Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

2.

lar construction occurs in Ex. iv. 7, 8. Cf. also Matt. ix. 6, Mark ii. 10, Luke v. 24. In these cases the interruption of the grammatical construction is perhaps even more disturbing than in the one before us.

It is not at all unnatural that, in immediate connection with the command concerning the ornaments, it should be parenthetically remarked that the command was obeyed. This objection, therefore, is, at the most, of little weight.

2. Again, it may be objected that, if these verses are the continuation of Jehovah's address to Moses, then Moses ought to be addressed in the second person, and Jehovah ought to speak of himself in the first, whereas both Moses and Jehovah are here spoken of in the third person. This is doubtless the chief thing which has made this section appear to be a historical statement rather than a direction concerning the future. This grammatical fact by itself certainly does favor the common translation. But every Hebrew scholar knows how frequent, and often how very abrupt, the changes of person are in that language. See a parallel construction in Ex. xxiv. 1, Indeed, in the verses immediately preceding we have an illustration of this. Jehovah commands Moses to say to the people, “Ye are a stiffnecked people; should I go up in the midst of thee, I should consume thee.” This, taken strictly, would represent Moses as the consuming one. And, what is more to the point, inasmuch as what Moses is told to say to the people has the form of a direct address of God to the people, it is in fact in perfect consistency with this, if not indeed required by it, that Moses should be spoken of in the third person. The only really strange thing is, therefore, that Jehovah should be spoken of in the third person, and not continue to use the first. But examples of this idiom are extremely numerous. E. g., xxxiv. 10-26 we find that Jehovah, in a series of commands addressed to the people, repeatedly speaks of himself as a third person. Thus (ver. 14), “Thou shalt worship no other god; for Jehovah, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God." This circumstance, therefore, of a change of persons is by no means a serious objection to the proposed construction.

3. It may be said that, if ver. 7 is a continuation of ver. 5, the verb in the Perfect with the Vav Consecutive should precede the subject, whereas the subject now stands first, with the verb following in the Imperfect. This objection (which has been privately urged by some to whom the proposed translation has been presented) I fail to see the force of. That ordinarily the subject follows the verb is very true; but here the verb certainly does follow the subject; and this position of it is no more difficult to explain on one theory than on

another. That the verb may be Jussive here is shown by the precisely parallel constructions in Gen. i. 20, 22, where Jussive verbs, following a Jussive or Imperative, are placed after the subject. If it is asked why the subject here precedes the verb, the answer must be either that the clause is a circumstantial one, or that an emphasis lies on the subject. Against the former explanation, it must be objected that circumstantial clauses should have some obvious relation to the context, whereas these verses (if historical) have none.

If they described something which happened at this time, something which illustrates or explains the context, we might naturally call them circumstantial, though even then the use of the Imperfect at the outset would be unaccountable. But, as all agree, they do not describe what happened at that time, nor anything that it is important to mention as an elucidation of the context. In order to secure even any appearance of connection of thought, we are obliged to read into the passage what is not in the faintest manner suggested by it. Thus it might be imagined that the author, while telling of Moses' conference with Jehovah, was led to think of the tabernacle in which the conference took place, and threw in at that point this bit of historical information about it. But why interject this information into the very midst of the narrative ? Why not at least wait till the close of the account of the conference? And then especially, why not intimate in some manner that the conference really did take place in the tabernacle? The one thing which alone would justisy, or at least in some degree account for, such an interruption of the narrative, is wholly omitted. The case of ver. 6, as related to the context, is quite different. It is an interruption, indeed, in one sense; but it has an obvious connection with the context. It is, moreover, not a circumstantial clause, for it is connected with the foregoing by the Vav Consecutive.-We must, then, account for the position of the subject of the sentence by regarding it as emphatic. indeed, appear to be no special need of emphasis here; but there is certainly as much as in Gen. i. 20, 22, above referred to, or as in Gen, iv, 18. The contrast is between the people who (ver. 5) are punished for their sin, and Moses, who, not having been implicated in their sin, is to enjoy the privilege of peculiar intimacy with Jehovah.

4. One more objection may be urged, viz., that there is a particularity of detail in the passage before us, which seems more appropriate as belonging to a historical narrative than as belonging to a direction or a threat, especially if, as in the present case, the threat is not to be carried out, and is revoked even before being communicated to

