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cited you to a more thorough investigation of the doctrine of the Hebrew article. The subject is worth a little book by itself. In my judgment, there remains still “much land in this quarter to be possessed.” I do not know who has better opportunity, or more ability, than you to take possession. For one, I shall be truly grateful to you for the effort.
I have now laid before you some of the difficulties with which I have felt myself to be pressed, in regard to o sm in Is. 7: 14. Let me next call your attention to another passage, which has been regarded by interpreters as being of equal, or almost equal, importance with this ; although it is nowhere cited and applied to the Messiah by the writers of the New Testament. The words to which I refer are in Dan. 9: 25: “ Moreover, know thou and understand, that from the going
,עד מָשִׁיחַ ,forth of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem
772 unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks,” etc., as our English version has it. It is a matter of course, that our translators regarded this passage as having reference to the Messiah ; and my present inquiry is not, whether you believe or not, that it refers to Jesus of Nazareth ; but whether, by the laws of the Hebrew language, it is admissible here to translate this passage as it now stands in our version, and in nearly all the older versions of modern times? There is no article before Messiah or Prince, in the original Hebrew. Could the article be omitted, in case the language was intended to designate the Messiah ?
Rosenmueller translates—ad unctum principem ; De Wette, in like manner, “bis auf einen gesalbten Fürsten ;” and so Hitzig; i. e. these and many others render the words as meaning until an anointed Prince or Chieftain. Hengstenberg, who has strenuously defended the Messianic meaning of the passage against such a construction, concedes that it should be rendered an Anointed One, a Prince ; and he thinks that it was left purposely indefinite, in order to excite the curiosity of readers !
Not contented, however, with this suggestion, he strenuously defends the omission of the article before nu, on the ground that it is a proper name. Is there any good reason for such an assertion ? What is the usage of the Old Testament in respect to the word muna?
This word occurs thirty-nine times; and in thirty-two of them it is in regimen with the word Jehovah, or with a pronoun-adjective referring to him. In all these the article is of SECOND SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. II.
course omitted by the usual laws of the language. In four of the remaining cases it has the article; but it has it because it stands in apposition with , the high-priest, and is an attributive of this noun; see Lev. 4: 3, 5, 16. 6: 22. In one case, 2 Sam. 1:21, it is a simple adjective, and is applied to the shield of Saul. The other two cases are before us, viz. in Dan. 9: 25, 26. We have no opportunity, then, to gather much information about the use of the article with up, from the usus loquendi of the Scriptures.
But as to the assertion, that it is a proper name in Dan. 9 : 25; on what can this be built ? Out of the thirty-nine cases in which the word occurs, twenty-nine of them plainly respect Saul, David, or some other Jewish king; four have respect to the high-priest ; two are of the plural number and are applied to the whole people of Israel; one is an adjective applied to the shield of Saul; one is applied to Cyrus in Is. 40: 1; and only one instance is to be found, excepting in the verse before us, where non is a Messianic title, viz. in Ps. 2 : 2. Whence then does Hengstenberg get the evidence, that nun in Dan. 9 : 25 is a proper name? It is an appellative merely in itself; and in order to acquire the virtue of a proper name, we must suppose it to have become exceedingly common in the times of Daniel. But where is the evidence of this?
If now the omission of the article before un might be accounted for in Hengstenberg's way, yet how can it be accounted for that has it not? We cannot say : 777, but must
? מָשִׁיחַ הַנָּגִיד Why not then .דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ say
But this is not all. Is 72 a probable Messianic designation ? Of the forty-two times in which the word is employed in the Old Testament, excluding the passage before us, there are nineteen cases where it means a leader, overseer, etc., of a secondary order; in nineteen or twenty it designates a ruler or king of the Hebrews; once it designates a foreign prince, Ezek. 28 : 2. In Job 31:37, Prov. 29: 16, Dan. 11:22, the meaning may be contested, but probably it means chief ruler.
Why now should Daniel choose a word of such various and even secondary signification, for the designation of the Messiah, when a would have been the usual, intelligible and appropriate word ? And why omit the article, which seems to be absolutely demanded by the usual laws of the language? These questions Hengstenberg has not answered; what answer then does Hebrew usage compel us to give ?
As to the rendering by anointed Chieftain, I cannot see how this is to be defended. If you be an adjective here, it must, from its position, be a predicate, and not an attributive. Or if this be not so, where are the examples which will justify such a rendering by Rosenmueller and De Wette ?
You see my grammatical and exegetical straits. I wish for more light drawn from the usus loquendi of the Scriptures and the nature of the Hebrew idiom, and not for confident assertion or contemptuous scorn of the opinions of all who may differ in their views. I do not wish to draw you into the Messianic question or controversy here, but merely to obtain your opinion, with proofs from Scripture, what the omission of the article here must necessarily import. This matter cannot be settled by a mere en passant remark, as in Havernick; nor by examples in favor of the rendering anointed Prince, such as Rosenmueller gives in his Comm. in locum. All of these seem to me to be capable of another solution, in conformity with the usual custom of the language. I wish for more light; I shall be thankful if you can and will impart it. ,
I know well it will cost you labor. But I know, also, that you are a real geónovos, and will not shrink from the undertaking on this account. As you have so recently been through the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures in search of examples to illustrate your Syntax, you will the more easily find what I desire, if it is to be found. My state of health, and engagements forbid the requisite labor on my part. May I say to you : Juniores ad labores ?
