Dark Sayings
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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Dark Sayings

DARK SAYINGS

(Proverbs 1:6 Psalm 78:2; singular, Psalm 49:4, 5; chidhoth, singular chidhah, elsewhere rendered "riddle," "proverb"): In the heading to the canonical Book of Proverbs, the general term "proverbs" is made to include "a proverb mashal, and a figure (or, an interpretation, melitsah), the words (singular dabhar) of the wise, and their dark sayings (or, riddles)."

The "proverb" is either a saying current among the people (compare 1 Samuel 10:12; "the proverb of the ancients" 24:13 (14)), or a sentence of ethical wisdom composed by the order of wise men (chakhamim). Of the latter kind are the sententious maxims of the Wisdom literature (chiefly Proverbs, but also Job, Ecclesiastes, and among the uncanonical writings, Ecclesiasticus). They are characterized by a secular touch; wisdom, moreover, flourished among the neighbors of Israel as well; so in Edom and elsewhere.

Whatever the date of the collection known as the "Proverbs of Solomon," the wise men existed in Israel at a very early period; the prophets allude to them. But the Hebrew mashal is sometimes of a more elaborate character corresponding to our "parables"; frequently a vein of taunt runs through them, and they played an important part in compositions directed against other nations (compare Numbers 21:27). The prophets are fond of employing this genre of literary production; in their hands the mashal becomes a figurative or allegorical discourse (compare Ezekiel 21:5 (8)). The mashal in the sense of a didactic poem occurs also in the Psalms (Pss 49 and 78). Hence, it is that "proverb" and "figure," or "proverb" and "dark saying" are interchangeable terms. The "dark saying" is the popular "riddle" (compare Judges 14) raised to the dignity of elaborate production.

It is in short an allegorical sentence requiring interpretation. Both prophets and psalmists avail themselves thereof. The word of God comes to the prophet in the form of a vision (compare the visions of Amos or Jeremiah), i.e. the truth presents itself to them in the form of a simile. To the perfect prophet of the type of Moses the revelation comes direct in the shape of the naked truth without the mediation of figures of speech or obscure utterances requiring elucidation (compare Numbers 12). In the same way Paul (1 Corinthians 13) distinguishes between the childish manner of speaking of things spiritual and the manner of a man: "For now we see in a mirror, darkly (Greek "in a riddle"); but then face to face." The rabbis say that, whereas all the other prophets saw God and things Divine in a dim mirror, Moses saw them in a polished, clear mirror. Both Paul and the rabbis feel the difference between mediate and immediate vision, the revelation which requires dark figurative language as a vehicle and the clear perception which is the direct truth.

Max L. Margolis

Strong's Hebrew
2420. chidah -- a riddle, an enigmatic, perplexing saying or ...
... enigmatic, perplexing saying or question NASB Word Usage dark sayings (2), difficult
questions (2), insinuations (1), intrigue (1), riddle (10), riddles (1). ...
/hebrew/2420.htm - 6k
Library

He Then once More Excellently, Appropriately, and Clearly Examines ...
... sense of this utterance is clear to moderately attentive and painstaking persons,
so that, in the case of those who are instructed in the dark sayings of the ...
/.../gregory/gregory of nyssa dogmatic treatises etc/section 2 he then once.htm

There is a Divine Darkness which is not Evil, and which Ultimately ...
... Should any one be staggered by these expositions, he may be reconciled to them both
by the "dark sayings" and by the "treasures of darkness," hidden, invisible ...
/.../origen/origens commentary on the gospel of john/23 there is a divine.htm

The Farewell Conversation.
... "These things have I spoken unto you in dark sayings: the hour cometh, when I shall
no more speak unto you in dark sayings, but shall tell you plainly of the ...
//christianbookshelf.org/barton/his life/the farewell conversation.htm

Antichrist in Daniel
... of the Queen of Sheba's hard questions (1 Kings 10:1), and of the dark sayings of
the wise (Prov.1:6), which are too profound to be understood by the simple. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/pink/the antichrist/4 antichrist in daniel.htm

Letter cxxviii. To Gaudentius.
... in nursery tales? Will she heed the dark sayings of the prophets when her
nurse can frighten her by a frowning face? Or will she ...
/.../jerome/the principal works of st jerome/letter cxxviii to gaudentius.htm

But if He were Dealing Honestly in his Accusations...
... lay beyond the reach of the common understanding, they set them forth in the form
of enigmas and allegories, or of what are called dark sayings, parables, or ...
//christianbookshelf.org/origen/origen against celsus/chapter x but if he.htm

Thursday --The Day of Fellowship.
... "These things have I spoken unto you in dark sayings: the hour cometh, when I shall
no more speak unto you in dark sayings, but shall tell you plainly of the ...
//christianbookshelf.org/barton/his last week/thursdaythe day of fellowship.htm

Jacob and Doubting Souls --A Parallel
... I wish that readiness to believe the dark sayings could be turned to an equal
readiness to receive the consolations of the Word of God. ...
/.../spurgeons sermons volume 42 1896/jacob and doubting soulsa parallel.htm

The Wisdom of Business and the Wisdom of Leisure
... subtilties of parables. He will seek out the hidden meaning of proverbs, and
be conversant in the dark sayings of parables. He will serve ...
/.../select masterpieces of biblical literature/vi the wisdom of business.htm

Letter Lxx. To Magnus an Orator of Rome.
... Proverbs he charges us to understand prudent maxims and shrewd adages, parables
and obscure discourse, the words of the wise and their dark sayings; [2130] all ...
/.../jerome/the principal works of st jerome/letter lxx to magnus an.htm



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