Whence the Words of Ephesians 5:14? Part 2

Previously we taught that we send the διὸ λέγει, wherefore he saith, to Moses and the Prophets, to the Codex of the Old Testament. And we did not see that by a formula of this sort the Apostle was wont to appeal merely to the argument of the Prophetic doctrine in general, but to some certain pericope of the Ancient Scripture and its words.  Hence it is all the more displeasing to me, what ZANCHIUS signifies as pleasing him most of all, in his Commentario on this passage, namely, that the Apostle “has drawn together a summary of the preaching of repentance out of the Prophets, and has comprehended it in this brief sentence, Awake thou that sleepest, etc., that is, leave off sinning and repent, and Christ shall give thee light, that is, Christ shall save thee, and shall give thee eternal life:  for in these two parts consists a summary of Prophetic and Apostolic doctrine, namely, by the preaching of repentance let us arise from sins, and by the announcement of the promises concerning the remission of sins and eternal salvation through Christ.”  With which the commentary of ARETIUS[1] also agrees completely.  But the two poles here appear to be too far distant, than that it might be a satisfactory explanations both for the formula of citing the Ancient Scripture, λέγει, He saith, or διὸ λέγει, wherefore he saith, and for the form of words that in Paul follow in the text; words that sufficiently indicate that the Apostle, not only in the matter that he sets forth, but also in the words and phraseology, directs his attention to one or another place of the Old Testament, which he here desired to cite specifically. But to determine what that passage of the Old Testament might be, to which the Apostle thus appeals, this is the work, this the labor:  since we are not able to deny that those things that are mentioned here by Paul nowhere in the Old Codex occur in so many words and syllables in some certain passage.  At the same time, the labor will be made much lighter for us in the investigation of this matter, when we will have prefaced one or another observation concerning the citation of the Scripture of the Old Testament in the New.  And here it comes to be noted especially, that in citations of this sort the Apostles and Evangelists are not always in the habit of rendering word for word; but, since they, no less than the ancient Prophets, were enjoying the inspiration and infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit, they carried those words of the Ancient Scripture, that they knew to be especially accommodated to their uses, into their own context; and in reciting those words they often adjusted them by the same agency, lest the reader wander from the mind of the Spirit, and so that at the same time he might rightly perceive the force of the argument intended by the Evangelist or Apostle.  Then, in the same citation of the Ancient Scripture they did not always have only one passage before their eyes, but they had it in mind sometimes to appeal to two or more passages at the same time.  Which if one duly observe, with little effort, I think, he shall be able to search out the Prophetic pericope, whereby the Apostle decided to confirm his preceding admonitions in our text.  It was fitting that JEROME in his Commentario on this passage was mindful of the hermeneutical Canon that we heard him furnish on Isaiah 64:4; namely, sometimes the Apostle takes up a paraphrase of the ancient testimony, not rendering it word for word, which he altogether disdains to do; but expressing the truth of the sense, of which use is made for that which he wishes to be confirmed. That this same things was also taught by CHRYSOSTOM, DANIEL HEINSIUS, in his Exercitatione Sacra on this passage, observes, relating these words of that most holy Father:  Ὅτι λέγεται γεγράφθαι, καὶ ὅταν μὴ διὰ τῶν ῥημάτων, ἀλλὰ δι᾽ αὐτῶν τῶν πραγμάτων κείμενα ᾖ· ἢ ὅταν τὸ αὐτὸ νόημα μὲν κείμενον ᾖ, μὴ ἐπ᾽ αὐτῶν δὲ τῶν ῥημάτων, that it is said to have been written, even when it is set down, not through words, but through the very substance: or when the very intention is set down, but not in the very words.  GLASSIUS shall lend much light on this matter, where one, turning through his Rhetoricam Sacram, tractate II, chapter VII, page 586-594, may attentively read through and see all things illustrated with examples, the chief heads of which only do we review here. Testimonies, says he, and prophecies of the Old Testament are cited and set forth in the New, not always according to the letter and individual words, but even often with the words changed for various reasons; so that by those citing the oracles of the Old Testament these things are sometimes done to the words:  1.  Subtraction,  of those things that seemed to make nothing for the present purpose.  2.  Addition, of those things that were able to illustrate the present place.  3.  Transposition of words, in which there is no departure from the sense.  4.  Change, even indeed, α. of the very words, 1. from a variant reading in the Hebrew text and Septuagint Version, 2. for sake of inference and ἐξηγήσεως/ explanation:  β. and of the circumstances of the same, which sort are, 1.  Number, 2.  Person, 3.  Mood and tense. But such is sometimes the case, that it is not able to be known with sufficient clarity from what passage of the Old Testament the sentence was taken:  for the confirmation of which matter he adduces our text, where, says he, some direct us back to Isaiah 60:1, others to Isaiah 26:19, 21, with this epicrisis/comment subjoined: But the former passage squares more completely on account of the similar scope.  