Bible Treasury Volume 8, p. 224. February 1871.
Q. ; Revelation 17:4; Revelation 19:1; Revelation 21:12. Is not the grammar set aside in following the ancient copies? How are these anomalous constructions to be explained? W.L.
A. The anacolutha I cannot but accept on the authority of the best MSS. as the genuine phrases of the writer, which are no doubt in every instance intentional, though we may not in every instance see why. Later scribes changed these and many other such irregularities of form into expressions conformed to common syntax. Nobody would have introduced them unless they had been the readings of the text originally. The tendency of corrections is to smooth down what seems harsh. It is clear, that even apart from inspiration, John did not so write for want of knowing the more usual rules; for he employs them himself regularly, unless where he introduces these singular phrases for special reasons. The same principle is true of Luke 2:13; Luke 19:37; Acts 5:16; Acts 21:36; Philippians 2:1 (in critical texts, ἒιτις οπλάχνα). But it is far more frequently applied and carried out more boldly in the Revelation than in any other part of the New Testament. Hebrew forms predominate.
As to the change from τὴν λ. to τὸν μ. which I accept as the true reading, it must be borne in mind that in the LXX. the substantive occurs sometimes in the masculine. Here the use of the two genders together is no doubt peculiar, and seems owing to the intervening phrases, τοῦ θομοῦ, τοῦ Θεοῦ, after which the Spirit gives more energy by availing Himself of the masculine form.
Again γέμον βδελυγμάτων καὶ τά is a mixture of the ordinary genitival construction with the accusative, as the corresponding Hebrew word does. Emphasis is secured thereby.
Revelation 19:1 ὄχλου … λεγόντων is the constructio ad sensum, common enough even in classic Greek and Latin, a singular collective with a plural following. See Revelation 7:9; John 12:12. In Revelation 21:12 ἔχουσα for ἔχουσαν is not the only instance of variatio structurae in verses 10-12. See Revelation 3:12; Revelation 4:1; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 8:9; Revelation 9:14; Revelation 11:1, 4, 15; Revelation 14:7, 12; Revelation 16:3; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 18:12; Revelation 19:12. In many of these cases various readings appear from the effort to remove the strange shape of the phrase to common concords. In such cases the well-known canon applies.
Bible Treasury Volume 8, p. 256. April 1871.
Q. Psalm 109:4. What is the force of the last clause? H.J.
A. "And I [am, or am to] prayer." So the holy sufferer describes it. Instead of his love they were his adversaries, and he gave himself up to prayer in consequence. How astonishingly true of the Lord! though no attentive mind can apply the psalm exclusively to Him, nor even every word to Him in ever so general a way. There is no reference to Christ's priestly or intercessional character; still less does it depict Him as the fountain and source of all prayer, however truly He may be so. To draw from this expression the inference that from all eternity His Father heard Him is forcing scripture. The real thought intended is the giving up oneself to prayer in presence of those who are adversaries without cause.
Bible Treasury Volume 8, p. 368. November 1871.
Q. 1 John 5:6-10 — What is the witness in verse 10? Is it the Holy Ghost? If so, where is the truth of the indwelling of the Spirit introduced in that chapter? Is it in verse 6? And why is the Spirit first in verse 8 and last in verse 6? Also is the witness of men in verse 9 simply human testimony? or is it of men moved by the Holy Ghost? M.
A. Witness is an equivocal word in English, as it may mean either the person testifying, or the testimony borne. The Greek leaves no doubt that in verse 10 it is not the Holy Spirit, but the testimony itself. In verse 6 the Spirit is introduced as testifying, and there of course for the first time in the chapter, where He is viewed rather as present rendering testimony than as indwelling. This leads to a personification of the water and the blood so as to form a threefold class of witnesses, the Spirit who alone is strictly a person leading the way. (7) "For there are three that bear witness, (8) the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are to the one thing" (or, agree in one). On the other hand, verse 6 refers to the solemn fact, recorded only in the Gospel of John, where the water and the blood flowed from the pierced side of Jesus crucified: to which the Holy Spirit draws special attention as we see there. John 19:34-35. In fact the Spirit followed; in testimony He naturally comes first. The witness of man in verse 9 means a testimony simply human; and the reasoning, as in our Lord's discourses often (Luke 13:15-16; Luke 14:4-5; Luke 15) is what is technically called a minori ad majus. As a rule, man's testimony is valid: how much more worthy of credit is God's!