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

From: Ben Crick (
Date: Tue Sep 30 1997 - 22:15:25 EDT

On Tue 30 Sep 97 (11:33:05), wrote:
> 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)?

 Very interesting, Eric. There are no "app. crit." footnotes in the BHS; but
 there are critical comments on all sides. Kirkpatrick in /The Cambridge Bible/
 notes at v 18 "/thou hast received gifts for men/] An impossible rendering,
 influenced probably by the quotation in Eph 4:8. R.V. rightly, *among men*.
 The 'gifts' offered to the King as Jehovah's representative and appropriated
 to the service of the Temple (2 Sam 8:2,6,11; 1 Kings 4:21), are regarded as
 offered to Him as the real Conqueror" (p 388).

 Weiser, in /The Psalms/, ET SCM 1962, has "verse 18 alludes to the homage
 before God when, returning from a war, he has occupied his throne to receive
 the voluntary or enforced gifts of homage rendered to him". Weiser then
 embarks on conjectural textual emendation; always the clutching at straws of
 a drowning expositor! He offers "/YaShaBhTa ShaDDaY LaQaChaT/ (instead of
 ShaBhiYTha SheBhiY LaQaChTa/) 'thou didst occupy the seat on the throne,
 Shaddai... to dwell there as /YaH 'eLoHiM/'" (p 488). Hmmmmm. For your phrase
 'received gifts for men' he suggests 'and received gifts *from* men'. Can
 /Be-/ be construed as if /MiN/? read on.

 A similar phrase occurs in Judges 5:12b 'Arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity
 captive, O Abinoam': Lead away your captives into slavery. God receives
 tribute even from rebellious kings.
 The Ephesians 4:8 paraphrase is applied to the Ascension of Christ. There is
 some support in the Targum for Paul's misquotation. The ruler doesn't keep all
 the spoils but redistributes them to all his people. In Ephesians 4 this Ruler
 is Christ. Ephesians 4:9 (he also descended first into the lower parts of the
 earth) is a reference to the Incarnation; not to a descent into Hades:
 compare Psalm 139:15, a clear reference to the womb.

 There is another parallel in Isaiah 53:12. Alec Motyer, /The Prophecy of
 Isaiah/, IVP, 1993, suggests translating 'Therefore I will apportion to him
 the many, and the strong he will apportion as spoil'.

 But you asked about 'Gifts for/from men'.
 SR Driver, /Sermons on the O.T./, 1892, pp 197f, writes "St Paul is not here
 following the genuine text of the Psalm, but is in all probability guided by
 an old Jewish interpretation with which he was familiar, and which, instead
 of /received gifts among men/, paraphrased /gave gifts to men/. The Targum
 on the Psalms renders: 'Thou ascendedst up to the firmament, O prophet Moses,
 thou tookest captives captive, thou didst teach the words of the Law, thou
 gavest them as gifts to the children of men'.".
 JA Robinson, quoting the foregoing in /St Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians/,
 reprint, James Clark, London, ND, p 180, adds:
 "The Peshito Syriac likewise has: 'Thou didst ascend on high and lead
 captivity captive, and didst give gifts to the sons of men'."

 How does this grab you, Eric?

 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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