Some dynamics of the story – Lazarus: John 11.17-32, part 1

Here are some general thoughts I had on Lazarus being raised. They are just observations and questions really. I am aiming at trying to understand the dynamics of the story, who the people were and what is being said about Jesus. There is a lot here so I will post this on as I finish it over the next days. Here is the ‘key’ to my comments: H: History, I: Interpretation, il: illustration, O: Observation, OI: Observation and interpretation, Q: Question, QI: Question and Interpretation.

17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.

Q.: If he had been in the tomb for four days how many days had he been dead before that? Did it take a day to embalm him or was that counted in the four days?
H.: If I remember correctly it was the family who cleaned and embalmed the body of their loved one. If he had been alive then the sisters would have known.
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18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off;
H.: Two miles would have been about a 20 minute walk, more if walking from within the city and less if from without. In any case, they were not far away at all.
il.: I have a friend who was in Africa who said that they could never keep up with the Africans when they went on a walking trip. They were just so use to walking that they did it very quickly.
H.: The New Bible Dictionary says, “Bethany, about 2 km E of the summit of the Mount of Olives” (Wood 737) ((Wood, D. R. W. New Bible dictionary. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press 3rd ed., 1996.))
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19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother.
O.: It must be remembered that John used the term “the Jews” to mean Jewish leaders meaning Sanhedrin, Pharisees, Sadducee and or Scribes.
I.: They were close enough to Jerusalem making it easy for Jewish leadership to be present.
Q.: What kind of family was this that many of the Jewish leadership would come to a funeral at their home?
Q.: Was Lazarus one of the Jewish leadership?
I.: These things give reason for the disciples to say, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” and “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.” (cp. 11.8, 16).

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