*Ellipsis of Repetition

I. Simple.

. 1. Where the Omission is to be supplied by
REPEATING a word or words out of the Preceding Clause.


Ex. 12:4 —“Let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it”
i.e., the lamb from verse 3.

2 Kings 3:25 —“Only in Kir-haraseth left they the stones thereof.”

The Heb. reads (see margin):—“Until he left the stones thereof in Kir-haraseth.”
The Ellipsis is to be supplied from verse 24. “Until in Kir-haraseth [only] they left

the stones thereof [to the Moabites].”

Psa. 12:6, (7) —“The words of the Lord are pure words:

as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

Here there is an important Ellipsis. It has been a great difficulty with many to think that the Lord’s words should require purifying, especially after the declaration in the first part of the verse, that they are “pure.”

What increases the difficulty is the fact that the word for earth is אֶרֶץ (eretz), the earth: i.e., the dry land or the world as created, as in Gen. 1:1 —“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (אֶרֶץ, eretz). It is generally taken as though it were used of a crucible made of earth or clay; but in this case it would be אֲדָמָה (adamah), ground, soil, clay; and not eretz, the whole earth. Moreover, the Lamed prefixed (ל) means to or pertaining to. It is the sign of the dative case and not of the genitive. The Revisers note this and render it:—“As silver tried in a furnace on the earth,” as though it was important for us to note that it is not in or under the earth! But this does not touch
the real difficulty. This is removed only by correctly supplying the Ellipsis, and repeating the noun “words” from the beginning of the verse.

Then, all is clear, and we not only may, but must then take the rest of the words in their literal sense.
Thus,:—“The words of the Lord are pure words, as silver tried in a furnace;

[words] of the earth: (or pertaining to the earth), purified seven times.”

That is to say the words in which Jehovah has been pleased to make His revelation, are not the words of angels (1 Cor. 13:1), nor the “unspeakable words of Paradise”

(2 Cor. 12:4), but they were words pertaining to man in this world—human words—but refined and purified as silver. Hence, in taking human language, there are many words which the Holy Spirit has not chosen, and which cannot be found in the Scriptures:

Some are exalted to an altogether higher meaning as —

ἀρετή (aretee), as man had used it, meant merely excellence of any kind, manhood, nobility, valour, prowess.
But, in the Scriptures, it is used in the higher sense of glory (Hab. 3:3),
praise (Isa. 42:8, 12; 43:21; 63:7).
And so in the New Testament, Phil. 4:8; 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Pet. 1:3, 5.

ἦθος (eethos) was only the haunt of an animal, but it became custom, morals, character.

Some are used in a totally different sense from that in which they had ever been used before.

χορηγέω (choreegeō) was simply to furnish or lead a chorus, but it was changed to furnish or supply.

Phil. 4:19: “My God shall supply all your need.” **

**Phil 1:19 – “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer,
and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,”.
(See also Eph. 4:16).

εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion) was merely the dispatch containing the news,

but it was used in the new sense of the gospel of God.

ἐκκλησία (ekkleesia) was used by the Greeks of any assembly, but especially of citizens, or as we should say of a selection from them, “burgesses.” The word means an assembly of those called out, an elect assembly.

Hence it is used in the Septuagint of Israel as called out from and as being an election from the nations.

Then, it was used of the congregation worshipping at the Tabernacle as distinguished from the rest of the people.

In this sense it is used in the Old Testament, the Gospels, and partly in the Acts.
But in the Pauline Epistles the Holy Spirit uses the word and exalts it to a far higher meaning; viz., of the special election from both Jews and Gentiles, forming them as members of Christ’s Mystical Body into a new ecclesia or assembly. This is a sense in which it had never before been used.*
* See The Mystery, by the same author and publisher.

σωτηρία (soteeria) was merely preservation or deliverance from danger,
but in the Scriptures it is “the salvation of God.”

παράκλητος (paracleetos) was merely the legal assistant or helper.

In the New Testament there is one Paracleetos within us that we may not sin
(John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7); and another Paracleetos with the Father if we do sin

(1 John 2:1).

