Does God Give or Receive Gifts?
Ephesians 4:8 and Psalm 68:18

        Paul quoted David as saying that Christ “…gave gifts unto men” (Ephesians 4:8) when He ascended on High.  All translations agree that Christ was giving the gifts—none of them indicate that He was receiving gifts from people.  But Psalm 68:18 is the passage Paul was quoting in Ephesians 4:8, and all of the common English versions, except the King James and the Concordant, say that God “…received gifts from men” in Psalm 68:18.  These translators gave the meaning of “received” to the Hebrew word laqah. But laqah means “to take” or “to receive” “…in the widest variety of applications” (Strong’s Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary).  Thus, laqah can mean “brought”, which would have made Psalm 68:18 read “…He brought gifts for men.”  This is similar to the manner in which laqah was handled in Genesis 15:10 where it is said that Abraham “brought” (laqah) sacrificial animals to the Lord (NIV). Laqah is in fact translated to mean either “bring” or “brought” on 40 different occasions in the NIV and should have been so translated in Psalm 68:18.  If it had been translated “brought” in Psalm 68:18, a needless “apparent conflict” in the NIV between the words of David and those of Paul would have been avoided.

        David reported that the Lord brought the gifts even to rebellious people, so that He might then dwell among them.  For the Lord to “receive” gifts from rebellious people would make no sense at all. Furthermore, God’s giving of gifts to rebellious people is a solid testimony to His plan to reconcile them all!

        In a cryptic fashion, Psalm 68:18 and many other Old Testament passages point to the idea that God will save all people.  Throughout the New Testament the gifts conferred by the glorified Christ upon all people are shown to include reconciliation, redemption, propitiation, ransom, and ultimate salvation. “But to each of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ” Ephesians 4:7. 

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