Then he adds this Canon: The Writers of the New Testament are wont to weave two or more cited testimonies into one.  The Reverend MARTIN has applied these rules to our passage in his French Notis, advising:  “The Apostle has done two things here, which were common to the writers of the New Testament, the one in not subjecting themselves to the very terms of the passages to which they had regard; because, speaking and writing under the direction of the same Spirit that inspired the Prophets, they had no need constantly to stop themselves with the words that the Prophets had used, but it was enough for them to show and develop the sense, as in Matthew 2:23; Hebrews 10:5.  And the second in joining several passages together, whatever may be isolated in one Prophet, and in relating them at the same time, as making only one and the same oracle, when the Spirit had had in the one and in the other the same designs.”  From this twofold observation the Most Illustrious SURENHUSIUS does not draw back in his Βίβλῳ Καταλλαγῆς on our text. “There are some of the Fathers,” says he, “that do not think…that this passage was cited from the Prophet Isaiah, since the words of Paul in many things do not agree with the words of the Prophet, except that the words of the former were conflated from diverse passages, not one certain passage.  Moreover, we notwithstanding think that the words of the Apostle were taken from the Sacred Books, which we are compelled to affirm for two reasons:  of which the first is that the ordinary Formula for the citation of the Sacred Scripture is set down before; the other is that the Method of citation does not differ from other passages, nor from the custom of the ancient Hebrew Theologians….  Now, that Paul’s passage is concise, and inserted with strange words, is of no importance, since the ancient Hebrew Doctors in citing and explaining the Sacred Scriptures were sometimes wont to draw the words into a compendium, and to cite only some many words as were necessary for the scope, and likewise to mix in different words for the greater clarity of the matter, just as it is evident from out theses V, VI, and IV, concerning the Methods of citing and interpreting the Sacred Scriptures….  Whether the Apostle used ἐγείραι/awake in the place of קוּמִי/arise, because there is almost no difference between to arise and to awake…; or he took this word from a parallel passage, does not matter at all, since both Methods of interpreting the Sacred Scriptures were current among the ancient Theologians of the Hebrews, just as it is evident from our thesis VII, concerning the contraction of several passages into one, and from thesis VIII concerning the substitution of other vocabulary words, and also from XIX and XX concerning the affinity of significations….  Finally, it is to be observed that the Apostle plucks the first word קוּמִי/arise, or awake, from the Hebrew text, and afterwards interpolates, ὁ καθεύδων, καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, passing over the intervening words; in this sense the ancient Theologians of the Hebrews in the interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures were saying, גורין ומוסיפין ודורשין, they subtract, they add, and they expound, just as it is evident from our thesis XI.”  It will be worthy the effort to consult diligently the individual Theses, to which the Most Illustrious SURENHUSIUS sends his reader, since he gave each of these illustrated and confirmed with multiple examples taken from the New Testament.  Formerly the most brilliant luminary of this nascent Academy, FRANCIS JUNIUS, Parallelis Sacris, book II, opera, tome I, column 1141, 1142, uniquely comparing Isaiah 60:1, 2 with our text, already formerly urged this also, that the text of the Old Codex is often cited by the sacred Amanuenses in the New Testament, not according to the individual words, but according to the sense, and that the same also obtains here.  “Many and various, indeed,” says he, “are the words of which Isaiah makes use in that glorious exhortation; but without violence to that the Apostle glanced over the passage, and contracted its argument into a certain summary….  But the words are not the same, one might say; it does not matter, as long as the sense in both passages is held to be the same:  especially since it was the intention of Paul only to glance over the passage and to show his readers that it is worthy of consultation; and to interpret more clearly what things of the prophecies appeared to have been more obscurely spoken at the time, according to the illumination of the Gospel of the glory of Christ.  For which reason that saying of Isaiah, Arise, is explained a little more fully, saying, Be awakened thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead; so that he, displaying to us the drowsiness and death in which we dwell, might more greatly affect us with zeal and conscience of our duty.  Now, in the place of those words, Jehovah shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee, he substituted that which is the most evident of all, Christ shall give thee light.  Which interpretation, to whom it is not evident, neither will Christ even be able to be evident to him.”

[1] Benedictus Aretius (1505-1574) was a Swiss scholar and Reformed Theologian, serving as Professor of Theology at Bern (1563-1574).  He wrote a commentary on the New Testament.

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