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In Jeremiah 2:25, the people respond to the prophet's call to repentance:

נוֹאָשׁ לוֹא כִּֽי־אָהַבְתִּי זָרִים וְאַחֲרֵיהֶם אֵלֵךְ (BHS)

It is hopeless, for I have loved foreigners, and after them I will go. (ESV)

This comes into the LXX:

Ανδριοῦμαι· ὅτι ἠγαπήκει ἀλλοτρίους καὶ ὀπίσω αὐτῶν ἐπορεύετο (Rahlfs)

which is basically the same except נואש ("it is hopeless") somehow became ανδριουμαι (lit. "I will act like a man", but normally understood as, "I will be courageous"). This seems particularly odd because in the Greek the speaker is "she".*

Essentially the same situation occurs in 18:12, again נואש > ανδριουμαι, though there the subject is plural and unmarked for gender in either language. Elsewhere throughout the LXX, forms of ἀνδρίζομαι nearly exclusively translate חזק. My questions, then:

  1. How did the LXX translator arrive (twice) at ανδριοῦμαι?
  2. Does that Greek make any sense?

    ἀπόστρεψον τὸν πόδα σου ἀπὸ ὁδοῦ τραχείας καὶ τὸν φάρυγγά σου ἀπὸ δίψους. ἡ δὲ εἶπεν Ἀνδριοῦμαι· ὅτι ἠγαπήκει ἀλλοτρίους καὶ ὀπίσω αὐτῶν ἐπορεύετο.

    Turn your foot from a rough way and your throat from thirst. But she said, "I will play the man," because she had loved foreigners and would go after them.


* ἡ, presumably (?) Jerusalem; Hebrew has "you", also feminine.

Brenton: "I will strengthen myself"

  • I just found in Tov's MT-LXX database that he suggests a relationship ("etymological derivation or exegesis") with אישׁ. I can't imagine there's any real etymology to be found there, and that would be some creative exegesis.... interesting. (More commonly אישׁ > ανθροπος [when there's no אישה involved] and גבר > ανηρ, but looks like there's a fair amounf of overlap.) – Susan Oct 4 '16 at 17:52
  • Is there some other vocalization of the Hebrew that brings the meaning closer to what is in the Septuagint? – user15733 Jan 10 '17 at 15:44
  • @TheNonTheologian Not that I can come up with. I think Tov would likely not have offered the איש suggestion if there were something closer available. – Susan Jan 10 '17 at 17:33
1

The reason the speaker is a 'she' is because the speaker is the virgin house of Israel who has done a horrid thing (referenced in Jer 18:13) loving foreign gods and having gone after them (says Jer 2:26 and Jer 2:32). The virgin is now an adulteress.

Compare these references of the virgin Israel to Isa 1:8, Isa 47:1,5, Isa 52:2, Isa 62:11, Jer 6:2,23,26, Jer 31:22, Lam 1:15; 2:1-2,4, Hos 1:6 etc. Now ask - what is Hosea commanded to do in Hos 3:1 to prophesy to the house of Israel, and in that verse who does the adulteress represent and who does Hosea represent?

So the writer of the LXX used ανδριουμαι to indicate that this daughter of Zion should not despair or lose hope (נואש) despite her whoredoms. The writer of the LXX is reading the 'turn her foot from her rough way and quench her throat from thirst' as meaning 'finding refuge from her prodigal journey'.

This is a call to be strong and courageous, neither afraid nor dismayed (qualities attributed to men).

WHY?

YHWH asks: If a man {YHWH} divorces his wife {house of Israel} and she goes from him and becomes another man's wife, will he return to her? Jer 3:1

YHWH answers: Return, faithless Israel {faithless wife}, declares the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the Lord; I will not be angry forever. Jer 3:12

Even in her whoredoms YHWH is asking her to 'man up' and return: 'Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the Lord your God and scattered your favours among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the Lord.' Jer 3:13

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