From: Randy LEEDY (Rleedy@bju.edu)
Date: Sat Feb 20 1999 - 10:08:49 EST
This passage is less straightforward than the first on we worked on,
in my opinion. Bart seems to be aware of Lightfoot's emendation of
hEUREIN to EUHMEREIN, a word I don't know and that he translates "to
attain happiness," which seems to be about the same meaning as
accepting hEUREIN and supplying an object EIRHNHN carrying over from
Carl suggests "if we are eager to do good, peace will pursue us, since
for this reason that it is impossible for [man] to find it, such as
along human anxieties, since they have chosen enjoyment here rather
the promise to come." This rendering, if I'm exegeting Carl's English
properly (isn't it nice to be able to consult the author on
hermeneutical questions?!) seems to take "they have chosen
enjoyment..." as the reason for the impossibility of finding peace.
I'd like to suggest a modification that I'll represent first by
translation: "For this reason it is impossible for man to find peace,
because they introduce human fears when they choose present enjoyment
rather than the promise to come" [echoing Hebrews 11:25-26]. Let me
list what I'm doing here:
1) I'm taking "for this reason" as proleptic [forward-looking],
because I can't find a suitable referent in the preceding context
whereas what follows seems to provide a very natural reason for the
impossibility of finding peace.
2) I'm playing a little loosely with the relative clause: Carl
translated it "such as," and I'm seeing a causal connection here that
I'm bringing to the surface by translating "because."
3) I'm taking PARAGW to mean "introduce" (BAGD cites this exact
passage and gives this gloss) rather than "bring along." The latter
seems to me to imply a failure to exclude an existing entity, whereas
the introduction of a new entity strikes me as more natural to the
context. But even as I write, I find myself doubting myself and
concluding that there is no big deal on this particular point. Surely
human fear IS an existing entity.
4) I'm taking the participle PROHiRHMENOI as circumstantial to the
introduction of fear rather than the impossibility of finding
My somewhat paraphrastic rendering resulting from all these
considerations: "This is why man cannot find peace: he brings in human
fears, the very opposite of peace, when he chooses present enjoyment
over the promise to come." This understanding fits very nicely with
the preceding context, an exhortation to "flee ungodliness, lest evil
things overtake us." The underlying assumption is that man's
conscience is so constituted that the choice of temporary
gratification brings with it the fear of punishment.
If all this works as well as I think it does, and given the consensus
of Carl, Mary, and Bart that the text is readable as it stands, it
would seem to follow that Lightfoot's emendation is unnecessary.
Now, having presumed to write all this without reading beyond the
passage in question, I have just rectified my wrong before sending the
message and have read the rest of the paragraph. And I find that my
idea does not fit very naturally. However, I can't see that the other
view fits very naturally, either. It is clear that the author is
saying something about a problem associated with human fears, but then
the passage seems to go on and imply that in their ignorance of the
judgment to come, the ungodly pursue their lifestyle without fear.
So let me suggest another modification: "human fears" does not refer
to an apprehensive conscience, as I suggested, but rather means "that
which men fear," namely sufferings, in this context. (BAGD cites
instances of FOBOS referring to that which causes fear rather than the
emotion of fear.) What these people do by their wrong choice is
unwittingly bring upon them the very sufferings that humans naturally
fear. So here's one last cut at the meaning of the passage: "This is
why man cannot find peace: he brings upon himself what humanity
naturally fears when he chooses present enjoyment over the promise to
come." Lightfoot's translation goes on: "For they know not how great
torment the enjoyment which is here bringeth, and what delight the
promise which is to come bringeth. And if verily they were doing these
things by themselves alone, it had been tolerable: but now they
continue teaching evil to innocent souls, not knowing that they shall
have their condemantion doubled, both themselves and their hearers."
The water is often deeper than at first it looks, isn't it?
In love to God and neighbor,
Bob Jones University
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