Ordered by the Synod of Dort, 1618
English by Theodore Haak “The Dutch annotations upon the whole Bible, or, All the holy canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testament together with, and according to their own translation of all the text, as both the one and the other were ordered and appointed by the Synod of Dort, 1618 and published by authority, 1637, now faithfully communicated to the use of Great Britain, in English : whereunto is prefixed an exact narrative touching the whole work, and this translation”
(On Matthew 12:43)
“By this similitude Christ teacheth, that when a man by the knowledge of the gospel is freed from his natural ignorance, and notwithstanding lives not according to it, but keeps it under, he is much worse than before, see 2 Pet. ii. 20, 21.” (Annot. in loc.)
(On Matthew 21)
“In this parable or similitude, God the Father is compared to the father of a family, the church of the Jews to a vineyard, the priests and scribes to husbandmen, the prophets and faithful teachers to servants, Christ to the son of the father of the family, and faith and obedience to fruits ; which seeing they did not bring forth, therefore their ruin by the Romans is threatened, and the calling of the Gentiles in their room foretold. See the like similitude, Ps. Ixxx. 9 ; Isa. vi. 1; Jer. xii. 10.” (Annot.)
(On Luke 13:3)
“That is, be destroyed by God’s righteous judgment, as also afterwards came to pass by the Romans.” (Annot. in loc.)
(On 1 Thessalonians 2:16)
“This is by some understood of the heaviness of the judgment, or wrath of God, which God is wont to send down upon the heads of such men, both here and hereafter ; by others, as fitly, of the continuance of the judgment or wrath of God, which came upon this stiff-necked generation of the Jews, shortly after that time, when God exemplarily punished them, with the greater part of the rest, assembled out of all quarters at Jerusalem, by the Romans, and so destroyed them, that they are yet no more a people, but remain scattered amongst all nations, and are generally hardened in unbelief.” (Annot. in loc.)
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
“Guyse, Poole’s Continuators, Wynne, and others, apply the whole of chap. xxiv. and xxv., both to the destruction of Jerusalem and the day of general judgment, saying it is difficult to separate what is said in relation to the one subject from what is said in relation to the other: Dr. S. Clarke gives this double application as far as chap. xxv. 13, and applies the remainder of chap. xxv. exclusively to the day of judgment: Trapp fixes on chap. xxiv. 23, as the point where Jesus commenced speaking of the general judgment: the authors of the Dutch Annotations, on xxiv. 29: Heylin. on xxiv. 36: Macknight, on xxiv. 44 : Dr. Scott, on the latter part of chap. xxiv., but he does not designate the particular point; ‘ towards the close,’ is his expression : Dr. A. Clarke, on xxv. 1; though, when he comes to verse 31, he admits that the preceding part may refer to the destruction of Jerusalem ; the remainder, he imagines, must apply to the general judgment : Bishop Porteus fixes on xxv. 31: Dr. Hammond gives a double application to this verse, and applies all which follows, to the general judgment: while Bishop Pearce admits that Jesus continued to speak of the destruction of Jerusalem as far as ver. 41; but there, he imagines, he ‘ had the day of general judgment in his thoughts.” (Selections from Eminent Commentators)
Rev. Jerome Julien
“This is a wonderful addition to a home, church, school, or minister’s library . . . Originally, these notes were commissioned by the Great Synod of Dort, 1618-1619, along with the Staten Bijbel, a completely new translation of Scripture. In a very real sense, this is probably the earliest study Bible ever produced. We might say of it that it is a short commentary on the Bible.
Roelof A. Janssen, editor and publisher
This volume, the first of what is planned, D.V., to be a republication of the whole set of annotations, contains an historical sketch — written most likely by Theodore Haak, and other documents from the 1637 Dutch edition. There is also an account of a gold coin produced by the States General of the United Netherlands commemorating the Synod. This coin is also stamped in gold on the front and back covers. (It must be added that the binding is beautiful!) Inside the front and back covers are reprinted the title pages of the Dutch Staten Bijbel and the English translation by Haak, dated 1657.
The notes are preceded by an introduction to each Bible book, and a summary at the head of each chapter. While the notes on Genesis are much more detailed due to the nature of the content, many insights are found on all the pages. These notes might not be what you would read in a commentary published today, but they give concise explanations of the verses. Regularly, they give cross references to other Biblical passages which shed further light on what God says in the text. Also, these notes give a historic-redemptive understanding of the Bible history. Ministers, as well as Bible students, will find helpful information here, as well as ideas to develop.
For those who might be interested, the position on creation days is “that night and day . . . made up one natural day together . . . comprehending twenty-four hours” (see Genesis 1:5). Further, the Book of Genesis lays open God’s “everlasting covenant.” The note on Genesis 17:7 states that it is “Everlasting for all believers in Christ . . .” This subject is discussed at great length in the appropriate places.
Of what value is this new, but very old set of notes? Some scholars might look with disdain on a republication of these notes. Yet, historically they have value because we can read in English what our fathers at Dort taught and believed concerning Biblical teachings other than those well explained in the Canons of Dort. It is foolhardy to cut ourselves off from our heritage, as so many wish to do today. Now, what has been readily available in the Dutch language for the last 350 years, is in a newly translated and typeset English edition for our reading and spiritual benefit.
Further, this volume has a practical value. For those who still attend church society meetings, or for those involved in Bible studies, here is a concise and helpful Reformed commentary. Its format allows it to be on the table with our Bibles, Psalters, and notes.
