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Bible Lexicons

Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible

Metonymy; or Change of Noun

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The Change of one Noun for another Related Noun

Me-ton´-y-my. Sometimes pronounced Met´-o-nym-y. Greek, Μετωνυμία, from μετά (meta), indicating change, and ὄνομα (onoma), a name; or, in grammar, a noun.

Metonymy is a figure by which one name or noun is used instead of another, to which it stands in a certain relation.

The change is in the noun, and only in a verb as connected with the action proceeding from it.

The names of persons are put by Metonymy for something which stands in a special relation to them. Thus we speak of "a stanhope" (carriage), from the Hon. Mr. Stanhope; "a brougham," from Lord Brougham; "boycotting," from Capt. Boycott; a "blanket," "negus," a "spencer," a "doyley," etc., from the respective inventors.

Thus it will be seen that Metonymy is not founded on resemblance, but on relation.

When we say that a person writes "a bad hand," we do not mean a hand, but we use the noun "hand" for the characters which it writes.

Metonymy is of four kinds: viz., of the Cause, of the Effect, of the Subject, and of the Adjunct.

I. Metonymy of the Cause is when the cause is put for the effect: i.e., when the doer is put for the thing done; or, the instrument for that which is effected; or, where the action is put for the effect produced by the action.

II. Metonymy of the Effect is the opposite of the above: when the effect is put for the cause.

III. Metonymy of the Subject is when the subject is put for something pertaining to it: as the possessor for the possessed; the thing signified for the sign.

IV. Metonymy of the Adjunct, on the contrary, is when that which pertains to anything is put for the thing itself.

Some grammarians have added a fifth Metonymy, where the antecedent is put for the consequent; but it really belongs to Metonymy of the Cause.

The following is the complete outline of the figure now to be treated of:-



i. The person acting for the thing done.

ii. The instrument for the thing effected.

iii. The thing or action for the thing produced by it.

iv. The material for the thing made from or of it.

II. Of the EFFECT.

i. The action or effect for the person producing it.

ii. The thing effected for the instrument or organic cause of it.

iii. The effect for the thing or action causing it.

iv. The thing made for the material from which it is made or produced.


i. The subject receiving for the thing received.

ii. The container for the contents.

iii. The possessor for the thing possessed.

iv. The object for that which pertains or relates to it.

v. The thing signified for the sign.


i. The accident for the subject.

ii. The contents for the container.

iii. The time for the things done or existing in it.

iv. The appearance of a thing for its nature; or, the opinion about it for the thing itself.

v. The action or affection for the object of it.

vi. The sign for the thing signified.

vii. The name of a person for the person himself, or the thing.

I. Metonymy of the Cause

This is when the cause is put for the effect; and it is of four kinds: (i.) The person for the action; (ii.) The instrument for the effect; (iii.) The thing or the action for its product; and (iv.) The material cause for the matter made. We will consider these in their order: and the examples themselves will explain the meaning and use of the figure.

i. The person acting for the thing done

1. The Spirit for the gifts and operations of the Spirit

John 3:34.-"For God giveth not the Spirit by measure to Him": i.e., the gifts and operations produced by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a person, and cannot, therefore, be measured out or given by measure. The "measure" must consequently mean the measure of His power or gifts bestowed.

John 6:63.-"The words that I speak unto you, they, are spirit (i.e., the gift and operation of the Spirit of God), and they are life (i.e., they give and produce divine, spiritual and eternal life)."

Acts 19:2.-"Did ye on believing receive the Holy Ghost?" Here, this must mean the wondrous gifts of the Spirit, because they had already received Him, or they could not have believed at all. Verse 6 also shows that this must be so, for the very gifts and powers are named and exercised.

1 Corinthians 14:12.-"Forasmuch as ye also are zealous of spirits": i.e., of spiritual powers and gifts and revelations. Here, the A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] has actually so rendered the figure, and put the literal Greek in the margin! So verses 26 and 32.

1 Corinthians 14:32.-"The spirits (i.e., the spiritual gifts) of prophets are subject to prophets": i.e., they are able to use them to edification according to the instructions given in Scripture.

Galatians 3:2.-"Received ye the Spirit (i.e., the gifts of the Spirit) by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"

Verse 5: "He, therefore, that ministereth to you the Spirit (i.e., the gifts of the Spirit) and worketh miracles among you," etc.

Ephesians 5:18.-"Be filled with the Spirit": i.e., not with the Person of the Holy Spirit surely! but with His operations: i.e., with the gifts which come through the ministry of the Word; as is clear from Colossians 3:16, where this effect is produced by the same cause: viz., occupation of the heart with God-the Word of Christ dwelling richly within us.

