Alfred Thomas Scrope Goodrick.

The book of Wisdom : with introduction and notes online

. (page 28 of 49)
Online LibraryAlfred Thomas Scrope GoodrickThe book of Wisdom : with introduction and notes → online text (page 28 of 49)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Egyptians but to the 'bringing up' of the Israelites out of the sea.
This however, is against the context, particulariy the next verse.
Nevertheless both S"" and Arab, support it, and eariy commentators
from Luther onward did the same. But the use of the similar word
ino^pnaaa in Philo, Vila Mosis, iii. § 34, "o'^" ol vticpm aopijSov
Aw'^ptmBriTai' tts roit avnnipav alyiaUis, seems to setde the rneaning.
The verbal resemblance between Pseudo-Solomon and Philo is some-
what striking. On the word dfa^pirra Arnald remarks, 'The bodies
rising in the act of drowning are . . . compared to bubbles rising in
boiling water.' It is certainly a vivid expression.

The Jerusalem Targum contains an account of a contest between
earth and sea, neither of which will hold the bodies of the Egyptians.
Cf. the tradition in Jos., Ati/., II. xvi. 6, that the weapons of the
Egyptians (apparently not their bodies) were washed ashore to
provide the children of Israel with arms. The bodies, according to


THE BOOK OF WISDOM [10. 20. 21. 11. i.

20. Therefore did the righteous spoil the impious,

And sang hymns, O Lord, to thy holy name ;
And praised with one accord thy defending hand :

21. For wisdom opened the mouth of the dumb,

And made the tongues of infants eloquent.

II. I. She directed their acts aright by the hand of a holy

the Targum, had been finally swallowed by the earth, which is hardly
in accordance with Exod. 14*', 'Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon
the seashore.'

20. 'Yir(piiax"s is generally translated as above ; but Grimm
mentions another rendering, 'fighting bravely' or 'victoriously.' In
16 " it must have the meaning given, but the versions here either
missed the force of the vnep altogether or took the view of H, which
has 'victricem manum.'

21. It is possible that we have here, as Farrar says, ' poetic general-
isations founded on the stammering tongue of Moses (Exod. 4 '",
6 " "X^but here ideally extended to all the Israelites.' It is also possible,
with A Lapide, to interpret the words of those who 'priusobsessi
a Pharaone prae metu videbantur muti et infantes elingues ' ;
but some tradition, otherwise unknown, seems to be alluded to.
Churton favours A Lapide's interpretation, citing Exod. 14 '»", for
the servile terror of the Israelites. Deane quotes a treatise falsely
attributed to St. Augustine (De Mirah. S. Script., xxi.) for a story of
'all, young and old, though they could not hear Moses leading the
song, yet joining in it with one accord' (ofi.o6\)\x.ah6v, v. *•).

Tpavoi for 'eloquent' occurs also in <& of Isa. 35°, rpavr\ crrrai
■ykixraa fioyiXaXav. Margoliouth {Expositor, 1900, i. 42) takes this
as a proof that Isaiah was acquainted with 'Wisdom' and not the

Coverdale and Gcncv., taking the aorists rjvoi^fv and tdiKtv as
frequentative, render 'openeth' and 'makcth.' If this could be
accepted, the reference to Ps. 8 ', ' Out of the mouths of babes and
sucklings,' would be sufficient to explain the passage. But ' Wisdom '
is here writing historically.

11. I. Grimm joins this verse to chapter 10, as being the last in
which Wisdom is assumed as the nominative.

A very similar passage is found in Gen. 39 ", uo-a airot cVoi'ci, 6
Kvpint tiaSou fv raic x'P'^'" "i^"". To speak of the expression 'by
the hand of as anthropomorphic (as does Bois) is absurd. It is a
common Hebraism, repeated m the New Testament : Acts 7 ", a-i/v
;(fipi oyyAriu. Gal. 3 ' , (V X"P^ hiitItov,

For Moses as a prophet cf. Deut. 34 '", 'There hath not arisen a

11. 2. 3. 4. 5.] THE BOOK OF WISDOM ^39

2. They travelled through a desert uninhabited,

And pitched tents in pathless places :

3. They resisted their foes and repulsed their enemies.

4. They thirsted and they called upon thee.

And water was given them out of a craggy rock,
And healing of thirst out of hard stone.

