International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
BRIDE-CHAMBER, SONS (CHILDREN) OF THE
(hoi huioi tou numphonos): These were friends or companions of the bridegroom and were usually very numerous (Matthew 9:15 Mark 2:19 Luke 5:34). Any wedding guest might be included in the expression, or anyone who took part in the bridal procession and remained for the wedding-feast (see MARRIAGE). In the above passages "the sons of the bride-chamber" are the disciples of Christ.
GOD, SON (SONS) OF
See SONS OF GOD (OLD TESTAMENT); SONS OF GOD (NEW TESTAMENT).
GREECE, SONS OF
"I will stir up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and will make thee as the sword of a mighty man" (Zechariah 9:13). The passage doubtless refers to the captive Hebrews who are held by the Greeks. The exhortation is to insurrection against the Greeks. Although bearing a striking similarity to the passage in Joel 3:6, there is evidently no connection between the two. In the first, there was conflict between the nations; in the second, simply a reflection upon Tyre and Sidon for having sold into Greece certain Jewish captives. From a Jewish standpoint the Maccabean wars were really between Jews and Greeks.
See JAVAN; ASMONEANS.
KORAHITES; SONS OF KORAH
ko'-ra-its (qorchi), (beno qorach; in the King James Version appears also as Korhite, Kohathite, Kore): This phrase is used to denote Assir and Elkanah and Abiasaph, Korah's 3 individual sons (Exodus 6:24; compare Numbers 26:11). But its more frequent use, and that to which interest attaches, is in the titles of some of the Psalms.
The genealogical details concerning Korahites are rather full. In 3 places we find the list of the 7 successive generations closing with the prophet Samuel and his son Joel (1 Chronicles 6:31-38, 22-30 1 Samuel 1:1, 20; 1 Samuel 8:2); the two in Ch mention most of the generations between Korahites and Joel. The fragmentary lists in 1 Chronicles 9:25; 1 Chronicles 26 connect the list with the 4 generations following Joel (1 Chronicles 6:33; 1 Chronicles 9:19-31; 26:1), and with 2 generations in the very latest Bible times (1 Chronicles 9:31).
The adjective "Korhite" appears also in the King James Version as "Korathite," Kore," and "Korahite," the last being the form preferred in the English Revised Version. It is used 4 times in the singular. Once it designates an individual (1 Chronicles 9:31); 3 times it denotes the successors of Korahites taken collectively (Exodus 6:24 Numbers 26:58 1 Chronicles 26:19); 4 times it is used in the plural, denoting the members of this succession of men (1 Chronicles 9:19; 1 Chronicles 12:6; 1 Chronicles 26:1 2 Chronicles 20:19). As variants of this use, "the sons of the Korahites" appears once, and "the children of the Korahites" once (1 Chronicles 26:19 2 Chronicles 20:19).
In these various passages the Korahites families are counted like the other Levitical families. In 1 Chronicles 12:6 we have an account of 5 men who are designated as "the Korahites," who joined David when he was at Ziklag-Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, Jashobeam. They are described as expert warriors, especially with the bow and sling, and as being "of Saul's brethren of Benjamin." Some of them may plausibly be identified with men of the same name mentioned elsewhere. These Korahites may have been cousins of the Samuel family, and they may have resided not very far apart.
The record speaks with some emphasis of a line of Korahites doorkeepers.
In the latest Old Testament times one Mattithiah, "the first-born of Shallum the Korahite," held "the office of trust over the things that were baked in pans" (1 Chronicles 9:31). Shallum was "the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah." In this expression 15 or more generations are omitted between Ebiasaph and Kore, and perhaps as many between Kore and Shallum. The record proceeds to supply some of the omitted names between Kore and Shallum. The representative of the line in David's time was "Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah" (1 Chronicles 9:21). In all periods the Korahites were "keepers of the thresholds of the tent." Back in the time of "Phinehas the son of Eleazar," "their fathers had been over the camp of Yahweh" (1 Chronicles 9:19, 20). Zechariah was, in his time, "porter of the door of the tent of meeting" (1 Chronicles 9:21), and Shallum was still the chief of the porters (1 Chronicles 9:17). The record for David's time supports and supplements this. It says that the doorkeepers, according to the arrangements made by David, included a Korahites contingent, its leading men being Meshelemiah and his son Zechariah (1 Chronicles 26:1, 2, 9, 14), and that Meshelemiah was "the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph." Adopting the common conjecture that Asaph is here a variant for Ebiasaph, we have here the same abridgment of the genealogical list as in 1 Chronicles 9.
