ACCOMMODATION (alc-k6m'rno-da'shun) (exe getical or special) is principally employed in the application of certain passages of the Old Testa ment to events in the New, to which they had no actual historical or typical reference. In this ..ense it is also called illustration. Citations of this description are apparently very frequent throughout the whole New Testament, hut espe cially in the Epistle to the Hebrews. As the system of exegetical accommodation has in mod ern times been the occasion of much angry con troversy, it will he necessary to enter somewhat minutely into its character and history.
It cannot be denied that many such passages, although apparently introduced as referring to, or predictive of, certain events recorded in the New Testament, seem to have, in their original connection, an exclusive reference to quite other objects. The difficulty of reconciling such seem ing misapplications, or deflections from their original design, has been felt in all ages, although it has been chiefly reserved to recent times to give a solution of the difficulty by the theory of accommodation. By this it is meant that the prophecy or citation from the Old Testament was not designed literally to apply to the event in question, but that the New Testament writer merely adopted it for the sake of ornament, or in order to produce a strong impression, by show ing a remarkable parallelism between two analo gous events, which had in themselves no mutual relation.
Calinet, Doddridge, Rosenmiiller, and John are among the commentators who look upon passages introduced by the formula "that it might be fulfilled," as equally accommodations with those which are prefaced by the words 'then was fulfilled ;" while those who deny the accommoda tive theory altogether considered both as formulas of direct prophecies, at least in a secondary or typical sense. This, for instance, is the case espe cially in regard to the two citations of this description which first present themselves in the New Testament, viz., Matt. ii :is, and Matt. ii :17, the former of which is introduced by the first, and the latter by the second of these formulas. But inasmuch as the commentators above referred to cannot perceive how the citation from Hosea xi :1, 'Out of Egypt have I called my son.' although prefaced by the formula 'that it might be fulfilled,' and which literally relates to the calling of the children of Israel out of Egypt, can be prophetically diverted from its historical meaning, they look upon it as a simple accommo dation, or applicable quotation, and consider the rya 7r)oipco0C7 as a Jewish formula of accom modation Mr. T. H. Horne, in his Introduction
to the Critical Study of the Holy Scriptures, says: 'The apostles, who were Jews by birth, and wrote and spoke in the Jewish idiom, frequently thus cite the Old Testament, intending no more by this mode of speaking than that the words of such an ancient writer might with equal pro priety be adopted to characterize any similar occurrence which happened in their times. The formula "that it might be fulfilled," does not therefore differ in signification from the phrase "then was fulfilled," applied in the following cita tion in Matt. ii :17, r8, from Jer. xxxi :15, 17, to the massacre of the infants at Bethlehem. They are a beautiful quotation, and not a prediction of what then happened, and are therefore applied to the massacre of the infants according not to their original and historical meaning, but accord ing to Jewish phraseology.' Dr. Adam Clarke also, in his Commentary on Jeremiah (xxxi: r5-17), takes the same view :—"St. Matthew, who is ever fond of accommodation, applied these words to the massacre of the children of Bethle hem; that is, they were suitable to that occasion, and therefore he applied them, but they are not a prediction of that event." Among those who, in modern times, have most ably vindicated the system of the typical inter pretation of prophecy, as opposed to the accom modation theory, is Professor Tholuck, of Berlin, in the Dissertation affixed to his Commentary on Hebrews. He does not, indeed, deny all instances of accommodation, but refers a great number of passages which had been so interpreted (as Matt. :15- ; xxvii :9-35 ; John iii :14 ; xix :24, 36 ; Acts i :2o; ii:27-31) to the class of typical prophecies.
The following list of passages Mr. Horne subjoins as accommodated from the Old Testa ment by the writers of the New. Many of them may be included, however, among the typical in terpretations of prophecy : Gen. xv :5. cited in Rom. iv:18.
Rom. iv:3. Gal, Gen. / iii:6. and James ii :23.