5. For by those things whereby their enemies were punished,

By these they in their need were holpen.

prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to
face.' CfalsoDcut. 18".

2. ao.V,ro., 'uninhabited,' is to be taken literally. Gregg's idea
that it means 'the desert had no established oty-l.fc' .s far-fetched
'Wisdom' is too general in his language for such refinements. The
word cio;.,ror is also used in Hos. 13 ' of the desert, but only in «5.
Heb. is quite different.

1 The classical distinction between iroX€><oi, 'public foes,' and
.•vL.', ' private enemies,' is well known Wisdom if he knew of the
distinction, ignores it The only real <x«P<» oiih^ Israelites were the
Egyptians ; but the word here includes Amalekites, Moabites, and

4 This is, of course, a perversion of Scripture. In Exod. 17 ', the
people murmured against Moses and 'were almost ready to stone
him • Tliere seems to be no tradition to support Pseudo-Solomon,
who is simply exaggerating to prove the ' blamelessness of the chosen
race. The idea that ii„KaU<Tavro can be restricted to Moses and
Aaron is out of the question. . , •

<i,cp,irouoi: is properiy ' precipitous,' but such an epithet is meaning-
less here A V. and R.V. have 'flinty rock," which is not a rendering
of the Greek, but suits the context. ' Water out of flint is a striking
expression ' Wisdom 'seems to have had Deut. 8 'M©) before him.
Tou iiayay6vro! aoi «k TrtVpot aitporo/iou Trrjyiii' u8<iT0t. There, as in
Job 28", Ps. 113 (114) ", the Hebrew word is actually E^'DPn, 'flint.'

c The meaning is plain : water relieved the Israelites' thirst Water
turned into blood tormented the Egyptians. This is the first indica-
tion of the wearisome topic of 'retaliation' which is expanded in
chapters 16-19. The Mosaic law of 'an eye for an eye and a tooth
for a tooth ' is plainly reflected here. r. .u c •

For ,'KoU<T6n<Tav S" has here, and throughout hereafter, the Synac
phrase 'received capital punishment.' . „ . ., •.

The extraordinary addition to this verse in IL has no authority.
The words are : 'per quae enim passi sunt inimici illorum a defecttone
potiis sui ct in eis quum ahundarcnt filii Israel, lactati sunt, per haec



[11. 6. 7.

6, 7. Instead indeed of the fountain of an ever-flowing river
Turbid with gory blood,
For a rebuke of the decree for the murder of babes,
Thou gavest them all unlooked for plentiful water,

quum illis deessent bene cum iis actum est' This may be a marginal
gloss, copied into the text by an ignorant transcriber.

Gregg points out a certain resemblance between this contrast and
that in I Pet. 3 *", where the drowning of the world by water is con-
trasted with the saving of the ark by the water which carried it on its
waves. If we could sui)posc a reminiscence of 'Wisdom' in the
author of 1 I'ct., it would go far to explain the difTicult words
6tt<rai6Ti<rav ii' viaros in the latter.

6, 7. The language is at once diffuse and pregnant : that of a
writer who is making the best he can of a foreign language. The
idea of vengeance for tlie death of the children is found in the Jioni-
pf Jubilees, but in a different form, xlviii. 14, 'All die people that
he had led out to pursue Israel the Lord our God cast into the sea,
into the depths of the abyss, instead of the children of Israel.
For this thing, that the Egyptians had cast their children into the
river, he took vengeance on millions of them ; and a thousand
strong and brave men perished for one suckling that they had cast
into the river, of the children of thy people.' Philo's explanation of
the miracle {Vita Mosis, i. fj 17) is that because the Egyptians had
honoured water as 'the beginning of the whole creation,' it was used
for their especial punishment. _ ...

