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way that she is said to have been created. On the question of the signification of n:p~ in this verse, Prof. Stuart remarks: "Philology, at all events, must have its proper place,
we propose to show, in a philological way, what is the true Hebrew usage of the word in question. We preface our remarks by the following from Prof. Stuart, which well represents the views of Gesenius as expressed in his Lexicon: "r:p then means originally, to erect any thing, to set it up or make it steadfast. As naturally flowing from this come the meanings : to create, to found, exemplified in Deut. xxxii. 6; Ps. cxxxix. 13; Gen. xiv. 19, 22. Moreover the Arabic (n:p) means to create. Then come the derived meanings: prepare, acquire, and lastly, to acquire by purchase, i. e. to buy. But the simple sense of possedit, as given by the Vulgate, has no footing in the Hebrew."1 After such a statement, the reader may be somewhat surprised to learn that of the eighty-two cases in which the verb rep appears in the Hebrew Scriptures, it is used, by the concession of all, seventy-six times in the sense of getting or acquiring; and that the specific usage, to get by purchase, buy, is by far the most common. The classification of these seventy-six cases, according to frequency, is as follows:
1. To get by purchase, buy, as a house, field, wife (Ruth iv. 10) ;s 58
2. To get by human labor, to buy in a figurative sense, especially wisdom. So often in the book of Proverbs; 13
3. To get by the exercise of (Heine power, as Jehovah Israel, for a peculiar possession, i. e. to redeem for himself (Ex. xv. 16 ; Ps. Lxxiv. 2 ; Isa. xi. 11), or as Jehovah Mount Zion (Ps. Lxxviii. 54); 4
4. To get in a general sense, as Eve a son, with Jehovah as her helper (Gen. iv. 1). 1
The passage last quoted (Gen. iv. 1) is the first in which the verb occurs, and there it has its true generic sense. From the context we learn that the manner of getting was that of
1 Stunrt in loco.
2 We have before us a list of all tliese passnpes, hut it is unnecessary to specify tbetn. They may be seen in any Hebrew Concordance.
independent of party views/
To this we fully assent; and
conceiving and bringing forth; but the verb itself has no such meaning.
There remain six cases only to be examined. Of these Deut. xxxii. 6 may be at once disposed of. It means to redeem for himself as his peculiar people, as in the examples given above, No. 3.
We will next examine Isaiah i. 3 : iru'p liei , which must either be rendered : the ox knoweth his buyer; or, the ox knoweth his owner. The latter is the rendering adopted by Gesenius himself, as well as by De Wette, Alexander and translators generally. Etymologically, it presents no difficulty; for the transition from the idea of possessing- one's self of a thing- to that of being- possessed of it, is easy. Here the analogy of the Greek /crdofiai is very instructive. Properly it means to get, acquire for one's self. But the Perfect icex■njnai (literally, to have acquired for one's self) has come to signify to possess. Hence KeKT^ew)? is master, especially of slaves. Now the Hebrew Participle H5p , having no distinction of tenses, may well answer to both the Present and Aorist of the Greek, one who gets, and, one who has gotten; and to the Perfect, a possessor, master. In precisely the same way the Hebrew ]yp and the Greek tcrr/fxa (literally, what is gotten), come to signify possession, wealth. Once more, S"i:pi5 signifies acquisition, especially by purchase (njpsn iso the deed of purchase, To fiij3\'iov It)? icnjvem, as the Sept. render it, Jer. xxxii. 11); then, the thing purchased, as the cave of Machpelah (Gen. xxiii. 19, Sept., eh KTrjcnv, which is equivalent to eh icrr/fia), and also a person bought with money (^cs nspa , Sept., a/ryu/JO^To?, Gen. xvii. 12; etc.). n:p^ , moreover, literally something gotten, has come to signify possessions of cattle, precisely like the Greek KttjI>o? from Kraofiai.
If we take risp in Isa. 1: 3, in the sense of possessor, we may also understand it in the same sense in Gen. 14: 19, 22: fWi o^ti tti'p, the possessor of heaven and earth. So Onkelos, xs-x- xjati , whose is the possession of heaven
and earth. The Seventy have eicnae, created; the Vulgate has, in v. 19: "qui creavit caelum et terrain" but in v. 22: "possessorem cocli et terrae." Jarchi's note here is very instructive, and gives the true key to the solution of the question: "Like the words 1 Maker of heaven and earth': by his making- them he has possessed himself of them, so that they are his."1 He does not deny to the word rup the sense of having obtained, possessed himself of; but he represents this possession as having come by the right of creation. In other words, Fig'p here answers precisely to the Greek ice/crvfievtx;, possessor, which also conveys the idea of having- acquired. The manner of acquiring, in this instance, is undoubtedly that of creation, but this does not give to the verb itself the meaning create, so that Fiirst is entirely correct in his remark: "quare ipsum v. risp neutiquam vi creandi condendive dicitur."2
The two remaining passages are Ps. 139:13 : rr:p iinx-rs, "•rSia, rendered in our version : For thou hast possessed my reins; and the one now under consideration: "<3ij> twnyi \srn rvvoto. To each of these the sense of the Greek Perfect Kiktv/mii is appropriate. That it suits well the context of the latter passage, no one can deny. We add, therefore, a few words respecting the former. The ground-idea, then, of the 139th Psalm is not the skill and power of God as our Creator, but our intimate relation to God as to Him who has an absolute property in us, and whose presence and power have, from the first, penetrated our inmost being. The reins are mentioned here as the seat of affection and desire. God has had these in his possession from the beginning by right of creation, and therefore his knowledge of them and his power over them is absolute.8
The conclusion, then, to which we come, on strictly phdological grounds, is that the true idea of njp is to get, possess one's self of, then, more specifically, to buy; that in a few passages the idea of present possession is most prominent,
1 il>c wol |fop w"G» '7' bo pf>i ncii? ym,
- Hebrew Concordance. ^ 3 The second clause of this verse should he rendered: "thou didst cover me in m\j mothers tcomb." Compare Ps. 5: 12; 91: 4.
