanuel prophecy) is a very long shot, although
 Bruce Metzger suggests it in his /A Textual Commentary/, ad loc. In Isaiah
 this is a prophecy of the transcendent God becoming 'immanent' for the
 purposes outlined in the Servant Songs. Isaiah was looking at the First
 Coming of God's Anointed, not the eschatological climax of Revelation 21,
 IMHO of course.

> Both options also, it seems to me, are equally (im)probable given John's
> style.
> But are both equally understandable Greek? That is what I'm after. Is
> it your opinion that the second option is more straightforward Greek? If
> so, could you explain to me why?

 John wrote idiosyncratic Greek all right. But eminently understandable.
 I wouldn't rule out either of your options. The Oracle of Revelation 21:3
 stands by itself, and speaks for itself, albeit in echoes of what has gone
 before in the O.T. Maybe the plural LAOI enlarges on Jesus' enigmatic "Other
 sheep I have, which are not of this fold. Them also must I bring, and they
 shall hear my voice; and there shall be one flock, one shepherd" (John
 10:16). That will make Ezekiel 34:30-31 relevant again...


 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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