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While looking at interpretations of Daniel 10:13, I found something that seemed strange in the writings of Theodoret. In most modern translations, the verse reads something like this:

The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia [ESV]

But Theodoret understands it differently:

The leader of the kingdom of the Persians opposed me for twenty-one days [...] and Michael, one of the chief leaders, also supported me; and I left him there with the leader of the kingdom of the Persians.

Theodoret's actual Greek is as follows (sorry I can't read this to pull out exactly the relevant parts):

Theodoret on Daniel 10:13

Originally I assumed that this was translation issue in the Septuagint, until I noticed that the NABRE interprets it the same way:

but the prince of the kingdom of Persia stood in my way for twenty-one days, until finally Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia

Adding to the confusion, the Orthodox Study Bible (reputedly a translation of the Septuagint) reads:

But the prince of the Persian kingdom withstood me twenty-one days, and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; for I was left there with the ruler of the Persian kingdom.

What is the best way to understand this verse? Is it simply a matter of ambiguity in the original Hebrew, making context our only indicator? Or is something lost in translation between the original Hebrew text and Theodoret's rendering?

  • For reference: a polyglot including both versions of Greek Daniel (LXX proper first, then Theodotion.) Theodoret appears to be quoting (probably not surprisingly) Theodotion, but both Greek versions agree (against the MT) on this one. – Susan Jan 5 '16 at 23:24
  • The best way is to read the Hebrew Masoret. It is the most original of all the scriptures. It still baffles me why people insist on depending on the septuagint, which is a translation made for the purpose of introducing jewish scriptures to an audience familiar with hellenism and pagan myths and imageries and therefore uses pagan myths and imageries to speak to the level of the audience. And hence the fraudulent messages not found at all in the Masoret. – Cynthia Avishegnath Jan 13 '16 at 11:37
  • BTW, where are the "original" parchments of the septuagint? – Cynthia Avishegnath Jan 13 '16 at 11:39
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    The line you are after in your graphic is 1494, beginning with Kαι, to the end of the paragraph. Comparing with the LXX, there is an additional word φησι ("says"???) in the text, ἄρχοντος instead of στρατηγου, and the order of κατελιπον and εκει is reversed. Word for word (without the additional word): και (and) αυτον (him) κατελιπον (I left behind) εκει (there) μετα (with) του (the) ἄρχοντος (ruler) του (the) βασιλεως (king/kingdom) Περσων (Persia), giving "I left him there with the ruler [of] the kingdom [of] Persia." – enegue Apr 9 '16 at 14:32
  • @CynthiaAvishegnath the Septuagint was translated by Greek-speaking Jews in Alexandria in the 2nd century. The source Hebrew text they consulted is much older than the Masoretic Text, which was compiled in the Middle Ages. Also, there are many verses in the Masoretic Text that don't make any sense anymore to Jewish Hebrew scholars (maybe they do to Christians). What are some examples you see of pagan myths and images in the Septuagint? – user15733 Sep 7 '16 at 17:42
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I think that your initial hypothesis about this being due to a difference between the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint is correct.

There appear to be two variants of this verse in the Septuagint. It's not clear to me the source of each, but both indicate καὶ αὐτὸν κατέλιπον - "and him I left".

Swete - Primary Text:

καὶ ὁ στρατηγὸς βασιλέως Περσῶν ἀνθειστήκει ἐναντίον μου εἴκοσι καὶ μίαν ἡμέραν, καὶ ἰδοὺ Μιχαηλ εἷς τῶν ἀρχόντων τῶν πρώτων ἐπῆλθε βοηθῆσαί μοι, καὶ αὐτὸν ἐκεῖ κατέλιπον μετὰ τοῦ στρατηγοῦ τοῦ βασιλέως Περσῶν.

Now the commander of the king of the Persians opposed me [for] twenty and one day[s], and, lo!, Michael, one of the commanders of the first order came to help me, and [then] him there I left with the commander of the king of the Persians.

Swete - Alternate Text:

καὶ ὁ ἄρχων βασιλείας Περσῶν εἱστήκει ἐξ ἐναντίας μου εἴκοσι καὶ μίαν ἡμέραν, καὶ ἰδοὺ Μιχαηλ εἷς τῶν ἀρχόντων τῶν πρώτων ἦλθεν βοηθῆσαί μοι, καὶ αὐτὸν κατέλιπον ἐκεῖ μετὰ τοῦ ἄρχοντος βασιλείας Περσῶν

And the ruler of the dominion of Persians stood opposite me twenty one days and lo, Michael, one of the rulers foremoset came to aid me. Him I left there with the ruler of the dominion of Persians.

Brenton's English translation (which is said to be based primarily on the Codex Vaticanus) agrees with the latter and reads:

But the prince of the kingdom of the Persians withstood me twenty-one days: and behold, Michael, one of the princes, came to help me; and I left him there with the chief of the kingdom of the Persians

It seems to me (whom am Orthodox) that the Orthodox Study Bible did not render the Septuagint correctly in this particular instance.

I can't explain the NABRE translation. At first, I thought that it might be that the Vulgate agreed with the Septuagint, but this is not the case:

Princeps autem regni Persarum restitit mihi viginti et uno diebus: et ecce Michaël, unus de principibus primis, venit in adjutorium meum, et ego remansi ibi juxta regem Persarum.

But the prince of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me one and twenty days: and behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I remained there by the king of the Persians.

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Dan. 10:13 in the YLT reads as:

"`And the head of the kingdom of Persia is standing over-against me twenty and one days, and lo, Michael, first of the chief heads, hath come in to help me, and I have remained there near the kings of Persia;"

which would seem to indicate that Gabriel was giving the reason for his delay in returning to Daniel.

This agrees with the Interlinear which has -

"...came to help me and I remained there with the kings of Persia."

And begins vs. 14 with

"Now I have come to give..."

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