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The septuagint appears to read differently from the Masoretic text in Psalm 22:1 and I wondered why this might be ?

אֵלִ֣י אֵ֭לִי לָמָ֣ה עֲזַבְתָּ֑נִי רָחֹ֥וק מִֽ֝ישׁוּעָתִ֗י דִּבְרֵ֥י שַׁאֲגָתִֽי׃ [Biblehub]

My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me ? [KJV]

Ὁ θεὸς ὁ θεός μου, πρόσχες μοι· ἵνα τί ἐγκατέλιπές με; [Benton]

God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me

Why is the first address to Deity not personal, in the Septuagint ?

In Matthew 27:46 Matthew reports Jesus' words as

ηλι ηλι

which he translates to

θεε μου θεε μου

which is exactly comparable to the Hebrew words.

So why is the Septuagint, also, not the same ?

  • Most likely for stylistic reasons; loosely related to Sharp's rule, which itself is meant to avoid similarly cacophonous repetitions. – Lucian Jul 15 at 16:48
  • @Lucian Sharp's rule is about TSKS constructions which I don't see as relevant to repeated noun phrases, myself. – Nigel J Jul 15 at 16:50
  • In both, one avoids unnecessary repetitions, be they articles or adjectives, etc. – Lucian Jul 15 at 17:05
  • Matthew translated it as repetitive μου Θεέ μου Θεέ. – Tony Chan Jul 15 at 18:46
  • @TonyChan I was asking about the Septuagint translation of the Masoretic Hebrew. Jesus' words are reported by Matthew as ηλι ηλι which he translates to θεε μου θεε μου which exactly mirrors the Hebrew. But why is the Septuagint different ? Question edited to clarify your comment. – Nigel J Jul 15 at 19:27
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On Psa. 22:1, Bernard de Montfaucon noted the following:1

de Montfaucon, Bernard. Hexaplorum Origenis Quæ Supersunt, Multis Partibus Auctoria, Quam a Flaminio Nobilio & Joanne Drusio Edita Fuerint. Vol. 1. p. 500. Psa. 22:1

Johannes van den Driesche (Jan Drusius) noted the following:2

van den Driesche, Johannes. Veterum Interpretum Græcorum in Totum Vetus Testamentum Fragmenta Collecta, Versa & Notis Illustrata. p. 896. Psa. 22:1.

Frederick Field noted the following:3

Field, Frederick. Origenis Hexaplorum Quæ Supersunt; sive Veterum Interpretum Graecorum in Totum Vetus Testamentum Fragmenta. Vol. 2. p. 117. Psa. 22:1.

Footnotes

        1 de Montfaucon, Vol. 1, p. 500
        2 van den Driesche, p. 896
        3 Field, Vol. 2, p. 117

According to de Montfaucon, it seems as though Origen, Symmachus, and Theodotion all wrote ὁ θεός μου, ὁ θεός μου. I’m not certain why Field, who based his work in part on de Montfaucon, indicated that Origen wrote ὁ θεός, ὁ θεός μου.


References

de Montfaucon, Bernard. Hexaplorum Origenis Quæ Supersunt, Multis Partibus Auctoria, Quam a Flaminio Nobilio & Joanne Drusio Edita Fuerint. Vol. 1. Paris: Guerin, 1713.

Field, Frederick. Origenis Hexaplorum Quæ Supersunt; sive Veterum Interpretum Graecorum in Totum Vetus Testamentum Fragmenta. Vol. 2. Oxonii: E Typographeo Clarendoniano, 1875.

van den Driesche, Johannes. Veterum Interpretum Græcorum in Totum Vetus Testamentum Fragmenta Collecta, Versa & Notis Illustrata. Arnhemia: Ianssonius, 1622.

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This will not answer the question but state some further facts about the LXX of Ps 22/21 verse 1 (throughout I will use English verse numbers).

This is yet another instance of the LXX and Masoretic text differing.

Hebrew Text:

אֵלִ֣י אֵ֭לִי לָמָ֣ה עֲזַבְתָּ֑נִי רָחֹ֥וק מִֽ֝ישׁוּעָתִ֗י דִּבְרֵ֥י שַׁאֲגָתִֽי = My God, My God why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

LXX text (Swete, Brenton, Rahlfs all the same):

Ο ΘΕΟΣ, ὁ Θεός μου, πρόσχες μοι· ἵνα τί ἐγκατέλιπές με; μακρὰν ἀπὸ τῆς σωτηρίας μου οἱ λόγοι τῶν παραπτωμάτων μου. = O God, my God, attend to me: why hast thou forsaken me? the account of my transgressions is far from my salvation. (Brenton Translation).

Aramaic (From Matt 27:46)

Ἡλεὶ Ἡλεὶ λεμὰ σαβαχθανεί;

Greek (From Matt 26:46)

Θεέ μου θεέ μου, ἵνα τί με ἐγκατέλιπες; = My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

We observe several things about this comparison:

  • The Greek of the LXX is different from the Hebrew in several respects. The LXX adds the phrase "attend to me" and the last part of the verse is very different.
  • The Aramaic is much closer to the Hebrew
  • Matthew does not quote the LXX but translates the Aramaic.

I offer no comment on the reason for these differences - the LXX is different from the Hebrew, the Aramaic and the GNT. It is definitely the "odd man out". (I have seen this on dozens of occasions with the LXX.)

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  • It was difficult to choose which answer to accept from two excellent offerings. My choice, in the end, was really an arbitrary one. Next time, Dottard. – Nigel J Jul 16 at 12:52
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    @NigelJ - no need to apologize - you made a good choice. – Dottard Jul 16 at 21:31
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The Septuagint appears to read differently from the Masoretic text in Psalm 22:1 for stylistic variation reason. Let's take a look at how LXX translates another psalm, Psalm 71:12.

Berean Study Bible Psalm 71:12

Be not far from me, O God. Hurry, O my God, to help me.

Masoretic Text:

אֱ֭לֹהִים אַל־תִּרְחַ֣ק מִמֶּ֑נִּי אֱ֝לֹהַ֗י לְעֶזְרָ֥תִי
    ’ĕ-lō-hay                   ’ĕ-lō-hîm

LXX:

ο θεός μου μη μακρύνης απ' εμού ο θεός μου ...

In the case of Psalm 71:12, a literal translation of the Masoretic would be

ο θεός μη μακρύνης απ' εμού ο θεός μου ...

In Psalm 22:1, LXX translated אֵלִ֣י אֵ֭לִי as Ὁ θεὸς ὁ θεός μου.
Matthew translated it as repetitive μου Θεέ μου Θεέ.

For the non-repetition in Psalm 71:12, LXX translated אֱ֭לֹהִים אֱ֝לֹהַ֗י as ο θεός μου, ο θεός μου.

Non-repetition was translated as repetition and vice verse. There is no consistent logic in these two translations. Their occurrences are due to stylistic variations at the time of their actual translations: what they felt like at the time.

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