John 11:5-6 DE...MEN

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Sun Mar 10 20:40:18 EST 2002


(5) HGAPA DE hO IHSOUS THN MARQAN KAI THN ADELFHN AUTHS KAI TOV LAZARON. (6) 
hWS OUN HKOUSEN hOTI ASQENEI, TOTE MEN EMEIVEN EN hW HN TOPWiDUO hHMERAS.

This is one of those verses which are hard to understand because they present 
Jesus acting in a way that is just not seemly.

One thing that is not apparent in translation is the use of the imperfect 
tense in verse 5.  I am taking the aspect to refer to the continuous time 
during the two days Jesus remained before proceeding to Lazarus.

Although HGAPA might refer to Jesus loving them for a much longer time, it 
seems to me that the verse is inserted in the way of an explanation for the 2 
day delay.

I had thought the use of DE was to separate paranthetical material, but I am 
having difficulty understanding the sense of OUN  and MEN.

Could it be that DE and MEN are being used correlatively?

"Jesus had always loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus; although, when he 
then heard that Lazarus was sick, at that time He remained in the place he 
was for 2 days."

Reading DE and MEN correlatively might give the verses a concessive sense 
rather than a sense of consequence that to me at least makes no sense.

The concession is perhaps explained by the threat in Judea which is described 
in the next verses.  For me, reading this use of DE and MEN as correlative 
and concessive expresses a tension between His love for Lazarus and the 
sisters and the threat against Himself and His disciples.

Anyway, forgetting the interpretation and any potential theological 
possibilities, can the DE and MEN be understood correlatively as I have 
described?

The NIV seems to treat the verses as concessive, the KJV, RV, and Phillips 
seem to treat the 2 day delay as a consequence of Jesus loving Martha, her 
sister, and the very ill Lazarus or of the news about the illness. These of 
course make no sense.  The NEB seems to treat the 2 day delay as a 
consequence of Jesus' desire to give God more glory by waiting for Lazarus to 
become more ill.

Does the grammar support a concessive interpretation, leaving open an 
interpretation that admits the internal tension between visiting and healing 
an ill, beloved friend and avoiding the threat of stoning?

I see a Jesus who took two days of prayer to seek God's will in this matter. 
And verse 7 and 9 are the conclusions from His prayer.

Another question is the time frame of the continuous aspect of HGAPA. Is the 
focus on Jesus continuing to love them during the 2 day delay, or is the 
focus on Jesus having loved them for a much longer time?

For me, the continuous aspect of the imperfect tense adds to the tension of 
the delay.

Peace,

Richard Smith
Chattanooga, TN  

Of course, to add to my confusion over tense and aspect, John writes:

hWS OUN HKOUSEN (aorist) hOTI ASQENEI (present).



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