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far short of expressing an eternity of duration, or un. limited magnitude. Terms that express infinity will never be found associated in the Bible with finite and limited subjects.
2. It is further applied to the character and conduct of God. "The Lord loveth Israel forever.” " He will not cut off his kindness forever. “ His name shall be in Jerusalem forever. "The Lord be between thee and me forever.” 1 Sam. xx. 15, 23, 42; 1 K. x. 9, 2 Chr. xxxiii. 4.
The same remarks will apply here as in the first particular. Whatever God is, and whatever he does, are permanent and enduring, compared with what may be affirmed of any other being. And this is all such expressions mean.
3. God's covenant with Israel, with David and others, is described in the use of the same terms. David says of God, "He hath made with me an everlasting covenant. "God confirmed to Israel an everlasting covenant. 2 Sam. xxiii. 5; 1 Chron. xvi. 17.
4. The permanency of the throne and kingdom of David, is expressed by the same term. If Saul had obeyed the Lord, his kingdom would have been established forever. It would have been much more permanent than it was. God says of David, "I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
“Thy kingdom shall be established forever.” Israel would be God's people forever. David says, “ Let thy name be magnified forever. “God gave the kingdom to David forever.” “The throne of David shall be established before the Lord forever. 1 Sam. xiii. 13; 2 Sam. vii. 13, 16, 24, 26; 2 Chron. xiii. 5; 1 K. ii. 45; ix. 5; 1 Chron. xvii. 12, 14; xxii. 10; xxviii. 4, 7; 2 Chron. ix. 8; 2 Sam. vii. 25, 29; 1 Chron. xvii, 22, 23, 24, 27.
All these passages express the same idea, namely, the perpetuity of the kingdom of David; either in the form of a prayer that it may be so; or the promise of God, that it should be so. Those who see in the words ever
iusting and forever, the idea of endless perpetuity, generally understand these passages as referring to David, as a type of Christ. But with this view, these terms are only extended to the period spoken of by Paul, when Jesus “shall deliver up the kingdom,” &c., and come infinitely short of expressing endless duration
5. The term is applied to the temple of Jerusalem, and to the continuance of the divine presence in that sacred edifice. "I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in forever.” “I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my
name there forever. “In this house, and in Jerusalem which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name forever. "I have built an house, an habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling forever. “Enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified forever. 1 K. viii. 13; ix. 3; 2 K. xxi. 7; 2 Chr. xxxiii. 7; vi. 2; xxx. 8.
Can any one help seeing that permanency, and not endless perpetuity, is the idea here expressed ? The temple here referred to, has been in ruins just eighteen hundred years ; (now 1870) and yet, it was an everlasting or permanent structure; and God's presence there was equally permanent.
6. The term is applied to the land of Canaan, as the possession of the Israelites. "Surely the land, whereon thy feet have trodden, shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's forever. “That ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you forever.” Jos. xiv. 9; Ezra ix. 12; 1 Chron. xxviii. 8; 2 Chron. xx. 7; 1 Chron. xxiii. 25.
We know that Israel possessed the land for a long time; but they do not possess it now, and have not, for two thousand years.
7. The term expresses the duration of human life. Samuel was to serve before the Lord forever, that is during his natural life. Achish expected David to be his servant forever, namely, during life. The priests
and Levites were to serve the Lord forever. David was guiltless of the death of Abner before the Lord forever. i Sam. i. 22; xxvii. 12; 2 Sam. iii. 28; 1 Chron. xv. 2; 2 Chron. ii. 4.
8. It expresses the duration, or life, of families, or nations. The Lord says concerning the house of Eli, "I will judge his house forever.” The iniquity of Eli's house should not be purged with sacrifice forever. The blood of Abner and of Amasa would return upon the house of Joab, and his seed forever. The leprosy would cleave to Naaman and to his seed forever. The Moabites should not come into the congregation of the Lord forever. 1 Sam. iii. 13, 14; 1 K. ii. 33; 2 K. v. 27; Neh. xiii. 1.
Surely such passages as these have no allusion to a period that is unlimited. In respect to the last, this is certainly true, for it is added in another passage, "unto the tenth generation.” Deut. xxiii. 3.
