Cornerstone Biblical Commentary

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Jerry Bush | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Jan 7 2011 4:56 AM

IMHO, this is the most overlooked and underrated commentary that Logos offers. The upgrade is still on Prepub and is shipping at the end of this month - finally!

Now I hope they will get the rest of the volumes into production. This set took forever.

Check it out.


iMac (2019 model), 3Ghz 6 Core Intel i5, 16gb Ram, Radeon Pro Graphics. 500GB SSD.

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Jerry M | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 7 2011 6:16 AM

Volumes in this series can also be bought individually, as needed :)

"For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power"      Wiki Table of Contents

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nicky crane | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 7 2011 6:41 AM

I got the first instalment of Cornerstone after taking Logos up on their free offer of one volume, which convinced me of its value in meeting my needs (good salesmanship, Logos!).  As soon as I saw the next instalment on prepub, I ordered it.  And am looking forward to getting it.  Not cheap, but IMHO excellent value for the investment.

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 7 2011 7:11 AM

I would have to check out other volumes in order to make a decision of buying them.  The free volume I got is too basic, that's why I went ahead and got the Expositor's Bible Commentary instead.  But yes, over all it has good sermon ideas.

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Andreas Holmberg | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 7 2011 12:55 PM


I've also been considering the Cornerstone commentary series but judging from the brief introductions to the series it seems to be pretty similar to the Tyndale Commentaries series (49 volumes in all). I own this series and use it quite a lot. Cornerstone appears to be written from a similiar perspective and theological outlook. Is this the case?

Could anyone suggest what the key differences are between the two series? Is the Cornerstone, for example, more homiletical in its approach?

Pastor in Stockholm, Church of Sweden

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Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 7 2011 1:51 PM

I, too, have been considering Cornerstone. I have yet to be convinced of its value. I wonder if someone could post an excerpt.

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Rick | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 7 2011 2:43 PM

Joshua Garcia:
I wonder if someone could post an excerpt.

Mark The Longer Ending (16:9-20)

  1. The Longer Ending (16:9-20)

9After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened. 11But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her.

12Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country. 13They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them.

14Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead. 15And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. 17These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. 18They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

19When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 20And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.



the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he cast out seven demons.—This description of Mary recalls Luke 8:2.


As the note at 16:8 indicates, Codex W has a long addition, which involves a defense by the disciples of their doubting response: “This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not permit God’s truth and power to conquer the evil spirits. Therefore reveal your justice now.” In response, Jesus declared the end of Satan’s power as a time fulfilled, and predicted that dreadful things would happen. He noted that he was handed over to death for those who sinned, to prevent them from sinning as they returned to the truth. The result is that they will inherit spiritual, incorruptible, and righteous glory in heaven. This terminology is uniquely distinct from the Gospels.


Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.—The expression “to everyone” in the nlt is “all the creation” in Gr., so the rendering clarifies the common meaning of the figure. “Going” is a dependent participle in the Gr., so the believers were commanded primarily to preach but that by means of their going into all the world.


speak in new languages.—The nlt renders “tongues” as “new languages,” highlighting the fresh linguistic enablement that is the gift.


They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them.—Second century Jewish texts also speak of not being overcome by poison (Testament of Joseph 6:2; Testament of Benjamin 3:5; 5:2). Cf. Acts 28:3-6.


he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.—The nlt adds a reference to the right hand of God as a “place of honor,” which simply explains its importance.


the Lord worked through them.—Lit., “the Lord working with them.” The Gr. term sunergountos [TG<G4903>, ZG5300] means to “work together” with someone.


The traditional longer ending to Mark was composed by someone (perhaps in the second century) who drew from the other Gospels and Acts. The writer’s mention that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene (16:9) parallels John 20:11-18. However, the writer then goes on to say that Mary went to the disciples and told them that she had seen the risen Christ (16:10-11). This doesn’t concur with John 20:1-2 or any of the other Gospels, where Mary first went to tell the disciples only that the tomb was empty. Jesus had not yet appeared. The writer then tells us that the disciples did not believe Mary (16:11). This note of a lack of faith parallels Luke 24:11, but in Luke, the angelic appearance and the empty tomb are not believed.