1 Thessalonians 5:19.-"Quench not the Spirit": i.e., do not hinder in yourself or in others the use of spiritual gifts.

The verb to quench is σβέννυμι (sbennumi), to put out, and always of extinguishing a light or fire; hence, to extinguish.* [Note: See its occurrences: . ; ; . . , where it is rendered "quench"; and , where it is "gone out, or going out" (marg.).] It is impossible for mortal man to extinguish the Holy Spirit of God: so that there must be a figure here. That figure lies not in the word "quench," but in the word "spirit," which is put for the gifts of the Spirit. These are quenched, when any, assuming and usurping authority, forbid the use of them by a brother, or hinder him in the exercise of them.

This is clearly the subject of the exhortation; for the very next sentence goes on to speak of the manner in which it is to be obeyed: "Despise not prophesyings": do not treat them with contempt or scorn; do not neglect or disregard them. This is the meaning of ἐξουθενέω (exoutheneô) (see Luke 23:11. Acts 4:11. Romans 14:10, where it is rendered set at nought; and Luke 18:9. Romans 14:3. 1 Corinthians 1:28; 1 Corinthians 16:11. Galatians 4:14, where it is rendered despise: and 1 Corinthians 6:4, to be least esteemed; and 2 Corinthians 10:10, contemptible).

2. The Spirit is put also for His quickening, regenerating and sanctifying work in man, in creating the new nature with its spiritual desires and powers

John 3:6.-"That which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

Here, the second time the word "spirit" is used, it is in a different sense, by the figure of Antanaclasis (q.v. [Note: Which see.] , page 286); and by Metonymy it is put for the effect of the Spirits operation: i.e., the New man, the New nature, in all its manifestations. This New nature is constantly spoken of as "spirit" (see Romans 8:1-15), just as the Old nature is spoken of as "flesh."

For examples of the word "spirit" being put for the work of the Holy Spirit within man, see Psalms 51:17 (19). Isaiah 26:9. Ezekiel 18:31. Matthew 5:3; Matthew 26:41. Acts 17:16; Acts 19:21; Acts 20:22. Romans 1:9. 1 Corinthians 5:3-5; 1 Corinthians 6:20. 1 Peter 3:4, etc.

Romans 8:2.-"For the law of the spirit of life (i.e., not the Holy Spirit, but His life-giving work in the New nature created within us) hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

The Law brought the knowledge of sin; and its wages-death. But the work of the Holy Spirit has freed me from that Law, and has given me a new nature, by which I serve and obey Him from a totally different motive.

3. The Spirit is put for special and extraordinary operations of the Spirit acting externally in various ways, publicly or privately

Numbers 11:17.-"I will take of the spirit which is upon thee and will put it upon them": i.e., not the Person of the Holy Spirit, but His operations, enabling Moses, and afterwards the seventy elders, to rule the People.

The history goes on to tell how Joshua would have had two of them forbidden! True specimen of official religion to-day, and through all time; ever ready to forbid the use of spiritual powers and gifts that come out of the ordinary course!

Eldad and Medad are types of what has been true from that time till the present day.

2 Kings 2:9.-"Let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me": i.e., of thy miraculous gifts, spiritual powers. It was so: and it was so shown; for while Elijahs miracles were eight in number, Elishas were sixteen.* [Note: See Number in Scripture, by the same author and publisher, page 202.]

Daniel 5:12; Daniel 6:3.-"Because an excellent spirit was in him": i.e., the wonderful and extraordinary operations of the Spirit were manifest in him.

John 7:39.-"This spake he of the Spirit": i.e., this outflow of spiritual power mentioned in verse 38. A person could not flow out from another person.

Luke 1:17.-"And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah": i.e., the same wonderful spiritual power should be in John as was in Elijah. See under Hendiadys.

Acts 1:5.-"Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost": i.e., ye shall be immersed in spiritual "power" (see verse 8), which shall cover you as well as fill you and flow out from you.

Acts 7:51.-"Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost": i.e., the testimony of the Holy Spirit as given by the prophets. Their fathers resisted the prophets, and would not hear the Spirits voice in them and now they, like their fathers, were resisting the same testimony as given at Pentecost, and since then culminating in Stephen.

