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Does the ISV have it right? All of the other translations I see have "above".

Heb 1:8 ISV But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of your kingdom is a righteous scepter. Heb 1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. That is why God, your God, anointed you rather than your companions with the oil of gladness."

Heb 1:8 προς δε τον υιον ο θρονος σου ο θεος εις τον αιωνα του αιωνος Aκαι ραβδος ευθυτητος η Aραβδος Aτης Aευθυτητος ραβδος της βασιλειας σου Heb 1:9 ηγαπησας δικαιοσυνην και εμισησας ανομιαν δια τουτο εχρισεν σε ο θεος ο θεος σου ελαιον αγαλλιασεως παρα τους μετοχους σου

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  • @René Thank you for your comment. But wouldn't "favoured over" mean "preferred" and thus he chose to anoint Jesus rather than his companions, not moreso?
    – user10231
    Oct 5, 2015 at 0:01
  • Related (and shows that @SimplyaChristian answer fits the context perfectly): hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/20190/…
    – Ruminator
    Sep 15, 2017 at 0:47

3 Answers 3

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Heb. 1:8 is a quotation of Psa. 45:7 (v. 8 according to Masoretic verse numbering).

In Psa. 45:7, it is written,

אָהַבְתָּ צֶּדֶק וַתִּשְׂנָא רֶשַׁע עַל כֵּן מְשָׁחֲךָ אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן שָׂשׂוֹן מֵחֲבֵרֶךָ

The word in question is מֵחֲבֵרֶךָ, which consists of the prepositional -מ prefixed to the word חֲבֵרֶךָ, meaning "your (sg.) companions/fellows."

The prepositional -מ can be used in Hebrew to indicate comparison, i.e., "...more than..."

For example, in Hebrew Grammar, 2nd ed., p. 429, §133a (1), Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Gesenius wrote,

Hebrew possesses no special forms either for the comparative or superlative of the adjective. In order to express a comparative, the person or thing which is to be represented as excelled in some particular quality is attached to the attributive word by the preposition מִן־‎ (מִ‍·‎), e.g. 1 S 92 גָּבֹהַּ מִכָּל־הָעָם‎ higher than any of the people. The fundamental idea evidently is, tall away from all the people (beyond all the people); cf. Ju 1418 מַה־מָּתוֹק טִדְּבַשׁ וּמֶה עַז מֵֽאֲרִי‎ what is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? Ez 283, Am 62 Frequently an infinitive appears as the object of the comparison, e.g. Gn 2919 it is better that I give her to thee, than that I should, give her, &c.; Ex 1412, ψ 1188f.

Therefore, the word מֵחֲבֵרֶךָ simply means "more than your companions/fellows." God anointed God with the oil of gladness more than his companions/fellows.

Another example can be found in Deu. 30:5 where the word מֵאֲבֹתֶיךָ means "more than your fathers."

As far as παρά being used in a comparative clause, Thayer (p. 478) notes,

b. above, beyond: παρὰ καιρὸν ἡλικίας, Heb. 11:11; παρʼ ὃ δεῖ (Plut. mor. p. 83 f. [de profect. in virt. § 13]), Ro. 12:3; i. q. more than: ἁμαρτωλοὶ παρὰ πάντας, Lk. 13:2; ἔχρισέ σε ἔλαιον παρὰ τοὺς μετ. more copiously than [A. V. above] thy fellows, Heb. 1:9 (fr. Ps. 44 (45):8; ὑψοῦν τινα παρά τινα, Sir. 15:5); κρίνειν ἡμέραν παρʼ ἡμέραν, to prefer one day to another (see κρίνω, 2), Ro. 14:5. Hence it is joined to comparatives: πλέον παρά τ. Lk. 3:13; διαφορώτερον παρʼ αὐτοὺς ὄνομα, Heb. 1:4; add, 3:3; 9:23; 11:4; 12:24; see exx. fr. Grk. auth. in W. § 35, 2 b. [and as above]. ἐλαττοῦν τινα παρά τ., to make one inferior to another, Heb. 2:7, 9.