More interesting, however, than the fighting Korahites who claimed succession from Moses to Nehemiah, are the."sons of Korah" who were somehow connected with the service of song. One of the genealogies is introduced by the statement: "These are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of Yahweh, after that the ark had rest. And they ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of Yahweh in Jerus" (1 Chronicles 6:31, 32). Then the writer proceeds to mention first "Heman the singer, the son of Joel, the son of Samuel," and so on, carrying the genealogy back to Korah and Levi. After thus mentioning Heman, he speaks of "his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand," and traces Asaph's descent back to Gershom the son of Levi; and then says, "and on the left hand their brethren the sons of Merari." Of these the principal leader is Ethan (otherwise called Jeduthun), and his descent is here traced back to Levi.
In this way we are introduced to David's 3 great leaders in choral and orchestral music. Among them Heman the Korahite has at first the place of primacy, though Asaph, later, comes to the front. The events just referred to are mentioned again, more in detail, in the account of David's bringing the ark to Jerusalem. There it is said that at the suggestion of David "the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel," and also Asaph and Ethan, "and with them" several others, "their brethren of the second degree" (1 Chronicles 15:17, 18). The record proceeds to speak of the services of "the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan," and their associates, in the pageantry of the bringing of the ark to Jerusalem. After that, it says, Asaph had charge of the services of thanksgiving and praise before the ark in Jerusalem, while Heman and Jeduthun served in the high place at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:4; 1 Chronicles 37, 39-42). Later, the record says (1 Chronicles 25), David made an elaborate organization, under Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, for prophesying with song and instrumental music.
As the records of David's time, according to the Chronicler, thus attribute to him great achievements in sacred music and song, so the records of subsequent times reiterate the same thing. David's interest in sacred music is mentioned in connection with Solomon's temple, in connection with the times of Joash and Hezekiah and Josiah, in connection with the institutions and exploits of the times after the exile (e.g. 2 Chronicles 7:6; 2 Chronicles 23:18; 2 Chronicles 29:25;; 35:15:00; Ezra 3:10 Nehemiah 12:24, 36, 45, 46). Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun led the magnificent choir and orchestra at the dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 5:12). One of the sons of Asaph prophesied, and the sons of the Korahites sang at the crisis in the time of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:14, 19). The sons of Asaph and the sons of Heman and the sons of Jeduthun were present, and there was instrumental music and loud singing, according to the appointment of David and his associates, at the time of Hezekiah's Passover (2 Chronicles 29:13). Singing, and Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun and David have an important place in the record concerning Josiah. And the records of the post-exilian times make the singers and the "sons of Asaph" and the arrangements of David as conspicuous as the law of Moses itself.
Add to this that the names Asaph or Heman or Ethan or Jeduthun, or the designation "the sons of Korah" are attached to 25 or more of the Psalms (e.g. Psalms 42-49; 50; 62; 72-85), and we have a body of testimony that is at least abundant and intelligible. It is to the effect that there was elaborate organization, on a large scale, in connection with the musical services of the temple at Jerusalem; that this began in the time of David, as a part of the preparation for building the temple, under the influence of the family traditions of the prophet Samuel; and that the movement continued in the generations following David, either surviving the exile, or being revived after the exile. In connection with this movement, the phrases "sons of Korah," "sons of Asaph," "sons of Heman," "sons of Jeduthun" denote, in some cases, merely lineal escent; but in other cases they denote each an aggregate of persons interested in sacred song and music-a guild or society or succession or group-arising out of the movement which originated in David's time. See, for example, "sons of Asaph" (1 Chronicles 25:1, 2 2 Chronicles 20:14; compare 2 Chronicles 20:19; 2 Chronicles 29:13; 2 Chronicles 35:15 Ezra 2:41; Ezra 3:10 Nehemiah 7:44; Nehemiah 11:22) and "sons of Korah" in the titles of Psalms 42-49 and 84; 85; 87-89. Traces of these aggregates appear in the times of Solomon, of Jehoshaphat, of Joash, of Hezekiah, of Josiah, of Zerubbabel, of Ezra and Nehemiah.
If a person holds that the mention of an event in Chronicles is to be regarded as proof that the event never occurred, that person will of course deny that the testimony thus cited is true to fact. He is likely to hold that the guilds of singers arose in the exile, and that, some generations after Nehemiah, they fabricated for themselves the ecclesiastical and physical pedigrees now found in the Books of Chronicles. If, however, we accord fair play to the Chronicler as a witness, we shall be slow to discredit the minute and interfitting testimony which he has placed before us.
