The Septuagint

Most Christian holy books started out Jewish, originally only in Hebrew. But …

the Church has received this Septuagint translation just as if it were the only one; and it has been used by the Greek Christian people, most of whom are not aware that there is any other. From this translation there has also been made a translation in the Latin tongue, which the Latin churches use.

The Septuagint? Latin for the translation of the seventy?

the first translators of the divine Scriptures from the Hebrew language into the Greek were seventy-two men in number

And it’s quite a story. Before Christ came, back when Egypt still had Pharaohs …

Demetrius of Phalerum, the president of the king’s library, received vast sums of money, for the purpose of collecting together, as far as he possibly could, all the books in the world.

One set of books presented a problem …

I am told that the laws of the Jews are worth transcribing and deserve a place in your library. What is to prevent you from doing this? replied the king. … They need to be translated … for in the country of the Jews they use a peculiar alphabet … and speak a peculiar dialect.

So the King instructed …

write to the high priest of the Jews, to send six of the elders out of every (twelve) tribe … that by their means we may learn the clear and agreeing sense of these books, and may obtain an accurate interpretation of their contents

And the high priest complied and the Jewish oracles went Greek. But there’s more. Did you know …

(the translators) were in thirty-six cells, two in each cell. From morning to evening they were shut up … each pair of translators (had) one book at a time until each pair had translated every book

And when they finished, the King found that …

every one of them employed the self-same nouns and verbs, as if some unseen prompter had suggested all their language to them.

Miraculous as …

the Greek language above all others, is rich in a variety of words, and that it is possible to vary a sentence and to paraphrase the same idea, so as to set it forth in a great variety of manners, adapting many different forms of expression to it at different times. But this, they say, did not happen at all in the case of this translation of the law, but that, in every case, exactly corresponding Greek words were employed

Surely …

these translators (were) not mere interpreters but hierophants and prophets

Who needs Hebrew any more when God now spoke Greek? Hold it …

I don’t know who was the first author to construct with his lying the seventy cells in Alexandria, into which were divided those who wrote … rather (they) … gathered in groups, writing in one basilica, … it is one thing to be a seer, another to be an interpreter

The Septuagint is just a translation, one that …

gained an established position by having been so long in use … (so) other translators are not to be reproved

Read the Hebrew. The Seventy added, the seventy rephrased, they omitted. Explain that! Ok …

the same Spirit who was in the prophets when they spoke these things was also in the seventy men when they translated them, so that assuredly they could also say something else, just as if the prophet himself had said both, because it would be the same Spirit who said both; and could say the same thing differently, so that, although the words were not the same, yet the same meaning should shine forth to those of good understanding; and could omit or add something, so that even by this it might be shown that there was in that work not human bondage, which the translator owed to the words, but rather divine power, which filled and ruled the mind of the translator.

Stop! Stop the quibbling. You are all ignoring God’s great plan …

the salutary preaching of our Saviour was all but ready to shine forth unto all men in the Roman empire … (but) the prophecies concerning Him … (were) hidden from long ages in their (the Jews) native tongue

So …

God put it into the mind of King Ptolemy to accomplish this (the divinely ordered interpretation), in preparation … for that … which was so soon to take place.

The Greek of the inspired seventy prepared the way for Christ.

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