Wednesday, 3 August 2016

From [the] LORD - more cases for NT translators

As I work through the ancient translators of the psalms and their careful attention to the divine Name of YHWH, I stumble over different combinations that are worth checking out. Let me show you how I arrived at my current example.

In Psalm 37:23, we have a very a normal looking verse: The LORD grants success to the one whose behavior he finds commendable. The Greek translation is a little different:

παρὰ κυρίου τὰ διαβήματα ἀνθρώπου κατευθύνεται (by LORD a man’s goings are established). When I see the same translator translate the divine Name differently but in the same case (genitive here) a couple of verses earlier, I sit up and take note.

Psalm 37:20 states:
οἱ δὲ ἐχθροὶ τοῦ κυρίου (yet the LORD's enemies).

So the translator translates the divine Name in the genitive WITH the article in verse 20 and without in verse 23. In verse 23 we have this interesting combination with a prefix, παρὰ. I have already learned that some prefixes are significant with regard to ensuing articles.

But where it gets really interesting is doing the word search, that www.blueletterbible.org does so, so well. It informs us that παρὰ κυρίου occurs no less than 77 times in the Old Testament (I think all in reference to Yahweh), and 6 times in the Greek New Testament in reference to...? Before looking at that: what about παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου? 4 hits only in the LXX: Num 31:3 (Yahweh is the referent), Deut 23:15 (human master is the referent), 2 Ki 4:28 (human master is the referent), Job 1:12 (Yahweh is the referent).

In the NT παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου occurs twice: Acts 20:24 ("from the Lord Jesus") and James 1:7 ("that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord". There is only one other "Lord" mentioned in this chapter of James, the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1).

So what of those 6 NT παρὰ κυρίου references (no τοῦ) I hear you cry?!

1. Mat 21:42 A direct quote from the Old Testament, definitely the divine Name.
2. Mar 12:11 The parallel Markan passage to Mat 21:42
3. Luk 1:45 "a fulfilment of what was spoken to [Mary] from [the] LORD". It could be argued that that verse 43 (mother of my Lord) counters the certainty of my claim, but that won't work. MY Lord exists nowhere in the OT as a notion to convey MY YAHWEH. There is NO SUCH THING AS "MY YAHWEH"! The remainder of Kyrios occurrences in Luke 1 can also be argued grammatically and contextually to be divine-name referents.
4. Eph 6:8 (knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from [the] LORD). This one is more open, but given the OT evidence, I would probably favour the divine name. The preceding verse is not much help to us, since although it also states "Lord" τῷ κυρίῳ, it is in the dative, which is most commonly with the article, even for Yahweh. Needs more work.
5. 2Ti 1:18 (may the Lord grant him to find mercy from [the] LORD on that Day!) This one seems easy: it's another double Lord-er, like the more famous "The Lord said to my Lord". However, like "the Lord said to my Lord" does not have one referent but TWO referents (Yahweh and Adoni for Psalm 110), so too does 2 Timothy 1 provide the clue to disambiguating the two Kyrios figures. The first has the article, the latter does not. I'd bet good money that it's ὁ κύριος [Jesus] εὑρεῖν ἔλεος παρὰ κυρίου [Yahweh]).
6. 2Pe 2:11 (angels do not pronounce a blasphemous judgement against the glorious ones before [the] LORD). The context of verse 11 is κύριος (no "") rescuing Lot in verse 9. Put bluntly: this is Yahweh.

Interesting, isn't it?!
Oh, that's just taken me away from Psalms again. It's going to take forever at this rate! 

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