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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature

Affirmatives

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Among the Jews the formula of assent or affirmation was thou hast said, or thou hast rightly said. It is stated by Aryda and others that this is the prevailing mode in which a person expresses his assent, at this day, in Lebanon, especially when he does not wish to assert anything in express terms. This explains the answer of our Savior to the high-priest Caiaphas (Matthew 26:64), when he was asked whether he was the Christ, the son of God, and replied, thou hast said (see also Matthew 26:25). All readers of even translations are familiar with a frequent elegancy of the Scriptures, or rather of the Hebrew language, in using an affirmative and negative together, by which the sense is rendered more emphatic: sometimes the negative first, as Psalms 118:17, 'I shall not die, but live,' etc.; sometimes the negative first, as Isaiah 38:1, 'Thou shalt die, and not live.' In John 1:20, there is a remarkable instance of emphasis produced by a negative being placed between two affirmatives—'And he confessed, and denied not, but confessed, I am not the Christ.'

 

 

 

 

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Affirmatives'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/a/affirmatives.html.

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