Willis J. Beecher
(1) In Biblical language the word "son" is used first of all in its strictly literal sense of male issue or offspring of a man or woman. In a few cases in the Old Testament, as in Genesis 3:16 Joshua 17:2 Jeremiah 20:15, the Hebrew word ben, is translated correctly in the English by the word "child" or "children" as it includes both sexes, as in Genesis 3:16, or is limited to males by the use of the modifying term "male." Closely connected with this meaning of direct male issue or of children is its use to denote descendants, posterity in the more general sense. This usage which, as in the case of the sons (children) of Israel, may be regarded perhaps as originating in the conception of direct descent from the common ancestor Israel, came in the course of time to be a mere ethnographic designation, so that the term "the children of Israel" and "the children of Ammon" meant no more than Israelites or Ammonites, that is, inhabitants of the lands of Israel or Ammon respectively. An extension of this usage is to be found in the designation of a people as the sons or children of a land or city; so in Amos 9:7 "children of the Ethiopians," or Ezekiel 16:28, where the literal rendering would be "sons of Asshur," instead of the Assyrians, and "the children of Jerus" in Joel 3:6.
See BAR (prefix); BEN-.
(2) More characteristic of Biblical usage is the employment of the word "son" to indicate membership in a class or guild, as in the common phrase "sons of the prophets," which implies nothing whatever as to the ancestry, but states that the individuals concerned are members of the prophetic guilds or schools. In the New Testament the word "sons" (huioi) in Luke 11:19, rendered "children" in Matthew 12:27 the King James Version, means, not physical descendants, but members of the class or sect; according to Matthew the Pharisees, who were attacking Christ.
(3) The word "son" is used with a following genitive of quality to indicate some characteristic of the person or persons described. In the English the word "son" is usually omitted and the phrase is paraphrased as in 2 Samuel 3:34, where the words translated "wicked men" in the King James Version mean literally, sons or children of wickedness. Two examples of this usage may be cited: the familiar phrase "sons of Belial" in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 15:13 the King James Version, and often), where the meaning is simply base or worthless fellows (compare Numbers 24:17, margin "children of Sheth" (Expository Times, XIII, 64b)); and in the New Testament the phrase "sons of thunder," which is given in Mark 3:17 as the explanation of the epithet "Boanerges." This use is common in the New Testament, as the phrases "children of the kingdom," "children of light," etc., indicate, the general meaning being that the noun in the genitive following the word children indicates some quality of the persons under consideration. The special phrases "Son of man" and "Son of God" are considered in separate articles.
See also RELATIONSHIPS, FAMILY.
Walter R. Betteridge
SONS OF GOD
(Old Testament) (bene ha-'elohim, "sons of God" (Genesis 6:2, 4 Job 1:6; Job 2:1); bene 'elohim, "sons of God" (Job 38:7); bene 'elim, "ye mighty," the King James Version; "ye sons of the mighty," King James Version margin, the Revised Version (British and American); "sons of God" or "sons of the gods," the Revised Version margin (Psalm 29:1); "sons of the mighty," the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American); "sons of God" or "sons of the gods," the Revised Version margin (Psalm 89:6 (Hebrew 7)); Septuagint huioi tou theou, hoi aggeloi tou theou (Genesis 6:2); huioi tou theou (Genesis 6:4); hoi aggeloi tou theou (Job 1:6; Job 2:1); aggeloi mou (Job 38:7); huioi theou (Psalm 29:1; Psalm 89:6; compare Daniel 3:25)):
1. Job and Psalms:
This article will deal with this phrase as it is used in the above passages. In the passages from Job and Psalms it is applied to supernatural beings or angels. In Job the "sons of God" are represented as appearing before the throne of Yahweh in heaven, ready to do Him service, and as shouting for joy at the creation of the earth, In the Psalms they are summoned to celebrate the glory of Yahweh, for there is none among them to be compared to Him. The phrase in these passages has no physical or moral reference. These heavenly beings are called "sons of God" or "sons of the 'elohim" simply as belonging to the same class or guild as the 'elohim, just as "sons of the prophets" denotes those who belong to the prophetic order (see A.B. Davidson, Commentary on Job 1:6).
2. Genesis 6:2, 4:
Different views, however, are taken of the passage in Genesis 6:2, 4: "The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all that they chose..... The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men."
See GIANTS; NEPHILIM.
(1) "Sons of God" is interpreted as referring to men,
(a) to sons of the nobles, who married daughters of the common people. This is the view of many Jewish authorities, who hold that it is justified by the use of 'elohim in the sense of "judges" (Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8, etc.). But this cannot be the meaning of 'elohim here, for when 'adham, "men," is used to denote the lower classes, it is contrasted with 'ish, as in Psalm 49:2 (Hebrew 3), not with 'elohim. When contrasted with 'elohim it signifies the human race.
