De Moor IV:35: The Perfection of God's Knowledge Asserted from Hebrews 4:13

In Hebrews 4:13, the Perfection of divine Cognition is asserted,

1. Negatively, οὐκ ἔστι κτίσις ἀφανὴς ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ, there is not any creature that is not manifest in His sight.

2. Positively, in a twofold expression; for πάντα, all things, are said,

a. Γυμνὰ…τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς αὐτοῦ, naked…to His eyes. Indeed, many vices, even the most filthy, are covered by garments; but they do not impede the Knowledge of God, that it might be less penetrating. And so this Metaphor is taken from garments removed. In a similar manner, DIODORUS SICULUS, in his Historical Library,[1] book I, chapter LXXVI, page 87, relates that Egyptian Judges, so that they might contemplate cases the more accurately, order the litigants to act by writing; ἐκ τοῦ γράφειν τὰ δίκαια τοὺς ἀντιδίκους, ᾢοντο τὰς κρίσεις ἀκριβεῖς ἔσεσθαι, γυμνῶν τῶν πραγμάτων θεωρουμένων, if the adversaries refer their cause to writing, reckoning that the judgments are going to be accurate, with the matters nakedly considered.

b. Πάντα, all things, are also said to be τετραχηλισμένα τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς αὐτοῦ, opened to His eyes, concerning which term it is not vain to relate the varying judgments of Philologists. Τραχηλίζειν and τραχηλίζεσθαι, from τράχηλος/neck, is to bend back the neck, to lay open unto the neck. It would certainly be an elegant κλίμαξ/climax in the Pauline oration, if the observation of CHRYSOSTOM should stand, which is also found in ŒCUMENIUS and ISIDORE OF PELUSIUM,[2] and which several of the more Recent Interpreters have taken up; namely, that the Apostle took up a similitude from the sacrifices: indeed, that the inner parts of the sacrificial victims are said τραχηλίζεσθαι, to be laid open, when their vitals laid bare, because the beginning of the dissection was made from the neck, which is called the τράχηλος. In this way progress was evidently made from the vices in the exterior body, to those that were hidden in the heart itself, but to which God’s Knowledge penetrates notwithstanding: so that neither the artificial covering of a garment, nor the natural covering of skin and the exterior body inhibits the penetration of divine Knowledge. But this is opposed by the observation of the Learned ELSNER, that that signification of the word τραχηλίζεσθαι has not yet been able to be confirmed by the usage of Writers. Hence those Most Illustrious Men, PERIZONIUS,[3] ALBERTI,[4] and ELSNER, translate it more simply, all things have been laid open. In which manner, nevertheless, the Apostle will not inelegantly indicate the perfectly clear divine Knowledge of all things, perhaps with a metaphor taken from men, who were led to punishment, whose heads they were pulling back at the neck, so that their faces might be exposed to the sight of all: or from sacrificial victims also, which were sacrificed to the Heavenly Gods, since they were wont to turn up the neck of those to be offered, in such a way that they might gaze upon the heavens; while, on the other hand, if they sacrificed to heros and to the dead, they sacrificed their victims prone; see the Scholia of DIDYMUS[5] and MOSCHOPULUS,[6] and also the Commentaria of CAMERARIUS[7] and SCHERPEZEELIUS, on HOMER’S Iliad, α, verse 459,

Αὖ ἔρυσαν μὲν πρῶτα, καὶ ἔσφαξαν, καὶ ἔδειραν.

They first drew back the victims’ head, and slit the throat, and flayed them.

Johannes Alberti

And so those things that are exposed to the eyes of all will be said to be drawn back: for it is not given to gaze better and more openly open the face of one than when the head has been drawn back at the neck, and the face made visible in every direction. And so such a thing is banished, that any creature would be invisible before God; that, on the other hand, the face of all, as it were, would not only be naked and open, with every veil and καλύμματι/head-covering removed, but also the neck drawn back, so that God might most clearly regard the eye and face of all. Which, with a metaphor taken from a human or animal body, in a similar manner pertains to all things: see PERIZONIUS on Ælian’s[8] Various History, book XII, chapter LVIII, page 768; and ALBERTI’S and ELSNER’S Observationes Sacras on this passage.

[1] Diodorus Siculus (c. 90-c. 30 BC), a Greek historian, wrote the massive Bibliotheca Historica in forty books. Unhappily, only fifteen books have survived.

[2] Isidore of Pelusium (fifth century) was born into an affluent Alexandrian family, who took up a life of ascenticism, and probably became abbot, of the monastery at Pelusium. He is remembered for his more than two thousand letters, which contain exegesis of significant portions of the Greek Bible.

[3] Perizonius, or Jakob Voorbroek (1651-1715) was a Dutch classical scholar.

[4] Johannes Alberti (1698-1762), a Dutch minister, theologian, and philologist, served as Professor of Theology at Leiden (1740-1762).

[5] Didymus Chalcenterus (c. 60 BC-c. 10 AD) was a Greek scholar and grammarian. He wrote a treatise on the works of Homer.

[6] Manuel Moschopulus (turn of the fourteen century) was a Byzantine scholar and grammarian. He composed Scholia on the first and second books of the Iliad.

[7] Joachim Camerarius the Elder (1500-1575) was a German Lutheran classical scholar, who served as a professor at Nuremberg, and later at Leipzig. He assisted Phillip Melanchthon in the preparation of the Augsburg Confession, and engaged in efforts to mediate between Catholics and Protestants on behalf of King Francis I of France and Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II. He produced Latin editions of many classical Greek works, include those of Homer.

[8] Claudius Ælianus (c. 175-c. 235) was a Roman rhetorician and teacher.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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