ἀντὶ in Hebrews 12:2

Codepoke asks on the Share page:

I’m prepositionally challenged, but I’m not sure what to make of Ann Nyland’s Heb 12:2. She says,

“We must fix our eyes on Jesus, the originator and completer of faith. Instead of the happiness set in front of him, he chose to undergo the cross, thinking nothing of the shame. He has taken his seat at the right side of God’s throne.”

Instead of?

Of 13 translations I checked, only Young’s maybe agrees with her. (who, over-against the joy set before him — did endure a cross). Does Ann have a leg to stand on here?

I’ll give a quick answer here and maybe someone else will give this a fuller treatment. It’s ambiguous to translate ἀντὶ as “for” but often the meaning of prepositions like this is determined by the context.

1. INSTEAD OF/IN EXCHANGE FOR
Matt. 5:38 an eye ἀντὶ an eye

2. ON BEHALF OF
Matt. 17:27 give to them ἀντὶ you and me

3. BECAUSE OF
Eph. 5:31 ἀντὶ this cause a man shall leave

So it looks like most translations have chosen 3. while Nyland chose 1. The use in Hebrews 12:2 does look a lot like the structure of Eph. 5:31.

The question is, what does “the happiness” refer to? If the writer of Hebrews was saying that Jesus came to a fork in the road, so to speak, and instead of happiness chose suffering then Nyland’s translation is correct.

The only other occurrence of ἀντὶ in Hebrews is at 12:16, “ἀντὶ one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” This is an instance of meaning 1.

Does anyone else have a different explanation ἀντὶ mine?

48 thoughts on “ἀντὶ in Hebrews 12:2

  1. Bob MacDonald says:

    I add this comment just to see the responses. Prepositions are notoriously flexible, stretchable, and ambiguous. I have taken this passage as ‘meaning’ that joy was on the other side of the cross, the joy was in the anticipation of the redemption of the world, the completion of the work he was sent to do. But maybe it is a ‘last temptation’ thing – a normal life as a middle class dad and no worries (just kidding).

    Perhaps we get lost in minute explanations or in the grand metaphoric reading we come to the text with (yes Ker – even you have a system of imagery you fit things into or not). Is our meta-meaning-forming-narrative right though? Shudder…

    I think I will consider it ‘because of’ since my imagery has Jesus as the Bridegroom and the Church as the betrothed, already married according to Romans 7, and us by the Spirit in our bodies, the building of his temple. So I don’t think Kasantzakis is getting it. Those Cretans you know are always liars. Now what about Canadians? You can never tell where they are coming from.

  2. Iver Larsen says:

    An excellent question. I am not going to say anything ἀντὶ David, but add a bit more background and context.

    My first thought was that Ann is probably right, because I understand the basic sense of ἀντὶ to be “instead of”. However, as David said, the word has a number of possible senses, and the meaning depends on the context.

    The old BAGD lists the 3 senses that David mentioned:

    1. in order to indicate that one person or thing is, or is to be, replaced by another: instead of, in place of.

    2. in order to indicate that one thing is equiv. to another: for, as, in place of

    3. Gen 44:33 shows how the mng. “in place of” can develop into “in behalf of, for someone,… for me and for yourself Mt 17:27. … a ransom for many 20:28; Mk 10:45…ἀντὶ τούτου for this reason Eph 5:31. … Lk 1:20; 19:44; Ac 12:23; 2 Th 2:10; therefore … Lk 12:3

    The revised BDAG has updated the entry to five senses:

    ① indicating that one person or thing is, or is to be, replaced by another, instead of, in place of

    ② indicating that one thing is equiv. to another, for, as, in place of

    ③ indicating a process of intervention

    ④ indicating the reason for someth., because of, for the purpose of

    ⑤ indicating result, w. implication of being a replacement for someth.,

    Both of these dictionaries suggest that Hebr 12:2 is to be understood in sense 1. Maybe Ann followed their suggestions, whereas other translations did not.

    Looking at LSJ we find the original or basic meaning explained:

    ἀντί, Prep. governing gen.:—orig. sense, over against. (Cf. Skt. ánti ‘opposite’, ‘facing’, Lat. ante, etc.)
    A. USAGE:
    I. of Place, opposite, over against,…

    In Hebrews 12:1-2 we have a scenario of running a race to get the prize, or at least complete the race. It is something of a marathon or a hurdle race.

    In 12:1 we read: “let us run with endurance the race set before us”. The words “set before” and “endure” are repeated in verse 2. In the second half of the verse we read: ὑπέμεινεν σταυρὸν … ἐν δεξιᾷ τε τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ θεοῦ κεκάθικεν. He endured the cross and has sat down at the right hand side of the throne of God. The scenario is that Jesus has already completed the race, and recieved his prize of sitting at the right hand of God. We should look at him and be encouraged to finish the race like he did. Because of this scenario,
    the basic meaning from LSJ of “facing” combined with “because of” fits the context best. Jesus was facing the cross just in front of him, but he looked at that as a hurdle to be overcome on the way to the final joy which he was focusing on. I would therefore agree with GW and similar translations: “We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God.”

  3. J. K. Gayle says:

    Of 13 translations I checked, only Young’s maybe agrees with her. (who, over-against the joy set before him — did endure a cross). Does Ann [Nyland] have a leg to stand on here?

    Classicists Willis Barnstone and Richmond Lattimore have the following respectively:

    “who instead of joy that was set before him endured the cross”

    “who, instead of the joy that lay ready before him, endured the cross”

    Lattimore translates the Odyssey 20, 307-308a, as follows:

    “and, instead of your wedding [ἀντὶ γάμοιο], your father would have held ἐνθάδε.”

