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verse 1, and Lemuel in chap. xxxi, 1. Then we would supply some thing, as, “Words of Alukah,” or, “Words which one spoke to Alukah.” It will, at least, be granted that among so many proverbs as have been preserved to us in the Scriptures, several of which were manifestly designed to puzzle, there are probably some which can now be only conjecturally explained. 3. Wherever the context lends any help to the exposition of a
and proverb great deference is to be paid to it, and it is to parallelism. be noted that in the Book of Proverbs, as in the other Scriptures, the immediate context is, for the most part, a very safe guide to the meaning of each particular passage. So, also, the poetic parallelisms, in which this book is written, help greatly in the exposition. The synonymous and the antithetic parallelisms, especially, are adapted, by way of the analogies and contrasts they furnish, to suggest their own meaning from within themselves. Thus Prov. xi, 25: “The soul of blessing (liberal soul that is a blessing to others) shall become fat (enriched), and he that waters shall also himself be watered.” Here the second member of the parallelism is a metaphorical illustration of the somewhat enigmatical sentiment of the first. So, again, in the antithetic parallelism of Prov. xii, 24, each member is metaphorical, and the sense of each is made clearer by the contrast: “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule, but the slothful shall be under tribute." 4. But there are passages in the Book of Proverbs where the con
text affords no certain or satisfactory help. There are and sound judg- passages that seem at first self-contradictory, and we
are obliged to pause awhile to judge whether the language be literal or figurative. “There is,” says Stuart, “scarcely any book which calls upon us so often to apply the golden mean between literality on the one hand and flimsy and diffuse generality on the other.” 1
Especially must common sense and sound judgment be appealed to where other helps are not at hand. These are, in all doubtful cases, to be our last resort to guard us against construing all proverbs as universal propositions. Prov. xvi, 7, expresses a great truth: “When Jehovah delights in the ways of a man he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” But there bave been many exceptions to this statement, and many cases to which it could apply only with considerable modification. Such, to some extent, have been all cases of persecution for righteousness' sake. So, too, with verse 13 of the same chapter: Delight of kings are lips of righteousness, and him that speaks right things he will love." The annals of human history show that this has not
Commentary on Proverbs. Introduction, p. 128.
INTERPRETATION OF GNOMES.
always been true; and yet the most impious kings understand the value of upright counsellors. Prov. xxvi, 4 and 5, are contradictory in form and statement, but, for reasons there given, both are at once seen to be true: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he become wise in his own eyes.” A man's good sense and judgment must decide how to answer in any particular case. Prov. vi, 30, 31, has been supposed to involve an absurdity: “They do not despise a thief when he steals to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; but if found he shall restore sevenfold, the whole substance of his house shall he give.” Theft is theft in any case, but if a man is so impoverished as to steal to satisfy hunger, wherewithal, it is asked, can he be made to restore sevenfold? Whence all that substance of his house? The absurdities here alleged arise from a lack of knowledge of Hebrew sentiment and law. To begin with, the passage is proverbial, and must be taken subject to proverbial limitations. Then the context must be kept in view, in which the writer is aiming to show the exceeding wickedness of adultery. No one shall be innocent, he argues, (ver. 29), who touches his neighbor's wife. A man who steals to satisfy the cravings of hunger is not despised, for the palliating circumstances are duly considered; nevertheless, if discovered, even he is subject to the full penalty of the law (comp. Exod. xxii, 1-4). The sevenfold is, doubtless, to be taken idiomatically. His entire property shall be given up, if necessary, to make due restitution. All this of a thief under the circumstances named. But an adulterer shall find even a worse judgment-blows, and shame, and reproach that may not be wiped away (verses 32–35). As for the supposed absurdity of compelling a man who has nothing to restore sevenfold, it arises from an absurdly literal interpretation of the proverb. The sense evidently is, that whatever the circumstances of the theft, if the thief be found, he shall certainly be punished as the case may demand. A man might own estates and yet steal to satisfy his hunger; or, if he owned no property, he could be sold (Exod. xxii, 3) for perhaps more than seven times the value of what he had stolen. So, also, in Eccles. x, 2, it is at once evident that the language is not to be taken literally, but metaphorically: “The heart of a wise man is on his right, but the heart of a fool on his left.” The exact meaning of the proverb, however, is obscure. Heart is probably to be taken for the judgment or understanding, and the sentiment is that a wise man has his understanding always at ready and vigorous command, while the opposite is the case with the fool.
INTERPRETATION OF TYPES.
TYPES and symbols constitute a class of figures distinct from all
those which we have treated in the foregoing chapters; Types and Symbols defined and but they are not, properly speaking, figures of speech.
They resemble each other in being sensible representations of moral and religious truth, and may be defined, in general, as figures of thought in which material objects are made to convey vivid spiritual conceptions to the mind. Crabb defines types and symbols as different species of the emblem, and observes: “The type is that species of emblem by which one object is made to represent another mystically; it is, therefore, only employed in religious matters, particularly in relation to the coming, the office, and the death of our Saviour; in this manner the offering of Isaac is considered as a type of our Saviour's offering himself as an atoning sacrifice. The symbol is that species of emblem which is converted into a constituted sign among men; thus the olive and laurel are the symbols of peace, and have been recognized as such among barbarous as well as enlightened nations.” 1
The symbols of Scripture, however, rise far above the conventional signs in common use among men, and are employed, especially in the apocalyptic portions of the Bible, to set forth those revelations, given in visions or dreams, which could find no suitable expression in mere words. Types and symbols may, therefore, be said to agree in their gen
eral character as emblems, but they differ noticeably in Examples types and sym- special method and design. Adam, in his representa
tive character and relation to the human race, was a type of Christ (Rom. v, 14). The rainbow is a symbol of the covenanted mercy and faithfulness of God (Gen. ix, 13–16; Ezek, i, 28; Rev. iv, 3; comp. Isa. liv, 8–10), and the bread and wine in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper are symbols of the body and blood of Christ. There are also typical events like the passage of the Red Sea (1 Cor. x, 1-11), and symbolico-typical actions like Ahijah's rending his new garment as a sign of the rupture of the kingdom of Solomon (1 Kings xi, 29-31). In instances like the latter
English Synonymes, p. 531. New York, 1859.
