7 occurrences in 7 dictionaries

Reference: Adoption


Is an act by which a person takes a stranger into his family, acknowledges him for his child, and constitutes him heir of his estate. Jacob's adoption of his two grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh, Ge 48:5, was a kind of substitution, whereby he intended that these his grandson should have each his lot in Israel, as if they had been his own sons: "Ephraim and Manasseh are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine." As he give no inheritance to their father Joseph, the effect of this adoption was simply the doubling of their inheritance.

But Scripture afford instances of another kind of adoption-that of a father having a daughter only, and adopting her children. Thus, 1Ch 2:21, Machir, grandson of Joseph, and father of Gilead, Nu 26:29, gave his daughter to Hezron, "who took her; and was a son of sixty years," sixty years of age, "and she bare hi Segub; and Segub begat Jair, who had twenty-three cities in the land of Gilead," Jos 13:30; 1Ki 4:13. However, as well he as his posterity, instead of being reckoned to the family of Judah, as they would have been by their paternal descent from Hezron, is reckoned as sons of Machir, the father of Gilead. Nay, more, it appears, Nu 32:41, that this Jair, who was in fact the son of Segub, the son of Segub, the son of Hezron, the son of Judah, is expressly called "Jair, the son of Manasseh," because his maternal great-grandfather was Machir to the son of Manasseh. In like manner we read that Mordecai adopted Esther, his niece; he took her to himself to be a daughter, Es 2:7. So the daughter of Pharaoh adopted Moses; and he became her son, Ex 2:10. So we read, Ru 4:17, that Naomi had a son-a son is born to Naomi; when indeed it was the son of Ruth.

At the present day, adoption is not uncommon in the East, where it is made before a public officer with legal forms.

In the New Testament, adoption denotes that act of God's free grace by which, on being justified through faith, we are received into the family of God, and made heirs of the inheritance of heaven. It is "in Christ," and through his atoning merits, that believers "receive the adoption of sons," Ga 4:4-5. Some of the privileges of this state are, deliverance from a fearful and servile spirit; the special love and care of our heavenly Father; conformity to his image; a filial confidence in him; free access to him at all times; the witness of the Holy Spirit, whereby we cry, "Abba, Father;" and the title to our heavenly home,

Ro 8:14-17; Eph 1:4-5.

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the giving to any one the name and place and privileges of a son who is not a son by birth.

(1.) Natural. Thus Pharaoh's daughter adopted Moses (Ex 2:10), and Mordecai Esther (Es 2:7).

(2.) National. God adopted Israel (Ex 4:22; De 7:6; Ho 11:1; Ro 9:4).

(3.) Spiritual. An act of God's grace by which he brings men into the number of his redeemed family, and makes them partakers of all the blessings he has provided for them. Adoption represents the new relations into which the believer is introduced by justification, and the privileges connected therewith, viz., an interest in God's peculiar love (Joh 17:23; Ro 5:5-8), a spiritual nature (2Pe 1:4; Joh 1:13), the possession of a spirit becoming children of God (1Pe 1:14; 2Jo 1:13; Ro 8:15-21; Ga 5:1; Heb 2:15), present protection, consolation, supplies (Lu 12:27-32; Joh 14:18; 1Co 3:21-23; 2Co 1:4), fatherly chastisements (Heb 12:5-11), and a future glorious inheritance (Ro 8:17,23; Jas 2:5; Php 3:21).

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The taking of one as a son who is not so by birth.

(I.) Natural: As Pharaoh's daughter adopted Moses; Mordecai Esther; Abraham Eliezer (as a slave is often in the East adopted as son) (Ge 15:2-3); Sarai the son to be born by Hagar, whom she gave to her husband; Leah and Rachel the children to be born of Zilpah and Bilhah, their handmaids respectively, whom they gave to Jacob their husband. The handmaid at the birth brought forth the child on the knees of the adoptive mother (Ge 30:3); an act representative of the complete appropriation of the sons as equal in rights to those by the legitimate wife. Jacob adopted as his own Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, on the same footing as Reuben and Simeon, his two elder sons (Ge 48:5). Thereby he was able to give Joseph his favorite son more than his single share, with his brothers, of the paternal heritage. The tribes thus were 13, only that Levi had no land division; or Ephraim and Manasseh were regarded as two halves making up but one whole tribe.

