John 11:39

Take ye away the stone (arate ton liqon). First aorist active imperative of airw. They could do this much without the exercise of Christ's divine power. It was a startling command to them. By this time he stinketh (hdh ozei). Present active indicative of old verb, here only in N.T. (cf. Exodus 8:14 ). It means to give out an odour, either good or bad. For he hath been dead four days (tetartaio gar estin). The Greek simply says, "For he is a fourth-day man." It is an old ordinal numeral from tetarto (fourth). Herodotus (ii. 89) has tetartaio genesqai of one four days dead as here. The word is only here in the N.T. The same idiom occurs in Acts 28:13 with deuteraioi (second-day men). Lightfoot (Hor. Hebr.) quotes a Jewish tradition (Beresh. Rabba) to the effect that the soul hovers around the tomb for three days hoping to return to the body, but on the fourth day leaves it. But there is no suggestion here that Martha held that notion. Her protest is a natural one in spite of her strong faith in verses Acts 22-27 .