Monday, December 8, 2008

Life in the Shadow of the Volcano

II Pet. 3:8
Sevgili kardeşlerim, şunu unutmayın ki, Rab'bın gözünde bir gün bin yıl ve bin yıl bir gün gibidir.
Today, we'll look at a few one-syllable words that have caused oceans of ink to be spilled.
  • bin -- thousand
  • bir -- one
  • gün -- day
  • yıl -- year
Modern idiomatic Turkish seems to use the word "thousand" in a manner close to that of the ancient Greek-speaking residents of their neighborhood. Bin bir, for example, literally means "1,001." Idiomatically, this phrase means "a great many, all kinds of." Think of the bin bir "Arabian" Nights. Binde bir, one of a thousand, means "scarcely, very rarely," when pigs fly.

As you can see, the words for day and year are given in the singular. Turkish, with logical economy of expression, sees no need to pluralize nouns that come after numbers. After all the number has already told you to expect more than one!

Peter wrote,
My dear brothers, do not forget this, before the eyse of the Lord one day a thousand years, a thousand years one day, is like.
People who live in the shadow of the volcano can get jaded after a while, bored, indifferent to the disaster ready to break out suddenly upon them. The other shoe didn't drop when we expected it to. Maybe it never will. Maybe we're getting away with something. Peter, an old waterman, has already reminded his people of Noah's flood. From experience he knew how quickly frail crafts could be overwhelmed in violent weather. He now warns them, in very plain language, not to get indifferent to the passage of time. God's clock operates differently from ours. "The millstones of God's justice grind very slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine."

And no, these verses do not set us a liberty to concoct chronographies of apocalypse. Quite the opposite. Peter's first readers knew that the clock was running out on Israel. The final generation was coming to a close. 30+ years had passed, but the prophesied death sentance was in abeyance, not canceled.

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