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§35. Prophecies of the Cross. How these prophecies are satisfied in Christ alone.

But, perhaps, having heard the prophecy of His death, you ask to learn also what is set forth concerning the Cross. For not even this is passed over: it is displayed by the holy men with great plainness. 2. For first Moses predicts it, and that with a loud voice, when he p. 55 says: “Ye shall see 291 your Life hanging before your eyes, and shall not believe.” 3. And next, the prophets after him witness of this, saying: “But 292 I as an innocent lamb brought to be slain, knew it not; they counselled an evil counsel against me, saying, Hither and let us cast a tree upon his 293 bread, and efface him from the land of the living.” 4. And again: “They pierced 294 my hands and my feet, they numbered all my bones, they parted my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots.” 5. Now a death raised aloft and that takes place on a tree, could be none other than the Cross: and again, in no other death are the hands and feet pierced, save on the Cross only. 6. But since by the sojourn of the Saviour among men all nations also on every side began to know God; they did not leave this point, either, without a reference: but mention is made of this matter as well in the Holy Scriptures. For “there 295 shall be,” he saith, “the root of Jesse, and he that riseth to rule the nations, on him shall the nations hope.” This then is a little in proof of what has happened. 7. But all Scripture teems with refutations of the disbelief of the Jews. For which of the righteous men and holy prophets, and patriarchs, recorded in the divine Scriptures, ever had his corporal birth of a virgin only? Or what woman has sufficed without man for the conception of human kind? Was not Abel born of Adam, Enoch of Jared, Noe of Lamech, and Abraham of Tharra, Isaac of Abraham, Jacob of Isaac? Was not Judas born of Jacob, and Moses and Aaron of Ameram? Was not Samuel born of Elkana, was not David of Jesse, was not Solomon of David, was not Ezechias of Achaz, was not Josias of Amos, was not Esaias of Amos, was not Jeremy of Chelchias, was not Ezechiel of Buzi? Had not each a father as author of his existence? Who then is he that is born of a virgin only? For the prophet made exceeding much of this sign. 8. Or whose birth did a star in the skies forerun, to announce to the world him that was born? For when Moses was born, he was hid by his parents: David was not heard of, even by those of his neighbourhood, inasmuch as even the great Samuel knew him not, but asked, had Jesse yet another son? Abraham again became known to his neighbours as 296 a great man only subsequently to his birth. But of Christ’s birth the witness was not man, but a star in that heaven whence He was descending.



Deut. xxviii. 66, see Orat ii. 16, note 1.


Jer. xi. 19.


Properly “let us destroy the tree with its bread” (i.e. fruit). The LXX, translate belahmô ‘upon his bread,’ which is possible in itself; but they either mistook the verb, or followed some wrong reading. Their rendering is followed by all the Latin versions. For a comment on the latter see Tertull. adv. Marc. iii. 19, iv. 40.


Ps. xxii. 16, sqq.


Isa. xi. 10.


Or ‘only after he had grown great,’ i.e. to man’s estate.

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