9. In the following, it has an indefinite meaning, but does not denote an endless duration. Joshua burnt Ai, and made it a heap forever. The Jews were not to seek the peace or wealth of their enemies forever. God said the house of Eli, and the house of his father, should walk before him forever. Jos. viii. 28; Ezra ix. 12; 1 Sam. ii. 30.
David in his prayer to God, has an expression like this : "O Lord God of Abram, Isaac and of Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people,” &c., 1 Chron. xxix. 18. The language is obscure, but it is certain that no more than a long period, of indefinite length, is intended. 10. The term is applied, in a similar manner,
and rendered forevermore. And here it may be remarked, that our word forever-more was doubtless intended originally to express the same as the Seventy do, when they render this term "forever and beyond it," or "forever and more,' - a rendering not very favorable to the idea that the word expresses a duration without end. Ex. xv. 18; Dan. xii. 3 ; Mic. iv. 5.
"He showeth mercy to his anointed, unto David and to bis seed forevermore." "I will settle him (Solomon) in mine house, and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forevermore.” 2 Sam. xxii. 51; 1 Chron. xvii. 14.
11. With the negative particle, (not) the word is rendered never, literally - not forever
. “The sword shall never depart from thy house.” 2 Sam. xii. 10.
12. It is rendered in old time, and applied as before, except that it refers to the past and not to the future. “Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time." “These nations were of old the inhabitants of the land.” They have moved seditions within the same of old time. Jos. xxiv. 2; 1 Sam. xxvii. 8; Ezra iv. 15.
13. The same word is rendered always. "Be ye mindful always of his covenant * * * * to a thousand generations." 1 Chron. xvi. 15.
1 Chron. xvi. 15. These are all the passages where olam occurs in these books. But there are some other words, made use of in the same way, that ought not to be overlooked.
Kol-ha-yamim, — 51277) —which means literally all the days, is used precisely like olam. It may be found in the following passages :- Jos. iv. 24; 1 Sam. ii. 32, 35; xxviii. 2; 1 K. xii. 7; xi. 39; 2 Chr. x. 7; xxi. 7.
It is applied to our fearing God; to the absence of old men in the house of Eli; to the fidelity of a priest that God would raise up; to David as keeping the head of Achish; to not afflicting David ; to being servants; to God's being a light to David and his sons. These examples are precisely like those in which olam occurs.
Netsah-nx - is another word, of the same import. It occurs many times in the Old Testament; but, in the books we are now considering, it is found but once. "Abner called to Joab and said, "Shall the sword devour forever?” 2 Sam. ii. 26.
Ad- - is used once in a similar way. 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. “If thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever."
Qedem— 7?– is another, and is found in two passages: 2 K. xix. 25; Neh. xii. 46. In the first of these it is rendered ancient times; and in the last, it is rendered of old. In other places, that do not come properly before us now, it is rendered everlasting, eternal and forever.
The phrase kol-ha-yamim, we should have said, has other renderings, besides forever. It is rendered ever in 1 K. v. 1. Hiram was ever a lover of David. In 2 K. xvii. 37, it is rendered forevermore. "His statutes ye shall observe forevermore."
In a few instances the foregoing words are doubled, or coupled together, and rendered forever and ever. In the following, olam is doubled. 1 Chr. xyi. 36. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel forever and ever. It is nearly the same in xxix. 10, and Neh. ix. 5.
In other parts of the Bible, netsah is doubled in a similar manner; so is ad. And sometimes ad and olam are coupled, and rendered in the same manner; and so are netsah and olam; and qedem and olam, and netsah and ad. But there are none of them, in the books now under review. We have published a pamphlet expressly devoted to the Biblical usage of these words, to which we must refer the reader for additional particulars.
The definition given to this term, in Taylor's Hebrew Concordance, is a very remarkable passage. It is as follows:
"Adversari, odio habere. An adversary who endeavors by calumny, or otherwise, to oppose and hinder the peace, happiness and well-being of others. 1 K. xi. 14; Zech. iii. 1. Such an adversary may be either a wicked man, a malignant spirit, or a good angel.” Plainly the author did not discover the application of the term to a good angel, till after he had given the definition, and did not see the antagonism between them.
This word is found a few times in the Pentateuch ;