[Milton-L] just a note

John T. Shawcross jtshaw74 at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 28 16:36:07 EDT 2006

A strand of the recent discussion has raised the question of "enemy"  
in Matthew v:43 (and v:44; see also Luke vi:27, 35): "Thou shalt love  
thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy." The reference to the Old  
Testament is only to "love thy neighbor," Leviticus xix:18. The Greek  
word that is translated "enemy" is ἒχθρός [echthros], which  
comes from the verb "to hate," ἒχθω [echtho], and means  
"adversary." James Strong,  in his Dictionary of the Bible, says:  
"adversary, espec. Satan." Perhaps some are taking "enemy" in a  
stronger sense than this text actually intends. The Old Testament  
gives different words which are translated "enemy" (as Jeff said),  
some of which refer to military, etc., enemies, but see something  
like Job xiiii:24, where the word means "adversary," which is the  
meaning as well of "Satan." Compare "tsâr" in the Hebrew in Job xvi:  
9, "adversary" and "'âyab," Exodus xxiii:22, where means "to be  
hostile toward," "to be an enemy of." We might note that in Psalm 7,  
line 13 (14 in original), the word is "yêb," where the "hating"  
implies (according to Strong) to "an enemy, foe."
In other words, we can't necessairly rely on translations for subtle  
meanings, and thus, perhaps, all that Matthew is reporting is that  
Jesus says, "Love thine adversaries, bless them that curse you, do  
good to them that hate you, etc.," and is not referring to the  
"enemies, foes" that the Exodus text differentiates from  
"adversaries" ("but if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all  
that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and and  
adversary unto thine adversaries").

But further God's "hate"  (odium dei) has been discussed at length by  
Michael Lieb in ELH (1986), which is reprinted with revision in  
Theological Milton (2006). The issue is complex but the main point is  
that there is "God the Father's Hate" countered by "God the Son's Love."


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