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Old & New Testament Greek Lexical Dictionary
Strong's #4647 - σκόλοψ
σκόλοψ, οπος, ὁ, anything pointed: esp. pale, stake, κεφαλὴν πῆξαι ἀνὰ σκολόπεσσι Il. 18.177; for impaling, E. IT 1430, El. 898; ἐπὶ σκόλοψι ἀναρτᾶσθαι D.S. 33.15: pl. σκόλοπες, palisade, τείχεα . . σκολόπεσσιν ἀρηρότα Od. 7.45; freq. in Il., ἐν δὲ [τάφρῳ] σκόλοπας κατέπηξαν 7.441; διά τε σκόλοπας καὶ τάφρον ἔβησαν 8.343, cf. 12.63, 15.344; σκόλοπας περὶ τὸ ἕρκος κατέπηξαν Hdt. 9.97, cf. E. Rh. 116, X. An. 5.2.5 ( Att. usually σταύρωμα ).
2. thorn, IG 42(1).121.92 (Epid., iv B.C. ), LXX Numbers 33:55, al., Dsc. 4.49, Babr. 122; σκόλοπες φοίνικος PMag.Osl. 1.270, al., cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7 .
3. an instrument for operating on the urethra, Heliod. ap. Orib. 50.9.4 .
4. point of a fishing-hook, Luc. Merc.Cond. 3 .
II tree, E. Ba. 983 (lyr.).
σκόλοψ , -οπος , ὁ ,
anything pointed, esp.
1. in cl., a stake.
2. In Hellenistic vernacular, a thorn (cf. LXX, ll. c.): σ . τῇ σαρκί , 2 Corinthians 12:7.
(cf. MM, i,, xxiii; DB, iii, 700 f.; Deiss., St. Paul, 62 f.; Field, Notes, 187).†
Copyright © 1922 by G. Abbott-Smith, D.D., D.C.L.. T & T Clarke, London.
It is not possible to trace here in detail the history of this interesting word. The utmost that can be attempted is to indicate some of its varied meanings, especially those which throw light on its NT occurrences.
The root meaning starts from στοῖχος, a ";row"; or ";rank,"; and from this the word passes to denote sounds which can be arranged in a series such as the letters of the alphabet : cf. BGU III. 959.2 (A.D. 148) στοιχ (είου) ε ̄ κολ (λήματος) ι ̄ζ ̄, and see P Par 63.116 (B.C. 164) στοιχειωδῶς, ";letter by letter."; Cf. Anth. Pal. ix. 547 (like Nos. 538, 539) to which Mr. H. Lang Jones kindly refers us, nonsense verses containing all the letters of the Greek alphabet—
Τὰ εἴκοσι τέσσαρα στοιχεῖα
Τρηχὺν δ᾽ ὑπερβὰς φραγμὸν ἐξήνθιζε κλώψ.
From this it is an easy transition to the thought of ";elementary principles,"; the ABC of a science, as in Hebrews 5:12, and in this connexion attention has been drawn to Porphyry ad Marcellam c. 24, where the iii/A.D. Neo-platonist writes—τέσσαρα στοιχεῖα μάλιστα κεκρατύνθω περὶ θεοῦ · πίστις, ἀλήθεια, ἔρως, ἐλπίς (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:13).
The meaning of ";the primary constituent elements"; of the universe (cf. Suid. : στοιχεῖόν ἐστιν ἐξ οὗ πρώτου γίνεται τὰ γινόμενα καὶ εἰς ὃ ἔσχατον ἀναλύεται) which occurs in Sap 7:17, 19:18, 4 Maccabees 12:13, is frequently found in 2 Peter 3:10; 2 Peter 3:12, where the translation ";elements"; gives excellent sense. But M. R. James (CGT ad l.) prefers the rendering ";luminaries,"; with which we may associate the word as an astrological term in P Lond 130.60 (i/ii A.D.) (= I. p. 134) στοιχείωι Διός : cf. Diog. Laert. vi. 102 τὰ δώδεκα στοιχεῖα, the signs of the Zodiac. In this connexion, by the courtesy of Dr. Darwell Stone, we have been provided with a long list of passages from Patristic writers where, in addition to other uses, τὰ στοιχεῖα is applied to heavenly bodies, and to the planets in particular. The following exx. must suffice—Just. M. Ap. 2. 5. 2 τὰ οὐράνια στοιχεῖα εἰς α ́ὔξησιν καρπῶν καὶ ὡρῶν κτλ., Ep. ad Diogn. 7. 2 οὗ τὰ μυστήρια πιστῶς πάντα φυλάσσει τὰ στοιχεῖα (mentioned after the heavens and the sea, before sun, moon, stars), Epiph. adv. Haer. 7 ἥλιον καὶ σελήνην καὶ τὰ ἄλλα ἄστρα καὶ τὰ οὐρανὸν στοιχεῖα, and the metaphorical application to distinguished men, ";great lights,"; in Polycrates apud Eus. H.E. v. 24. 2 μεγάλα στοιχεῖα κεκοίμηται, implying a literal use for sun or moon or planet.
Reference may also be made to Mr. F. H. Colson’s Essay on ";The Week"; (Cambridge University Press, 1926), in which he suggests. that the στοιχεῖα of Galatians 4:3 and Colossians 2:8 may refer to the ";seven planets,"; from which the days of the week are named (p. 95 ff.), and to A. Dieterich Abraxas (Leipzig, 1891) p. 60 ff., where there is an interesting statement regarding the application of στοιχεῖα to the physical elements in the magical papyri and the Orphic hymns, leading on to its application to the rulers and the gods. In JTS xxviii. (1927), p. 181 f. W. H. P. Hatch refers to four passages in a Syriac work entitled The Book of the Laws of the Countries, commonly ascribed to Bardaišān, which show that in Mesopotamia in ii/iii A.D. στοιχεῖα were understood as ";personal cosmic powers.";
For an extension to the thought of ";tutelary spirits,"; ";angels,"; see Deissmann in EB s.v. ";Elements,"; who applies it in the difficult NT passages Galatians 4:3; Galatians 4:9 and Colossians 2:8; Colossians 2:20, understanding by Galatians 4:3 ";cosmic spiritual beings,"; the ";angels"; by whom according to 3.19 the law was ordained, and by 4.9 ";the heathen deities"; whom the Galatians had formerly served, while in Colossians 2:8; Colossians 2:20 it is again personal powers who are thought of, ";the principalities and the powers"; of 2.15. It may be added that this interpretation can also be illustrated from modern Greek usage, as when in Abbott Songs p. 178.3 we read of τὸ στοιχεῖο᾽ τοῦ ποταμοῦ, ";the spirit of the stream."; Cf. Thumb Handbook p. 356 : στοιχειό, ";spirit,"; ";ghost,"; and στοιχειώνω, ";make a ghost of,"; ";become a spirit.";
Copyright © 1914, 1929, 1930 by James Hope Moulton and George Milligan. Hodder and Stoughton, London.
Derivative Copyright © 2015 by Allan Loder.
the Second Week after Epiphany