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in the Septuagint, in the same manner. There also it has, in five instances besides these, the meaning of corpse, viz., in Deut. 18: 26; Is. 26 : 19; Jer. 7: 31; 9:21 ; 19: 7; and this is the most ancient and frequent meaning of it in the Greek classics. No example stands on record, to my knowledge, where ó vexgós, the noun, ever designates the dead body of a beast, much less of a sacrifice. One may say of a lion, or of a tree, or of faith, or works, or any other ihing, that it is dead, vsxpóv, using the word as an adjective, which simply expresses the quality or attribute of deadness ; although such a usage is very rare. One may use the word dead in a tropical sense as an adjective, to designate spiritual coldness and lifelessness. But vexgós as a noun, is confined (tropical usage only excepted) to dead men, i. e. dead men in opposition to, or in distinction from, living ones (which is the universal New Testament usage), or else the dead bodies merely of such men, i. e. their corpses (which is usual in the classics, and sometimes in the Septaugint). But in the New Testament, the word for human corpse, is nowpa; see Rev. 11: 9.
But there is another objection against interpreting vɛxgois in the manner of Mr. B., which is still stronger than that already made on the ground of usage. It is this, viz., that had the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews designed here to express the idea of a sacrifice made in order to ratify a covenant, he would beyond all reasonable question have employed the word θυσίαις, Or θυτούς, the only appropriate words for such a design. Oudiaothgrov is the name of the altar on which sacrifices are laid ; dw is the appropriate verb to designate the action of killing them; and duria is the word that New Testament usage, (and the Septuagint also), every where exhibits, in order to designate the animal slain for a sacrifice. No less than fourteen limes does the epistle to the Hebrews exhibit it. I need not cite the passages, since every good Lexicon, and of course every Greek Concordance will readily supply them. This is a usage so plain, so appropriate, so frequent, that to assume the use of vɛxpoñs, in the case before us, in the sense of avoia, is plainly to do violence to the usus loquendi, unless the context imperiously demands it. But in my own apprehension, the context furnishes decisive reasons against it.
Besides, we know that the Jewish law forbade the offering
It was a
of any animals in sacrifice, which died of themselves. They were to be brought alive, and to be slain by the altar. Why then should Paul here choose a word which is doubtful, to say the least, (i. e. vexpoís, which means something already dead, and which therefore might mislead his readers), when he might avoid all occasion of this kind by choosing duria. It is quite incredible that he should have done so. spontaneous matter here, as every where else, when a victim is presented as an offering of any sort, to call it duoia.
A word, in this place, on ihe difficulty which Mr. B. finds in my rendering šmi vexgois by after men are dead, p. 70.
says that šai means upon or over, and not after. It would be easy to adduce good authority for such a translation as I have given. What else επί
mean in Acts 11: 9; John 4: 27. Xen. Hist. Græc. iv. 4, 9. Demosth. 927. 3. Xen. Anab. vi. 1. 11, 12, unless it be after? Still I have no anxiety to vindicate this shade of meaning. It is very easy to justify my rendering for substance, in case I give up this form of expression. An unquestionable use of émi is to designate the condition or circumstances under which any thing takes place or is done ; see Passow's Lex., but specially those two masters of Greek idiom, Kühner, Gramm. 9612. 3. b. Winer, N. Test. Gramm. Ø 52 c. a. The very phrase in question tai vexgoís, Winer paraphrases by "erst wenn ein Todesfall eingetreten ist," i. e. only when death has taken place. Does this differ in sense from the phraseology I have employed? If the reader will consult Passow, Kühner, Winer, or Dr. Robinson's Lexicon, he will find abundant confirmation of the meaning here assigned to si.
With that shade of meaning thus attached to sri, which has now been developed, I might correctly translate smi bexpoís, on condition that men are dead. The plural number is here used instead of the singular, merely because the writer wishes to state the usage adverted to as general, and not as limited to any particular individual. The plural, therefore, is more to his purpose.
As to supplying the word men, in this case where vexpoís has no expressed antecedent, it is a matter of course, on the supposition that the passage refers to human beings, and not to animals. Nothing therefore is gained in favor of the rendering proposed by Mr. B., by our giving up the word after. We must still translate sní on condition that, in case that, which certainly accords with a well known and established meaning of this particle.
Yet this is not all with which the exegesis of Mr. B. has to contend. Paul says, that the diadhxn "is of no avail so long as the diadéusvos is living,” v. 17. A contract, covenant, or compact of any kind that is common among men, cannot be described by this ; for, as has already been remarked, most compacts are rendered null by the death of one of the parties, and none of them depend on this for confirmation. No sacrifices were needed to confirm them ; although they were sometimes resorted to in order to make the obligation more solemn and impressive. It is not possible, therefore, that covenants in common use can be meant here ; for the description does not fit them at all. And yet it is to something in common use, something well known, acknowledged, and general, to which the writer most evidently appeals. His design is, to sanction a particular case by a generally acknowledged and known usage. “Death, as all acknowledge, the death of a diadélusvos must take place, ere the dadoxn in question can be valid.” We have seen, that diadéusvos of necessity means the agent, or one of the agents, who makes the diadaun. Now the victim that is sacrificed to sanction what has already been done, is not the agent in making the diadnxn. Nor is the action of sanctioning here indicated. Mhmots loguer is the Apostle's expression, i. e. it has no strength, no force, is of no avail. Such a principle was never acknowledged among the Hebrews. All that a sacrifice could do in a case of compact, would be only equivalent to what an oath does now in the same case.