The Holy Ghost in His testimony is always resisted by the natural man: i.e., opposed by him. He cannot, of course, be resisted in the sense of being successfully repelled. The Greek word here is ἀντιπίπτω (antipiptô), to fall against, oppose. It occurs only here, but the context clearly shows the nature and character of the opposition, the reference to the "ears" indicating that they refused to listen to His testimony. The natural ear is always closed against the Divine testimony, until it is "opened" by One who is stronger than the strong man armed.

2 Corinthians 3:6.-"Who hath made us competent ministers also of the New Covenant: not of letter (i.e., the Divine Law of the Old Covenant), but of spirit (i.e., the ministration of the Spirit, verse 8: the New Covenant as contained in the Gospel)."

4. The Spirit is put also for special revelations and visions communicated by Him

Ezekiel 37:1.-"The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord": i.e, in a vision.

2 Theas. 2:2.-"That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit (i.e., by a revelation professed to have been received by the Spirit), nor by word (professed to be spoken by us), nor by letter as from us (said to be written by us), as that the Day of the Lord has set in." For the meaning of this last statement, see the next verse under Ellipsis, pages 52 and 53.

1 John 4:1-3.-"Beloved, believe not every spirit (i.e., every doctrine that is put forth as the teaching of the Spirit), but try the spirits (i.e., their teaching and doctrines, Acts 17:11), whether they are of God (or of demons and evil spirits): because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the spirit (or doctrine and teaching) of God. Every spirit (i.e., doctrine) which confesseth (or teacheth) that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit (or doctrine) that confesseth not (i.e., that does not teach) that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God; and this is that spirit (i.e., teaching) of Antichrist whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now is it in the world."

As Antichrist himself has not yet come, it must mean his teaching which is already here. The confusion of the small and capital letters (s and S) in this passage shows that the translators did not perceive the Metonymy here used.

Revelation 1:10.-"I was in spirit." Here the A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] uses a capital S, and not a small one as in chap. 4:2; 17:3, and Ezekiel 37:1, etc., but, the meaning is the same. "I became in a spiritual vision or ecstasy; or, I received a spiritual revelation;" which was afterwards written down. See also Acts 10:10; Acts 22:17, and 2 Corinthians 12:2, where similar visions and revelations are called a "trance." There is great divergence of the use of small and capital letters in all different versions.

5. Parents and Ancestors are frequently put for their posterity, and for children: and the name of the stock or race is put for the patronymic

Japhet and Shem are put for their posterity (Genesis 9:27).

Jacob and Israel for the Israelitish people (Exodus 5:2. Numbers 21:25; Numbers 24:5; Numbers 24:17. Deuteronomy 33:28. 1 Kings 18:17-18. Psalms 14:7; Psalms 135:4. Amos 7:9).

Isaac for the people of Israel (Amos 7:9).

Esau for the people descended from Esau (Romans 9:13).

6. The Writer is put for his writing or book

Luke 16:29.-"They have Moses (i.e., his writings) and the prophets (i.e., their writings); let them hear them."

7. To this first species of Metonymy must be referred the use of the word Soul for life, which is the effect of it

Indeed, when so used, the Hebrew נֶפֶשׁ (nephesh) and the Greek ψυχή (pseuchee) are often so translated.

See Genesis 9:5; Genesis 37:21. Exodus 4:19. Leviticus 17:11. Judges 9:17. 1 Samuel 26:21. 1 Kings 2:23. Esther 8:11. Psalms 33:19; Psalms 38:12 (13); 56:13 (14). Jeremiah 40:14; Jeremiah 45:5. Lamentations 5:9. Jonah 2:6. Matthew 2:20; Matthew 10:39; Matthew 16:25; Matthew 20:28. John 10:17; John 12:25; John 13:37-38; John 15:13, etc.

8. The Soul is also put for the person, as when we say a city contains so many thousand souls

We have examples in such phrases as "Praise the Lord, O my soul" (i.e., O myself) (Psalms 103:1, etc.); or, "My soul doth (i.e., I myself do) magnify the Lord" (Luke 1:46); or, "Thou wilt not leave my soul (i.e., me) in Sheol" (Psalms 16:10. Acts 2:27; Acts 2:31. See Psalms 49:15. Hebrews 16). Revelation 6:9 : "I saw the souls of them that were beheaded": i.e., I saw them (i.e., the persons of them) that were slain." Compare 20:4.

9. The Soul is also put for the will, affection, or desire, which are its operations and effects:-

10. The word spirit is sometimes so used for the soul or life in its manifestations:-

ii. The ORGANIC CAUSE or instrument is put for the thing effected by it

1. The Organs of Speech are put for the testimony borne

The Mouth is put for the witness or testimony borne by it.

