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The object of a translator obviously is to render a document

clearly into the vernacular. Upon reading the LXX, however, it is
often difficult to obtain the sense without comparing the Hebrew
text. In other words, there is a Hebraic cast to the language of the
LXX. It is well-known that the Greek of the LXX is the koine, of
which the colloquial element is amply illustrated from the papyri;
yet we have to admit that the language of the I,XX is different in
many ways from other koine Greek. In his Grammar of the Old Te.rta-
ment in Greek, THACKERAY maintains (p. 26) that the papyri "have
given the death-blow to, or at any rate have rendered extremely
improbable, the theory once held of the existence of a 'Jewish-Greek'
jargon, in use in the Ghettos of Alexandria and other centres where
Jews congregated." It certainly would be too bold to speak of a
"Jewish-Greek jargon", and yet we can hardly avoid speaking of a
Jewish-Greek, which was in use in the synagogues and in religious
circles. If the Jews who read the LXX did not understand Hebrew,
we may infer at least that the translation made sense to them and that
it was intelligible when it was read in the synagogue.
In speaking of Jewish-Greek usage we may start with the use of
the conjunction XC'lLThus in the paratactic construction in LXX
Greek as in Hebrew, the conjunction 'and' may signify 'that' in the
sense that it introduces what is really a substantive clause: Gen.
iv 8, "And it came to pass while they were in the field, (xxi
- 1 Sam. x 5, "And it shall come to
Ktiw) that Cain rose up ...."
pass..., (xoci that thou wilt meet .... " - 2 Sam. vii 12,
"And it shall come to pass (xai when thy days are fulfilled and
thou sleepest with thy fathers, (xoa To aou
that I will raise thy seed after thee." - 1 "And it will
Kings 1 21,
come to pass..., (xon £ylh xocv 6 ut6ç ¡.LOU
that I and my son Solomon shall be offenders."

As in Hebrew, a circumstantial clause may be indicated in LXX

Greek with the conjunction 'and': 2 Sam. iv 10, in connexion with
the report of the assassin of Ish-Bosheth, we meet the circumstantial
clause x«1 auTOS 'eVC,07rLO,V
?LOU(while we was
as one bringing good tidings in my presence). - 2 Sam. xi 4,
he lay with her, (xx!. tX7tOtXxcx.Hcx.pcr£cx.ç while
she was purified from her uncleanness."
As in Hebrew, the conjunction 'and' may show the beginning of
the apodosis: 1 Sam. xvii 9, "If he be able to fight with me ..., then
- 1 Sam. xx 6, "If
(xxi) we shall be servants unto you." thy father
miss me at all, then (xxi) thou shall say...."
From this use of xxi to introduce the apodosis, it is easy to see how
the conjunction developed the meaning of 'then': Gen. iv 12, "tXThen
thou tillest the ground, (xxi) then it will no longer yield to thee its
- Gen. ix 16, "When (xxi) my bow will be in the cloud,
then (xxi) will I see to remember ... " - Sam. xvi 2, "If (%.7.'-)Saul
hear, then (xxi) he will slay me." -1 Sam. xiv 52, "And Saul seeing
any mighty man..., then (xoa) he collected them unto himself.' -
2 Sam. x 5, "When (xxv) they reported to David concerning the men,
then (xoa) he dispatched ...." -- 1 Kings iii 14, "And if thou wilt
walk in my way..., then (xxv) I will lengthen thy daj-s." -
xxxii 15, "When I scatter all those dwelling in her, then
they shall know that I am the Lord."
Likewise the conjunction developed the sense of 'so' or 'there-
fore' : Gen. iii : 22-23: "And now lest ever he stretch forth his hand
and take of the tree of life and eat and live forever. So the Lord
God dismissed him from the paradise of luxuriousness."
From these examples of the use of xod, of which there are many
more, it seems reasonable to believe that in the LXX the reader would
not merely ramble along reading one xui after another; he certainly
must have felt even in the paratactic construction that in many in-
stances xon introduces what is really a subordinate clause, that it
shows the relationship of clauses to each other, and that it indicates
the sequence and dependence of ideas. Even though a Hellenistic
Jew would not know Hebrew or Aramaic, it is probable that for the
most part the context would lead him to the correct interpretation of
xxi in passages of this nature.
The foregoing Hebraic uses of the conjunction xxi are, however,
only an incident in the Hebraic Greek of the LXX. When it comes to
the subordinate conjunction we have cases where Hebrew ki is

rendered by 6<1 (when): Gen. 4 : 12, "When thou tillest the

ground .... " - 2 Sam. iv 10, "When (oTC) he who informed me
that Saul was dead...." Among the meanings of Hebrew ki is
'when', and without assuming a textual error of 6<1 for ore in the
above examples, it seems clear that in these cases oTC is a literalism
for ki.
The Hebraic influence, however, is not only a matter of literalism
of vocabulary, but also of syntax. Thus the use of the pronoun to
express the copula is found in the LXX: 1 Kings viii 60, K4pioq 1
8eóc; (that the Lord God is God). In a previous case
(1 Kings viii 41) the pronoun hu' is doubly rendered by the copula
and by the pronoun 8c; oux X«06 6ov 06,ro,-.
The Semitic use of the relative in the LXX is well-known, and a
few examples will suffice : Gen. vi 17, Ev £JAV Èv «6zg mc6>«
- Gen. xix 25, TocS7tóÀe?c;<«4<«q aIs Èv -
Job xxx 4b, auTCw To'c 1 Sam. ix 10, where
sdm is rendered by oÓ ... 'ExeZ.
For the use of in a list of names, see Josh. xii 9 ff., where the
old Greek does not render it. In 1 Kings iv 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15,
however, we find e'Lq, even though it is not in M.
The definite article may be employed to represent 'et, the sign
of the direct object. Thus in 1 Kings i 38, 39, 43, 'et ,Sx?loriroh is ren-
dered Tov and in verse 44, 'et Sadoa, Tov Eoca6x.
Furthermore the definite article with the positive may indicate the
superlative: 1 Sam. xv 9, më!ab hass",5n (the best of the sheep) is trans-
- 2
lated rex ayoe8a Tcw Kings x 3, ha!!õb iv?hayydsdr f7libbene
Idd,5nikem (the best and the meetest of your master's sons) is rendered
Tov ayx6ov x«I Tov c60i w =oiq vloiq Tou xupiov
The preposition Èv in many instances assumes in quite literal
fashion the various meanings of b : 1 Kings viii 24, "Thou speakest
with (b) thy mouth and hast fulfilled it with (b) thy hands"; here b
denoting means or instrument is rendered in both cases by Èv. -
Job xl 29, in connexion with leviathan, we read: "Will thou play
with (b) him as with a bird?" The Greek follows this literally:
The preposition b denoting place-where is rendered by iv: Gen.
xiv 13, "Now he was dwelling by (b) the terebinths of Mamre";
81 Ev T7]8pul 't'7j Accompaniment denoted by
b is also expressed by the preposition sv: Gen. ix 4, "Only flesh with
the life thereof Èv - 1 Sam.

xvii 43, "Thou comest to me with staves (bammaflõt)": lv xm'L

- In connexion with an oath b is used: 1 Sam. xvii 43, "And
the Philistine cursed David G renders the preposition liter-
alistically by iv.
Certain verbs are modified by a phrase introduced by the preposition
ev, a case of Hebrew syntax: 1 Kings x 9, (thy God) who delighted in
thee bckä) is rendered 0'0£; in this case the verb
carries over a special meaning from the Hebrew. The verb
its a rendering of bihar should also be considered in this connexion:
1 Sam. xvi 8, gam bäzeh lõ) bdhar YHWIH is idiomatically translated
Tourer KupLo4, but in v. 9, where the same sentence
occurs, we find a Hebrew idiom: xod È;v oux £ECXIE«<o
In 1 Kings viii 16 the two idioms are found in the same verse o6x
È;v ...
rev In 1 Kings viii 44, the Hebrew idiom occurs,
with attraction, however, of the relative to the antecedent: o8ov
7C Ev «>5<fl(toward the city which thou hast chosen).
Similarly we find a double construction in 1 Kings xi 32, 1tóÀtV
iw Ev rl.ÙTTI.Compare in this connexion 2 Ch. vi 34,
xaTa 68'ov sv The prepo-
sition ev is used also with the verb È;XÀÉYOfLiXt in 1 Ch. xxviii 4-5.
The use of b with nouns of measure after a numeral has occasion-
ally been transferred to the Greek. In 1 Kings vi 6 (2) where M does
not employ this idiom, G reads: xon dxoO't ev 7rXc?Toq(xurou
1tÉVTE ??xoac eV 1t?XEt TO uyoç auiou. In 1 Kings vii 10 (23),
in connexion with the molten sea, M uses b; G follows with the
Hebrew idiom: xon È;1tO£YJO'EV 0tix«JJ«v 81x« &1t0 <05
- rdxouç Ecoq TOU leiXovq a<poyi,4Xov TO
7reV're eV To Xrl.!. Tpdç XiX!.?ovo!xov ?a
ev The same idiom is found also in Ezek. xl 5.
The preposition ex like Hebrew min may be used to denote the
partitive idea: Amos ii 11, "And I raised up of (min) your sons for
prophets And of (min) your young men for Nazirites." G renders
both cases of min by Èx. A similar use is found in Sirach xi 19 x«1
v5v ix rcov (XY<x6M?
The compound preposition mëcal (from upon, from on, from off) is
rendered by i7o'cvco0ev(above, on top), which consequently assumes
the Hebrew sense of separation. Examples of this are found: 2 Kings
ii 5, "Knowest thou that Yahweh will take thy master from thy
head (mical ro`seka) today?" G renders 6ou. -

2 Kings ii 13-14, (the mantel) that fell nre`dlaav; here again G renders
the preposition by with the genitive. - A similar usage
occurs in 2 Kings xvii 21, 23; xxv 5.
In case of the negative we meet a pure Hebrew idiom: 1 Kings
viii 60, "Yahweh is God. There is none else." G renders
these two Hebrew words in literalistic fashion: xon oux
The dative of agent may be a translation of I with the ?on?reyz
agentis: Gen. xiv 19, EuaoY??.?vo5 8Eii') This
is a literal rendering of bdrik 'Abrdnr /I"jl ce!yõn.
Generally the infinitive absolute is rendered by a participle. This
may be in the same tense and voice as the main verb: 1 Sam. xiv 43,
- I
tdla)v.?ti, YEucrá!J.EVOÇ Kings ix 6, 'ina fob t'lii-bii-n,
eocv 81 eX7tocr't"pOUpÉV't"EÇ On the other hand, however,
the participle may be in a different tense: Judges xvii 3, ?aq?les hiq-
r,yca,va.. - I Kings xxii 28, itri sob ÈiXv
,6Jv The force of the infinitive absolute may also be
rendered by a dative: Gen. ii 16, tj'kil, pp1lJci ycxy-rj.- Gen.
ii 17, fli,5t tanrut, eX7t08\1.vdcr8E. Even though these renderings
of the infinitive absolute may not be classical Greek, they would
cause no difficulty to a Greek who had no Semitic background.
One Hebrew verb to express repetition is,ydsap (add); this is gen-
erally rendered in the LXX by followed by the infinitive:
Gen. iv 2, watt,5sep liledet (and she bore again), 7tPOcrÉ81JXEV
- Gen. viii 21, /j' 'isip llqalljl ( I will not again curse any
more), ou <poJ0(Jm ert. <04 x(XT<xptX(7(xcr6on. The second verb in
Greek may, however, be a finite verb: 1 Sam. iii 6, zvayyosep YHWH
(and YHLYIH yet again called Samuel), xai 7tpOcrÉ8ETO
K4pioq vai. ?xa?Ea?v
The other verb frequently employed in Hebrew to express the
idea of 'again' is sub, which is translated by È:7t?cr't"pÉcp<ù. In both
languages the main verb governs an infinitive: Deut. xxx 9, ki
YHWH ldsus cälekä (for YHWIH will again rejoice over
thee for good), È:7t?crTpÉ?E? o
Ku'p?oq 0clq aou c£pp«v0iva; aol
ocyoc0o'c.On the other hand, we may have two finite verbs in
both languages: 2 Kings xxi 3, zvay??afobwayyiben 'et babhanrot (for he
built again the high places), xa'L Toc
in this connexion 2 Kings ill, where sub is rendered by
avayydsob wa )!yillab 'elaiv (and again he sent unto him),
xon 7rpo<Te6eTO6 xai 7tpàç oc,r'v. u 0In Job vii 7,
however, the verb with the infinitive rc nders sub with
the infinitive.

In Hebrew an afl?rmative oath is introduced by lo', as e.g.,

1 Kings xx 23, 'inz lo' nehe?aq mëhem (surely, we shall be stronger than
they); G s? Ú7tÈ:pOCU-,06,- is to be understood in the
same sense as the Hebrew. A variation of ? in this sense is
as, e.g., in Ezek. xxxvi 5, "Surelv in the fire of my jealousy
have I spoken"; s? (.L'f¡v 7tUpt 8ú(.LoU(.LOU Apparently
is the same as ? (now verily, now surely).
A negative oath is introduced by 'ilJl, of which we have many
examples which are directly reproduced in G. A few will suffice:
Gen. xiv 23, '17J/ ... )Pligl tJ/ikkol läk; d ...
&7tOcov TWVacw. - 1 Sam. iii 14, 2,v'-Ijkjii nisha`ti lebu cëli
kappër CaWõl1bit 'eli; (llnd therefore I have sworn... that the iniq-
unity of Eli's house shall not be expiated); in G the oath reads
E? It need not be assumed, however, that all these
cases are literalistic renderings of the Hebrew; G may have Ei even
where it does not exist in M: 1 Kings i 52 "If he be a good fellow,
there shall not fall a hair of him to the earth." Here G
introduces the protasis with but d takes the place of the nega-
tive at the head of the apodosis, which is an oath. In other words,
this use of was well unde.rstood regardless of the original. In the
verse preceding (1 Kings i 51), however, G uses what is really a
double negative ou) : "Let king Solomon swear unto me that he
will not slay his servant"; ou
A wish may be expressed in Hebrew by a phrase in which
the idea of giving has disappeared and which has become stereotyped
as a mere desiderative particle. This may be rendered in Hebraic
fashion: Job xix 23, ? ;)7?? lep,5 av j?ik??tebun that
words were now written!); -
Job xxix 2, mi.)'ittenëni qede.,I.,(Oh that I were as in the months
of old!); 8Ú-y¡ x«T« The classical
influence, however, is not entirely lost: Job xiv 13, ? )7//? biP'öl
t.?si?i?aeni (Oh that thou wouldest hide me in Sheol); d Yap
!J.E In this case G uses the aorist indicative instead
of the infinitive. We also find a combination of two idioms: Job vi 8,
tib,5' (Oh that I might have my request!); d Y«o
ÉÀ80? Even though M has G has d yxp
8§l-q followed by xai with the optative. Yet the pure classical syntax
of a wish has not been lost: Job vi 2, lu sa9ol??is.sriqel ka`si (Oh that my
vexation were but weighed); ? yfxp [cr.WV ?.ov
In Hebrew the construction of the infinitive with a preposition may

be continued in the further course of the narrative with a finite verb.

According to the GESENius-KAUTZSCH Hebrew Graill;,ilar (114 r) the
finite verb is governed by a subordinate conjunction corresponding
to the preposition before the infinitive. This construction is also
taken over by the LXX : 1 Kings xviii 18, ??<??? W/%7'jw<?? YHLYIH
1vattëlek 'ahdrë babbcdligi (in that ye have forsaken the commandments
of Yahweh and thou hast followed the Baalim); Èv
I Kúpwv Oe0\' x«1 È7topzMh¡e; Twv -
Ezek. xxxv h4yõt l,kd ,jbat ljljiii zvattagger et (be-
cause thou hast had an enmity of old and hast given over the children
of Israel); TOG y£v?a6ac ere xxl ?v£xa6cax5
In spite of G's interpretation, the grammatical
principle is illustrated in the Greek. A finite verb in G may follow
even a noun denoting action: 1 Kings ii 37, w,h?),,ili fe'tekä
let nahal qidrdn (for on the goest out and passeth
day thou
over the Wady Kidron); ) xon £J<ai 7-rjq 1§18bu 6ou xx:
This Semitic construction may be used in G even though it
docs not occur in M: Deut. iv 37, wltahat ?a 'abab ... ....
(And because he loved thy fathers and chose their seed
after them and brought thee out). Here M has three finite verbs, but
G opens with an infinitive governed by a preposition: TO
7'/); 6UU, xcxt ... xxc
The foregoing examples will suffice to demonstrate that the LXX
is full of Hebrew idioms which also involve a matter of syntax. It
may appear, however, that these are due simply to a literalistic ren-
dering from Hebrew into Greek, and no doubt manv of them have
such an origin. On the other hand, if the LXX made sense to Hel-
lenistic Jews, the translation was understood because its idiom cor-
responded to a familiar Denkart. At any rate, if the Greek spoken
Alexandrian Jews was saturated with Semitic expressions, their
Biblical translation did not help them in making the transition to a
pure Greek.
The Hebraic character of LXX Greek, however, is not limited to
syntax including a Semitic use of coniunctions, prepositions, and
pronouns; the vocabulary also was bound to be influenced by the
Hebrew original. Certain Greek words had to be adapted to Old
Testament usage, and in this way they received a meaning not found
in classical or ordinary Hellenistic Greek.
There follows a discussion of a list of selected words --
(hallow, make sacred). In connexion with the year of jubilee

we read in Lev. xxv 11, "nor gather the grapes of its undressed vines
(nezïrehä)." In this case a term applied to the Nazirite with
unshorn hair, by a figure of speech refers to untrimmed vines. This
term is rendered -70'C In this connexion cf. the word for
Nazirites, oL (Amos ii 12); at any rate the figure of the
Nazirite has been preserved.
(height, protuberance, prominence, erection,
building, eruption). The word is used to translate (substance,
existence) : Gen. vii 4, 23, 7tiiv r6 This literal rendering
of the root, however, introduced a new meaning for this noun.
(rising). The verb (rise) has also the meaning 'to
spring out' in connexion with plants, whence the meaning 'shoot'
for the noun could develop. The noun and the verb are brought
together in Zech. vi 12, xoci
xviou In Zech. iii 8 we read: "I will bring forth
my servant the Shoot (¡eJ1lah)", which G renders Èyw &.Y(ù=&,>805Xlv
Thus through a literalism the noun carried a Hebrew
meaning into the Greek.
(sending off or away, dispatching, discharge, payment or
tribute). In 1 Kings ix 16 we read that Pharaoh gave to his daughter
Gezer as a dowry This is rendered literally in G 1 Kings
iv 32 as &.7tOcrTOÀ?£ and thus G gave this noun a Hebrew coloring it
did not have before.
(prepare). The Hebrew root kün means in the Niphal 'to
be set up, established, fixed', and in the Hiphil 'to establish, set up,
fix, make ready, prepare'. In 1 Kings ii 12 we read "and was estab-
lished (ivattikon) his kingdom greatly." This is rendered by G xxi
a£<05 The verb in the Greek has to
be understood in the Hebrew sense. Cf. 1 Kings ii 45, where näkõll,
the Niphal participle, is rendered by In 1 Kings ii 24 the
Hiphil hekinanï (hath established me) is rendered by
It appears that the in this connexion is to be under-
stood in a Hebrew sense.
6<xX<xao<x (sea). Hebrew )iäl11 (sea), however, is often used in the
sense of the direction 'west', and this meaning has been transferred
to 8&.Àcicrcr? in a number of passages; e.g., Gen. xii 8; Ex. xxvi 22;
Josh. viii 9, 12; Ezek. xlv 7. In some cases as Gen. xiii 14 the meaning
of 6«aaaaa could be inferred from the context, but the usage is not
I might, power). In Job vi 22b it is used in the

