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of which tents were composed. The explanation of this abrupt transition from the figure of a house or tent to that of a garment, may be found in the image, familiar to the apostle, both from his occupations and his birthplace, of the tent of Cilician haircloth, which might almost equally suggest the idea of a habitation and of a a vesture. Compare the same union of metaphors in Psa. civ, 2, Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment; who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain' (of a tent).” 1
The main subject, then, is the present body considered as an earthly house, a tabernacle upon earth. In it we groan; in it we are under burden; in it we endure “the momentary lightness of our affliction ” (TÒ Trapavtika <happòv rñs Olivew), which is mentioned in chapter iv, 17, and which is there set in contrast with an 'eternal weight of glory” (aiúviov Bápos dóšng). To this earthly house, heaven itself, whether considered as the house of many
mansions (John xiv, 2) or the city of God (Rev. xxi, 10), affords no true antithesis. The true antithesis is the heavenly body, the vesture of immortality, which is from God. For the opposite of our house is the building from God; the one may be dissolved, the other is eternal; the one is upon earth (étiyelog), the other is (not heaven itself, but) in the heavens. The true parallel to the entire passage before us is 1 Cor. xv, 47–54, where the earthly and the heavenly bodies are contrasted, and it is said (ver. 53) “this corruptible must be clothed with incorruption, and this mortal must be clothed with iminortality.”
The above example also illustrates how antithesis, contrast, or Contrast or op- opposition, may serve to determine the meaning of position. words. A further instance may be cited from Rom. viii, 5–8. In verse 4 the apostle has introduced the antithetic expressions κατά σάρκα, and κατά πνεύμα, αccording to the flesh and according to the spirit. He then proceeds to define, as by contrast, the two characters. “For they who are according to the flesh the things of the flesh do mind (opovoữoiv, think of, care for), but they, according to the spirit, the things of the spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the spirit life and peace. Because the mind of the flesh is enmity toward God, for to the law of God it does not submit itself, for it is not able; and they who are in the flesh are not able to please God.” The spirit, throughout this passage, is to be understood of the Holy Spirit: “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” mentioned in verse 2, which delivers the sinner “from the law of sin and of death.” The being according
, to the flesh, and the being in the flesh, are to be understood of
Commentary on St. Paul's Epistles to the Corinthians, in loco.
unregenerate and unsanctified human life, conditioned and controlled by carnal principles and motives. This Scripture, and more that might be cited, indicates, by detailed opposition and contrast, the essential and eternal antagonism between sinful carnality and redeemed spirituality in human life and character.
The usus loquendi of many words may be seen in the parallelisms of Hebrew poetry. Whether the parallelism be synon- Hebrew paral ymous or antithetic, it may serve to exhibit in an lelisms. unmistakable way the general import of the terms employed. Take, for example, the following passage from the eighteenth Psalm, verses 6–15 (Heb. 7-16):
6 In my distress I call Jehovah,
And to my God I cry;
And my cry before him comes into his ears.
And the foundations of the mountains tremble,
And they shake themselves, for lie was angry. 8 There went up a smoke in his nostril,
And fire from his mouth devours;
Hot coals glowed from him.
And a dense gloom under his feet;
And soars upon the wings of the wind. 11 He sets darkness bis covering,
His pavilion round about him,
A darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. 12 From the brightness before him his thick clouds passed away,
Hail, and hot coals of fire. 13 Then Jehovah thunders in the heavens,
And the Most High gives forth his voice,
Hail, and hot coals of fire. 14 And he sends forth his arrows and scatters them,
And lightnings he shot, and puts them in commotion. 15 And the beds of the waters are seen,
And the foundations of the world are uncovered,
It requires but little attention here to observe how such words as call, cry, he heurs my voice, and my cry comes into his ears (verse 6), mutually explain and illustrate one another. The same may be said of the words shakes, quakes, tremble, and shake themselves, in
On Hebrew Parallelisms, see pp. 149, 152.
verse 7; smoke, fire, and coals in verse 8; rides, flies, and soars in verse 10; arrows and lightnings, scatters and puts in commotion, in verse 14; and so to some extent of the varied expressions of nearly every verse. Here, too, may be seen how subject and predicate serve to ex
plain one another. Thus, in verse 8, above, smoke goes Subject, predicate, and ad- up, fire devours, hot coals gloro. So in Matt. V, 13: Juncts.
“if the salt become tasteless,” the sense of the verb uwpavos, become tasteless, is determined by the subject ahas, salt. · But in Rom. i, 22, the import of this same verb is to become foolish, as the whole sentence shows: “Professing to be wise, they become foolish,” i. e., made fools of themselves. The word is used in a similar signification in 1 Cor. i, 20: “Did not God make foolish the wisdom of the world?” The extent to which qualifying words, as adjectives and adverbs, serve to limit or define the meaning is too apparent to call for special illustration. A further and most important method of ascertaining the usus
loquendi is an extensive and careful comparison of simComparison of parallel pas- ilar or parallel passages of Scripture. When a writer
has treated a given subject in different parts of his writings, or when different writers have treated the same subject, it is both justice to the writers, and important in interpretation, to collate and compare all that is written. The obscure or doubtful passages are to be explained by what is plain and simple. A subject may be only incidentally noticed in one place, but be treated with extensive fulness in another. Thus, in Rom. xiii, 12, we have the exhortation, “Let us put on the armour of light," set forth merely in contrast with “cast off the works of darkness;” but if we inquire into the meaning of this "armour of light,” how much
“ more fully and forcibly does it impress us when we compare the detailed description given in Ephesians vi, 13-17: “Take up the whole armour of God. . . . Stand, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal taking up the shield of faith wherewith
shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Compare also 1 Thess. v, 8.
