Gnō’-mee. Greek, γνώμη, knowledge, understanding: also a means of knowing.
From γνῶναι, (gnōnai), to know.

Hence, the term Gnome is given to the citation of brief, sententious,
profitable sayings expressive of a universal maxim or sentiment which
appertains to human affairs, cited as well-known, or as being of general
acceptance, but without quoting the author’s name.

In Prov. 1:2 they are called “words of understanding.”
The Scriptures, as Bengel remarks, are so “ full of the best things,
that these constitute, as it were, certain continued sentiments openly
set forth in the form of gnomes.”

When these are applied to a certain person, time, or place; or to individual cases;
or are clothed with circumstantial particulars, the figure is called NOEMA, νόημα
(no-ee-ma), (plural, NOEMATA), i.e., sense, thought, that which is thought, from
νοεῖν, to perceive.

When the author’s name is given, the figure is called CHREIA, χρεία, (chree’-a), use, usage, or usance, (from χράομαι, chraomai, to use).

For the Greek name of the figure Gnome the Latins substituted SENTENTIA
(sen-ten’-ti-a), sentiment, or a sententious saying; a philosophic aphorism, maxim,
or axiom, which is quoted on account of its application to the subject in hand.

These are exactly what are referred to in Ecc. 12:11.
. …..“The words of the wise
. ……….Are as goads;
. ……….And as tent-pegs well fixed are
…… [The words] of the masters of assemblies.”*
* See under Ellipsis, page 74

A Gnome, however, differs from a Proverb in this:
that every Proverb is a Gnome, but every Gnome is not necessarily a Proverb.
A Gnome is, properly speaking, a quotation: and therefore this figure opens up
the whole question of the Quotations from the Old Testament in the New.

This is a large subject, many volumes having been written upon it,
both in ancient and in recent times.

It is also a difficult subject, owing to certain phenomena which lie upon its surface.

It is a fact that there are variations between the quotations and the Text quoted from.

Sometimes they agree with the Septuagint translation, and differ from the Hebrew, and vice versa; and sometimes they differ from both.

Sometimes they are direct quotations; at other times they are composite
quotations of several passages joined in one; while others are mere allusions.

Consequently it is difficult for anyone to make a list or table of such quotations
which shall agree with those made by others.

The general fact seems to be that there are 189 separate passages quoted*
in the New Testament, according to Spearman’s reckoning:† i.e., counting a passage only once, though it may be quoted several times. Including the whole, there are, according to Bishop Wetenhall’s method, 244: of which 147 agree with the LXX,
and 97 differ from it.
* If it is merely a reference or allusion, as distinct from a quotation,
then there are many more, of course.
Letters to a friend. Edinburgh, 1759
(“Letters To A Friend:
Concerning The Septuagint Translation, And The Heathen Mythology
by Robert Spearman)

The Lord Jesus Himself referred to 22 out of our 39 Old Testament books.
In Matthew there are references to 88 passages in 10 Old Testament books.
In Mark to 37 passages in 10 books.
In Luke to 58 passages in 8 books.
In John to 40 passages in 6 books.
Deuteronomy and Isaiah, the two books most assailed by the Higher Critics,
are referred to more often than any other Old Testament books.
While Revelation contains no less than 244 references to 25 Old Testament books.
In Romans there are 74 references. Corinthians, 54. Gal., 16, Eph., 10, Heb., 85.
In all, out of 260 chapters in the New Testament, there are 832 quotations,
or references, or allusions to the Old Testament Scriptures.
Every Old Testament book is referred to with the exception of Ezra, Neh., Est.,
and Canticles. The Apocryphal books are not referred to at all.

Reckoning according to Spearman, we find, out of the 189
passages quoted, 105 that agree with the Septuagint, 21 that differ
from it, 45 that differ from both it and the Hebrew, and 18 neutral.

These may be exhibited in the following table: —
No. of Quotations    Total      Acc. to    Differ From   Differ From    Neutral
in                                                     LXX           LXX                Both
Matthew                        38            25                4                       8                     1
Mark                                  3               1                —                      2                    —
Luke                            .   .  5             —         ..      —                      3                     2
John                           . .  11              3                  2            .         5                     1
Acts                                  19             11                  1                      7                     —
Romans                        ..51            30                 4                      5                    12
1 Corinthians             
. .11              4                  2                   ..5                     —
2 Corinthians                  8           . .4                  1                      1                      2
Galatians                        ..4              3                  1                      —                    —
Ephesians                         2             —               ..1                      1                     .
Hebrews                          22            15                 3                   ..4                  . .
1 Peter                                7               6                 —                     —                     1
Jude                                    1                1                 —                     —                    —
Revelation                        7                2                 2                      3                     —
.                                                                                                                                     .
——————————–  189           105              21                    44                   19

It will thus be seen that by far the larger number of quotations correspond
with the Septuagint translation.

Now, all the difficulties have been caused by thinking and speaking only of the instrument or the agent employed: instead of having regard to the great and important fact that the Bible has only one Author, and that “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:21).

Our studies will certainly be incomplete if we do not observe the manner in which
the Holy Spirit quotes in the New Testament those Scriptures which He had before inspired in the Old.

Notice, then, the following examples: —

Mark 12:36 — “David himself said by the Holy Ghost”
This was the introduction to a quotation from Psalm 110:1.

Matt. 15:4 — Referring to Ex. 20:12 our Lord says “God commanded saying”, etc.

Heb. 3:7 — Referring to Psa. 95:7-11.
“Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith” not “as David saith” or “as the Psalmist saith”.

Heb. 9:8 — Referring to Ex. 25–40 ( concerning the Tabernacle and its teaching),
“ the Holy Ghost this signifying,” etc.

Heb. 10:15 — Quoting Jer. 31:33, 34 ,
“Whereof the Holy Ghost is a witness to us”.

Acts 1:16 — Peter, quoting Psa. 41:9 (10), says,
“This Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost,
by the mouth of David, spake before concerning Judas.”
Observe, that while David spake, the words were not his, but
“ the words of the Holy Ghost.”

Acts 3:18 —Peter, referring to the Old Testament prophecies of Christ, says,
“Those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets,
that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”

Acts 28:25 —Paul, quoting Isa. 6:9 exclaims,
“Well spake the Holy Ghost by Isaiah the prophet unto our fathers”.