The Mouth is put for the command or precept given.

Genesis 45:21.-"And Joseph gave them wagons, according to the mouth (i.e., commandment, as in A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] ) of Pharaoh."

Deuteronomy 34:5.-"So Moses died there according to the mouth (i.e., the word) of Jehovah."

The Targum of Jonathan takes this literally (or as Anthropopathpœia, q.v. [Note: Which see.] ), and interprets it as a kiss!

The Tongue is put for what is spoken by it.

Psalms 5:9 (10).-"They flatter with their tongue": i.e., with what it says.

Proverbs 25:15.-"A soft tongue (i.e., gentle speech) breaketh the bone" (i.e., overcomes obstinacy).

Proverbs 10:20.-"The tongue (i.e., the words or speech) of the just is as choice silver."

Jeremiah 18:18.-"Let us smite him with the tongue": i.e., with hard words.

The Tongue is also put for the language peculiar to any people or nation.

The Lip is put for the language.

Genesis 11:1.-"And the whole earth was of one lip (i.e., language) and of one speech."

Proverbs 12:19.-"The lip (i.e., speech) of truth shall be established for ever."

Verse 22: "Lying lips (i.e., liars or lies) are abomination to the Lord."

Proverbs 14:8.-"The lips of knowledge": i.e., the words of wisdom, or wise words.

Isaiah 33:19.-"A people deeper of lip (i.e., speech) than to be understood."

The Palate is put for the words spoken.

Proverbs 5:3.-"Her palate is smoother than oil": i.e., her speech.

The Throat also is put for the words spoken.

2. The Hand is put for the actions performed by it

These are many and various; as finding, counselling, thought, purpose, impulse, effort, attempt, or care. The "hand" is put by Metonymy for all these and similar things.

Deuteronomy 32:36.-"When he seeth that their hand was gone." This is rightly rendered "power"; for which the "hand" is put by Metonymy.

1 Samuel 22:17.-Saul said, "Turn, and slay the priests of the Lord; because their hand (i.e., help) is with David, and because they knew him when he fled, and did not show it to me": i.e., the priests helped David with their counsel, and with food; and by silence, in not betraying him. All this is contained in, and expressed by, the word "hand."

2 Samuel 3:12.-"My hand (i.e., my help) shall be with thee."

2 Samuel 14:19.-"Is not the hand (i.e., the counsel) of Joab with thee in all this?"

1 Kings 10:29.-"And so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their hand" (i.e., as in A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] , by their means).

The Hand is also put for instrumentality or agency, especially in connection with Inspiration.

Ezra 9:10-11.-"Thy commandments which thou hast commanded by the hand (i.e, the agency) of thy servants the prophets."

In all these cases there is an implied reference to testimony preserved in writing.

Nehemiah 9:30.-"Thou testifiedst against them by thy Spirit in (or by) the hand (i.e., the agency) of thy prophets."

Zechariah 7:12.-"The words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in (or by) His Spirit by the hand of the former prophets": i.e., by their agency.

This is the testimony of one of the latter prophets to the Inspiration of the "former": viz., Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings.

The Hand is also put for the writing done by it or hand-writing. As we say of one "he writes a good hand."

The Hand is also put for a gift given to anyone.

Psalms 68:31 (32).-"Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God": i.e., shall bring presents, as in Psalms 68:29, of which this is the continuation. As further explained in Psalms 72:10. Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 60:6; Isaiah 60:9. Psalms 22:27 (28).

3. The Sword is put for war or for slaughter

Exodus 5:3.-"Lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with sword": i.e., with slaughter.

Leviticus 26:6.-"Neither shall the sword (i.e, war) go through your land."

So Isaiah 1:20. Jeremiah 14:12-13; Jeremiah 14:15-16; Jeremiah 43:11. Psalms 144:10. Romans 8:35, and many other, passages.

Matthew 10:34.-"I came not to send peace, but a sword" (i.e., but for war). That is to say, the object of His coming was peace, but the effect of it was war.

4. A Line is used for the territory divided up or marked out by it

Amos 7:17.-"Thy land shall be divided by line": i.e., divided up among others.

Micah 2:5.-"Thou wilt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of Jehovah."

The land in Palestine round each village was divided by lot for the year, for each family to sow and reap. Referring to this, David says, "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places," and then he goes on to explain it, "Yea, I have a goodly heritage" (Psalms 16:6).

Hence the word "line" is used of an inheritance measured out See Deuteronomy 3:4 (where it is rendered "region"). Joshua 17:14. Psalms 105:11 (the lot of your inheritance).

