This particular form of Ellipsis has a distinct name, BRACHYLOGIA
(βραχυλογία from βραχύς, brachus, short, and λόγος , logos, discourse),
English, Bra-chyl´-o-gy. Or from the Latin, BREVILOQUENCE, it means brevity of speech or writing, and is used of an Ellipsis, in which words are omitted chiefly for the sake of brevity; which words may easily be supplied from the nature of the subject.

Gen. 25:32 — “And Esau said. Behold, I am at the point to die; and what profit shall this birthright do to me?” There must be supplied, the thought, if not the words:—
I will sell it.” So with the next verse. “And Jacob said, Swear to me this day
[that thou wilt sell it me]; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.”

Gen. 45:12 —“And behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that
it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.” Lit., it is, “ because my mouth (כִּי־פִי kee phee) is speaking unto you.” If we supply the Ellipsis, we may retain this literal rendering.


Joseph had been speaking of his glory (verse 8): but, on the principle of Prov. 27:2: “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth,” he breaks off and says,
“ Now, behold, your eyes are seeing, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin; because my own mouth is speaking unto you [I cannot speak of all my glory], but ye shall declare to my father all my glory in Egypt, and all that ye have seen,” i.e.. THEY were to describe what HE could not well say of himself.

2 Kings 19:9 — “And when he had heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee: [he turned his army against him; and, having conquered him, he returned to Jerusalem, and] he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah.”

2 Kings 22:18 —“Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard.”

So the R.V. but without italics. But surely the sense is:—“Thus saith the Lord God of Israel: The words which thou (Josiah) hast heard [shall surely come to pass, but] because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself,” etc. . . . “thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place.”

1 Chron. 18:10 —“He sent Hadoram his son to king David, to enquire of his welfare, and to congratulate him, because he had fought against Hadarezer, and smitten him; (for Hadarezer had war with Tou;) and with him all manner of vessels of gold and silver and brass.”

The R.V. supplies “and he had with him.” But the Ellipsis is to be supplied from
2 Sam. 8:10, thus,
“And all manner of vessels of gold and silver and brass were in his hand” (בֳּידוֹ הָיוּ).

Ezek. 47:13 —“Joseph shall have two portions,” i.e., shall inherit.

Matt. 21:22 —“All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive,” i.e., add “if it be His will:”

Compare Matt. 26:39-44; Jas. 5:14, 15; 1 John 5:14, 15. This is the one abiding condition of all real prayer, and the Ellipsis must be thus supplied wherever it is found.

In Mark 5 we have by way of illustration three prayers.
.1. In verses 12, 13 “The devils besought him,” and “Jesus gave them leave.”
.2. In verse 17 The Gadarenes “began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.”
And Jesus left them.

.3. In verses 18, 19 “He that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not.”

“No!” is an answer to prayer! and often, very often, a most gracious and loving answer too. No greater calamity could come upon us than for God to answer “Yes” to all our ignorant requests. Better to have our prayers refused with this man who had been the subject of His grace and love and power, than to have them answered with Devils and Gadarenes.

Matt. 25:9 —“But the wise answered, saying. Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you;” i.e., “But the wise answered, By no means, for look, there will not be enough, &c., or we cannot give to you, lest, &c.”

Mark 14:49 —“But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”
The Greek is, “But that the Scriptures may be fulfilled.”
The R.V. correctly supplies the Ellipsis, “But this is done that the Scriptures should be fulfilled.” (Compare Matt. 26:56.)


Luke 7:43 —“Simon answered and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most [will love him most].”


John 2:18 —“What sign showest thou unto us [that thou art the Messiah] , seeing that thou doest these things?” As in Judges 6:17, – Gideon says, “Show me a sign that thou [art Jehovah that] talkest with me.”


John 7:38 — “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”


The difficulties of this verse are great, as may be seen by a reference to the commentators. It will be noted that a comparison is suggested by the word καθώς (kathos), like as, and that there is an Ellipsis which must be supplied. Bengel suggests “as the Scripture hath said so it shall be,”’ or “so shall it be.” But something more is evidently required. Is there not a reference to the Haphtarah, i.e., the portion, selected (from the Prophets) as the lesson to be read on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, which was Zech. 14:1-21.*


The portion from the Law (Acts 13:15) read in conjunction with this was Lev. 22:26 23:44; with Num. 29:12-16.


