The Function of Paronomasia in Hebrews 10:5–7 -- By: Karen H. Jobes

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 13:2 (Fall 1992)
Article: The Function of Paronomasia in Hebrews 10:5–7
Author: Karen H. Jobes

The Function of Paronomasia in Hebrews 10:5–7

Karen H. Jobes*

The use of the Psalms in Hebrews has enjoyed considerable study in recent years.1 One aspect of this study has focused on why certain quotations of the OT found in Hebrews (and more generally throughout the NT) do not exactly match their OT source. Several kinds of explanations are invoked, such as the intervening influence of the LXX, the conflation of verses used to produce the quotation, the problems inherent in translating idioms from one language to another and from one culture to another, the possibility of a Hebrew text of the OT source that differs from the MT, and the simple lapse of memory of the NT author when quoting a familiar verse.

The quotation of Ps 40:6–8 (English versification) in Heb 10:5–7 is one such instance where the quotation does not match the OT verse. This instance is particularly interesting, because it exhibits features of first-century rhetorical achievement that have been overlooked in previous treatments of this passage. The passage reads as follows, starting at Heb 10:5:



Διὸ εἰσερχόμενος εἰς τὸν κόσμον λέγει,

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

Θυσίαν καὶ προσφορὰν οὐκ ἠθέλησας,

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,

σῶμα δὲ κατηρτίσω μοι:

but a body you prepared for me;

* Karen H. Jobes is Lecturer in New Testament Greek at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

ὁλοκαυτώματα καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτίας οὐκ εὐδόκησας.

with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.

τότε εἶπον, ᾿Ιδοὺ ἥκω,

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