    ἀντὶ that,
    in illustration of what David, Bob, and Iver suggest about variability of preposition meaning,
    Lattimore translates Homer’s ἀντὶ elsewhere as follows:

    τοῦτό τοι ἀντὶ ποδὸς ξεινήϊον, ὅν ποτ’ ἔδωκας
    ἀντιθέῳ Ὀδυσῆϊ

    “Here is your guest gift in exchange for that hoof you formerly
    gave to godlike Odysseus,”
    (Odyssey 22, 290-290a)

    ἀντὶ κασιγνήτου ξεῖνός θ’ ἱκέτης τε τέτυκται

    “his suppliant and guest is as good as a brother to him”
    (Odyssey 8, 546)

    γυναικὸς ἄρ’ ἀντὶ τέτυξο

    “who are no better than a woman”
    (Iliad 8, 163)

    ἀντί νυ πολλῶν

    worth many”
    (Iliad 9, 116)

    τρεῖς ἑνὸς ἀντὶ πεφάσθαι;

    “three men killed for one?”
    (Iliad 13, 447)

    ἦ ῥ’ οὐχ οὗτος ἀνὴρ Προθοήνορος ἀντὶ πεφάσθαι

    “Is not this man’s death against Prothoënor’s a worthwhile…?”
    (Iliad 14, 471)

    ἀντί τοί εἰμ’ ἱκέταο διοτρεφὲς αἰδοίοιο:

    “I am in the place, illustrious, of a suppliant who must be honoured,”
    (Iliad 21, 75)

    σοὶ δὲ θεοὶ τῶνδ’ ἀντὶ χάριν μενοεικέα δοῖεν.

    “May the gods, for what you have done for me, give you great happiness.”
    (Iliad 23, 650)

    Ἕκτορος ὠφέλετ’ ἀντὶ θοῇς ἐπὶ νηυσὶ πεφάσθαι.

    “had been killed beside the running ships in the place of Hektor.”
    (Iliad 24, 254)

  4. J. K. Gayle says:

    Perhaps we get lost in minute explanations or in the grand metaphoric reading we come to the text with
    — MacDonald

    Interestingly, contemporary scholars of rhetoric argue about what Aristotle must mean in his famous opener to his treatise “On Rhetoric,” in which he writes: “Rhetoric is the ANTI-strophe of/to/between Dialectic.” They attempt to categorize the various uses of “anti” and of “strophe” and of “antistrophe.” Aristotle himself, of course, they all know, would be very concerned with the classification and with the proper, precise, and exact classification. Most rhetoricians and philosophers (and some linguists who care to see Aristotle’s influence on their western notions of “language”) do agree that “getting it right” by logic (and not necessarily by rhetoric or by dialectic or by logos or by dissoi logoi — in other words not by sloppy human language) was Aristotle’s game. Some rhetoric scholars, such as Sara J. Newman, rightly show that Aristotle’s definition of rhetoric is more metaphorical than it is logical (despite its “X is NOT Y”). Perhaps ἀντὶ in the book of Hebrews is more metaphorical than it is logical. Perhaps the English translators’ renderings can be just as metaphorical.

    The only other occurrence of ἀντὶ in Hebrews is at 12:16, “ἀντὶ one morsel of meat sold his birthright.”
    — Ker

    “who sold his birthright for [ἀντὶ] a meal.”
    — Barnstone

    “who sold his birthright for [ἀντὶ] a single meal.”
    — Lattimore

    “who, for [ἀντὶ] one bowl of food, sold the inheritance rights due him as the eldest son.”
    — Nyland

  5. Peter Kirk says:

    “who sold his birthright for [ἀντὶ] a meal.”
    – Barnstone

    In this case, in the context in English in Hebrews 12:16, the sense of “for” is clearly “in exchange for”, i.e. sense 1 in the original post here. That is quite different from how “for” is understood in context in the traditional renderings of 12:2. It seems clear that the three classicist translators who went for “instead of” understand anti in this same sense in both verses. Also the two verses are quite parallel in structure.

    Indeed there may be a link of thought here – at least if the classicists’ exegesis is correct. In 12:2 readers are urged to be like Jesus who chose the cross anti joy, and in 12:16 not to be like Esau who failed to choose his inheritance anti a meal. Ironically the traditional translations, while being formally consistent in translating anti, lose this parallel of sense, whereas the classicists lose the formal consistency but preserve the parallel meaning.

  6. codepoke says:

    🙂

    This place is a treasure house for sure. I’ll go back and read the chapter again, still not sure which is the author’s exact meaning, but sense the riches of the topic much more deeply and happily.

    When the day comes, maybe I’ll even be less likely to choose the stew.

    Thank you, all, for weighing in.

  7. David Ker says:

    This discussion makes me think I have my extended metaphors mixed. I’ve always interpreted this as a stadium with the heroes in the stands, Jesus sitting next to the emperor and us running around a track. Granted, if you read the rest of chapter 12 the author isn’t so much mixing metaphors as piling them on.

  8. Tony Pope says:

    I like Iver’s explanation for Heb 12.2 best. The two competing interpretations each depend on a different view of “the joy that was set before him”. You either take it as a present joy, one that was in reach in his life on earth (like Moses in 11.25), or as a future joy that would come after the cross. Either way ἀντί means “at the prospect of”, and if it is something he is rejecting this boils down to “instead of” but if it is something he is going for it boils down to “for the sake of”. The different senses of ἀντί in the NT arise from the different scenarios in their contexts, and since in this case not only is there the image of running the race but also Jesus is described as one who kept faith to the end (τελειωτής — Nyland: completer) and who took his seat at God’s right hand, it looks as though it is future joy that is in mind.

  9. Peter Kirk says:

    Tony and Iver, I am concerned at the implications of the interpretation you favoured. Did Jesus endure the cross because he loved us? No, it seems, he did it for his own personal future pleasure. Is that the Christian message? Now I am not suggesting that we translate according to our preconceived theology. But do you really think that is the reason for the cross which the author of Hebrews wanted to put across? Surely the more likely interpretation is in accordance with Philippians 2:6 and following which is a rather parallel passage: equality with God and the joy which went with it was a harpagmos which Jesus could have taken hold of, but instead he emptied himself and went to the cross. In Philippians the contrast is shown with oukh … alla. In Hebrews I see the same contrast in anti.

  10. Bob MacDonald says:

    Peter – good question – what is the motivation of the son in giving his life for the life of the world? I am rephrasing your question in the words of John – but within Hebrews, we cannot but put our words into the framework of the psalms. Love doesn’t get mentioned much in the letter to the Hebrews – at least not the love of the son for us. But in the psalms (which are the source for the homily) there is plenty to point to motivation for the endurance of obedience and this in turn points to our mutual responsiveness and responsibility for each other. What comes to mind for me is psalm 16:
    You will make known to me a path of Life
    satisfaction of joys in your presence
    pleasures unending at your right hand

    This is where ‘the joy that was set before him’ comes from. The impact of this joy reaches to psalm 110 and psalm 36 which share the words for drinking from the torrents –
    they will be sated from the fatness of your house
    and the torrents of your delight they will drink

    Without that delight, which is won by our Lord who in his anointing takes us up with himself into the Holy place, there would be no motivation for the one to whom the spirit is given without measure to complete his work. This is the goodness of God which needs no betterment and into which we are called.

