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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Christ, cursed by hanging on a tree.

Deuteronomy 21:22 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— (both passages ESV)

A couple of thoughts. The most important one is that Christ was cursed for me. (And you.)

The second is that Paul seems to have been a lot looser with his quotation of the Old Testament than I would have expected. (Perhaps the original language is such that his was a more accurate quote. Perhaps not. But I'm not Paul, and I should be more careful.)

I noticed this passage as a consequence of following the ESV on-line Bible reading for a day in April.

Thanks for reading!


Steve Martin said...

Hi Martin,
On Paul (and other NT authors) being loose with quoting / interpreting the OT, see Peter Enns book "Inspiration and Incarnation". But, as you said, the really important thing Christ's sacrifice for us. Thanks for the post.

benjiovercash said...

As a good rhetorician, Paul uses the variants in the texts of the LXX (i.e. the Greek translation of the OT) and the original Hebrew text to his advantage. Depending upon which best suits his argument, sometimes he'll quote the LXX and sometimes he'll quote the Hebrew text. This is often the reason why Paul's quotations from the OT don't match our OT -- sometimes he is quoting a different text than the one from which ours has been translated. Other times, though, he doesn't quote either; he paraphrases, or perhaps even sometimes intentionally changes the text a bit. It looks like that's what he has done here, because both the LXX and the Hebrew include "by God," which, as you have pointed out, Paul omitted. It would be interesting to find out whether he omitted it for a rhetorical reason, or whether he was just paraphrasing.

Martin LaBar said...

You are so right about the whole point of all this, Steve Martin.

Thanks for your expertise and insight, benjiovercash.

I really appreciate both your comments, gentlemen.