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Old & New Testament Greek Lexical Dictionary
Strong's #1242 - διαθήκη
- a disposition, arrangement, of any sort, which one wishes to be valid, the last disposition which one makes of his earthly possessions after his death, a testament or will
- a compact, a covenant, a testament
- God's covenant with Noah, etc.
διαθήκη, ἡ, (διατίθημι)
I disposition of property by will, testament, Ar. V. 584, 589, D. 27.13, etc.; κατὰ διαθήκην by will, OGI 753.8 (Cilicia), Test.Epict. 4.8, BGU 1113.5 (i B.C.), etc.: in pl., διαθήκας διαθέσθαι Lys. 19.39; θέσθαι CIG 2690 (Iasus).
1. αἱ ἀπόρρητοι δ. mystic deposits on which the common weal depended, prob. oracles (cf. διαθέτης), Din. 1.9 codd.
2. name of an eyesalve, because the recipe was deposited in a temple, Aët. 7.118.
III compact, covenant, ἢν μὴ διαθῶνται διαθήκην ἐμοί Ar. Av. 440; freq. in LXX, Genesis 6:18, al.; καινή, παλαιὰ δ., Luke 22:20; 2 Corinthians 3:14; disposition (with allusion to 1), Galatians 3:15, cf. Hebrews 9:15. = cross διάθεσις 11, σώματος δ. Democr. 9.
διαθήκη , -ης , ἡ
(< διατίθημι ),
[freq. in LXX, and nearly always for H1285;]
1. as usually in cl., a disposition, testament, will (Plat, al.): Galatians 3:15 (R, mg., but v. Lft., in l), Hebrews 9:16-17 (R, txt.; MM, Exp., xi,; Milligan, NTD, 75; Abbott, Essays, 107; Deiss., LAE, 341; but v. infr.).
2. As in LXX (for H1285) = cl. συνθήκη , a convention, arrangement, covenant (exc. in the disputed cases mentioned above, always between God and man, "perhaps with the feeling that the δια - compound was more suitable than the συν - for a covenant with God -συνθ . might suggest equal terms," MM, Exp., l.c.): Galatians 3:15 (R, txt., but v. supr., and cf. Thayer, s.v.), Hebrews 9:16-17 (R, mg., Westc., in l,; Hatch, Essays, 47; but v. supr.), Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 1:72, Acts 3:25; Acts 7:8, Romans 11:27 (LXX), 2 Corinthians 3:14, Galatians 3:17, Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 8:9-10 (LXX) Hebrews 9:4; Hebrews 9:15-17; Hebrews 9:20 (LXX) Hebrews 10:16 (LXX), Hebrews 10:29; Hebrews 12:24; Hebrews 13:20, Revelation 11:19; καινὴ δ ., Matthew 26:28, and Mark 14:24 (R, mg.), Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 8:8 (LXX) Hebrews 9:15; pl. Romans 9:4, Galatians 4:24, Ephesians 2:12.†
Copyright © 1922 by G. Abbott-Smith, D.D., D.C.L.. T & T Clarke, London.
In papyri and inscrr. the word means testament, will, with absolute unanimity, and such frequency that illustration is superfluous. P Petr III. 6 (b).12 (c. B.C. 236) τὴ ]ν διαθήκη [ν καταλεί ]πω will be about the earliest example : P Grenf I. 17.7 (c. B.C. 147 or 136) and ib. 21.4 (B.C. 126) also fall within the LXX period. So do such inscrr. as OGIS 338.7 (B.C. 133), of the instrument by which King Attalus of Pergamum devised his country to Rome, Michel 1001 iv. 8 (c. B.C. 200) κατὰ διαθήκαν (the testament of Epicteta, in Theran Doric), and one of iii/B.C. in Ἀθηνᾶ xx. p. 167 κατὰ τὰς διαθήκας. Syll 827.9 (i/B.C.) might also be cited—houses and gardens bequeathed by a woman to Aphrodite Urania, κατὰ τὰς διαθήκας τὰς κειμένας ἐν τῶι ἱερῶι τῆς Ἀφροδίτης καὶ παρ᾽ Εὐνομίδει τῶι ἄρχοντι καὶ παρὰ τῶι θεσμοθέτει Κτησιφῶντι. We may also mention BGU IV. 1151.7 (B.C. 14) καθ᾽ ἣν ἔθετο διαθήκ (ην) διὰ τοῦ τῶν Ἰο ̣υ ̣δ ̣α ̣ι ̣ω ̣ν ̣ ἀρχείου, if illustration is needed to show that the Jews used the word in this sense. Cagnat IV. 804 (= C. and B. ii. p. 475, no. 330), a bilingual inscr. from Apamea, has heredes ex testamento rendered by κληρονόμοι κατὰ διαθήκην. On the verb διατίθεμαι see s.v.; we may mention here that ἀδιάθετος = intestate, as in BGU IV. 1185.17 (end of i/B.C.) ἐὰν δέ τινες ἐξ αὐτῶν τελευτήσωσι ἀδιάθετοι, P Oxy IX. 1201.8 (A.D. 258) τῶν κατὰ διαδοχὴν κληρονομηθέντων ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ ἀδιαθέτου τετελευτηκότος.
