From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Mon Jun 07 1999 - 20:20:02 EDT

At 05:06 PM 6/7/99 -0500, Linda Gray wrote:
>From what I have gathered from all of the comments about this is that at
>Hebrews 1:6 you could translate it: "But whenever he should again lead in
>the Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says, "And let all angels of God
>do obeisance toward him." So, 'obeisance' is an acceptable word for

My guess is that most readers will not know what the word means, so a
footnote would be almost mandatory. If you think "obeisance" is really the
meaning, you might want to consider the dictionary's definition of that term:

1 : a movement of the body made in token of respect or submission : BOW

If we combine this with the definitions from LSJ or Louw & Nida, you might

"Let all the angels of God bow down before him."
"Let all the angels of God pay homage to him."
"Let all the angels of God submit themselves to him."

Each of these is subtly different, and your choice changes the meaning of
the passage, but interpreters always have to make choices, alas. But why
not just interpret the verb as "worship"? Or if you want to express both
meanings, perhaps "bow down and worship"?

There are two factors you have to look at in choosing how to interpret this:

1. What does the rest of the context say about the relationship between
Jesus, the angels, God, and the created order?

Context is king. In this context, we see that God used to speak to us via
his prophets in many different ways, but now he speaks to us through his
son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the
world. Jesus is superior to both the prophets and to all created things.
Then we see that Jesus is the radiance of God's glory and the exact
representation of his nature, and that Jesus upholds all things by the word
of his power. So Jesus is associated with the glory and nature of God, and
to prop up all created things by the word of his power. Then we are told
that he made purification for sins and sat down at the right hand of the
Father, taking a place far superior to that of the angels. Verse 5 talks
about the Father/Son relationship; verse 8 even refers to Jesus as "O God"
- "But of the Son he says, your throne, O God, is forever and ever", and in
verse 10 Jesus is addressed as "Lord", and credited for creating the world
and the heavens: "You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the
beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands."

Since Jesus is referred to both as Lord and God in this context, and the
whole emphasis seems to be on the superiority of Jesus to all things on
heaven and on earth, I think "worship" is a very good translation here. If
you want to bring in the imagery of obeisance, "bow down and worship" might
be a good translation.

2. How is the verb PROSKUNEW used in other places in the New Testament?

The word PROSKUNEW has a range of meanings; so does the word "worship". It
just so happens that the range of meaning of these two words is rather
similar - if you worship a king, you are also pledging fealty to that king,
you can't sincerely worship a king and say you aren't gonna obey.


B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:30 EDT