« ÎnapoiContinuați »
think, proved by such instances as LXX. Gen. xiv. 19, 20, 1 Kings xxv. 32, 33, where we have contrasted subjects, and, in the latter case, the cú (vs. 33.) is the “principal notion” because of the clause Ý à rozwicara, etc., which contains the very ground and substance of the whole exclamation. As for the word may, on the other hand, it is, to say the least, not justified by Winer's cited example, Ps. Ixvii. 20; for, whatever else may be said of the passage, it presents no such peculiar prominence of the subject. There seems to be no evidence of any prominence at all in the subject, except the mere fact of the arrangement of the words. But to assume that this fact proves it, is, in the first place, to assume the very point in dispute, and in the second place, to assume that no other reason can be given for the peculiar order.
(c.) Without, however, pressing this question of may and must, we ask what is the prominence of the subject in Rom. ix. 5, which renders it in such a degree the principal notion, that its position before the doxological word is not only “quite appropriate," as Winer maintains, but "even indispensable ?” It must be, if we are guided by his paragraph quoted above, either (x.) because of a contrast with something else in the passage, --which, it would seem, is either Christ or the Israelites, or (v.) because God is designated as the author of the blessings and privileges mentioned in this verse and the preceding one, and that this authorship is the principal thought or notion. With reference to x, we should say that there is no such contrast here, and that, if there were, there are passages of sufficient number in the Old Testament, in which, while the contrast is much more marked and striking, the doxological word keeps its regular position at the beginning of the clause, to show that the Biblical writers did not reverse the order in such cases, or regard the fact of a contrast as having any influence towards a reversal. Compare, for example, LXX. Gen. xiv. 19, 20, 1 Kings xxv. 32, 33, already referred to ; and, as furnishing quite as much of contrast as can possibly be found in Rom. ix. 5, LXX. Ps. lxxxviiii; 53, whether we consider the contrast as with the enemies or the anointed, του χριστού σου, (Ps.) the Israelites or Christ, (Rom.). In respect to y., we should maintain that there are passages in the Old Testament and Apocrypha, where the subject is clearly and emphatically the principal notion—as much
is in our present verse—in which the writer, nevertheless, places it after the doxological word. Compare 2 Macc. xv. 34, as a marked instance. In this verse, as we see in view of the context, the chief idea, and the point and force of the offering of praise to God, are found in the words και διατηρήσας τον εαυτου τόπον αμίαντον, as they are in ó óy, etc., according to Winer's statement, in Rom. ix. 5. It is the great act, there as much as here, and so, we think, in LXX. i Kings xxv. 33, and elsewhere, which calls forth the doxology, and yet no change in the order is made. *
(d.) If it be said that these cases, and others which might be mentioned, do not correspond with the one now under discussion, because the name of the subject is here preceded by a descriptive clause, ó óv, etc., which marks the subject as the principal notion, it must be admitted that there is no passage in the Septugaint precisely corresponding, in this respect, with the present one. Can we believe, however, that, if in Ps. Ixxi. 18, Sept. for example, which now reads ejhorriós xúplos Ο θεός του Ισραήλ, ο ποιων θαυμάσια μόνος, the writer had wished to use only the phrase ο ποιών θαυμάσια θεός, instead of the words which he does use, he would have been compelled, or, so far as we can judge, would have been disposed, to place cvormtós after it? Or, again, would it have been necessary to vary, in this respect, the order of the sentence in Ps. cxvii. 26 Sept., if to the clause, as it now reads, ευλογημένος ο ερχόμενος εν τω ονόματι Κυρίου the writer had desired to add words such as χριστος εις τους αιώνας ? It is true that the doxologies in the Septuagint which introduce the word ejhorytós have, in all cases, the name of the subject immediately following this word, and, if a descriptive or causal clause occurs, it is added with 8te or ös and a verb, or with ó and a participle. But this fact seems to point, not so much to an impossibility of placing such a descriptive phrase, consisting of ó and a participle, before the name of the subject in such a sentence, but rather to the probability that, if St. Paul had wished to insert a doxology here, he would have adopted the course of the LXX. translators, and would have written jorytós first, Osós in the second place, and then a participial clause with o, or a verbal one with os or Örl. The argument, thus, is rather unfavorable than favorable to the supposition that the Apostle's words are designed to be an ascription of praise to God the Father.
* As the doxological clause in 2 Macc. xv. 34 follows the verb svùóryoay (οι δε πάντες εις τον ουρανόν ευλόγησαν τον επιφανή κύριον, λέγοντες), it may, perhaps, be claimed that this verb requires the emphasis in the doxology to be on shortós. If we admit this-which may be regarded as doubtful, to say the least,---we may, nevertheless, confidently affirm, from the unvarying usage of the Septuagint, that the same arrangement of words would have been given, if the verb in question had not been in the text; and the passage remains, therefore, as a suitable one for the purpose for which it is here used.
(e.) But if Rom. ix. 5, is a passage in which the writer desired to set forth a peculiar emphasis in relation to the subject, such as surpasses that which was aimed at in any doxological verse of the Old Testament; if this emphasis was to be connected with God's authorship of the blessings which had been given to Israel; and if the end was sought by placing the descriptive clause not merely before the name of the subject, but also before the doxological word; we cannot but think that he would have written, not what we have before us, but τω δε όντι επί πάντων θεώ δόξα εις τους αιώνας, (or, with another order, tự ôž TÛ ÊTÈ TÁrtwy Övre ôóğa, etc.). He would have adopted this course, we think, for two reasons: first, because the almost or quite universal usage in such exclamatory doxologies, (as we see in all the Scriptural writers), would have led him to apprehend a possible misunderstanding of the clause, if put in its present form, —we say this, of course, on the verbal and grammatical side, not on the doctrinal, —and secondly, because the form of expression with the dative was well known to him and frequently used in his epistles, and, indeed, the most common form at the end of his paragraphs, while at the same time it would, if employed, be unmistakable in its meaning.
(f.) Before closing our remarks on this part of the subject, we would call attention to one further point. Meyer and some others maintain that the doxological passages in the LXX, which have the copula are, in no essential point, different from those which have not, so far forth as the matter now in hand is concerned. Hence they claim that all passages of this class, in which the subject precedes vhornuévos, are pertinent as bearing upon our present verse. The s? or yévolto or otw in such sentences, it is affirmed, has no emphasis, and the position of the other words is determined by the fact that the stress falls rather upon the subject than the predicate. The passages of this character are the following: Ruth ii. 19, 2 Chron. ix. 8, Job i. 21, Ps. lxxi. 17, Ps. cxii. 2, Dan. ii. 20. A careful examination of these verses, in connection and comparison with others in which shortcós or cornévos occurs without the copula, will show, we are confident, that there is no evidence that the subject has any more prominence in the one case than in the other. Compare LXX. Ps. lxxi, 17, for example, where we have to s dvoma ajroo worn révoy sis tous a?ūvas, with the same Psalm, verse 19, where the words are ευλογητόν το όνομα της δόξης αυτού εις τον αιώνα και εις αιώνα του alõvos. It is worthy of notice that, in all these cases, the Hebrew reads the verb, the subject and the doxological word in the same order, * while in the passages of the other class the doxological word
* In Ps. Ixxii. (LXX. lxxi.) 17, the Hebrew omits the word blessed: "Let his name be for ever."
is always placed first. Is not the true explanation of the matter the following: namely, that the LXX. translators strictly rendered the Hebrew in both classes of sentences, and that both the Hebrew and Septuagint writers obeyed a natural law of language; the law that, in exclamatory doxologies of this character, the doxological word holds the first position, but, where a copula is introduced, the doxological word may follow the subject--even as we say, in English, Happy is the man, but, Let the man be happy, although the subject is no more prominent, or the principal notion, in the one case than in the other.
