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will, but arrangement or disposition. If the word is used here, as Professor Stuart supposes, in the sense of testament or will, then the idea is, “that where there is a testament, it is necessary that the death of the testator should take place, because a testament is valid only in respect to those who are dead, and has no force while the testator lives.” The reason of this is, that by the very nature of a testament, it relates to the disposal of a man's property after he is dead, and of course
cannot be regarded as valid until his death takes place. The . force of this remark, according to this interpretation, here
would be that the fact that the Lord Jesus made or expressed his will to mankind, implied that he would die to confirm it, or rendered his death necessary in order that his "will" might be complete or ratified. The fact of a "will"—adnxn -involved the idea of the death of him who had made it. Of the truth of this observation about the nature of will" there can be wo difference of opinion. The only question is, whether such an illustration would be pertinent to the argument of the Apostle here, and whether it is such as he meant to use. In opposition to it, and in defence of the other interpretation, I adduce the following considerations.
(1.) The word diadnxn is not used in this sense in other place in the New Testament, nor in any other place in the Bible. This has been already fully shown, and is fully admitted by Professor Stuart himself. “The sense given to diadhxn here [by Prof. S.), viz., testament or will, is beyond all doubt consonant with the usus loquendi of the Greeks; although in the Septuagint und New Testament no example of this usage occurs, excepting in the present passage.” “The Hebrew on, never has the sense of Testament.' pp. 439, 440. Of the twenty-six times in which Paul used the word, and the more than three hundred times in which it is elsewhere used, not a solitary instance confessedly occurs, in which it is employed in this sense, unless it be in the passage
before That must be a strong necessity which will reqnire us to depart from a usage so uniform in the Bible, and to adopt a meaning which a word may have in a classic writer. It is to be presumed, however, that no such necessity exists in the case of any other word in the Bible, and
# The Italics are my own.
that not another instance can be found in which such a rule of interpretation is acted on. It is not denied that the “exigency of the place” may be such as to justify such a usage, but it remains to be asked whether such an exigency exists here.
(2.) The Lord Jesus made no such will or testament as is supposed by this interpretation to have been made. According to this exposition the argument must be, that since it was a settled principle that a will was valid only when the testator died, it was essential that the Lord Jesus, who designed to make such a will,” should die, or his death was necessary, in order to confirm it. But the Saviour made no such will or testament; nothing which can in any proper sense be called a "will." He made no arrangements about the disposition of his property after his death, he left no legacies; he did not even direct where his body should be entombed. There was nothing in his instructions, or in any wish which he expressed, which can in any proper sense be called a will, and all the argument which is based on such a supposed fact, must, of course, be merely imaginary. Assuredly, the Apostle Paul did not argue on the supposition of any
such testamentary disposition of what belonged to the Redeemer.
(3.) Such an illustration would not be pertinent to the design of the Apostle, or in keeping with his argument. In ch. ix, as in some of the previous chapters of the epistle, he is comparing the Jewish and Christian systems, and the point of comparison in this chapter relates to the question about the efficacy of sacrifice in ihe two arrangements. The Apostle shows that the arrangement for shedding blood in sacrifice entered into both systems; that the high priest of both offered blood as an expiation ; that the holy place, in the one instance in the tabernacle, and in the other in heaven, was entered with blood, and that consequently the necessity of the death of a victim was supposed in both arrangements or dispensations. The argument is, that the former dispensation or covenant was ratified with blood ; and that the shedding of blood was supposed in the whole arrangement. See vs. 19– 22. The argument is not at all that Moses made a will or testament which could be of force only when he died, and that the same thing was necessary in the new arrangement, but it was that the former covenant was ratified with blood, or by the death of a victim, and that it might be expected that
the new arrangement would be confirmed in this manner. Moses made no will or testament that required his death in order to confirin it. No such occurrence is alluded to in his writings ; nothing of this kind in fact existed. With what pertinency or propriety, therefore, could there be an allusion to a will in the new dispensation? How could such a “will” constitute a parallelism with what occurred in the time of Moses? How could its necessity be shown, or its nature illustrated, by a reference to the ancient dispensation ?
