[b-hebrew] LXX transliterations

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Sun Oct 16 16:37:54 EDT 2005

>>> The Masoretes record RIVKAH and ZILPAH, but the LXX gives us REBEKKA
>>> and ZILFA.  Either the LXX transliteration is inconsistent or the
>>> Masoretic rendering is inaccurate.
>>Joel, you are not right. There are simple phonetical differences between
>>Rivkah and Zilpah, which account for the LXX difference.
>>Kaf in Ribkah is plosive. Pey in Zilpah could be aspirated.
>>Bet in Ribkah is plosive. Lamed in Zilpah is not.
> Do you mean "Koof" in Ribkah?
> According to the LXX, Koof *could* be aspirated, as it is in Xettoura
> (from Hebrew Ktura).

Good point.
a. Kof in Ribkah is in accented syllable, thus resistant to aspiration, 
unlike in Hetturah
b. At any rate, the difference between plosive bet and elongateable lamed 
seems to me more important.

>>First, let us deal with the difference in the first vowel. Both names have
>>hirek in Hebrew. In Greek, hirek in open syllable became e (R/e/bekka),
>>while hirek in closed syllable remain i (Zil.pha).
> Again, that doesn't work.  You have to look at *all* of the data in
> the table.  We have Masoretic Zilpah and Milcah, but LXX Zilfa and
> Melxa.  In both words the first syllable ends in Lamed.  In both words
> the second syllable stards with a Beged Kefet letter that is recorded
> in the LXX with the non-dagesh variety of the Masoretic system.  But
> they do not have the same vowel in the LXX.  (And let us not forget
> Masoretic Yitro with becomes Yothor in the LXX.)

Yothor is the simplest: a transposition, like in drachma - darkemonim.
About Zilpah and Milcah. The initial hirek is somewhat doubtful in the 
Masoretic system. The sound is something like short unaccented e, basically, 
the modern vocal schwa sound (I assume Zilpah and Milcah are segholate, thus 
the Masoretic hirek is actually the first of two schwas, M'l'cah). Why not 
mark it with segol? Because, IMO, segol is reserved for 
one-vowel-split-into-two situations, like cotevt - cotevet, calb - celev.
Perhaps that schwa-like sound is closer to i after voiced consonant.

Vadim Cherny

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