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put for faith which receives the gracious promise of God, in Rom. ix. 8. and Gal. iv. 28. Sin denotes a sacrifice for sin or sin-offering, Gen. iv. 7. Exod. xxix. 14. (Heb. sin) Lev. x. 17. (Heb. sin) Hos. iv. 8. Isa. liii. 10. (Heb. sin) and 2 Cor. v. 21.1
VIII. Sometimes the thing signified is put for the sign.
So, the strength of God, in 1 Chron. xvi. 11. and Psal. cv. 4. is the ark, which was a sign and symbol of the divine presence and strength, whence it is expressly called the ark of the strength of God in Psal. cxxxii. 8. Thus in Ezek. vii. 27. desolation denotes a mourning garment as a token of it.
IX. When an action is said to be done, the meaning frequently is, that it is declared or permitted, or foretold that it shall be done.
Thus, in the original of Lev. xiii. 3. the priests shall look on him and pollute him; in our version, shall pronounce him unclean or polluted. The original of Ezek. xiii. 22. is, by quickening or enlivening him; in our translation it is rendered by promising him life. So Gen. xli. 13. me he restored, means, foretold or declared that I should be restored. Jer. iv. 10. Ah Lord God! thou hast greatly deceived this people, that is, hast permitted them to be deceived by their false prophets. Ezek. xiii. 19. to slay the souls which should not die, denotes the prophesying falsely that they should die. So Jer. i. 10. I have set thee over the nations to root out and to pull down, that is, to prophesy or declare them pulled down. Ezek. xx. 25, 26. gave them statutes which were not good, and polluted them in their own gifts, that is, I gave them up to themselves, and permitted them to receive such statutes of the heathen, and suffered them to pollute themselves in those very gifts; which, by the law, they were to dedicate to my service, and dealt with them accordingly. Hos. vi. 5. I have hewn them by the prophets, or foretold that they should be hewn or slain. So in Acts x. 15. the original rendering is, what God hath cleansed, that do not thou pollute (compare Matt. xv. 11.), that is, as in our version, call not thou common or defiled. Hence in Matt. xvi. 19. whatsoever thou shalt bind or loose on earth, &c. means whatsoever thou shalt declare to be my will on earth shall be confirmed in heaven. And in like manner the meaning of John xx. 23. is, whose sins ye shall declare to be remitted or retained by the word of God.2 Matt. vi. 13. lead us not into temptation, that is, suffer us not to be overcome by temptation.
X. Further, an action is said to be done, when the giving of an occasion for it only is intended.
Thus, the literal rendering of Jer. xxxviii. 23. is, thou shalt burn this city, that is (as translated in our version), shall cause it to be burnt. Hence Jeroboam is recorded in 1 Kings xiv. 16. to have made Israel to sin, that is, to have occasioned it, by his example and command. In Acts i. 18. Judas is said to have purchased a field, that is, occasioned it to be purchased by the money which he cast down in the temple. Rom. xiv. 15. destroy not him, that is, be not the cause or occasion of his destruction. And in 1 Cor. vii. 16. whether thou shalt save thy husband, means, whether thou shalt be the cause of his conversion, and consequently of his salvation.
4 METONYMY OF THE ADJUNCT, IN WHICH THE ADJUNCT IS PUT FOR THE SUBJECT.
XI. Sometimes the accident, or that which is additional to a thing, is put for its subject in kind.
The abstract is put for the concrete. So grey hairs (Heb. hoariness, or greyheadedness) in Gen. xlii. 38. denote me, who am now an old man, grey and decrepit with age. So also, days, and multitude of years, in Job xxxii. 7. are old men. The strength of Israel, 1 Sam. xv. 29. is the strong God of Israel. Circumcision and uncircumcision, in Rom. iii. 30. signify the circumcised and uncircumcised.
1 Dr. A. Clarke, in his commentary on this verse, has adduced one hundred and eight instances from the Old and New Testaments, in which the word sin is put for a sin-offering: Dr. Whitby (in loc.) has specified only twenty-two examples.
