≡ Menu

A strange question on this past Sunday’s readings

As I’ve said many times here, my brain is wired a little funny.  I’m just curious if anyone else noticed this little … oddity … from one of the options for the readings this past Sunday, the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus.  The alternate reading comes from Isaiah 40, and in Is 40:3 we read:

A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!

As Catholics, and I’d assume most good Bible Christians, we make the direct correlation to the description of John the Baptist, e.g. in Mark 1:3:

A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’

Now I recognize that Hebrew does not use the punctuation style we take for granted in English, but it does leave me to wonder – just what can we get out of the difference between “a voice of one crying out in the desert” and “a voice cries out: in the desert”?  In one the voice crying out is in the desert; in the other the one spoken to is in the desert.

So…am I over-thinking this, or just maybe is this a providential difference from which we can glean some additional insight?  Let me know what you think.  Please.  The comboxes are lonely. 😉

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Fr. Cory Sticha January 12, 2010, 11:09 pm

    My guess is that you’re right on with the punctuation. St. Jerome, as quoted in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture in the Gospel of Mark, says, “The apostle has not rendered his original word for word, but using a paraphrase, he has given the sense in different terms.” I think the difference between the two is original to St. Mark, perhaps as showing the proper way of understanding the prophesy. This could also be a difference between the original Hebrew and the Septuagint, however, I cannot confirm nor deny as I am conversant in either ancient Greek or Hebrew.

    One could also argue that St. John the Baptist chose to be less specific in his call: Prepare the way of the Lord not only in the desert and wilderness, but everywhere. Either way, good catch!

  • Lawrence Adamczyk January 13, 2010, 10:35 pm

    And even better question is “one crying out into the desert” or “one crying out from the the desert.” Either way, isn’t our current secular culture a desert? Isn’t our current culture a culture of death? Isn’t our current culture parched and dry?

Leave a Comment

Next post:

Previous post: