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Bible Lexicons

Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible

Hysterologia; or the First Last

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The First of two things put Last: or, the opposite of Hysteron-Proteron

Hys´-ter-o-log´-i-a. Greek, ὑστερολογία, from ὕστερος (hysteros), last, and λόγος (logos), speech, discourse.

A figure by which that which is put last, ought, according to the usual order, to come first.

It is the opposite of Hysteron-Proteron; except that it refers to a transposition of connected events, rather than of words.

It differs from Hysteresis (q.v. [Note: Which see.] ).

Genesis 10:1-32 and xi.-In chapter 10. the dispersion of the nations is put before the cause of it, which is recorded in chap. 11.

Genesis 12:1.-Here, the call of Abraham is put, by Hysterologia, after the obedience to it (or to a previous call) in chap. 11:31, 32.

Abraham and Terah came out of Haran in consequence of this call; which is not recorded till afterward.

The figure thus emphasizes the fact that God had called them out of "Ur of the Chaldees" (see chap. 15:7) "into a land that I will show thee" (chap. 12:1): while the history shows that the obedience, from some cause, was not complete, for "they came unto Haran, and dwelt there." The Divine comment in Acts 7:2-4 reveals the secret to us: "From thence (i.e., from Haran) when his father was dead, he removed him into this land," showing that Terah, his father, was the hindrance to Abrams complete obedience.

The figure thus calls attention to the fact that in his day, as well as in our own, family ties often hinder full obedience to God.

The two calls are still further marked by the contrasted expressions in chaps. 11:31 and 12:5.

In chap. 11:31, we read: "They went forth from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there."

In chap. 12:5, we read, as to Haran, that "they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came."

Genesis 30:22-24.-The birth of Joseph is described by Hysterologia. For it happened, really, after the birth Of the sixth son of Jacob (Naphtali) and during the first seven years of his servitude. It was after the birth of Joseph that Jacob wished to go away and leave Laban. In the first seven years were born Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, and Joseph. Then he served seven more years (chap. 31:41), and in these were born Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah.

So Josephs birth, which took place after Naphtalis, is recorded, by Hysterologia: after Dinahs.

Genesis 38:1-30 -The history of Judah in this chapter is put by Hysterologia, for the greater part of it took place before the selling of Joseph, which is recorded in chap. 37.

Judges 20:1-48; Judges 21:1-25.-These chapters describe the Benjamite war; which must have taken place many years before; indeed soon after Joshuas death, though recorded here. For Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, was high priest (chap. 20:28): and Jonathan, the grandson of Moses, was the first idolatrous priest to the tribe of Dan!* [Note: See pamphlet on The Massorah, by the same author and publisher.]

Moreover, Jebus or Jerusalem was still in the hands of strangers (chap. 19:10-12), whereas chap. 1:8, 21 describes its capture and firing by the tribe of Judah.

1 Samuel 16:1-23 -xviii.-Here, four events in the history of Saul and David are transposed, by Hysterologia, in order to bring together certain facts relating to each; and especially to the Spirit of God in relation to each. In chap. 16:1-13, David is anointed, and the Spirit of God comes upon him. Then, in order to contrast the Spirit of the Lord departing from Saul, a later fact is brought forward here (chap. 16:14-23), which, in the history, really follows chap. 18:9. So that chaps. 17-18:9 record an earlier event in Davids life, which is brought in here parenthetically, describing one of the illustrations of chap. 14:52, that, when Saul saw any strong man or any valiant man, he took him unto him. Chaps. 17-18:9 go on to give an instance of this with David, and tell how Saul thus found David. Then (after chap. 18:9) we have to go back again to prior events (recorded in chap. 16:14-23); while, in chap. 18:10-30, we have further facts concerning Sauls "evil spirit" and other events of Davids life.

The whole section is beautifully constructed; and the parentheses between the different members are clearly seen: each member being parenthetical to the other two, between which it is placed:-

A 16:1-13. DAVID anointed. The Spirit of the Lord comes upon him.

B 14-23. SAUL rejected. The Spirit of the Lord departs from Saul, and an evil spirit troubles him.

A 17:1-18:9. DAVID. An earlier incident in his life.

B 10-30. SAUL. The Spirit departed, and evil spirit troubling him.

So that, while Saul and David alternate, we see why the special arrangement is made; so as to bring out into contrast the facts recorded in each pair of corresponding members, which are not recorded in their historical order, but in the order of the spiritual instruction which is to be conveyed. The historical order is obtained by reading on from A to A (treating B as being in a parenthesis); and then from B to B (treating A as though it were in a parenthesis); while the logical sequence of the spiritual order is obtained by reading straight on, as the history is written in the Text.

2 Samuel 23:1-39; 2 Samuel 24:1-25.-The latter chapter is put after chapters 22 and 23, which contain Davids "last song" and "last words," while the events really follow chap. 21. The "song" and the "words" follow more appropriately, immediately after the record of Davids mighty acts, instead of after Davids sin in numbering the People.

Isaiah 38:21-22.-Here, the sign which Hezekiah had asked for, in verse 22, is described in verse 21, beautifully emphasizing the Divine over-ruling of the history.

Amos 6:2.-The cities are put according to logical emphasis, rather than geographical sequence.

Matthew 27:52-53.-Here, the events which took place later, are recorded in their consequential order, rather than in the actual historical order.

At the moment when the Lord Jesus "yielded up His Spirit the earth was shaken, and the rocks were rent, and the tombs were opened [and now comes, (by Hysterologia) "many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep, arose, and, coming forth out of the tombs after His resurrection, entered into the holy city, and appeared privately* [Note: This seems to be the meaning of ἐμφανίζειν (emphanizein), see its only other occurrences: ; .] to many]. Now the centurion, and those with him, keeping guard over Jesus-seeing the earthquake, and the things that were taking place-feared greatly, saying, Truly, Gods Son this Man was. "

It is a question whether it be not this which is referred to in Romans 1:4 : where the Lord Jesus is said to have been marked out as "Gods Son as the result of raising (or rising) again of dead persons." For it is not ἐκ τῶ νεκρῶν, from among the dead, but simply νεκρῶν, of dead people. That He was so marked out is described in the history by the exclamation of the Centurion. In both cases we have υἱὸς θεοῦ (without articles), "Gods Son."

Revelation 12:1-17 -In this chapter, we have the prophetic record of events, which shall take place before Chapter 6, and lead up to what is recorded in chapters 6-11.

Chapters 6-11. give the exoteric view of the future history, which ends with the judgment (chap. 11:18). Chap. 11:18 therefore brings us parallel to chap. 20. The Beast and false prophet are upon the earth during this period, and their actions are seen in chaps. 9 and 11, though they are not named, and their actual coming is not described, till chap. 13.

But chapter 12 gives the esoteric view of the same period, and takes us back to a point prior to chap. 6, and shows us the causes which shall lead to the rising up of the Beast and the false prophet.

First, the war takes place in heaven, and the Devil is cast out into the earth.

Then "he" stands upon the sand of the sea (chap. 13:1, R.V. [Note: The Revised Version, 1881.] ); and John sees these two awful beings coming up, the one from the sea and the other from the earth. There is no record of their doings, except what is recorded in chaps. 6-11, and in 13.

See further under Ellipsis.

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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, E. W., D.D. Entry for 'Hysterologia; or the First Last'. Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible.

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Monday, November 30th, 2020
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