Old Testament passages are introduced in various ways:

1. γέγραπται (gegraptai), it standeth written.
Matt. 4:4-10. Luke 4:4, 8.
Rom. 1:17; 3:4, 10; 10:15. 1 Cor. 1:19, 31. 1 Pet. 1:16, etc.

2. λέγει γὰρ ἡ γραφή (legei gar hee graphee), for the Scripture saith.
Rom. 9:17 (Ex. 9:16). Rom. 10:11 (Isa. 28:16). 1 Tim. 5:18 (Deut. 25:4).

3. ὁ νόμος (ho nomas) The Law.
John 15:25, from Psa. 35:19; 69:4 (5), emphasizes the fact that the Sacred Writings
of the Old Covenant, viewed as a whole, constituted the Law of Israel.
The pronoun “their” shows this.
John 10:34 (from Psa. 82:6) is written in Ex. 21:6; 22:8, 9 (7, 8). And 1 Cor. 14:21 (from Isa. 28:11, 12) has a reference to Deut. 28:49. Thus the reference is carried back, not only to the passage quoted, but to the one still earlier, in which it had its origin.

In the New Testament eight men are specified as the agents employed by the Holy Spirit: Moses, 13 times; David 7; Elijah, once;
Isaiah, 12; Joel, once; Hosea, once; Jeremiah, twice; Daniel, once.
In Matthew an agent is named 13 times (Jeremiah, Isaiah, Moses, David, and Daniel).
In Mark, 7 (Moses, Isaiah, David, Daniel).
In Luke, 6 (Moses, Isaiah, David).
In John, 4 (Isaiah, Moses).
In Acts, 10 (David, Joel, Moses, Isaiah).
In Rom., 10 (David, Hosea, Isaiah, Moses, Elijah).
In 1 Cor., (Moses) once.
In Hebrews, 3 (David, Moses).
In Rev., (Moses) once.

Thus, 14 passages are ascribed to the agency of Moses; 8 to that of David; 13 of Isaiah; 2 of Hosea; 2 of Jeremiah; 1 of Daniel; 1 of Joel; 1 of Elijah.

These facts are deeply instructive; because, for example, while the modern critics divide the book of Isaiah into two authorships, the New Testament ascribes six out of the thirteen passages to Isaiah in the first part of the prophecy (chaps. 1-39), and seven out of the last part (chaps. 40-46). The recognition of this one simple fact demolishes completely the hypothesis of the Higher Critics, and will cause us to prefer the statements of God to the imagination of men.

In making a quotation from the Old Testament in the New, surely the Holy Spirit is
at liberty to do what any and every human writer may do, and frequently does, in his own works. Human writers and speakers constantly repeat, refer to, and quote what they have previously written and spoken, introducing the words in new senses, in different connections, with varied references, and in fresh applications.

This is the case with the quotations in the Bible, and this one consideration explains all the so-called difficulties connected with the subject.

Our work, then, in considering these differences, becomes totally different in character from that which treats them merely as discrepancies, arising from human infirmity or ignorance. These differences become all important, because they convey to us Divine comments, and reveal to us new truths.

In quoting, or using again, words and expressions which the Holy Spirit has before used, we may note the following interesting ways in which He varies the sense or the words in order to convey to us new truths and lessons by the new application.

In referring to these by way of illustration we have not classified them according to these definitions and divisions, as the student can determine each case for himself. But we have followed the arrangement of Glassius in his chapter on Gnomes. *
* Which Keach translates almost verbatim, without any acknowledgment.

I. As to their INTERNAL form (i.e., the sense as distinct from the words).

. 1. Where the sense originally intended is preserved.

. 2. Where the sense is modified.

. 3. Where the sense is accommodated (ACCOMMODATIO).

II. As to their EXTERNAL form (i.e., the words as distinct from the sense).

. 1. Where the words quoted are the same as the Hebrew or the Septuagint.

. 2. Where the words are varied as to omission, position, or addition.

. 3. Where words are changed:

.   (a) by a reading:

.   (b) by an inference:

.   (c) in number:

.   (d) in person:

.   (e) in mood or tense.

. 4. Where several citations are amalgamated (composite quotations).

. 5. Where the quotations are made from books other than the Bible.

We will now consider these forms of Quotation in order: —

I. AS TO THEIR INTERNAL FORM, i.e., the sense as distinct from the words.

In the consideration of Quotations, care must be taken to note what is said to be “spoken,” and what is said to be “written”. Some prophecies were written and never spoken; some were spoken by the Prophet and afterwards written down in his “prophecies”; others were “spoken” and never written down at all, and when, therefore, a passage is quoted as having been “spoken,” we may or may not find it written down in the Old Testament Scriptures. But when it is said to have been “written,” then we shall find it surely written down in the Scriptures of truth.

Surely there is all the difference in the world between τὸ ῥηθέν (to rheethen),
that which was spoken, and ὁ γέγραπται (ho gegraptai), that which standeth written.

There is a further consideration which will help us when the quotations are prophecies. Prophecy is the utterance of the Lord— Jehovah: He Who was and is and is to come. His words, therefore, may often have a past, present and future reference.

Prophecy frequently has all three:
. (1) the reference to the events at the time of its utterance;
. (2) a subsequent reference to some great crisis; and
. (3) a final consummation, which shall fulfill and exhaust it.

When a prophecy is said, therefore, to be “fulfilled,” that exhausts it.
In other cases, where that final fulfillment is still future, the quotation is general—
“as it is written,” or some such indefinite reference.

The mistake made by most students of prophecy consists in this: that they do not bear in mind this threefold aspect of prophecy; but take one part, and put it for the whole.

For example, with regard to the prophecy in Dan. 11. There was a reference to Antiochus Epiphanes, now past; but this neither fulfilled nor exhausted the prophecy; which waits for the yet future revelation of one who shall fill it full: while there may be a historical reference to the course of events between. Each is true as part of the general fulfillment; but neither contains the whole truth embodied in the fulness of the prophetic record.

An example of this may be seen in the very first recorded fulfillment of prophecy in the New Testament (Matt. 1:23 below). We there see how the same Holy Spirit who first inspired that prophecy afterwards Himself interprets and applies it.

. 1. Where the sense originally intended by the Holy Spirit is preserved, though the words may vary.

Matt. 1:23 — “Behold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son,
and they shall call his name Emmanuel.” This prophecy was “spoken” by Isaiah to Ahaz, (Isa. 7:13, 14), and afterwards written down. It was first spoken with special reference to Ahaz and the circumstances then existing; but was afterwards fulfilled and quoted with reference to the event which the prophet, who was merely “the mouth,” did not understand, but which the Lord really intended. The words differ from both the Heb. and the LXX., but the sense is the same.

