Page images

I state, without fear of contradiction on the part of any who have made extensive investigation in respect to the words before us, that diadnxn, which in its most generic sense unquestionably means arrangement, disposition, disposal, in respect to any thing, is also employed, often and familiarly, in the sense of compact, agreement, or covenant, between two contracting parties of the same or the like condition or rank; yea is so employed in the Scriptures, as well as in the classics.

When Mr. B. states, and insists on it (as he often does), that συνθήκη, or σύνθεσις, is the appropriate word for contract in Greek, he is plainly misled by the etymology of the word. A priori we should naturally conclude that the case is as he states; for the preposition cúv, united with Onxn or décis, would seem very appropriately to denote contract, covenant, or compact. But usage has otherwise ordained, for the most part. Thus the word oúvdegis is appropriated mainly to rhetorical and logical expressions. It means the placing or putting together, i. e. composition, of words and sentences, as joined in ordinary speech or written composition. In logic, it means the joining or bringing together the different elements which form data for a general proposition or concluzion. In respect to this meaning of the word, it may be applied to mathematical, as well as other ratiocinative pro

It is only in an unusual and nearly tropical sense, (tropical, if usage be considered), that it is ever employed to designate contract, agreement, compact, etc.

Even so is it with ouvohxn. It belongs to rhetoric and composition; and, so far as these are concerned, there is no difference between the signification of σύνθεσις and συνθήκη. . Of the two, the latter admits more frequently the tropical sense of compact, agreement, etc. But such a usage is quite seldom, either in sacred or profane writings.

In this latter sense, indeed, ouvdesia is prevailingly employed. But it also means, in the latter Greek, emulation, contention, rivalship, acted out so as in some way to come into clashing or contest. It might have been employed in common parlance, had usage so willed it, instead of diadnun, to designate the idea of compact, covenant, etc. But it seems to have been almost in a state of general desuetude. The simple truth is, that diadhın has commonly usurped the place


[ocr errors]

of all these words, as employed to designate either compact, covenant, or agreement.

This is perfectly natural. Avadhxn, arrangement, disposition, is so generic, that it comprises every kind of arrangement. But, in far the greater number of cases where the word is employed, the context demands a specific or limited sense. This dabhun very conveniently designates ; for at one time it is compact or agreement; at another, testament; at another, covenant; at another, statute, or law, or ordinance, i. e. authoritative arrangement; at another, promise of good ; at another, threat of punishment, i. e. arrangement for moral and retributive government. Nor do even these comprehend all its meanings. But these are enough for our present purpose.

The sequel will present the evidence in respect to such of these meanings as we are now concerned with. For the rest, I may refer to any good New Testament Lexicon, and also to any good Lexicon of the Septuagint ; but specially to the Concordances of the Greek Scriptures, i. e. both of the Old Testament and of the New.

For my statement in regard to the proper meaning of σύνθεσις, συνθήκη, and συνθεσία, I may refer to Passow's most excellent Greek Lexicon, which contains the sum of what I have stated. Confirmation of these statements I have sought for extensively elsewhere, and found it in abundance; but I do not think it necessary to occupy room here in stating my other sources.

There is no good ground to doubt that Passow is in the right.

As to the fact of actual usage, I may appeal, in order to confirm what I have said, to the Septuagint, and to the New Testament. Not one of the words, συνθήκη, σύνθεσις or συνθεσία, ever occurs in the New Testament; and in the Septuagint we find no use of συνθεσία. The word σύνθεσις is indeed employed there, in a few cases; but only in the sense of composition, i. e. the compounding of things together, e. g. spices, unguents, etc.; see Exodus 35: 26, 30 : 35, 25: 6, al. It occurs some fifteen times, but always in such a

Euvéhxn, however, occurs only three times in the whole of ihe Old Testament, viz. Isaiah 30: 1, 28: 15, Dan.11: 6; and there in the sense of agreement or compact. But often as the idea of compact, etc., is designated in the Old Testa


[ocr errors]

ment Scriptures, these are all the examples of employing the words now before us. In the Apocrypha we find five instances more of the same method of employing συνθήκη. .

Compare now this with the use of fadhxn. In the Old Testament, according to Mr. B.'s own statement (p. 52), we find it employed nearly three hundred times, and in the New Testament thirty-three times. Of course all that I have stated above, about the usage of the words under consideration in common parlance or in writing, must be regarded as abundantly confirmed. In fact, we might appeal to most of the classics themselves, and come out with the same result.

Can it be possible, now, that the sacred writers of the Old Testament, and of the New, have had no occasion for designating the idea of agreement, covenant, compact, etc.? Certainly this is not the case. These are frequent words; and this leads us directly to the examination of Mr. B.'s position, thal "dradixn cannot be shown to have such a meaning in a single instance in the Scriptures." Bib. Rep. p. 56.

As the dispute here turns upon that which is simple matter of fact, and facts are within our reach, it is easy to settle it.

