Re: Hebrews 4:8

From: Daniel L Christiansen (
Date: Fri Mar 10 2000 - 12:26:51 EST

Joel Barnes wrote[edited]:
> This is my first post to the b-greek forum. My question concerns Hebrews 4:8 which reads in the AV: "For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day"
> My question is this: the word "he" is translated "God" in the NIV but is left ambiguous in the AV. Why? Is it that in the Greek text, the word "he" is a reflexive pronoun referring back to the subject of verse 7 thereby allowing the translation "God" instead of "he"?

Joel...Welcome to B-Greek!

Actually, the text does not have any pronoun, here: the subject is
implied in the verb ELALEI. However, the difference of God/he stems
from the other--much greater--referential distinction made in these two
translations. The AV renders IHSOUS as "Jesus," and thus is able to
take the one who spoke as the same one as (didn't) give rest. Since the
"he" is in the same sentence as "Jesus," it is assumed that the
translators had a single referent in mind. The NIV
correctly *IMO* identifies this IHSOUS as Joshua, and thus must make a
distinction between him and the one who spoke, since Joshua did not
speak such a prophecy.

Daniel L. Christiansen
Department of Bible
Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street
Portland, OR  97220
(Also Portland Bible College, Prof of Biblical Languages)

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