(b) Some commentators hold that by "sons of God" is to be understood the pious race descended from Seth, and by "daughters of men" the daughters of worldly men. These commentators connect the passage with Genesis 4:25, where the race of Seth is characterized as the worshippers of Yahweh and is designated as a whole, a seed (compare Deuteronomy 14:1; Deuteronomy 32:5 Hosea 1:10 (Hebrew 2:1)). They consider the restricted meaning they put upon "men" as warranted by the contrast (compare Jeremiah 32:20 Isaiah 43:4), and that as the term "daughters" expresses actual descent, it is natural to understand "sons" in a similar sense. The phrase "took wives," they contend also, supports the ethical view, being always used to signify real and lasting marriages, and cannot, therefore, be applied to the higher spirits in their unholy desire after flesh. On this view Genesis 6:1-4 are an introduction to the reason for the Flood, the great wickedness of man upon the earth (6:5). It is held that nothing is said in 6:4 of a race of giants springing from the union of angels with human wives (see paragraph 2, below), and that the violence which is mentioned along with the corruption of the world (6:11) refers to the sin of the giants.
(2) Most scholars now reject this view and interpret "sons of God" as referring to supernatural beings in accordance with the meaning of the expression in the other passages. They hold that Deuteronomy 14:1, etc., cannot be regarded as supporting the ethical interpretation of the phrase in a historical narrative. The reference to Jeremiah 32:20, etc., too, is considered irrelevant, the contrast in these passages being between Israel and other nations, not, as here, between men and God. Nor can a narrower signification (daughters of worldly men) be attached to "men" in Genesis 6:2 than to "men" in 6:1, where the reference is to the human race in general. This passage (Genesis 6:1-4), therefore, which is the only one of its kind, is considered to be out of its place and to have been inserted here by the compiler as an introduction to the story of the Flood (6:5-8). The intention of the original writer, however, was to account for the rise of the giant race of antiquity by the union of demigods with human wives. This interpretation accords with Enoch chapters 6-7, etc., and with Jude 1:6, where the unnatural sin of the men of Sodom who went after "strange flesh" is compared with that of the angels (compare 2 Peter 2:4;). (See Havernick, Introduction to the Pentateuch; Hengstenberg on the Pentateuch, I, 325; Oehler, Old Testament Theology, I, 196 f; Schultz, Old Testament Theology, I, 114;; Commentary on Genesis by Delitzsch, Dillmann, and Driver.)
See ANTEDILUVIANS, 3; CHILDREN OF GOD; GIANTS; NEPHILIM; REPHAIM.
SONS OF GOD (NEW TESTAMENT)
1. New Testament Terms:
Two Greek words are translated "son," teknon, huios, both words indicating sonship by parentage, the former indicating that the sonship has taken place by physical descent, while the latter presents sonship more from the legal side than from the standpoint of relationship. John, who lays special emphasis on sonship by birth, uses teknon, while Paul, in emphasizing sonship from the legal side, as referring to adoption, which was current among the Romans but scarcely if at all known to, or if known, practiced by, the Jews, uses the word huios (John 1:12 Romans 8:14, 16, 19 Galatians 4:6, 7 1 John 3:1, 2).
2. New Testament Doctrine:
Men are not by nature the sons of God, at least not in the sense in which believers in Christ are so called. By nature those outside of Jesus Christ are "children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3), "of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2), controlled not by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14), but by the spirit of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2-4). Men become sons of God in the regenerative and adoptive sense by the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour (John 1:12 Galatians 3:26). The universal brotherhood which the New Testament teaches is that brotherhood which is based on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the divine and only Saviour of the world. And the same is true of the universal Fatherhood of God. It is true that all men are "his offspring" (Acts 17:28 f) in the sense that they are God's created children; but that the New Testament makes a very clear and striking distinction between sonship by virtue of creation and sonship by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, there can be no reasonable doubt.
Sonship is the present possession of the believer in Christ (1 John 3:2). It will be completed at the second coming of our Lord (Romans 8:23), at which time the believer will throw off his incognito, by reason of which the world may not have recognized his sonship (1 John 3:1, 2), and be fully and gloriously revealed as the son of God (2 Corinthians 5:10). It doth not yet appear, it hath not yet appeared, what we shall be; the revelation of the sons of God is reserved for a coming day of manifestation.
The blessings of sonship are too numerous to mention, save in the briefest way. His sons are objects of God's peculiar love (John 17:23), and His Fatherly care (Luke 12:27-33). They have the family name (Ephesians 3:14 1 John 3:1); the family likeness (Romans 8:29); family love (John 13:35 1 John 3:14); a filial spirit (Romans 8:15 Galatians 4:6); a family service (John 14:23; John 15:8). They receive fatherly chastisement (Hebrews 12:5-11); fatherly comfort (2 Corinthians 1:4), and an inheritance (Romans 8:17 1 Peter 1:3-5).
Among the evidences of sonship are: being led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14 Galatians 5:18); having a childlike confidence in God (Galatians 4:5); having liberty of access (Ephesians 3:12); having love for the brethren (1 John 2:9-11; John 5:1), and obedience (1 John 5:1-3).
See SON, SONS.