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Chapter 10:5 But a body hast thou prepared me The words in the Psalm are, “Mine ears hast thou opened,” 40:6; or more literally, “Ears hast thou opened for me.” Calvin seems to have discarded the idea of an allusion to the boring of the ear in sign of servitude. The two verbs are certainly different. He evidently refers to Isaiah 50:5, “The Lord hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious;” which clearly applies to Christ. He therefore makes the meaning of the phrase to be, “Thou hast made me teachable and obedient.” This view has been adopted by Merrick, Bishop Horne, and Stuart. But how to make the words, “a body hast thou prepared for me,” to bear an analogous meaning, does not very clearly appear. Bishop Horne gives this version, “Thou hast prepared” or fitted “my body,” that is, to be obedient and to do thy will.
Mede conceived that the allusion is to the practice of boring the ear in token of servitude, mentioned in Exodus 21:6; and that as that practice was unknown to the Greeks, the Seventy rendered the words in conformity with what they did as to their slaves; which was, to set a mark on the body; “Thou hast fitted (or adapted) a body for me;” that is, that I might be thy servant. That Christ assumed “the form of a servant,” is expressly declared in Philippians 2:7. There is in this case an agreement as to meaning; but the difficulty is: as to the verb כרה which does not mean to bore or to perforate, but to dig, to hollow out, and in a secondary sense, to form or to make a thing, such as a well, a pit, a grave, or a cave. As to “ears” instead of an “ear,” as in Exodus 21:6, that might be accounted for by saying, that the object was to shew the entire willingness of Christ to become a servant.
These have been the two ways proposed to reconcile the passages as they now stand. There are no different readings in Hebrew, nor in the Sept., nor in this Epistle. Proposals have therefore been made as to a change in the texts on the supposition of typographical mistakes.
Some, as Grotius, Hammond, and Dr. Owen, have proposed ὠτία, ears, instead of σῶμα, body, in the Sept. When did this change take place? Before or after the Apostle’s time? If before, then the Apostle adopted a false reading; if after, then the same mistake must have been made in the Sept. and in this Epistle; which is not credible.
Others have supposed a mistake in the Hebrew text; and this conjecture has been approved by Kennicott, Doddridge, Bishop lowth, Adam Clarke, and Pye Smith. It is no objection to say that the Syr., Vulg., and the Targ., confirm the present reading; for the mistake might have been made long before any of these were in existence. Such a change might indeed have been made in the first ages of Christianity, and might have been made intentionally, through a wish to obscure the testimony of Scripture respecting Christ.
The words are supposed to have been אז גוה instead of אזנים, as the text now is. There would in this case be a literal agreement; the passage in the Psalm might then be thus rendered, —
6. “Sacrifice and offering thou hast not delighted in, Then a body hast thou formed for me; Burntoffering and sinoffering thou hast not required,
7. Then I said, Behold, I am coming.” —
There is here a consistency throughout. “Behold, I am coming,” that is, in the body designed for him. And then the Apostle says, “When coming into the world, he saith,” etc., clearly referring to our Saviors incarnation. And this “body” is afterwards expressly mentioned in verse 10, in opposition to sacrifices. It is true that in his argument in verse 9, he dwells on the words, “I come;” but then his coming was in the body prepared for him.
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