Differences between Heb. 10:7 and Psalm 39(40):7

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Wes Wood
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Differences between Heb. 10:7 and Psalm 39(40):7

Post by Wes Wood » September 6th, 2016, 7:02 pm

Hebrews 10:7 "τότε εἶπον· ἰδοὺ ἥκω, ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ, τοῦ ποιῆσαι ὁ θεὸς τὸ θέλημά σου."
Psalm 39/40:7 "τότε εἶπον. ἰδοὺ ἥκω ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ, τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου ὁ Θεός μου ἠβουλήθην

I will probably make a fool of myself here, but why stop now, right? As I see it in Hebrews 10:7, the articular infinitive τοῦ ποιῆσαι is governed by the verb ἤκω rather than γέγραπται in the phrase ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ. Is the vocative ὁ θεὸς "marked?" I would have expected it to be at the end of the phrase τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου. Am I missing something? (I am not a linguist so take it easy on my (mis)use of any of these "terms.")

In Psalm 39:7, I think the initial phrase ἰδοὺ ἥκω stands alone, and the verb ἠβουλήθην governs the articular infinitive τοῦ ποιῆσαι. In this instance I feel that the vocative ὁ Θεός was placed at the end of the phrase τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου to avoid the ambiguity that might result if the sentence read ἰδοὺ ἥκω...ὁ Θεός μου τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου ἠβουλήθην and shouldn't be considered to be in P2 because it clarifies σου. Rather, I take it the whole phrase is fronted before the verb ἠβουλήθην for "emphasis." Is this plausible?

Basically, what are the pragmatic differences between these two passages?
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Differences between Heb. 10:7 and Psalm 39(40):7

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » September 7th, 2016, 4:52 pm

Hebrews 10:7 "τότε εἶπον· ἰδοὺ ἥκω, ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ, τοῦ ποιῆσαι ὁ θεὸς τὸ θέλημά σου."
Psalm 39/40:7 "τότε εἶπον. ἰδοὺ ἥκω ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ, τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου ὁ Θεός μου ἠβουλήθην

I will probably make a fool of myself here, but why stop now, right? As I see it in Hebrews 10:7, the articular infinitive τοῦ ποιῆσαι is governed by the verb ἤκω rather than γέγραπται in the phrase ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ. Is the vocative ὁ θεὸς "marked?" I would have expected it to be at the end of the phrase τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου. Am I missing something? (I am not a linguist so take it easy on my (mis)use of any of these "terms.")

In Psalm 39:7, I think the initial phrase ἰδοὺ ἥκω stands alone, and the verb ἠβουλήθην governs the articular infinitive τοῦ ποιῆσαι. In this instance I feel that the vocative ὁ Θεός was placed at the end of the phrase τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου to avoid the ambiguity that might result if the sentence read ἰδοὺ ἥκω...ὁ Θεός μου τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου ἠβουλήθην and shouldn't be considered to be in P2 because it clarifies σου. Rather, I take it the whole phrase is fronted before the verb ἠβουλήθην for "emphasis." Is this plausible?

Basically, what are the pragmatic differences between these two passages?
It looks as if you have been reading H.A.W. Meyer[1] online. ἠβουλήθην isn't the form found in the most popular text of Psalms:

Psa. 39:8-9 τότε εἶπον Ἰδοὺ ἥκω, ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ·τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου, ὁ θεός μου, ἐβουλήθην καὶ τὸν νόμον σου ἐν μέσῳ τῆς κοιλίας μου.

If we assume Meyer is right then Hebrews isn't saying the same thing as our greek text of Psalms. So the question might be focused on the our greek text of Psalms without reference to Hebrews. As far as I can make out using the STEP[2] bible, the word order of our greek text of Psalms is dictated by the Hebrew word order. I think it might be a bit presumptuous to speculate about “pragmatic” significance. The translator most likely was just doing what was normal, follow the order of the vorlage.

One might want to take up the question of Hebrews use of the Greek OT but that would be a different issue.



[1] A search on “ὁ Θεός μου ἠβουλήθην” landed in BibleHub Meyer.
Hebrews 10:7
Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
Hebrews 10:7. Τότε εἶπον] then said I. In the sense of the writer of the epistle: then, when Thou hadst prepared for me a body. In the sense of the composer of the psalm: then, when such deeper knowledge was revealed to me. Contrary to the usage of the language, Carpzov, Stein, and others take τότε as equivalent to ideo, propterea, while just as capriciously Heinrichs makes it redundant as a particle of transition.

ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ] is a parenthesis; so that τοῦ ποιῆσαι depends not on γέγραπται, as Paulus thinks, but upon ἥκω: Lo, I come to do, O God, Thy will. Comp. Hebrews 10:9. Otherwise truly with the LXX. (and in the Hebrew), where τοῦ ποιῆσαι is governed by the closing verb ἠβουλήθην, which is omitted in the Epistle to the Hebrews (τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου, ὁ θεός μου, ἠβουλήθην: to do Thy will, O God, is my delight).

ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ is in the Hebrew differently connected and applied. In the sense of our author: in the prophecies of the O. T. it is written of me.

κεφαλίς, little head, then the knob at the end of the staff, around which the manuscript roll was wound in antiquity. κεφαλὶς βιβλίου consequently denotes the book-roll, volume. Elsewhere also the LXX. translated the Hebrew מְגִלָּה (volumen), with and without the addition of βιβλίου, by κεφαλίς. Comp. Ezekiel 2:9; Ezekiel 3:1-3; Ezra 6:2.

τὸ θέλημα] in the sense of our author: the obedient presentation of the body as a sacrifice for the redemption of mankind.

H.A.W. Meyer http://biblehub.com/commentaries/meyer/hebrews/10.htm.
[2] Which has recently become my preferred electronic exegetical bible system.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Differences between Heb. 10:7 and Psalm 39(40):7

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » September 7th, 2016, 5:31 pm

On the text critical issues see

A TEXTUAL COMPARISON OF HEBREWS 10:5b-7
AND LXX PSALM 39:7-9
Ronald H. van der Bergh
University of Pretoria
http://repository.up.ac.za/bitstream/ha ... sequence=1
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Wes Wood
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Re: Differences between Heb. 10:7 and Psalm 39(40):7

Post by Wes Wood » September 7th, 2016, 8:10 pm

Thank you for your reply. [Edit: I wrote this before seeing your second post.]

Your observation is partially correct. I noticed the quotation in Hebrews during worship Sunday while reading from my Reader's GNT and then looked up the reference in Psalms in Brenton's Septuagint. It was a curiosity point. I am always interested in seeing how the Greek text compares to the Septuagint.

Anyway, when I got home I looked up general information on these passages in Bengal's Gnomon, Burkitt's Expository Notes, Cambridge GT for Schools..., The Expositor's GT, Alford's GT Critical Exegetical Commentary, and Robertson's Word Pictures. After that I looked, knowing it would likely be in vain, for specific information about the word order of articular genitive phrases and the placement of vocatives followed by a search about general word order in Robertson's Grammar, BDF, Smyth, Dooley and Levinsohn's Analyzing Discourse, Runge's Discourse Grammar, Levinsohn's Discourse Features..., Boise's Exercises in some of the more Difficult Principles of Greek Syntax, and Larsen's Word Order and Relative Prominence in New Testament Greek, as well as two different searches looking at comparable genitive articular infinitives: one in the New Testament using Accordance (unfortunately, I do not have the Septuagint on it) and one in Perseus (well technically a few, but I was over a barrel there because you don't have many search options so I chose to search for several verbs like ποιῆσαι that I, guided by Smyth, thought would be more likely to use that construction). I am sure I have left some of the works I consulted out, but I came down with strep Monday morning. It is the best I can remember now. All that is to say you aren't wrong; I did read Meyer--and if I were writing a research paper I would be in trouble for inadvertently borrowing his thoughts :oops: -- but either Brenton had ἠβουλήθην or I made a scribal error when I transcribed the verses in my notebook or when I typed the Septuagint quote out for my post. I copied and pasted the New Testament quote from Accordance, but I typed the Septuagint quote from the notebook. Not that it matters, but you can see an error in the Psalm quotation where it should read εἶπον·. I didn't feel like spending the time it would take me to figure out how to type that mark.
If we assume Meyer is right then Hebrews isn't saying the same thing as our greek text of Psalms.
Even if he is wrong, it wouldn't be saying the same thing. It seems to me the assumed speaker is different and the Hebrew author may have thought the speaker to be on a different footing with God than David, given the glaring? omission of μου. But I'm not wondering about that part. I don't want to discuss the theological concerns of these passages, though I'm not implying that this is or was your intent. I am afraid of where the discussion might go. I didn't expect that anyone would interact with my question. I thank you again for doing so.
As far as I can make out using the STEP[2] bible, the word order of our greek text of Psalms is dictated by the Hebrew word order.
This is a very valid point, but I am not able to interact with it. The only Hebrew I know is the alphabet. So I am trying to focus only on the meaning of the Greek as Greek.
I think it might be a bit presumptuous to speculate about “pragmatic” significance.
I have little doubt that what I have said was different than what I intended to say, and I have serious doubts that any difference between them would be perceptible to non-native speakers anyway. These are but a few of the dangers of attempting to fish in someone else's pond. In spite of my ineptitude at trying to ask questions in writing, I will attempt to purify and restate my question: Is there any discernible difference in "emphasis" in the use of the vocative between the phrases τοῦ ποιῆσαι ὁ θεὸς τὸ θέλημά σου and τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου ὁ Θεός μου without considering--and I know Runge and others would castigate me for saying this--the context. Specifically, I mean the context that can be attributed to the process of quoting or interacting with source material. For instance, I feel that a vocative is nearly always marked because its presence is rarely necessary for the audience to understand an utterance or to move the dialogue along. However, in the case of the Hebrew author/amanuensis it is plausible the only reason the vocative was included was because the original quotation contained it. Have I made sense at all? In other words if these were two entirely independent works with this particular phrasing, is there a difference in the use of the vocative?
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Wes Wood
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Re: Differences between Heb. 10:7 and Psalm 39(40):7