σκάνδαλον (skandalon) was used only of the trigger of a trap to catch animals;
but in the New Testament it is used in a new and moral sense, of that which causes any one to be caught or made to trip..

Other words were coined by the Holy Spirit Himself, and cannot be found in any human writings. σκανδαλίζω (skandalizō) is a new word altogether. It is never used

in Classical Greek, it means to cause to stumble or fall, to give cause of offence.

ἐπιούσιος (epiousios) is a word used only by our Lord (Matt. 6:11 and Luke 11:3) in the Lord’s Prayer, where it is rendered “daily.”

Hence the difficulty in interpreting it, as there is no usage to help us. It is a question, therefore, of etymology. It is the preposition ἐπὶ (epi), upon, prefixed to the participle of a verb. But what verb?

It cannot be the participle of the verb εἰμί (eimi), to be, for its participle is οὖσα (ousa), and the combination of οὖσα with ἐπὶ would be ἐποῦσα. It must be εἶμι (eimi), to go or come, for its participle is ἰοῦσα (iousa), and the combination of ἰοῦσα with ἐπί will be ἐπιοῦσα, as used by our Lord. The word means, therefore, coming upon or going upon, and would refer either to bread for our going or journeying upon, or to the bread coming or descending upon us from heaven, as the manna descended and came down upon Israel (John 6:32, 33).

Hence it combines the two ideas of heavenly and daily, inasmuch as the manna not only came down from heaven, but did so every day, and on the strength of this they journeyed. It is a word therefore of great fulness of meaning.

That the Ellipsis exists in Psalm 12:6 (which verse we are considering), and may be thus supplied, is shown further from the structure of the Psalm: —

……A / 1. Decrease of good.
…………B / a / 2. Man’s words (Falsehood).
……………………b / 3, 4. Their end: “cut off.”
…………………………C / 5-. Oppression.
………………………………D / -5-. Sighing.
………………………………D / -5-. I will arise (for sighing).
…………………………C / -5. I will deliver (from oppression).
…………B / a / 6. Jehovah’s words (Truth).
……………………b / 7. Their end: (preserved).
…..A / 8. Increase of bad.

Here in B, Jehovah’s words are placed in contrast with man’s words in B: in a and a, their character respectively: and in b and b their end.

Finally, we may expand a (verse 6) as follows: —
……….a / c / The words of Jehovah, are pure words,
…………………d. / as silver tried in a furnace:
……………c / [Words] pertaining to the earth.
…………………d / Purified seven times.

Here in c and c we have “words,” and in d and d we have the purifying of the silver.

Psa. 68:18 —“Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them,” i.e., among or with those rebels who have been taken captives.

Ecc. 12:11 —“The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.”

Here, instead of repeating “the words” from the first clause, the A.V. inserts the word “by,” thus producing incoherence in the passage. The structure shows us at once how the Ellipsis should be filled up.

……….a / The words of the wise
…………….b / are as goads,
…………….b / and as tent-pegs well fixed,
……….a / are [the words] of the masters of the assemblies.

Here, in a and a, we have “words,” and in b and b, what they are compared to.

In “a” we have the words of those which act like goads, inciting to action, or probing the conscience; while in a we have the words of those who are the leaders of assemblies, propounding firmly established principles and settled teaching. “Both of these (not “which “) are given by the same shepherd.”

That is, as a chief shepherd gives to one servant a goad for his use, and to another a stake, or “tent-peg,” to fix firmly in the ground, so the God of all wisdom, by the Chief Shepherd in glory, gives to His servants “words,” different in their tendency and action, but conducing to the same end, showing the one source from which the various gifts are received. He gives to some of His under-shepherds “words” which act as goads; while He gives to others “words” which “stablish, strengthen and settle.”

Isa. 40:13 — “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?”

Here the Ellipsis is arbitrarily supplied by the word “being,” which necessitates a departure from the Heb., which is given in the margin, “made him understand.

The Ellipsis is correctly supplied thus:—“Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord; or [who] as His counsellor hath made him to understand?”