    I should be clear also that there is no difference between this anointing and anointed one and the anointing of the Senior Testament from which the author and finisher of our faith learned his obedience. So it is that we too are commanded to pray without ceasing, for there can be no sin in prayer even when we are confessing our sin. (Thus it is that I effect resolution to the tension in assigning some psalms to the mouth of Jesus, the elect and Holy one who identifies with, takes on, and bears our sin, and with whom we also share this work).

  11. David Ker says:

    Peter, thanks for mentioning Philippians 2. Evidence for Pauline authorship of Hebrews? 😉

    Bob, Hebrews is steeped in the Psalter. One psalm in particular is the drone note for the whole book.

  12. Bob MacDonald says:

    I was just working on psalm 11 and the trial of faith fits perfectly with this short 7 verse psalm

    My one word summary for this psalm is test. How true I expect it is that the lover of violence hates his life. What cost is there to effect uprightness for such hate? How would foundations be destroyed?

    Did the righteous one of whom it is said that יְהוָה tests and loves, submit to the test in order that those who flee for refuge might become upright and that those who hate their lives might learn to flee for refuge? So much work for fear, fire, and pitch (not to mention the rushing wind).

  13. Peter Kirk says:

    Bob, you make a good point concerning Psalm 16:11, which is quoted in the NT in Acts 2:28, applied to Jesus’ resurrection. So you may be right. But I’m not convinced. After all, it doesn’t fit the picture in Gethsemane that Jesus went to the cross in full expectation of the joy of the resurrection.

  14. Bob MacDonald says:

    Peter, seeing into the expectation of Jesus is a difficult thing for us to do. Perhaps as I intimate, the writer of Hebrews sees this expectation. As always we would ask how can anyone see into the mind of another? Yet it seems John also sees Jesus’ anticipation of vindication (no one takes my life from me, I way it down of my own accord and I take it up again…) I would say it is moot that he failed to have confidence from the point of view of the synoptic gospels. We do have the testimony of the three fold prediction of the passion in this tradition. And after three days rise again…

    So from the story’s point of view, he does know his own vindication. This agrees well with the gospel in the Psalter.

  15. J. K. Gayle says:

    There are three other English translations/ translators to consider:

    “who, instead of the joy which lay before Him”
    –Charles B. Williams (1937)

    “who in place of the happiness that belonged to him”
    –Edgar J. Goodspeed (1908)

    “and who, instead of the joy which he could have had”
    –George M. Lamsa (1957)

    Williams was an American, U of Chicago trained NT Greek scholar. The front pages note: “Our aim in publishing this new translation is that of Tyndale, ‘to cause the plowboy to know the Scriptures.’… [W]e have tried to use the words and phrases that are understandable by the farmer and the fisherman, by the carpenter and the cowboy, by the cobbler and the cabdriver, by the merchant and the miner, by the milkmaid and the housemistress, by the woodcutter and the trucker. If these can understand it, it is certain that the scholar, the teacher, the minister, the lawyer, the doctor, and all others can…. Greek idioms are not brough over into our translation, but are express in corresponding English idioms which express the same thoughts as the Greek idioms.”

    Goodspeed was at the U of Chicago earlier, an NT and LXX Greek scholar. He comments: “Jesus chose to endure a cross, instead of the experience of joy properly his. Before us lies a conflict to be gone through with; before him lay an existence of joy. He turned from it to endure a cross. It is this that exalts him to leadership in the life of faith, in which he alone has attained perfection.”

    Lamsa was “an Assyrian and a native of ancient Biblical lands, where he lived until World War I.” He had “knowledge of the Aramaic (Syriac) language.” The manscripts he translated were Peshitta (Aramaic) and were not Greek. His NT text was “the so-called Mortimer-McCawley manuscript… identified as sixth or seventh century A.D.” [I have a copy of Lamsa’s English — not a diglot — but haven’t been able to find the Peshitta Aramaic. Here’s a partial NT interlinear without the book of Hebrews: http://www.peshitta.org/%5D

  16. David Ker says:

    JK, thanks for those. One of the things I’ve been wondering is if Classic Greek scholars tend for the “instead” interpretation because of that default meaning in Classic Greek whereas by the time of the writing of Hebrews the meaning had shifted. Looks like the jury’s out on this one.

  17. J. K. Gayle says:

    David,
    There’s evidence that first century Greek retains the “instead of” meanings for αντι / anti. And the LXX, often quoted in the NT by the writers, retains this too. Below is a sampling of just a few (of many more) examples, with the bolded font showing how αντι / anti has been rendered by various translators:

    Kallirhoe (a 1st century novel written by Chariton, Book 1 chapter 5 section 4 line 3)

    But a strange thing now happened, as never before in a courtroom. After the charge had been read and his time had been allotted him, the killer, instead of a defense, accused himself even more savagely and cast the first vote for conviction.
    –G. P. Goold (translator)

    Genesis 2:21

    For God has raised up to me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
    –Lancelot C. L. Brenton

    For God has raised up for me another offspring instead of Habel, whom Kain killed.
    –Robert J. V. Hiebert (NETS)

    Ps 45:16 (LXX Ps 44:17)

    Instead of thy fathers children are born to thee:
    thou shalt make them princes over all the earth.
    –Lancelot C. L. Brenton

    In the place of your fathers *your sons were *born;
    you will appoint them rulers in all the **earth.
    –Albert Pietersma (NETS *sons were born to you; **Or land)

    Tobit 7:17

    The Lord of heaven and earth show you favor instead of this grief of yours! Courage my daughter!
    –Edgar J. Goodspeed

    Take courage, my child; may the Lord of heaven and earth give you grace in place of this sorrow of yours. Take courage, my daughter.
    — Alexander A. Di Lella (GI, NETS)

    Take courage, my daughter; may the Lord of heaven and earth grant you joy in place of your sorrow. Take courage, my daughter.
    — Alexander A. Di Lella (GII, NETS)

    Esther 2:4

    And let the woman who shall please the king be queen iinstead of Astin.
    –Lancelot C. L. Brenton

