Re: NT Quotes (Acts 15:17, Eph. 4:8)

From: David Haeuser (
Date: Tue Sep 30 1997 - 16:28:48 EDT

Eric Weiss wrote:

> However, when I go to Ephesians 4:8, where the author quotes from Psalm
> 68:18 (68:19 in the Hebrew), the author's translation of "He gave gifts
> to men" (a crucial meaning, to me, for his explanation of the giving of
> "apostles, prophets," etc., in 4:11) agrees NEITHER with the LXX
> (LAMBANO, if I remember right) NOR the Hebrew (LQH) - which, to me, can
> only be translated as "He took/received gifts by/from men." My BHS
> Hebrew text or Bretton LXX don't give the author's rendering as being
> based on a variant of the text.
> My question is (for those of you who also know Hebrew): Is there ANY WAY
> the Hebrew of Psalm 68 could have been "corrupted" or "misread" (e.g., a
> Daleth being read as a Resh, a Yod as a Waw, etc.) - or remembered
> wrongly, if he was writing from memory - by the author of Ephesians to
> give the translation he does? Are there any obscure variants of Eph. 4:8
> (UBS says to see Ps. 67:19 (68?) in the LXX, but I don't recall my
> Bretton LXX having a variant here - does Rahlf's?) that DO conform to
> the Hebrew text (though this would probably undermine the author's
> argument in 4:11)? I DON'T EVEN want to start a discussion on the
> implications of this for the doctrine of "inerrancy," but I would like
> any Greek- (and Greek/Hebrew-) related help on reconciling the
> significant disparity between the NT and the LXX and Hebrew texts and
> meanings here.
> "Eric Weiss"

Dear Eric, The KJV translates the Psalm verse "thou hast received gifts for
men." This is also reflected in an NIV footnote where "gifts for men" is
suggested as an alternate to their preferred translation of "gifts from
men". The Hebrew simply has Ba'aDaM, the preposition B prefixed to the word
for man. Among the many possible meanings for B offered in Gesenius Hebrew
Grammar there is the meaning "for the sake of". The ASV, NASB and RSV all
take the B in the sense of "among." The "from" in the NIV seems to be
taking the B as instrumental, to take or receive by means of men. I donęt
know if it's necessary to explain Paul's quote or allusion on the basis of
a textual variant. Matthew Henry, using the King James translation
comments: "Thou hast received gifts for men. He gave gifts to men, so the
apostle reads it, Eph. 4:8. For he received that he might give." Paul
appears simply to be quoting interpretively in a manner that prepares the
way for speaking of Christ's giving apostles, prophets, evangelists, etc.

David Haeuser
Lima, Peru

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