Post by Wes Wood » September 7th, 2016, 8:11 pm

Thank you for the link. I will read it and then check back tomorrow.
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Wes Wood
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Re: Differences between Heb. 10:7 and Psalm 39(40):7

Post by Wes Wood » September 7th, 2016, 9:12 pm

I guess I lied. The article wasn't as long as I assumed it would be. This article did brush up against the root of my question.
It is plain that the author of Hebrews deliberately transposed ὁ θεός to stand before τὸ θέλημά σου in the quotation of Heb 10:7. This shift is done for more than stylistic reasons on the grounds of the author’s omission of ἐβουλήθην (contra Ahlborn 1966, 125). Through the transposition, emphasis is placed on τὸ θέλημά σου, at the same time decreasing the emphasis on ὁ θεός (Ellingworth 1993, 501; Kaiser 1981, 31).
I wish it were as plain to me what the operating principles are here as it appears to be for the author, or at least for those the author quotes. I think Runge has it right that some Greek scholars have a reliable gut feeling about marked and unmarked constituents as a result of their wide Greek readings. The difficult part is determining whether or not a specific individual possesses that quality. I won't have access to Ellingworth, Kaiser, or Johnson until the first week of October when I can get to the nearest university library. In the meantime, I will go back to Runge, Levinsohn, and Dooley to see if I can work out a simple statement that accounts for all of these moving parts. The complexity of the issues involved seem to make this an impossible task. Perhaps it would be more accurate for me to say that such a task is beyond my current ability.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Differences between Heb. 10:7 and Psalm 39(40):7

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » September 8th, 2016, 12:39 pm

choosing the right tool

Last night as I was leaving the local library I noticed a steel post with a bunch of cables hanging off it. Upon close inspection it was a bicycle repair station and each cable was connected to a different tool. I didn't recognize half of the tools. To proceed with a repair you need to know what a tool is designed to do. Picking up the wrong tool is a well known hazard among shady tree mechanics and NT exegetes.

In the book of Hebrews, the author appears to be preoccupied with how things sound. When I look at the citation in in Hebrews 10:5-7 in UBSGNT3 it is broken out into lines something like:
Heb. 10:5
Διὸ εἰσερχόμενος εἰς τὸν κόσμον λέγει,
--- θυσίαν καὶ προσφορὰν οὐκ ἠθέλησας,
------ σῶμα δὲ κατηρτίσω μοι·
ὁλοκαυτώματα καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτίας
------ οὐκ εὐδόκησας.

