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In Hebrews 1:10–12, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews quotes Psalms 102:25–27 (101:26–28)1 of the Greek Septuagint.

Footnotes

        1 There is a difference in how the Greek Septuagint of Psalms is traditionally numbered versus how most English translations of the Psalms are numbered. For example, Psa. 102:1 in the King James Version corresponds to Psa. 101:1–2 of the Greek Septugaint. In this question, I will be using this verse numbering format: Psa. X (Y), where X is the verse numbering of the King James Version (including the Hebrew text of the Old Testament), and Y is the verse numbering of the Greek Septuagint. For example: Psa. 102:1 (101:1–2).

Hebrews 1:10–12

10 καί σὺ κατ᾽ ἀρχάς κύριε τὴν γῆν ἐθεμελίωσας καὶ ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν σού εἰσιν οἱ οὐρανοί 11 αὐτοὶ ἀπολοῦνται σὺ δὲ διαμένεις καὶ πάντες ὡς ἱμάτιον παλαιωθήσονται 12 καὶ ὡσεὶ περιβόλαιον ἑλίξεις αὐτούς ὡς ἱμάτιον καὶ ἀλλαγήσονται σὺ δὲ ὁ αὐτὸς εἶ καὶ τὰ ἔτη σου οὐκ ἐκλείψουσιν

Psalms 102:25–27 (101:26–28), LXX

25 κατ᾽ ἀρχὰς σύ κύριε τὴν γῆν ἐθεμελίωσας καὶ ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν σού εἰσιν οἱ οὐρανοί 26 αὐτοὶ ἀπολοῦνται σὺ δὲ διαμενεῗς καὶ πάντες ὡς ἱμάτιον παλαιωθήσονται καὶ ὡσεὶ περιβόλαιον ἀλλάξεις αὐτούς καὶ ἀλλαγήσονται 27 σὺ δὲ ὁ αὐτὸς εἶ καὶ τὰ ἔτη σου οὐκ ἐκλείψουσιν

It is obvious that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews is not quoting from the Hebrew scriptures because Psa. 102:25 (101:26) in the Hebrew does not have any word equivalent to κύριε, which occurs in both Psa. 101:26 in the LXX and Heb. 1:10 in the Greek NT.

Now, encountering κύριε (lemma κύριος) in the Greek New Testament, we might assume that it simply means “lord,” as in the master of a servant. This is how it is commonly used in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament, since Christians are his servants.2

Footnotes

        2 1 Cor. 7:22

But, of course, this was not its common use in the Septuagint which was translating the Hebrew scriptures of the Old Testament. Instead, κύριος was most often used to translate the Hebrew words אֲדֹנָי (Adonai), a title of God, and יהוה (Yahveh), the Tetragrammaton, or name of God.

Psalms 102:1–28 (101:1–29 LXX)

The lemma κύριος occurs 10 times in the LXX of Psalms 102 (101).3 Of these 10 occurrences, it occurs 3 times in the vocative, including Psa. 102:25 (101:26) (quoted in Heb. 1:10).4

Footnotes

        3 Psa. 102:1 (101:1, 101:2), 102:12 (101:13), 102:15 (101:16), 102:16 (101:17), 102:18 (101:19), 102:19 (101:20), 102:21 (101:22), 102:22 (101:23), 102:25 (101:26)
        4 Psa. 102:1 (101:2), 102:12 (101:13), 102:25 (101:26)

While the Hebrew of Psa. 102:25 (101:26) does not have a corresponding word that translates into Greek as κύριε, if we examine the other 2 occurrences of the vocative κύριε in Psa. 102:1 (101:2) and 102:12 (101:13), we find that κύριε is used to translate the Tetragrammaton יהוה.

Aleppo Codex, Psalms 102:1 (101:2)
Aleppo Codex, Psalms 102:1 (101:2)

Aleppo Codex, Psalms 102:12 (101:13)
Aleppo Codex, Psalms 102:12 (101:13)

It is reasonable to conclude that the author of the Septuagint had the Tetragrammaton in mind when he wrote the vocative κύριε in Psa. 102:25 (101:26) of the LXX. The context of Psa. 102:25 (101:26) has no other subject in it that could be identified by κύριε except God Himself. The subject “laid the foundation of the earth,” an act which is explicitly ascribed to God elsewhere.5

Footnotes

        5 Job 38:4; Psa. 24:1–2, 78:69, 89:11, 104:5; Pro. 3:19; Isa. 51:13, 51:16; Zec. 12:1

Hebrews 1:10–12

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews quotes 102:25–27 (101:26–28) of the LXX in Heb. 1:10–12. Moreover, he has “the Son” (i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ) in mind when he does so, as indicated by the phrase “But to the Son” in Heb. 1:8. The author repeatedly switches between contrasting the angels (Heb. 1:5–7; 1:13–14) with the Son (Heb. 1:8–12) in order to demonstrate the superiority of the Son over the angels. In the process, the author applies Heb. 1:10 to the Son, and by doing so, he seems to equate the Son with “the Lord” (i.e., Yahveh) who laid the foundation of the earth.