    And whichever woman is pleasing to the king will be queen instead of Astin.
    –Karen H. Jobes (OLD GREEK, NETS)

    Esther 4(C):(17/18)13

    And having taken off her glorious apparel, she put on garments of distress and morning; and instead of grand perfumes she filled her head and ashes and dung, and she greatly brought down her body, and she filled every place of her glad adorning with the [torn] curls of her hair.
    –Lancelot C. L. Brenton

    Taking off the garments of her glory, she put on the garments of distress and mourning, and instead of costly perfumes she covered her head with ashes and dung, and she utterly humbled her body; every part that she loved to adorn she covered with her tangled hair.
    –Karen H. Jobes (OLD GREEK, NETS)

    She took off the garments of glory from herself and every sign of her splendor, and she put on distress and mourning, and instead of her costly perfumes she covered her head with ashes and dung, and she utterly humbled her body; every sign of her beauty and adornment she covered humbly with her lovely hair.
    –Karen H. Jobes (ALPHA, NETS)

  18. J. K. Gayle says:

    Peter,

    You make a fantastic observation:

    In [Hebrews] 12:2 readers are urged to be like Jesus who chose the cross anti joy, and in 12:16 not to be like Esau who failed to choose his inheritance anti a meal. Ironically the traditional translations, while being formally consistent in translating anti, lose this parallel of sense, whereas the classicists lose the formal consistency but preserve the parallel meaning.

    I’m wondering how English might capture and retain this Greek wordplay. Could a translation also actually retain some of the vagueness and the ambiguity of the original?

    How about something like this:

    who, in that exceptional way regarding the joy before him, endured the cross

    who, so exceptionally regarding just that one single meal, gave away his first-born’s inheritance

    Hope it’s clear that “exceptional” can mean not only some exception to the norm (some “instead of”) but also something seen as exceptionally special. Of course, first century Greek readers would’ve gotten the wordplay just as we twenty-first century Greek readers clearly get that there can be different meanings and senses. A better English translation might help with that some.

  19. Mike Sangrey says:

    Might it be possible that the joy referred to is not the “sitting on a throne”. But, it is the thing referred to in the previous verse?

    That is, Jesus could rightfully claim the promise because of his faithfulness. There’s a number of different ways one could argue this theologically. However, the point I’m making is that there was a whole slew of people (cf chapter 11) that lived faithfully and yet did not receive the promise. That’s how chapter 11 ends. They did not receive the joy.

    However, Jesus, personally, did not receive the promise either (or, at least, not him alone–he did not do what he did in order to benefit himself). He chose otherwise. Instead of obtaining the promise, he chose the cross and thereby obtained something for someone else. This is the key–“together with us they would” receive the promise (11:39).

    In other words, Jesus is the “instigator” and “completer” of faith (perhaps “the faith” would be better). At the end of chapter 11, the reader is left with the thought of people not having completed their faith. Completing faith is what chapter 12 starts with. But, it is not completed by us. Perhaps we started it, in our own personal walks–just like the “Hall of the Faithful” of chapter 11. But, none completed it. None obtained the joy.

    It is completed by Jesus. He started it; he finished it. But he did not do it for himself. He did it for us and those who have gone before us.

        Instead of the joy of obtaining the promise for himself, he endured the cross.

    That’s my take on it. It also, then, seems to me that the above reading stands as a perfect foundation for what follows in chapter 12 and 13. Specifically, accepting the disciplined training, though it be hard to take (that is, instead of choosing joy), we focus our lives on what benefits–truly benefits–others. We’re not at Mount Sinai; we’re at Mount Zion. The whole way of inter-relating with people has fundamentally changed.

    Hebrews 13:10-16:
    We have an altar from which the priests in the Tabernacle have no right to eat. Under the old system, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, and the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

  20. Bob MacDonald says:

    Mike – you have convinced me with that reading. You have succeeded in universalizing this walk of faith and its cost both for us and in us. Your teaching is compatible with the teaching in the psalms which keeps us, Jew and Gentile alike, walking with that mystery that moves us to the good both created and redeemed. The letter is aptly titled.

  21. codepoke says:

    I dearly love to hear the words “you have convinced me” in almost any connection. 🙂

    I like your thinking too, Mike, and will let all this marinate a while.

  22. Brian Small says:

    Many commentators note the possibility of translating αντι as “instead of”. See Attridge, 356; Lane, 399, 413; Ellingworth, 641; Craddock, 149; DeSilva, 436; Koester, 523; Mitchell, 266. Most of these prefer “for the sake of” as the translation.

    According to Craddock, the most common translation was “instead of” up to the Protestant Reformation.

  23. Tony Pope says:

    There is what is IMO a helpful discussion of the meanings of ἀντί in Robertson’s big NT grammar, pages 572-574.

    “This root-idea [face-to-face] is always present in ἀντί and is the basis from which to discuss every example.”

    “The idea of “in the place of” or “instead” comes where two substantives placed opposite to each other are equivalent and so may be exchanged. The majority of the N. T. examples belong here.” [The majority but not all – Tony.]

    Can be viewed at
    http://www.archive.org/stream/grammarofgreekne00robeuoft#page/572/mode/2up

    Digitized pdf edition (with bookmarks to each section but very occasional misprints) downloadable at
    http://tinyurl.com/6z357r

  24. Peter Kirk says:

    Kurk, I think the question is not so much whether the sense “instead of” was still found in NT times as whether the supposed sense “for the sake of” in fact existed at all. The examples of this from BAGD given by Iver, “for this reason Eph 5:31. … Lk 1:20; 19:44; Ac 12:23; 2 Th 2:10; therefore … Lk 12:3”, can almost all be understood in context as “in payment for” or “as a punishment for”, i.e. retaining the element of exchange – although I accept that Ephesians 5:31 is strange, an apparent misquotation of LXX which could be a textual error. Are there other clear examples of this sense?

    Mike, I think your interpretation makes a lot of sense. I had failed to look backwards as well as forwards. But the idea of Jesus choosing joy he could see doesn’t fit at all with the context of people enduring hardship because of faith in what they could not see. As I understand it, the consistent NT picture was that Jesus had faith in the resurrection but not sight of it, and so endured on the same basis of faith as we are supposed to.

  25. Peter Kirk says:

    Tony, it looks to me as if Robertson’s exceptional examples are the same ones I listed in the quote from BAGD. But he misses the way in which anth’ hon seems to mean, in the NT examples, “as a punishment for which” – at least this fits all the examples, although slightly indirectly in Luke 12:3.

