[b-hebrew] 22nd Psalm & LXX

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Dec 2 13:40:02 EST 2003

On 02/12/2003 10:03, David Kimbrough (CLWA) wrote:

>The LXX divides parts of the 22nd Psalm in its 21st and 23rd Psalms. ...
Which part of the Hebrew (and English) Psalm 22 corresponds to LXX Psalm 
23? From a quick read of LXX Psalm 23, it seems to be entirely a 
translation of Hebrew Psalm 24, according to the regular pattern of 

>... The
>16th verse of the 22nd Psalm in the MT occurs in the 17th verse of the LXX's
>21st Psalm.  It reads...
>LXX 21:17 Hoti ekuklosan me kunev polloi sunagoge ponhreuomenon periesxon me
>orukan xeirav mou kai podav.
This is a very mixed up transliteration. You have not distinguished 
omega and omicron; some eta's are e and some h; and your use of v for 
final sigma is very confusing.

>"Orukan" means "they dig" (from oruko, "to dig") ...
No, the word is WRUXAN in the standard transliteration, i.e. starting 
with omega, and with a xi (ksi) as the fourth letter. (I am using the 
Rahlfs edition, there are no textual variants noted.) It comes from the 
verb ORUSSW or ORUTTW (yes, starting with omicron). No kappas to be 
seen. One meaning given in my old and small Liddell and Scott is "to dig 
through, make a passage through", which could fit with hands and feet, 
and outer ears.

>... , not they pierce like
>"nusso" or "peripeiro" or even "ekkenteo" which mean would have been more
>ambiguous since it can mean to "put out", "dig out", "to dig through",
>"transfix", or "pierce". Oruko is unambiguously "to dig".
ORUKW is unambiguously unknown. (What source are you using for your 
assertion here?) ORUSSW/ORUTTW seems to have a central meaning of "dig" 
but can certainly mean "dig out" and "dig through" as explicitly 
mentioned by Liddell and Scott.

But what does this LXX usage actually teach us? It seems to be unique 
Greek (in the written record, and presumably excluding later texts 
dependent on LXX), and we can argue that it is bad Greek, but it is 
undeniable that someone wrote it. The simplest hypothesis to explain 
this is that the translator read a Hebrew text (the Vorlage) which was 
understood to mean "they dug", and put this meaning into Greek rather 
literally. This is especially simple in this case because two candidates 
for such a Vorlage are well known, the Nahal Hever text K'RW which 
(whatever it might originally have meant) could very well have been 
understood as "they dug"; and the reading KRW which is found (according 
to BHS) in two manuscripts and which almost certainly means "they dug".

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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