I have other questions in regard to the article. Is it true that poetry assumes a peculiar license in respect to the omission of it? And if so, are there any fixed principles in regard to this? The fact is often asserted by Gesenius and others; but have they noticed with sufficient discrimination the usages of prose ?
These and the preceding questions will help to prepare you, if you enter into the discussion of them, for the second edition of your Hebrew Syntax, which, in due time, I doubt not will be demanded.
Believing that you will rightly appreciate the confidence which I have thus signified, by asking these questions, of your knowledge of the Hebrew idiom, and that you will at least give some valuable hints respecting the difficulties proposed, I subscribe myself,
Yours, with respect and kind regard, Andover, Theol. Sem., June 15, 1841. M. STUART.
To Professor M. Stuart. DEAR Sir :
I received your letter proposing a correspondence between yourself and me on the use and omission of the Hebrew article in some passages of the Old Testament, and containing some commendatory remarks on the second volume of my Hebrew Grammar. While I thank you for the latter, I undertake with pleasure to answer your inquiries ; although I am not sure of being able to do so to your satisfaction, as, after a close examination of the subject, I do not clearly perceive wherein the passages quoted present greater difficulties with regard to the article than do many others as well in Hebrew as in other languages.
On a careful perusal of your letter, I find that the principal queries it contains are the following two, of a directly opposite nature, concerning the use of the article in the passage han 77977 nm577 behold a virgin shall conceive,” Is. 7: 14, and its omission in the passage 77m2 uuza 79“ unto the Messiah the Prince,” Dan. 9 : 25; besides which a few other queries are cursorily introduced. In my reply I shall confine myself chiefly to these two principal passages, touching upon the others, which are fully discussed and quoted in my Syntax, in the course of my remarks.
But even in regard to the two main queries, as to the use of the
their solution I ,מָשִׁיחַ נָגִיד and its omission in ,הָעַלְמָה article in
think is contained in the principles laid down in my Syntax, in the chapter on the article. As regards the first of them, I have said in § 720. II.,“ the article is subjectively prefixed to a common noun by way of emphasis, and to point it out as one which, although neither previously nor subsequently described, is still viewed as definite in the mind of the writer.” And as to the last, I have likewise said, § 718," the article, as well as other particles, is sometimes omitted by the poets, who, for the sake of elevating and condensing their expressions, frequently neglect those minute specifications of meaning which the prose writer is required to make.” As these two observations, which are chiefly applicable to poetic compositions, are of an apparently contradictory nature, and as the conciseness of a scientific text-book is not called for on the present occasion, a fuller development of these principles may here not be superfluous.
In the frequent use or entire omission of particles, poetry in
almost every language differs essentially from prose; because, as this class of vocables are used for the most part merely to indicate the relations of the principal members of a sentence to each other, their use or omission by the poet in particular instances will depend on whether clearness and perspicuity or an emphatic conciseness be his principal aim. Now the prose writer is in general not under the influence of any powerful emotion, nor is his mind raised above the ordinary state of cool deliberation. Consequently in the expression of his ideas he is not governed by his own feelings alone, but consults external circumstances, and is or should be careful to adapt his expressions to his reader's comprehension: so that if a particle be necessary to convey a clear conception of an idea to his reader, he will feel called upon to use it; and if not, he will omit it. Accordingly, on applying this principle to the Hebrew article, we find that the prose writer omits it where a noun is employed indefinitely or is rendered definite by signification or construction (see Gram. § 717); while he uses it, either objectively, i. e. where a noun, being otherwise rendered specific, is definite both to himself and his reader (see § 720. I.), or subjectively, i. e. where he emphatically prefixes the article to the name of an object which he has reason to suppose will be known to the reader without further specification (see § 720. II.).
But such is not the case with the prophet or poet, who, being under the control of powerful and sudden emotions, expresses at once that which divine or poetic inspiration dictates, with less regard than the prose writer for the intellect and previous state of knowledge of his readers. Hence, if a clear in dication of some relation between the principal members of a sentence present itself as a prominent consideration to his mind, he will use and even repeat the particle denoting such relation, and that too in cases where the prose writer could omit it altogether as unnecessary; while at another time a certain relation may stand so plain and obvious before his mind, as to seem to require no specification whatever, and consequently he will omit it, especially when desirous of using a particularly condensed and energetic form of expression,—and this may occur even where his readers may thereby be left in some doubt as to his precise meaning. Now in applying this principle to the passage
the use of the article by the prophet conclusively ,הִנֵּה הָעַלְמָה הָרָה
shows that the person spoken of was definite and specific to his own mind, i. e. that God by inspiration indicated to him the