Children of God in the Lexicons
January 28, 2014
1. —son, Il.6.366, etc.; υἱὸν ποιεῖσθαί τινα to adopt as a son,Aeschin.2.28; υἱεῖς ἄνδρες grown-up sons, D. 25.88: metaph., Κόρον Ὕβριοςυἱόν Orac. ap. Hdt.8.77: rarely of animals, Ev.Matt.21.5.
4. freq. in LXX in periphrases (Hebraisms with various meanings), “υἱὸς ἐτῶν ἑκατόν” 100 years old, Ge.11.10, al.; “υἱοὶ ἀδικίας” 2 Ki.7.10; “υἱοὶ θανατώσεως” 1 Ki. 26.16; “υἱοὶ τῶν συμμίζεων”hostages, 4 Ki.14.14; so “υἱὸς εἰρήνης” Ev.Luc.10.6.
5. in some dialects, including the Ion. Prose of Hdt., υἱός is replaced by παῖς: υἱός is rare in Trag., A.Th.609, Fr. 320, E.Or.1689 (anap.), al., and 7 times in S.: Hom. has both words in this sense.
6. as a general term of affection, PGiss.68.2 (ii A. D.), POxy.1219.2(iii A. D.); υἱέ, an author’s address to the reader, LXX Pr.1.8, al.
Several parts of this entry from Liddell, Scott, Jones indicate that υἱός can indeed mean “child.” First, meaning number 3 says “child,” second it can be replaced with παῖς which is a common gender word, and third, it can be qualified by the adjective “male.” In the plural, if often refers to the nationality of a group of people. It is paraphrastic for the Achaeans in 2. above. In various Hebraisms it refers to groups of people. It translates banim which is the Hebrew word for “children” in the phrase, “the children of Israel.”
But the guidelines, which I have been sadly reviewing say,
“Son” (huios, ben) should not be changed to “child,” or “sons” (huioi) to “children” or “sons and daughters.” (However, Hebrew banim often means “children.”)
I know it is like banging your head against cement – very much like that. But if the word got out that theologians don’t make a habit of looking things up in a lexicon, it might push people to ask more questions.
Why in the Hebrew Bible were people called “the children of the living God” but in the New Testament, it is “sons of God?” Because women will be treated as sons? Not so far. Here is a comment I read on a Christian woman’s blog this morning and I cried for her. She wrote,
The office of Old Testament Prophetess is closed to us today. But we can still learn from Huldah and her example…. Women are not to be busybodies. They are to mind their own affairs. They are to avoid going from house to house spreading rumors (1 Timothy 5:13).
That is what she learned from studying women in the Bible, and she posted this on a blog called “Theology for Girls.” I feel so sad when I read things like this. Why did women have more respect in the Hebrew Bible? Why were there authoritative women who acted independently in the Hebrew Bible, but we don’t take these lessons from the NT?