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Matthew 13:15

Randall brings the Greek translation of Isaiah into the discussion, so I’ll quote the text from Isaiah 6:10 (Ziegler):

EPACUNQH GAR hH KARDIA TOU LAOU TOUTOU, KAI TOIS WSIN AUTWN BAREWS HKOUSAN KAI TOUS OFQALMOUS AUTWN EKAMMUSAN, MHPOTE IDWSI TOIS OFQALMOIS KAI TOIS WSIN AKOUSWSI KAI THi KARDIAi SUNWSI KAI EPISTREYWSI KAI IASOMAI AUTOUS. ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου, καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν αὐτῶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν, μήποτε ἴδωσι τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσι καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσι καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσι καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς.

For comparison, the text from Matthew 13:15 is (according to NA27): EPACUNQH GAR hH KARDIA TOU LAOU TOUTOU, KAI TOIS WSIN BAREWS HKOUSAN KAI TOUS OFQALMOUS AUTWN EKAMMUSAN, MHPOTE IDWSIN TOIS OFQALMOIS KAI TOIS WSIN AKOUSWSIN KAI THi KARDIAi SUNWSIN KAI EPISTREYWSIN KAI IASOMAI AUTOUS. ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου, καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν, μήποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς.

Randall notes two quirks in Isa 6:10:

1. Inconsistent Greek rendering of the two Hebrew sequential verbs at the end of verse 10. They are both waw-prefixed suffix-conjugation verbs in Hebrew. They were translated as an aorist subjunctive and a future, according to Ziegler. I wouldn’t put too much weight on this difference, and I don’t think Randall would either, given what he knows about Greek orthography at that time. Sinaiticus (from which I’m writing the commentary on Greek Isaiah) actually has a future for both.

2. Rendering Hebrew imperatives as Greek indicatives ἐπαχύνθη and ἐκάμμυσαν (and βαρέως!). It seems to me that the translator understood the first of these Hebrew verbs H$MN as a passive suffix-conjugation verb, naturally rendered as a Greek aorist passive. In the case of the other two verbs, HKBD and H$(, the problem is that they are singular in Hebrew, but plural in Greek. It seems to me that this is because LAOS is a collective noun; this pluralisation continues into the “MHPOTE” clause, which has singular verbs in Hebrew and plural in Greek. Am I missing something else?

Since there are other explanations for the difference between the Hebrew and Greek, I don’t think we would be justified in thinking the translators must have been trying to remove the irony. There could be a simpler, if more boring, explanation.

Ken

Ken M. Penner, Ph.D. Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic vocabulary memorization software: http://purl.org/net/kmpenner/flash/ kpenner@stfx.ca

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