The meaning of the word vijp (compare the Greek vóoos) in Jer. xvii, 9, must be determined by ascertaining its use in other passages. The common version translates it “desperately wicked," but usage does not sustain this meaning. The primary sense of the word appears to be incurably sick, or diseased. It is used in
2 Sam. xii, 15, to describe the condition of David's child when smitten of the Lord so that it became very sick (WIN). It is used in reference to the lamentable idolatry of the kingdom of Israel (Micah i, 9), where the common version renders, “Her wound is incurable," and gives in the margin, “She is grievously sick of her wounds." The same signification appears also in Job xxxiv, 6: “My wound ('xn, wound caused by an arrow) is incurable.” In Isa. xvii, 11, we have the thought of “incurable pain,” and in Jer. xv, 18, we read, “Wherefore has my pain been enduring, and my stroke incurable?” Compare also Jer. xxx, 12, 15. In Jer. xvii,
. 16, the prophet uses this word to characterize the day of grievous calamity as a day of mortal sickness (WIJN DI'). In the ninth verse, therefore, of the same chapter, where the deceitful heart is characterized by this word, which everywhere else maintains its original sense of a diseased and incurable condition, we should also adhere to the main idea made manifest by all these parallels: “Deceitful is the heart above every thing; and incurably diseased is it; who knows it ? 1
The usus loquendi of common words is, of course, to be ascertained by the manner and the connection in which they are generally used. We feel at once the incon- familiar usage. gruity of saying, “ Adriansz or Lippersheim discovered the telescope, and Harvey invented the circulation of the blood.” We know from familiar usage that discover applies to the finding out or uncovering of that which was in existence before, but was hidden from our view or knowledge, while the word invent is applicable to the contriving and constructing of something which had no actual existence before. Thus, the astronomer invents a telescope, and by its aid discovers the motions of the stars.
The passage in 1 Cor. xiv, 34, 35, has been wrested to mean something else than the prohibition of women's speaking in the public assemblies of churches. Some have assumed that the words churches and church in these verses are to be understood of the business meetings of the Christians, in which it was not proper for the women to take part. But the entire context shows that the apostle has especially in mind the worshipping assembly. Others have sought in the word haleiv a peculiar sense, and, finding that it bears in classic Greek writers the meaning of babble, prattle, they have strangely taught that Paul means to say: “Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted them to babble. . . . For it is a shame for a woman to babble in church!” A slight examination shows that in this same chapter the word aanɛīv, to speak, occurs
On the importance of comparing parallel passages, see further in Chapter vii.
more than twenty times, and in no instance is there any necessity or reason to understand it in other than its ordinary sense of disroursing, speaking. Who, for instance, would accuse Paul of say. ing, “I thank God, I babble with tongues more than ye all” (verse 18); or “let two or three of the prophets babble, and the others judge” (verse 29)? Hence appears the necessity, in interpretation, of observing the general usage rather than the etymology of words. In ascertaining the meaning of rare words, ätaš aeyoueva, or
words which occur but once, and words of doubtful
import, the ancient versions of Scripture furnish an important aid. For, as Davidson well observes, “An interpreter cannot arrive at the right meaning of every part of the Bible by the Bible itself. Many portions are dark and ambiguous. Even in discovering the correct sense, no less than in defending the truth, other means are needed. Numerous passages will be absolutely unintelligible without such helps as lie out of the Scriptures. The usages of the Hebrew and Hebrew-Greek languages cannot be fully known by their existing remains.'
In the elucidation of difficult words and phrases the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament holds the first rank among the ancient versions. It antedates all existing Hebrew manuscripts; and parts of it, especially the Pentateuch, belong, without much doubt, to the third century before the Christian era. Philo and Josephus appear to have made more use of it than they did of the Hebrew original; the Hellenistic Jews used it in their synagogues, and the New Testament writers frequently quote from it. Being made by Jewish scholars, it serves to show how before the time of Christ the Jews interpreted their Scriptures. Next in importance to the Septuagint is the Vulgate, or Latin Version, largely prepared in its present form by St. Jerome, who derived much knowledge and assistance from the Jews of his time. After these we place the Peshito-Syriac Version, the Targums, or Chaldee Paraphrases of the Old Testament, especially that of Onkelos on the Pentateuch, and Jonathan Ben Uzziel on the Prophets, and the Greek versions of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. The other ancient versions, such as the Arabic, Coptic, Æthiopic, Armenian, and Gothic, are of less value, and, in determining the meaning of rare words, cannot be relied on as having any considerable weight or authority.
1 Hermeneutics, page 616.
2 On the history and character of all these ancient versions, see Harman's, Keil's, or Bleek's “ Introduction;" also the various biblical dictionaries and cyclopædias.