In 1 Chronicles 2, Machir gives his daughter to Hezron of Judah; she bore Segub, father of Jair. Jair inherited 23 cities of Gilead in right of his grandmother. Though of Judah by his grandfather, he is (Nu 32:41) counted as of Manasseh on account of his inheritance through his grandmother. So Mary, being daughter of Heli, and Joseph her husband being adopted by him on marrying his daughter, an heiress (as appears from her going to Bethlehem to be registered in her pregnancy), Joseph is called in Luke's genealogy son of Heli. By the Roman law of adoption, which required a due legal form, the adopted child was entitled to the father's name, possessions, and family sacred rights, as his heir at law. The father also was entitled to his son's property, and was his absolute owner. Gratuitous love was the ground of the selection generally. Often a slave was adopted as a son. Even when not so, the son adopted was bought from the natural father. A son and heir often adopted brothers, admitting them to share his own privileges; this explains beautifully Joh 8:36, compare Heb 2:11; or else the usage alluded to is that of the son, on coming into the inheritance, setting free the slaves born in the house. The Jews, though not having exactly the same customs, were familiar with the Roman usage's.

(II.) National: as God adopted Israel (Ro 9:4; De 7:6; Ex 4:22-23; Ho 11:1); compare Jer 3:19, "How shall I put thee among the children (Greek huiothesia) ... thou shalt call Me, my Father." The wonder expressed is, how shall one so long estranged from God as Israel has been be restored to the privileges of adoption? The answer is, by God's pouring out on them hereafter the Spirit of adoption crying to God, "Father" (Isa 63:16; 64:8; Ho 3:4-5; Zec 12:10).

(III.) Spiritual and individual. An act of God's sovereign grace, originating in God's eternal counsel of love (Eph 1:4-5; Jer 31:3); actually imparted by God's uniting His people by faith to Christ (Joh 1:12-13; Ro 8:14-16; Ga 3:26; 4:4-5). The slave once forbidden to say father to the master, being adopted, can use that endearing appellation as a free man. God is their Father, because Christ's Father (Joh 20:17). Sealed by the Holy Spirit, the earnest of the future inheritance (Eph 1:13). Producing the filial cry of prayer in all, Jew and Gentile alike (See ABBA) (Ga 4:6); and the fruit of the Spirit, conformity to Christ (Ro 8:29), and renewal in the image of our Father (Col 3:10). Its privileges are God's special love and favor (1Jo 3:1; Eph 5:1); union with God, so perfect hereafter that it shall correspond to the ineffable mutual union of the Father and Son (Joh 17:23,26); access to God with filial boldness (Mt 6:8-9; Ro 8:15,26-27), not slavish fear such as the law generated (Ga 4:1-7; Joh 4:17-18; 5:14); fatherly correction (Heb 12:5-8); provision and protection (Mt 6:31-33; 10:29-30); heavenly inheritance (1Pe 1:3-4; Re 21:7).

The "adoption" is used for its full manifestation in the resurrection of the believer with a body like Christ's glorious body (Ro 8:23). Christ was Son even in His humiliation; but He was only "declared (definitively in the Greek) the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead" (Ro 1:4), "the first begotten from the dead" (Re 1:5). Hence Paul refers, "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee" (Ps 2:7) to the day of His resurrection. Not that He then first became Son, but His sonship was then openly vindicated by the Father's raising Him from the dead (Ac 13:33). So our "adoption" is still waited for, in the sense of its open manifestation (Ro 8:11,19; 1Jo 3:2). It is now a reality, but as yet a hidden reality. Our regeneration is now true (Tit 3:5), but its full glories await Christ's coming to raise His saints. The first resurrection shall be the saints' manifested regeneration (Mt 19:28). They have three birthdays: the natural, the spiritual, the glorified. Sonship and the first resurrection are similarly connected (Lu 20:36; 1Pe 1:3). By creation Adam (Lu 3:38) and all men (Ac 17:28-29) are sons of God; by adoption only believers (1Co 12:3). The tests are in 1Jo 3:9; 4/4'>4:4,6; 5:1,4,18-21.

