As I have mentioned (here) I am participating in “Greek Isaiah in a Year” reading group. These are my notes from this week (2:22-3:21).

In the LXX 2:22 of the MT is not included. I wonder if this indicates that the translator had a copy of the Hebrew text that didn’t have this part, or if it was overlooked, or removed for some reason.

On the Facebook page Kurk Gayle observed the LXX attempt to retain the wordplay of the MT for 3:1:



is matched by this ι-initial phrasing:

ἰσχὺν ἄρτου
ἰσχὺν ὕδατος

In 3:3 ונשוא פנים is literally “the one with lifted up faces” or “the honorable man/respected citizen” (NASB/NET). This is followed by “and the advisors and the wise magicians” (ויועץ וחכם חרשים). The LXX reads, “καὶ θαυμαστὸν σύμβουλον καὶ σοφὸν ἀρχιτέκτονα” (“and wonderful counselor and skillful builder”). The words “wonderful counselor” grabbed my attention since most English translations render פלא יועץ in 9:6 (5) as “wonderful counselor” (NET: “Extraordinary Strategist”). The LXX renders this part as “the Messenger of Great Counsel” (Μεγάλης βουλῆς ἄγγελος). Interesting to observe the translation dynamics between Hebrew, Greek, and English here.

In 3.6 τὸ βρῶμα is odd. Is this a translation of המכשלה?

The difference in 3:10 between the message of the MT and that of the LXX is quite vast. The MT is simple: the righteous will eat the fruit of their good deeds. The LXX has the evil binding the righteous to eat their fruit.

In 3:12 the MT is difficult to translate. The LXX seems to have a very different message. The MT reads:

       עמי֙ נגשיו מעולל ונשים משלו בו עמי֙ מאשריך מתעים ודרך ארחתיך בלעו[1]

It can be translated something like “O my people, their oppressors deal severely with them, and women rule over them. O my people, those who cause you to advance error, and the way of your paths they confound.” But the NASB reads, “O My people! Their oppressors are children, and women rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray and confuse the direction of your paths.” [2] The NET reads, “ Oppressors treat my people cruelly; creditors rule over them. My people’s leaders mislead them; they give you confusing directions.”[3]

The NET has an interesting fn. on this v:

The Hebrew text appears to read literally, “My people, his oppressors, he deals severely, and women rule over them.” The correct text and precise meaning of the verse are debated. The translation above assumes (1) an emendation of נֹגְשָׂיו (nogésayv, “his oppressors”) to נֹגְשִׂים (nogéshim, “oppressors”) by moving the mem (ם) on the following form to the end of the word and dropping the vav (ו) as virtually dittographic; (2) an emendation of מְעוֹלֵל (mé’olel, a singular participle that does not agree with the preceding plural subject) to עֹלְלוּ (’olélu), a third plural Poel perfect from עָלַל (’alal, “deal severely”; note that the following form begins with a vav [ו]; the text may be haplographic or misdivided); and (3) an emendation (with support from the LXX) of נָשִׁים (nashim, “women”) to נֹשִׁים (noshim, “creditors”; a participle from נָשַׁא, nasa’). Another option is to emend מְעוֹלֵל to עוֹלְלִים (’olélim, “children”) and read, “My people’s oppressors are children; women rule over them.” In this case the point is the same as in v. 4; the leadership void left by the judgment will be filled by those incompetent to lead the community—children and women. (The text reflects the ancient Israelite patriarchal mindset.)Israelite patriarchal mindset.) [4]

The LXX reads:

λαός μου, οἱ πράκτορες ὑμῶν καλαμῶνται ὑμᾶς, καὶ οἱ ἀπαιτοῦντες κυριεύουσιν ὑμῶν, λαός μου, οἱ μακαρίζοντες ὑμᾶς πλανῶσιν ὑμᾶς καὶ τὸν τρίβον τῶν ποδῶν ὑμῶν ταράσσουσιν.[5]

This might be translated, “My people, your bailiff/extractors strip you, and your creditors lord over you. My people, the ones who bless you deceive you and the path of your feet they confuse.”

The MT of 3:17 is complexing. The last line can be translated “the Lord will make the front of their heads bald” (NET) or “…their foreheads bare” (NASB) or “will lay bare their secret parts”. So this passage either has to do with the balding of the head or the exposing of the genitals. The Hebrew פתהן יערה is where the debate rests. The NET fn says:

The precise meaning of this line is unclear because of the presence of the rare word פֹּת (pot). Since the verb in the line means “lay bare, make naked,” some take פֹּת as a reference to the genitals (cf. KJV, ASV, NRSV, CEV). (In 1 Kgs 7:50 a noun פֹּת appears, with the apparent meaning “socket.”) J. N. Oswalt (Isaiah [NICOT], 1:139, n. 2), basing his argument on alleged Akkadian evidence and the parallelism of the verse, takes פֹּת as “forehead.”

The LXX’s decision to translate it “The Lord will expose/uncover their form/appearance” (καὶ κύριος ἀποκαλύψει τὸ σχῆμα αὐτῶν) seems to be more in line with the idea of showing one’s genitals, physical appearance, rather than balding.

[1] Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Westminster Hebrew Morphology., electronic ed., Is 3:12 (Stuttgart; Glenside PA: German Bible Society; Westminster Seminary, 1996).

[2] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update, Is 3:12 (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).

[3] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible, Is 3:12 (Biblical Studies Press, 2006).

[4] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006).

[5] Septuaginta: With Morphology, Is 3:12 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1996).


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