as in the Greek Keicrrjfiai, yet never so as wholly to exclude the idea of past acquisition; and that in no instance does it signify to create, any more than to bring' forth; though in some passages the manner of acquisition is shown by the context to have been that of creating, or (in one passage at least, Gen. 4: 1) bringing forth.
All that Gesenius is able to allege for the assumed primitive idea, to erect, set upright, is, 1st, the noun npt, reed, cane; 2d, the assumed relationship of nj^ to USAs to n.?? i reed, the assumption that it has its name from its upright growth is nothing but an unsupported conjecture, on which we are not authorized to build a whole system of derivate meanings, not one of which exhibits a trace of the alleged primitive idea. As to fa, since it differs from Mjj in its first radical, we need some solid ground for affirming the relationship of the two roots; but no such ground exists. The assumed use of lis, in the sense of create, is as groundless as that of fi;i? in the same sense. In all the instances adduced by Gesenius, the idea of founding, or preparing, is appropriate. It may be shown by the context that it is by the exercise of creative power, but this does not give to the verb itself the meaning to create.
A word, in closing this discussion, on the Arabic verb to which Gesenius and others appeal. Did it properly mean to create, the argument from it might have weight But the Arabic lexicons give, for its first and proper meaning, to acquire for one's self, precisely as in Hebrew. So Freytag: "Acquisivit sibi, peculiariter in proprium usum, oves, etc." He gives, indeed, from the Kamoos : " Creavit Deus aliquem;" but this is merely brought in by the Kamoos (p. 1937) near the close of half a page of other definitions; and, so far as we have any means of judging, is no
1 Wc omit the unused root , which in Gen. 4: 1 is interchanged with riS]J, because in that the idea, to set up, erect, is equally doubtful. In Arabic usage it signifies to forge, as a blacksmith iron, to arrange, set in order, repair; and, in Conj. II., to construct and put together, as the saddle of a camel, to adorn and set in order, as a bride, house, etc. Hence wc might get a more natural derivation of the meaning to create, did the usage of the Hebrew n:^ warrant it, which it does not.
Vol. XV. No. 58. 32
more the proper meaning o£the Arabic, than of the Hebrew verb.
The result to which we are brought is, that in the present passage Imjj njrp means, in a general sense, Jehovah possessed himself of me, obtained me; while the manner of obtaining is to be gathered from the context. If now it be asked: What is that manner? we must answer: Not by a literal generation of substance, any more than by a literal creation of substance. Not in such a manner that there ever was a time when Wisdom was not; for the attribute of eternity is plainly ascribed to her in the present passage. She existed before all the works of God, and this is a common scriptural way of conveying the idea of existence that has no limit in past duration. We must remember that we have to do here with a relation that is altogether superhuman, and which is, moreover, expressed, not in dry didactic propositions, but in the loftiest strains of poetry, the writer employing finite human relations to shadow forth that which is Divine and infinite. From these earthly images we must subtract all that is material and temporal, leaving only the pure relation itself in its infinity and eternity. Those who render the verb *vs% created me, namely, as a Divine attribute, understand this creation as shadowing forth, in a poetic form, an eternal relation. The Son of Sirach, who frequently speaks of Wisdom as created, manifestly conceives of her as being alike without beginning or end: vrpb Tov alwvos air apyfjs etcricrev yue, ical eto? aiuivot ov fii] eVXt7r<u J1 which we may render: Before time, from the beginning, he created me, and to eternity I shall not cease;" though this does not express the strength of the Greek antithesis — -rrpb Tow al&vos, and ecu? alowos. If we understand Wisdom as intended by the spirit of prophecy to be an adumbration of the hypostatic person of the Logos, we must still proceed in the same way, separating from the expression under consideration, as we do in the case of the New Testament expressions, 6 /j.ovvyeinj'i vw<;, irpcuTOTOKos irucr-qt «Ti'<7ea>9, all that is earthly and finite, thus arriving at a true eternal relation that transcends everything human.
1 Siracides 24: 9.