« Prev Construction of the Sentence Next »


38. The Construction of the LXX not Greek. In treating of Accidence we have been concerned only with dialectical varieties within the Greek language, but in turning to syntax we come unavoidably upon what is not Greek. For the LXX is on the whole a literal translation, that is to say, it is only half a translation - the vocabulary has been changed, but seldom the construction. We have therefore to deal with a work of which the vocabulary is Greek and the syntax Hebrew.

39. Absence of μέν and δέ. How little we are concerned with a piece of Greek diction is brought home to us by the fact that the balance of clauses by the particles μέν and δέ, so familiar a feature a Greek style, is rare in the LXX, except in the books of Wisdom and Maccabees. It does not occur once in all the books between Deuteronomy and Proverbs nor in Ecclesiastes, the Song, the bulk of the Minor Prophets, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel; and in each of the following books it occurs once only -

Leviticus (27:7), Numbers (22:33), Tobit (14:10), Haggai (1:4), Zechariah (1:15), Isaiah (6:2). Where the antithesis is employed, it is often not managed wiht propriety, e.g. in Job 32:6. As instances of the non-occurrence of one or both of the particles where their presence is obviously required we may take -

Gen. 27:22 Ἠ φωνὴ φωνὴ Ἰακώβ, αἱ δὲ χεῖρες χεῖρες Ἠσαύ.

Jdg. 16:29 καὶ ἐκράτησεν ἕνα τῇ δεξίᾳ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἕνα τῇ ἀριστερᾷ αὐτοῦ.

2 K. [2 Sam.] 11:25 ποτὲ μὲν οὕτος.

3 K. [2 Kings} 18:6 μιᾷ . . . ἄλλῃ.

40. Paratactical Construction of the LXX. Roughly speaking, it is true to say that in the Greek of the LXX there is no syntax, only parataxis. The whole is one great scheme of clauses connected by καὶ, and we have to trust to the sense to tell us which is to be so emphasized as to make it into the apodosis. It may therefore be laid down as a general rule that in the LXX the apodosis is introduced by καὶ. This is a recurrence to an earlier stage of language than that which Greek itself had reached long before the LXX was written, but we find occasional survivals of it in classical writers, e.g. Xen. Cyrop. 1.4.28 καὶ ὁδόν τε οὔπω πολλὴν διηνύσθαι αὐτοῖς καὶ τὸν Μῆδον ἥκειν. Here it is convenient to translate καί ‘when,’ but the construction is really paratactical. So again Xen. Anab. 4.2.12 Καὶ τοῦτόν τε παρεληλύθεσαν οἱ Ἕλληνες, καὶ ἕτερον ὁρῶσιν ἔμπροσθεν λόφον κατεχόμενον. Cp. Anab. 1.8.8, 2.1.7, 4.6.2; also Verg. Æn. 2.692 -

Vix ea fatus erat senior, subitoque fragore intonuit laevom.

In the above instances the two clauses are coordinate. But in the LXX, even when the former clause is introduced by a subordinative conjunction, καί still follows in the latter, e.g. -

Gen. 44:29 ἐὰν οὖν λάβητε . . . καὶ κατάξετε κτλ.

Ex. 13:14 ἐὰν δὲ ἐρωτήσῃ . . . καὶ ἐρεῖς κτλ. Cp. 7:9.

Josh. 4:1 καὶ ἐπεὶ συνετέλεσεν πᾶς ὁ λαὸς διαβαίνων τὸν Ἰορδάνην, καὶ εἶπεν Κύριος.

Sometimes a preposition with a verbal noun takes the place of the protasis, e.g. -

Ex. 3:12 ἐν τῷ ἐξαγαγεῖν . . . καὶ λατρεύσετε.

In Homer also καί is used in the apodosis after ἐπεί (Od. 5.96), ἦμος (Il. 1.477: Od. 10.188), or ὅτε (Od. 5.391, 401: 10.145, 157, 250).

The difficulty which sometimes arises in the LXX in determining which is the apodosis amid a labyrinth of καὶ clauses, e.g. in Gen. 4:14, 39:10, may be paralleled by the difficulty which sometimes presents itself in Homer with regard to a series of clauses introduced by δέ, e.g. Od. 10.112, 113; 11.34-6.

41. Introduction of the Sentence by a Verb of Being. Very often in imitation of Hebrew idiom the whole sentence is introduced by ἐγένετο or ἔσται.

Gen. 39:19 ἐγένετο δὲ ὡς ἤκουσεν . . . καὶ ἐθυμώθη ὀργῇ. Cp. vs. 5, 7, 13.

3 K. [2 Kings} 18:12 καὶ ἔσται ἐὰν ἐγὼ ἀπέλθω ἀπὸ σοῦ, καὶ πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἀρεῖ σε εἰς τὴν γῆν ἣν οὐκ οἶδας.

In such cases in accordance with western ideas of what a sentence ought to be, we say that καί introduces the apodosis, but it may be that, in its original conception at least, the whole construction was paratactical. It is easy to see this in a single instance like -

Gen. 41:8 ἐγένετο δὲ πρωὶ καὶ ἐταράχθη ἡ ψυχὴ αὐτοῦ,

but the same explanation may be applied to more complex cases, e.g. -

Nb. 21:9 καὶ ἐγένετο ὅταν ἔδακνεν ὄφις ἄνθρωπον, καὶ ἐπέβλεψεν ἐπὶ τὸν ὄφιν τὸν χαλκοῦν, καὶ ἔζη. And there was when a serpent bit a man, and he looked on the brazen serpent, and lived. Cp. Gen. 42:35, 43:2, 21: Jdg. 14:11.

42. Apposition of Verbs. Sometimes the καί does not appear after ἐγένετο, ἐγενήθη, or ἔσται, thus presenting a construction which we may denote by the phrase Apposition of Verbs.

Jdg. 19:30 καὶ ἐγένετο πᾶς ὁ βλέπων ἔλεγεν . . .

1 K. [1 Sam.] 31:8 καὶ ἐγενήθη τῇ ἐπαύριον, ἔρχονται οἱ ἀλλόφυλοι.

Gen. 44:31 καὶ ἔσται ἐν τῷ ἰδεῖν αὐτὸν μὴ ὂν τὸ παιδάριον μεθ’ ἡμῶν, τελευτήσει.

In two versions of the same Hebrew we find one translator using the καί and the other not.

4 K. [2 Kings] 19:1 καὶ ἐγένετο ὣς ἤκουσεν βασιλεὺς Ἑζεκίας, καὶ διέρρηξεν τὰ ἱμάτια ἑαυτοῦ.

Is. 37:1 καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ ἀκοῦσαι τὸν βασιλέα Ἑζεκίαν, ἔσχισεν τὰ ἱμάτια.

43. Δέ in the Apodosis. The use of δέ to mark the apodosis, which is found occasionally in classical authors from Homer downwards, is rare in the LXX.

Josh. 2:8 καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἐξήλθοσαν . . . αὕτη δὲ ἀνέβη.

« Prev Construction of the Sentence Next »


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |