re: Hebrews 1:8

From: Edgar Foster (
Date: Mon May 31 1999 - 17:49:37 EDT

---Carlton Winbery wrote:

>Edgar Foster wrote;

>I understand Heb. 1:8 to be a subject nominative. In the context of
Psalm 45, the king of Judah is being addressed. If the passage were to
be construed as a vocative or nominative of address, then the king of
Judah would be equated with YHWH. While it is possible that a king
could be called ELOHIM in the OT, it seems best to construe Heb. 1:8
as "God is your throne."<

>The one addressed, as far as the writer of Hebrews sees it, is the
Son. He takes the Psalm as Messianic, so the problem would not exist
for him. I fail to see how taking God as subject or predicate
nominative would be better (theologically) than the way the UBS
editors take it, as vocative.<


Your observations basically center around one's hermeneutic and
theology. I have no problem viewing Ps. 45 as Messianic, but that
doesn't mean that I have to ignore the historical background of the
text. I also do not believe that the writer of Hebrews was oblivious
to the Sitz Im Leben of Ps. 45 either. If he did indeed know that the
psalm originally applied to a Judean king, then I have a hard time
comprehending how he could have employed a nominative of address at
Heb. 1:8. Conversely, if the author did utilize the nominative of
address in 1:8, then he could well have used the term QEOS in a broad
and genric sense. But at this point, we move into the theolgical.

On your last point, whether the vocative or nominative is used does
make a difference.

"The nominative hO QEOS in Hebrews 1:8 has been interpreted several
ways. Most interpret it as a nominative of address: hO QRONOS SOU hO
QEOS EIS TON AIWNA TOU AIWNOS (Your throne, O God, is for ever and
ever). This interpretation attributes deity to the Son" (Richard Young

Alternately, Westcott argues that the king of Judah's--or the
Messiah's-- throne is founded upon QEOS.



Edgar Foster
Classics Major
Lenoir-Rhyne College

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