The epithet 'ever flowing' is rightly explained as contrasted with
the next line : the stream no longer flowed : it was choked with

^"TapaY^ffTOf is, on the ground of reason, the best reading in line 2.
It has good MS. support, and it avoids an anacoluthon. What the
translators read it is impossible to say. IL has 'pro fonte sempi-
terni fluminis hunianum sanguinem dedisti injustis, qui cum minue-
rentur in traductione infantium occisorum dedisti illis abundantem
aquam insperatc.' S"" does not seem to have read rapax&ivro^ or
rapaxS'vTfs (the most usual variant) at all, but translates 1 nstead of a
fountain was given to them a stream running with blood of red water,
for a rebuke on account of the children who had been slain by decree.
And thou gavest to them water in the good life that faileth not.' The
last words represent a mistranslation of ivt'KnitrTas. Arab, seems
to have read rapax^ipTm, but with the addition in' avr^v, a river
troubled by them with the blood of murdered infants.' S" certainly
read it All these renderings are either mistranslations (1L in
traductione' for fit ?X.jxov is plainly so), or the translators had a text
before them widely differing from our own.

Nevertheless ropap^fl.VT.t, as Gregg points out, preserves the

11. 8. 9.]



8. Showing through their thirst at that time how thou didst

punish their adversaries.

9. For when they were tried, though chastened only in mercy.

They understood how being judged in anger the impious
were tormented :

balancing of clauses. The Egyptians are 'troubled' by the spoiling
of the water ; the Israelites are blessed by a plentiful supply of it

There are several traditions with regard to this story. One, quoted
by Gregg, is to the effect that Pharaoh 'commanded to kill the first-
born of the sons of Israel, that he might bathe himself in their blood,'
which is, of course, not in accordance with Exod. i ", ' Every son
that is born ye shall cast into the river.' Another is that of Joscpluis
{An/., 11. xiv. i), 'The water was not only of the colour of blood, but it
brought upon those that ventured to drink of it great pains and
bitter torment. Such was the river to the Egyptians; but it was
sweet and fit for drinking to the Hebrews.' The absurdly exaggerated
account of Philo, 'the river was turned into blood from Ethiopia to
the sea,' etc, is in his Vila Mosis, i. § 17. His overstatements are
not entirely unlike those of 'Wisdom.'

8. Here again the versions are hopelessly at variance. IL
' Quemadmodum tuos exaltares et adversaries illos nccares'; where
'tuos exaltares' is plainly an interpolation and 'necares'is far too
strong for fKoKaaas. S"" is clear but inaccurate. 'Therefore dost
thou show that by thirst thou didst punish their adversaries.' Arab,
takes oT( in(ipiia6j}<Tav in the next verse as part of this, and translates
' therefore didst thou punish the rebels {vrrfvavriovt, misunderstood)
when they thirsted at a time when they were tempted.' The mis-
conception is apparent.

The vindictive idea of these verses — that God only punished the
Israelites a little to enable them to see how terrible such punish-
ments, many times multiplied, must be to the Egyptians — is not in
accord with Deut. 8', 'And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to
hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither
did thy fathers know.'

9. A. V. inserts as a third line the last clause of v. ", ' thirsting in
another manner than the just': a most audacious and unsupported
conjecture, approved by Arnald and Farrar on the ground of sense.
The extraordinary variants of S*" here and in following verses do not
seem to have been noticed. Here we have 'When they were tried
and thou didst in mercy punish and direct them, they knew that in
wrath the impious are scourged and torn.'

The ordinary statement of the Pentateuch is that the IsraeHtes
throughout ' tempted God ' and were punished for it, but in Deut. 8 •
we have the view given here, ' The Lord thy God hath led thee these
forty years in the wilderness to prove thee, to know what was in thine



[11. lO. II.

10. For these as a father admonishing them thou didst prove,

But those as a stern king condemning thou didst search

11. Yea, and whether absent or present they were alike dis-

tressed ;

heart,' etc. Cf. also v. >» and also 8 ', ' As a man chasteneth his son,
so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.'

