The Broad and Truncated Canons of the Old Testament

The Books called Apocrypha

The Books called Apocrypha

The Christian Church accepted the broader canon of the Old Testament (including the Apocrypha) until the time of the Reformation. The Anglican Henry Wace, in his commentary on the King James Version, admits as much when he writes:

When the Reformers denied the inspired authority of the books of the Apocrypha, it was by no means their intention to exclude them from use either in public or in private reading. The Articles of the Church of England quote with approbation the ruling of St. Jerome, that though the Church does not use these books for establishment of doctrine, it reads them for example of life and instruction of manners.[1]

Having already truncated their canon, some Protestants look back to the ancient church for support, citing this or that authority who seemingly support their position. There were individuals who devised lists of books approved for use in the church, such as the listing called the “ruling of St. Jerome.” These lists are occasionally similar to the canon used by Protestants today, but these individual lists were not authoritative in the wider church. Even where the lists of Old Testament books matched those of the Protestant canon, these lists wouldn’t match the New Testament books — and vice versa. (We will provide more detail on this later). St. Jerome was not a bishop, and the ‘ruling of St. Jerome’ was not authoritative anywhere. St. Jerome ultimately accepted the ruling of his bishop, something noted by Martin Hengel: “Jerome himself, who was not only a great and combative scholar but also a smooth diplomat, largely abandoned any effort to defend the Hebrew original in the Apocrypha question.”[2]

St. Athanasius (c. 296-373) is widely cited as having provided the first complete listing of the 27 books of the New Testament. Matt Slick, the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM), cites Festal Letter 39 (c. 367 A.D.) as proof that Athanasius condemns the Apocrypha.[3] This is only partially correct. First of all, St. Athanasius was speaking for his own diocese, not the entire Church. Second, there were many different lists being advanced for centuries afterwards.

While St. Athanasius did not approve of all the so-called Apocrypha, his festal letter approved several of them. For example, his list contains “the first and second of the Chronicles are reckoned as one book”; “Jeremiah with Baruch”; “Lamentations, and the epistle, one book”; Esther; and Daniel. Baruch is one of the so-called Apocrypha, as is the Epistle of Jeremiah. The versions of 2 Chronicles, Esther, and Daniel judged by St. Athanasius as genuine contain material Protestants judge to be Apocryphal.[4] In the unabridged King James Version, these are called “The Prayer of Manassas” (placed at the end of 2 Chronicles); “The rest of Esther” (material found throughout Esther in the Septuagint); “The History of Susanna” (comes before Daniel chapter 1); “The Song of the Three Holy Children” (comes in the middle of Daniel chap. 3); and “Bel and the Dragon” (comes after Daniel chap. 12). To be honest, if Protestants want to claim Festal Letter 39 of St. Athanasius as sealing the canon of the New Testament, they should also be prepared to accept all the Old Testament Apocrypha cited by Athanasius.

In his book The Divine Names, the author known today as Pseudo-Dionysius (late 5th to early 6th century) quotes from the Wisdom of Solomon, describing it as “introductory Scriptures.”[5] We might be tempted towards thinking this supports the general Protestant view. Paul Rorem and John Lamoreaux say the term “introductory Scripture” merely means that the Old Testament was an introduction to the New; in other words, the entire Old Testament could be termed “introductory Scripture.”[6] The question, then, is how extensive that introduction is.

Among early Protestants, there was substantial disagreement and confusion as to the extent of the Old Testament. For example, John Wycliffe’s Bible translation, first hand-printed in 1382 A.D., contains 48 Old Testament books, as opposed to the 39 contained in the Protestant Old Testament.[7]  We should note the Bibles printed following the Protestant Reformation also include what Protestants call the Apocrypha.[8] For example, Martin Luther’s German translation of 1522 contained the Apocrypha. The English Language Matthew-Tyndale Bible, published by John Rogers in 1537, contained the Apocrypha.[9] Both the Geneva Bible of 1560 and the original King James Version (KJV) of 1611 contained the Apocrypha. Unabridged editions of the KJV with the Apocrypha are still available today, although printed versions are rare in the United States.[10]

Abridged Bibles without the Apocrypha are an American invention. The Continental Congress approved and funded the printing of Bibles without the Apocrypha. Rev. Dr. Will Gafney writes:

Many are unaware that the shorter Protestant bible was created in the new America, during the revolutionary war when a printer took it upon himself without the authority of a church council to print a bible whose contents he chose. That bible, The Aitken Bible[11] is also significant for having been printed with the authority of the Continental Congress.[12]

Modern Protestants use a truncated canon whose origins and history they are unaware of. Moreover, they misread the canonical history of the Old Testament. This does not mean Protestants cannot be saved, of course. What it does mean is that Protestants lack the fullness of the faith.

Endnotes

[1] (Wace 1811, xxxvi) The ruling of St. Jerome was his private theological opinion, was contrary to the practice of the wider Christian Church, and was not accepted as dogma anywhere.

[2] (Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture 2002, 49-50)

[3] (Slick 2014)

[4] The Masoretic text favored by many conservative Protestant scholars did not exist at this time. The favored text in the Church was the Septuagint (see chap. 4.)