Amos 3:12 —“As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear; so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus in a couch,” i.e., “and [in the corner of ] a couch.”

Mal. 2:14 —“Yet ye say, Wherefore?” i.e., from verse 13, wherefore [does He not regard our offering, etc.]?

Acts 7:15, 16 —“So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, and were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.”

Here the article τοῦ (tou), of the, rendered “the father,” should be ἐν (en), in, according to Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, and the R.V.

There must have been three purchases altogether, of which two are recorded in Genesis, and one in Acts 7.

..(1) According to Acts 7:16, Abraham bought a sepulchre from the sons of Hamor.

There is no record of this purchase in Genesis. But Stephen, “full of the Holy Ghost,” supplies the information. It was purchased of Hamor, the son of Shechem, for “a sum of money.” Shechem was the place where God first appeared to Abraham in Canaan (Gen. 12:6), and where he first built an altar (verse 7). Here it was that (according to Acts 7:16) he bought “a sepulchre.”

The original Shechem must have been an important person to have given his name to a place; and it was of his son that Abraham bought it.

..(2) According to Gen. 23, Abraham purchased a field with trees in it and round it; and a cave called Machpelah at the end of it. It was situated at Hebron (Mamre), and was purchased of Ephron the Hittite, the son of Zohar, for 400 shekels of silver. Here Abraham buried Sarah, and here he himself was buried. Here also were buried Isaac, Rebekah and Jacob (Gen. 49:29-32; 50:13).

…..(3) Jacob’s purchase in Gen. 33:19, was years afterward, of another Hamor, another descendant of the former Shechem. What Jacob bought was “a parcel of a field,” of Hamor, a Hivite, perhaps the very field which surrounded the “sepulchre” which Abraham had before bought of an ancestor of this Hamor. Jacob gave 100 pieces of money (or lambs, margin) for it. Here Joseph was buried
(Josh. 24:32), and here Jacob’s sons were “carried over,” or transferred, as Joseph was.

Now Acts 7:15 speaks of two parties, as well as of three purchases:—“he” (i.e., Jacob), and “our fathers.” In verse 16 the verb is plural and must necessarily refer not to “ he” (Jacob), who was buried in Machpelah, but to “our fathers.” They were carried over and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought, not of “Ephron the Hittite” (Gen. 23), but of Hamor the Hivite.

.In the abbreviated rehearsal of facts well known to all to whom Stephen spoke,
and who would gladly have caught at the least slip, if he had made one, Stephen condensed the history, and presented it elliptically thus: —

“So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he and our fathers, and [our fathers]
were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre: —
[he, i.e., Jacob] in that which ( ᾧ, ho*) Abraham bought for a sum of money, [and they in that which was bought] from the sons of Hamor in Sychem.”
* Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, Wordsworth, Westcott and Hort, read ᾧ () in that which, instead of ὅ (ho) which.

It is probable that the rest of the “fathers” who died in Egypt were gathered to both of these burial places, for Josephus says (Ant. lib. ii. 4) that they were buried at Hebron; while Jerome (Ep. ad Pammach.) declares that in his day their sepulchres were at Shechem, and were visited by strangers.

Rom. 6:5 —“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death,
we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”

Here it is, “We shall be raised [in the likeness] of his resurrection also.”
(See above, pages 18, 19).

Rom. 12:11 —“Not slothful in business.” Lit., “not slothful in earnest care
[i.e., earnest care for others (from verse 10) ]”

1 Cor. 2:11 —“For what man knoweth the things of a man?” i.e., the [deep] things
(or depths), from verse 10 —the secret thoughts and purposes of the spirit of man.
“So the [deep] things (or depths) of God, knoweth no man but the Spirit of God.”