2 On a forced interpretation of these two clauses (among others) has the papaf church erected the dangerous notion that priests may grant particular absolution to individuals. See it briefly but ably confuted in Bishop Porteus's Confutation of the Errors of the Church of Rome, pp. 44, 45.
The election, Rom. xi. 7. is the elect. Abomination, in Gen. xlvi. 34. and Luke xvi. 15. is an abominable thing. A curse, Gal. iii. 13. is accursed. Light and darkness, Eph. v. 8. denote the enlightened and the ignorant. Sin is put for sinners in Isa. i. 18. The meaning of which passage, Glassius remarks, is, that sinners, by having their iniquities pardoned, shall be cleansed and purified from the guilt and condemnation of sin: for sin, in itself, cannot be made clean.
XII. Sometimes the thing contained is put for the thing containing it, and a thing deposited in a place for the place itself.
Thus, Gen. xxviii. 22. means this place, where I have erected a pillar of stone, shall be God's house. Josh. xv. 19. Springs of water denote some portion of land, where there may be springs, Matt. ii. 11. Treasures are the cabinets or other vessels containing them. A similar expression occurs in Psal. cxxxv. 7. Outer darkness, in Matt. xxii. 13. means hell, the place of outer darkness. Matt. xxv. 10. Marriage denotes the place where the nuptial feast was to be celebrated. Mark iii. 11. Unclean spirits are men possessed by them. In Luke vi. 12. and Acts xvi. 13. 16. Prayer evidently means the place of prayer. Rev. viii. 3. Golden incense, dibarwrov, means a golden censer, and so it is rendered in our authorised English version.
XIII. Time is likewise put for the things which are done or happen
This is to be understood both of the word time itself, and of names expressing portions of time, whether divided naturally or by human institution. Thus, in Ï Chron. xii. 32. xxix. 30. Esth. i. 13. 2 Tim. iii. I. Deut. iv. 32. Mark xiv. 35. and John xii. 27. times, day, and hour respectively denote the transactions that took place in them. Again, days are said to be good or evil, according to the events which happen in them, as in Gen. xlvii. 9. Eccles. vii. 10. and Eph. v. 16.; and that is called a person's day, in which any thing notorious or remarkable befals him, whether it be good, as in Hos. i. 11. and Luke xix. 42. 44., or evil, as in Job xviii. 20. Psal. cxxxvii. 7. Ezek. xxii. 4. Obad. 12. Micah vii. 4. Psal. xxxvii. 13. The days of the Lord, in Job xxiv. 1. Isa. xiii. 6. Joel i. 15. and ii. 1, 2. Amos v. 20. Zeph. i. 14-16. 18. and ii. 2. respectively denote the days when divine punishments were to be inflicted; and hence, by way of eminence, the day of the Lord is appropriated to the day of judgment, in Joel ii. 31. Acts ii. 20. 1 Cor. i. 8. 2 Thess. ii. 2. &c. In the same manner, the harvest and summer are put for the fruits gathered at those seasons, Deut. xxiv. 19. Isa. xvi. 9. [Jer. xl. 10. Amos viii. 1, 2. 2 Sam. xvi. 2. in which three passages, as also in Isa. xvi. 9. the Hebrew is only summer.] And also the passover is put for the lamb which was slain and eaten on that solemn festival. Exod. xii. 21. 2 Chron. xxx. 17. Mark xiv. 12. 14. Matt. xxvi. 17-19. Luke xxii. 8. 11. 13. 15.
XIV. In the Scriptures, things are sometimes named or described according to appearances, or to the opinion formed of them by men, and not as they are in their own nature.