Following this, the writer of the longer ending wrote, “Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country” (16:12). The Emmaus Road appearance is recorded in Luke 24:13-35. The idea that Jesus had “another form” comes from the fact that initially the two disciples on the way to Emmaus did not recognize him. The writer then says, “They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them” (16:13). This summarizes Luke 24:33-35, but the note of unbelief is distinct and may come from 24:34, because in Luke, the Emmaus report is trumped by the report of an appearance to Peter. There is no indication in Luke that the report was not believed.

In 16:14, the writer says, “still later he [Jesus] appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together.” This apparently alludes to Luke 24:38-41. The text continues, “He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.” This does not allude to a specific text, but it is similar to Luke 24:11 and resembles the doubting Thomas scene (John 20:24-29). After this, Jesus told the disciples to “go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone” (16:15). This is the longer reading’s equivalent of the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:18-20. In the longer ending, however, Jesus says, “Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned” (16:16). The remark is very similar to John 3:18, 36. The text, probably a second century addition, indicates the importance of baptism in the early church.

The writer then moves to a number of items pertaining to miraculous signs. Jesus says, “These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages” (16:17). The passage underscores the miraculous signs believers would employ in support of the gospel message. Texts such as John 14:12 and Acts 5:12 may be in view, as well as the accounts of Acts 2:3-4; 10:46; 16:18; 19:6. Some curious words follow: “They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed” (16:18). The reference to snakes reflects the language of Acts 28:3-6 and Luke 10:19. The events of Acts 3:7 and 9:12, 17 point to the laying on of hands for healing.

The writer of the longer ending then records the ascension, based on Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:2, 9-11. He concludes with the words, “And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs” (16:20). This final verse of the long ending notes the fulfillment of the commission, in that the disciples obeyed the call of 16:15 by preaching the gospel. Furthermore, what Jesus predicted would happen (16:17-18) was now happening—the Lord was confirming the disciples’ work with many miraculous signs.

Cornerstone Biblical Commentary - Cornerstone Biblical Commentary – Volume 11: Matthew and Mark.

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nicky crane | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 8 2011 9:04 AM


            A.      Water at Marah (15:22–27)





15:22 led. Lit., “he made them journey.” “Made them journey” is not a common expression in this context, and it has led some commentators, including early Jewish ones, to speculate that the Israelites were not eager to set off into the desert, perhaps because they were too busy gathering spoil from the bodies of the drowned Egyptians.


the desert of Shur. One meaning for the name is “wall,” and this has led some commentators to suggest that the region was named for a defensive wall erected by the Egyptians at one point on the border between Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula (see Sarna 1991:84).


three days. Perhaps literal, but also a literary convention for any journey of more than two days but less than a week (see commentary).


15:25 a piece of wood. The Hebrew word can mean “branch,” “stick,” or even “tree.” The LXX supports the NLT rendering.


the following decree. Lit., “a statute and a regulation.” The NLT does two things: It takes the two terms as a hendiadys, as do about half the commentators, and it assumes that the following sentence is what is being referred to. The first decision is supportable, but the second is, in my judgment, more questionable. It is possible that some commandments we are not told about were given to them. Sarna (1991:85) notes that the rabbis thought it might have been the Sabbath laws, since the next chapter seems to presuppose some knowledge in that regard, but it is equally possible that a more general statement is being made (see commentary).





