The Formula for Scripture-Citation in Ephesians 5:14

But, so that I might return to the question proposed, Interpreters appear to have raised a tempest in a teacup, and to have applied excessive labor in resolving the doubt, where all things appear to me to be altogether plain. Certainly that λέγει, he says, or διὸ λέγει, wherefore he says, thus posited absolutely as it occurs here, is to the Apostle a familiar formula for citicing the text of the Old Testament, answering to the Hebrews’ manner of speech in citing the old Scripture, לכך אמר, wherefore he says,לכך נאמר, wherefore it is said:  see SURENHUSIUS’[1] Βίβλον καταλλαγῆς on this passage.  Indeed, as one is able to prove from the inspection of Concordances, in the citation of the words of the Old Testament it is most frequently read with greater fullness, λέγει ἡ γραφὴ, the Scripture says:  ἵνα ἡ γραφὴ πληρωθῇ ἡ λέγουσα, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, John 19:24; καὶ πάλιν ἑτέρα γραφὴ λέγει, and again another Scripture saith, John 19:37; τί γὰρ ἡ γραφὴ λέγει, for what saith the Scripture? Romans 4:3; λέγει γὰρ ἡ γραφή, for the Scripture saith, Romans 10:11; etc.:  or, καθὼς ὁ προφήτης λέγει, as the prophet saith, Acts 7:48; καὶ αὐτὸς Δαβὶδ λέγει ἐν βίβλῳ ψαλμῶν, and David himself saith in the Book of Psalms, Luke 20:42; καὶ Δαβὶδ λέγει, and David saith, Romans 11:9; Ἠσαΐας γὰρ λέγει, for Esaias saith, Romans 10:16; etc.:  καθὼς εἶπεν ὁ Θεὸς, as God hath said, 2 Corinthians 6:16; λέγει Κύριος, saith the Lord, 2 Corinthians 6:17; λέγει Κύριος παντοκράτωρ, saith the Lord Almighty, 2 Corinthians 6:18; καθὼς λέγει τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον, as the Holy Ghost saith, Hebrews 3:7; etc.  But elsewhere, especially in the writings of Paul, it occurs simply, λέγει, he says, or διὸ λέγει, wherefore he says, where to supply the sense one ought to think of the Sacred Scripture, הכתוב, ἡ γραφὴ, which through personification in the placed cited and more frequently elsewhere is said to speak, although it is properly God or the Spirit of God that speaks in Scripture as its principal author; in which manner sometimes indeed from the context this expression is able aptly to be supplied, as in 2 Corinthians 6:2, λέγει γάρ, Καιρῷ δεκτῷ ἐπήκουσά σου, etc., for he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, etc., where from verse 1 in sense ὁ Θεὸς, God, is able to be repeated, συνεργοῦντες δὲ καὶ παρακαλοῦμεν μὴ εἰς κενὸν τὴν χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ δέξασθαι ὑμᾶς, we then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.  Λέγει γάρ, for He saith, namely, ὁ Θεὸς, God, that God, whose grace we do not want you to have received in vain.  Thus in James 4:6, διὸ λέγει, Ὁ Θεὸς ὑπερηφάνοις ἀντιτάσσεται, etc., wherefore it saith, God resisteth the proud, etc.; supply ἡ γραφὴ, the Scripture, out of verse 5, ἢ δοκεῖτε ὅτι κενῶς ἡ γραφὴ λέγει, etc., or do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, etc.  But the method of this sort of supplement of the sense from the immediate context does not fit all places, where the formula of this sort of citation of the ancient Scripture occurs; in § 2 we have already shown this from Ephesians 4:8.  And so under that λέγει, it saith, ἡ γραφὴ, the Scripture, shall everywhere be understood, which will be said to speak as the word of God Himself and of His Spirit κατ᾽ ἐξοχὴν, par excellence:  or let the Hebraism in this formula of speech be noted also, to which it is known that the Writers of the New Testament are not strangers, by which an active Verb of the third person, which does not have a nominative expressly added, bears the sense of a passive, impersonal expression, such that λέγει, it saith, is the same as λέγεται, it is said, and διὸ λέγει, wherefore it saith, is the same as for what reason, or wherefore, it is said:  when from this familiar formula of citing the sacred Codex it was yet sufficiently well known, that a saying of this sort alleged is not to be sought in some out of the way place, but in the γραφῇ θεοπνεύστῳ, inspired Scripture, written by Moses and the Prophets.  This Hebraism is illustrated with many examples by BUXTORF in his Thesauro Grammatico, book II, chapter X, pages 417, 418; and by GLASSIUS in his Grammaticis Sacris, tractate III, canon XXIII, pages 301-304.  With respect to the grammatical analogy on the expressions, it is by no means incorrectly observed, that an active verb of this sort, of the third person, without a nominative of agent added, is set down elliptically; and that a present participle of the same root and form is able to be understood to complete the imperfect sense, so that λέγει, he says, is the same thing as ὁ λέγων λέγει, the one saying says:  see FRANCIS STERCK, Dissertatione theologica inaugurale, chapter I, § 4-7.  But thus the one saying that yet remains an indeterminate subject, which is to be searched out and defined from the context and use of the expressions; and at the same time the one saying says means the same things as an impersonal it is said.  The more recent French version prefers this, which renders that διὸ λέγει, wherefore it says, c’est pourquoi il [est] dit, this is why it is said; which the Reverend MARTIN rightly illustrates, noting, “The Greek, he says, in the place of it is said, as in Ephesians 4:8; Matthew 19:5; Galatians 3:16; Hebrews 1:6, 7; 4:4; 7:17; and in 1 Peter 2:16, it contains, in the place of it is contained;[2] for it is common for the Hebrews thus to make use of an active verb in the place of an impersonal verb, as in Genesis 16:14;[3] Numbers 26:59;[4] 1 Samuel 23:22;[5] 2 Samuel 21:8;[6] 24:1;[7] Isaiah 9:6.[8]”  But HEINSIUS had already advised us in a similar manner in his Exercitationibus Sacris on Ephesians 5:14, “Moreover, that λέγει, he says, which precedes, is in the place of λέγεται, it is said, or λέγει ἡ γραφὴ, the Scripture says, when the Scripture is cited, which is common among the Hebrews, who everywhere use אמר, he says, in the place of נאמר, it is said, we have advised in more than one place.”

[1] Willem Surenhuys (1666-1729) was a Dutch Reformed scholar and Hebraist.  He was Professor of Oriental and Greek Languages at Amsterdam (1704-1729).

[2] 1 Peter 2:16:  “Wherefore also it is contained (περιέχει, in the Active Voice) in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.”

[3] Genesis 16:14:  “Wherefore the well was called (קָרָ֣א לַבְּאֵ֔ר, one calls the well) Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.”

[4] Numbers 26:59:  “And the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, who was born (אֲשֶׁ֙ר יָלְדָ֥ה אֹתָ֛הּ, whom she bore) to Levi in Egypt: and she bare unto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister.”

[5] 1 Samuel 23:22:  “Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there:  for it is told me (אָמַ֣ר אֵלַ֔י, one saith to me) that he dealeth very subtilly.”

[6] 2 Samuel 21:8:  “But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up (אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָלְדָ֛ה, whom she bare, or, who were born) for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite…”

[7] 2 Samuel 24:1:  “And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David (וַיָּ֙סֶת אֶת־דָּוִ֤ד, and one moved David, or, David was moved) against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.”

[8] Isaiah 9:6:  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder:  and his name shall be called (וַיִּקְרָ֙א שְׁמ֜וֹ, and one shall call His name) Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

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