This is an ambitious project which Inheritance has undertaken. We must be grateful for their dedicated work. It is the hope of this reviewer that the day will come, beginning now, when this set will not only be displayed in many, many homes, but also well worn through use. In this day of seemingly shrinking interest in the Reformed Faith we and our children must be grounded in God’s Truth!
In a time of much confusion and debate about reliable manuscripts of God’s Word, as well as the proper place of God’s Church, Covenant, and the Christ-centeredness of the whole Bible, there is an urgent need to reach back to one of the best and possibly only ecclesiastical translation of the Bible ever made. Even though the States General of the United Netherlands authorized this translation, it did so upon a decree of the famous Synod of Dort (1618-1619). The high value of this translation and its annotations — also written by the translators, who were among the best theologians of the early seventeenth century — is evident in the example below. The translators were not bothered by publishers who wanted to have as big a market as possible and so make compromises to avoid controversies as is the case so much today but seriously looked at what God revealed in His Word and stuck faithfully to the text. Their humbleness in often not being sure of what the text really means is evident throughout the annotations, nevertheless they have given a faithful translation of these texts. There is no better tool for the unity of God’s church today then abiding by a reliable Bible translation and explanation. Since this English translation is not a direct translation of the original texts, it would not be suitable as a current ecclesiastical translation, but nevertheless it may be one of the best tools to come to a new ecclesiastical translation. In the meantime it is a number one tool for personal and group Bible study for those who cannot read the original languages. “
Theodore Haak a learned German, born at Worms, in the Palatinate, л. D. 1605, and who died 1690. He is author of Dutch annotations upon the Bible, London, 1567. 2 vols. fol. the Translation of the Bible ordered by the Synod of Dort, and first published in 1637, several books of practical English Divinity, and a part of Milton’s Paradise Lost. He is said to have suggested the weekly meetings of the Royal Society of London, and to have been one of its first members.
Certificate about Haak’s Translation of the Dutch Bible and Annotations.
A Certificate touching the Dutch Bible.
We, whose Names are hereunder written, considering that, ever since the Year 1637, at which Time the new Translation of the Bible in the Dutch Language, with large and continual Annotations thereupon, was published, it hath been the uncessant Desire and Longing of such as for Eternal Life search the Scriptures, both Ministers and others in these Kingdoms (which they have expressed at all Occasions), to have those Annotations translated into the English Tongue, promising themselves a rich Treasure of Knowledge and Spiritual Understanding from the Labours of so many eminent Divines as by the Choice of the famous Synod at Dort were set apart for so good and great a Work, and with servent and continual Prayers unto the Father of Lights, and extraordinary Care and Diligence (wherein they had all Helps and Encouragements), were for the Space of Nineteen Years exercised therein; and we, not only by Information of such as are skilled in that Language, but from the Knowledge of the judicious, sound, and satisfactory Interpretation of some more obscure and controverted Places, wherein divers of us have used the Means to take Trial, and have made Proof, being very confident that the Satisfaction of this earnest and pious Desire would prove profitable to all the Godly in these Kingdoms (desiring that the Word of God may dwell plentifully in their Hearts by Faith), and at this Time most seasonable, when so many are dangerously seduced by the Misrepresentation of the Will of God, through the wresting of the Scriptures, cannot but in our Hearts acknowledge the wise and gracious Providence of God (who provided Bread for the Hungry, and doth not despise the Desires of the Humble, delighting to know His Will and to walk in His Paths), in directing and leading us at last to a learned Gentleman, Theodore Haak, every Way fitted for such a Task, he being by Birth and Breeding a German, about Twenty Years conversant in England, where not only his Faithfulness is known in divers Public Employments, but his Dexterity also in translating divers English Books of Practical Divinity into the German Tongue, and whose Affection and Zeal to the Glory of God and Good of the Church we know to be such, that he would willingly bestow himself upon the accurate and painful Prosecution of this Work, which he hath already entered upon, were he not hindered by such Discouragements as the reciprocal Zeal of the Godly, with the Desire of their own spiritual Comfort, and of the Edification of the Church, may easily remove:
We, therefore, grieved that the Churches of Christ in these Kingdoms have for so long a Time wanted so inestimable a Benefit, and fearing that, if the present Opportunity be not apprehended, the like (all Things considered) shall not readily be offered hereafter, do, in all Earnestness of Spirit, intreat that such as in Sincerity desire the sober and solid Knowledge of the Will of God in Christ, revealed in Scripture, may with us join their Prayers and Endeavours for removing all Hinderances and Discouragements out of the Way, that so necessary a Work may be presently prosecuted, and, with all Speed, for the Use of the Church, and the Honour of Jesus Christ, brought to Perfection.
Ordinance for Haak to have the Property of it for Fourteen Years.
Ordinance H. L. That Theodore Haak may be authorized to print and vent the Annotations upon the Dutch Bible for Fourteen Years next after the Date hereof, and no other.
Lords Committees appointed by the House to consider of the Ordinance touching the Dutch Bible; and to make Report; (videlicet,)
E. Warwicke.E. Manchester.
From: ‘House of Lords Journal Volume 8: 24 September 1646’, Journal of the House of Lords: volume 8: 1645-1647 (1802), pp. 502-04. URL: . Date accessed: 10 August 2005.
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