    So it seems we are left with Ephesians 5:31 as the only anomaly – and even this cannot really mean “for the sake of”. Perhaps anti here is Paul’s free rendering of the Hebrew in context, where there is indeed a contrast (not brought out in the Hebrew text): the woman had been taken out of the man but now instead of that in marriage he will be reunited with her. But I don’t think this can be taken as evidence for the sense “for the sake of” in Hebrews 12:2.

  26. J. K. Gayle says:

    Are there other clear examples of this sense [i.e., the supposed sense “for the sake of”]?

    Thanks for the comment and very good question, Peter. I was thinking about how about Iliad 23.650 is variously translated. Which sense makes the most sense? Or could it be ambiguous?

    σοὶ δὲ θεοὶ τῶνδ’ ἀντὶ χάριν μενοεικέα δοῖεν.

    May the gods, for what you have done for me, give you great happiness.
    –Richmond Lattimore

    For all which may the grace of heaven be vouchsafed you in great abundance.
    –Samuel Butler

    May the gods bless thee for it more and more!
    –William Cowper

    Those due distinctions thou so well canst pay,
    May the just gods return another day!
    –Alexander Pope

    And to thee may the gods in requital thereof grant grace to satisfy thy heart.
    –A.T. Murray

    Peter, you and A.T. Murray (and the preponderance of the evidence), have convinced me. The sense “instead of” really makes the most sense!

    Mike, I also agree with Peter, saying, “Mike, I think your interpretation makes a lot of sense.” And with Bob, who’d said: “Mike – you have convinced me with that reading.”

  27. John Radcliffe says:

    I feel sure that Peter is right to see a contrastive parallelism between Jesus (v2) and Esau (v16).

    However, the problem I have is in identifying what the joy “lying before” Jesus was that he gave up. Following on from v1 it would seem that the writer is thinking of how a runner sees the track – and the finishing line – laid out before them. The writer seems to be encouraging his readers to persevere in the “race” they are already running; not trying to encourage non-believers to start the race.

    That suggests to me that the writer is also comparing how Jesus reacted when he was “running his race” (i.e. after the incarnation and as he approached the cross), not before he started out (i.e. pre-incarnation, “in heaven”). Had he been thinking of the pre-incarnate Son, I find it difficult to see why the writer chose to describe the joy he was willing to forgo as “set before him” rather than simply the joy he “had”, that he was already enjoying. If we are talking about a race in progress, though, the “laid before him” idea makes perfect sense. (We should also note that, while his father was alive, to Esau the benefits of the birthright were also still future, and not something he was already enjoying.)

    So it seems to me that the context demands a meaning something like “in order to obtain”, with an “exchange” idea of the cross was being something he was willing to “give” (endure) in order to obtain something he wanted more (i.e. more than wanting to avoid the cross). The same meaning would seem to fit v16 – Esau thought so little of his birthright that he was willing to give it up “in exchange for” a single meal. (I think that Bob has adequately demonstrated that the “joy” Jesus sought to obtain in this way wasn’t a selfish one, but was rather the joy of our inclusion.)

    I’ll let others decide whether that is a possible meaning for ἀντί, but to me it seems to be what the context requires.
    ______

    Mike suggests that the joy Jesus gave up might be that of finishing the “race of faith” alone, in order to enable us to finish it with him. However, I have to say that I fail to see what “joy” Jesus would have obtained from by-passing the cross and so failing to complete the mission his Father had set him (and which in Gethsemane he acknowledged was his Father’s will for him).

    Or perhaps I’ve just misunderstood Mike’s suggestion.

  28. Peter Kirk says:

    John, I agree with you that the author of Hebrews is probably not thinking of the pre-incarnate state of Jesus, and for this reason the parallel with Philippians 2 is not precise. But I think the temptations of Jesus, more clearly than Gethsemane, give us a glimpse of what he could have enjoyed without going through the cross: all the power and glory that the world could offer – or perhaps a return to his heavenly glory.

    I must say I also find it strange to see this described as “joy”. But there are parallels in Hebrews 11, especially with Moses in 11:24-26. The basic question is whether the joy set before Jesus is parallel to the pleasures (apolausis) and treasures of Egypt or to the reward (misthapodosia) Moses looked forward to.

  29. J. K. Gayle says:

    I must say I also find it strange to see this described as “joy”.

    Could the writer’s mention of joy in Hebrews 12:11 and then 13:17 help get at some of what’s intended in 12:2? Isn’t there consistently an allusion to physical (or metaphorically physical) pains against joy?

    Jesus, on his way to Gethsemane, (by the Jn 16:22 account) so discusses such pains against joy. And when in that place, in his own agony, he stops his praying (by the Lk 22:45 account) only to find his disciples asleep because of such pains.

  30. Tony Pope says:

    PK: But he misses the way in which anth’ hon seems to mean, in the NT examples, “as a punishment for which” – at least this fits all the examples, although slightly indirectly in Luke 12:3.

    Peter, anth’ hôn is used in contexts of simple correspondence and of recompense, either positive or negative. It just happens that most of the NT examples are negative. In the LXX they are according to Spicq mostly negative, but not all: consider Gen 22:18 30.18, Num 25.13, 1 Sam 26.21, etc. According to Spicq most examples in Philo and Josephus are positive. Luke 12.3 looks like simple correspondence, of which there are also numerous examples outside the NT.

    Returning to Heb 12.2 here are two classical examples from LSJ of anti as “for the sake of”:
    Plato Menex. 237a … καὶ τὴν τελευτὴν ἀντὶ τῆς τῶν ζώντων σωτηρίας ἠλλάξαντο; [How could we rightly praise those who …] and gave their deaths in exchange for the safety of the living?
    Aristotle Nicomedian Ethics 1110a l.21 … ὅταν αἰσχρόν τι ἢ λυπηρὸν
    ὑπομένωσιν ἀντὶ μεγάλων καὶ καλῶν [Sometimes men are actually praised …] when they endure some disgrace or pain as the price of some great and noble object.

  31. John Radcliffe says:

    Peter said:

    “But I think the temptations of Jesus, more clearly than Gethsemane, give us a glimpse of what he could have enjoyed without going through the cross: all the power and glory that the world could offer – or perhaps a return to his heavenly glory.”