2 Corinthians 10:16.-"In another mans line": i.e., in another mans inheritance or sphere of labour.

Psalms 19:4 (5).-"Their line is gone out through all the earth." The A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] interprets the Metonymy incorrectly in the margin, "their rule or direction." It is their inheritance: i.e., the whole earth was the sphere through which their words and speech went forth, and where the knowledge imparted by the stars was made known. See Romans 10:18.* [Note: And The Witness of the Stars, by the same author and publisher.]

5. Silver is put for the thing procured by it

Exodus 21:21.-Where a servant is said to be the money of the master.

6. Hyssop is put for the sprinkling which was effected by it

Hyssop (אֵזוֹב) a small humble moss-like shrub (1 Kings 4:33; 1 Kings 5:13) used in ceremonial sprinklings. See Leviticus 14:4. Numbers 19:18, etc.

Psalms 51:7 (9).-"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean": i.e., purge me with the atoning blood; not with the herb.

iii. The THING or ACTION is put for that which is the effect or product of it

Some Rhetorists confine Metonymy only to nouns, and deny its application to verbs. But there seem to be certain words, even verbs, the use of which cannot otherwise be classed except under the figure Metonymy: words which, if not actually changed for or strictly used instead of others, are yet analagous, and have the meaning of another word taken conventionally with them; so that a thing or action is put for some effect which is understood as being consequent upon it.

1. In certain NOUNS, where the Feeling or Affection is put for the effects resulting or proceeding from the feeling

Love is put for the benefits and blessings flowing from it.

1 John 3:1.-"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us": i.e., not merely the feeling of love, but the manifestation of it in all that it has done for us: one thing here being the calling and making lost sinners the sons of God, and blessing them with all spiritual blessings in Christ.

Mercy is put for the offices and benefits which are the outcome of it.

Genesis 20:13.-"This is thy kindness which thou shalt show, etc."

Genesis 32:10.-"I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant": i.e., all the material and spiritual benefits bestowed in kindness and faithfulness.

2 Chronicles 35:26.-"Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness" (marg. [Note: arg. Margin.] Heb. kindnesses): i.e., his acts of kindness.

By the same figure the Greek ἐλεημοσύνη (pity, or mercy) is put for benefits bestowed upon the poor.

Matthew 6:1.-"Take heed that ye do not your alms." The R.V. [Note: The Revised Version, 1881.] and Critical Texts (G. [Note: . Griesbach and his critical Greek Text.] L. [Note: . Lachmann and his critical Greek Text.] T. [Note: . Tischendorf and his critical Greek Text.] Tr. [Note: r. Tregelles and his critical Greek Text.] A. [Note: . Alford and his critical Greek Text.] ) have δικαιοσύνη (dikaiosunee), righteousness, instead of ἐλεημοσύνη (eleçmosunee), mercy. The reading doubtless arose from some scribes not seeing the Metonymy, and trying to explain it.

Anger and Wrath are put for punishment, and various acts which flow from them.

Micah 7:9.-"I will bear the indignation of Jehovah": i.e., the chastisements which it inflicts.

Romans 2:5.-Thou "treasurest up unto thyself wrath": i.e., the judgments produced by it.

Romans 13:5.-"Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath": i.e., on account of the effects of the anger, etc., of those who govern, "but also for conscience sake": i.e., because ye believe it to be right according to the will of God.

Ephesians 5:6.-"For because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience": i.e., the punishments inflicted by God on account of His wrath.

Justice is put for the judgment or punishment which manifests it.

Exodus 6:6.-"I will redeem you with a stretched-out arm and with great justice": i.e., as in A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] , judgments. As rendered in Proverbs 19:29. Ezekiel 14:21, etc.

It is put also for the actual sentence and condemnation.

Jeremiah 26:11.-"The judgment (i.e., the sentence) of death is for this man." This Metonymy is idiomatically rendered in A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] So John 3:19 (κρίσις, krisis, the act or process of judging).

Sin and its synonyms are put for the effects or punishment of sin.

Genesis 19:15.-"Lest thou be condemned in the iniquity": i.e., punishment, as in margin of A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] So Psalms 7:16 (17).

Jeremiah 14:16.-"I will pour their wickedness upon them": i.e., the punishment on account of their wickedness.

Zechariah 14:19.-"This shall be the sin (marg. [Note: arg. Margin.] ) of Egypt": i.e., the punishment for Egypts sin.

