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it the implication of appointment or arrangement on the part of the diadéjevos, and of obligation on the part of those to whom the covenant is addressed.
Nor does the use of the word diadnxn, in the New Testament, differ from that already mentioned. For the system of Mosaic laws or institutions it is employed in Rom. 9:4. 2 Cor. 3: 14. Gal. 4: 24. Heb. 8: 9. 9: 15, 20. Rev. 11: 19. For ordinance it is employed in Acts 7: 8; for promises of different kinds in Luke 1: 72. Acts 3 : 25. Rom. 11: 26. Gal. 3: 17. Eph. 2: 12. It naturally designates also the new dispensation or Christian singe, which the Saviour came to institute; Matt. 26 : 28. Mark 14: 24. Luke 22: 20. Cor. 11: 25. 2. Cor. 3: 6. Heb. 7: 22. 8: 6, 8, 10. 9: 15. 10: 16, 29. 12: 24. 13: 20. Mutual engagement or contract between parties, it designates in Gal. 3: 15.
With the exception of the application of oaðhxn to designate the New Testament dispensation, which is merely in the way of analogy to the antecedent use of it under the Jewish dispensation, there is no new meaning given to the word by the New Testament writers. Indeed the meaning just excepted hardly needs to be excepted, because it is so analogous to the common and earlier use of the word.
But there is one, and between Mr. B. and myself a controverted meaning of the word diadhxn, which yet remains to be examined. It is that of last will or testament.
Mr. B. concedes, that “in classic Greek the word remotely has the signification of will or testament," p. 56. But why does he say remotely? Passow, after mentioning the generic signification of the word according to its etymology, viz, arrangement, disposition, places testament first in the rank of all its specific meanings. Donnegan does not even give the generic signification, because it is seldom to be found in practice, but gives testament as the first and principal meaning. Demosthenes, Socrates, Plato, and all the writers of golden Attic, so employ it; and if any one has the least doubt of this, he may look into Alberti, Observ. Philol. in Lucam 22: 29, and all his doubts will be dissipated. It is as clearly a classical sense of διαθήκη, as word is of λόγος; and therefore not a moment of time need be here occupied to prove it. It is conceded by all lexicographers and commentators.
The question whether it is employed in the Scriptures, is simply an inquiry about facts. That it may be employed, if occasion requires, no philologist of course can doubt. But whether occasion requires, is a matter to be ascertained merely by examination.
Testament, in the modern sense of this word, does not occur in the Old Testament; nor does it appear that the thing, i. e. a written will, was in usage among the ancient Hebrews. The Mosaic law settled inheritances. Whatever did not come within the statutes of Moses, was orally disposed of by individual possessors, at the time of their death. But in later times, specially among the Greeks and Romans, the making of wills was common. In the time of Paul, this was a well-known and familiar usage; and although ma clearly never means testament, and diabńwn (when employed to translate it) cannot in the Old Testament well be supposed to mean testament, yet it would not follow, that, when the epistle to the Hebrews was written, there might not be occasion to employ diadýxn in the sense commonly given to it among the Greeks, i. e. to designate will or testament by it.
A re-examination of the New Testament passages has led me somewhat to doubt some of my former convictions as 10 the use of diadnxn in this latter sense. I have stated, in my Commentary on the Hebrews, as quoted by Mr. B., an opinion, that the meaning of testament is confined to the word as employed in Heb. 9: 16, 17. I am now rather inclined to the belief, that when the Saviour, at the last supper, appeals to his blood of the New Testament (Matt. 26 : 28. Mark 14: 24. Luke 22: 20. 1 Cor. 11: 25), he means the blood which is to ratify the testament or diadnxn that is to be made valid by his death. Before the death of Jesus, the ancient covenant was in full authority. Jesus himself observed all its ordinances, and so did his disciples. The Kingdom of heaven, in the gospel-sense of this phrase, could come only by, and after, the death of Christ. Now, as his death was at once the dissolution of the old covenant and the confirmation of the new, nothing could be more natural than to look upon the dathun thus introduced, in the sense of a testament, rather than that of a covenant. The author of this adxn confirmed and ratified the whole, and made it operative, by his own death.
There is one most important particular which Mr. B. does not seem to have sufficiently noticed. Under the ancient regime, the covenant between God and the people was sanctioned or ratified by the blood of slain animals. Neither of the contracting parties (so to speak) was called to lay down life. Nor was Moses, the mediator between the parties, called to give up his life as a sacrifice. But the Mediator of the new covenant is both God and man. As man, he is mediator; as God, he is law-giver or author of the covenant. In speaking of him, however, simply as he was, i. e. as one person, we say, and we may say, that one of the parties 10 this covenant gave up his own life to ratify and sanction it. In the fact that he did so, we have good reason to compare this new covenant rather with will or testament, than with compact or covenant as usually understood. Nothing could be more natural. It alters not the nature of the thing. The obligation or the binding force of the diganxn is the same in either case. It is merely the manner in which it is sanctioned, that gives the coloring or shade to the meaning of diadrun, when employed to designate it.