[5] (Pseudo-Dionysius, the Areopagite 1987, 81)

[6] (Rorem and Lamoreaux 1998, 48)

[7] The various eBooks and online sources like Bible Gateway only reproduce the part of Wycliffe’s translation that are acceptable to the Protestants. Wycliffe’s complete Old Testament contained the following books considered unacceptable after the Reformation: 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, 3 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon), Syrach (Sirach, a.k.a. Ecclesiasticus), Preier of Jeremiah (Epistle of Jeremiah), Baruk (Baruch), along with 1 Machabeis & 2 Machabeis (1st and 2nd Maccabees). John Wycliffe’s New Testament also contains Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans, a contested document found in no generally accepted version or translation. (Wycliffe 2008)

[8] When asked if The Online Bible (www.onlinebible.net) would be providing a copy of the original King James Version with the Apocrypha,   Larry Pierce, (the founder) responded: “We have no intention of mixing Jewish fables with the infallible Word of God.” (Pierce 2014) Pierce is quoting Titus 1:14 here, equating Paul’s reference to ‘Jewish fables’ with the Apocrypha, an interpretation that cannot be found in the text. Pierce chooses to use an abridged version of the King James Version rather than provide it as it was originally printed. In an email to Pastor EJ Hill, Larry Pierce admitted to redacting and editing other people’s work when they do not agree with his theology (such as Thayer’s 1889 Greek-English Lexicon.) (Hill 2012)

[9] The Matthew-Tyndale Bible, generally known as the Matthew Bible, contains the following books not found in the Protestant Bible: 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Rest of Esther, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, 3 Holy Children, Suzanna, Bel & the Dragon, Prayer of Mannesah, 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees. (Rogers and Coverdale 1537)

[10] An excellent resource is the Official King James version online which contains the American truncation of the King James Version, the Apocrypha, and the original 1611 version with the apocrypha. http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Apocrypha-Books/

[11] http://www.theworldsgreatbooks.com/Aitken Bible.htm

[12] (Gafney 2013)

Bibliography

Gafney, W. C. (2013, March 17). Jesus’ Bible and the History Channel’s Bible. Retrieved December 7, 2014, from The Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D.: http://www.wilgafney.com/2013/03/17/jesus-bible-and-the-history-channels-bible/

Hengel, M. (2002). The Septuagint as Christian Scripture. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

Hill, E. (2012). Did Larry Pierce abridge Thayer’s Lexicon? The Online Bible Forum. Winterbourne: Online Bible.

Pierce, L. (2014, May 5). “email conversation”. Online Bible Tech Support. Winterbourne: Online Bible.

Pseudo-Dionysius, the Areopagite. (1987). Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works. (C. Luibheid, Trans.) New York: Paulist Press.

Rogers, J., & Coverdale, M. (1537). 1537 Matthew’s Bible. Retrieved September 1, 2014, from Bibles-Online.net: http://www.bibles-online.net/1537/

Rorem, P., & Lamoreaux, J. C. (1998). John of Scythopolis and the Dionysian Corpus: Annotating the Areopagite. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Slick, M. (2014, November 1). Apocrypha. Retrieved June 23, 2016, from CARM: http://carm.org/early-church-fathers-apocrypha

Wace, H. (1811). Holy Bible According to the Authorized Version (A.D. 1611). (Vol. 1). (H. Wace, Ed.) London: John Murray.

 

The Apocrypha and Greek Philosophy

The Books called Apocrypha

The Bookes called Apocrypha

Alfred Edersheim notes that one of the reasons why the Apocrypha was written was to find some way to reconcile Greek philosophy with previous Jewish writings. The object was apologetic, to demonstrate that the Hebrew Scriptures were every bit the equal of the Greek philosophers. In particular, Edersheim notes the Apocrypha combined Plato’s speculations with the asceticism of the Stoics.[1]

Of course, by linking Greek philosophy with the Old Testament, the Apocrypha paved the way for the New Testament’s use of the terminology of Greek philosophy. The connections between Platonism, Stoicism, and the New Testament are well documented (if only in the use of the terminology). Donald Robinson mentions the “traces of Stoicism in the New Testament”, especially in the epistles of the Apostle Paul — specifically in Paul’s sermon at the Areopagus (Acts 17:18-32), where Paul quotes from two different Greek poems, including a student of Zeno, the founder of Stoicism.[2]

Scholars have identified the first as coming from the Cretica of the pre-Socratic philosopher-poet Epimenides (fl. 7th or 6th century BC), which forms part of the verse:

They fashioned a tomb for you, holy and high one,

Cretans, always liars,[3] evil beasts, idle bellies.

But you are not dead: you live and abide forever,

For in you we live and move and have our being.[4]

The second has been identified as coming from the Phaenomena of the philosopher-poet Aratus (315/310 – 240 BC), a student of Zeno, the founder of Stoicism:

Let us begin with Zeus, whom we mortals never leave unspoken.

For every street, every market-place is full of Zeus.

Even the sea and the harbour are full of this deity.

Everywhere everyone is indebted to Zeus.

For we are indeed his offspring…[5] [6]

Paul again quotes Epimenides in his pastoral letter to Titus when he writes: “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true.” (Titus 1:12-13a)

Bibliography

Edersheim, Alfred. 1993. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah: New Updated Edition. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.

Robertson, Donald. 2012. “St. Paul on Stoicism: From the Acts of the Apostles.” Stoicism and the Art of Happiness. November 10. Accessed January 20, 2014. http://philosophy-of-cbt.com/2012/11/10/st-paul-on-stoicism-from-the-acts-of-the-apostles/.