It never had or could have a proper fulfillment, except in Christ, for no virgin ever conceived and bore a child. In the days of Isaiah a certain woman, who was a virgin at the time when the prophecy was uttered, afterwards brought forth a son, whom they were told to name “Emmanuel”; and, before that child was old enough to know how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the deliverance promised to King Ahaz was wrought for him. But this prophecy did not have its complete and proper fulfillment in the days of Ahaz, because a real virgin did not conceive and bring forth a real Emmanuel.

This is not a prophecy, therefore, where the original sense is modified; for this was the sense in which it was originally intended, although there was a preliminary and partial fulfillment at the time.*
*See Number in Scripture (page 63) by the same author and publisher.

Matt. 2:6 — Quoted from Mic. 5:2 (1). The words differ from the Heb. and LXX,
but the sense originally intended is preserved.

Matt. 11:10 — (Mark 1:2, etc.). Quoted from Mal. 3:1.
Here the words differ from the Heb. and the LXX, though the original sense intended is preserved.

Matt. 12:17 etc.—Quoted from Isa. 42:1-4.
The words differ from the LXX, but the original sense is preserved.

Matt. 13:14, 15 — (Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; Acts 28:26, 27).
Quoted from Isa. 6:9, 10 agreeing with the LXX.

Matt. 21:5 — (John 12:14, 15).
Quoted from Isa. 62:11 and Zech. 9:9, agreeing with LXX.

Matt. 21:16 — “Have ye never read, Psa. 8:2 (3), ‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected (or prepared) praise,’.” which agrees with the LXX.

Matt. 21:42 — (Mark 12:10; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7).
Quoted from Psa. 118:22, 23 (LXX).

Matt. 22:44 — (Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42, 43; Acts 2:34, 35; 1 Cor. 15:25; Heb. 1: 13). Quoted from Psa. 110:1 (LXX).

Matt. 26:31 — Quoted from Zech. 13:7.
Though the words differ both from the Heb. and the LXX,
the sense originally intended is preserved.

Matt. 27:35 — (John 19:24).
Quoted from Psa. 22:18 (19) (LXX).

Luke 4:18, 21
Quoted from Isa. 61:1,2. The words differ both from the Heb. and LXX,
though the original intention is preserved.

John 19:37 — Quoted from Zech. 12:10.
The words differ from the LXX, but the sense is the same.

Acts 3:22, 23 — Quoted from Deut. 18:15-19 (LXX).

Acts 13:33 — Quoted from Psa. 2:7 (LXX).

Acts 15:16,17 — Quoted from Amos 9:11,12.
The words differ from the Heb. and LXX., though the sense is preserved.

Rom. 14:11 — Quoted from Isa. 45:23.
The words differ both from the Heb. and the LXX, but the original sense is preserved.

Rom. 15:3 — Quoted from Psa. 69:9 (10) (LXX).

Rom. 15:12 — Quoted from Isa. 11:1,10 (LXX).

Eph. 4:8 — Quoted from Psa. 68:18 (19). Here the original sense is preserved,
though the words differ both from the Heb. and the LXX.

Heb. 1:8,9 — Quoted from Psa. 45:6, 7 (7, 8), etc. (LXX).

Heb. 1:10-13 — Quoted from Psa. 102:25 (26), etc. (LXX).

Heb. 5:6 and 7:17 — Quoted from Psa. 110:4.

Heb. 10:5, 6 — Quoted from Psa. 40:6-9 (LXX).
Here the words differ from the Hebrew (see below page 793),
though the original intention and scope of the words is preserved.

1 Pet. 2:6 — Quoted from Isa. 28:16 (LXX).

. 2. Where the original sense is modified in the quotation or reference.

Matt. 12:40 — Where, in the reference to Jonah 1:17 (2:1),
the words are used with a new and different application.

John 3:14, 15, where the words respecting the brazen serpent,
though not directly quoted, are modified in their new application.

John 19:36 — “A bone of him shall not be broken.”
Quoted from Ex. 12:46, where we have the words, “Neither shall ye break a bone thereof.” That “another Scripture saith” this, is perfectly true, but not in the same sense. It was said of the passover lamb, and it is here modified and applied to Christ.
(See 1 Cor. 5:7).

Eph. 5:31, 32 — Where, in the reference to Gen. 2:23, 24, the words are used
with a new application.


. 3. Where the sense is accommodated, being quite different from that which was first intended, and the sense is accommodated by analogy to quite a different event or circumstance. Hence this particular form of the figure is called ACCOMMODATIO.

Matt. 2:15 — “Out of Egypt have I called my son,” which agrees with the Hebrew of Hos. 11:1, and not with the LXX, which has “have I sent for his (i.e., Israel’s) children.”

Matt. 2:17, 18 — From Jer. 31:15: but differs both from the Heb. and the LXX (38:15). The sense of each is given, but is accommodated to the new circumstances.

Matt. 8:17 — Quoted from Isa. 53:4, but differing from the LXX, and exactly answering to the Hebrew. The sense is accommodated; for, whereas the Spirit in Isaiah uses the words of Christ bearing our spiritual infirmities and sins in His
passion and death (as shown in 1 Pet. 2:24, 25), the same Spirit uses them in Matthew, and accommodates them to other circumstances, viz., to Christ’s healing people of their bodily sicknesses (Matt. 8:16). But this only shows the wonderful fulness of the Divine words.

Matt. 13:35 — Quoted from Psa. 78:2: but the sense in which Christ used them was different from that in the Psalm, where they are used of the past history of Israel:
here they are accommodated by Christ, the Speaker, to the present circumstances. The words are said to be “fulfilled,” because, though the agent or speaker knew not
of this ultimate use of the words, the Holy Spirit, Who spake by him, foreknew it.
The words are said to be “spoken by the prophet,” and so they were (see Psa. 78:1, 2), though they were afterwards written down.

The actual words differ both from the Heb. and the LXX, as well as from the sense which is accommodated to them.

Christ was making known concerning that Kingdom certain things which
would happen on its rejection. These things were not the subject of Old Testament prophecy, but had been “kept secret,” and are therefore called “the mysteries of
(or secrets concerning) the kingdom.”

