Could ἐν ᾗ in Heb 9:4 be the holy of holies?

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Could ἐν ᾗ in Heb 9:4 be the holy of holies?

Postby Daniel Mehta » April 10th, 2013, 11:10 am

Heb 9:3-4
μετὰ δὲ τὸ δεύτερον καταπέτασμα σκηνὴ ἡ λεγομένη ἅγια ἁγίων, χρυσοῦν ἔχουσα θυμιατήριον καὶ τὴν κιβωτὸν τῆς διαθήκης περικεκαλυμμένην πάντοθεν χρυσίῳ, ἐν ᾗ στάμνος χρυσῆ ἔχουσα τὸ μάννα καὶ ἡ ῥάβδος Ἀαρὼν ἡ βλαστήσασα καὶ αἱ πλάκες τῆς διαθήκης,

NKJV
and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant;

The NET along with most others would say that "ἐν ᾗ στάμνος χρυσῆ ἔχουσα τὸ μάννα καὶ ἡ ῥάβδος Ἀαρὼν ἡ βλαστήσασα καὶ αἱ πλάκες τῆς διαθήκης," refers to the contents of the ark of the covenant. But is it possible that the ἐν ᾗ refers to the holy of holies (ἡ λεγομένη ἅγια ἁγίων)?

I ask because such an interpretation would fit better with 1Ki 9:8, which says that only the two tablets were in the ark at Solomon's time. The rod and the jar could of course have been taken out by then, but [and it just gets complicated]...

Thanks!
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Re: Could ἐν ᾗ in Heb 9:4 be the holy of holies?

Postby Stephen Carlson » April 10th, 2013, 2:40 pm

I don't understand the reference to 1 Kings 9:8. It says: This house will become a heap of ruins; everyone passing by it will be astonished, and will hiss; and they will say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this house?
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
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Re: Could ἐν ᾗ in Heb 9:4 be the holy of holies?

Postby Daniel Mehta » April 10th, 2013, 2:57 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:I don't understand the reference to 1 Kings 9:8.[/i]’


My bad. I guess the first proofread didn't take. 1 Ki 8:9, "Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.", not 9:8 as I first wrote. Sorry.
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Re: Could ἐν ᾗ in Heb 9:4 be the holy of holies?

Postby Stephen Carlson » April 16th, 2013, 1:30 pm

Daniel Mehta wrote:But is it possible that the ἐν ᾗ refers to the holy of holies (ἡ λεγομένη ἅγια ἁγίων)?


I have a problem with the notion of "possible" in exegesis and understanding language. I mean, it's "possible" that President Kennedy announced to whole world that he a jelly doughnut when he said, "Ich bin ein berliner," but not really the best way to think about what he meant. The same deal with Heb 9:4. The natural reading is that ἐν ᾗ does not refer to the holy of holies, and one ought to have a cogent argument that the natural reading is wrong. A mere grammatical possibility is not really helpful. As long as the sentence is well-formed, it is usually possible to come with an imagined context that makes almost any reading "possible."
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