We may remark here again, that the argument seems to be cumulative. The probability arising from the position of evhorntós, strong in itself, is strengthened still further by its connection with ó óv,by the naturalness, that is, with which it is taken as a predicate after Öv;—and especially in view of the fact that in the other two instances in which we have similar expressions in the Pauline Epistles, (Rom. i. 25, and 2 Cor. xi. 31), it is a predicate; in the former after os totiv, in the latter after ο ών.
IV. The phrase ó úy én? Trávtwy is, we think, more readily referred to Christ, in this connection, than to God, because, as descriptive of the exaltation and glory of Christ, Šm? Távtwy is a very natural and suitable phrase, (as e. g. in Eph. iv. 6, with reference to the Father), but, as setting forth the fact that God's superintending providence had allotted to the Israelites such blessings, it seems clear that some other expression would have been better adapted to convey the thought. Some other expression would, therefore, probably have been employed. That én? TÚYTWY cannot be used as relating to God in view of the thought of this context, we would not affirm, as some have been disposed to do. But the balance of probability is in favor of the other reference.
It has been asserted, indeed, that ởy would have been omitted, if the Apostle had intended to speak of God. We doubt the propriety of this assertion. και επί πάντων θεύς and ο ών επί πάντων θεός are phrases which do not, or at least may not, have precisely the same meaning. St. Paul here, according to the rendering of the sentence which is proposed for the marginal note by the American Revisers, says, "he who is over all, God, be blessed for ever.” For this expression the language used is perfectly fitted, and more so than 6 ¿n? πάντων θεύς would be. We think it may be said in this connection, however, that there is a somewhat greater naturalness in the use of the words και ως επί πάντων Θεός, as compared with και επί πάντων Θεός, or even ó énTrávtwy Öv Oeós, if the reference be to Christ.
Many writers have further claimed, that, if the clause were designed to be a doxology, a particle like of would be inserted at the beginning, so that it would read ó ò è öy, etc. No doubt this is the common construction in such cases, and therefore there is a certain degree of probability, by reason of this fact, against the doxological interpretation here. But it must be remembered that St. Paul is a writer whose style is marked often by abrupt transitions. In the sentences of such a writer, particles of this sort may easily be omitted. The ardor of his feeling is manifested, at times, by the abruptness, and the emphasis is made stronger. A clear case of the omission of of under such circumstances may be found in 2 Cor. ix. 15, if we adopt the reading favored by the oldest manuscripts and approved by the best textual scholars.
In regard to the phrase now under consideration we may say that, at each point to which we have referred, there is a slight balance, at least, in favor of uniting it with 7.plotós. There is no difficulty as appertaining to the language used, if the words are taken as descriptive of Christ. The absence of of, the position of óv, and the da? ÁYtwy constitute reasons of some, even if it be but little, weight, as bearing against the independence of the clause and its separation from the preceding words.
We have, thus, examined the several parts of the passage which have any important bearing upon the decision as to its meaning: ú üv –επί πάντων-ευλογητός-το κατά σάρκα. They, each and all, afford a probability that the clause relates to Christ. They point in one direction; and this wholly apart from doctrinal considerations,-in the region of language and grammar alone. We cannot say, indeed, that any one of these phrases presents an absolutely conclusive argument on this side of the question. Nor can we maintain, since a chain is no stronger than its links, that all the phrases, when taken together, constitute such an argument, or determine the reference to God to be impossible. At the same time, there is, if we may so express it, a combined and compounded probability, the force of which cannot easily be shaken, as it seems to us, and should not fail to be duly considered.
V. Beyond the words of the individual clause, their meaning and connection, there is one further point which deserves particular notice. The relation of the clause to the entire context may have an important influence in determining the intention of the author when he wrote it. In which direction does the context turn the balance of