The latter part of the verse is generally regarded as without
warrant m Scripture ; but cf Deut. 7 ", 'He will put none of the evil
diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee, but will lay them
upon all that hate thee.' So too n»«, where 'the chastisement of
the Lord your God' seems to refer to the plagues of Egypt. Farrar
remarks that 'the writer may have founded his view on various
passages of Scripture, but only by reading them apart from their con-
text and with the blindness of Jewish prejudice.'

10. The R.V. is accepted as preserving the skilful antithesis ; but
the sense is most likely given in Genev., 'Thou hast condemned the
other as a righteous king when thou didst examine them.' If this
be not the meaning, we must suppose that Pseudo-Solomon has used
the word <'f (raftiv, which cannot mean ' punish ' (A.V.), in a wrong
sense. He has just shown his ignorance by referring Toirnvs to the
Israelites, whereas, according to all classical usage, it should mean
the latter' and iKtirnvs 'the former.' So too dn-dro/iot ^airiXfis is
almost a grotesque expression.

iL has (as Genev.) 'interrogans condemnasti.' S"", 'These as a
father thou didst choose, comfort, and try, and those as a stern king
thou didst slay and condemn.' Arab, translates the text literally

Besides Deut. 8 ^ cf 2 Sam. 7 », and Heb. 12 «, ' Whom the Lord
loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth,'
Gnmm quotes an apposite passage from Plutarch, /Jc Superst., 6,
where the superstitious man mistakes to ■narpiKov of God for to

Such doctrine is contrary not only to that of the New Testament,
Acts 10 3', 'In every nation he that feareth him, and worketh
righteousness, is accci)table to him' (cf 17 "), but also to that of the
Old Testament, Ezek. 18 '», ' Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of
the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal ?
are not your ways unequal ? Therefore I will judge you, O house of
Israel, every one according to his ways.' On the other hand, Mai. 1 ^\
I have loved Jacob, and hated Esau,' seems to reflect the very spirit
of 'Wisdom' here. His fine sentiments at the end of the chapter
only emphasise his inconsistency of thought and language.

II. R.V. supplies the words to make up what seems the real
meaning : Whether they were far off (from the righteous) or near
(them) they were alike distressed.' It is true that n-apdi/rfr can hardly

11. 12,1 THE BOOK OF WISDOM 243

12. For a double grief gat hold upon them,
And a groaning over past remembrances.

bear this meaning, but the Greek of a writer who can use a combina-
tion like (tal . . . hi Kol is hardly worth investigation. The mean-
ing seems to be, that while the Egyptians had the Israelites with
them they were plagued ; when they were rid ot them they suffered
from hearing 'the report thai w;ilcr wliich had been so hostile to
themselves had befriended the escaping Israelites' (Gregg). This
writer would apparently interpret the 'water' as that of the Kcd
.Sea ; but the preceding verses refer to the thirst of the Israelites in
the wilderness, quenched by a miracle : if this be so, we must, as in
V. '\ suppose that the Egyptians are conceived of as hearing of the
miracles wrought in the desert. The difficulty is met by other inter-
pretations. (<■() Grimm would render lin-di'Tff of the Egyptians
drowned in the Red Sea ; irapovTfs of those who stayed at home and
heard of the disaster. (/') The Egyptians, whether they held aloof
from the Hebrews or mixed with them, were equally tormented with
thirst : referring to the legend in Josephus, Anf., U. xiv. i, that the
water became blood for the Egyptians only, (c) Whether they were in
Pharaoh's presence or away from it. (rf) Holkot explains 'whether
they came to water which they could not drink, or stayed away from it.'
(c) Lastly, Reuss, following Hugo a Sancto Caro, says, ' il s'agitsimple-
ment de gens voisins des Israelites en figypte et d'autres plus
eloignes,' i.e. Canaanites and Amalekites, etc. S"" seems to favour
this, ' Thou didst destroy the distant and the near ' ; but the next
verse, with its reference to the memory of the past, supports the
R.V. rendering.

dfioi'oir naturally goes with the two participles, and does not mean
that the Egyptians were distressed {iTpv^ovro, a rare word in Biblical
Greek) 'like the Israelites.'