[1] (Edersheim 1993, 22)

[2] (Robertson 2012)

[3] Titus 1:12

[4] Acts 17:25

[5] Acts 17:28

[6] (Robertson 2012)

Wisdom and the Four Gospels (Wisdom 2:10-20)

The Crucifixion of Christ

The Crucifixion of Christ

Regarding the allusions to the Apocrypha in the New Testament, let us begin our discussion with an examination of an extended passage from the Wisdom of Solomon. In Wisdom chapter 2, we have a description of the ungodly man and his reaction to and oppression of the righteous. This passage is generally applicable to the relationship between the ungodly and the righteous person, whoever he (or she) may be; however, this passage is specifically applicable to the relationship between Jesus (the ultimate Righteous Man), and the religious and political leaders of His day. I would argue that the gospels are the fulfillment of this passage from the Wisdom of Solomon. With that in mind, let us examine this passage.

Let us oppress the poor righteous man, let us not spare the widow, nor reverence the ancient gray hairs of the aged. (Wisdom 2:10)

This passage begins with the oppression of the poor, which is a recurring theme of the Old and New Testaments. The book of Proverbs goes so far as to say: “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (Pr 12:10). Not only does a righteous man care for the poor man and the aged, but also the creatures entrusted to his care (Gen 1:26).

Let our strength be the law of justice: for that which is feeble is found to be nothing worth. (Wisdom 2:11)

The ungodly use the law against the poor, the aged, and all of creation. To the ungodly, obedience to the letter of the law excuses a lack of mercy. Against this argument, the prophet Hosea argues that God desires mercy rather than sacrifice (Hos 6:6). To those who pride themselves on their adherence to the law, Jesus argues that judgment, mercy, and faith are the “weightier matters of the law”, which must be done without neglecting the law itself (Matt 23:23).

Therefore let us lie in wait for the righteous; because he is not for our turn, and he is clean contrary to our doings: he upbraideth us with our offending the law, and objecteth to our infamy the transgressings of our education. (Wisdom 2:12)

Here is where this passage takes a turn; while generally applicable to the relationship between the ungodly and the righteous, from this point onward this passage is specifically applies to the relationship between the ungodly and The Righteous One, who is Jesus Christ. In the Gospels we read how Jesus upbraided the religious leaders, and how they in turn plotted against him. We read how they tried to trap Jesus with questions designed to elicit answers which would have been unsatisfactory to the people or would have put Him at odds with the Roman authorities. (The question regarding whether it was lawful to pay taxes to the Roman authorities comes to mind; see Matt 22:17ff)

He professeth to have the knowledge of God: and he calleth himself the child of the Lord. (Wisdom 2:13)

This is most certainly true of Our Lord. The first example of this is found in the story of the Boy Jesus in His Father’s house. Not only were the teachers astonished at His understanding, but when His parent’s upbraided Him, Jesus asked them why they didn’t know He must be about His Father’s business (Luk 2:41-50).

He was made to reprove our thoughts. (Wisdom 2:14)

This passage is fulfilled in the healing of the man with palsy (Matt 9:1-8). Jesus first announces to the man the forgiveness of sins, which the scribes thought was blasphemous, because only God can forgive sins. Jesus reproved them for their thoughts, after which he demonstrating that He had the power to forgive sins by healing the palsied man.

He is grievous unto us even to behold: for his life is not like other men’s, his ways are of another fashion. (Wisdom 2:15)

In the Gospel of Luke, we read how Jesus called Levi the tax collector, who then gave a great feast at his house with other tax collectors present. Seeing this, the “scribes and Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, ‘Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?'” Jesus response was that just as a physician ministers not to those who are well, but those who are sick, so too He ministered not to those who presumed themselves to be righteous, but those who knew themselves to be sinners (Luk 5:30-31). Later, while dining with Simon the Pharisee, a sinful women came in “began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head: and she kissed His feed and anointed them with the fragrant oil.” At this, the Pharisee murmured in his heart against Jesus for allowing Himself to be touched by a sinful woman. Jesus then rebuked the Pharisee for failing to follow the standards of hospitality by having Jesus’ feet washed before dinner, whereas the sinful woman had done this and more. Therefore to the woman he said her sins were forgiven, and that her faith had saved her (Luk 7:36-50). To the Lawyer who sought to justify himself in his own eyes, Jesus gave the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in which the Priest and Levite are the villains, while the hated Samaritan was the hero for showing mercy to someone to whom he had no relationship, no kinship, and no expectation of reward (Luk 10:25-37).

We are esteemed of him as counterfeits: he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness: he pronounceth the end of the just to be blessed, and maketh his boast that God is his father. (Wisdom 2:16)

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus denounces the counterfeit religiosity of the Pharisees, those who “make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess” (Matt 23:25). In the Beatitudes, Jesus pronounces the blessedness of the righteous (Matt 5:3-12). The gospels use the life of Christ as an illustration of this passage from Wisdom; the good works that Jesus does enrage the ungodly, as does his description of God as His Father (Luke 10:22; John 5:28; 10:30). Thus the three clauses from this verse are applicable to the life of Christ.

Let us see if his words be true: and let us prove what shall happen in the end of him. For if the just man be the son of God, he will help him, and deliver him from the hand of his enemies. Let us examine him with despitefulness and torture, that we may know his meekness, and prove his patience. Let us condemn him with a shameful death: for by his own saying he shall be respected. (Wisdom 2:17-20)

These final verses describe the state of mind and the actions of the Chief Priests and Pharisees regarding the death of Christ. Not only that, but they specifically foretell the words of the rulers of the Jews at the foot of the cross.

