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Girdlestone's Synonyms of the Old Testament

Imputation

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With the exception of 1 Samuel 22:15, where the word Sum (שׂום , Ass. samu), signifying to set, place, or appoint, is used, the idea of imputation is always represented by Chashav (חשׁב ). this word is largely used, and in slightly different senses. Our translators have rendered it by the word 'think' thirty-seven times; 'imagine,' twelve times; 'devise,' thirty times; and 'purpose,' ten times. Hence it may be gathered that it signifies a mental process whereby some course is planned or conceived. Thus, it is applied to the 'cunning' workmen who contrived the various parts of the tabernacle, and refers not so much to their skill in manipulating their materials as to their inspired genius in devising the arrangements. It is rendered 'find out' in 2 Chronicles 2:14, where we read of a certain person employed on the temple who was skilful to grave any manner of graving, and to 'find out' - e.g. picture up in the imagination - 'every device which shall be put to him.' It is used in Genesis 50:20, where Joseph says to his brethren, 'God meant it (e.g. planted it) for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.' in Daniel 11:24-25, the word is repeated in order to give it emphasis, where we read, 'He shall forecast his devices against the strongholds; . they shall forecast devices against him.' A similar use of the word in its doubled form is in Jeremiah 49:30, 'The king of Babylon hath taken counsel against you, and hath conceived a purpose against you.'

It is easy to see that a word which represents this process of the thought or imagination may be applied in various senses. Thus it is rendered regard, e.g. 'pay attention to,' in Isaiah 13:17; Isaiah 33:8. It is also used to express the estimation in which one person is held by another. Thus Job says (18:3), 'Wherefore are we counted as beasts and reputed as vile in thy sight?' Compare Job 13:24; Job 19:15; Job 33:10; Job 41:27; Job 41:29; Isaiah 29:16-17; Isaiah 53:3-4; Lamentations 4:2. The Anakims 'were accounted giants' (Deuteronomy 2:11; Deuteronomy 2:20); silver 'was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon' (1 Kings 10:21; 2 Chronicles 9:20); 'Cease ye from man, whose breaThis in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?' (Isaiah 2:22).

The following passages may be adduced in further illustration of the meaning of the word: - Genesis 31:15, 'Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.' Leviticus 25:31, 'The houses of the villages which have no walls shall be counted as the fields of the country,' i.e. shall be dealt with on the same principle as the fields. Numbers 18:27, 'Your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you as the corn of the threshing-floor, and the fulness of the winepress.' Numbers 18:30, 'When ye have heaved the best thereof, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshing-floor, and as the increase of the winepress.' Joshua 13:3, 'From Sihor unto the borders of Ekron, which is counted to the Canaanite.' 2 Samuel 4:9, 'Beeroth also was reckoned to Benjamin.' 2 Samuel 19:19, 'Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely.' Nehemiah 13:13, 'They were counted faithful.' Psalms 44:22, 'We are counted as sheep for the slaughter.' Psalms 88:4, 'I am counted with them that go down into the pit.' Proverbs 17:28, 'Even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise.' Proverbs 27:14, 'He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, it shall be counted a curse to him.' Isaiah 40:15; Isaiah 40:17, 'The nations are counted by him as the small dust in the balance . they are counted less than nothing, and vanity.' Hosea 8:12, 'I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.'

In all these passages a mental process is involved whereby a certain thing or a course of action is subjected to a sort of estimation as to value or position. It is not an artificial proceeding, a mere fancy, but a distinct judgment, founded either up on the nature of things, or up on the mind of him who is passing certain things under review.

Sometimes the word is used in our ordinary sense of reckoning - that is to say, to represent the arithmetical process of counting up - e.g. Leviticus 25:27; Leviticus 27:18; 2 Kings 12:15.

A few passages remain to be noticed, and they are important from their theological meaning: -

Genesis 15:6, Abraham 'believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him (for) righteousness.' God reckoned him as righteous, on the ground of his faith.

Leviticus 7:18, 'It shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed.' The offering shall not be reckoned as having been made.

Leviticus 17:4, 'Blood shall be imputed to that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people.'

Psalms 106:31, 'Then stood up Phine has and executed judgment (P. B. prayed), and that was counted unto him for righteousness.' The faith of Phinehas caused God to regard him as righteous.

Psalms 32:2, 'Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.' this non-imputation of iniquity is regarded by St. Paul as identical with imputation of righteousness (Romans 4:6).

The word Chashav is generally rendered λογίζομαι in the LXX, and the use of this word in the N.T. exactly accords with what we have gathered from the O.T. [ in Mark 15:28, the words, 'he was reckoned among transgressors,' are quoted from Isaiah 53:12, where, however, the Hebrew word is not chasav, but manah, to number.] There are several samples of the ordinary use of the word. Thus, in Romans 6:11, we read, 'Reck on yourselves dead indeed to sin,' that is, regard yourselves in this aspect in 1 Corinthians 13:5, the words, 'charity thinketh no evil,' might perhaps be rendered 'doth not impute evil,' that is to say, 'doth not take account of injuries done to it.' A few verses below we read, 'I thought as a child,' by which we are to understand, 'I took account of things as a child does.' in Philippians 3:13 the Apostle says, 'I reck on not myself to have attained,' that is, 'I do not regard myself as having attained.' in the more distinctly doctrinal sense, we have in Romans 2:26, 'If the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law shall not his uncircumcision be reckoned as circumcision' (εἰς περιτομὴν)? 2 Corinthians 5:19, 'God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.' in Romans 4:3, the words concerning Abraham in Genesis 15:6 are introduced and discussed at some length, the passage from Psalms 32:1-11. being also quoted in confirmation of the Apostle's argument in the fourth verse stress is especially laid on the fact that the reckoning of Abraham's faith for righteousness was not a matter of justice due to Abraham, but was a work of grace springing out of God's free love.

We see therefore that to reckon, to impute, and to account are one and the same thing, and that the word is used in Scripture to indicate what may be called a mental process whereby the love and mercy which exists in the Divine nature, and which was embodied in Christ, is brought to bear up on the case of every individual who believes in (and acts upon) the Word of God. There is nothing unnatural or artificial about the imputation of righteousness by faith. on the contrary, it commends itself to man's deepest convictions.


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Bibliography Information
Girdlestone, Robert Baker. Entry for 'Imputation'. Synonyms of the Old Testament. https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/girdlestone/45.

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Wednesday, July 24th, 2019
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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