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3634RE: [lxx] Translation Shift in Greek Zechariah 8?

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  • Yahunathan and the CF's
    Jun 8, 2011
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      Regarding your "Please note:..." paragraph below, thanks for being respectful TO HIM by not being like the prophets of falsehood who tried to make His people forget HIS NAME by their dreams(deceit in their own hearts) which everyone relates to his neighbor, as their fathers forgot His name for ba'al(Jer. 23:25-27...). Thank you for having a heart for Deb./Deut. 4:2 and Prov./Mish. 30:6, and knowing that He is YHUH(yod-hey-uau-hey) and shall not change(Mal. 3:6). Regarding your study, no particular feedback except "Awesome, keep it up!" and keep us informed about all the truth that is revealed to you. Ab will approve. I for one don't have but a kindergarten level understanding of Scriptural Hebrew grammar, so power on, and thanks for the tasty tidbits.

      Blessings! Jon

      To: lxx@yahoogroups.com
      From: sigebryht@...
      Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 09:03:57 -0700
      Subject: [lxx] Translation Shift in Greek Zechariah 8?

      Greetings, Colleagues!

      Currently, I am considering writing my Th.M. thesis on textual issues in Greek Zechariah.

      (For the sake of convenience, I will simply refer to Greek Zech, and base my

      observations from Rahlfs. The textual tradition is more complicated than that,

      of course, as I'm sure we all know [from Nahal Hever, the Gottingen LXX, etc.]. So,

      "Greek Zechariah" is just a label for convenience here.)

      (PLEASE NOTE: Since I'm not sure who reads this forum, I've tried to be

      respectful in the way I represent the Divine Name, and so on. I've also

      attempted to transliterate, since I'm not sure what fonts everybody can

      read. Please let me know if I need to alter this style. Also, I've posted this to a the Tanak discussion group, but received no feedback yet.)

      Here is my question:

      Is there a translation shift between chapter 8 of Greek Zechariah and the Masoretic


      If I am reading the Qal perfects correctly, then Hebrew Zechariah seems to

      clearly view these events as having already transpired. Consider:

      Zechariah, Chapter 8 (Modified

      from NASB)

      8:1 Then was (WYHY) the word of ADONAI

      of hosts saying,

      8:2 "Thus says ADONAI of hosts,

      'I am exceedingly jealous for Zion,

      with great wrath I am jealous for her.'

      8:3 "Thus says ADONAI,

      'I HAVE RETURNED (SHAVTI: Qal perfect, no waw)

      to Zion

      and I HAVE COME TO DWELL (waw sheva + Qal

      Perfect. This is not without problems. If �come to dwell� were

      intended here, wouldn�t Piel express that better?) in the midst of Jerusalem.

      Then Jerusalem WAS CALLED (waw sheva + Niphal

      Perfect) the City of Truth,

      and the mountain

      of ADONAI of hosts [was called] the

      Holy Mountain.'

      (This is

      mainly where my questions lie: Greek Zech [and NASB] reports these actions with future tense, but for

      that to be the case in the Hebrew, the first verb should be imperfect

      ASHAV. So, ADONAI has ALREADY come to dwell in Zion, according to Zech 8:3, but is still EXPECTED

      to dwell in Zion according to Greek Zech. This is made even

      more poignant by the use of IMPERFECT)

      8:4 "Thus says ADONAI of


      'Old men and old women will again sit (QAL

      Imperfect, no waw) in the streets of Jerusalem,

      each man with his staff in his hand because of


      8:5 'And the streets of the city will be

      filled (Niphal Impf, no waw) with boys and girls playing in its streets.'

      8:6 "Thus says ADONAI of hosts, 'If


      impf) in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days,


      DIFFICULT/ASTONISHING (Niphal impf) in My sight?'

      declares ADONAI of hosts.


      So, there clearly seems to be a distinction in

      the Masoretic Text between past and future events: ADONAI is CURRENTLY in Zion,

      having just returned as the Exiles are restored to the Land. As a result,

      old people and children will one day have no fear to amuse themselves out in

      the open, as the Divine Government is established (in the future).

      However, Greek Zechariah seems to see all these

      events as future.

      If we continue through the chapter, Hebrew Zech

      8:7 uses a Hiphil participle to speak of Adonai saving His people: so, He is

      rescuing them in Zechariah�s day (or rather, the author of Zechariah presents

      them as concurrent with the historical period of Zechariah 8, regardless of

      when or by whom Zechariah may actually have been written/redacted).

      Greek Zech (contra NASB,

      incidentally) translates this as PRESENT TENSE (anasozo), not as future (anasoso)

      A similar shift can be seen beginning in

      Zech 8:8, where Hebrew perfects are translated as Greek future tense.

      My issue with the text is that the use of qatal,

      yiqtol and wayiqtol forms in the Hebrew seems very deliberately

      designed to layer the temporal features of the oracles: Adonai HAS

      ALREADY begun to dwell in Zion; old people and children will one day sit/play

      in the streets; Adonai is currently rescuing His remnant; then in verse 8: �I

      HAVE brought them, I HAVE SETTLED them, I WILL BE their G-d.

      Colleagues: What are your thoughts on this comparison of

      Hebrew and Greek Zechariah?

      As far as I can tell, there are no textual variants to suggest that the

      differences are due to a different Vorlage, and no Greek witnesses seem to

      attest to readings of the Hebrew close to mine.

      This would suggest that the differences between the Greek and Hebrew may be

      motivated by the original Greek translator's desire to show these actions as

      future. For instance, if the Greek translator produced his text during the

      Seleucid or Ptolemaic period, he may have wanted to present the Restoration as

      something that had not yet commenced in Zechariah's day; while the author of

      Hebrew Zechariah may have wanted to encourage the Returnees by describing

      events as present realities.

      Of course, I also have to rule out other possible reasons

      for this apparent translation shift (such as aspectual concerns, or other

      intra-textual influences, etc).

      So, do these texts give us different viewpoints of the events they represent in

      this section?

      I appreciate any feedback you have to offer.


      Chris Lovelace

      Th.M. Candidate, Old Testament

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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