In Acts 2:24a, Peter explains God’s plan for Jesus:
ὃν ὁ θεὸς ἀνέστησεν λύσας τὰς ὠδῖνας τοῦ θανάτου
God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death
The phrase ὠδῖνες θανάτου seems to be a reference to LXX Psalm 17:5 (Eng. 18:4), which translates the Hebrew (18:5) phrase חֶבְלֵי־מָוֶת.
BHS | ESV | Rahlfs LXX | NETS:
The cords of death encompassed me
περιέσχον με ὠδῖνες θανάτου
Pangs of death encompassed me
The cords → pangs shift apparently reflects different vocalization of חבל:
חֶבֶל (ḥeḇel, “cord") → חֵבֶל (ḥēḇel, “birthpang”).
The latter is the interpretation of the LXX. If it is indeed “birth pangs” (as opposed to just “pangs”), it seems to be a messianic reference, which is consistent with Acts. However, it's not really consistent with the context of the psalm, where the term refers to the psalmist’s affliction.
So my question at this point is:
- Was the LXX translator understanding ὠδῖνες θανάτου as messianic, or was this a new context introduced by Peter/Luke?
But then, I wonder whether Peter, in a speech addressing Ἄνδρες Ἰσραηλῖται, was likely to have been speaking Greek (?). Which brings me to:
- Does the speech recorded in Acts derive from something that included a reference to the Hebrew sense of the term,* i.e. (what we now consider) the “proper” vocalization?
*The odd thing about the Greek to me, prompting this part of the question, is the usage of λύω + accusative. I would expect the accusative either to be the bonds/cords or the thing/person loosed rather than the thing from which [object] is loosed. (There is an alternative meaning «abolish», but translations — e.g. NIV: «freeing him from the agony of death» (as if: «λύσας ἀπό των ὠδίνων») — seem to want it to contain more common sense of λύω.) But if the accusative is a translation of חבל (i.e. spoken quoting the Hebrew, translated by Luke (or prior redactor) according to the tradition of the LXX) it may have meant cords in the context of the speech.
Note: This is a convoluted question. If anyone can decipher it and think of a way to re-write any part of it more simply, please do.