    As I don’t think Jesus rejected the devil’s ideas because the way he (Jesus) chose was “better”, but because the devil’s way was simply “wrong”, I don’t think the latter route to glory would have afforded Jesus any “real joy” at all.

    Perhaps we need look no further for the “joy set before him” than to that of successfully finishing his “race”, just as we are encouraged to finish ours – and to that of hearing his Father’s “well done”, just as we anticipate our Lord’s.

    I’d say that the “joy” Jesus anticipated paralleled Moses’ reward rather than the “fleeting pleasures of sin” (11:25, NIV). [Which leads me to wonder whether “joy” (unlike, say, “pleasure”, or “love”) is ever used negatively in Scripture.]

  32. Peter Kirk says:

    Tony, my point is not that the exchange is necessarily negative (punishment) rather than positive (reward). My point is that in every case there is an exchange or substitution. That is very clear in your classical examples. But these are not really examples of the sense “for the sake of” understood as “in order to benefit from”, as in the traditional understanding of Hebrews 12:2. The Plato example certainly is not as those who died did not benefit from the safety of the living. The Aristotle example is harder to judge without more context, but somehow I doubt that Aristotle is praising people who endure temporary shame in order to establish their own greatness.

  33. J. K. Gayle says:

    Tony,
    It’s not clear to me that your “two classical examples” require “anti [to be translated] as [necessarily meaning] ‘for the sake of’.” Both could be read as anti indicating alternatives (i.e., something “instead of”).

  34. J. K. Gayle says:

    Oops! I should have just let you answer that, Peter. You put it so much better. (Aristotle, it seems to me, is writing that for enduring a disgrace or shame — instead of [having] greatness or beauty — is why some individuals are praised.)

  35. Mike Sangrey says:

    John responds with:
    Mike suggests that the joy Jesus gave up might be that of finishing the “race of faith” alone, in order to enable us to finish it with him. However, I have to say that I fail to see what “joy” Jesus would have obtained from by-passing the cross and so failing to complete the mission his Father had set him (and which in Gethsemane he acknowledged was his Father’s will for him).

    Don’t read “Christ’s mission” into Hebrews 12. The author was much more focused on Jesus faithfully living out the life that would achieve God’s promised inheritance to his people. He would have obtained the same joy, but only for himself–joy, salvation, honor, rule, rest, etc.–the promised land. The key, like in Gethsamane, is he had to choose one path. Only one. Each of the two choices “faced each other” as in ἀντὶ. I think this is the heart of ἀντὶ and why “in exchange for” works in some cases. One can’t go down both forks in the ἀντὶ road.

    I don’t think Jesus chose a death doorway to joy. I think he chose death so that others would obtain the inheritance.

    What’s driving my reading is the following.

    The author is writing to an audience. A writer will “carry along” that audience and therefore make linguistic choices accordingly.

    This is why David’s question, “The question is, what does “the happiness” refer to?” is an excellent question. Focusing on the small, ‘happiness’ appears to “come out of thin air.” But, authors do not choose to leave their audience in a quandary. They don’t pick their thoughts out of thin air, they actively and continuously condition the reader’s mind to believe what they are saying.

    As one deliberatively chooses against a modern, exegetical myopia that ironically seems to force one to go far afield from the text, and instead (ἀντὶ, perhaps) enters into the flow of the author’s discourse, then these “surprise” words become discourse cohesive. I’ve learned that questions like David’s question signal potential discourse observations. So, when they’re asked I step back away from the words and start asking questions to the paragraphs and larger linguistic structures. Another good question, by the way, is, “Does Paul go off on a tangent here?” He never does. Nor did he have early Alzheimers. 🙂

    Consider reading through Hebrews in the light that 12:1-2 is coming. Below are some other texts in Hebrews (NIV-2011). This is a bit long; however, I was a bit surprised by the cohesive ties. The author weaves a coherent theme (which shouldn’t surprise us). But, like me, maybe others will be surprised too. “Surprised by Joy”, I suppose, as Lewis would suggest.

    1:1-3:
    In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

    1:8-9
    But about the Son he says,
     “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
     a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
     You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
     therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
     by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

    2:9-11
    But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.

    He had to walk Hebrews 11, just like everyone else:
    2:17-18:
    For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

    3:1-2a:
    Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, …

    5:7-10 (perhaps an interesting reference to Gethsamane):
    During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

    7:18-19,23-25,8:1-2:
    The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

    Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

    Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

    9:11-12:
    But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

    10:5-10:
    Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
     “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
     but a body you prepared for me;
     with burnt offerings and sin offerings
     you were not pleased.
     Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
     I have come to do your will, my God.’”
    First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

  36. Iver Larsen says:

    This morning I realized there have been a lot of comments on this post. I’ll only respond to Peter’s where he refers to Tony and me.

    I agree that Jesus did not endure the cross for the sake of his own personal pleasure. That is not implied by my interpretation of Heb 12:2. I should say up front that I do not find the English rendering “for the sake of” very helpful. Jesus’ motivation for taking our sins and dying on the cross for us was obedience to the will of the Father (Gal 1:4, Heb 5:7-8, Phil 2:8, Matt 26:39). This last verse says: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” The agony of Gethsemane was not whether Jesus would be resurrected after death, since he knew that, but it was the agony of taking on the sins of the world even though he was innocent. That agony must have been worse than death.
    If we consider the joy in Heb 12:2 to be the joy of sitting at the right hand of God, I don’t see this as a problem. Jesus could look forward to that without it being the primary motivation. It could not be the primary motivation of Jesus to regain that joy, since he could have stayed in that position with the joy in the first place. The harpagmos of Phil 2:6 means that Jesus had all the right to keep that position, but motivated by obedience to the Father he decided not to cling to it. (NIV did not do well in Phil 2:6, and the NIV2010 is worse. NLT is good). Jesus knew he would get it back eventually. But to give up that position and come like a human being involved the humiliation of a horrible death as well as being punished for sins he did not commit.