Against this word stands συνθήκη (not in NT), which Aquila substituted in 4 Kings 23.21 for LXX διαθήκη. It is to the last the word for compact, just as διαθήκη is always and only the word for will. The index to Syll will sufficiently prove this for συνθήκη, for which we may add the ostracon in Chrest. I. 110A.10 (B.C. 110) (p. 141) ε μὴν ἅτ ̣ε διενεκθέντες πρὸς ἑαυτο ̣υ ̣, ς ̣ ἐπὶ τοῦ δρόμου τοῦ Ἀπολλωνιήου τῇ β ̄ τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνὸς τὰς συνθήκας ἐδώκαμεν Περιγένῃ τῶι γραμματεῖ. Any thought of some special ";Hebraic"; flavour about the use of διαθήκη for covenant is excluded by the isolated but absolutely clear passage in Aristophanes (Birds 439), where compact is the unmistakeable meaning. This passage is enough to prove that διαθήκη is properly dispositio, an ";arrangement"; made by one party with plenary power, which the other party may accept or reject, but cannot alter. A will is simply the most conspicuous example of such an instrument, which ultimately monopolized the word just because it suited its differentia so completely. But it is entirely natural to assume that in the period of the LXX this monopoly was not established, and the translators were free to apply the general meaning as a rendering of בּרִית. For this course there was an obvious motive. A covenant offered by God to man was no ";compact"; between two parties coming together on equal terms. Διαθήκη in its primary sense, as described above, was exactly the needed word.
Passing thus to the NT, we ask whether we are bound to keep to one rendering throughout. Westcott and W. F. Moulton in their commentaries on Hebrews 9:16 f., and formerly G. Milligan (Theology of the Epistle to the Hebrews, p. 166 ff.) held that covenant must stand everywhere. Deissmann (St Paul, p. 152) insists on testament everywhere, if we may judge from an express reference to Luke 22:29 compared with .20, and Galatians 3:15 ff; Galatians 4:24, 1 Corinthians 11:25, 2 Corinthians 3:6, together with ";very frequent"; appearance in LXX. Now we may fairly put aside the idea that in LXX ";testament"; is the invariable meaning : it takes some courage to find it there at all. But on the other hand, a Hellenist like the auctor ad Hebraeos, or even a Jew like Paul, with Greek language in the very fibre of his thought, could never have used δ. for covenant without the slightest consciousness of its ordinary and invariable contemporary meaning. He would use the ";Biblical"; word—";Biblical"; in this case being synonymous with ";archaic";—but always with the possibility of a play on the later meaning of the word. This is what comes in Hebrews 9:15 ff. (probably also in Galatians 3:15), according to the usual view, which is responsible for the RV text in the former : see Milligan Documents, p. 75. Deissmann, among other difficulties, would have to prove that in iii/B.C. the older general meaning, established by Aristophanes, was extinct. The view to which we have capitulated, after strongly supporting the Westcott doctrine, is less heroic than consistent holding to one English word, but it can claim to account for its inconsistency. Among recent monographs may be mentioned an article by E. Riggenbach in Theolog. Studien Th. Zahn . . dargebracht, and lexical studies by F. O. Norton (1908), J. Behm (1912) and E. Lohmeyer (1913). See also Ferguson Legal Terms Common to the Macedonian Inscrr. and the NT (Chicago, 1913), p. 42 ff.
Copyright © 1914, 1929, 1930 by James Hope Moulton and George Milligan. Hodder and Stoughton, London.
Derivative Copyright © 2015 by Allan Loder.
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16