The Jewish trial was done contrary to the law, using false witnesses (Matt 26:59). After accusing Jesus of blasphemy, the scribes and elders spit in Jesus face and beat him with their hands, mocking him by saying: “Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee? (Matt 26:67-68). After delivering Jesus to the Pontius Pilate, the Romans stripped him, whipped him, put a crown of thorns on His head, mocked Him, and crucified Him (Matt 27:27-31; Joh 19:1-18).

During Jesus’ examination before the Sanhedrin, Jesus said nothing, until he was asked whether he was “the Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 14:53-62). During Jesus’ examination before Herod, Jesus said nothing (Luk 23:6-9). Jesus did not try to justify Himself, nor did he beg for mercy, but “as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isa 53:7).

There was nothing more shameful than to be stripped naked and die a criminal’s death on the cross. The gospels state not only that the Jewish leaders desired the death of Jesus, but they specifically wanted the Romans to crucify Him (Joh 19:6). The author of Hebrews states that Jesus “endured the cross, despising the shame”, and is now seated at the right hand of God. (Heb 12:2).

Finally, at the foot of the cross the rulers of the Jews use the words from Wisdom to mock Christ. They sneer: “He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God” (Luk 23:35). This is then taken up by the soldiers who mock Christ, saying: “If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself” (Luk 23:37). Finally, one of the thieves crucified with Christ blasphemes: “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us” (Luk 23:39).

It is quite clear that this passage from Wisdom is prophetic, in that it is broadly descriptive of the life and death of Christ. Therefore, the arguments of some that the Apocrypha are not prophetic and therefore are not scripture fall to the ground.[1]

 

[1] Normal Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie write: “Contrary to the Roman Catholic argument from Christian usage, the true test of canonicity is propheticity. There is strong evidence that the apocryphal books are not prophetic. But since propheticity is the test for canonicity, this would eliminate the Apocrypha from the canon.” (Geisler and MacKenzie 1995, 196-197)


Bibliography

Geisler, N. L., & MacKenzie, R. E. (1995). Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: agreements and differences. Grand Rapids: Baker Books.

 

The Apocrypha and the Magnificat (Luk 1:46-55)

Visitation ( visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Saint Elizabeth, Virgin Mary shown pregnant ), 14th century Wallpaintings, Timios Stavros Church in Pelendri, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List

The Visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth

The Lord hath cast down the thrones of proud princes, and set up the meek in their stead. (Sirach 10:14)

He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. (Luk 1:52)

Mary’s Magnificat is one of the most well known prayers in all of Scripture. What is less well known is that it is basically one scripture quotation or citation after another. Given that context, it would be hard to say that citations Sirach are not scripture when everything else is. Here is the text of the Magnificat, verse by verse, with all its scriptural quotations and allusions.[1]

  • 46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
    • 1 Sa 2:1 My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high.
    • Ps 34:2,3 My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.
    • Ps 103:1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
  • 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
    • Ps 18:46b Exalted be God my Savior!
    • Isa 61:10 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.
  • 48a For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:
    • 1 Sam 1:11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
    • Ps 138:6 Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.
  • 48b for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
    • Gen 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
    • Luk 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
    • Luk 1:42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
  • 49a For he that is mighty hath done to me great things;
    • 1 Sam 2:1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
    • Ps 71:19 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you?
    • Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
    • Hab 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
  • 49b and holy is his name.
    • 1 Sa 2:2 There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you.
    • Ps 22:3 You are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.
    • Ps 71:22b I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.
    • Ps 89:18 Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.
    • Ps 99:3 Let them praise your great and awesome name – he is holy.
    • Ps 103:1b Praise his holy name.
  • 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
    • Ps 103:17 From everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.
  • 51a He hath shewed strength with his arm;
    • Ps 89:10 Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.
  • 51b he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
    • 1 Sa 2:3 Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.
    • 2 Sa 22:28 You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.
    • Ps 89:10 You crushed Rahab like one of the slain; with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.
  • 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
    • Sirach 10:14 The Lord hath cast down the thrones of proud princes, and set up the meek in their stead.
  • 53a He hath filled the hungry with good things;
    • 1 Sa 2:5b but those who were hungry hunger no more.
    • Ps 103:5 who satisfies your desires with good things.
    • Ps 107:8,9 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
  • 53b and the rich he hath sent empty away.
    • 1 Sam 2:5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food. (Note: This is the prayer of the barren Hannah, when she was blessed with a child.)
  • 54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
    • Ps 98:3 He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
  • 55a As he spake to our fathers,
    • Ps 25:6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
    • Ps 98:3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel.
    • Ps 105:8-11 He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.”
    • Ps 136Aff. His love [mercy] endures forever.
  • 55b to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
    • Gen 12:2-3 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
    • Ps 147:19 He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel.
    • Mic 7:20 You will be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our fathers in days long ago.
    • Sirach 44:19-22 Abraham was a great father of many people: in glory was there none like unto him; Who kept the law of the most High, and was in covenant with him: he established the covenant in his flesh; and when he was proved, he was found faithful. Therefore he assured him by an oath, that he would bless the nations in his seed, and that he would multiply him as the dust of the earth, and exalt his seed as the stars, and cause them to inherit from sea to sea, and from the river unto the utmost part of the land. With Isaac did he establish likewise for Abraham his father’s sake the blessing of all men, and the covenant, And made it rest upon the head of Jacob. He acknowledged him in his blessing, and gave him an heritage, and divided his portions; among the twelve tribes did he part them.