Primary Question

Is the vocative κύριε in Psa. 102:25 (101:26), wherein the subject “laid the foundation of the earth,” a reference to Yahveh?

Secondary Question

If so, by quoting Psa. 102:25 (101:26) and applying it to the Son, is the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews thereby implying that the Son is Yahveh?

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[Note for anyone who might be suspicious: This is NOT a "sweetheart" question agreed between Der Übermensch and myself. We have had no other correspondence whatsoever, and we do not personally know each other.] The verse numbering I will use is that of the standard English and Latin versions.

The short answer to both questions is "yes" - there are several reasons why:

  1. Ps 102 is a lament to the LORD (= YHWH, Yahweh, Jehovah). See verse 1, 12, 15, 16, 19, 21, 22. The antecedents of the pronouns (both implied and actual) in verses 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 are all the LORD. No other person is addressed. In verse 24, the LORD is addressed as "my God".
  2. The author of Hebrews quotes Ps 102:25-27 in Heb 1:10-12. In doing so, the author clearly applies this passage to "the Son" as per V8. The fact that the text he quotes is from a slightly different text (from the Hebrew) in the LXX is irrelevant because the meaning is the same.
  3. In fact, the only substantive difference from the Hebrew is the LXX habit of inserting "κύριε" or, "κύριος" to replace some of the real or implied pronouns in the Hebrew Ps 102:25-27. We cannot know if this was the decision of the LXX translators, or, they worked from a different Hebrew exemplar, but that is no longer important. In any case, as explained above, the LORD is the clear referent.
  4. There is an almost identical situation earlier in the same chapter of Hebrew between Heb 1:6 and the LXX text of Deut 32:43. Note Deut 32:39 in the LXX says, ἴδετε ἴδετε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι, καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν θεὸς πλὴν ἐμοῦ· … (= Behold, behold that I am, and there is no god beside me: … ) V39-42 is an anthem or praise to God Most High, the great "I AM". V43 calls for everything and everyone to praise this God. Hebrews 1:6 applies this to Jesus. [Again, the fact that the LXX is different from the Hebrew shows that the translators had a different exemplar, but that is not important here.]

[Note, I believe there is a similar phenomenon in Heb 1:8, 9 but this is contentious so I will not discuss it here.]

Thus, there can be no doubt that the author of Hebrews, in his attempt to show the greatness, majesty and superiority of Jesus, took texts from the OT LXX, originally written about the LORD, the great "I AM", and applied them directly to Jesus, thus showing that Jesus is Jehovah God Almighty.

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  • The first paragraph reads more or less like the (much) shorter honey, it's not what you think. – Lucian Jun 21 '20 at 0:40
  • In terms of the OT, "Lord" is a more significant title than "God." – Revelation Lad Jun 21 '20 at 4:22
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    @RevelationLad - I agree - but in this case, He identifies Himself as the "I am, and there is no God besides me". This makes the identity of the person unmistakable. – Dottard Jun 21 '20 at 4:31
  • @Dottard - Is not the Almighty the Godhead, subsisting in the 3 uncreated persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, so that it could be misleading to take the Hebraic Name of God the Father to apply to Jesus Christ, as if He - in his person - was Jehovah? Do not the Latter Day Saints make a doctrine out of claiming that the Jehovah of the OT is the Jesus of the NT? Which is why I flag up this point to an otherwise excellent answer. – Anne Jun 22 '20 at 9:05
  • @Anne - I will let the Latter-day saints speak for themselves, (but I think your statement is correct, but I am no expert on their teachings). My answer above applies to God generally (or the Godhead if you will) thus making the Father Son and Holy Spirit all being Jehovah. All that Heb 1 does is conform that Jesus is an integral part of the Godhead by being Jehovah and the Great I AM (as is the Father and the HS.) Hope this helps. – Dottard Jun 22 '20 at 9:24

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