Matt. 15:8,9 — Quoted from Isa. 29:13, according to the Septuagint,
but accommodated to different circumstances from those to which the words
referred when first spoken.

Matt. 27:9,10 — “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter’s field,
as the Lord appointed me.”

In the margin the reference given is Zech. 11:12,13: but the words differ so widely both from the Heb. and the Septuagint that it is more than doubtful whether this can be the passage which is said to be fulfilled.

As no such passage is found in Jeremiah, the difficulty is supposed to be very great.
As an example of misapplied ingenuity, we give the various attempts which have been made by way of evading the difficulty:

.1. It was a mistake of Matthew’s memory.
This was Augustine’s opinion, followed by Alford, who says:
“The citation is not from Jeremiah, and is probably quoted from memory and unprecisely.”

.2. The reading, “Jeremiah” is spurious. (Rupert von Deutz and others).

.3. It occurs in a work of Jeremiah’s which has been lost. (Origen and others).

.4. It was in Jeremiah, but the Jews have expunged it (Eusebius),

.5. That, Because Jeremiah, in the Talmud, and some MSS., commences the “latter” prophets, his name is put for the whole body of their writings which would include Jeremiah. (Lightfoot, Adam Clark, Scrivener, and others).

.6. Wordsworth boldly asserts that the mistake was purposely made; the name Jeremiah being substituted for Zechariah in order to teach us not to depend on
the prophets who were merely channels and not the sources of Divine Truth.
Concerning this Alford says: “I put it to any faithful Christian to say, whether of
the two presents the greater obstacle to his faith, the solution given above
(see No. 1 above), or that given in Wordsworth’s note.”

.7. Others again think Matthew’s mistake arose from the Jewish tradition
“Zechariam habiusse spiritum Jeremiæ” (“Zechariah had the spirit of Jeremiah “).

Need we say, with regard to these seven, that…
1. Is improbable: inasmuch as he quotes Zechariah elsewhere (21:5,  26:31).
2. Is devoid of MS. authority, which is essential in a case of this kind.
.       Origen and Eusebius suspect it, but only conjecturally.
3. This, too, is only a conjecture.
4. So with this.
5. This has more weight, but is unlikely and unsatisfactory: so evidently a makeshift.
6. We admire Wordsworth’s faith in the accuracy of the Bible more than Alford’s free .       handling of the Word: but it is, after all, a wild conjecture.
7. The same is the case with this. Now these are just the sort of explanations which do more harm than.all the assaults of the enemies of the Bible. But they serve to prove the truth of inspiration, in that the Bible still stands in spite of all the defenses of its friends!

If it be a quotation from Zechariah, it can be so only by accommodation,
or by composition (see below page 797, “composite quotations”),
in which case it combines four different quotations: —
…….(a) “They took the thirty pieces of silver,” which is derived from the narrative,
.               with special reference to Zechariah;
…….(b) “The price of him that was valued,” also after Zechariah.
…….(c) “Whom they bought of the children of Israel” (A.V. marg.) as Joseph was.               bought and sold. After Gen. 37:
…….(d) “And gave them for the potter’s field,” the narrative of the text,
.               with a special reference to Zechariah.
…….(e) “As the Lord appointed me,” which is from Jer. 32:6,8, and connects the transaction in Matthew with that in Jer. 32. A field was bought in each case; and the latter, like the former, has special reference to the future. Thus they treasured up a witness against their own perfidy, while Jeremiah witnessed to the Lord’s faithfulness.

But in reality, all these so-called explanations are utterly beside the point, and are
not only unnecessary, but absolutely worthless. The mention of them here would be a waste of paper and printer’s ink, except that they testify to the fact that, like most other difficulties, this one is first invented and put into the text, and then it is wrestled with, and the text wrested.

There is not a word about the prophecy being written in Jeremiah at all.
It says τὸ ῥηθέν (to rheethen) “that which was SPOKEN”; but these clever critics
practically take the trouble to exchange these two words, and put in two others
ὃ γέγραπται (ho gegraptai), or ἦν γεγραμμένον (een gegrammenon), “that which is written.” And then, having made the assertion that it was written in Jeremiah,
they have to show cause why it cannot be found there.

Some prophecies were written and never (so far as we know) spoken at all;
others were both spoken and written; while some were spoken and never written.

It says: “That which was SPOKEN by Jeremiah the prophet.” Surely it is neither suspicion nor conjecture, nor “unprecise” to maintain that it was thus “spoken.”
Who can prove that it was not “spoken by Jeremiah?”

True, Zechariah may have written down similar words, though not referring to
the same circumstances; but it ought never to have occurred to anyone to say that Matt. 27:9, 10 was quoted from what is written by Zechariah, when it positively states that it was “spoken by Jeremiah”.

Acts 13:40, 41 — Quoted from Hab. 1:5, according to the LXX, but accommodated to another set of circumstances, and to the Romans rather than to the Chaldeans.

Rom. 9:27, 28 — Quoted from Isa. 10:22, 23, nearly according to the LXX.

Rom. 9:29 — Quoted Isa. 1:9, according to the LXX.

Rom. 10:6-8
Where what the Scripture (or, rather, the righteousness which is of faith)
“saith” (Deut. 30:12-14) is accommodated to different circumstances—
verses 6 and 8 agreeing with the LXX, and verse 7 differing from it.

1 Cor.1:19, 20 — Quoted from Isa. 29:14 and 33:18, and differing from the LXX,
as well as accommodated to other circumstances.

1 Cor. 10:6, 11 — “These things happened unto them for ensamples.”
Where the events cited are used and accommodated to our sins and infirmities.

Rev. 1:7 — An allusion to Zech. 12:10.

Rev. 1:17 —An allusion to Isa. 41:4 and 44:6, but differing from the LXX.

Rev. 11:4 —Quoted from Zech. 4:14, differing both from the Heb. and the LXX,
and accommodated to different circumstances.

II. As to their EXTERNAL FORM (i.e., the words, as distinct from the sense).

1. Where the words are from the Hebrew, or from the Septuagint.
Matt. 2:15, from Hos. 11:1; Matt. 2:6, from Mic. 5:2 (1);
Matt. 12:18-21, from Isa. 42:1-4.
These and other passages are from the Hebrew and not from the LXX.

Luke 4:18 quoted from the LXX. of Isa. 61:1, 2. We have already instanced this as a citation in which the original sense is preserved. But we repeat it here because the words are varied.

