Idioms in 1 Maccabees

As you might be aware, I have been doing a bit of translation in the first book of Maccabees. I have noticed a couple of idioms that I would like to share.

The first is the tendency for the author to utilize a euphemism for death. Instead of using the common word αποκτεινω “to kill,” the author chooses πιπτω “to fall.”. For some reason the KJVA (King James Version Apocrypha) does not acknowledge the euphemism and translates it “they were slain.”

Second, while verbs must agree with there subjects in person and number, there is a common exception I have found in both biblical and non-biblical Greek. Here is an example Εἶπεν δὲ Ιουδας καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ. This phrase reads, “and Judas said, and his brothers…”. This entire phrase is the subject of the sentence, “Judas and his brothers.”. Yet, it is almost as if “his brothers” is an afterthought as the verb is 3rd singular instead of 3rd plural. This happens to be a common occurrence throughout Greek texts.

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