1 Cor. 2:13 —“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

Here we have, first, to repeat in the second clause the expression “in the words” from the first clause:—“Not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but [in the words] which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” This prepares the way for the supply of the important Ellipses of the last sentence. The two adjectives “spiritual” (one neuter nominative plural and the other masculine dative plural) must have nouns which they respectively qualify, and the question is, What are these nouns to be? The A.V. suggests “ things” (which ought to have been in italics). The R.V. suggests, in the margin, two different nouns: — “interpreting spiritual things to spiritual men.”
Much depends on the meaning of the verb συγκρίνω (sunkrinō) which occurs only here, and in 2 Cor. 10:12, in the New Testament. Its etymological meaning is clear, being a compound of κρίνω (krinō), to separate or sift (hence, to judge) and σύν (sun), together with, so that it means literally to separate or take to pieces and then to put together. When we do this with things, we compare them by judging them, or we judge them by comparing them; hence, συγκρίνω (sunkrinō), is translated “compare” in
2 Cor. 10:12, and is used of the foolishness of those who “measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (margin, “understand it not”). Here the force of the idea of judging is clearly seen. So also the verb is used in Wisdom 7:29, where wisdom “being compared with the light is found before it.” In 1 Macc. 10:71, 15:18:—“They worshipped those beasts also that are most hateful: for being compared together, some are worse than others.”

In 1 Macc. 10:71, the idea of judging is very clear, being translated “try” Apollonius says to Jonathan, “Now therefore, if thou trustest in thine own strength, come down to us into the plain field, and there let us try the matter together; “ i.e., let us judge or determine the matter together.

In Gen. 40:8, 16, 22; 41:12, 15, it is used for פָּתַר (pahthar), to open, hence, to interpret; and in Dan. 5:13, 17 for the Chald. פְּשַׁר (p’shar), to explain, interpret;
also in Num. 15:34 for פָּרַשׁ (pahrash), to separate or divide, hence (in Pual),
to declare distinctly.*
* See also Neh. 8:8, “distinctly,” and Ezra 4:18, “plainly”.

“And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him”
(i.e., to the man who had gathered sticks on the Sabbath).

Hence, for these are all the occurrences of the verb συγκρίνω (sunkrinō), the general meaning of the verb is to communicate distinctly so as to expound or interpret or make anything clear and plain: i.e., to separate or take anything to pieces and put it together again so as to make its nature or construction known. This meaning —to make known or declare—thus seems to combine all the various ideas included in the verb. For we cannot become known to ourselves by measuring ourselves with others (2 Cor. 10:12). Hence the dreams were interpreted or made known (Gen. 40:8, etc.), and it was not made known what was to be done to the Sabbath-breaker
(Num. 15:34). This meaning, too, agrees with 1 Cor. 2:13, where it is used in connection with persons.

Some propose to supply the Ellipsis with the word “words” from the former part of the verse. But though it is true, in fact, that the apostle declared spiritual things with spiritual words, it is not in harmony with what is said in the larger context here.

In verse 1 he explains that when he came to them he could not declare unto them
“the mystery of God.” For so the words must be read, as in the R.V., and all the critical Greek Texts.*
* Μυστήριον (musteerion), mystery, and not μαρτύριον (marturion), testimony.

But these Corinthians (when he went to them) were all taken up with their own “Bodies.” One said,“I am of Paul”; and another, “I am of Apollos.” How, then, could they be prepared to hear, and be initiated into, the wondrous secret concerning the One Body?

No! These “spiritual things” could be declared and made known only (verse 13) to “spiritual persons” and the apostle says ( 3:1-6): “I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal.”

This, then, is evidently the scope of the whole context, and it shows us that to receive these “spiritual things” we must be “spiritual persons”: members of the One Body of Christ, rather than of one of the many “bodies” of men. Then we shall be prepared to learn the “deep things of God,” which were afterwards taught to these Corinthian saints by epistle in 1 Cor. 12. †
† See further on this subject in a pamphlet on The Mystery, by the same author and publisher.

1 Cor. 4:4 —“For I know nothing by myself, yet am I not hereby justified.” i.e.,
“For I am not conscious to myself of any [unfaithful, from verse 2] thing, yet I am not justified by this; but he that judgeth me is the Lord,” and He is able to bring all such hidden and secret things to light. The R.V. has “against myself.”