TYPES AND SYMBOLS DEFINED.
certain essential elements of both type and symbol become blended in one and the same example. The Scriptures also furnish us with examples of symbolical metals, names, numbers, and colours.
Certain analogies may be traced between types and symbols, and several figures of speech. Symbols, being always analogy bebased upon some points of resemblance between them- tween
types selves and the things to be symbolized, correspond and certain figsomewhat closely with metonymy of the adjunct, or ures of speech. metonymy of the sign and the thing signified (comp. above, pp. 161, 162). Then there are analogies between the simile, the parable, and the type, on the one hand, and between the metaphor, the allegory, and the symbol, on the other. Similes, parables, and types have this in common, that a formal comparison is made or assumed between different persons and events, and the language is employed in its literal sense; but in metaphor, allegory, and symbol, the characteristic feature is that one thing is said or seen, and another is intended. If we say “Israel is like a barren figtree,” the sentence is a simile. In Luke xiii, 6-9, the same image is expanded into a narrative, in the parable of the fruitless fig-tree. But our Lord’s miracle of cursing the leafy but fruitless fig-tree (Mark xi, 13, 14) was a symbolico-typical action, foreshadowing the approaching doom of the Jewish nation. If, however, we say
“ Judah is an olive-tree,” we have a metaphor; one thing is said to be another. But in Jer. xi, 16, 17, this metaphor is extended into an allegory, and in Zech. iv, 3, two olive-trees are symbols of Zerubbabel and Joshua,” the two anointed ones (Hebrew, sons of oil) who stand by the Lord of all the earth ” (ver. 14). At the same time it is to be observed that as the metaphor differs from the simile in being an implied rather than a formal comparison, and as the allegory differs from the parable in a similar way, saying one thing and meaning another-so the symbol differs from the type in being a suggestive sign rather than an image of that which it is intended to represent. The interpretation of a type requires us to show some formal analogy between two persons, objects, or events; that of a symbol requires us rather to point out the particular qualities, marks, features, or signs by means of which one object, real or ideal, indicates and illustrates another. Melchizedek is a type, not a symbol, of Christ, and Heb. vii furnishes a formal statement of the typical analogies. But the seven golden candlesticks (Rev. i, 12) are a symbol, not a type, of the seven churches of Asia. The comparison, however, is implied, not expressed, and it is left to the interpreter to unfold it, and show the points of resemblance.
Besides these formal distinctions between types and symbols there is the more radical and fundamental difference that while a symbol may represent a thing either past, present, or future, a type Naturaldis- is essentially a prefiguring of something future from tinction be- itself. In the technical and theological sense a type is and symbols. a figure or adumbration of that which is to come. It is a person, institution, office, action, or event, by means of which some truth of the Gospel was divinely foreshadowed under the Old Testament dispensations. Whatever was thus prefigured is called the antitype. A symbol, on the other hand, has in itself no essential reference to time. It is designed rather to represent some character, office, or quality, as when a horn denotes either strength or a king in whom strength is impersonated (Dan. vii, 24; viii, 21). The origin of symbols has been supposed to be connected with the history of hieroglyphics." “The word type," observes Muenscher, “is employed not only
in theology, but in philosophy, medicine, and other sciof ences and arts. In all these departments of knowledge
the radical idea is the same, while its specific meaning varies with the subject to which it is applied. Resemblance of some kind, real or supposed, lies at the foundation in every case. In the science of theology it properly signifies the preordained representative relation which certain persons, events, and institutions of the Old Testament bear to corresponding persons, events, and institutions in the Nexo.": Accordingly the type is always something real, not a fictitious or ideal symbol. And, further, it is no ordinary fact or incident of history, but one of exalted dignity and worth—one divinely ordained by the omniscient Ruler to be a foreshadowing of the good things which he purposed in the fulness of time to bring to pass through the mediation of Jesus Christ. Three things are,
It should be observed, however, that this word (avtitutov), as used in the New Testament (Heb. ix, 24; 1 Peter iii, 21), is not equivalent to the technical sense of antitype, or counterpart, as now used in theological literature. It has the more gen. eral meaning of image or likeness.
2 Comp. Warburton, Divine Legation of Moses, book iv, sect. iv.
8 Types and the Typical Interpretation of Scripture. Article in the American Bib. lical Repository for January, 1841, p. 97.
4 In the New Testament the word tútos, type, is applied variously, but always with the fundamental idea of a figure or real form. In John xx, 26, it is used of the print of the nails in the Saviour's hands-visible marks which identified him as the crucified. In Acts vii, 43, it denotes idolatrous images, and in verse 44, and Heb. viii, 5, the pattern or model after which the tabernacle was made. In Acts xxiii, 25, it denotes the form or style of a letter, and in Rom. vi, 17, a form of doctrine. Comp. ÚTOTÚTWOLS in 2 Tim. i, 13. In Phil. iii, 17; 1 Thess. i, 7; 2 Thess. iii, 9; 1 Tim. iv, 12; Titus ii, 7; 1 Peter v, 3, the word is used in the sense of an example