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The Blue Letter Bible

Synonyms of the New Testament :: Richard C. Trench

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liv. στρηνιάω, τρυφάω, σπαταλάω.

In all these words lies the notion of excess, of wanton, dissolute, self-indulgent, prodigal living, but in each case with a difference.

Στρηνιάω occurs only twice in the N. T. (Rev. 18:7, 9), στρῆνος once (Rev. 18:3; cf. 2 Kin. 19:28), and the compound καταστρηνιάω as often (1 Tim. 5:11). It is a word of the New or Middle Comedy, and is used by Lycophron, as quoted in Athenaeus (x. 420 b); by Sophilus (ib. iii. 100 a); and Antiphanes (ib. iii. 127 d); but rejected by the Greek purists—Phrynichus, indeed, affirming that none but a madman would employ it, having τρυφᾶν at his command (Lobeck, Phrynichus, p. 381). This last, which is thus so greatly preferred, is a word of solitary occurrence in the N. T. (Jam. 5:5); ἐντρυφᾶν (2 Pet. 2:13) of the same; but belongs with τρυφή (Luke 7:25; 2 Pet. 2:13) to the best age and most classical writers in the language. It will be found on closer inspection that the words do different work, and that often-times one could not be employed in room of the other.

In στρηνιᾶν (== ἀτακτεῖν, Suidas; διὰτὸνπλοῦτον ὑβρίζειν, Hesychius), is properly the insolence of wealth, the wantonness and petulance from fulness of bread; something of the Latin ‘lascivire.’ There is nothing of sybaritic effeminacy in it; so far from this that Pape connects στρῆνος with ‘strenuus’; see too Pott, Etymol. Forsch. ii. 2. 357; and there is ever the notion of strength, vigour, the German ‘Uebermuth,’ such as that displayed by the inhabitants of Sodom (Gen. 19:4-9), implied in the word. On the other hand, effeminacy, brokenness of spirit through self-indulgence, is exactly the point from which τρυφή and τρυφᾶν (connected with θρύπτειν and θρύψις) start; thus τρυφή is linked with χλιδή (Philo, De Merc. Mer. 2); with πολυτέλεια (Plutarch, Marc. 3); with μαλακία (Quom. Adul. Poët. 4); with ῥαθυμία (Marcellus, 21); cf. Suicer, Thes. s. v.; and note the company which it keeps elsewhere (Plato, 1 Alcib. 122 b); and the description of it which Clement of Alexandria gives (Strom. ii. 20): τί γὰρ ἕτερον ἡ τρυφή, ἢ φιλήδονος λιχνεία, καὶ πλεονασμὸς περίεργος, πρὸς ἡδυπάθειαν ἀνειμένων; It only runs into the notion of the insolent as a secondary and rarer meaning; being then united with ὕβρις (Aristophanes, Ranoe, 21, Strabo, vi. 1); τρυφᾶν with ὑβρίζειν (Plutarch, Proec. Ger. Rep. 3); and compare the line of Menander: ὑπερήφανόν που γίνεθ᾽ ἡ λίαν τρυφή. It occasionally from thence passes forward into a good sense, and expresses the triumph and exultation of the saints of God (Chrysostom, in Matt. Hom. 67, 668; Isai. 66:11; Ezek. 34:13; Ps. 35:9); so, too, ἐντρυφᾶν (Isai. 55:2); while the garden of Eden is παράδεισος τῆς τρυφῆς (Gen. 2:15; Joel 2:3).

Σπαταλᾶν (occurring only 1 Tim. 5:6; Jam. 5:5; cf. Ecclus. 21:17; Ezek. 16:49; Amos 6:4; the last two being instructive passages) is more nearly allied to τρυφᾶν, with which at Jam. 5:5 it is associated, than with στρηνιᾶν, but it brings in the further notion of wastefulness (==ἀναλίσκειν, Hesychius), which, consistently with its derivation from σπάω, σπαθάω, is inherent in it. Thus Hottinger: ‘τρυφᾶν deliciarum est, et exquisitae voluptatis, σπαταλᾶν luxuriae atque prodigalitatis.’ Tittmann: ‘τρυφᾶν potius mollitiam vitae luxuriosae, σπαταλᾶν petulantiam et prodigalitatem denotat.’ Theile, who takes them in the reverse order: ‘Componuntur tanquam antecedens et consequens; diffluere et dilapidare, luxuriare et lascivire.’

It will follow, if these distinctions have been rightly drawn, that the σπαταλᾶν might properly be laid to the, charge of the Prodigal, scattering his substance in riotous living (ζῶν ἀσώτως, Luke 15:13); the τρυφᾶν to the Rich Man faring sumptuously every day (εὐφραινόμενος καθ᾽ ἡμέραν λαμπρῶς, Luke 16:19); the στρηνιᾶν to Jeshurun, when, waxing fat, he kicked (Deut. 32:15).

[The following Strong's numbers apply to this section:G4684,G4763,G5171.]

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