Groanings

So I came across a word in James 5:9 (stenazo, “complain, groan”) and I was intrigued, so I looked it up in BDAG. BDAG lists a few meanings: sigh, groan because of an undesirable circumstance. Then it cites Mk 7:34 where Jesus sighs before healing a deaf man. BDAG says this meaning is “in connection w. a healing, prob. as an expr. of power ready to act Mk 7:34.” What?!

Since when does Jesus groan “as an expression of power ready to act”? BDAG, to its credit, does cite a couple older grammars, that I don’t have ready access to in my personal library. But I think the word goes a lot deeper in the NT than an isolated instance of Jesus doing some pre-healing groans.

Check out Romans 8:26 where the Spirit intercedes for us with unutterable groanings (stenagmos, a noun form of stenazo). Then look at Heb 13:17 where we ought to help our leaders do their jobs without groaning (stenazo). Now compare that to Jesus praying with loud cries in Heb 5:7 (krauges ischuras) and being heard because of his reverence.

I think the groaning he does in Mk 7:34 is more like the loud cries of Heb 5:7 than a preparatory grunt before healing.

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