The difficulty involved in this consideration, on the interpretation adopted by Prof. Stuart, is so great, that it was felt to be necessary to obviate it. The considerations which he suggests in explanation of the difficulty, or in anticipation of the difficulty-for the statement occurs in a general summary of the argument in chs. v-x: 18—are conveyed in the following words, “ The mention of Christ's death here (ch. ix : 15) in connexion with the assurance effected by it of a heavenly inheritance for believers, affords occasion for the writer to compare the word diadyxn ratified by the death of Christ, with the diadnxai which are ratified by the death of testators. The Greek word diadhxn not only answers to 07977, but also means such an arrangement as is made by a man's last will or testament, and is employed, not unfrequently, in the latter sense. Hence our author, after assering (ix: 15) that Christ's death made sure such an inheritance to believers, falls very naturally upon comparing the diagnxn thus ratified by the death of Jesus, with the diabývas ratified by the death of testators. Such, says he, is the custom among men in regard to testaments, that the death of the testators must supervene, in order to give them full effect and confirmation, ix. 16, 17 Even the first gathun (na) although it could not be so appropriately called a testament, was sanctioned in a manner not unlike that in which the new diadnxn is sanctioned,” that is by blood, p. 358.—The amount of this reasoning, in view of the facts which have been established in regard to the words 67, and dadrun, and of the points admitted respecting these words by Prof. Stuart, seems to me to be this: “ Moses made a covenant with the people. It had none of the properties of a will or testament; had not the design of a teslament, and was not ratified in that manner. That covenant was confirmed or ratified by blood, that is by the death of a victim. The Apostle Paul in instituting a comparison be
tween this and the Christian institution, incidentally mentioned the word inheritance. Therefore he proceeds to show from the transactions recorded by Moses, though they had no relation to a will or testament (* although it could not be so appropriately called a testament'] that the death of a testator was necessary in order to confirm or ratify a will, and therefore that the death of the Lord Jesus was necessary to confirm the will by which his people obtain the promise of their inheritance.” If this be the nature of the reasoning of the Apostle here, it is difficult to resist the conviction that it is much less forcible than that which we have been accustomed to regard him as commonly employing.
(4.) The view here taken, that the word dadoxn refers not to a will, but to an arrangement such as is commonly called a covenant, is confirmed by the use of the word ödev “whereupon," in ver. 18. This word implies a conclusion from the preceding argument or illustration, or supposes that a reason had been stated which showed the propriety and fitness of what was about to follow. What the Apostle proceeds to state was, that the “first covenant was not dedicated without blood.” The reason for this implied by the use of the word ödev “whence," was the principle which he had stated in vs. 16, 17. According to the interpretation adopted by Prof. Stuart, the reasoning would stand thus, " It is an admitted principle, or a universal fact, that when a will is made it is necessary that he who made it should die before it is valid or confirmed. Whence (@dev) it was, or it was on this universally admitted fact, that Moses, though engaged in making, not a will but a covenant, ordained that a victim should be slain, and that the blood should be sprinkled on the book and on all the people. The principle that the making of a will implies of necessity the death of him who makes it, is so uniform and settled, that it was indispensable that in making a compact between God and man a sacrificial victim should be slain, and the blood sprinkled on the book and the people.” The consecutiveness of such reasoning cannot be understood now, nor would it be admitted in a court of law. Its force would appear not to be greater than to say, “It is an universally admitted fact that the death of a testator is needed in order to make his: will valid, whence it was (60ev) that A., in the conveyance of a piece of land was careful that the deed should be confirmed by a seal.” But admit that the word diadnxn in vs. 16,
17, is employed in the sense in which it is confessedly every where else in the Bible, and the reasoning is clear. It is this, “ It is a settled principle, a great truth that is indisputable, that in an arrangement between God and man pertaining to salvation, the death of a victim is necessary in order to ratify and confirm it. Whence it was (@dev) that, acting on this principle, the first covenant was not ratified without blood. In that great transaction a victim was slain, and to confirm that covenant, the blood was sprinkled on the book, the tabernacle, and the people.” In reasoning like this, we see, at least, that the conclusion is connected with the premises.
In regard to this view, however, Prof. Stuart says that there are “difficulties” which are “insuperable.” Those “ difficulties" he states in the following “summary," p. 442. "(1.) It is yet to be made out, that no covenants were valid except those made by the intervention of sacrifices. Most clearly these were exhibited only in covenants of a peculiarly solemn and important nature. See Ruth iv: 7. Deut. xxv : 7, 9. Gen. xxiii : 16. xxiv: 9, etc. The proposition is too general here (Grou diadhxn) to admit of limitation merely to covenants of a special nature. Even in regard to them, it remains to be shown, that the sacrificial rite, specially in later times, was deemed to be necessary. Where is this seen, in solemn compacts and treaties so often made, as represented in the books of Kings and Chronicles ? An oath is the general sanction. (2.) Διατίθημι and διαθέμενος cannot properly be rendered mediate and mediating sacrifice. They have no such meaning any where else. Aladéuevos must mean either a testator, or else a contractor, i. e. one of two covenanting parties. But where is the death of a person covenanting, made necessary in order to confirm the covenant? (3.) Nexpois means only dead men; but men surely were not sacrificed by the Jews, as a mediating sacrifice in order to confirm a covenant. Of course it is impossible to support the exegesis of Pierce and others, in the way of philological argument.”
These objections and difficulties, which it is but justice to Prof. S. to say, would doubtless have appeared much more forcible, and much less as dicta ex cathedra, if they had been expanded in an Excursus, or in such an argument as Prof. S. would build on them by expanding them, will be best examined by an exegesis of the passage itself. They