    So, the way I understand Heb 12:2 is that looking forward to the future joy helped Jesus to endure the shame and humiliation. It was not his primary motivation for dying. Rather it was an encouragement in a difficult situation. And that is what the author of Hebrews is telling his audience. You may be persecuted, but be encouraged by looking forward to the joy set before you, just as Jesus did. The major theme of Hebrews 10:32 to 12:13 is encouragement to endure. As LSJ and Robertson said, the basic meaning of ANTI is “facing something”. I think there is always a comparison involved (e.g. shame and joy), but not necessarily a choice between two mutually exclusive options. The word does not indicate reason or motivation, nor can it be reduced to one English rendering which can be used in all contexts. Instead of “for the sake of” in Heb 12:2 I suggest “while looking at” or “while looking foreward to”. I could also accept “by looking forward to the joy that was waiting for him, he was encouraged to endure the shame and death on the cross…”

  37. Tony Pope says:

    Peter and Kurk,
    I don’t see how you can take the Aristotle quote in the sense “instead of”. It is not a matter of taking one option and thereby closing off the possibility of attaining the second objective. Please read the context, the English translation of which is at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0054%3Abekker%20page%3D1110a . It’s also worth noting that the same verb is used there as in Heb 12.2. (In my comment I changed the translator’s “submit” to “endure”, to reflect this.)

    The translator used “as the price of” for ἀντί, which seems another possible rendering in the Heb 12.2 context. But “with … in view”, or “in prospect of” or Iver’s “while looking forward to” are also possible.

  38. J. K. Gayle says:

    Tony,
    You make a good point about “closing off the possibility of attaining the second objective.” It’s not entirely surprising to me that translators of the cited anti in Nichomachean Ethics (NE) and then in Hebrews have rather made their first (and only unambiguous option) rendering something like “as the price of” and then “for the sake of.” (If there’s ambiguity or range of meaning in the word, then I can still agree with Peter: “in every case there is an exchange or substitution.”)

    Peter’s other astute point is on the wordplay (or the interplay of the two antis) in Hebrews 12. I’d like to suggest something similar in the reading of Aristotle’s NE. Notice how our translator, Harris Rackham, continues [after this first anti of sentence 7 (at line 21)]:

    “rather than” [in sentence 9, line 30a (of 1110a)]
    “rather than” again [in that same sentence, in 30b]

    (ἔστι δὲ χαλεπὸν ἐνίοτε διακρῖναιποῖον ἀντὶ ποίου αἱρετέον καὶ τί ἀντὶ τίνος ὑπομενετέον)

    “in preference to” [in sentence 10, line 4 (of 1110b)]
    “in preference to” again [in that same sentence, in 5]
    “,1 and” as some contrast? [in that same sentence, in 7]

    (νῦνδὲ καὶ ἀντὶ τῶνδε αἱρετά, καὶ ἡ ἀρχὴ ἐν τῷ πράττοντι,καθ’ αὑτὰ μὲν ἀκούσιά ἐστι, νῦν δὲ καὶ ἀντὶ τῶνδε ἑκούσια. μᾶλλον δ’ ἔοικεν ἑκουσίοις· αἱ γὰρ πράξεις ἐν τοῖς καθ’ ἕκαστα, ταῦτα δ’ ἑκούσια. ποῖα δ’ ἀντὶ ποίων αἱρετέον, οὐ ῥᾴδιον ἀποδοῦναι·)

    Now, we’re not expecting the translator to use consistent English for the same Greek word. Nonetheless, a good translator will see the consistent play and replay and interplay of the single word. When Rackham starts with “as the price of” (meaning “for the sake of”), it seems he’s ignored the context (which requires him to go on, in much contrast now, with the much different sense of “instead of” in the next several lines, where Aristotle continues to develop contrasts, or exhanges, by his antis).

  39. John Radcliffe says:

    Mike, thank you for the lengthy response.

    You say “Don’t read “Christ’s mission” into Hebrews 12”. Actually, I don’t think I have to read “Christ’s mission” into Hebrews from elsewhere; it’s already there, writ large. I give below a few references I collected from a quick scan (there are probably more).

    I fail to see how Jesus could have achieved any of these aspects of his mission had he by-passed the cross. The writer of “Hebrews” (who I doubt is Paul) clearly sees Christ’s self-sacrifice on the cross as central (or at least integral) to his “mission” (or whatever other term we might use for the task(s) he came to carry out).

    Now you may be right that the context “targets” his faithfulness more especially, but I’m still left wondering what “joy” could he have experienced had he failed to accomplish all of these aspects of what he came (and became human) to do, and how would he have shown himself “faithful” in any meaningful way?
    ____

    (All quotes from NIV2010)

    2:9 “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.”

    2:14 “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. … 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”

    3:2 “He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.”

    4: 15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.”

    5:7 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him”
    [v7 is surely a reference to Gethsemane]

    7:24 “but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. … 27 … He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.”

    9:14 “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c] so that we may serve the living God! 15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

    9:26 “Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

    10:9 “Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.”
    [Compare with Gethsemane and 5:7 above]

    10:12 “But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins … 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy”

  40. Peter Kirk says:

    Tony, thank you for the link to Aristotle’s interesting argument. I accept that here anti means more like “as the price of” than “instead of”. What I reject is that it means “in order to benefit from”. Aristotle accepts that people may do “base” actions to save the lives of others e.g. their parents. But I don’t think he would have praised in the same way doing wrong to save one’s own skin, although he might have condoned it.

  41. Tony Pope says:

    Kurk,

    I see that Rackham is not the only translator of the passage in question. Here is W D Ross (my italics):

    Line 21: “For such actions men are sometimes even praised, when they endure something base or painful in return for great and noble objects gained; in the opposite case they are blamed, since to endure the greatest indignities for no noble end or for a trifling end is the mark of an inferior person. …

    [line 30] It is difficult sometimes to determine what should be
    chosen at what cost, and what should be endured in return for what gain,”

    This makes more sense than Rackham’s offering for 30b “in enduring a given penalty rather than commit a given action”. In line 30b Aristotle by using the same verb “enduring” seems to be repeating the same thought as before, so it is not a matter for the translator of looking ahead but of looking back.

    For the last sentence you quote, Ross has: “But the things that in themselves are involuntary, but now and in return for these gains are worthy of choice, and whose moving principle is in the agent, are in themselves involuntary, but now and in return for these gains voluntary.”

    That “endure something base or painful in return for great and noble objects gained” expresses the thought in line 21 is required by the previous context. Sentence 7 looks back (ταῖς τοιαύταις) to the examples given in sentences 4 and 5.

    I still think this is parallel to Heb. 12.2 and that “instead of” is not appropriate.