“The Spirit of the Lord (Heb., Adonai Jehovah) is upon me because he
(Heb., Jehovah) hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor;
he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,
and recovering of sight to the blind.”

Thus far we have the words of the LXX.
The last sentence “the recovering of sight to the blind,” not being in the Hebrew Text*;  while the last sentence in the Hebrew is not in the LXX. But the two words
in the Hebrew contain both senses. פָּקַח (pahkach) means simply to open.
Spoken once of the ears (Isa. 42:20);
and often of the eyes (2 Kings 4:35; 6:17, 20; 19:16: Dan. 9:18: Job 27:19: Prov. 20:13: Jer. 32:19: Isa. 42:7). Hence the first of the two words means to open the eyes of:
and the other word means prison. Thus, in reading, the sense of the first word was expanded and given in the words of Isa. 42:7; while that of the second word was expanded and given in the words of Isa. 58:6—the two together meaning that the eyes of the prisoners should be opened on being released from the darkness of their prison. Or, to open [their eyes, and open or release] the prisoners. The explanation lies in the fact that the eyelids were called “the doors” of the eyes (עַפְעַפַּיִם, aphappayim)
(Psa. 132:4: Prov. 6:4: Job 16:16, etc.).
Hence the term “to open” applies equally to the eyes and to prison doors.
* See Ginsburg’s Hebrew Bible, which gives two readings.

2. Where the words are varied by omission, addition, or transposition.

Matt. 4:10 and Luke 4:8 — “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God,”
from Deut. 6:13 and 10:20; and then the Lord added His own Divine
conclusion from this: “And Him only shalt thou serve.”

The Heb. and the LXX. have “fear”: but the fear of God includes the worship of God; and as worship was the matter in question (see Matt. 4:9), the φοβηθήση (phobeetheesee), thou shalt fear, of the LXX. is changed by the Lord to προσκυνήσεις (proskuneeseis), thou shalt worship.

Matt. 4:15, 16 from Isa. 9:1, 2 (8:23; 9:1). Here, the quotation differs both from the Hebrew and from the LXX. But this is partly an accommodation; because in Isaiah (LXX) it is prophecy, while in the Gospel it is fulfillment that is in question.

Matt. 5:31 from Deut. 24:1: but here it is not given as an exact quotation.
It introduces the words by the simple formula: “It hath been said,”
implying that those who thus said, put their own meaning on what the Law said.

Matt. 12:18-21 from Isa. 42:1-4. Here, the Gospel differs from the LXX, scarcely a word being the same till we come to the last clause. It differs, too, from the Hebrew
in the last clause, because it records the act of “fulfillment”, and not merely the words of the prophecy. The words, therefore take the form of a Divine comment or re-statement.

Matt. 19:5 — “And they twain” (οἱ δύο, hoi duo). These words are added to the usual text of Gen. 2:24: and yet the sense is the same, for only of two were these words spoken. The quotation agrees with the LXX.

Matt. 22:24 — From Deut. 25:5, 6. But here it is the Sadducees, who do not quote,
but merely give the substance of the matter under the loose formula “Moses said.”

Rom. 11:3, 4 — From 1 Kings 19:10, 14, 18. Here neither the Heb. nor the LXX is followed, but the facts are recorded; while the destruction of the altars and the killing of the prophets are transposed.

1 Cor. 2:9 — From Isa. 64:4 (3). It is clear from this that the formula, “As it is written,” refers to the sense rather than to the words; and that the Divine Author, in repeating the words, sometimes varied them, as He does here; first, by transposing the hearing and the seeing; and then, by adding “neither have entered into the heart of man,”
thus varying both from the Heb. and the LXX. Moreover, He employs the general sentiment in a particular case. For what is said in the abstract, and universally,
in Isaiah, is here put in contrast to some particular things which are revealed.
See verse 10.

1 Cor. 14:21 — From Isa. 28:11, 12. Here the quotation differs both from the Heb.
and the LXX: and is accommodated to the new circumstances by the omission of
the middle passage, which was not relevant.

1 Pet. 1:24, 25 — From Isa. 40:6-8. Here the words are not introduced by any formula as a quotation. Isa. 40 is referred to; and certain words are used again by the same Author: and, therefore, some are omitted; as not being relevant, or necessary for the purpose in hand.

3. Where the words are changed by a reading, or an inference; or in number, person, mood, or tense.

We all constantly thus quote the Scriptures: and, in adapting them by application
to some special circumstance, we depart from the original interpretation as to the
special circumstances connected with them, and do not hesitate to change a tense,
or number, or person, etc.

It is no less authoritative, as Scripture, nor does it alter the word of God.

. (a.) By a different reading.

Heb. 10:5 (7) — “A body hast thou prepared me.”
These words are like the LXX of Psalm 40:6 (39:6),
and differ from the Hebrew, which is, “Mine ears hast thou opened.”

But this is not given as a quotation. It does not say, “as it is written”;
but it gives the words which “he saith,” “when he cometh into the world.”
What he then said in the accomplishment of a prophecy must certainly differ
from the form in which the event was foretold and written centuries before.

What we have here is an adaptation or accommodation (see above page 786) of a prophecy; and the words are changed to make it suit the actual fulfillment of the prophecy.

It consists of four lines arranged alternately: —
…..a / “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire;
……….b / Mine ears hast thou opened:
…..a / Burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required;
……….b / Then said I, Lo, I come … to do thy will, O my God.”

Here in a and a we have sacrifices; while in b and b we have obedience.
This is another statement of the truth in 1 Sam. 15:22:
…..a / “ To obey
……….b / Is better than sacrifice,
…..a / And to hearken
……….b / Than the fat of rams.”

Here, again, we have obedience and sacrifice set in contrast.
And that is exactly what we have in Heb. 10:5, except that the obedience is differently expressed.

In Psa. 40:6, the symbol is the opening or boring of the ears, which is in harmony
with Isa. 1:5; 48:8; and an allusion to Ex. 19:5; 21:5, 6; and Deut. 15: 16, 17; while the contrast is in harmony with 1 Sam 25:22 and Jer. 7:22. The boring of the ears signifies the voluntary acceptance of bond-service, and the promise to perform it. But in
Heb. 10:5 we have not the promise (as in Psa. 40: 6), but the actual performance, and therefore the words are changed by the One who came to do that will of God. Surely He had the right to change them, and to state as a fact, “A body hast thou prepared me” in which to obey, and by that perfect obedience unto death to do that which is “better than sacrifice”. The “great delight” (1 Sam. 15:22) of the Father is expressed in Matt. 3:17, as well as foretold in Isa. 42:1.

