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Romans 10:20

Alan Patterson » May 25th, 2013, 11:25 am

Rom 10.20
ησαιας δε αποτολμα και λεγει
a) ευρεθην τοις εμε μη ζητουσιν,
b) εμφανης εγενομην τοις εμε μη επερωτωσιν (WH)Rom 10.20:
And Isaiah is even bold enough to say,
a) “I was found by those who did not seek me;
b) I became well known to those who did not ask for me.” (NET)Rom 10.20 is quoting Isa 65.1, which reads in the NET:65:1
a) “I made myself available to those who did not ask for me; 1
b) I appeared to those who did not look for me. 2 (NET)NET footnotes:
[1] Heb “I allowed myself to be sought by those who did not ask.”
[2] “I allowed myself to be found by those who did not seek.”Also, the LXX reads:εμφανης εγενομην τοις εμε μη ζητουσιν,
ευρεθην τοις εμε μη επερωτωσιν

Q1. Why did the writer of Romans switch ζητουσιν with επερωτωσιν?

However, back to Rom 10.20:

Recall:
ησαιας δε αποτολμα και λεγει
a) ευρεθην τοις εμε μη ζητουσιν,
b) εμφανης εγενομην τοις εμε μη επερωτωσιν. (WH)

Two translations follow to show the difference in translation of a):

a) “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
b) I was found by those who did not seek me. (NIV)

a) “I was sought by those who did not ask for Me ;
b) I was found by those who did not seek Me. (NKJV)

Anyone have problems with this translation:

Q2. a) I was discovered by those not seeking me ?

I am having a hard time translating εμφανης in its usage here with επερωτωσιν (Rom 10.20).
Q3. Any suggestions as to how this pair should be translated?

Q4 Is this an option: b) I made myself known to those who did not ask/request (that of me)

Thanks (sorry for the rather sloppy order of the above)

cwconrad » May 26th, 2013, 11:59 am

Nobody has tackled this to date. I have little to say about translations, and this forum is not really the proper place to discuss the virtues (or flaws) in particular versions, but it seems to me that the semantics of εὑρέθην really ought to have some discussion. So …

Alan Patterson wrote:Rom 10.20
ησαιας δε αποτολμα και λεγει
a) ευρεθην τοις εμε μη ζητουσιν,
b) εμφανης εγενομην τοις εμε μη επερωτωσιν (WH)Rom 10.20:
And Isaiah is even bold enough to say,
a) “I was found by those who did not seek me;
b) I became well known to those who did not ask for me.” (NET)

Also, the LXX reads:εμφανης εγενομην τοις εμε μη ζητουσιν,
ευρεθην τοις εμε μη επερωτωσινQ1. Why did the writer of Romans switch ζητουσιν with επερωτωσιν?)

My guess, for what it’s worth, is that he was citing it from memory and, knowing that the clauses were parallel, arranged the elements the way they go more naturally in Greek (εὑρέθην … ζητοῦσιν). But again, that’s a guess.

I’m going to skip over Q2 and Q and yes, Q4 as well. It is sometimes more difficult to read the minds of translators than to make sense of the oriiginal text. I prefer to keep the focus on the original text.

I offer an English version only to show how I understand the original text of Rom 10:20 (not the LXX form); I take the point to be God’s intentional direct accessibility in the face of total want of curiosity of those to whom He has been accessible:

“I disclosed myself to those who were not seeking me; I appeared directly to those who were not inquiring after me.”

Of interest to me is the form εὑρέθην. I remember that we have previously discussed (on the old BG mailing list) the passive of εὑρίσκω as used in Mt. 1:18 where Mary εὑρέθη ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα, the question being whether the verb there is really passive or might perhaps be understood as reflexive in the sense, “revealed hersel to be pregnant” or even “found herself pregnant.”

In the text of Isaiah 65 as cited by Paul in Rom 10:20 it seems to me that there’s no way to understand εὑρέθην as passive rather than reflexive; I don’t see how this can be involuntary or any sort of passive transformation of εὑρεῖν. Surely it is a matter of God’s deliberate revelation of Himself to those who are not seeking Him and don’t even want to seek him. This has to be a reflexive, i.e. middle usage, and I think that the parallel clause, ἐμφανὴς ἐγενόμην makes clear how the translator of the Hebrew original into Greek understood the sense of εὑρέθην.

Carl W. Conrad

cwconrad » May 28th, 2013, 8:05 am

The text under consideration: Paul’s citation in Rom 10.20 of Isaiah 65:

εὑρέθην [ἐν] τοῖς ἐμὲ μὴ ζητοῦσιν,
ἐμφανὴς ἐγενόμην τοῖς ἐμὲ μὴ ἐπερωτῶσιν.

If we are ready to understand that the finding was intended by the speaker who says εὑρέθην, I won’t quarrel with those who prefer to call it passive rather than middle. I don’t think that the Greek draws that distinction; I think what BDF has to say about usages of ὁφθῆναι and γνωσθῆναι with a dative that is not to be understood as a dative of agent with a passive verb makes sense. I also think that we must understand the passive imperatives in a similar reflexive sense: the subjects of those imperatives are bidden to submit themselves to an action such as baptism.

Carl W. Conrad