[1] The cross-references for the Magnificat come from a number of sources. The versification is from an essay by Curtis A. Jahn. (Jahn 1997, 14-15)


 Bibliography

Jahn, C. A. (1997). Exegesis and Sermon Study of Luke 1:46-55 The Magnificat. Mequon: Wisconson Lutheran Seminary. Retrieved October 15, 1008, from http://www.wlsessays.net/files/JahnLuke.pdf

Literary Types found in the Apocrypha

Merrill F. Unger

Merrill F. Unger

In Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Merrill F. Unger provides the following argument against including the Apocrypha in the Bible.

  • They resort to literary types and display an artificiality of subject matter and styling out of keeping with inspired Scripture.[i]

This is a curious statement, given that the bulk of the New Testament consists of letters, Gospels, an apocalypse (Revelation), and a theological treatise (Hebrews), literature not found in the Old Testament Scriptures. The only historical book is Acts; the only wisdom literature is the book of James. The Old Testament does not contain an apocalypse, a style of writing that was in fashion from the time of the Maccabees until the destruction of Jerusalem, but absent from the Old Testament.[ii] So basically, nearly all of the New Testament is made up of “literary types” and contains “subject matter and styling out of keeping with inspired Scripture” — at least depending on your point of view.

The fact is that the literary types found in the Apocrypha line up well with the Old Testament documents. There is not a single literary type found in the Apocrypha which does not have a counterpart in the literary types of the Hebrew Scriptures, something that cannot be said of the Christian New Testament.

 

Literary Types Hebrew Scriptures Apocrypha
Historical accounts Judges, Ruth, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, I & II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther Tobit, Judith, I, II, & II Maccabees,
Psalter Psalms Psalm 151
Wisdom Literature Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach (a.k.a. Sirach or Ecclesiasticus)
Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi Baruch, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Epistle of Jeremiah

[i] (Unger 1966, 70)

[ii] Even though the New Testament contains an apocalypse, many in the ancient church rejected the Revelation of St. John precisely because of its mysterious symbolism and apocalyptic character — something the heretics were able to twist to their advantage.

Idolatry as the Beginning of Perversions

Christian Idol Worship

Christian Idol Worship?[1]

A Comparison of Rom 1:24-32 and Wisdom 14:12, 24-27

For the devising of idols was the beginning of spiritual fornication, and the invention of them the corruption of life. … They kept neither lives nor marriages any longer undefiled: but either one slew another traiterously, or grieved him by adultery. So that there reigned in all men without exception blood, manslaughter, theft, and dissimulation, corruption, unfaithfulness, tumults, perjury, Disquieting of good men, forgetfulness of good turns, defiling of souls, changing of kind, disorder in marriages, adultery, and shameless uncleanness. For the worshipping of idols not to be named is the beginning, the cause, and the end, of all evil. (Wisdom 14:12, 24-27)

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Rom 1:24-32)

The apostle Paul begins with a description of idolatry (Rom 1:21-23), and the immorality arising from it. In this Paul is saying nothing new, but is simply repeating the ideas found in Wisdom. This is not a direct quotation, but Paul is definitely copying his thematic material from Wisdom, and is simply more graphic in his depiction.

In Wisdom we read that idolatry is the beginning of spiritual fornication; in Romans we read that after becoming idolaters, God “gave them up” to immorality. In Wisdom we read that idolatry is the source of defiled marriages; in Romans we read that because men worshipped the “creature more than the Creator”, they dishonored their own bodies. In Wisdom we see idolatry as the source of murders, manslaughter, theft, dishonesty, corruption, unfaithfulness, tumults, perjury, etc.; Paul describes idolaters as filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, etc. In Wisdom we read of “disorder in marriages, adultery, and shameless uncleanness; in Romans we read of fornication and “vile affections”, which Paul goes on to explain as male and female homosexual acts — which is an explication of Wisdom’s “shameless uncleanness”.[2] Everything we see in Paul, we first read in the book of Wisdom, which was Paul’s source material — his bible, if you will.


[1] We must not think that we are above reproach, while condemning others. If the idolatry is the beginning of immorality, than we sinners are all idolaters to one degree or another. We are all compromised. We are all guilty, whether Jew or Gentile, whether Christian or pagan, whether agnostic, atheist, or theist. Perhaps the test should be this. Does the other’s idolatry lead them towards sin, or away from it?

[2] I do not intend to get into the culture wars over the acceptance of homosexuality, except to say this. The one side fails to differentiate between the person who is loved by God, and the homosexual acts that person commits, or the homosexual impulses endemic to that person. The other side states that homosexuality is not a choice, which may be true. After all, no one chooses as a young child a sexual orientation that puts them at odds with society at large. And since (they say) homosexuality is not a choice, then it must be a valid expression of human sexuality.

I simply state that we must deal with the homosexual as a person loved by God, while recognizing the scriptures class homosexuality as “vile affections” and “shameless uncleanness.” We must also recognize that in vilifying the homosexual (while allowing other sins such as gluttony), we drive them away from the Gospel.