12. An important variant occurs here : instead of artvayp.ot firtjpav
TUK napf'Kdovarav, which implies a genitive of origin, good MSS. read
livrjpav T<M>v iTapt\6ovT<i>v, and SO % 'gemitus cum memoria praeteri-
torum' ; possibly also S>'\ 'and a groaning of remembrances of those
(things) that are past.' Wv^fimv as the adjective 'memor' certainly
seems preferable to the genitive fivrjpav.

Holding by his interpretation that an6vTts means those drowned
in the Red Sea, Grimm can only refer the 'past remembrances' to
the TrapcifTf r, but with the rendering of R.V. the difficulty disappears :
the Egyptians are plagued by the news from the desert, and also by
the remembrance of their own folly and its punishment. Farrar :
'actual punishment, and subsequent remorse and envy.' Deane : ' The
thought that their punishment brought deliverance to the Hebrews ;
secondly, the enforced recognition of the power of the Lord and the
nothingness of their gods.' A Lapide gives even more varieties
of interpretation.



ril. 13. .4.


For wlien they heard that by their own plagues
The others were being benefited, they had knowledge of
the Lord. °

For the castaway whom aforetime they rejected with scorn in
the exposure of infants
In the result of events they admired,
Having thirsted after another fashion than the just.

13. A. V. simply 'tliey had some feeling of the Lord' : Gcnev ' fhev
felt the Lord- ; R.V. 'they felt f A. presence 0/ the Lord.' If any word
be supplied, the hand of the Lord ' would be better. R.V translates
[r^'rr''"'" 'h^'l hecn benefited,' which, though well supported,
•s, as I cane says, the alteration of some scribe who did not undcr^
stand the (contmuous) force of the present partici|)le '

land Arab, plainly lake the Israelites as the subject: H 'Cum
cn.m per sua tormenta bene secum agi, commemorati sunt
Dominuni, admirantcs m fniem cxitus.' The last clause is a transfer
Ironi the next verse, but the rest must moan ' when Ihcy (the Isricl
itcs) understood that (even) in their punishments God dealt well with
them (cf. verses "I"), they remembered the Lord (,ro-5„„ro) ' Arab
bears the same meanmg, except that it translates' the List clause
they got pleasure from them (the before the Lord.' The
cxtraordmary S' rendermg is spoken of below.

.'«'"" '^.f^!^9" \'y ^■'■'""T' as 'their own peculiar punishments' ; but
It IS doubtful rf the word is ever so used in ' Wisdom '

S'^-s translation of these verses is so strange that mere paraphrase will
not account for iL (Lagarde's edition corresponds to that of Walton's
Polyglot.) It nms as follows: 'For when they heard of their own
deliverance, that when they (?the Israelites) were blessed, they knew
not the Lord, nay, rather made mock of that which had happened to
them, yet at the result of their fortunes they were amazed ; and their
cry was not as their intentions (^cnAaL«_KK«:D), because in these
there was no understanding' Out of all this two points are clear:
(I) that the translator could not understand v. », t6u y!.p iv iK0i,T(i
naXai pi<i>ivTa antinov ;j(Xc.,<if„rTfr, at all ; and (2) that he had an
idea that the ingratitude of the Israelites (according to the Mosaic
view, but not that of 'Wisdom') was the point to be pressed. He
may have had a different text before him, edited by some scribe who
took that view. Margohouth, op. cit., p. 273, argues in explanation of
the Syriac translation of ovx om"'" 8i«a/o<f aii/.^Vair.r, ' their cry was
not like their thoughts,' that DHIV might mean both : for as '^pres
part. plur. masc ' of nnv, it would be ' thirsting,' and as the substantive
niV with the 3rd plur. masc. suffix it would mean ' their cry.'