References

Thayer, Joseph Henry. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm Wilke’s Clavis Novi Testamenti. New York: American Book, 1889.

Gesenius, Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm. Hebrew Grammar. 2nd ed. Trans. Cowley, Arthur Ernest. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910.

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  • "more than" is much clearer English than "beyond" which no one would actually say and now that I understand that the "oil of gladness" is perfume for celebration and honor rather than prophetic designation that makes sense. I'm not sure the path from the Hebrew to the Greek is as reliable as you seem to think though but I agree with your conclusion.
    – user10231
    Oct 5, 2015 at 3:14
  • @Simply a Christian, It looks like you are saying that אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֶיךָ is indicating that "God anointed God" doesn't it make more sense to see אֱלֹהֶיךָ as reiterating the covenant relationship between God and the anointed king? That God is his personal god?
    – Dan S.
    May 4, 2016 at 21:19
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The greek word "παρα" means from or beside in more ancient greek. It has come to mean despite or in spite of in modern greek. The definitions of "παρα" much more imply that this verse is using it to mean rather.

Citation: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0057:entry=para/

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  • Welcome to the Hermeneutics Stack Exchange. If you haven't done so already, check out the site tour. In particular, be sure to read the section on what constitutes a good answer and revise your post to either cite references that back your position and to more thoroughly explain how this information answers the question asked. Please note that "showing your work" is required on this Stack Exchange.
    – ThaddeusB
    Oct 4, 2015 at 21:53
  • It is certainly clearer English than "beyond". "Fred was anointed beyond Herbert" makes no sense to me; "rather than" does. Another option might be "over". "Fred was anointed over Herbert" but that is not terribly clear. "Alongside" works but the author seems to want to distinguish Jesus from the pack so that seems too weak. I'm leaning toward "rather than" also.
    – user10231
    Oct 4, 2015 at 23:54
  • The NET Bible has "over": 1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. So God, your God, has anointed you over your companions with the oil of rejoicing.”
    – user10231
    Oct 4, 2015 at 23:59
  • I've moved from "rather than" to "more than". See my comment to @H3br3wHamm3r81.
    – user10231
    Oct 5, 2015 at 3:15
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The larger much more provocative question is “Who exactly is being referred to as Jesus’s ‘fellows’?” The entire passage in Hebrews is told from a heavenly, divine viewpoint. It does not fit to take “fellows” out of that context and make them human.

While I’m not nearly ready to make the claim Jesus was created along with Lucifer and others in the heavenly host at some time in eternity past, one must admit there are some interesting passages to grapple with.

The formless and void condition of earth before the 7-day creation week began implies a former “judgment.” Perhaps it was the (or “a”) dwelling place for the heavenly host.

I believe Hebrews 1:9 is looking back to Jesus’s reaction to and character in contrast to Lucifer’s character described in Ezekiel 28:15. As a result of Lucifer’s fall from being the anointed cherub, Jesus was given the exalted position described in Hebrews 1. Hebrews 1:2 makes it clear the chapter is looking back beyond the incarnation. We know from Proverbs 8:22-31 that Jesus was given by the Father the task of bringing forth God’s creation of the heavens and earth of today. Vs 30 “as one brought up” could be more correctly translated “master workman.” And, futhermore, Jesus especially delighted in the making of the earth habitable for “sons of men,” humans! Vs 31. Jesus’s special act of the creation—-earth and earth FOR MAN to worship Him, is His inheritance. Hebrews 1:2 and he obtained that inheritance and “more excellent name” vs 4, by sticking with the Father during the original fall.I believe he was “begotten” by the Father as Son and appointed/given the earth. The archenemy, Satan, has temporarily obtained, through man’s free will, earthly rule of kingdoms (Luke 4) but Jesus won the right to get the earthly kingdom from the Father after the resurrection (parable at Luke 19:12) and sits in exile until the time appointed that his enemies be made his footstool. King Jesus will return the Earthly Kingdom to the Father at the end of 1000 years (1 Cor 15:24-28) at which point God remakes heaven and earth for a continuation of His eternal kingdom.

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