Heb. 11:21 — This is not a quotation; but, as it is generally treated as such, and as being in discrepancy with Gen. 47:31, we refer the reader to Hysteresis (q.v.).

. (b) By an inference.

Matt. 2:6 — Here we have several changes by way of inference and explanation, bringing out more of the meaning of the words in the prophet. Micah 5:2 (1) reads (R.V.): “But thou Bethlehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands
of Judah, out of thee shall One come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.”

In Matt. 2:6 we have “land of Judah” instead of Ephrathah, which was its ancient name (see Gen. 35:16, 19: 48:7), as being better understood by Herod.

Instead of the positive “art little,” we have the negative, “art in no wise least,” because, though little in the time of Micah, yet now, after the birth of the Messiah (Matt. 1), it could no longer be so called, in view of the event which had given the city true greatness.

Instead of “thousands,” we have the Metonymy (q.v.), properly translated “princes,” because Messiah was the Prince of princes.

Instead of “be ruler,” we have “be shepherd of ” (A.V. rule, margin feed).
This explanation brings in the next verse but one in Micah (“He shall stand and shall feed.”)

Finally, the words of the prophet, “unto me,” are omitted, because the emphasis is now on the fact rather than the purpose (though both were true); and hence the reason is given in the word “for” and the fact is added in the words, “my people.”

Acts 7:43 — Here the citation differs both from the Hebrew and LXX (Amos 5: 25-27) in words; but, by Divine inference other facts and truths are referred to.

Instead of using the Hebrew name “Chiun,” in Amos 5:26, the Greek equivalent, “Remphan,” is used.* *Just as “Ethiopia” is used for the Hebrew “Koosh’”; “Egypt”
for “Mizraim”, “Syria” and “Mesopotania” for the Hebrew “Aram”.

Instead of saying “the figures which ye made for yourselves,” the object for which they were made is given by Him, who knew their hearts—“figures which ye made to worship them” thus bringing out and emphasizing their idolatry.

Instead of saying “beyond Damascus,” Stephen says: “beyond Babylon” But this is no “scribal error” or “inadvertence” as critics assert.

Even the stoutest defenders of verbal inspiration read both Amos and Acts, as though they both “referred to the Babylonian exile” and do not appear to notice that it says “beyond” Babylon.

The fact is that it is “the house of Israel” as distinct from Judah that is spoken of in
Acts 7:42, and in Amos; and, while Judah was taken away to Babylon, Israel was taken “beyond” Babylon. Amos speaking before either captivity (about 780 b.c.) says : “beyond Damascus”; or, beyond where Damascus will go captive. See Amos 1:5.

In other words, in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit alludes to the country, and refers to Assyria and says “beyond Damascus”; while speaking by Stephen, in the light of all the past history, He alludes to the fact that Israel was removed farther than Judah, for while Judah was taken away to Babylon, Israel was removed “beyond” it.

Rom. 9:27 — “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea”. In Isa. 10:22 it is, “Though thy People Israel be as the sand of the sea,” etc. Here, by way of inference, the same people are mentioned in other words.

Rom. 9:29 is referred to as a difference in reading, “Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed” (σπέρμα, sperma). In Isa. 1:9 it is “Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a remnant (שָׂרִיד, sareed), but sareed means the same thing exactly, though the words differ. The seed that is left will form the remnant, and the “remnant” that is left will consist of the “seed.”

Rom. 9:33 — “Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” This, in Isa. 28:16, is “He that believeth shall not make haste.” The Hebrew (חוּשׁ, chūsh), means to flee, flee away, hence, of the feelings, to be excited.

Rom. 9:33 is the Divine inference from this, for he who really believes has no need for fleeing or for excitement; but can patiently wait for and expect the fulfillment of the Divine promises. Hence, he will have no ground for that shame which causes others to run away.

Eph. 4:8 — This is supposed to be a case where there is a difference of reading. The English is: “and gave gifts unto men.” But the Hebrew of Psa. 68:18 (19) is: “Thou hast received gifts for men.”

In the Psalm we have the prophecy “that Jah Elohim might dwell among them”; while in the Epistle we have the fulfillment in the gifts received being “actually” given, and the Lord God dwelling in the midst of His People by the Holy Spirit. But apart from this it ought to be noted that the Hebrew לָקַח (lakach) has the double and beautiful sense of first receiving and then giving: i.e., receive and give what is received. Hence it is often rendered “to fetch.” See Gen. 18:5; 27:13; 42:16. Ex. 27:20 “bring.” Lev. 24:2 “bring.” 2 Kings 2:20 “bring.”

We ought, however, to note that in the Psalm we have בָאָדָם (baadam) with the article: i.e., in the man. So that we may render it: “Thou didst receive gifts in human nature”: i.e., as “the Son of man”
(compare Matt. 28:18. John 13:3). He did give gifts to men. 

(c) In number.

Matt. 4:7 — “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” In Deut. 6:16 it is: “Ye shall not tempt.” If the command is given to all in general, then surely it applies to each individual in particular: and so the Lord applied it in reply to the Tempter.

Rom. 4:7 — “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven.” In Psa. 32:1 it is in the singular number: “Blessed is he,” etc.

But this is not a direct quotation. It is introduced by the words: “David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputed righteousness without works [saying] Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

But in the Hebrew the word “man” (אָדָם) does not occur until verse 2. In verse 1 it is literally “O the happinesses of the forgiven of transgression: the covered of sin,” And this singular may be used of a forgiven People collectively, and be Divinely expanded according to its sense: “Blessed are they.” In both places the plural is meant, the singular being put for it in the former case only by Synecdoche (q.v.).

Rom. 10:15 — “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace.”

In Isa. 52:7 the Heb. is “the feet of him,” the singular being put by Synecdoche for the plural, just as “the feet” are put (the part for the whole) for the person who preaches.

. (d) In person. Examples of this may be found under Heterosis of Person. See above, where one person is put for another.

. (e) In mood and tense. Examples of this may be found under Heterosis of the Verb. See above. One illustration may be given in Matt. 13:14, 15, where (in the quotation of Isa. 6:10) the indicative mood is put by Heterosis for the imperative.

. 4. Where several citations are amalgamated.
 …..…..Composite quotations.