False Gods and God’s Revelation

Apostle Paul, ceiling mosaic, Archiepiscopal Chapel of St. Andrew, Ravenna, Italy

Apostle Paul, ceiling mosaic, Archiepiscopal Chapel of St. Andrew, Ravenna, Italy

False Gods of God and Silver

But miserable are they, and in dead things is their hope, who call them gods, which are the works of men’s hands, gold and silver, to shew art in, and resemblances of beasts, or a stone good for nothing, the work of an ancient hand. (Wisdom 13:10)

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. (Acts 17:29)

In Paul’s speech on Mars Hill, the phrase “gold and silver” comes directly from Wisdom 13:10. While the phrase “gold and silver” is used elsewhere in the New Testament, it is never used in connection with the argument from Wisdom. Paul’s use of this argument is interesting, because the Greek philosophers would not be expected to have intimate knowledge of Jewish wisdom literature, despite its being available in the Greek language, and would likely not have caught the reference. Paul is not using this quotation purely as a rhetorical device, but rather because the text had so permeated his thinking that its words became his words.

A similar thing happens in the opening of the epistle to the Romans, where Paul writes: “[the ungodly] changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Rom 1:23). This one verse sums up the entire passage in Wisdom 13:1-19, which describes a man who takes some wood and uses it to make serving dishes, and then uses the remaining wood to make an idol for himself, unto which he prays. Of the same tree he makes for himself something useful, and something useless.

Our Knowledge of the Creator

Surely vain are all men by nature, who are ignorant of God, and could not out of the good things that are seen know him that is: neither by considering the works did they acknowledge the workmaster; But deemed either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the violent water, or the lights of heaven, to be the gods which govern the world. With whose beauty if they being delighted took them to be gods; let them know how much better the Lord of them is: for the first author of beauty hath created them. But if they were astonished at their power and virtue, let them understand by them, how much mightier he is that made them. For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionably the maker of them is seen. But yet for this they are the less to be blamed: for they peradventure err, seeking God, and desirous to find him. For being conversant in his works they search him diligently, and believe their sight: because the things are beautiful that are seen. Howbeit neither are they to be pardoned. For if they were able to know so much, that they could aim at the world; how did they not sooner find out the Lord thereof? But miserable are they, and in dead things is their hope, who call them gods, which are the works of men’s hands, gold and silver, to shew art in, and resemblances of beasts, or a stone good for nothing, the work of an ancient hand. (Wisdom 13:1-10)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. (Rom 1:18-25)

Much of the first chapter of Romans is indebted to Wisdom chapter 13. We have already discussed Paul’s usage of the phrase “silver and gold” during his sermon on Mars Hill. However, Paul draws his argument on the subject of General Revelation from Wisdom. The argument in Wisdom is that the existence of God is demonstrated not by the existence of things in and of themselves, but rather their beauty. The fact that things are beautiful in and of themselves, and that we seem to exist to recognize and share in that beauty tells us that there must be a point to all this.

In Romans, Paul condenses this argument when he says: “that which may be known of God is manifest in them [the ungodly]”; that is to say, in their knowledge of God through His creation of and operations within the material world (Rom 1:19). Note that Paul does not say that God may be known through His creation — which is to say, known in His essence. Instead, Paul speaks of “that which may be known of God”, which is an entirely different thing. To use the terminology of the Eastern Church, Paul is speaking of the difference between God’s essence and God’s energies; between God as He actually is (in His fullness), and God as revealed through His actions. Using this idea, both General and Special Revelation together constitute God’s energies, God’s actions within and on behalf of this world. God in His essence, His essential self, remains altogether beyond our grasp.

The Four Gospels and the Wisdom of Solomon

Scan of the Wisdom of Solomon from the original 1611 version of the King James Bible

Wisdom of Solomon

Regarding the allusions to the Apocrypha in the New Testament, let us begin our discussion with an examination of an extended passage from the Wisdom of Solomon. This passage is generally applicable to the relationship between the ungodly and the righteous, whoever he (or she) may be; however, this passage is specifically applicable to the relationship between Jesus (as the ultimate Righteous Man), and the religious and political leaders of His day. I would argue that the gospels are the fulfillment of this passage from the Wisdom of Solomon. With that in mind, let us examine this passage.

Let us oppress the poor righteous man, let us not spare the widow, nor reverence the ancient gray hairs of the aged. (Wisdom 2:10)

This passage begins with the oppression of the poor, which is a recurring theme of the Old and New Testaments. The book of Proverbs goes so far as to say: “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (Pr 12:10). Not only does a righteous man care for the poor man and the aged, but also the creatures entrusted to his care (Gen 1:26).

Let our strength be the law of justice: for that which is feeble is found to be nothing worth. (Wisdom 2:11)

The ungodly use the law against the poor, the aged, and all of creation. To the ungodly, obedience to the letter of the law excuses a lack of mercy. Against this argument, the voice prophet Hosea argues that God desires mercy rather than sacrifice (Hos 6:6). To those who pride themselves on their adherence to the law, Jesus argues that judgment, mercy, and faith are the “weightier matters of the law”, which must be done without neglecting the law itself (Matt 23:23).