When Christ is said to bear our sins, it means that He bore thepunishment (i.e., death) which was due to them. Hebrews 9:28. 1 Peter 2:24, etc.

Work is put for the wages paid for it.

Leviticus 19:13.-Heb. work; A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] , wages.

Jeremiah 22:13.-"And doth not give him his work": i.e., Heb. his wage. A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] : "for his work."

Romans 11:6.-"If by grace, then is it no more of works": i.e., of wages or merit.

Revelation 14:13.-"And their works (i.e., their rewards) do follow with them."

Divination is put for the money received for it.

Numbers 22:7.-"So the elders departed with divinations in their hands." Here, both A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] and R.V. [Note: The Revised Version, 1881.] do not scruple to boldly translate the Metonymy and put "the rewards of divination."

Labour is put for that which is produced by it.

Deuteronomy 28:33.-"All thy labours shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up": i.e., all the fruit of thy labours.

Psalms 78:46.-"He gave their labour unto the locust": i.e., the fruit of their labour.

Psalms 105:44.-"They inherited the labour of the people."

Psalms 128:2.-"Thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands": i.e., that which the labour of thy hands has produced.

Proverbs 5:10.-"Lest thy labours be in the house of a stranger": i.e., that which thou hast made or produced.

Strength is put for that which it effects or produces.

Genesis 4:12.-"When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength": i.e., her fruits shall not be brought forth freely and liberally to thee.

Proverbs 5:10.-"Lest strangers be filled with thy strength": i.e., that which thy strength brings forth. A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] : wealth.

Hunting is put for the flesh of the animal that is caught.

Genesis 25:28.-"And Isaac loved Esau because hunting was in his mouth." Here, the mouth is put for the eating which it performed, and hunting for the venison which it caught. See also under Ellipsis, page 26.

Genesis 27:3.-"Hunt me a hunting": i.e., catch or take for me some venison (as in A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] ). See Polyptoton, page 275.

2. In certain VERBS

The same Metonymy is seen in certain verbs, but it is confined to verbs of (a) Knowing, (b) Remembering, (c) Loving and Hating, and (d) Operation.

(a) Verbs of Knowing

are used of the effect of knowing: i.e., understanding, caring for, approving, etc.

Job 19:25.-"I know that my redeemer liveth": i.e., I believe, or have a saving knowledge of the fact.

Psalms 9:10 (11).-"They that know thy name will put their trust in thee": i.e., they that understand Thee as their God and Saviour.

Psalms 90:11.-"Who knoweth (i.e., Who rightly considers) the power of thine anger?" Many may hear of it and know of it in the ordinary sense of the verb, but who rightly estimates it and understands it?

Isaiah 1:3.-"Israel doth not know." The next parallel line goes on to explain it:-"My people doth not consider." So Jeremiah 8:7. Luke 19:42 (cf. [Note: f. Compare (for Latin, confer).] Psalms 101:4). This comes also under the figure Exergasia (q.v. [Note: Which see.] )

Jeremiah 9:24.-"Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me": i.e., loves me and believes me. Compare verses 3 and 6.

Jeremiah 31:34.-"They shall all know me": i.e., believe in me with a saving faith.

John 8:43.-"Ye cannot hear (i.e., receive, and understand, and approve) my word." See verse 44.

John 10:27.-"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them": i.e., I love them with all a shepherds fondness.

John 17:3.-"This is life eternal that they might know (i.e., believe on) thee-the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

Acts 10:34.-"I perceive (i.e., I now understand and am made to know from what has taken place) that God is no respecter of persons."

Romans 7:15.-"For that which I do I know not." Here, the A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] translates the Metonymy, "that which I do I allow not": i.e., I do not approve. The old Eng. of the verb allow is allaud, to praise or approve, as in Psalms 11:5. Prayer Book (i.e., Coverdales) Version: "The Lord alloweth the righteous": i.e., approveth him.

1 Corinthians 8:3.-"If any man love God, the same is known of him": i.e., is loved and cared for by Him (see Heterosis of the verb).

Verbs of Knowing are sometimes put for caring for or manifesting affection to.

Genesis 39:6.-"He (Potiphar) knew not ought he had": i.e., had no anxiety about it.

Exodus 2:25.-"And God knew them": i.e., as in A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] , had respect unto them.

Deuteronomy 33:9.-"Neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew (i.e., cared for) his own children."

Judges 2:10.-"There arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord": i.e., which did not care for Him.

