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Begotten

BEGOTTEN

be-got'-'-n (yaladh; "to bear," "bring forth," "beget"; denotes the physical relation of either parent to a child, Genesis 3:16; 4:18):

Used metaphorically of God's relation to Israel (Deuteronomy 32:18) and to the Messianic king (Psalms 2:7); (gennao, "to beget," or "bear"): generally used of a father (Matthew 1:1-16); more rarely of a mother (Luke 1:13,57); used metaphorically of causing or engendering moral and spiritual relations and states (1 Corinthians 4:15; Philemon 1:10); of the new birth the Holy Spirit (John 3:3). Men who obey and love God as sons are begotten of Him (John 1:13; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1,4,18; compare 1 Peter 1:23). Used especially of God's act in making Christ His Son: "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee" (Psalms 2:7) quoted in Acts 13:33 in reference to His resurrection (compare Romans 1:4). The same passage is cited (Hebrews 1:5) as proving Christ's filial dignity, transcending the angels in that "he hath inherited a more excellent name than they," i.e. the name of son; and again (Hebrews 5:5) of God conferring upon Christ the glory of the priestly office.

Commentators differ as to whether the act of begetting the Son in these two passages is:

  1. the eternal generation, or
  2. the incarnation in time, or
  3. the resurrection and ascension.

The immediate context of Hebrews 1:5 (see Hebrews 1:3) seems to favor the last view (Westcott). The first view would not be foreign to the author's thought:

with Hebrews 5:5 compare Hebrews 6:20, "a high priest forever" (Alford). The author of Heb thinks of the eternal and essential sonship of Christ as realized in history in His ascension to the "right hand of the Majesty" (Hebrews 1:3). And what is emphatic is the fact and status of sonship, rather than the time of begetting.

T. Rees


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'BEGOTTEN'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.