There may,

the people whom it concerns. This is to my mind the only serious objection to the interpretation above advocated. If there were not still more serious objections to the ordinary view, this might be enough to decide the verdict in favor of the historical construction of the passage. But the weight of this objection is much diminished by the following considerations. (a) No difficulty is to be found in the mere fact that the threat is not fully executed. It might a priori appear to be inconsistent with the divine character to suppose that God could utter a threat which he is immediately induced to retract by human intercession. But in view of the multitude of instances in which God is said to have repented of his own acts, and to have been moved by the sufferings and prayers of his children, we must relax the rigor of the speculative doubt. More particularly, we have instances of threats prophetically uttered, but retracted before being executed, e. g. the prophecies concerning Ahab (1 Kings xxi. 18-29), Rehoboam (2 Chron. xii. 5-12), Nineveh (Jonah iii.), and Micah's prophecy (iii. 12), declared in Jerem. xxvi. 18, 19 not to have been executed on account of the people's repentance. The difficulty, then, is not at all in the mere fact that what is here prescribed is not carried out; it is only in the fact that there is more circumstantiality in the directions than is elsewhere found in unsulfilled threats. As to this, however, it is to be remarked (b) that there is no occasion for assuming that all of these directions were unsulfilled. In fact, the only particular of which it can certainly be said that it was revoked is the one concerning the pitching of the tent outside of the camp. All that is said, especially, about Moses' going into it to receive divine communications was of permanent validity.

I have attempted to give full weight to all possible objections against the proposed interpretation. None of them seem to be of decisive weight, especially when compared with the much greater objections which lie against the common translation.

“The Everlasting Father."

BY REV. T. W. CHAMBERS, D. D.

In Isaiah ix. 6, 7, there is a remarkable prediction of a child who is justly to bear titles of a very extraordinary character. One of these titles is rendered in our Authorized Version, The Everlasting Fatherthe Hebrew being . The force of this phrase, it is proposed now to consider. It is agreed by all that the first noun is in the construct state, and that its primary meaning is father.

The only questions that arise are as to the nature of the genitive and the meaning of the second noun.

1. An early opinion, originating with Abarbanel, and afterwards adopted by Hitzig, Knobel, and Kuenen, gives to the sense of booty, a meaning which it certainly has in Gen. xlix. 27, Isaiah xxxiii. 23, and Zeph. iii. 8, where, however, the connection imperatively requires it. In all other cases, nearly fifty in number, it denotes perpetuily. Nor is there any reason for departing from the ordinary sense here, since there is nothing in the attributes of the peaceful and righteous Ruler to suggest that he is a plundering conqueror who reigns by violence and fills his treasury with spoils, but, on the contrary, much that points in another direction.

2. A second rendering is that of the A. V., which retains the usual meaning of both words and makes the genitive one of attributeFather of everlasting=Everlasting Father. Thus Gesenius, Ewald, Hengstenberg, Delitzsch, and Maurer. This is certainly a possible rendering, since we have in Hab. (iii. 6) W7, where no one doubts that the second noun represents a quality of the first, viz., perpetuity. The difficulty in adopting this view here is the fact that it gives to the subject of the prophecy a title which is never applied to the Messiah elsewhere in the S. S., and one which it is perplexing either to explain exegetically or to apply homiletically. Christ's relations to his people are set forth in a vast variety of ways by the Sacred Writers, but never by any borrowed from the paternal tie-the word father, with all its boundless wealth of meaning, being reserved for the first person of the Godhead, the Father of all, while Messiah is over and over set forth in the New Testament as the brother of his people.

3. A third view makes the genitive one of authorship (auctoris). a) Thus Grotius makes it=father of a numerous offspring.

b) The Douay version, with which Lowth agrees, identifying with abiy, makes the phrase mean father of a new age, or, as the older version has it, father of the world to come. (LXX. (Alex. text] TATİP Toù novios a'wvos. Vulg. Pater futuri sæculi.)

This again is a possible rendering, but certainly not probable. For it gives to the second noun a meaning which it has nowhere else in the Scriptures, and if Isaiah had intended to convey this sense he would have used awy which was ready at his hand. Besides, the idea thus given makes no perceptible addition either in dignity or in efficacy to what has already been ascribed to the child whose name is wonderful. If he is mighty God, he is of course father or founder of the new age just as he was of all preceding ages.

(c) Another modification of this view regards the phrase as showing Messiah to be the author of eternity, i. e., eternal life to his people. But while this is a certain and blessed truth, and one set forth with frequency and precision in the New Testament, it is not contained in the Old, except by implication. Nor does it seem natural to interject a purely spiritual conception like this into a description, which borrowing its terms from an earthly throne sets forth the inherent dignity of Messiah as a mighty, successful, peaceful and permanent monarch, the increase of whose government has no end. While the doctrine of immortality was certainly known to the ancient saints, yet it was not emphasized and repeated in such a way as to render it natural to expect that it would be identified with the person of Messiah so directly and distinctly as this interpretation would make it here.

4. A fourth view is that which makes the genitive one of possession. This is an Arabic usage of very common occurrence in ancient times and modern, but in Hebrew is found very rarely, and then only in proper names, e. g., Abitub 210 father of goodness, i. e., the good one. In Job xvii. 14, the patient man salutes the grave, saying, “Corruption, thou art my father," i. l., corruption possesses me.

And if we render now by pit, as some contend that we always

« ÎnapoiContinuați »