Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Quotation of Psalm 40:6-8 in Hebrews 10:5-7

Michael Heiser blogs about Hebrews' quotation of Psalm 40:6-8 in The Naked Bible. He uses it to dismiss the dictation theory of inspiration. This quotation is a clear illustration that the authors of the Bible had considerable freedom in writing their works. He links to an article by Karen Jobes: "The Function of Paronomasia in Hebrews 10:5-7." Jobes rejects the arguments that the "misquote" was as a result of faulty memory or the use of Greek text no longer extant. She contends that the author was using paronomasia for rhetorical effect. Psalm 40:6-8 is put into the mouth of Jesus. Jobes suggests that by identifying these words with Christ, the author wants to express "the dynastic continuity of Jesus with Israel's King David." Furthermore, "the seemingly minor variations between David's speech in Psalm 40 and Christ's speech in the Hebrews 10 quotation of Psalm 40 express the discontinuity." This is an illustration of the author's opening point that in the past God spoke through the prophets, but in the last days speaks through his son.


  1. When the psalmist speaks, the vine is speaking. The precision of language is unimportant. Israel represents the anointed in the period, Aaron represents the anointed, all who fear - all who write (Psalm 118). So when the Anointed appears, he has those words available to him and takes up the whole vine in himself. I wonder if we met in 2006 at St Andrews. I have begun to approach the NT from the Old through the Psalms - largely because of that conference.

  2. Hi Bob:

    That is an interesting metaphor. I tell people all the time that one cannot understand the NT properly without understanding the OT.

    I was at the St. Andrews conference. If we didn't meet, we certainly saw one another!