« PreviousContinue »
xlix, 21). The allusion here is specially to the elegance and beauty of the hind, bounding away gracefully in his freedom, and denotes in the tribe of Naphtali a taste for sayings of beauty, such as elegant songs and proverbs. As the neighbouring tribe of Zebulon produced ready writers (Judges v, 14), so, probably, Naphtali became noted for elegant speakers. “Benjamin is a wolf; he shall rend” (Gen. xlix, 27). This metaphor fitingly portrays the furious, warlike character of the Benjamites, from whom sprang an Ehud and a Saul. In Zech. vii, 11, mention is made of those who “refused to hearken, and gave a refractory shoulder,” that is, acted like a refractory heifer or ox that shakes the shoulder and refuses to accept the yoke. Comp. Neh, ix, 29 and Hos. iv, 16. In Num. xxiv, 21, it is said of the Kenites, “Enduring is thy dwelling-place, and set in the rock thy nest.” The secure dwellings of this tribe in the high fastnesses of the rocky hills are conceived as the nest of the eagle in the towering rock. Comp. Job xxxix, 27; Jer. xlix, 16; Obad. 4; Hab. ii, 9. The following metaphors are based upon practices appertaining
to the worship and ritual of the Hebrews. “I will Metaphors based on He- wash my palms in innocency, I will go round about thy
altar, O Jehovah” (Psa. xxvi, 6). Here the allusion is to the practice of the priests who were required to wash their hands before coming near the altar to minister (Exod. xxx, 20). The psalmist expresses his purpose to conform thoroughly to Jehovah's will; he would, so to speak, offer his burnt-offerings, even as the priest who goes about the altar on which his sacrifice is to be offered; and in doing so, he would be careful to conform to every requirement. In Psa. li, 7, “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall become clean,” the allusion is to the ceremonial forms of purifying the leper (Lev. xiv, 6, 7) and his house (verse 51), and the person who had been defiled by contact with a dead body (Num. xix, 18, 19). So also the well-known usages of the passover, the sacrifice of the lamb, the careful removal of all leaven, and the use of unleavened bread, lie at the basis of the following metaphorical language: “Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened; for our passover also has been sacrificed, even Christ; wherefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened loaves of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor. v, 7, 8). Here the metaphors are continued until they make an allegory.
Sometimes a writer or speaker, after having used a striking metaphor goes on to elaborate its imagery, and, by so doing, constructs an allegory; sometimes he introduces a number and variety
of images together, or, at other times, laying all figure aside, he proceeds with plain and simple language. Thus, in the
Elaborated and Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says: “Ye are the salt of mixed the earth” (Matt. v, 13). It is not difficult to
at once the comparison here implied. “The earth, the living world of men, is like a piece of meat, which would putrefy but that the grace of the Gospel of God, like salt, arrests the decay and purifies and preserves it.” But the Lord proceeds, adhering closely to the imagery of salt and its power, and develops his figure into a brief allegory: “But if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?” Here is a most significant query. “The apostles, and in their degree all Christians," says Whedon, “are the substance and body of that salt. They are the substance to which the saltness inheres. But if the living body to which this gracious saltness inheres doth lose this quality, wherewith shall the quality be restored ? The it refers to the solid salt which has lost its saltness or savour. What, alas! shall ever resalt that savourless salt? The Christian is the solid salt, and the grace of God is his saltness; that grace is the very salt of the salt. This solid salt is intended to salt the world with; but, alas! who shall salt the salt?”* But immediately after this elaborated figure, another and different metaphor is introduced, and carried forward with still greater detail. “Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hid; nor do they light a lamp and put it under the modius, but on the stand, and it shines for all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine” (Matt. v, 14–16). Here a variety of images is presented to the mind; a light, a city on a mountain, a lamp, a lampstand, and a Roman modius or peck measure. But through all these varying images runs the main figure of a light designed to send its rays afar, and illumine all within its range. A metaphor thus extended always becomes, strictly speaking, an allegory. In Matt. vii, 7, we have three metaphors introduced in a single verse. “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” First, we have the image of a suppliant, making a request before a superior; next, of one who is in search for some goodly pearl or treasure (comp. Matt. xiii, 45, 46); and, finally, of one who is knocking at a door for admission. The three figures are so well related that they produce no confusion, but rather serve to strengthen one another. So Paul uses with good effect a twofold metaphor in Eph. iii, 17, where he prays Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, being rooted and grounded in love." Here is the figure of a tree striking its roots Whedon, Commentary, in loco.
