As I have mentioned (here) I am participating in “Greek Isaiah in a Year” reading group. These are my notes from this week (14:21-32).
MT: The imperative הכינו commands for the King’s sons to be prepared for slaughter (מטבח) because of the trespasses of their fathers (בעון אבותם). In the modern western world it may be hard for many of us to understand a paradigm of corporate justice, but this is the assumption with which ancient near easterners functioned. If a father did something evil it represented the family and all were liable for punishment. There continues to be an agricultural apologetic if you will. The sons of the King are prevented from “rising up to inherit the land (ארץ) and fill the face of the world (פני־תבל) with cities.”
LXX: The major difference is the move form 3ms to 2ms: “your children (τὰ τέκνα σου),” which seems to indicate the command is directed at the King. The end result remains slaughter () because of “the sins of your father (ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις τοῦ πατρός σου),” presumably speaking to the King’s children now. The goal is the same: prevent them from arising to inherit the earth (γῆν) to fill the earth (γῆν) with cities.
MT: YHWH Sabaoth (יהוה צבאות) says he will rise up and cut off Babel “name and remnant and offspring and progeny (שׁם ושׁאר ונין ונכד),” i.e. utter destruction.
LXX: The Lord Sabaoth (κύριος σαβαωθ) will destroy the “name and remnant and descendant (ὄνομα καὶ κατάλειμμα καὶ σπέρμα).”
MT: Babylon will become the possession of hedgehogs (קפד) and marshy water (ואגמי־מים), i.e., a wilderness. YHWH Sabaoth (יהוה צבאות) will “sweep away with a broom to destruction
(וטאטאתיה במטאטא השׁמד).”
LXX: The depiction of destruction differs slightly in the LXX: God will make Babylon “desolate (ἔρημον) in order that hedgehogs may dwell there (κατοικεῖν ἐχίνους)” and Babylon will be made into nothing (ἔσται εἰς οὐδέν). It will be a “muddy pit unto destruction (πηλοῦ βάραθρον εἰς ἀπώλειαν).”
MT: YHWH Sabaoth (יהוה צבאות) guarantees these things.
MT: Assyria (אשׁור) is next in line for proclamations of judgment. YHWH declares he will “break” (לשׁבר) and “trample” (אבוסנו) Assyria in “my land and on my mountains (בארצי ועל־הרי).” YHWH will remove Assyria’s yoke (עלו) and burden (וסבלו). The people of God are presented as being treated like oxen. YHWH frees them.
LXX: God will destroy (τοῦ ἀπολέσαι) the Assyrians from “my earth and my mountains (ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς τῆς ἐμῆς καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ὀρέων μου).” As with v. 25b in the MT the basic idea is that God will remove the yoke (ὁ ζυγὸς) and burden (τὸ κῦδος, “glory, renown” should be κúδος, “reproach, abuse”) while trampling (καταπάτημα) the Assyrians.
MT: This v. summarizes the prophecies: “This is the plan planned (העצה היעוצה) upon all the land
(על־כל־הארץ) and this is the hand being stretched out upon all the nations (על־כל־הגוים).”
LXX: In the LXX the function is the same: to summarize. “This is the plan the Lord planned upon (ἡ βουλή, ἣν βεβούλευται κύριος) the whole inhabited earth (τὴν οἰκουμένην ὅλην) and this is the lifted hand upon all the inhabiting nations (πάντα τὰ ἔθνη τῆς οἰκουμένης).”
MT: This v. continues the summary with asserting, rhetorical question: Who will frustrate (ומי יפר) YHWH Sabaoth’s (יהוה צבאות) plans (יעץ)? Who will turn back (ומי ישׁיבנה) his stretched out hand
LXX: The LXX differs a bit. YHWH is called “the holy God.” The author asserts that the holy God has made his plans already (ἃ γὰρ ὁ θεὸς ὁ ἅγιος βεβούλευται); therefore, who will disperse it (τίς διασκεδάσει;)? Likewise, “who will turn back the lifted hand (τὴν χεῖρα τὴν ὑψηλὴν τίς ἀποστρέψει;)?”
MT: This v. marks a transition. “In the year King Ahaz’s death (בשׁנת־מות המלך אחז) came this oracle
(היה המשׂא הזה).”
LXX: Same, with “oracle” being (τὸ ῥῆμα).
MT: Odd imagery in this warning against Philistia (פלשׁת): the rod that used to strike them has been broken. This may refer to Judah’s dominance of Philistia. In the future the “serpent’s root” (כי־משׁרשׁ נחשׁ) will produce a viper (צפע) and the “fruit” (ופריו) of this viper will be a flying serpent (שׂרף מעופף)!
LXX: Philistia is replaced the generic “foreign-heathen” (οἱ ἀλλόφυλοι). This may be the LXX’s updating of Isaiah. The odd imagery is maintained: there will be a serpents (ὄφεων) which will have a descendants that is are asps (ἔκγονα ἀσπίδων) from which will come forth a flying serpents (ὄφεις πετόμενοι).
MT: On the flip side the root (שׁרשׁך) of Philistia will be put to death through famine (והמתי ברעב) and the famine will slay their remnant (ושׁאריתך יהרג), i.e. Philistia will starve to death. Meanwhile, the first born of the poor (among Israel, בכורי דלים) will eat while the need stretch out (ואביונים לבטח ירבצו) to relax in safety.
LXX: Similar message to MT: the poor will “graze” (βοσκηθήσονται πτωχοὶ, like animals?) “through him” (διʼ αὐτοῦ) and in peace the poor men will rest (πτωχοὶ δὲ ἄνδρες ἐπʼ εἰρήνης ἀναπαύσονται). “He” will kill their seed through famine (ἀνελεῖ δὲ λιμῷ τὸ σπέρμα σου) and their remnant (κατάλειμμά).
MT: The gates wail (הילילי שׁער) and the city cries out (זַעקי־עיר) as smoke (מצפון עשׁן בא) appears in the north indicating the approach of a fully committed (“no stragglers in his ranks/place,” ואין בודד במועדיו) army.
LXX: “Cry out gates of the city (ὀλολύζετε, πύλαι πόλεων)! Let the troubled cities cry out (κεκραγέτωσαν πόλεις τεταραγμέναι)!” Then all the heathen foreigners (οἱ ἀλλόφυλοι πάντες) are warned about the smoke from the north (καπνὸς ἀπὸ βορρᾶ ἔρχεται).
MT: The Prophet asks, “How will he answer the messengers of the nation
(ומה־יענה מלאכי־גוי)?” The answer: YHWH established Zion (יהוה יסד ציון) and in Zion the afflicted poor (יחסו עניי) of his people seek refuge.
LXX: The “messengers of the nations” are the “kings of the nations” (βασιλεῖς ἐθνῶν). Since the Lord has established Zion (κύριος ἐθεμελίωσεν Σιων) he will “save” he afflicted of the people (σωθήσονται οἱ ταπεινοὶ τοῦ λαοῦ).
See older notes:
Qs re 14.21. The command in the MT is directed at the King’s children, the command in the LXX is directed at the King. Was there a Koine direct equivalent of ‘at the King’s children’ so that we may more accurately surmise that the LXX phraseology was chosen deliberately? Are we positive that Koine is translated into English without 21st CE religious or linguistic prejudices? What were/are the theological implications of the MT text regarding where composed, when composed, and for whom *versus* the same for the LXX text, i.e., as if they were two separate texts and not two translations/compositions of something common underlying them?
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