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καὶ ἐτελέσθησαν τῷ Βεελφεγωρ καὶ ἔφαγον θυσίας νεκρῶν

I reviewed the Hebrew word צָמַד (tzamad), and it seems to mean “join” or “fasten.” When I reviewed LSJ’s entry on τελέω (τέλω), I didn’t see any section with that same meaning (unless I missed it). What meaning does the verb ἐτελέσθησαν have in Psalms 105:28 LXX (106:28 KJV) (cf. Num. 25:3, 25:5)? I noticed it is conjugated in the passive voice and followed by an object declined in the dative case.

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  • Interestingly, Robert Young (YLT) has And they are coupled to Baal-Peor giving the verb passive, as you say. Which, I suppose, indicates that they are seen as the feminine counterpart, passively being 'taken' by the idol. – Nigel J May 20 '20 at 18:30
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Note the Hebrew words that τελέω translates in the LXX:

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In Psalms 115:28 (116 in English translations) ἐτελέσθησαν in LXX translates וַ֭יִּצָּ֣מְדוּ
niphal, imperfect waw consecutive, 3rd person, masculine, plural of צמד This is the second most common Hebrew lemma τελέω translates. Note the meaning of צמד given in the Logos Bible Software (LBS) chart.

Here's an LBS chart of the words LXX uses to translate צמד.

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This is the closet I found to the Hebrew meaning in BDAG:

Diagoras of Melos in Sext. Emp., Adv. Math. 9, 55 κατὰ δαίμονα κ. τύχην πάντα τελεῖται=‘evervthing is accomplished acc. to the will of the god and of fate’; an anonymous writer of mimes [II AD] in OCrusius, Herondas5 [p. 110-16] l. 175 τοῦτο τετέλεσται); Cf. τετέλεσται used absolutely in vs. 30 (cf these two verses are to be taken as referring to the carrying out [s. 2 below] of divine ordinances contained in the Scriptures, cf. Diod. S. 20, 26, 2 τετελέσθαι τὸν χρησμόν=the oracle had been fulfilled;

Arndt, W., Gingrich, F. W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (1979). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : a translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (pp. 810–811). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

The TDNT has a paragraph of the LXX's use of τελέω to translate צמר:

  1. The religious sense is presupposed, but only with ref. to heathen cults and negatively, in the mid. pass. “to dedicate oneself to the service of a god” ἐτελέσθη Ισραηλ τῷ Βεελφεγωρ Nu. 25:3, cf. ψ 105:28, of individuals τετελεσμένον τῷ … Nu. 25:5 (all 3 passages for צמר ni), τετελεσμένη the “qedesha” Hos. 4:14; for the LXX קדשׁ is connected with τελτελεσφόρος and τελισκόμενος “consecrated,” Dt. 23:18; also τελετή 3 Βασ‌. 15:12

Delling, G. (1964–). τέλος, τελέω, ἐπιτελέω, συντελέω, συντέλεια, παντελής, τέλειος, τελειότης, τελειόω, τελείωσις, τελειωτής. G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley, & G. Friedrich (Eds.), Theological dictionary of the New Testament (electronic ed., Vol. 8, pp. 58–59). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Thus, “to dedicate oneself to the service of a god [Baal of Peor]” appears to be the best meaning of ἐτελέσθησαν τῷ Βεελφεγωρ.

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  • LSJ also quotes from Herodotus Διονύσῳ τελεσθῆναι, with the gloss "to be consecrated to Dionysus, initiated in his mysteries" – b a May 21 '20 at 9:08
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I am similarly mystified, so this will not answer the question but may provide some data for a smarter person to help.

I looked on https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/septuagint/chapter.asp?book=24&page=105

It gives the text of the LXX of Ps 105:28 as:

καὶ ἐτελέσθησαν τῷ Βεελφεγὼρ καὶ ἔφαγον θυσίας νεκρῶν

The English translation provided is:

They were joined also to Beelphegor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. And they provoked him with their devices;

(I do not see how the last (English translated) clause appears but that is a separate matter.)

Thus, in this version, the selected verb "joined" closely matches the meaning of the Hebrew, וַ֭יִּצָּ֣מְדוּ , but I cannot see how that is connected to any meaning of the Greek ἐτελέσθησαν, which should be something like one of the following (from BDAG)

  1. "was brought to an end"
  2. "had the demands fulfilled"
  3. "had their dues paid"
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