In Gen. 21 : 27 seq., diadhxn designates the mutual compact or covenant between Abraham and Abimelech ; comp. vs. 26, 32. In Gen, 26 : 28, it designates the agreement between Isaac and Abimelech. The same between Jacob and Laban, Gen. 31 : 44 ; between the Hebrews and the heathen, Ex. 23 : 32; between the same parties in Ex. 34: 12, 15; and again in Deut. 7: 2; the covenant between Joshua and the Gibeonites, Josh. 9: 6,7, 15, 16; between the Hebrews and the heathen, Judg. 2:2; between Jabesh and Nahash, 1 Sam. 11:1, (I follow the designations of our English Bible here); between David and Jonathan, 1 Sam. 20: 8; same in 1 Sam. 23 : 18; between Abner and David, 2 Sam. 3: 12, 13, 21; between David and the Hebrews, 2 Sam. 5: 3; between Hiram and Solomon, 1 K. 5: 12; between Ben Hadad and Asa, 1 K. 15: 19; between Ben Hadad and Ahab, 1 K. 20 : 34 ; between Jehoida and the rulers, 2 K. 11: 4; between David and the elders of Israel, 1 Chron. 11 : 3; between Asa and Ben Hadad, 2 Chron. 16: 3; between Jehoiada the priest and the people of Israel, 2 Chron. 23: 3,16; between Job and his own eyes, Job. 31:1; between Job and Leviathan, Job 41:4(Sept. 40: 23;)

[ocr errors]

between different heathen nations, Ps. 83: 5 (Sept. 82: 5); between sinners and Hades, Is. 28: 15,18; between the King of Babylon and a prince of Judah, Ezek. 17: 13, 14, 15, 16, 18; between a desolating king and others, Dan. 9: 27; between Ephraim and the Assyrians, Hos. 12: 1; between the Tyrians and other nations, Amos. 1:9; between Zechariah and the people, Zech. 11: 10; between man and wife, Mal. 2: 14.

Besides the specific examples here produced, where the meaning dadyan is compact, covenant, agreement, etc., beyond all possible doubt, there are many examples more, which are either repetitions of some of these, or else of the same nature with them. But these are enough. If there are any words in the Septuagint, the meaning of which is settled, the meaning in question of diadówn belongs to that class.

I shall not undertake to account for it, how Mr. B. came to overlook what lies on the face of the whole Septuagint, and what, therefore, is common to many different writers of different times; for the Septuagint is a version made by many differ- , ent hands, at different periods. About the meaning of diadhun, however, as intended to designate contract, covenant, league, etc., there is no difference of opinion. Mr. B. represents the Seventy and New Testament writers as every where carefully and accurately observing and keeping up the distinction between διαθήκη and συνθήκη, and consequently as designing never to use the word diabnxn in the sense of compact, etc. How much foundation there is for this, the reader has already seen, and will further see in the sequel. The simple state of the matter is, that diadnxn covers nearly the whole ground, and that the other words (which he names appropriate), are never at all employed in the New Testament, and only one of them three times in all the Old Testament, to designate the meaning of covenant, agreement, etc. This shows conclusively, that draðhxn holds the place and rank which I have already mentioned. It matters not what an a priori argument on the ground of etymology might decide. A mastercritic has truly said : “ Usus et jus et norma loquendi.”

It is proper here, in further unfolding the meaning of the important word diadnan, to notice in passing one or two of the most frequent meanings of it in the Old and New Testaments, which are not matters controverted at all between myself and Mr. B.

We have seen above, that the usual word for mutual compact, covenant, agreement, treaty, etc., in the Septuagint throughout, is diagnxn. Something of this character it retains in almost all the other cases in which it is employed. The most common, by far, of these cases is that, in which the nga between God and the Israelities is introduced. Indeed this includes the greater part of the 300 cases, in which the word is found in the Septuagint. In a majority of the instances now under consideration, da hun seems equivalent, at first view, to law, statute, ordinance, prescription, etc.; e.g. Ex. 19:5. 24:7,8. 31:17. 34:10, 27, 28. Lev. 2: 13. 24: 8. 26: 15, 25. Num. 11: 33. Deut. 4: 13. 9:9, 11. 5: 2, 3. 10: 8. 17: 2. 21 : 1, 9, 21, 25. 31 : 9, 16, 20, 25, 26. 33: 9. Josh. 7: 11, 15, et alibi saepe. But in a great portion of these cases, there is evidently an understanding, that, while the diadéusvos or lawgiver prescribes the reg. ulations which are designated by dsa@hxn, those to whom they are prescribed are assenting thereto, and engage, either tacitly or expressly, to comply with the conditions necessary to bring them within the reach of the promises which the diadakas contain. For in very many cases promises and threats are appended; and sometimes merely one of these, and sometimes the other; e. g. Gen. 6:18. 9: 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, where it seems almost like a simple promise, and so in Gen. 15:18; but in Gen. 17: 9–14 we see a conditional, i.e. mutual dad hxn, and so in Deut. 7: 9, 12. 8: 18. But the instances of seemingly simple promise are not numerous. Besides those already mentioned, they may be found in Ex. 2: 24. 6: 4,5. Lev. 26: 42—45. Num. 25: 12, 13. Deut. 4: 31. 2 Sam. 23: 5. Neh. 9:8. 89: 28, 34, 39. Is. 54: 10. In all cases of simple promise, and in all cases of law, statutes, ordinances, etc., intermingled with promises or threats, there is of course an implication, that these are conditional, i. e. that the promises are only to the faithful, the threats only for those who remain disobedient. It follows, therefore, that although there is not the simple form of a compact or agreement, yet there is an implied conditional covenant, i. e. a covenant usually expressed on the one side, and implied on the other. Of course it will easily be seen, that where the ancient dispensation, with its laws and statutes, its threats and promises, is named on, or dadýxn, (as it is in all parts of the Scriptures), this appellation carries along with

« PreviousContinue »