,בִּפְרֹעַ פְּרָעוֹת בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל stantially the Syriac and Arabic, renders the Hebrew
into the soil, and of a building based upon a deep and strong foundation.' But these figures are accompanied both before and after with a style of language of the most simple and practical character, and not designed to elaborate or even adhere to the imagery suggested by the metaphors. Sometimes the salient point of allusion in a metaphor may
matter of doubt or uncertainty. The opening words of Uncertain metaphorical allu- Deborah's song (Judg. v, 2) have long puzzled translasions. tors and exegetes. The English version, following sub
, , “for the avenging of Israel." The Septuagint (Alex. Codex) has, “for the leading of the leaders,” but seems to have been governed by the resemblance of the word niyo to the official name of Egyptian monarchs jyqe, Pharaoh. Neither of these translations has any certain support in Hebrew usage. The noun yo occurs in the sing. ular but twice (Num. vi, 5; Ezek. xliv, 20), and in both places means a lock of hair. The plural form of the word, niyna, occurs only here and in Deut. xxxii, 42, and in both places would seem to mean, most legitimately, locks of hair, or floring locks. And why should it be thought to mean any thing else? So far from being incongruous, it best suits the imagery of the immediate context in Deut. xxxii, 42. Jehovah there says: “I will make my arrows drunk with blood (Heb. DTO, from blood), and my sword shall devour flesh-with the blood (or, from the blood) of slain and of captives, from the head of hairy locks of the enemy”-that is, from the blood of the hairy heads of the enemies. And so at the beginning of Deborah's song we may understand a bold metaphor,
Meyer observes : “Paul, in the vivacity of his imagination, conceives to himself the congregation of his readers as a plant (comp. Matt. xiii, 3), perhaps a tree (Matt. vii, 17), and at the same time as a building.” Critical Com. on Ephesians, in loco. “The perfect participles,” says Braune, “denote a state in which Paul's readers are and continue to be, which is the presupposition in order that they may be able to know. ... They mark that a profoundly penetrating life (éýpi.wuévol) and a well grounded, permanent character (TEVEMENWuévol) are necessary. The double figure strengthens the notion of the relation to love; this latter (év ảyáky) is made prominent by being placed first. In marks love as the soil in which they are rooted, and as the foundation on which they are grounded. This implies moreover that it is not their own love which is referred to, but one which corresponds with the soil afforded to the tree, the foundation given to the house; and this would undoubtedly be, in accordance with the context, the love of Christ, were not all closer definition wanting, even the article. Accordingly, this substantive rendered general by the absence of the article corresponds with the verbal idea : in loving, i. e., in that love, which is first God's in Christ, and then that of men who became Christians, who are rooted in him and grounded on him through faith.” Commentary on Ephesians (Lange's Biblework), in loco.
« In the loosing of locks in Israel; ” for the primary meaning of the verb ye is everywhere that of letting something loose, and when used of locks of hair would naturally denote the loosing of the hair from all artificial coverings and restraint, and leaving it to wave wildly, as was done in the case of a Nazarite. The metaphor of the passage would thus be an allusion to the unrestrained growth of the locks of those who took upon themselves the vows of a Nazarite. And this view of the passage is corroborated by the next line of the parallelism, “In the free self-offering of the people.” The people had, so to speak, by this act of consecration, made themselves free-will offerings. Nothing, therefore, could be more striking and impressive than these metaphorical allusions at the opening of this hymn:
In the loosing of locks in Israel,
Praise Jehovah !
In Psa. xlv, 1, “My heart boils up with a goodly word,” it is difficult to determine whether the allusion is to an overflowing fountain, or to a boiling pot. The primary idea, according to Gesenius, lies in the noise of water boiling or bubbling, and as the word Om7 occurs nowhere else, but its derivative, nonne, denotes in Lev. ii, 7; vii, 9, a pot or vessel used both for boiling and frying, it is perhaps safer to say that the allusion in the metaphor of Psa. xlv, i, is to a boiling pot. The heart of the Psalmist was hot with a holy fervour, and, like the boiling oil of the vessel in which the meat-offering was prepared, it seethed and bubbled in the rapture of exulting song.
The exact point of the allusion in the words, “buried with him through baptism into death” (Rom. vi, 4), and “buried Buried with with him in baptism ” (Col. ii, 12), has been disputed. Christ through
baptism The advocates of immersion insist that there is an allu- death. sion to the mode in which the rite of water baptism was performed, and most interpreters have acknowledged that such an allusion is in the word. The immersion of the candidate was thought of as a burial in the water. But the context in both passages goes to show that the great thought of the apostle was that of the believer's death unto sin. Thus, in Romans, “ Are ye ignorant that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death. ... We have become united with the likeness of his death (ver. 5). ... Our old man was crucified with him (ver. 6). ... We died with Christ (ver. 8). . . . Even so consider ye yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus” (ver. 11). Now, while the word buried with (ovvuántw) would naturally accord with the idea of an immersion into water, the main thought is the deadness unto sin, attained through a union with Christ in the likeness of his death. The imagery does not depend on the mode of Christ's execution or of his burial, much less on the manner in which baptism was administered, but on the similitude of his death (tõ oporbuatl ToŨ Javátov aŭtoő, ver. 5) considered as an accomplished fact. The baptism is into death, not into water; and whether the outward rite were performed by sprinkling, or pouring, or immersion, it would have been equally true in either case, that they were “buried with him through the baptism into the death.” Or he might have said, “We were crucified with him through baptism into death;” and then as now it would have been the end accomplished, the death, not the mode of the baptism, which is made prominent. In the briefer form of expression in Col. ii, 12, it is written, simply,“ having been buried with him in baptism. Here, however, the context shows that the leading thought is the same as in Rom. vi, 3-11. The burial in baptism (év TQ Bantiquari, in the matter of baptism) figured "the putting off of the body of the flesh;” that is, the utter stripping off and casting aside the old carnal nature. The burial is not to be thought of as a mode of putting a corpse in a grave or sepulchre, but as indicating that the body of sin is truly dead. Having thus clearly defined the real point of the allusion it need not be denied or disputed that the figure also may include, incidentally, a reference to the practice of immersion. But, as Eadie observes, “Whatever may be otherwise said in favour of immersion, it is plain that here the burial is wholly ideal. Believers are buried in baptism, but even in immersion they do not go through a process having any resemblance to the burial and resurrection of Christ.” I To maintain from such a metaphorical allusion, where the process and mode of burial are not in point at all, that a burial into, and a resurrection from, water, are essential to valid baptism, would seem like an extravagance of dogmatism.
* The preposition ?, in, points out the condition of the people in which they conquered and sang. The song is the people's consecration hymn, and praises God for the prosperous and successful issue with which he has crowned their vows. Cassel's Commentary on Judges (Lange's Biblework), in loco. Comp. Whedon's Old Testament Commentary, in loco.