It is not essential ; it only makes the obligation more impressive.
But Mr. B. himself acknowledges, that any of the usual covenants among and between men cannot be meant by the apostle. He refers the whole matter, therefore, to covenants between God and man. Here, he avers, “it was a setiled principle, that in a ona or dadoxn between God and man, there must be the death of the sacrificial victim. It was an indisputable principle," p. 66, comp. 64.
Here then we must join issue again, upon a matter of fact.
The ten commandments given at Mount Sinai are often explicitly called a ona i. e. a gadhxn, and were the most
solemn of all transactions of this nalure.
There was no sacrifice on that occasion; but afterwards, when the laws were more fully completed, the confirmation by sacrifice took place as related in Ex. xxiv, and Heb. 9: 18 seq. Nothing could be more appropriate.
Yet this rite was not always repeated, when the people made a covenant with God. In Deut. 29 : 10 seq., a solemn and express covenant of the whole Hebrew nation with God is described ; yet not a word is said respecting any sacrifice. In Joshua xxiv. is an account of a covenant between God and his people, through the intervention of Joshua, yet there is not a word respecting any sacrifice. In 2 K. xi. we have an account of another covenant between the same parties, mediated by Jehoiada, and yet there is no intimation of any sacrifice. In 2 K. xxiii. is an account of King Josiah, with the priests, prophets, and people, all entering into a most solemn covenant with God, and yet there is no sacrifice of confirmation ; see also the same in 2 Chron. 34: 31, 32. In 2 Chron. 15: 12 seq., it is related of King Asa and all his people, that they made a covenant with God, after the usual ceremonial sacrifices had been offered, and then that “they sware to the Lord” to keep the covenant, instead of confirming it by sacrifices. In 2 Chron. xxix. is an account of Hezekiah and his people entering into a covenant (v. 10.) with the Lord; and although sacrifices followed, they were the usual offerings of the temple, and not sacrifices of confirmation. In Ezra x. is the history of another covenant between God and the people, but not a word respecting sacrifices.
How stands this matter then in the Bible ? Simply thus: We have the history of a sacrifice when God covenanted with Abraham, and also with Israel at Sinai, two cases; and we have, as exhibited above, seven cases of covenant with God, where there is not one word respecting a sacrifice of confirmation, and no reason whatever to suppose that there was any. It is disficult, with such facts before us, to see how Mr. B. could be so misled, as to state that in covenants between God and man, “there must be the death of a sacrificial victim," and moreover, that “this is an indisputable principle," p. 66.
Lei us sum up the whole matter. Asabrun, which generically designates arrangement, may also, and almost as a
matter of course, designate any particular kind of arrangement, viz., will or testament, covenant, treaty, compact, agreement, etc. In all these senses it is actually employed in the classics; in most (if not all) of them in the Scriptures. It may also mean statute, prescription, ordinance, and either of these as comprising a promise or a threatening. These meanings are common to the Septuagint and to the New Testament. Yet in none of these, will or testament exceptcd, is the death of a diadéusvos necessary to make valid the oradíxn; in most of these arrangements, death would render the Sadræn null and void. In none of them, even including testament, is a sacrifice for confirmation necessary, as we have abundantly shown from the Scriptures. Such a sacrifice is merely occasional, and only adds peculiar solemnity to the occasion of making it. There remains therefore, no way whatever in which we can, as philologists, justify the rendering of dadnxn here by covenant. It is not true, that a sacrifice for confirmation of a covenant, either with God or with man, was necessary. In both cases it was only occasionally (and that very rarely) resorted to, as sacred history shows us; but it was resorted 10, as has just been remarked, merely for the purpose which among us is now subserved by an oath. By ihe word testament, then, we must render Osadnan in Heb. 19: 16, 17.
I must even venture to do this, in the face of MacKnight, Doddridge, Bloomfield, Michaelis, Steudel, and Dr. J.P. Wilson, who have inclined to the opinion espoused by my much respected friend and brother, and to whom he appeals. He might have added Tholuck, in his recent Commentary on Hebrews; who, however, speaks very cautiously, and takes the attitude of asking why the thing may not be as he supposes it to be, rather than that of seriously laboring to show ihat it is so. He felt the pressure of philology in opposition to his views; but he felt also, that the logic of the apostle would be put in jeopardy by translating dadien as our English version has done, and of two difficulties he chooses that which seemed to him to be the least. And this appears to be the main difficulty with Mr. B.
Whether Tholuck is right, in respect to Paul's logic, remains to be examined. But as to the other authorities in Greek, adduced by Mr. B., I must frankly confess, that the opinion of no one of those whom he names would settle a