τότε εἶπον,
---- ἰδοὺ ἥκω,
------- ἐν κεφαλίδι βιβλίου γέγραπται περὶ ἐμοῦ,
---- τοῦ ποιῆσαι ὁ θεὸς τὸ θέλημά σου.
I would suspect that the placement of ὁ θεὸς in the last line might be dictated by the desire to divide the line. I wouldn't rule out “pragmatic marking”, but it wouldn't be the first question that I would explore.That kind of analysis has become sort of a item on the exegetical check list, something you have to do to cover all the bases. I don't feel compelled to use that particular tool. I have become somewhat skeptical about it after seeing it used by the experts who write books about it.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Wes Wood
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Re: Differences between Heb. 10:7 and Psalm 39(40):7

Post by Wes Wood » September 8th, 2016, 11:00 pm

I like your analogy; let me try one of my own. Perhaps you have had the unfortunate experience of trying to remove a light bulb from an old fixture only to have the bulb break at the metal base? There are specific tools that exist to solve this problem, but I don't have one. Instead, I might take the plastic mouth of a soda bottle and slowly melt and shape the end of it so that it will fit the metal stem of the bulb, verify that the power is indeed off at the bulb, and use this "tool" to safely and effectively remove the metal stem. As an alternative, I could use needle-nose pliers if they will fit between the metal and the fixture or a potato if the bulb isn't lodged in too tightly, but I digress. The thing about tools is even if you know what you tool you need it isn't helpful if you don't have access to it--or if the tool you are looking for genuinely does not exist. I am unaware of materials that thoroughly address the topic of Greek word order in accessible ways for the average intermediate Greek student.

In the passages that I am asking about, all I know is that my extremely unreliable instincts tell me that the placement of the vocative in Hebrews is more unusual than the placement of the vocative in Psalms. It's not wrong; it just seems different. And it bothers me because I can't give valid reasons why I find its placement unusual. I don't see this question as an exegetical issue. As is usually the case, the meaning of both texts is quite clear even if the details remain opaque.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Differences between Heb. 10:7 and Psalm 39(40):7

Post by Jason Hare » September 10th, 2016, 11:53 am

I know that you said that you want to look at the Greek as Greek without reference to the Hebrew, but I think referencing the Hebrew will bring us some distance with regard to the word order of the Greek in this passage.
אָ֣ז אָ֭מַרְתִּי הִנֵּה־בָ֑אתִי בִּמְגִלַּת־סֵ֝֗פֶר כָּת֥וּב עָלָֽי לַ֥עֲשׂוֹת־רְצֽוֹנְךָ֣ אֱלֹהַ֣י חָפָ֑צְתִּי
It could literally be rendered:
Then I-said behold I-have-come, in-the-scroll of-the-book it-is-written about-me, to-do your-will, my-God, I-delight.
That is to say, the word order of the LXX matches the word order here.
τότε אָ֣ז then
εἶπον אָ֭מַרְתִּי I-said
ἰδοὺ הִנֵּה behold
ἥκω בָ֑אתִי I-have-come
ἐν κεφαλίδι בִּמְגִלַּת in(-)the-scroll/volume
βιβλίου סֵ֝֗פֶר of-the-book
γέγραπται כָּת֥וּב it-is-written
περὶ ἐμοῦ עָלָֽי about(-)me
τοῦ ποιῆσαι לַ֥עֲשׂוֹת to(-)do
τὸ θέλημά σου רְצֽוֹנְךָ֣ your(-)will
ὁ Θεός μου אֱלֹהַ֣י my(-)God
ἠβουλήθην חָפָ֑צְתִּי I-delight
The word order matches exactly between the Hebrew and the Greek. In the Hebrew, חפצתי (ἠβουλήθην) is obviously connected to the infinitive לעשות (τοῦ ποιῆσαι). The author of Hebrews changes the meaning by removing ἠβουλήθην, which connects τοῦ ποιῆσαι, as you said, to ἥκω. So, why would he shift ὁ θεός from what would have been the end of the sentence? Probably because the goal of the new sentence is the purpose of the coming of the son: to do God's will. Therefore, "you will" is moved to the end to take on a sort of finality and focus. The author didn't want to remove the reference to God completely from the quotation of the verse, but he didn't want τὸ θέλημά σου to be de-emphasized. By moving it to the end, the purpose of the incarnation becomes clear - it was the will of God that Jesus was coming to perform.
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