14. R. v., contrary to all ordinary translations and to the sense (for
the Egyptians did not 'leave off mocking' at the time of the ,\d,a\f),

11. 14]



renders (iTrfiTrov •j^Kivd^avrii, ' they left off mocking,' which is no doubt
good Greek, and in classical writers would probably be correct, though
even there (Lidd. and Sc, j.7/.) the meaning 'to reject' is far more
common. The margin of R.V., 'in hatred,' represents iv ixSiatt, an
impossible word unless it represents iv »x^""i 'he rare Homeric
plural of !x6os. Gregg argues for this reading that ' the exposure of
Moses in his infancy is not germane to the topic in hand, nor has it
any connection with the mocking of the Egyptians ; on the other
hand, "cast forth in hatred "refers plainly to Exod. 10 "-2'.' IL is fairly
clear, ' Quem enim in expositione prava deriserunt,' but must have
read some other word for »r<iXa». (S , as we have seen, gives no help.)
Arab, rendering similarly as to »r<iXni, has 'him who had been cast
out among vile things,' but there follows, ' they fled from in despair,'
which represents uniiiriiv xXtvu^ovrfs. The iKdims is referred to
again in 18''. "liK6f<rit is the technical term for the exposing of a
child, Ildt. i. 1 16 ; Eur., /on, 956. Cf Acts 7 '"".

Comely, following Jansen, adopts the singular idea that God and not
Moses is referred to. He argues that at no time was Moses despised ;
he was first brought up in Pharaoh's household, and on his return to
Egypt was (Exod. II-') 'very great in the land of PIgypt,' etc. But
surely the word (ikjhvth is sufficient to confute any such explanation.

Ttiv yap pt<j)ivTa, the accepted reading (instead of ov), produces some-
thing like an anacoluthon with the next line. Winer (Moulton), xviii. i,
will not admit that it may possibly be for the relative, but thinks tv
a correction. If the R.V. translation of anunnv be accepted, an
iKh'crsa/hie particle is demanded at the beginning of line 2.

i-nl TfXfi, which means ' at the end ' and not ' for the success '
(Wahl dp. Grimm), would naturally mean 'on the occasion of the
triumphant exodus,' but if the next line be rightly placed here (see on
v. °) it confines the reference to the everlasting subject of the thirst
of the Egyptians. How this should still be in existence at the end of
the plagues it is difficult to conceive. It lasted (Exod. 7''') seven
days only. We must either suppose that, according to some Hebrew
legend, the Egyptians knew all about the quenching of the IsraeHtes'
thirst in the desert (v. '•', ore yap rJKovirav), or that Si^riaavTft is used
in a pluperfect sense as it is translated above. Cf. Winer (Moulton),

P- 343-

For jrdXni Arm., according to Margoliouth, has 'yesterday and the
day before yesterday.' It is possible that the il 'in expositione
pnnui' contains some explanation of this. Cornely seems to think it
an early mistake for 'pridem,' which would literally bear some such
meaning as Arm. gives, and this is rendered still more likely if, as
his editor Zorell conjectures, some obscure abbreviation of 'pridem'
was used.



111. IS-

IS. But for the foolish reasonings of their unrighteousness,

Led astray by which they worshipped senseless reptiles
and vile vermin,
Thou sentest upon them a multitude of senseless beasts for
vengeance ;

1 5. AvTi has its full force given it in R. V. ' in requital of.' Cf. Winer
(Moulton), xlvii. a, and the well-known Xvrpov avrX n-oXXui' in
Matt. 20". But cf. especially Zeph. (ffi) 2'", avrr) avTois avr) t^s
v^ptms avTOiV fiioTi oivfi^ifrav xai ffifya\vvBrj<rav fn\ tov Kvptov.

The versions vary widely. 1L ' Pro cogitationibus autem insensatis
iniquitatis illorum quod quidam errantes colebant mutos serpentes et
bestias supervacuas,' where 'quidam' seems to have no justification, and

S\oya is translated 'speechless'; so also S*" '^^^^ |Jj adding
after 'Thou sentest upon them' the words 'to insult them.'

KfudaXn seems to represent almost exactly our English 'vermin' as
applied to foxes, stoats, and even to badgers. That the Egyptians wor-
shipped reptiles is undoubtedly true : the Greek name of Crocodiloimlis
is sufficient to prove this : that they worshipped cats, which might be

Online LibraryAlfred Thomas Scrope GoodrickThe book of Wisdom : with introduction and notes → online text (page 28 of 49)