Therefore let us lie in wait for the righteous; because he is not for our turn, and he is clean contrary to our doings: he upbraideth us with our offending the law, and objecteth to our infamy the transgressings of our education. (Wisdom 2:12)

Here is where this passage takes a turn; while generally applicable to the relationship between the ungodly and the righteous, from this point onward this passage is specifically applies to the relationship between the ungodly and The Righteous One, who is Jesus Christ. In the Gospels we read how Jesus upbraided the religious leaders, and how they in turn plotted against him. We read how they tried to trap Jesus with questions designed to elicit answers which would have been unsatisfactory to the people, or would have put Him at odds with the Roman authorities. (The question regarding whether it was lawful to pay taxes to the Roman authorities comes to mind; see Matt 22:17ff)

He professeth to have the knowledge of God: and he calleth himself the child of the Lord. (Wisdom 2:13)

This is most certainly true of Our Lord. The first example of this is found in the story of the Boy Jesus in His Father’s house. Not only were the teachers astonished at His understanding, but when His parent’s upbraided Him, Jesus asked them why they didn’t know He must be about His Father’s business (Luk 2:41-50).

He was made to reprove our thoughts. (Wisdom 2:14)

This passage is fulfilled in the healing of the man with palsy (Matt 9:1-8). Jesus first announces to the man the forgiveness of sins, which the scribes thought was blasphemous, because only God can forgive sins. Jesus reproved them for their thoughts, after which he demonstrating that He had the power to forgive sins by healing the palsied man.

He is grievous unto us even to behold: for his life is not like other men’s, his ways are of another fashion. (Wisdom 2:15)

In the Gospel of Luke, we read how Jesus called Levi the tax collector, who then gave a great feast at his house with other tax collectors present. Seeing this, the “scribes and Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, ‘Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?'” Jesus response was that just as a physician ministers not to those who are well, but those who are sick, so too He ministered not to those who presumed themselves to be righteous, but those who knew themselves to be sinners (Luk 5:30-31). Later, while dining with Simon the Pharisee, a sinful women came in “began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head: and she kissed His feed and anointed them with the fragrant oil.” At this, the Pharisee murmured in his heart against Jesus for allowing Himself to be touched by a sinful woman. Jesus then rebuked the Pharisee for failing to follow the standards of hospitality by having Jesus’ feet washed before dinner, whereas the sinful woman had done this and more. Therefore to the woman he said her sins were forgiven, and that her faith had saved her (Luk 7:36-50). To the Lawyer who sought to justify himself in his own eyes, Jesus gave the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in which the Priest and Levite are the villains, while the hated Samaritan was the hero for showing mercy to someone to whom he had no relationship, no kinship, and no expectation of reward (Luk 10:25-37).

We are esteemed of him as counterfeits: he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness: he pronounceth the end of the just to be blessed, and maketh his boast that God is his father. (Wisdom 2:16)

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus denounces the counterfeit religiosity of the Pharisees, those who “make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess” (Matt 23:25). In the Beatitudes, Jesus pronounces the blessedness of the righteous (Matt 5:3-12). The gospels use the life of Christ as an illustration of this passage from Wisdom; the good works that Jesus does enrage the ungodly, as does his description of God as His Father (Luke 10:22; John 5:28; 10:30).

Let us see if his words be true: and let us prove what shall happen in the end of him.  For if the just man be the son of God, he will help him, and deliver him from the hand of his enemies. Let us examine him with despitefulness and torture, that we may know his meekness, and prove his patience. Let us condemn him with a shameful death: for by his own saying he shall be respected. (Wisdom 2:17-20)

These final verses describe the state of mind and the actions of the Chief Priests and Pharisees regarding the death of Christ.

The Jewish trial was done contrary to the law, using false witnesses (Matt 26:59). After accusing Jesus of blasphemy, the scribes and elders spit in Jesus face and beat him with their hands, mocking him by saying: ” Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee? (Matt 26:67-68). After delivering Jesus to the Pontius Pilate, the Romans stripped him, whipped him, put a crown of thorns on His head, mocked Him, and crucified Him (Matt 27:27-31; Joh 19:1-18).

During Jesus’ examination before the Sanhedrin, Jesus said nothing, until he was asked whether he was “the Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 14:53-62). During Jesus’ examination before Herod, Jesus said nothing (Luk 23:6-9). Jesus did not try to justify Himself, nor did he beg for mercy, but “as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isa 53:7).

There was nothing more shameful than to be stripped naked and die a criminal’s death on the cross. The gospels state not only that the Jewish leaders desired the death of Jesus, but they specifically wanted the Romans to crucify Him (Joh 19:6). The author of Hebrews states that Jesus “endured the cross, despising the shame”, and is now seated at the right hand of God. (Heb 12:2).

Finally, at the foot of the cross the rulers of the Jews use the words from Wisdom to mock Christ. They sneer: “He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God” (Luk 23:35). This is then taken up by the soldiers who mock Christ, saying: “If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself” (Luk 23:37). Finally, one of the thieves crucified with Christ blasphemes: “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us” (Luk 23:39).

It is quite clear that this passage from Wisdom is prophetic, in that it is broadly descriptive of the life and death of Christ. Therefore, the arguments of some that the Apocrypha are not prophetic and therefore are not scripture fall to the ground.[1]

 


 

[1] Normal Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie write: “Contrary to the Roman Catholic argument from Christian usage, the true test of canonicity is propheticity. There is strong evidence that the apocryphal books are not prophetic. But since propheticity is the test for canonicity, this would eliminate the Apocrypha from the canon.” (Geisler and MacKenzie 1995, 196-197)

Who has Ascended into Heaven (Joh 3:13)

The Prophet Baruch

The Prophet Baruch

Who hath gone up into heaven, and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds? (Baruch 3:29)

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. (Joh 3:13)[1]

Baruch is speaking here of Wisdom, which dwells in the heavens, and which is therefore unobtainable to humanity (in an ultimate sense, of course.) Wisdom is often personified in the Old Testament, and Christians understand Wisdom to be an adumbration of Christ — that is to say, Wisdom is an allegory of Christ. John is drawing our attention to the connection between the passage in Baruch, which then makes the allegorical connection between Wisdom and Christ plain. Thus while no one could ascend into heaven and bring Wisdom down to earth, the Son of God could come to earth, become one with us, and then ascend into heaven, thereby opening the pathway for us to attain Wisdom, which is Christ Himself.