  42. Tony Pope says:

    PK: What I reject is that it means “in order to benefit from”. Aristotle accepts that people may do “base” actions to save the lives of others e.g. their parents. But I don’t think he would have praised in the same way doing wrong to save one’s own skin, although he might have condoned it.

    Whether the noble act is for one’s own benefit or for that of others, or both, does not seem to be a distinction that Aristotle makes. One of his examples in the preceding context is:
    “A somewhat similar case is when cargo is jettisoned in a storm; apart from circumstances, no one voluntarily throws away his property, but to save his own life and that of his shipmates any sane man would do so.”

    As far as Heb 12.2 is concerned, Iver has answered your comment of 29th Jan that we are implying Jesus endured the cross “for his own personal future pleasure.” I would add that I cannot see how Jewish readers would come away with that idea. Surely Messiah would share his future joy with his people. And their (our) glory and salvation are spoken of explicitly in the epistle (2.10, 5.9, 9.28 etc).

  43. Mike Sangrey says:

    John,

    I think we’re understandably speaking past each other. And I think it has to do with deixis. Not in our dialog; but, in the text we’re dealing with here in this posting.

    I’m not attempting to put words in your mouth, but let me state how I think you’re thinking. Gosh, this has got to be dangerous. 🙂 My point is to draw out the deixis by contrasting what I think you’re thinking with what I think I’m thinking. Please bear with me.

    You are placing yourself (as the reader) into the mind of Jesus. So, when you ask, “What does ‘joy’ refer to?” you’re thinking in terms of what ‘joy’ would Jesus be thinking about. This quite naturally and reasonably takes you to Christ’s eternal mission.

    I’m placing myself (as a reader) into the minds of the audience and answering the same question. But from their perspective I and they (I believe) arrive at a different ‘joy’. It’s the joy that a Jew would expect to obtain if he were faithful to the calling he had been called to. He would obtain salvation (which was a bit different than what we call ‘salvation’). He would obtain an inheritance. He would obtain the promise. He certainly would not expect pain.

    In both cases it is the ‘joy’ Jesus would experience. But, the deixis is different. And the different deixis causes the referent for ‘joy’ to be different.

    In the one case Jesus, in order to obtain the joy of the throne, kingdom, and people, chooses to go through the pain of the cross. In the other case, it’s instead of the joy–a joy which any Jew would have expected from a perfectly faithful life–he chooses the pain of the cross.

    In my view, it was the audience’s referent of joy that Jesus did not pursue. At least, he did not pursue it for himself. He set it aside and pursued the cross for the purpose of all the others obtaining the joy.

    Hopefully, that at least clarifies where I’m coming from. I think there are worthy arguments on either side.

  44. Iver Larsen says:

    It has been helpful for me to see all these suggestions in an effort to better understand the meaning of ANTI. I like the suggestions of “as the price of” and “in return for”, but of course, the meaning is coloured by the context where the word occurs.

    When I looked at the 22 instances in the NT, there are contexts where two people, things or statements are compared and contrasted. In those contexts, the idea of replacement fits well, mainly because the items can replace each other in some way. Examples are:

    Mat 2:22: “But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod”

    Luk 11:11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?”

    John 1:16 “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” (KJV) Translators are apparently reluctant to use “instead of” or “in place of” here for theological reasons. When the same word is used, the replacement must be two different kinds of a similar thing, new grace for old grace.

    1 Cor 11:15 “Her hair is given to her in place of a covering.” (GW)

    James 4:15 “Instead, you ought to say…

    We then have the familiar eye for an eye. Here the eye of one person cannot really replace the lost eye of the other peson, so the sense moves slighty to another common sense of ANTI, namely “as payment for”. The “payment” is used in a broader sense than just money. For some of these, one could say “in return for”.

    Matt 5:38 an eye as payment for an eye, a tooth for a tooth

    Matt 17:27 Take the coin and give it to them as payment for me and you.

    Matt 20:28 (Mrk 10:45) to give his life as a ransom as payment for many.

    Rom 12:17, 1 Th 5:17, 1 Pet 3:9 no one should pay back evil (to another person) in return for evil (done to him by that person)

    Heb 12:16 Esau sold his firstborn right as payment for a single meal

    I would think that Heb 12:2 fits best here: in return for/as payment for obtaining the joy set before him, he paid/endured the shame. This is a bit different from my earlier suggestion, but the same general idea.

    Then we have a number of contexts with the somewhat fixed form ἀνθ᾽ ὧν (in return for/as payment for which things).

    Luk 1:20: And now you will … not be able to speak …, because you did not believe my words”

    Although this idiom is normally translated “because” it is still possible to see the idea of payment behind it: as payment for not believing, you will bear the consequences.

    Luk 12:3 “So then (or because) whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light.” (NET)

    (A consequence of what you have said in the dark will be that it will be heard in the light.)

    Luk 19:44 “They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

    A consequence they will have to pay.

    Act 12:23 “Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down”

    A consequence he had to pay.

    2 Th 2:10 “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”

    Eph 5:31 is farily similar, except that there is a demonstrative pronoun ἀντὶ τούτου rather than a relative pronoun:

    “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife”.

    The demonstrative “this” points back to the unity and love between man and wife. To obtain that unity you have to “pay” by leaving your father and mother.

    This covers all the 22 instances of ANTI in the NT.

  45. Peter Kirk says:

    Mike, I like your idea of “the joy that a Jew would expect to obtain if he were faithful to the calling he had been called to” (or she?). I wonder if we have all been misled by the translation of prokeimenes as “set before”, implying a passive participle and that someone else, probably God, has set this before Jesus. That is not really what the verb means, as it doesn’t seem to be a passive. A better translation would be “lying before”. But I wonder whether it could be understood as “to be expected by”.

    Iver, thank you for clarifying the understanding of anti, with which I can now agree.

  46. John Radcliffe says:

    Mike,

    It does indeed seem that we are “speaking past each other” – certainly we don’t seem to be seeing much of what the other is saying.

    In brief, my argument is that, as the cross was integral to Jesus’ “calling”, I don’t see how he could (hypothetically) have derived any “joy” had he only partly fulfilled that “calling” by-passing the cross. Although he was (and is still) a Jew, I’d say his calling was unique and specific – not what we might call “the ordinary calling” that other Jews of his day had.

    So rather than both of us just repeating ourselves ad nauseam it may be better if I just pull the plug now. Anyway, thanks for the conversation; perhaps next time we may be on the same wavelength.

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