2 Cor. 3:16 —“Nevertheless when [their heart, from verse 15] shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away [from it]”: i.e., “is taken away” (R.V.), for it is the present tense, and is very emphatic because it explains why their heart shall turn to the Lord! We might almost read it “When the veil is taken away from [their heart], it shall turn to the Lord.”
See Mal. 4:6.

2 Cor. 6:16 —“And what agreement hath the temple of God with [the temple of ] idols?”

2 Cor. 11:14, 15 —“And no marvel; for Satan himself transformeth himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great [marvel] if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works:” whatever may be their present appearance or “reward.”

This is the most dangerous of all Satan’s “devices.”
…..(1) He goes about as “a roaring lion” (1 Pet. 5:8),
……and we know that we must flee from him.
…..(2) He beguiles through his subtilty, as “the old serpent” (2 Cor. 3),**
…….and there is great fear, lest we be “corrupted.” But
…..(3), most dangerous of all, he transforms himself into “an angel of light.”
…….Here it is that God’s servants are deceived and “join affinity”
……..with Ahabs and Jezebels to “do (so-called) good”!
**See also Rev. 12:9; 20:2.

Eph. 3:17-19 —“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

We following the R.V. rendering and supplying the Ellipsis from the preceding clause: — “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that (ἵνα) ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth
[of love is] even (τε) to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge,” etc.

We are to be rooted as a tree, in love; we are to be founded as a building in love; but we can never know what it is in all its length and breadth and height and depth until we know Christ’s love for us, for that surpasses all knowledge.

Bengel beautifully explains the four terms: the “length” extending through all ages from everlasting to everlasting; the “breadth” extending to people from all nations;
the “height” to which no man can reach or attain, and from which no creature can pluck us; its “depth,” so deep that it cannot be fathomed or exhausted. (See on this verse above, page 18.)

1 Tim. 1:16.—“Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Here πρῶτος (prōtos), translated “first,” is the same word which is translated “chief
in the preceding verse. If we retain this rendering, we may also supply the Ellipsis from the same context, thus:—
“That in me the chief [of sinners], Jesus Christ might show forth all long suffering.”
The R.V. renders “that in me as chief,” etc.

Heb. 2:11 —“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all [sons]
of one [father]: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”

Heb. 7:4 —“Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.”

There is here no word for “man” in the Greek, and we may better supply the word “priest” from verse 3. “Now consider how great this [priest] was.”

Titus 3:8 —“This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly.” The Greek reads, as in the R.V., “concerning these.” The A.V. and R.V. supply “things.’” But we may repeat the word “heirs” from the preceding verse:—
“That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and concerning these [heirs] I will that thou affirm constantly (R.V., confidently), that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works,”

1 John 2:2 —“He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only,
but also for the sins of the whole world.”

The words here are correctly repeated from the preceding clause.
The contrast is between “ours” and “the world.” A very emphatic word is here used for “ours,” not the genitive case of the ordinary pronoun ἡμῶν (heemōn) “our,” which is used in the first clause, but a special possessive pronoun, which is very emphatic, ἡμετέρος (heemeteros), our own. It is used of that which is peculiarly ours as distinct from that which belongs to others, e.g.:—
……….Acts 2:11 We do hear them speak in our tongues.
……….Acts 24:6 According to our law.
……….Acts 26:5 Sect of our religion.
……….Rom. 15:4 Were written for our learning.
……….2 Tim. 4:15 He hath greatly withstood our words.
……….Titus 3:14 And let ours also learn.
……….1 John 1:3 And truly our fellowship is with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

See further on this verse under Synecdoche.

So that “our sins” refers to the writer and his People as Jews, as distinct
from the rest of the world. Before this, propitiation was only for the sins of Israel;
but now, and henceforth, Christ’s propitiation was for all without distinction,
“out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation”: not for all without exception, for then all must be saved, which is not the case.

From “Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible” by E. W. Bullinger,
(Public Domain) pages 71-81. Adapted for website compatibility.
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