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Commentary On Hebrews by Jean Calvin


Chapter 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth, etc The quotation is from Proverbs 3:11, 12, made from the Sept., consistently with the Hebrew, except in the last clause; which in Hebrew is, |As a father, the Son in whom he delights.| Some have unwisely attempted to amend one of the words in Hebrew, while there are three words which must be altered if we attach importance to verbal identity; and even the amended word can hardly answer the purpose, a sense being given to it, which it has nowhere else.

If we make k'v: a verb, it will not be suitable, for its meaning is to be sore, to be sad, to be sorrowful, and is ever used intransitively; and if like Schleusner, we make it a yk'yv, it will hardly bear the meaning here required; it is used in the sense of making sore, sad, or sorrowful. This, indeed, approaches to a verbal identity; but then there is |every| to be put in, and |delights in| is to be changed into |receiveth.| To be overscrupulous about words, when the general meaning is the same, is neither wise nor reasonable, but wholly puerile; it is a disposition clearly discountenanced by the usage of Scripture, there being many passages in which the meaning is given but not the words. Even in this Epistle the same passage is quoted twice, but in different words. See chapter 8:12; 10:17

The Vulg., the Syr., and the Targ., materially agree with the Hebrew text as it is. The Arab. alone favors the Sept. Macknight quotes Hallet as saying, that the Syr. and the Targ., as well as the Arab., coincide with the Sept.; which is quite a mistake. The Syr. is, |For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, like a father who correcteth his own son;| and the Targ. is nearly the same, the word |father| being retained. And then what this author says as to the meaning of the verb k'v: is not true; there is no instance in which it is used in the sense of scourging. We must not pervert the meaning of words, or invent a new meaning, to gratify a fond desire for verbal agreement.

But there is in this quotation what deserves special notice. |Correction| was by the rod; so we find the rod and correction joined together in Proverbs 22:15. In Hebrew it is |the rod of correction (mvsr),| and in the Sept., |rod and correction (paideia.)| In Proverbs 23:13, correction and beating with the rod are represented as the same thing. Bearing this in mind, we shall understand the connection and meaning of this passage, --

11. The correction of the Lord, my Son, despise not, -- And fret not at his chastisement;

12. For whom the Lord loveth he chastiseth, And corrects as a father the Son he graciously accepts.

The middle lines are evidently connected; chastisement is the subject of both, the noun and the verb are from the same root. Then the first and the fourth are also connected; the |Son| is mentioned in both; and the verb in the last line must be borrowed from the subject of the first line, and that is correction. We hence see the reason why mastigoi is introduced, it being nothing more than to supply what is left to be understood in Hebrew.

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