The Lord was not present then, for it was not until “the midst of the feast” that He went up (verse 14). But in “the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried,” with evident reference to the Scripture which had been read, “He that believeth on me (as the Scripture hath said [concerning Jerusalem: so shall it be] ) out of his heart rivers of living water shall flow.” What the Scripture had said concerning Jerusalem in Zech. 14:8 was this:—“And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea,” &c. To this agree the words of the prophecy in Ezek. 47:1-11. These prophecies shall yet be literally fulfilled with regard to Jerusalem: and what will then actually take place illustrates what takes place now in the experience of every one who believes in Jesus. Even as those rivers will flow forth from Jerusalem in that day, so now the Holy Spirit, in all His wondrous powers, and gifts, and graces, flows forth from the inward parts—the new nature of the believer.

John 13:18 —“I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but
[I have done this] that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.” Compare verses

John 15:25—“But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” The abbreviated expression emphasizes the statement to which we are thus hastened on. And our attention is called to the fact that δωρεάν
(dōrean) here rendered “without a cause” is in Rom. 3:24 rendered “freely.”—“Being justified freely by his grace”: i.e., there was no more cause why we should be “justified” than there was why Jesus should be “hated”

John 15:27 —“Ye have been with me from the beginning [and are still with me].” Compare 16:4, and see 1 John 3:8 below.

Rom. 9:16 —Here the reference is to Esau and Jacob, spoken of in verses 10-13,
and to the history as recorded in Gen. 27:3, 4.

“So then [election is] not of him who willeth [as Isaac wished to bless Esau according to “the will of the flesh”*], nor of him that runneth [as Esau ran for venison that his father might eat, and bless him] , but of God who showeth mercy.”
*As Jacob was asked to bless Ephraim and Manasseh according to “the will of man” (Joseph) (Gen. 48:5-14). Both cases are instanced in Heb. 11:20, 21 as acts of “Faith,” i.e., faith’s exercise of gifts contrary to “the will of the flesh,” as in the case of Isaac; and contrary to “the will of man” in the case of Jacob.

1 Cor. 9:4 —“Have we not power to eat and to drink
[at the expense of our converts or of the Church]?” Without this there is no sequence in the apostle’s argument. Or we may supply [without working with our own hands] , see verses 6 and 7

2 Cor. 5:3 —“If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.”

Here the blessed hope of Resurrection is described as being clothed upon with the heavenly body. This is the subject which commences at 2 Cor. 4:14, In chap. 5:3 the καί is ignored in both A.V. and R.V. The Greek is, “If indeed BEING CLOTHED also, we shall not be found naked [as some among you say].” There were some among the Corinthians who said “there is no resurrection of the dead”
1 Cor. 15:12, 35), and here those assertions are thus referred to.

Gal. 2:9 —“They gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision, [should carry the apostolic message and decrees].”

Eph. 4:29 —Here the word εἰ (ei) “if “,  is omitted in the translation both in the A.V. and R.V. Not observing the Ellipsis, the word “if ” was omitted to make sense.

With the “if ” retained, the Ellipsis is properly supplied thus: — “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but, if any [speech be] good to the use of edifying, [let it be spoken] that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

Phil. 4:11 —“I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

The R.V. reads “therein to be content,” without italics.
But what is he to be content with? Surely not content with the circumstances,
but with the will of God, So that the verse will read,
“I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content with [the will of God].”

1 John 3:8 —“The devil sinneth from the beginning [and still sinneth]”.

From “Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible” by E. W. Bullinger,
(Public Domain) pages 47-49. Adapted for website compatibility.
See original at link.      Stream           Download.

figuresofspeechinthebible.net © 2013-2022. All rights reserved. Material in public domain may be freely copied and distributed without charge for educational, non-commercial purposes. This website, and those referenced by this site as sources of public domain material, are to be referenced. Material that is not in public domain, and indicated as such, is the property of its rightful owner(s), and/or originator.