A new major section of the book starts at 15:22. The deliverance at the sea is over, and the people start off on the journey for the Promised Land. As I said in the Introduction, in one sense, this should be the end of the book, given its Greek name: “Exodus”—“the way out.” The people were now out of Egypt, so the Exodus was over. But in fact, the story is far from ended and that leads us to question, “The way out of what? If they are out of Egypt, but not yet ‘out,’ what more is there to get out of?” The answer to that question explains not only the rest of the book, but the whole book. The problem Israel needed to get out of was not merely Egyptian bondage: They did not know God, and beyond that, they were not ready to experience his presence among them. This deeper problem explains why God did not take them directly to Canaan. Unless those problems were solved, entry into the land of Canaan would accomplish nothing toward God’s ultimate purpose for Israel: to bless the world through the arrival of the Messiah and the offer of salvation to all. Exodus 15:22–18:27 is an integral step in the solution to those problems in that they draw the Hebrew people out of their theological darkness and begin to remove that which alienated them from the presence of God.

The plagues and the crossing of the sea had demonstrated the incomparable power of God and his unassailable sovereignty. On that basis, the people had faith in him and in Moses (14:31). Thus they knew that God could care for them. But did God care for them? They did not know. Maybe they had been merely a useful tool chosen to humiliate an arrogant human. If they were to go to another level of intimacy with God, they needed to know that he cared for them and could be depended upon to supply their needs. This is another of the reasons God led them as he did. Going this way, they would quickly come up against their own inability to care for themselves and supply their needs. And they would be in a position to learn of the depths of God’s providential care. If they had come to Canaan never having learned these things, they would have been in no position to survive all the threats that that good land would present them with. One could wish that these lessons would have only had to be learned once, but that was not the case then, as it is not now. Here the lessons are taught, even if not learned, before Sinai; and in the book of Numbers (Num 11–17), they will be taught again, in part to a new generation.

There are really five incidents dealt with in this segment (15:22–27, bitter water; 16:1–36, no food; 17:1–7, no water; 17:8–16, enemies; 18:1–27, organization), and commentators differ on how to group them. Most do not include the final one (18:27) with the first four because there is no explicit statement about divine intervention. Others separate 17:8–16 because it does not include an occurrence of complaining by the people. However, it seems to me that all five belong together as examples of the various ways God provides. If he sometimes provides in miraculous ways in response to our pleadings (15:22–17:7), he also sometimes supplies through leadership (17:8–16), and he sometimes supplies through wise advice (18:13–27). But all are evidence of the providential care of God.


The Miracle at Marah (15:22–27). From the verb used in 15:22 (see note), it appears likely that the people were not eager to start into the wilderness. They had just experienced a moment of spiritual ecstasy, and like Peter many years later on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:5), it seems likely that they were inclined to camp there and to enshrine the great moment. They did not understand that the purpose of great moments is to prosper in and survive the succession of not-so-great moments that make up life. And one of those no-so-great moments was just before them. After several days of journeying (see note on 15:22 on “three days”) “without finding any water,” they finally came upon an oasis (15:23). After finally having found what they so desperately needed, their joy was dashed all the more when they discovered that the inviting water was impossible to drink. One also wonders if there were those among them who were remembering that after “three days,” Moses had promised them a festival (5:1–3). Instead of a festival, there was this threat of imminent death.

The result of this fear and disappointment is the first example of a verb (translated in the NLT as “complained,” 15:24) that is rather common in this section (chs 15–17) and also in Numbers 14–17 but hardly anywhere else in the Old Testament. Commentators differ over how best to translate it. Suggestions range from “grumble” to “complain” to “rage” largely depending on how serious the reaction is taken to be. In any case, the euphoria by the sea had now fully dissipated. As Houtman (1993:2.302) says, “At the Water of Death … the hymn of praise is silenced.” While it is possible to understand the situation and the reaction of despair, the reader still wonders what happened to the faith that had so recently characterized the people. After all, they had seen the plagues; they had seen their own miraculous escape and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army. Would it have taken so much to ask God to undertake this? And why turn against Moses? Perhaps one answer is the euphoria itself. The aphorism says, “The higher it rises, the farther it falls,” and that seems to be true of the human spirit. The more elated we are, the more prone we are to become depressed when the elation wears off. As for turning against Moses, this is the first of many events in which the people seem unwilling to look beyond the human representative to the God who stands behind him. Moses did not lead them to this place, God did; Moses did not “create” them to be his people, God did. Confusing the reality and the representation makes life very difficult for the representative, but it also makes abiding faith in God more difficult.