Thus Hananiah, the opponent of Jeremiah, is called a prophet, not because he was truly one, but was reputed to be one, Jer. xxviii. 1. 5. 10. In Ezek. xxi. 3. the righteous mean those who had the semblance of piety, but really were not righteous. So in Matt. ix. 13. Christ says, I am not come to call the righteous, (that is, such as are so in the own estimation) but sinners to repentance. See further Luke xviii. 9. and Rom. x. 2, 3. &c.
In Luke ii. 48. Joseph is called the father of Christ, and in v. 41. is mentioned as one of his parents, because he was reputed to be his father, as the same evangelist states in ch. iii. 23.2 Compare John vi. 42, &c. The preaching of the Gospel is in 1 Cor. i. 21. termed foolishness; not that it was really such, but was ac
1Пportux. From 1 Macc. vii. 37. it appears that the Jews had a similar place of prayer at Mizpah. See Wolfius, Rosenmüller, Schindler, and others on Luke vi. 12.
2 A similar mode of speech occurs in the Iliad, where Homer repeatedly calls Menelaus and Agamemnon, the sons of Atreus, though they were in reality the children of his son, Plisthenes, and consequently the grandchildren of Atreus. In consequence of their father's death, while they were very young, they were educated by their grandfather; who, from his attention to them, was universally ac knowledged their protector and father. Hence arose their appellation of Atride, or sons of Atreus.
counted to be so by its opponents. In like manner false teaching is called another Gospel in Gal. i. 6. and Epimenides, the Cretan philosopher, is termed a prophet in Tit. i. 12. because his countrymen regarded him as such, and after his death offered sacrifices to him.1
His enemies shall lick the dust, Psal. lxxii. 9. means, that they shall prostrate themselves so low towards the earth, that they shall seem to lick the dust. Similar expressions occur in Isa. xlix. 23. Micah vii. 17. &c. The phrase, coming from a far country and from the end of heaven, in Isa. xiii. 5. is taken from the opinion which antiently obtained, and was founded on the appearance to the eye, viz. that the heavens are not spherical but hemispherical, ending at the extremities of the earth, upon which the extremities of heaven appear to rest. Hence the ends of the earth denote the remotest places. The same phrase occurs in Deut. iv. 32. and xxx. 4. Neh. i. 9. Matt. xxiv. 31.
XV. Sometimes the action or affection, which is conversant about any object, or placed upon it, is put for the object itself.
Thus, the Senses are put for the objects perceived by them, as hearing for doctrine or speech, in Isa. xxviii. 9. (marg. rend.) and liii. 1. (Heb.) In John xii. 38. and Rom. x. 16. the Greek word axon, translated report, literally means hearing, and so it is rendered in Gal. iii. 2. 5. Hearing is also put for fame or rumour in Psal. cxii. 7. (Heb.) Ezek. vii. 26. Obab. 1. Hab. iii. 2. (Heb.) Matt. iv. 24. xiv. 1. and xxiv. 6. Mark í. 28. and xiii. 7. &c. The Eye, in the original of Numb. xi. 7. Lev. xiii. 55. Prov. xxiii. 31. Ezek. i. 4. viii. 2. and x. 9. is put for colours which are seen by the eye. Faith denotes the doctrine, received and believed by faith, in Acts vi. 7. Gal. i. 23. and iii. 23. 25. Eph. iv. 5. 1 Tim. iv. 1. Tit. i. 13. Jude 3. Rev. ii. 13. Hope, in Psal. Ixv. 5. and lxxi. 5. Jer. xiv. 8. and xvii. 7. 13. is God, in whom we have hope, or place our confidence. Hope also denotes Christ, or the benefits which we receive by him, in Acts xxvi. 6-8. xxviii. 20. Col. i. 27. 1 Tim. i. 1. Hope is sometimes also put for men, in whom we confide, or from whom we expect some good, as in Isa. xx. 5, 6. and for the thing hoped for, as in Prov. xiii. 12. Rom. viii. 24. and Gal. v. 5. in which last place the hope of rightcousness by faith means eternal life, which is promised to the just by faith, and also in Tit. ii. 13. Love is put for the object of affection, Jer. ii. 33. and xii. 7. (marginal rendering.) Desire, Ezek. xxiv. 16. 21. is the thing desired. In like manner, the lust or desire of the eyes, 1 John ii. 16. is the object of the eyes which we eagerly desire. So, Fear is put for the object that is feared, in Psal. liii. 5. Prov. i. 26. Isa. viii. 13.
