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Ἔσδρας Βʹ 5, 11 καὶ τοιοῦτο ῥῆμα ἀπεκρίθησαν ἡμῖν λέγοντες ἡμεῖς ἐσμεν δοῦλοι τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ οἰκοδομοῦμεν τὸν οἶκον ὃς ἦν ᾠκοδομημένος πρὸ τούτου ἔτη πολλά καὶ βασιλεὺς τοῦ Ισραηλ μέγας ᾠκοδόμησεν αὐτὸν καὶ κατηρτίσατο αὐτὸν 12 αὐτοῖς ἀφ’ ὅτε δὲ παρώργισαν οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν τὸν θεὸν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἔδωκεν αὐτοὺς εἰς χεῖρας Ναβουχοδονοσορ βασιλέως Βαβυλῶνος τοῦ Χαλδαίου καὶ τὸν οἶκον τοῦτον κατέλυσεν καὶ τὸν λαὸν ἀπῴκισεν εἰς Βαβυλῶνα

The above text is from katabiblon.com's LXX. The Apostolic Polyglot moves αὐτοῖς into the end of verse 11; and Rahlfs effectively does the same thing by placing a period after αὐτοῖς in verse 12, i.e. 11 ... κατηρτίσατο αὐτὸν 12 αὐτοῖς. ἀφ’ ὅτε δὲ ...

My question is, to whom or to what does αὐτοῖς refer? I don't find a logical masculine or neuter dative plural noun for it to modify, nor can I discern what it could represent if used substantively.

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In the Aramaic original Ezra 5:12 reads: לָהֵן מִן־דִּי הַרְגִּזוּ אֲבָהָתַנָא לֶאֱלָהּ שְׁמַיָּא ‏ “but since our fathers angered the God of Heaven”. In the Masoretic text the first word is vocalised as lāhen “but”, a word that is relatively common in Old Aramaic, but is not used in later stages of Aramaic. It seems that the authors of the LXX read it as (Late Old Aramaic or Middle Aramaic) l-hōn “for them” and translated this as αὐτοῖς. (lāhen and l-hōn are written identically in unvocalised script.) The antecedent of l-hōn would be לישראל (“for Israel”, with the same preposition) in the previous verse. You could then translate “A great king of Israel built it (sc. the temple) and constructed it for them”, that is: for Israel. In this case you would have to assume that the verse division is wrong.

This is my personal suggestion. I have not seen it in published literature, but I would be surprised if no one else thought of it before. For lāhen “but” see this:

http://cal1.cn.huc.edu/oneentry.php?lemma=lhn%20c&cits=all

  • Happen to have Rudolph (Esra und Nehemia, 1949) handy, among one or two others. He's the only one who even mentions it (p. 50). – Dɑvïd Oct 10 '16 at 11:46
  • Thank you! I also could not find anyone who mentioned it. And since I lack the Hebrew/Aramaic background, I would not have been able to arrive at this answer on my own. – Bob Blocher Oct 11 '16 at 13:49

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