Greek Psalms Observations: Psalm 9:1–10

10513536_10152192424111196_4495896224681766862_nSince this blog has experienced a bit of a lull as of late, I thought I would start posting some of my observations on the Greek text of the Psalms. These posts will be brief and largely will concentrate on the differences between the MT and LXX of the Psalms. I will use the following texts: BHS and the ESV for translation and the Göttingen LXX and the NETS translation, unless there’s a reason for me to make a modification.

For today’s reading, I read 9:1–10, and I came away with three brief observations:

1) Psalm 9:4

בְּשׁוּב־אוֹיְבַ֥י אָח֑וֹר

ἐν τῷ ἀποστραφῆναι τὸν ἐχθρόν μου εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω

When my enemies turn back
When my enemies are turned back

The translator transforms the active (בְּשׁוּב־אוֹיְבַ֥י [when my enemies turn]) into the passive construction ἐν τῷ ἀποστραφῆναι τὸν ἐχθρόν μου (when my enemy is turned back). It seems as if the translator anticipates the next clause where God is the one that causes the turning back (they shall grow weak and shall perish from before you).

2) Psalm 9:7

הָֽאוֹיֵ֨ב ׀ תַּ֥מּוּ חֳרָב֗וֹת לָ֫נֶ֥צַח

τοῦ ἐχθροῦ ἐξέλιπον αἱ ῥομφαῖαι εἰς τέλος

The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
The swords of the enemy failed completely

The “addition” of αἱ ῥομφαῖαι can be explained by an unpointed text (חֲרָבוֹת is plural for swords and the MT has חֳרָב֗וֹת).

3) Psalms 9:10

וִ֘יהִ֤י יְהוָ֣ה מִשְׂגָּ֣ב לַדָּ֑ךְ מִ֝שְׂגָּ֗ב לְעִתּ֥וֹת בַּצָּרָֽה׃

καὶ ἐγένετο κύριος καταφυγὴ τῷ πένητι, βοηθὸς ἐν εὐκαιρίαις ἐν θλίψει·

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble (ESV).

And the Lord became a refuge for the needy, a helper at opportune times in affliction (NETS).

This is the only time in the LXX מִ֝שְׂגָּ֗ב (stronghold) is translated with βοηθὸς (helper). It would seem as if the translator is avoiding repetition in favor variation between the lines.

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