Interestingly, God did not condemn the people for this behavior, which makes me less inclined to think “rage” (Houtman 1993:2.306) is the correct translation for the people’s reaction. Instead, in response to Moses’s cry “for help,” God gave Moses instructions. The verb here is yarah [TH3384, ZH3723] (to cast, throw, instruct), which is the base for torah [TH8451, ZH9368] (instruction, Torah). Especially in view of what is said in 15:25b and 26 about the call for obedience, it seems likely that the verb is used intentionally here. God was going to instruct Moses and the people in the ways of life and health, spiritually, physically, and socially, and he was beginning at once. God instructed Moses, Moses obeyed, and the result was survival and health.1

This is the explanation for 15:25b-26. If Israel was ever to know God, it would only be through trust and obedience. In bringing Israel to this situation, God was beginning a series of critical tests: Would they, in “faithfulness” to him, learn to follow his instructions? Everything hung on this.2 Note the succession of verbs in verse 26: “Listen carefully … do what is right … obeying … keeping.” In Hebrew “to listen” (to instructions) is synonymous with “to do.” One cannot truly “hear” and not “do.” Thus, every one of these verbs has to do with performance growing out of trust. If Israel would not “hear” God, then God could not heal them. Here, at this stage in their development, God did not make far-flung promises about the outcome of their trust and obedience. Rather, he gave them a very concrete and immediately verifiable promise: If they would do what he commanded, they would experience a kind of physical health they had never known in Egypt (see v. 26). Is physical provision all God has in mind for his people, and is it an iron-clad promise, contingent on human faith? We must answer no to both. Just as the physical sacrifices were intended to represent a change in personal relations between God and humans, so this physical health, as real as it was, was intended to point to spiritual health. And just as Job, whose faith was superlative, experienced complete loss of health, so may we. We cannot “twist God’s arm,” as it were, and demand that physical symbols of spiritual reality always apply directly to ourselves. God intends to heal the human race, but that will not be finally accomplished in this physical world.

In the Masoretic Text, verse 27 is set off from verses 22–26 as part of the next section. However, in the chapter divisions created sometime in the early Christian centuries, it was included in chapter 15. Perhaps Enns (2000:324) is right when he says that “Elim” is presented here as a foretaste of Canaan. Yes, the desert would present many challenges to faith and obedience, but there was a blessed end to look forward to for those who would persevere.

Ross, A., & John Oswalt. (2008). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol.1: Genesis, Exodus (400–404). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.



d. A desert journal (15:22–18:27)

15:22–27. Bitter waters. Israel is now clearly to the east of the salt marshes and inlets of the gulf; but how far south she was we do not know. The position of wells and oases is not likely to have changed since Mosaic times, and we can guess the general route (roughly, down the west coast of the Sinai Peninsula) until they turn due east at some point or other, dependent on the location of Mount Sinai. But the exact identification of the halts is not easy, since we do not know how many miles Israel could or would cover in a day. For nomads with flocks and herds today, ten to fifteen miles is good going, although of course men on a raid can cover much more. It has often been pointed out that Israel, if nomads at all, were ‘donkey nomads’, not ‘camel nomads’. They could not cut across the desert, but must drive their flocks where there was pasture and water. This could be almost anywhere in et-Tih, the ‘desert of the wanderers’ as it is still called in Arabic.

