« AnteriorContinuar »
is-n rvcisn — These words may be taken as an adverbial clause equivalent to 1375 trnetrjj), in the beginning-of his way. Compare Gen. 14: 4; 2 Sam. 21: 9 (where the emendation of the Masoretes is unnecessary). But it is perhaps better to construe them in apposition with the suffix in ",3:|5,thus: Jehovah possessed himself of me as the first of his way; and then it will be precisely equivalent to the declaration that is amplified in the following verses, that Wisdom was born before all things; for we can hardly understand rvveso here in the sense of chief as in Job 40: 19, since it is of her eternity that Wisdom is discoursing. The way of God is his activity in the widest sense. The old commentators, who construe is"j-| max"! in apposition with the suffix of the preceding verb, make it synonymous with t) apxh T^? /cTtWa? Tov Oeov, Rev. 3: 14, and insist upon its being taken "not passively, but actively, for the Beginner of things" (non passive, sed active, pro Initiatore rerum, velut in loco Apoc. iii. 14).' But any such distinction as this seems to be foreign to the scope of the immediate context, which dwells upon the fact that Wisdom existed before the creation of the world.
tx"? "nisei? ong, before his toorks, of old. Before his works, is to be taken absolutely, as the following verses show. Wisdom is not one of his works, but existed before them all, and was present at the creation of them all. Ixb , when used absolutely, as here, is a general expression for past time.
Vs. 23. From everlasting was I founded, from the beginning, before the earth was.
The verb "n=s? is rendered, by the majority of commentators, I was anointed. If we adopt this meaning, the sense will be that given by Cocceius: "a seculo uncta sum, h. e. constituta et declarata sum domina omnium; " from everlasting; was 1 anointed, that is, constituted and declared ruler
1 Michnelis in loco, who, however, himself prefers the other construction: in the beginning of his way. Some of the Jewish Kuhhiu, ns quoted by Gcier, also interpret r"iS"l in an active sense: "Sapientia suprema etiam principium vocatur, quia est principium priucipii."
of all things. But an examination of all the passages in which the verb T^oa occurs, and of all its derivates, will show that this meaning is, at best, very doubtful. Its proper signification is to pour out. Hence in Kal, to pour upon, with*? of the object poured upon (Ex. 30: 9; Isa. 29: 10) ; to pour out as a libation, with \ of the person to whom it is made (Hosea 9: 4), and so probably rcsra ~rpp. to pour out a libation in making a league (Isa. 30: 1); to cover over, as if to pour over (Isa. 25: 7), to which signification some refer Isa. 30: 1; to found, as a molten image (which is done by pouring), with the accusative of the thing founded (Isa. 40: 19; 44:10). These are all the cases in which the verb occurs in Kal, except Ps. 2: 6, which will be considered presently. In Piel it is used once (1 Chron. 11: 18), in the sense of pouring out, as an offering to the Lord. Its use in Hiphil and its passive Hophal is frequent, always in the sense of pouring out as a drink offering. Of its derivatives, Tjw signifies a libation, and a molten image; n:tsa, a molten image, and a covering; Tpea, a libation, and a prince. On this latter usage great stress has been laid, as it has been assumed that princes received this name from their having been inaugurated by the ceremony of anointing. But Gusset has shown1 that in all the passages where ^dj has this sense (Josh. 13: 21; Ps. 83: 12; Ezek. 32: 30; Dan. 11:8; Micah 5: 4), it refers to princes constituted by a higher power. Now from the established usage of the verb ~o; in the sense of founding, we have a natural etymology. Princes are so named as those who are constituted rulers, set in office. This meaning suits well the only two remaining passages in which this verb is employed: "Ihave set my king upon Zion my
holy hill" * (Ps. 2:6); and the present passage: I was founded, or constituted. So the Seventy : "e^e/ieXwuo-e fie ;" and the
1 Commcntarii Linguae Ehraicac, under the root ^B:. He maintains also that the word always denotes princes offoreign nations. This is true with a single exception, Micah 5: 4. Yet even this passage is not absolutely certain; for the remarkable expression, CiS *5"8J. princes of men, may mean Gentile princes, whose ministry was largely employed in the later ages of Jewish history in defending God's people against their enemies.
a See Hengstcnbcrg's Commentary in loco.
Vulgate : "ordinata sum;" and the ancient versions generally. We are not obliged, then, to assume for the sense of anointing with oil, for which the appropriate verb is nira.
Vs. 24, 25. When there were no deeps was I born; when there were no fountains laden with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I born.
