ÆNIGMA; or, Dark Saying.
A Truth expressed in obscure Language.

E-nig’-ma. Greek, αἴνιγμα (ai-nig-ma), from αἰνίσσεσθαι (ainissesthai),
to tell a strange tale, then to speak darkly or in riddles.
Hence an enigma is a dark or obscure saying, a puzzling statement or action.
A statement of which the meaning has to be searched for in order to be discovered.

Enigma thus differs from Parable, in that the latter is generally explained.
When a Parable is without any explanation, it may be called an Enigma,
., a dark or obscure saying.

See Psa. 78:2 quoted in Matt. 13:35. The “dark saying” of the Old Testament is חִידָה (cheedah), from חוּד (chood), to tie in a knot, to twist: a knotty or intricate saying.

It is rendered dark saying three times (Psa. 49:4 (5); 78:2; Prov.1:6);
dark sentence, once (Dan. 8:23);
dark speech, once (Num. 12:8);
hard question, twice (1 Kings 10:1; 2 Chron. 9:1);
proverb, once (Hab. 2:6);
riddle, nine times (Judges 14:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. Ezek. 17:2).

When the saying is very obscure indeed, it is called HYPÆNIGMA, i.e., the same word, with the preposition ὑπό (hypo) prefixed, meaning under, i.e., a saying deep as well as dark.

Also HYPÆNIXIS, from ὑπό (hypo), under, and αἰνισσομαι (ainissomai), to speak darkly.
Hence, a speaking beneath: i.e., having another meaning beneath what is actually said.

When the Enigma is connected with the names of persons or places, it is known by the name Polyonymia.

There are sayings dark and deep in the Scriptures beside those that are actually so designated.

Gen. 49:10 is in the form of Enigma.
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
See under Metonymy.

Judges 14:14—Samson’s Enigma is well known.
. “Out of the eater came forth meat,
. And out of the strong came forth sweetness.”

The answer is given in verse 18, in the form of another question (See Anteisagoge):
. “What is sweeter than honey?
. And what is stronger than a lion?”

This is a saying both “dark” and “deep”: for there is precious truth hidden in that darkness and those depths, which neither the Philistines nor the natural man can understand or receive.

The Living Word (Christ) is stronger than the strong man armed,
(Matt. 12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 12:21, 22). For the Lion means in Hebrew the strong one.

The Written Word (the Scriptures of truth) are sweeter than honey,
(Psa. 119:103; 19:10 (11); Jer. 15:16).

All who know this blessed deliverance which the great Deliverer brings, cry out in the words of Psa. 35:10, “Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and needy from him that spoileth him?”
(See Erotesis and Prosopopœia).

The LAW was a strong Lion (Gal. 3:10): but the honey is found in verse 13.

SIN is a strong Lion (Rom. 5:21): but the honey is found in Rom. 6:6; 7:18-25.
And 1 Cor. 15:56, 57.

The WORLD is a strong Lion (Luke 8:14; Gal. 5:21):
but the honey is found in John 16:33.

AFFLICTION is a strong Lion (Job 5:6, 7; 14:1,2. Acts 14:22):
but the honey is found in Psa. 119:67, 71; 34:19 (20); Rom. 8:35-39; Heb. 12:11.

DEATH is a strong Lion (Rom. 5:12; Heb. 9:27):
but the honey is found in 2 Tim. 1:10Hosea 13:14, and 1 Cor. 15:54, 55.

The answer to these Enigmas is found in Psa. 73:16, 17,
“When I thought to know this it was too painful for me;
Until I went into the sanctuary of God. Then understood I.”

Isa. 11:1 is a dark saying, and has to be interpreted by what follows.

Isa. 21:11, 12, is another dark saying.

Ezek. 17:2-10 gives a prophecy concerning the King of Babylon’s coming to Jerusalem, and leading it into captivity, under the Enigma of two Eagles.

Dan. 5:25-28—The handwriting on the wall is given in the form of an Enigma,
in which the immediate fall of Babylon was announced.

Three words were written, the first twice (by Epizeuxis, q.v.), for emphasis.

מְנֵה  M’neh    NUMBERED.
תְּקֵל  T’kel      WEIGHED.
פְּרֵס  P’res     DIVIDED.

These three words are interpreted by Daniel in verses 26-28,
and the fulfillment of them follows in verses 30, 31.
See under Paronomasia.
From “Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible” by E. W. Bullinger,
(Public Domain) pages 772-774. Adapted for website compatibility.
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