Viewed in this light, were not our translators in the right, when they translated dadnun (in the passages just referred 10 above) by testament? I am, on the whole, inclined to believe that they were; and also that Paul, in Heb. 9: 16, 17, recognizes and adverts to this meaning, and designs to leave the impression that he so understands the word, as employed by Jesus in instituting the Last Supper.
In the like sense diadran seems also to he employed in Gal. 3 : 15.“ The dabhxn which none can annul,” more naturally means a will than a contract ; for the latter may be annulled in almost all cases, by the contracting parties, whenever they please, while a will is an instrument over which no living person has
any power. I do not urge these passages strenuously. They are capable of another sense. But it seems to me, in looking back upon them at the close of the examination which I have just made, that they are more significant, if they are viewed in the light in which I have now placed them.
Shall we give up then, the meaning of the word dadnxn, as designating testament, in Heb. 9 : 16, 17? Certainly we may and ought to give it up, in case the context does not oblige us to admit it; for the greater part, not to say the
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whole of scriptural usage elsewhere pleads in favor of a different sense. Yet it is not a safe rule to determine the meaning of a particular word in any passage, by a majority of votes (so to speak) elsewhere against it, or rather when that majority goes for a meaning somewhat diverse. For example, the word &žouoia is employed nearly one hundred times in the New Testament, in the sense of power, authority, magistracy, etc; yet in 1 Cor. 11: 10, the Apostle says, that for certain reasons a woman ought to have εξουσίαν upon her head.” Now it is not possible to give this word the meaning here, which it has every where else, both in sacred and profane writings, without depriving the passage of all tolerable sense, and making it altogether unmeaning. Of course we seek for another meaning here, and one not authorized by usage elsewhere. So Paul says in Phil. 1: 21, “For me to live, X210sós,” i. e. is Christ. Surely the sense of this laiter word must differ here from its meaning in any other passage. It would be very easy to produce a large list of words, from the Greek, Hebrew, or English dictionaries, which belong to the same category, i. e. they have in some one passage, a meaning altogether sui-generis. This is ne cessary,
for none who are conversant with usages of language.
It is no valid argument then, nor even a specious one, against rendering dadixn in Heb. 9: 16, 17, by testament, that this meaning cannot elsewhere be found in the Old Testament, or the New. Such a meaning is common in the classics of the highest standing. Such a meaning then may properly be assigned to adiun, in case the context indicates the necessity or propriety of so doing. In my apprehension, it is both proper and necessary,
The form of the expression in Heb. 9 : 16, does not seem to admit of any other fair grammatical construction of diabhxn, than the one which I formerly put upon it, viz., that of testament. The verse runs thus : "Illere there is a diadixn, the death toll diabeu évou must of necessity take place.” Mr. B. says (p. 66), that“ dicedéusvoç is nowhere else used in the sense of one who makes a will.” As it respects the Scriptures this is to be conceded, and for the same reason, that dadran nowhere in the Old Testament means will. This participle is indeed to be found but once (Ps. 49 : 6), except in the passage under consideration. Yet the verb diarion, is used times almost with
out number, in connection with diadnxn its conjugate noun. In the Old Testament, it is so used when diadnxn means compact, covenant, agreement, etc.; and in fact it is employed in nearly every case where dadhxn is employed. In all cases it designates the action of making a covenant, statute, ordinance, etc., and not the instrument which ratifies it, or even the action itself of ratifying it. So in Plato, Demosthenes, Aeschines, Polybius, Josephus, and others, datideodan is the or dinary verb for designating the action of making a testoment, or the disposing of any thing by will ; see Bleek, Comm. on Heb. 9:16, 17.
It is not possible, without an offence against Greek idiom that coû diadepévou should be made lo mean the victim, which by its death and blood ratifies a covenant.
This victim is not an agent, but a mere passive instrument or symbol. But diadeuévou is essentially, and by its very nature as a participle of Aor. 2 Middle Voice, a word of active, not of passive meaning. The διαθέμενος of a διαθήκη is by an absolute necessity of usage
and grammar, an agent who constitutes, or assists as a party in constituting a diabran, let this mean either testament or covenant. It is fairly susceptible of no other interpretation.
Such being the case, it is impossible with propriety to render diadhan in Heb. 9 : 16, 17, by covenant. The death of a covenanter, or of a contracting party, surely is not necessary to the validity of a covenant or contract. Nay, so far is it from this, that very many, if not most contracts are rendered null and void by the death of either contracting party. Consequently it is impossible to render dadhxn covenant here, unless we force upon ToŨ dicebeuévou a meaning of which it is not susceptible.
Equally unsatisfactory is Mr. B.'s explanation of tri tos vexpois, in v. 17. He says that "it is not limited merely to human beings, i. e. to dead
be extended to other things.” He has made no distinction, however, between the use of vɛxgós as a noun, and vexgós as an adjective ; nor allowed for the difference between a tropical and a literal sense. All the examples by which he endeavors to prove that the meaning may be extended beyond that of dead men, are adjectives, and not nouns. The word vsxgós, either as noun or adjective, is employed some one hundred and twenty times, in the New Testament, and always in the sense of deceased or dead
where it is a noun. It is used some thirty times