The form Win (with its passive Wn) occurs in a few instances in the sense to wound, where it is to be regarded as Poel from ibn. With this exception it always has the signification of bringing forth, either literally or figuratively. In what sense Wisdom is said to have been brought forth from eternity, has been sufficiently shown above, under v. 22. To her apply the epithets ftovoyevr)*; and TrporoTOKo^. In the expression: before the mountains were settled i sunk doicn on their bases), there is an allusion, as in Job 38: 6, to the depth and stability of their foundations.
Vs. 26. When lie had not yet made the earth and the fields, and the first of the clods of the world.
A poetic amplification of the idea that Wisdom existed before all created things in the most absolute sense. The expression Van rvns? fiSttn has been differently interpreted. The word csin has been understood to mean: (1) the hig'hest part; (2) the chief or most pree minent part; (3) the sum i. e. mass ; (4) the first part, in respect of time. The last interpretation commends itself for its simplicity and harmony with the context.
Vs. 27-29. When he prepared the heavens, there was I; when he set a circuit upon the face of the deep ; when he established the clouds above; when the fountains of the deep were made strong; when lie appointed to the sea its limit, that the waters should not pass its border (or, his command).
These verses introduce a new and important idea. Thus far Wisdom has dwelt upon the fact that she existed from everlasting in God's presence before the beginning of all things. Now she shows that she was present at the formation of all things. We are to understand that she was present as an actor, as the counsellor of Jehovah and his co-worker. According to one interpretation of the word Tiast (ver. 30) this is directly affirmed. But however we may understand that term, we necessarily infer from the very idea of Wisdom and the attributes ascribed to her, that her presence at the creation of the world was that of an active power, not of an inactive spectator. When she dwells with kings, it is to endow them with the power of reigning: "By me kings reign and princes decree justice. By me princes rule and nobles, even all the judges of the earth" (vs. 15, 16). So when she is at Jehovah's side in the work of creation, it is as a co-worker: "The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens." 1 Not one of all God's works is made without her. We ought not to expect here a full development of the idea of Wisdom's activity in the work of creation, such as we have in the New Testament of the activity of the Logos: "All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.'' 2 "By him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth." 8 It is sufficient that we have in the present passage the germ of the idea contained in the following words of the apostle: "But to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him," * where the Father is represented as the source of creation, and the Son as the producing agent.
When he set a circuit (sm i>na) upon the face of the deep. By the circuit (sin ) we are to understand the circular vault of heaven. The deep is the primeval abyss that covered the face of the earth (Gen. i. 2).— When he established (^xa, literally, when he made strong or firm) the clouds above. The clouds are established not individually, but as an order or system. The establishment of the clouds is then, for sub
1 Prov. 3,: 19, in a passage where Wisdom is also set forth in a personal form, and which cannot he separated from the present personification, and that in the first chapter.
1 John 1:3. "Col. 1: 16. * 1 Cor. 8: 6
stance, equivalent to the establishment of the firmament in which they move.— When the fountains of the deep were made strong. The verb is to be taken here, as elsewhere in Kal, intransitively. To be made strong may mean either to be firmly established in their places, or to be made strong in respect to the quantity and force of their waters. The latter is the preferable interpretation. Compare above E*1*""???3 rrirw fountains heavy with waters (v. 24). The fountains here spoken of are those of " the great deep " (Gen. vii. 11) by which, according to the idea of the Hebrews, the ocean is supplied with its waters. Compare Job xxxviii. 8.— That the waters should not pass its border, viz., that of the sea (ns border, Ps. cxxxiii. 2). But we may, with Cocceius, refer the suffix in TM? to rijrr , and render: that the waters should not transgress his command. Compare for this use of ns Ex. xvii. 1; Josh. ix. 14, etc.; especially Eccl. viii. 2. The Scriptures frequently represent the setting of bounds to the sea as a high exercise of divine power. See Job xxxviii. 8-11; Ps. civ. 9; Jer. v. 22. The "i at the beginning of this clause is that used to introduce final and consecutive sentences. See in Gesenius's Lexicon, Hso. 6.
Vs. 30, 31. And I was at his side, as one brought up by him [or, as an artificer] ; and I was daily a delight [to him], exulting always before him; exulting in the habitable abode of his earth, and my delight was with the sons of men.
The most important word in this beautiful description is yrasf , concerning which very different opinions have been held. The only two that deserve attention are alumna, nursling, foster-child; and- artifex, artificer. On these we offer the following remarks:
1. According to either view "p-sj is to be regarded as a word of common gender. •
2. As to form, it may be either active, as Bipj , fowler, or passive, as Tits, hidden region, i. e. North.
3. In favor of the signification artificer, is first, the Hebrew ycx, workman;1 secondly, the Chaldee T5*s, and Syriac ] Isao),
1 Cant. 7; 1. Gusset's arguments to show that it signifies here a faithful man, arc very inconclusive.