The Evangelical Universalist Forum

What does propitiation mean?

That word [size=150]ἵλεώς[/size] (hileōs) is an interesting one appearing only twice in the NT though quite a few times in the OT. It’s invariably rendered “propitious” or “merciful” or “kindness” and usually used in terms of God being favourably disposed (clement) when it comes to issuing forgiveness to His people.

It is also interesting to see [size=150]ἵλεώς[/size] (hileōs) used as an idiom i.e., a ‘figure of speech” much as we do in English… which just highlights the fact that the so-called literal rendering of Greek words isn’t always the only or sole basis for correct translation (interpretation). Example:

Mt 16:22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

Mt16:22 Καὶ προσλαβόμενος αὐτὸν ὁ Πέτρος ἤρξατο ἐπιτιμᾷν αὐτῷ λέγων, [size=150]ἵλεώς[/size] σοι κύριε οὐ μὴ ἔσται σοι τοῦτο.

The phrase “far be it” is this single Greek word ἵλεώς (hileōs). It’s as though Peter in all his passionate enthusiasm is saying “Mercy Lord this can never be!”

There is one OT passage in kind demonstrating this same idiomatic use where ἵλεώς (hileōs) is used twice…

2Sam 20:20 And Joab answered and said, “Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy!

2Kgs 20:20 καὶ ἀπεκρίθη Ιωαβ καὶ εἶπεν [size=150]ἵλεώς[/size] μοι [size=150]ἵλεώς[/size] μοι εἰ καταποντιῶ καὶ εἰ διαφθερῶ. (LXX 2Kgs = Heb 2Sam)

Just a thought. :sunglasses: