As I have mentioned (here) I am participating in “Greek Isaiah in a Year” reading group. These are my notes from this week (1:1-25).

1:1—The use of κατὰ + the genitive usually means “against” though it is possible that the translator didn’t make the best choice for translating על. This would retain the meaning of “concerning” Judah and Jerusalem, rather than “against” Judah and Jerusalem. Ottley translates it as “concerning”. Silva translates it as “against”. Brenton translates it as “against” as well. “Against” is a word that sets a different tone for the book.

In the MT the list of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah is followed by the designation “kings of Judah” (מלכי יהודה). The LXX changes it from a title of sorts to a temporal description: “who reigned  (3P AAI) over Judah”.

1:4—The first use of ἔθνος is a reference to Judah. There is nothing strange about this grammatically (translation of  גוי), but it does make me wonder if this is something to which I should pay attention, especially considering how Paul adopts this books message as his own in Romans.

It is interesting that both חטא and עון are translated as forms of ἁμαρτία, – ωλός. I imagine that the difference between “sin” and “iniquity” could be expressed differently.

Another translation that caught my attention was ἄνομοι for משחיתים. I don’t know if there is a better translation available, but “lawless” seems odd.

It appears that נזרו אחור is ignored (or did not exist in the Hebrew text used by the translator)?

1:5—The word ἀνομίαν appears here making it the second mention of lawlessness in the first five verses. I will want to keep an eye on this. It has been used to interpret עון and סרה.

There was a good question asked on the Facebook group about whether πᾶσα should be translated “every” or “all” as in “every head…every heart” or “all of the head…all of the heart”. I tend to agree with the person who advocated “every” based on context here. It seems like there is a similar interpretive problem with כל. “All” makes sense if the meaning is collective though.

1:6—The phrase ἀπὸ ποδῶν ἕως κεφαλῆς leads me to think that v. 5 should be interpreted as a collective when read in the light of v. 7, “Your country lies desolate…”

1:8—The LXX “will be forsaken” (ἐγκαταλειφθήσεται, future) for the MT “is forsaken” (ונותרה , perfect) is interesting, though I don’t know what to make of it.

1:9—The MT does a play on יתר  in v. 8 (ונותרה) and v. 9 (הותיר): “Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard….unless YHWH had left us few survivors….” The LXX followers: ἐγκαταλειφθήσεται in v. 8 and ἐγκατέλιπεν in v. 9.

While the MT speaks of being left with “a few survivors” (שריד כמעט) the LXX speaks of being left with “offspring” (σπέρμα).

1:13— קרא מקרא translated as ἡμέραν μεγάλην. Interesting discussion here.

1:16—MT: “remove your evil deeds from before my eyes” (הסירו רע מעלליכם מנגד עיני) LXX: “take the evil from your life/soul before my eyes” (ἀφέλετε τὰς πονηρίας ἀπὸ τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν ἀπέναντι τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν μου) = Interpretive gloss?

1:17—A few quirks with the MT. “Learn to do/cause good” (למדו היטב) is easy enough as is “seek justice” (דרשו משפט), but should the next part (אשרו חמוץ) be “set straight the ruthless” (negative) or “set straight the oppressed” (positive)? אשרו can have a positive meaning, like make right or make happy, so maybe setting straight has to do with making things right on the behalf of someone rather than correcting them? חמוץ changes depending on the verbal marker. According to a fn. in the NET (translated there as “Give the oppressed reason to celebrate!”) the difference is between a holem-waw or a shureq with one being the oppressor and the other being the oppressed. “Judge the orphan” (שפטו יתום) probably means something like defend, so not to odd. “Contend for the widow” (חדלו הרע) is a similar idea.

As to the tricky part the LXX goes with ῥύσασθε ἀδικούμενον, which means something like “rescue the one who is wronged”, so that shows how the translator read it.

1:22—There seems to be an interpretive move in οἱ κάπηλοί σου μίσγουσι τὸν οἶνον ὕδατι. In the MT “Your strong drink is weakened with water” becomes “Your bartenders mingle the wine in water.”

1:24—I wondered what the LXX would do with הָאדון יהוה. The answer = δεσπότης κύριος. I admit, I was hoping for κύριος κύριος.

Neat word play between v. 23 and 24. The evil rulers withhold judgment (κρίσιν) on the matters brought to them by the widows. God will not withhold his judgment (κρίσιν) on his enemies. This doesn’t work in the MT because it says that the “plea of the widow” doesn’t come before the rulers, then God decides to avenge his enemies.

1:25—While the MT focuses upon the dross of the people being burnt with lye, then LXX has them being burnt for purification (πυρώσω σε εἰς καθαρόν). This v. expands quite a bit on the judgment motif. The lawless will be removed and the arrogant humbled, neither statement in MT.

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