XVI. Sometimes the sign is put for the thing signified.
Thus, Sovereign Power and authority are expressed by a Sceptre, Crown, Diadem, Throne, and Shutting and opening without resistance in Gen. xlix. 10. Isa. xxii. 22. Ezek. xxi. 26. Zech. x. 11. and Rev. iii. 7. War is denoted by bows, spears, chariots, and swords, Psal. xlvi. 9. Lam. v. 9. Ezek. xxi. 3, 4. Matt. x. 34. So, to lift up the hand is sometimes to swear, Gen. xiv. 22. Deut. xxxii. 40., and sometimes to pray, Lam. iii. 41. 1 Tim. ii. 8. In like manner, to stretch forth the hand is to call for audience, Psal. xliv. 20. Prov. i. 24.
To kiss the hand, or to kiss another, is to yield reverence, Job xxxi. 27. 1 Sam. x. 1. Psal. ii. 12. 1 Kings xx. 18. Hos. xiii. 2. To bow the knee, is to worship, Isa. xlv. 23. Phil. ii. 10. Eph. iii. 14. To give the hand, or to strike hands is to swear, join in fellowship, engage or become surety for another, Ezek. xvii. 18. Gal. ii. 9. Job xvii. 3. Prov. vi. 1. To put on sackcloth, is to mourn, Psal. Ixix. 11. To beat swords into plough-shares, and spears into pruning hooks, is to live in peace and security, Isa. ii. 4.
XVII. Lastly, the names of things are often put for the things
Thus, the Name of God denotes the Almighty himself, Psal. xx. 1. cxv. 1. Prov. xviii. 10. Isa. xxx. 27. Jer. x. 25. So, in Joel ii. 32. Acts ii. 21. and Rom. x. 13. the name of the Lord denotes Jesus Christ. Names are likewise put for persons, Acts i. 15. Rev. iii. 4. and xi. 13. In like manner we find, that names are given to persons to express their state or condition, although they are not ordinarily called by such names, as in Isa. i. 26. Thou shalt be called the city of righteousness or justice, that is, thou shalt be so. Similar expressions occur in Isa. lxiv. 4. Jer. iii. 17.
1 Diog. Laert. lib. i. c. x. § 11. tom. i. p. 123. ed. Longolij.
ON THE INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE METAPHORS.
Nature of a Metaphor.- Sources of Scripture Metaphors.-I. The
A METAPHOR is a trope, by which a word is diverted from its proper and genuine signification to another meaning, for the sake of comparison, or because there is some analogy between the similitude and the thing signified. Of all the figures of rhetoric, the metaphor is that which is most frequently employed, not only in the Scriptures, but likewise in every language; for, independently of the pleasure which it affords, it enriches the mind with two ideas at the same time, the truth and the similitude. Two passages will suffice to illustrate this definition. In Deut. xxxii. 42. we read, I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh. Here, the first metaphor is borrowed from excessive and intemperate drinking, to intimate the very great effusion of blood, and the exceeding greatness of the ruin and destruction which would befal the disobedient Israelites: the second metaphor is drawn from the voracious appetite of an hungry beast, which in a lively manner presents to the mind the impossibility of their escaping the edge of the sword, when the wrath of God should be provoked. Again, in Psal. cxxxix. 2. we read, Thou understandest my thoughts afar off. In this verse the metaphor is taken from the prospect of a distant object: but in a proper sense the phrase assures us, that Jehovah, by his prescience, knows our thoughts before they spring up in our souls.