1 Chronicles 17:18.-"Thou knowest (i.e., hast respect to) thy servant."

Psalms 37:18.-"The Lord knoweth the days of the upright": i.e., has respect to them and acts accordingly.

Psalms 142:4 (5).-"There was no man that would know me": i.e., that would care for me. See under Ellipsis.

Proverbs 12:10.-"A righteous man knoweth the life of his beast": i.e., he regardeth and careth for it.

Proverbs 29:7.-"The righteous knoweth (A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] , considereth) the cause of the poor."

Jeremiah 1:5.-"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee": i.e., cared for and loved thee.

Jeremiah 24:5.-"So shall I know (A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] , acknowledge) them that are carried away captive."

1 Thessalonians 5:12.-"We beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you": i.e., to consider and care for them.

2 Timothy 2:19.-"The Lord knoweth (i.e., loves and cares for) them that are his." See also under Heterosis.

Verbs of Knowing are used also of experiencing, either by saving faith or by personal dealing.

Isaiah 53:11.-"By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many": i.e., knowledge of Him and the salvation which He gives. See Luke 1:77. "To give knowledge of salvation."

Matthew 7:11.-"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children," etc.: i.e., are able, notwithstanding all your innate blindness, to understand enough, in spite of your selfishness, to give good gifts, etc.

Mark 5:29.-"And she knew (ἔγνω) by her body (i.e., by the sensations of it) that she was healed of that plague": i.e. (as in A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] ), "she felt." She experienced, just as the Lord Himself did in verse 30, where we have the same verb used of Him: "knowing in Himself" (ἐπιγνούς).

1 Corinthians 4:19.-"But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know (i.e., will find out and expose) not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power."

2 Corinthians 1:9.-"We had the sentence of death in ourselves": i.e., we experienced the feelings of those who have had the sentence of death pronounced upon them.

(b) Verbs of Remembering

are used of a strong desire or wish for the thing mentioned or remembered.

Isaiah 44:21.-"Remember these, O Jacob and Israel thou shalt not be forgotten of me": i.e., desire the things which make for your peace, etc.

Ezekiel 23:19.-"Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt": i.e., in desiring again the former sins.

Jonah 2:7 (8).-"When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord" (and therefore desired Him, and called upon Him).

2 Timothy 2:8.-"Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my Gospel": i.e., Believe and enjoy, and rest in, the blessed knowledge of the fact.

Hebrews 11:15.-"If they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out": i.e., if they had longed for it, or desired to return to it, they could have done so. This is clear from the verb to "desire" in verse 16.

So the noun is used of the Lords Supper, "in remembrance of Me": i.e., not a mere calling to mind, but that which is produced by such remembrance: viz., faith, love, hope, which are all bound up in that acknowledgment of Christs death (Luke 22:19. 1 Corinthians 11:24-25). Hitherto they had celebrated their deliverance from Egypt. Henceforth they were to remember Christ, and the exodus which He accomplished, and to desire His return, looking for it with loving hope.

On the other hand, the verb to forget is used of unfaithfulness, and rejection.

Hosea 4:6.-"Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children": i.e., seeing thou hast been unfaithful to me, and will reject thy children.

(c) Verbs of Loving and Hating

are put for the actions consequent upon them.

To Love is put for to expect, or desire, or take.

Psalms 11:5.-"Him that loveth violence (i.e., and hence practises it) his soul hateth."

Proverbs 21:17.-"He that loveth (and therefore liveth in) pleasure shall be a poor man," etc. He would not be poor unless he gratified his love of pleasure by spending his substance.

Matthew 6:5.-"They love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets," and they do it because they love it.

Luke 11:43.-"Ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues": i.e., ye not only love them, but take them because ye love them.

John 3:19.-"Men loved darkness rather than light": (and practised, and lived, and acted, accordingly).

2 Timothy 4:8.-"All them also that love His appearing" (and act, and live, accordingly).

2 Timothy 4:10.-"Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world": (and returned to it).

To Love is used of the exercise of the greatest possible care for whatever is the object of the love. While to hate is used in the opposite sense, of exercising less care, or of neglect.

Genesis 29:31.-"And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated": i.e., neglected, and the other more esteemed. See verse 30.

By some this is called Hyperbole (q.v. [Note: Which see.] ).

John 12:25.-"He that loveth his life shall lose it": i.e., that cares more for his life than for Christ. See under Ellipsis and Hyperbole.

To Love is used not merely for the act itself, but for the effect of it.

Psalms 109:17.-"As he loved cursing": i.e., not merely loved to do it, but did it.