Sometimes a number of separate sentences are drawn from different passages and presented as one connected passage. This is a common use, practiced generally in all literature. Dr. Franklin Johnson* gives some interesting examples from various authors.
* The Quotations of the New Testament from the Old considered in the light of general literature, pp. 92-102.

Plato, in his Ion (p. 538), quotes two lines from Homer pieced together by Plato himself, the first from Iliad xi., line 638; and the second, line 630, col. 629.

Xenophon (Memorabilia, bk. I., ch. 2, sec. 58) quotes connectedly as one passage,
two passages from Homer (Iliad ii., 188 sqq. and 198 sqq.)

Lucian, in his Charon (sec. 22), runs five lines together from Homer. But Jacobitz † shows that they are brought together from different passages: viz.: Iliad ix. 319, 320, and Odyssey x. 521 ; xi. 539.
† Lucian i., p. 39.

Plutarch, in his treatise on Progress in Virtue, treats two separate lines of Homer as a single sentence, viz., Odyssey vi. 187 and xxiv. 402.

Cicero, in De Oratore, book II., sec. 80, quotes from the Andria of Terence, making up in two lines parts of Terence’s lines 117, 128 and 129.

Philo, in his treatise, Who is the heir of divine things? sec. 5, quotes, as one address of Moses, parts of two, viz., Num. 11:13 and 22. but both refer to the same matter.

In the same treatise (sec. 46) he runs together parts of Gen. 18:14 and 17:19.

Conybeare and Howson (Life and Epistles of St. Paul, vol. I., p. 54) quote, as one passage, parts of
Psa. 122:4; 68:27 (28); 122:5, 2, 6, 7; and 68:35 (36). And these are not accompanied by any references or explanation.

Ruskin, in his Modern Painters, vol. V., p. 140, (146) quotes as one passage:
“How I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy testimonies are my delight and my counsellors; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” All these four sentences are from the Psalms. The first two are from Psa. 119:97, 24 and 19:10(11). All these composite quotations are made up of sentences that relate to the same subject. And this is always true of those which we find in the Scriptures. Not so when man quotes the Scriptures in this manner. When he thus strings texts together it is a very different matter; and, though sometimes harmless, it is often dangerous, and is a practice greatly to be deprecated. By a system, which may be called text-garbling, he is able to support his own theories and views. We recently saw two texts (quotations) thus connected in order to support Fasting, though they relate to totally distinct subjects: “The Lord Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights. Do this in remembrance of Me.” This is a flagrant example, but less likely to harm than many others which are less glaring and more specious.

Quite different are those examples in which the Holy Spirit Himself takes His own words and thus links them together, making one subject of them, even though that subject cannot be discerned by us in the separate passages.

The following are examples: —

Matt. 21:5 — “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy king cometh unto thee,” etc. This is a composite quotation, the first sentence, “Tell ye,” etc., being taken from
Isa. 62:11, and the latter contracted from Zech. 9:9.

In Matt. 21:13 (Mark 11:17, and Luke 19:46), the Lord exclaimed:
“It is written. My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” The first half of this is from Isa. 56:7, and the second slightly altered from Jer. 7:11 In both passages (which agree with the LXX) the subject is the same; viz., the Temple, and the right use of it.

Mark 1:2, 3 — “As it is written in the prophets, Behold,” etc.
The prophets quoted are Mal. 3:1, and Isa. 40:3.

Luke 1:16, 17 is from Mal. 4:5, 6 (3:23, 24*) and 3:1.
*The Masoretic Text for Malachi has 3 chapters, hence, 3:18+5(6)= 3:23(3:24).

Acts 1:20 is made up from Psa. 69:25 (26), and 109:8, and differs both from the Heb. and the LXX.

Rom. 3:10-18 is a long quotation made up of the following passages, which all refer
to the same subject. They are composed of two classes, the general and the particular; verses 10-12 are taken from Ecc. 7:20, Psa. 14:2, 3, and 53:2, 3 (3, 4), which speak generally of the universality of sin; while the second kind, verses 13-18, taken from Psa. 5:9 (10).

Isa. 59:7, 8, and Psa. 36:1 (2) proves the same thing; being the manifestations of sin in particular cases. Thus two methods of proof by induction are employed: and yet some, “forgetting their logic” (as Dr. Franklin Johnson says), see a difficulty in this simple method of proof which is common to all writers of all ages, and of various languages.

It should be noted that in these cases the reasoning is always correctly from the general to the particular; and not, as is so often the case with man, from the particular to the general: which is false in logic and fatal as to the argument.

Rom. 9:33 is made up from Isa. 28:16 and 8:14. Varied both from the Heb. and the LXX.

Rom. 11:8 is made up from Isa. 29:10 and Deut. 29:4.

Rom. 11:26, 27 is made up from Isa. 59:20, 21 and 27:9, and agreeing with the LXX.

1 Cor. 15:54, 55 is made up from Isa. 25:8, and Hos. 13:14, and varied both from the Heb. and the LXX.

2 Cor. 6:16 is made up from Lev. 26:11, 12 and Ezek. 37:27, and is varied from the LXX.

Gal. 3:8 is made up from Gen. 12:3 and 18:18.

Heb. 9:19, 20 is made up from Ex. 24:6, 7, 8, and Num. 19:6.

1 Pet. 2:7 is made up from Psa. 118:22 and Isa. 8:14. Objectors have made a difficulty of these composite quotations, as though the Holy Spirit, the Author of the words as well as of the Word, may not repeat, vary, or combine His words in any way He pleases: and as though He were to be denied the right claimed and practiced by writers in all ages. So far from seeing a difficulty in this, we may learn many important lessons from these variations, which are nothing less than Divine Comments on the Divine Word by the Divine Author.

5. Where quotations are from secular works, or books other than the Bible.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit quotes words from secular and human writings, and either thus endorses the truth of the statement, or uses it against those who believed it and accepted it as truth.

Not all, however, that are generally considered as quotations are really so. For example: “As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses” (2 Tim. 3:8) is said to be a quotation from the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel upon Ex. 7:11. But the Holy Spirit may give this independently, as a fact, quite apart from the Targum altogether; while many believe the Targum to be of a later date.

So, too, the prophecy of Enoch in Jude 14, 15 may just as well be the foundation on which the so-called “Book of Enoch” was afterwards made up, as a quotation made from that book. We certainly prefer to believe that the book of Enoch was originated from Jude 14, 15; and, taking this as the starting point, other prophecies were concocted and added by some old and unknown writer.