In order to understand metaphors aright, it should be observed that the foundation of them consists in a likeness or similitude between the thing from which the metaphor is drawn, and that to which it is applied. When this resemblance is exhibited in one or in a few expressions, it is termed a simple metaphor. When it is pursued with a variety of expressions, or there is a continued assemblage of meta
hors, it is called an allegory. When it is couched in a short sentence, obscure and ambiguous, it is called a riddle. If it be conveyed in a short saying only, it is a proverb; and if the metaphorical representation be delivered in the form of a history, it is a parable. When the resemblance is far-fetched, as to see a voice, (Rev. i. 12.) it is termed a catachresis. This last mentioned species of figure, however, is of less frequent occurrence in the Scriptures than any of the preceding.
The metaphor is of indispensable necessity in the Scriptures; for the sacred writers, having occasion to impart divine and spiritual things to man, could only do it by means of terms borrowed from sensible and material objects, as all our knowledge begins at our senses. Hence it is, especially in the poetical and prophetical parts of the Old Testament, that the sentiments, actions, and corporeal parts, not only of man, but also of inferior creatures, are ascribed to God him
self; it being otherwise impossible for us to form any conception of his pure essence and incommunicable attributes. The various sources, whence the sacred writers have drawn their metaphors, have been discussed at great length by Bishop Lowth,1 and his annotator Michaelis, and also by Glassius; from whose elaborate works the following observations are abridged. The sources of Scripture metaphors may be classed under the four following heads, viz. natural, artificial, sacred, and historical.
I. The works of nature furnish the first and most copious, as well as the most pleasing source of images in the sacred writings.
Thus, the images of light and darkness are commonly made use of, in all languages, to denote prosperity and adversity; and an uncommon degree of light implies a proportionate degree of joy and prosperity, and vice versa. Isa. xiii. 10. lix. 9. lx. 19, 20. xxx. 26. Jer. xv. 9. Amos viii. 9. Micah iii. 6. Joel ii. 10. The same metaphors are also used to denote knowledge and ignorance. Isa. viii. 20. ix. 2. Matt. iv. 16. Eph. v. 8. The sun, moon, and stars, figuratively represent kings, queens, and princes or rulers, as in Isa. xxiv. 23. Ezek. xxxii. 7.
"The lights of heaven," says a late pious and learned writer,3" in their order are all applied to give us conceptions of God's power and the glory of his kingdom. In the lxxxivth Psalm (verse 11.) the Lord is said to be a sun and shield; a sun to give light to his people, and a shield to protect them from the power of darkness. Christ, in the language of the prophet, is the sun of righteousness; who, as the natural sun revives the grass and renews the year, brings on the acceptable year of the Lord, and is the great restorer of all things in the kingdom of grace; shining with the new light of life and immortality to those, who once sat in darkness and in the shadow of death. And the church has warning to receive him under this glorious character. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee! (Isa. Ix. i.) When he was manifested to the eyes of men, he called himself the light of the world, and promised to give the same light to those that follow him. In the absence of Christ as the personal light of the world, his place is supplied by the light of the Scripture, which is still a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our paths. The word of prophecy is as a light shining in a dark place; and as we study by the light of a lamp, so we must give heed to this light, as if we would see things to come.
"The moon is used as an emblem of the church, which receives its light from Christ, as the moon from the sun : therefore the renovation of the moon signifies the renovation of the church. The angels or ruling ministers in the seven churches of Asia, (Rev. ii. and iii.) are signified by the seven stars, because his ministers hold forth the word of life, and their light shines before men in this mortal state, as the stars give light to the world in the night season; of which light Christians in general partake, and are therefore called children of the light.” Nothing is more grateful to the inhabitants of the East than springs,
1 In his Lectures on Hebrew Poetry, Lect. 6-9.
2 Philologia Sacra. lib. ii. pp. 916-1243. ed. Dathii.
3 The Rev. W. Jones, Lectures on the figurative Language of Scripture, Lect. ii. Works, vol. iii. p. 25.