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The term 'adoption' is found five times in St. Paul's letters (Ro 8:15,22; 9:4; Ga 4:5; Eph 1:5), and not elsewhere in the NT. In Ro 9:4 reference is made to the favoured position of the Jews as the chosen people. To them belonged the adoption, the position of sons (Ex 4:22). In the remaining passages St. Paul uses the word to describe the privileges of the Christian as opposed to the unbeliever. He is trying, as a rule, to bring home to Gentile readers the great change wrought by the coming of Christ. Though W. M. Ramsay has attempted to identify peculiarities of Syro-Greek law in Ga 4, and though it is true that 'no word is more common in Greek inscriptions of Hellenistic times: the idea like the word is native Greek,' yet St. Paul's use of the term seems to be based on Roman law. See Hastings' ERE, s.v.

Adoption in Roman law could be effected by a modified form of the method of sale known as mancipation. 'The Roman Mancipation required the presence, first, of all of the parties, the vendor and the vendee.

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The word is ????????, the adoption of sons, or the placing of persons in the position of sons, with all the privileges attaching thereto. Examples of this in a natural way are seen in the O.T. in Moses being an adopted son of the daughter of Pharaoh, Ex 2:10, and Esther being adopted by her cousin Mordecai, Es 2:7. In a higher sense Israel was the adopted son of God. Moses was instructed to say to Pharaoh, "Thus saith Jehovah, Israel is my son, even my firstborn." Ex 4:22 : cf. also De 14:1; Isa 43:6. So that Paul, when enumerating the privileges of Israel, could say that to them pertained the 'adoption.' Ro 9:4. In a much higher sense, since redemption has been wrought, those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are in the new creation sons by adoption, and the Spirit of God's Son is given them so that they can call God Abba Father, and not only be sons but know and enjoy the relationship with all its blessed privileges. Ga 4:5-6. The Christian receives the spirit of adoption, the Holy Ghost bearing witness with his spirit that he is a child of God. Not that he enters into the full blessedness of being God's son until the future; for we who have the first-fruits of the Spirit groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption

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an expression used by St. Paul in reference to the present and prospective privileges of Christians.

Ro 8:15,23; Ga 4:5; Eph 1:5

He probably alludes to the Roman custom by which a person not having children of his own might adopt as his son one born of other parents. The relationship was to all intents and purposes the same as existed between a natural father and son. The term is used figuratively to show the close relationship to God of the Christian.

Ga 4:4-5; Ro 8:14-17

He is received into God's family from the world, and becomes a child and heir of God.

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ADOPTION. An act by which one takes another into his family, owns him for his son, and appoints him his heir. The Greeks and Romans had many regulations concerning adoption. It does not appear that adoption, properly so called, was formerly in use among, the Jews. Moses makes no mention of it in his laws; and the case of Jacob's two grandsons, Ge 48:14, seems rather a substitution.

2. Adoption in a theological sense is that act of God's free grace by which, upon our being justified by faith in Christ, we are received into the family of God, and entitled to the inheritance of heaven. This appears not so much a distinct act of God, as involved in, and necessarily flowing from, our justification; so that at least the one always implies the other. Nor is there any good ground to suppose that in the New Testament the term adoption is used with any reference to the civil practice of adoption by the Greeks, Romans, or other Heathens, and therefore it is not judicious to illustrate the texts in which the word occurs by their formalities. The Apostles in using the term appear to have had before them the simple view, that our sins had deprived us of our sonship, the favour of God, and the right to the inheritance of eternal life; but that, upon our return to God, and reconciliation with him, our forfeited privileges, were not only restored, but greatly heightened through the paternal kindness of God. They could scarcely be forgetful of the affecting parable of the prodigal son; and it is under the same view that St. Paul quotes from the Old Testament, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Adoption, then, is that act by which we who were alienated, and enemies, and disinherited, are made the sons of God, and heirs of his eternal glory. "If children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ;" where it is to be remarked, that it is not in our own right, nor in the right of any work done in us, or which we ourselves do, though it should be an evangelical work, that we become heirs; but jointly with Christ, and in his right.

3. To this state belong, freedom from a servile spirit, for we are not servants but sons; the special love and care of God our heavenly Father; a filial confidence in him; free access to him at all times and in all circumstances; a title to the heavenly inheritance; and the Spirit of adoption, or the witness of the Holy Spirit to our adoption, which is the foundation of all the comfort we can derive from those privileges, as it is the only means by which we can know that they are ours.

4. The last mentioned great privilege of adoption merits special attention. It consists in the reward witness or testimony of the Holy Spirit to the sonship of believers, from which flows a comfortable persuasion or conviction of our present acceptance with God, and the hope of our future and eternal glory. This is taught in several passages of Scripture:

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