Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Revisiting Deuteronomy 22:5; Septuagint (LXX) Studies

A man’s vessels shall not be on a woman, nether should a man put on a woman’s robe, because everyone doing these things is detestable to the LORD your God.  Deuteronomy 22:5 LXX

In this earlier post, an argument was made that σκεύη (vessels) was used in the LXX as military equipment in Deuteronomy 22:5.  This blog will explore other ways that the LXX uses the word.  To shorten this, we will stay within the Torah as all five books of the Torah were translated at the same time.  BTW, the use of σκεῦος in the Torah is mostly used for the “vessels” of the Tabernacle or the Ark of the Covenant.  

Below is just a snap-shot of σκεῦος (skeu-os).  It's used many, many times in the Torah.

Genesis 24:53: σκεύη ἀργυρᾶ (silver vessels)
Exodus 35: σκεῦος χρυσοῦν (golden vessel)
Exodus 38:12: τὰ σκεύη τῆς τραπέζης (the vessels of the table)
Exodus 38:23: τὰ σκεύη τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου (the vessels of the alter)
Leviticus 6:21: σκεῦος ὀστράκινον (pottery vessels)
Leviticus 11:32: σκεύους ξυλίνου (wooden vessels)
Leviticus 13:52: σκεύει δερματίνῳ (leather vessel)
Numbers 3:8: τὰ σκεύη τῆς σκηνῆς τοῦ μαρτυρίου (the vessels of the tent of the witness/“the tabernacle”)
Numbers 35:16: σκεύει σιδήρου (iron vessels)

Finally, Deuteronomy has the word only two times.  In 1:41 we have τὰ σκεύη τὰ πολεμικὰ (the war vessels), i.e. military gear.

And last but not least, Deuteronomy 22:5: σκεύη ἀνδρὸς (vessels of a man).  Kittle (The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament) refers to σκεῦος as possibly being clothing only in Deuteronomy 22:5, but if it is not used like this in any other place in the LXX, can this stand up?

Revisiting the Hebrew:

So, what does “vessels of a man” mean?  I’m no Hebrew scholar, but my dictionary of Hebrew words (The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament) says that kᵉlı̂, used here in Deuteronomy 22:5 means: “vessel, utensil”.  It goes on to describe how this word was used in the OT.  And guess what?  It was used the very same way as σκεῦος.  

Also, The Kohlenberger/Mounce Concise Hebrew–Aramaic Dictionary
of the Old Testament says the same thing:

“article, utensil, thing; a general term that can be used of any object. → armor; article; furnishing; instrument; object; thing; utensil; vessel.”

So, where does that leave us?  It is possible that σκεῦος could mean "clothing", but it is not used that way in any other place in the LXX, especially in the Torah and it is not used that way in the NT.  All of the evidence is against "clothing".

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Romans 12:3; More Word-plays

Romans 12:3

Ῥωμαίους 12·3 Λέγω γὰρ διὰ τῆς χάριτος τῆς δοθείσης μοι παντὶ τῷ ὄντι ἐν ὑμῖν μὴ ὑπερφρονεῖν παρ᾿ ὃ δεῖ φρονεῖν ἀλλὰ φρονεῖν εἰς τὸ σωφρονεῖν, ἑκάστῳ ὡς ὁ θεὸς ἐμέρισεν μέτρον πίστεως.

3 For through the grace that was given to me, I say to each one of you to not think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with the result that you think reasonably as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one of you.

In this verse, Paul creates a word-play with the Greek verb φρονέω which means “to think”.  Paul uses this verb twice in it’s natural form plus two more times in compound forms.  I will demonstrate that below with hyphens separating the compound verbs and the actual verbs underlined.  I will try to make the translation more literal in order to see the word play in English.

For through the grace that was given to me, I say to every one who are among you, to not think highly (ὑπερ-φρονεῖν) from what is necessary to think (φρονεῖν), but to think (φρονεῖν) with the result that to think reasonably (σω-φρονεῖν), to each one as God allotted a measure of faith.

The last two “to think” verbs are separated with εἰς τὸ.  In Greek, this expression used with an infinitive verb, indicated that Paul is looking for the proper results when one thinks.  That nuance has been provided in the above translation.  The translation my not be good English, but it tries to get the point across.

As far as the context is concerned, Paul goes on to say that each believer is part of the body of Christ and each one is important to the body and to each other.  Everyone has a certain grace-gift that must be exercised.  Romans 12:1-8 parallels with 1 Corinthians 12-14.  Here, it is a very general form.