re: Hebrews 1:8

From: Ben Crick (
Date: Thu May 27 1999 - 15:07:18 EDT

> Shouldn't Hebrews 1:8 be translated "God is your throne" and not "Your
> throne, O' God"?

 This is a quotation from Psalm 45<44>:6, of course, which reads in the LXX
 hO QRONOS SOU hO QEOS EIS AIWNA TOU AIWNOS... in Hebrews 1:8. Compare also

 The referent of SOU in Psalm 93<92>:1 is clearly hO KURIOS (for YHWH).
 In Psalm 45<44>6 the referent is hO QEOS; 'SOU hO QEOS'.

 Metzger comments s.v. SOU: "Although the reading AUTOU, which has early
 and good support (P46 Aleph B), may seem to be preferable because it
 differs from the reading of the Old Testament passage that is being quoted
 (Ps 45:6 [=LXX 44:6] SOU), to which, on this point of view, presumably
 the mass of New Testament witnesses have been assimilated, a majority of
 the Committee was more impressed (a) by the weight and variety of the
 external evidence supporting SOU, and (b) by the internal difficulty of
 construing AUTOU. Thus, if one reads AUTOU the words hO QEOS must be
 taken, not as a vocative (2) (an interpretation that is preferred by most
 exegetes), but as the subject (or predicate nominative), (3) an
 interpretation that is generally regarded as highly improbable. Even if one
 assumes that KAI, which is absent from the Hebrew and the Septuagint of
 the Psalm, was inserted by the author with the set purpose of making two
 separate quotations, with verse 8a in the second person and 8b in the third
 person, (4) the strangeness of the shift in persons is only slightly

 (2) "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, and the sceptre of
 righteousness is the sceptre of his kingdom."
 (3) "God is thy throne (or, thy throne is God) for ever and ever, and
 the sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of his [i.e. God's]
 (4) "'Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever,' and 'the sceptre of
 righteousness is the sceptre of his kingdom.'"

 (BM Metzger, /A Textual Commentary on the GNT/, 2nd Ed., UBS, 1994,
 page 593).

 'God is thy throne' reminds me of the child's question, "Mummy, does God
 shake hands with his left hand?". Mummy replied, "I don't know, darling;
 why do you ask?" "Because it says in the Apostles' Creed that Jesus
 'ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father'.
 So if Jesus is sitting on his right hand, he will only have his left hand
 free, won't he?". 8-)


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

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