Proverbs 13:24.-"He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes": i.e., his love takes effect, and is seen, in the chastening.

Proverbs 18:19.-"He loveth trangression that loveth strife": i.e., he trangresses who strives, for He does it because he loves to do it.

Proverbs 8:36.-"All they that hate me love death": i.e., so live and act as to injure life and accelerate death.

(d) Verbs of Operation

The verb to do often denotes the effect rather than the act.

Genesis 12:5.-"The souls that they had gotten (Heb., made) in Haran": i.e., the servants which they had acquired in Haran. Thus the Metonymy is here translated by the word "gotten."

Genesis 30:30.-"And now when shall I do for my house also?" The A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] translates the Metonymy by the verb "provide": "when shall I provide?" etc.

Matthew 25:16.-"He that had received the five talents went and traded with the same and made them (i.e., gained) other five talents," as explained in verse 20.

Certain Verbs have not their own proper signification, but are used of the actions or effects consequent upon them:

To Judge is put for punish or condemn.

2 Chronicles 20:12.-"O our God, wilt thou not judge them?" i.e., punish them.

Psalms 9:19 (20).-"Let the heathen be judged in thy sight."

To Judge is also used in the sense of acquit, which is also an effect of judging. See

Psalms 35:24.-"Judge me, O Lord my God": i.e., acquit me.

To Hurt or even to Injure is put for the hurt or injury done.

Luke 10:19.-"Nothing shall by any means hurt you": i.e., have any injurious effect upon you.

Romans 8:31.-"If God be for us, who can be against as?" i.e., who can hurt us or bring any evils upon us? They can, of course, be "against us," but not have any hurtful effect.

iv. The MATERIAL is put for the thing made of or from it

1. Trees are put for arms or instruments made from them

Nahum 2:3 (4).-"The fir-trees shall be terribly shaken." The context shows that "trees" are put for the spears, etc., which men make from them.

2. Brass is put for fetters, etc

Lamentations 3:7.-"He hath made my brass heavy": i.e., my fetters, or bonds, or chains.

Judges 16:21.-"And bound him with two brasses": i.e., two brazen fetters.

2 Samuel 3:34.-"Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into brasses": i.e., fetters, as in A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.]

3. Curtains are put for tents

2 Samuel 7:2.-"The ark of God dwelleth within curtains": i.e., in the curtain or tent.

Jeremiah 4:20.-"Suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtain (i.e., my tabernacle or dwelling) in a moment."

Habakkuk 3:7.-"And the curtains (i.e., tents) of Midians land did tremble."

4. Corn is put for bread or food generally

Lamentations 2:12.-"They say to their mothers, Where is corn (i.e., bread) and wine?"

5. Gold and Silver and other metals and similar substances are put for what is made with them

Genesis 23:9.-"That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field, for silver (i.e., money made from silver) full (i.e., of full value) he shall give it to me in your midst (i.e., within your boundaries), for a possession of (i.e., hereditary) sepulchre."

Genesis 24:22.-"Of ten gold was their weight": i.e., bracelets made of gold, ten shekels in weight.

2 Kings 5:5.-"Six thousand of gold": i.e., pieces of money.

2 Kings 12:4 (5), where it is rendered "money."

1 Chronicles 21:22; 1 Chronicles 21:24.-"Full silver": for full money value. In A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] rendered "full price."

1 Chronicles 29:2.-Here, the figure is translated by the words "things of" in italics. "I have prepared the gold for gold (things), and the silver for silver (things), and the brass for brass (things)," etc.

Psalms 115:4.-"Their idols are silver and gold": i.e., made of silver and gold.

Matthew 10:9.-"Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass (i.e., money made from these) in your purses."

Acts 3:6.-"Silver and gold (i.e., money, like the Scottish "siller" and French largent) have I none."

6. Iron is put for things made of it

2 Kings 6:5.-"As one was felling a beam the iron (i.e., the axhead, as the A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] renders it) fell into the water."

Psalms 105:18.-"Whose foot they hurt with the gyve, his soul came into iron": i.e., he was fast bound with iron chains.

7. Stones are put for things made of them

Exodus 7:19.-"Both in woods and in stones": i.e., both in wooden vessels and stone vessels.

Deuteronomy 25:13.-"Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers stones": i.e., weights. Heb., a stone and a stone.

Proverbs 11:1.-"A perfect stone (i.e., a just weight) is his delight."

Copyright Statement
Public Domain

Bibliography Information
Bullinger, E. W., D.D. Entry for 'Metonymy; or Change of Noun'. Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible.

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