The same applies to Jude 9 concerning the controversy between Michael and the Devil about the body of Moses. This Scriptural statement was the original centre round which numberless fancies and fictions subsequently gathered, and from which the traditions started.

On the other hand, there are three certain undoubted quotations from secular writings. We will give them all.

The first is: —
Acts 17:28 — “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said,: ‛For we are also his offspring’ (τοῦ γὰρ καὶ γένος ἐσμέν, tou gar kai genos esmen):” This is an exact quotation from ARATUS, a native of Tarsus; who, being a poet, had been requested by ANTIGONUS GONATAS, son of DEMETRIUS, and King of Macedonia (273-239 b.c), to put into poetry an astronomical work of EUDOXUS (an astronomer of Cnidus, 403- 350 B.C.), called Phainomena. This he did about 270 b.c., and he called his work Diosemeia (i.e., the Divine signs), being a description and explanation of the signs of the Zodiac, and the Constellations, as the Greeks then understood, or rather misunderstood, them.*
The poem opens with praise of God (Zeus or Jupiter), and these words occur in the fifth line: —
………“From Zeus we lead the strain; He whom mankind
……….Ne’er leave unhymned; of Zeus all public ways,
……….All haunts of men, are full; and full the sea,
……….And harbours; and of Zeus all stand in need.
……….We are his offspring; and he, ever good to man,
……….Gives favouring signs, and rouses us to toil, etc., etc.

Similar words, ἐκ σοῦ γὰρ γένος ἐσμέν (ek sou gar genos esmen) are used by KLEANTHES (Hymn in Fou. 5), who was born at Assos in Troas about 300 b.c.
Also in The Golden Verses of Pythagoras.
* See The Witness of the Stars, by the same author and publisher. Download

In Acts 17:28, the word “poets,” being in the plural, may refer to both of them, while the article in both cases refers to Zeus, or Jupiter. The statement of the quotation was believed by the Greeks, and it is used here as an argumentum ad hominem. For it could never be that Zeus is really Jehovah, or that Jehovah is the “father” of everyone. The “universal fatherhood of God”—the Devil’s lie—was the belief of the heathen, as well as of most modern “Christian” teachers. But both are wrong: for God is “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and of those only who are “in Christ.” It is to “as many as received Him, to them [and to none other] gave He authority to be called the sons of God” (John 1:12).

1 Cor. 15:33 — “ Evil communications (or companionships) corrupt good manners.” φθείρουσιν ἤθη χρήσθ ὁμιλίαι κακαί (phtheirousin eethee chreesth’ homiliai kakai).
The words occur in this form, according to Jerome,† in the Thais of Menander.
Dr. Burton thinks Menander may have quoted it from Euripides. Meyer quotes Plato (Rep. viii. 550b).
In his Epistle to the Orator Magnus.

These various opinions show that the words were current as a common place quotation (Parœmia, q.v..), and are quoted as such here.

Tit. 1:12 — “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, ‘ The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies ’ (i.e., liars, evil wild-beasts, gluttons, lazy). This involves another figure called Oxymoron (q.v.). Jerome‡ says that the poet was Epimenides, and that the words occur in his work called de Oraculis (i.e., of Oracles), whence he is called a “prophet,” either by way of irony, or because of the title of his work. Callimachus (a poet of Cyrene) makes use of these words in a hymn to Jupiter, and satirizes the Cretans for their boast that Jupiter was buried in Crete, whereas he maintains
(of course) that Jove was immortal. It was from this that Ovid said ‛Nec fingunt omnia Cretes’
(The Cretans do not always lie*).
Com. in loco.
*See Ovid, A. iii. 10, 19. Eliicott refers to Ovid, de A. A., i. 298. This says “quamvis sit mendax, Creta negare potest.”.

The origin of all this was that the Cretans had a certain sepulchre with this epitaph: “Here lies one whom they call Jupiter.”

Because of this, the “Poet” charges them with a lie, saying: “the Cretans are alway liars, evil beasts, slow-bellies; therefore (O Jupiter) they have built a Sepulchre for you. But thou hast not died, . . . thou always livest,” etc.

But it has been pointed out (by Archbishop Whately, we believe), that if the Cretans are always liars, this was said by a Cretan, therefore he must have been a liar, and what he said could not be true! But all this reasoning is set at rest by the Holy Ghost, who says: “This testimony is true!”

In Acts 17:22, 23, we have not, indeed, a quotation, but a reference to a matter on which contemporary and later writers give confirmatory and interesting evidence. “I perceive that in all things ye are unusually religious. For, as I passed by and carefully observed your objects of worship, I found an altar also with this inscription; Ἀγνώστῳ θεῷ (Agnostō theō) ‘ to an unknown God.’ Whom therefore, not knowing, ye reverence, him I make known to you.”

Jerome† says (speaking of St. Paul); “He learned of the true David to snatch the sword from the enemy’s hand, and cut off his head with his own weapon.”
Epist. ad Magnum Oratorem Romamim. Vol. III. Operum, f. 148.

Ludovicus Vives says‡ that “in the Attic fields there were very many altars dedicated to unknown Gods,” and that “Pausanias in his Attics, speaks of The Altars of Unknown Gods, which altars were the invention of Epimenides, the Cretan. For, when Attica was visited with a sore plague, they consulted the Delphian Oracle, whose answer was reported to be: That they must offer sacrifices, but named not the god to whom they should be offered. Epimenides, who was then at Athens, commanded§ that they should send the beasts intended for the sacrifice through the fields, and that the sacrificers should follow the beasts with this direction: that, wherever they should stand, there they must be sacrificed to the unknown god, in order to pacify his wrath. From that time, therefore, to the time of Diogenes Laertius these altars were visited.”*
De Civit, Dei. Book VII., cap. 17. § Hence called ‘ a prophet ’ in Tit. 1:12.
See The Man of God, by the same author and publisher.
* For further information on this subject, see Sixtus Senensis, book 2, Biblioth Tit. Arœ Athenensis Inscriptio. also Wolfius, Vol. I., Lectionum Memorabilium, p. 4, v. 20, etc.

Col. 2:21 — “ Touch not; taste not; handle not.”
These ordinances of men were probably prescribed in these words, and are referred to as well known. We know them also today; for man is the same, and human nature is not changed.

From “Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible” by E. W. Bullinger, (Public Domain) pages 778-803. Adapted for website compatibility.
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