sense of 'wealth, goods, substance' as a translation of Hebrew ko(a)h,

which from the meaning 'strength, power' developed the sense of
'wealth'. Again a Greek word is used with a signification which is
not Greek.
181q (way). As a translation of Hebrew derek (way, road) which in
connexion with direction developed the sense 'toward', 181q in the
accusative has taken over this Hebrew meaning. Thus in 1 Kings
viii 44 derek ha`zr (toward the city) is rendered 68'ov Tgq and in
verse 48 derek "arsd)vi (toward their land), 6a'ov The
meaning may be clear in the context, but the usage is not Greek.
1tÀEUp&(rib, side). Hebrew silic, originally 'rib, side', in con-
nexion with the floor and wall of the Temple developed from 'ribs'
(of cedar and fir) to the sense of 'planks, boards'. In 1 Kings vi 15,
be¡a!cõt (with boards of cypress, or fir) is rendered in G by
Èv. 1tÀEUprx?Ç In this case the Greek noun has taken over
its meaning from the Hebrew.
1tÀYJpó(Ù(make full, fill, complete, fulfill). In 1 Kings i 14 Bathsheba
says to Nathan: "... and (I will) confirm thy words (fimillilti et
debärekä)." This is rendered literally in G : xocl1tÀYJp<.0aw TOUÇ
xoyouq aou.
The Greek verb can be understood from the context, but it has a
Hebrew nuance (confirm).
(foraging, pl., foraging parties; plunder, booty, store,
provision). In 1 Kings ix 15 mas (forced labor, levy) is rendered by
G (x 23) by a unique use of the word. In the context, how-
ever, the only thing it can mean is 'forced labor' or 'levy'.
(to be eager, busy, make haste, to be serious). Hebrew
bihal in the Niphal means 'to be disturbed, dismayed, terrified, to
be in haste'. It is easy to see how a person who is terrified will make
haste to escape, and thus the semantics of the Hebrew verb are clear.
It seems, however, that this was not a normal development in Greek.
In Job iv 5b, wattibähël (and thou art affrighted) is rendered au 8's
Èa1touörxarxç. Certainly the Greek verb here is to be understood in a
Hebrew sense.
vllq (son). In Hebrew the age of a man is denoted by ben followed
by the genitive of the number of years. This Hebrew idiom is found
in Gen. xi 10, uios For the same idiom cf. G.
1 Sam. iv 15; 2 Sam. iv 4; xix 32 (33), 35 (36). While a Greek could
get the meaning from the context, the idiom is Hebrew.
(lip). In Gen. xi 1, 6, 9, this noun translates Hebrew sapdb
(lip, language). In verse 7, however, the same noun is rendered by

Yacraaa and In this connexion %ciXoq means 'language', a non-

Greek usage taken over from Hebrew.
zcip (hand). In Hebrew,_),,id developed the signification of 'means,
medium, instrument', and this was taken over in the LXX. In 1 Sam.
xi 7 Saul cut a yoke of oxen into parts and sent them throughout all
the borders of Israel Èv &yylX6Jv. In 2 Sam. x 2 condolences
were sent to the king of Ammon Èv 'rwv In reference
to God's speaking through prophets, the same phrase is used: e.g.,
1 Sam. xxviii 15, xe?pt Tcw 1 Kings viii 53, Èv zeipl
804Xov aou M(uuo7;; Mal. i 1, Èv ciyye'?,ou (xurou.
HebrewJ'ad is also used in the sense of 'monument', i.e., an object
pointing up like a hand. Thus in 1 Sam. xv 12 it was told Samuel that
Saul was setting up a monument for himself (//?j'j7? this is
rendered xrxt zcipa. The same usage is found in
2 Sam. xviii 18, zdp Probably in the same sense is to be
understood ETCLaTraOCL Xdprx in 2 Sam. viii 3 and 1 Ch. xviii 3.
In Zech. xiii 6 G c'xvo'c TWV aou literally follows M bën
),ddekd, meaning 'on the shoulders'.
From the above examples it is clear that LXX Greek has numerous
cases of grammar and vocabulary which are Hebraic. The language
of the LXX certainly would have caused trouble to a Greek who was
not acquainted with the psychology of the Hebrew language, its
idioms, and its construction. The LXX must have been read in most
instances by itself and not by making continual references to the
Hebrew; the translators had no intention of making a book to be
used for textual studies. In other words we may suppose that its
language made sense to Greek-speaking Jews. In a bilingual area a few
individuals may speak both tongues perfectly, but the masses do not
keep the idioms of the two apart, as may be abundantly observed in
linguistic islands in this country. There is always a difficulty in
passing from one language to another; in the transitional period a
generation has a smattering of the tongue of the forefathers without
having become thoroughly immersed in the new vernacular. Beyond
a doubt Hebrew and Aramaic had left their influences on the speech
of Jews who could speak only Greek. This does not necessarily imply
that there was a Jewish-Greek jargon, but there was a Greek with a
pronounced Semitic cast that was used and understood in religious
circles. If the LXX made sense to Hellenistic Jews, we may infer
that there was a Jcwish Grcek which was understood apart from the
Hebrew language.