 


 

[1] Scholars disagree as to whether Jesus answer to Nicodemus, which begins at verse ten, continues through to verse 21. Some hold that it does, while others believe that the majority of this passage is John’s commentary on Jesus’ words. The use of the conjunction “and” to begin sentences is consistent with the way Hebrew uses “and” to connect clauses, suggesting verse 10-21 may well be a single unbroken speech.

The Magnificat and its Old Testament Referents

Visitation ( visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Saint Elizabeth, Virgin Mary shown pregnant ), 14th century  Wallpaintings, Timios Stavros Church in Pelendri, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List

The Visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth

The Magnificat (Luk 1:46-55)

The Lord hath cast down the thrones of proud princes, and set up the meek in their stead. (Sirach 10:14)

He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. (Luk 1:52)

Abraham was a great father of many people: in glory was there none like unto him. (Sirach 44:19)

As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. (Luk 1:55)

Mary’s Magnificat is one of the most notable prayers in all of Scripture. It is noteworthy for many things, not least of which is that it is filled with quotations from or allusions to scripture. Therefore, in context, it would be hard to say that a citation from Sirach is not scripture, when everything else quoted or alluded to is. Here is the text of the Magnificat, verse by verse, with all its Old Testament quotations and allusions.[1]

  • 46  And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

o    1 Sa 2:1 My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high.

o    Ps 34:2,3 My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.

o    Ps 103:1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

  • 47  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

o    Ps 18:46b Exalted be God my Savior!

o    Isa 61:10 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.

  • 48a  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:

o    1 Sam 1:11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

o    Ps 138:6 Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.

  • 48b  for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

o    Gen 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.

o    Luk 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

o    Luk 1:42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

  • 49a  For he that is mighty hath done to me great things;

o    1 Sam 2:1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

o    Ps 71:19 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you?

o    Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

o    Hab 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

  • 49b  and holy is his name.

o    1 Sa 2:2 There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you.

o    Ps 22:3 You are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.

o    Ps 71:22b I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.

o    Ps 89:18 Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

o    Ps 99:3 Let them praise your great and awesome name – he is holy.

o    Ps 103:1b Praise his holy name.

  • 50  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

o    Ps 103:17 From everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.

  • 51a  He hath shewed strength with his arm;

o    Ps 89:10 Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.

  • 51b  he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

o    1 Sa 2:3 Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.

o    2 Sa 22:28 You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.

o    Ps 89:10 You crushed Rahab like one of the slain; with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.

  • 52a  He hath put down the mighty from their seats,

o    1 Sa 2:4 The bows of the warriors are broken (as in Pharaoh, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, etc.)

  • 52b  and exalted them of low degree.

o    1 Sa 2:4b but those who stumbled are armed with strength.

o    1 Sa 2:8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. (As in Joseph, David, Daniel, Esther, etc.)

o    Ps 113:7-8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.

  • 53a  He hath filled the hungry with good things;

o    1 Sa 2:5b but those who were hungry hunger no more.

o    Ps 103:5 who satisfies your desires with good things.

o    Ps 107:8,9 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

  • 53b  and the rich he hath sent empty away.

o    1 Sam 2:5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food. (Note: This is the prayer of the barren Hannah, when she was blessed with a child.)

  • 54  He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;

o    Ps 98:3;

o    Is 41:8-9

  • 55a  As he spake to our fathers,

o    Ps 25:6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.

o    Ps 98:3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel.

o    Ps 105:8-11 He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.”

o    Ps 136Aff. His love [mercy] endures forever.

  • 55b  to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

o    Gen 12:2-3 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

o    Ps 147:19 He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel.

o    Mic 7:20 You will be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our fathers in days long ago.

o    Sirach 44:19-22 Abraham was a great father of many people: in glory was there none like unto him; Who kept the law of the most High, and was in covenant with him: he established the covenant in his flesh; and when he was proved, he was found faithful. Therefore he assured him by an oath, that he would bless the nations in his seed, and that he would multiply him as the dust of the earth, and exalt his seed as the stars, and cause them to inherit from sea to sea, and from the river unto the utmost part of the land. With Isaac did he establish likewise for Abraham his father’s sake the blessing of all men, and the covenant, And made it rest upon the head of Jacob. He acknowledged him in his blessing, and gave him an heritage, and divided his portions; among the twelve tribes did he part them.

o    Other references: Gen 13:15; 22:16-18; 26:3-4; 28:13-14; Lev 26:42; Dt 1:8; 6:10; 9:5, 25, 27; Ps 105:8-10


Bibliography

Jahn, Curtis A. Exegesis and Sermon Study of Luke 1:46-55 The Magnificat. Essay, Mequon: Wisconson Lutheran Seminary, 1997, 1-15.


Endnotes

[1] The cross-references for the Magnificat come from a number of sources. The versification is from an essay by Curtis A. Jahn. (Jahn 1997, 14-15)