Innocence


2. תֹּם, H9448, “completeness,” “guilelessness” (20:5, et al.).

3. צַדִּיק, H7404, “good morally,” “rightful,” “juridically guiltless,” mistranslated “innocence” by RSV in a number of passages (20:4, et al.).

4. חִנָּ֗ם, an adverb “gratuitously,” “for nothing,” rendered “innocence” by KJV only in 1 Kings 2:31; RSV “without cause” to be preferred.

5. חַ֥ף, a hapax legomenon (Job 33:9), prob. a form derived from the rare root חפף, which appears only in Deuteronomy 33:12. In both passages the meaning is “clean,” “preserved” (KJV) “innocent,” (RSV) “clean” which is to be preferred.

A lone Aram. word זָכוּ, appears in Daniel 6:23 only, it is an Akkad. loanword and is used in the sense of “be free,” “be whole,” “be pure.” The Aram. trs. (Targ.) often use it to render 3. above.

The LXX generally renders all these terms by Gr. δίκαιος, G1465, a wide ranging standard term meaning “moral,” “just,” “right” and even “righteous” depending upon context. It must be remembered that the OT terms are not freely and easily interchanged and that the underlying idea of neutral or non-juridicial innocence is foreign to the OT world of thought. The modern concept of a state of non-commitment between two alternative moral choices simply does not exist. Therefore, all men and nations in the OT either are justified by the will of Jehovah or condemned. There is no middle ground. The same set of concepts carries over to the NT which utilizes a large number of Gr. terms to define precisely the notion of justification by God’s proclamation and upon an atonement accomplished by Christ.

The KJV renders only the Gr. ἀθῳ̂ος, G127, “guiltless” as “innocent” in its two occurrences (Matt 27:4, 24), as part of the lament of Judas after his betrayal of the Lord. The RSV, however, renders four different Gr. terms as “innocent” since the terms have in all cases nonrestricted semantic ranges. They are: 1. Δίκαιος, the common term of the LXX, which signifies obedience to the law of God and secondarily uprightness before men. Used repeatedly for moral as well as ritual cleanliness before the Jewish law, it also is applied to the divine righteousness of God and the perfect righteousness of Christ (Acts 7:52). In only two occurrences the RSV renders “innocence” quite correctly (Matt 23:35; Luke 23:47).

2. Ακέραιος, “pure” rendered “innocent” only in Matthew 10:16; Philippians 2:15, but “guileless” in Romans 16:19.

3. Αθῳ̂ος, “innocent” as KJV in Matthew 27:4, 24.

4. Κάθαρος, “clean,” “pure” of men and objects, often ceremonially in the sense required by the Jewish laws and customs. Although the word is widely used in the NT, RSV renders it innocence only in Acts 18:6; 20:26. In both cases it is a record of personal speech and may represent a mannerism. In most other passages it is simply rendered clean (Matt 23:26, et al.). The OT justification by and before God is thus represented in the NT. However, such purity or innocence is not attained by legalistic obedience, but by the application of Christ’s atonement through the obedience of faith (Col 1:22, et al.). The final declaration to be made at the parousia (1 Thess 5:23).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)