Hebrews 1:6: Source and Significance -- By: Gareth Lee Cockerill

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 09:1 (NA 1999)
Article: Hebrews 1:6: Source and Significance
Author: Gareth Lee Cockerill


Hebrews 1:6:
Source and Significance

Gareth Lee Cockerill

Wesley Biblical Seminary

Καὶ προσκυνησάτωσαν αὐτῷ πάντες ἄγγελοι θεοῦ in Heb 1:6 is a quotation from a Greek translation of the Hebrew text of Deut 32:43 represented by 4QDeut32. The current text of Deut 32:43 in the LXX is a conflation of two Greek translations. One of these was the translation of the 4QDeut32 text used by Hebrews. The other was a translation of a Hebrew text like the MT. Since there are more differences between the two Greek translations than between the underlying Hebrew texts, it is likely that conflation occurred after translation into Greek. The original translation of the 4QDeut32 text read οἱ ἄγγελοι θεοῦ in Deut 32:43b rather than υἱοι θεοῦ. This translation is essential to the argument of Hebrews and is represented in our LXX by the Odes 2 version of Deut 32:43. Οἱ ἄγγελοι θεοῦ is more in line with the way the LXX translates the underlying Hebrew אלהים elsewhere. It makes much more sense as a translation of אלהים within the context of the Hebrew text represented by 4QDeut32. The writer of Hebrews was aware of the context of Deut 32:43 in his discussion of the Son, the sons, and the angels in Heb 1:4-14, 2:5-18, and 12:3-11.

Key Words: Heb 1:6, Deut 32:43, 4QDeut32, sons of God, angels of God, Song of Moses

Hebrews 1:6: Source

In Heb 1:6 the author of Hebrews quotes the words καὶ προσκυνησά– τωσαν αὐτῷ πάντες ἄγγελοι θεοῦ as a biblical citation with which his readers would be familiar. The closest parallel to this quotation in the MT is Ps 97:7, “all gods bow down before him” (rsv), which in the LXX reads, προσκυνήσατε αὐτῷ, πάντες οἱ ἄγγελ...

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