Practised by the Ishmaelites (Gen. 16:12), the Chaldeans and Sabeans (Job 1:15, 17), and the men of Shechem (Judg. 9:25. See also 1 Sam. 27:6-10; 30; Hos. 4:2; 6:9). Robbers infested Judea in our Lord's time (Luke 10:30; John 18:40; Acts 5:36, 37; 21:38; 2 Cor. 11:26). The words of the Authorized Version, "counted it not robbery to be equal," etc. (Phil. 2:6, 7), are better rendered in the Revised Version, "counted it not a prize to be on an equality," etc., i.e., "did not look upon equality with God as a prize which must not slip from his grasp" = "did not cling with avidity to the prerogatives of his divine majesty; did not ambitiously display his equality with God."
"Robbers of churches" should be rendered, as in the Revised Version, "of temples." In the temple at Ephesus there was a great treasure-chamber, and as all that was laid up there was under the guardianship of the goddess Diana, to steal from such a place would be sacrilege (Acts 19:37).
Robbery has ever been one of the principal employments of the nomad tribes of the East. From the time of Ishmael to the present day the Bedouin has been a "wild man," and a robber by trade. (Genesis 16:12
) The Mosaic law on the subject of theft is contained in (Exodus 2:2
) There seems no reason to suppose that the law underwent any alteration in Solomon?s time. Man-stealing was punishable with death. (Exodus 21:16
) Invasion of right in land was strictly forbidden. (27:17
; Isaiah 5:8
; Micah 2:2
ROBBER; ROBBERY [ISBE]
- rob'-er, rob'-er-i: "Robber" represents no particular Hebrew word in the Old Testament, but in the Apocrypha and the New Testament is always a translation of lestes (see THIEF). In the King James Version Job 5:5
, "robber" stands for the doubtful word tsammim, the Revised Version (British and American) "hungry" in JOb 5:5 and "snare" in 18:9. The meaning is uncertain, and perhaps tseme'im, "thirsty," should be read in both places. Ps 62:10
, "Become not vain in robbery," means "put not your trust in riches dishonestly gained." RV's changes of the King James Version in Prov 21:7
; Dan 11:14
; Nab 3:1 are obvious. In Phil 2:6
the King James Version reads "thought it not robbery to be equal with God." the English Revised Version has "a prize," while the English Revised Version margin and the American Standard Revised Version read "a thing to be grasped," the American Standard Revised Version rewording "counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped." The Greek here is harpagmos, a word derived from harpazo, "to ravish away," "carry off," "plunder" (compare "harpy"). Properly speaking, the termination -mos should give the derived noun an active sense, "the act of plundering," whence the King James Version's "robbery." The verse would then mean "who thought that being on an equality with God did not consist in grasping," and this translation gives good sense in the context and has some excellent scholarly support. But a passive significance is frequently found despite a -mos termination, giving to harpagmos the sense of "thing grasped," as in the Revised Version (British and American). Usually English commentators take "grasped" as meaning "clung to"--"did not think equality with God should be clung to tenaciously"--but "to cling to" seems unknown as a translation of harpazo. Hence, render "a thing to be grasped at"--did not seek equality with God by selfish methods but by humbling himself." It is to be noticed, naturally, that Paul is thinking of "equality with God" simply in the sense of "receiving explicit adoration from men" (Phil 2:10,11
), and that the metaphysical relation of the Son to the Father is not at all in point.
See also GRASP.
Burton Scott Easton