22. The wilderness of Shur (Gen. 25:18) is generally taken as the north-west corner of the peninsula, in contrast to the ‘wilderness of Paran’ in the south-east (Num. 13:3)4 and the ‘wilderness of Sin’ in the south-west (Exod. 16:1). Whether the later Israelites themselves knew the exact location of all these places is doubtful, but they most certainly knew a list of ‘halts’ in the wilderness, with names and distances of water-holes. Either they or their ancestors may well have worked at the turquoise mines of Sarabit-el-Khadem, halfway down the west coast of the peninsula of Sinai.

23. Marah. Unlike many Old Testament etymologies, this is not a mere pun based on similarity of sound, for ‘marah’ could actually mean ‘bitter’ or ‘bitterness’, if it is a Semitic root. The word ‘myrrh’ seems to be from the same root, referring to the sharp flavour of the myrrh. Many desert oases are named from wells, springs and pools, since water is their essential common feature. The spring in question is probably the modern ‘Ain Hawarah. It was named. The vague third person singular (literally ‘he called its name …’) need not necessarily refer to Moses, but could be taken (as RSV) impersonally, following the Semitic idiom. That means that the name may have existed long before Israel’s passage. Most artesian wells are bitter and unpleasant because of mineral salts.

24. The people murmured: ‘grumbled’, explicitly against Moses, whom God had appointed as their leader, and thus implicitly against God himself (Exod. 16:8). In so doing, they are typical of all humanity: that is why they can become both a lesson and a warning to us (1 Cor. 10:11). There are over a dozen passages in the Pentateuch where such ‘murmuring’ is mentioned; it was characteristic of Israel.

25. YHWH showed him a tree. The verb showed is the root from which the word ‘Torah’, ‘instruction’, is derived. This in itself shows how much richer the Hebrew concept ‘Torah’ was than the English concept of ‘law’. Here, knowledge of a way to blessing and salvation is called a ‘torah’. What the tree was, and how it sweetened the water, it is probably vain to ask. De Lesseps, quoted in Driver, mentions a barberry bush as so used by modern Arabs, and various parallels are quoted from other lands. No doubt the need was to find some pungent or aromatic shrub, whose flavour would cover the mineral taste and make the water palatable. Medieval commentators delighted to see here a reference to the cross, by which the bitterest of life’s waters is sweetened. So long as we claim this only as an illustration of a great biblical truth, and not as an exegesis of the passage before us, this is fair enough. It has sometimes been suggested that God may have shown Moses this shrub not at that moment, but during his long stay in Midian previously. But the text seems clear that it was in response to Moses’ cry of despair on this occasion. If God had showed it in Midianite days, it would have been another instance of his preparation of Moses. For a similar story of ‘healing’ of bitter water, see 2 Kings 2:21.

Made for them a statute and an ordinance occurs again in Joshua 24:25, with reference to the law-giving at Shechem: it sounds like a set phrase. There he proved them. The meaning is ‘God tested Israel’, the same root as is used in ‘Massah’ (Exod. 17:7). But there is no need to assume that this sentence really refers to the later happening. In the present incident of the bitter water, God was testing Israel just as truly as he did at Massah later. By their grumbling reaction, Israel showed only too clearly their true nature when under test. It is possible however that the ‘testing’ refers to the conditional nature of the promise in verse 26, which is also typical of the teaching of the book of Deuteronomy. God’s blessing is always dependent on the obedience of his children to his revealed will.

26. I will put none of these diseases upon you: presumably the diseases ‘put upon’ the Egyptians refer in the first place to the plagues in general, but in particular to the turning of the water into blood, which made it undrinkable. Israel will never find the water that God supplies unpalatable: he is YHWH their healer.

27. Elim: the name ‘terebinth-trees’ seems taken from the most prominent natural feature. If Marah was ‘Ain Hawarah, then Elim must be the lush Wadi Gharandel, seven miles south, with its jujube trees and wells. There is no need to spiritualize either the twelve springs or seventy palm trees. The numbers may be strictly literal or round numbers, since both figures, to the Hebrew mind, give the idea of perfection.

Cole, R. A. (1973). Vol. 2: Exodus: An introduction and commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (134–137). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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