Art in the LXX Jonah Psalm

Two clauses caught my attention as I began my work in Jonah 2 today. Turn with me in your Hebrew and Greek texts.

Jonah 2:4 in the Hebrew text reads:

 וְנָהָ֖ר יְסֹבְבֵ֑נִי

and the river surrounded me

:Jonah 2:4 in the LXX version reads

καὶ ποταμοί με ἐκύκλωσαν

and the waters/rivers me surrounded

Jonah 2:6 in the Hebrew version reads:

תְּה֖וֹם יְסֹבְבֵ֑נִי

the deep surrounds me

:Jonah 2:6 in the Greek version reads

ἄβυσσος ἐκύκλωσέν με ἐσχάτη

the abyss surrounds me the last/deepest

Notice how the Greek translator takes the opportunity to use the flexible word order in Greek to surround the pronoun με, “me”.

In the first construction, we would expect to see με after the verb ἐκύκλωσαν as is the typical unmarked Greek word order (object after verb) and as is the case in the Hebrew text.

In the second construction, the translator adds the adjective ἐσχάτη. We would expect to see the adjective closer to the noun it modifies, ἄβυσσος. Yet, it occurs at the end of the construction. Once again, με is surrounded by the various grammatical constituents in the clause, just as με, Jonah, is surrounded by the waters and the abyss.

This entry was posted in Greek, Jonah, LXX. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Art in the LXX Jonah Psalm

  1. Doug Hilliard says:

    Great observation! I also notice the order ποταμοί με makes a nice alliteration and near-assonance making a nice artistry with sound as well.

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