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The Hebrew of Amos 4:13 does not mention Christ:

[Amo 4:13 NLT] (13) For the LORD is the one who shaped the mountains, stirs up the winds, and reveals his thoughts to mankind. He turns the light of dawn into darkness and treads on the heights of the earth. The LORD God of Heaven's Armies is his name!

But where the Hebrew has "thoughts", the LXX has either "goodness" or "Christ".

"Goodness" is [G5543] while "Christ" is [G5547].

I would imagine that the transmission was first the LXX rendering "thoughts" as "goodness" and a later scribe rendering "goodness" as "anointed/Christ", but rather than presume, is someone able to tell from the extant texts if this was so, chronologically? Or to throw any light on the transmission from "thoughts" to either "goodness" or "anointed/Christ"?

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    If one prescribes to the rule that "a text cannot mean something to us that it did not mean to the writer or the original readers" then to read Christ into this passage would be invalid. This passage exalts the glory of God what more could you ask?
    – David D
    Sep 17, 2020 at 16:51
  • Perhaps the Christ he had in mind was David, David?
    – Ruminator
    Sep 17, 2020 at 16:55
  • The Greek translator seems to have interpreted the thoughts in question as goodwill, good intent, or good (pre)disposition (e.g., Jeremiah 29:11); then, by turning an eta into a iota, we have Christ.
    – Lucian
    Sep 17, 2020 at 20:55
  • That is my thesis. What I'm seeking is some corroborating textual or linguistic evidence.
    – Ruminator
    Sep 17, 2020 at 20:56

3 Answers 3

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Does Amos 4:13 refer to "Christ" or the Ivri Meshiach?

*No. - Amos 4:13 [MT] refers to YHVH.

Amos 4:13 [MT] "For behold, He forms mountains and creates the wind, and declares to-Adam what his speech is; He makes dawn into darkness, and treads on the high places of the earth; YHVH God of Hosts is His Name." (כִּ֡י הִנֵּ֩ה יוֹצֵ֨ר הָרִ֜ים וּבֹרֵ֣א ר֗וּחַ וּמַגִּ֚יד לְאָדָם֙ מַה־שֵּׂח֔וֹ עֹשֵׂ֥ה שַׁ֙חַר֙ עֵיפָ֔ה וְדֹרֵ֖ךְ עַל־בָּ֣מֳתֵי אָ֑רֶץ יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵֽי־צְבָא֖וֹת שְׁמֽוֹ )

In Amos 4:13 [LXX], we find a misunderstanding of "Mah-Sech-o" (מַה־שֵּׂח֔וֹ) [What-Thought-His] which becomes incorrectly interpreted as "Meshiach-o" (מְשִׁיחֽוֹ) [his Messiah] :

"For, behold, I am he that strengthens the thunder, and creates the wind, and proclaims to men [his Christ], forming the morning and the darkness, and mounting on the high places of the earth, The Lord God Almighty is his name." (διότι ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ στερεῶν βροντὴν καὶ κτίζων πνεῦμα καὶ ἀπαγγέλλων εἰς ἀνθρώπους τὸν [χριστὸν] αὐτοῦ ποιῶν ὄρθρον καὶ ὁμίχλην καὶ ἐπιβαίνων ἐπὶ τὰ ὕψη τῆς γῆς κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ ὄνομα αὐτῷ)

  • Greek Scribes of the Septuagint (LXX) either misunderstood or misinterpreted (מַה־שֵּׂח֔וֹ) [What-Thought-His] as (מְשִׁיחֽוֹ) [his Messiah] to render their translation "Christ-His" [χριστὸν] in Amos 4:13 [LXX].
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    Ah, that makes sense! Thanks so much ctaylorgraphics.
    – Ruminator
    Sep 17, 2020 at 21:37
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In Amos 4:13 we have for the Hebrew:

For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind And declares to man what are His thoughts, He who makes dawn into darkness And treads on the high places of the earth, The LORD God of hosts is His name. (NASB)

The LXX reads:

διότι ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ στερεῶν βροντὴν καὶ κτίζων πνεῦμα καὶ ἀπαγγέλλων· εἰς ἀνθρώπους τὸν χριστὸν αὐτοῦ, ποιῶν ὄρθρον καὶ ὁμίχλην καὶ ἐπιβαίνων ἐπὶ τὰ ὑψηλὰ τῆς γῆς· Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ ὄνομα αὐτῷ.

The Brenton translation reads https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/septuagint/chapter.asp?book=32&page=4

For, behold, I am he that strengthens the thunder, and creates the wind, and proclaims to men his Christ, forming the morning and the darkness, and mounting on the high places of the earth, The Lord God Almighty is his name.

Thus, we are really discussing how the Hebrew שֵּׂח֔וֹ becomes χριστὸν. Fascinatingly, שֵׂחַ (the lexical form) only occurs here. BDB offers a tantalizing suggestion:

[שֵׁךְַ] noun [masculine] thought; — suffix מַנִּיד לָאָדָם מַהֿ שֵּׂחוֺ Amos 4:13; read probably שִׂחוֺ (against BaNB 79, 80) unless otherwise corrupt.

II. שׂיח (√ of following; compare perhaps Assyrian šâ—u, grow, grow up (of trees), ši—tu, apparently a shoot, sprout; Late Hebrew = Biblical Hebrew; Punic שח; Syriac artemisia Judaica, compare WetzstReisebericht 4, 41 Löw p.78, so Arabic Lane1628 (compare LagBN 159)).

Thus, we may be dealing with either a slight misunderstanding or a corruption. It is not impossible that if we take the previous word and this words we get שֵּׂח֔וֹ מַה־ which MIGHT be a corruption or Messiah. If this is true, the LXX here is from an older text (which is not impossible.)

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  • I'm not qualified in regard to the textual or Hebrew matters you discuss but I think it helps fill out what we are dealing with. Thanks Dottard.
    – Ruminator
    Sep 17, 2020 at 21:51
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This isn’t an answer, but rather a thought provoker.

I wonder if it’s possible that the initial reading of the verse was “Christ”, rather than “thoughts”.

There are two reasons that lead me down the path of this being a possibility.

Reason 1: When I was studying Justin the Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, I found that Justin makes the accusation that the Jews were altering the Scriptures in his day to discredit the Christian’s. Justin even gives a few examples in the writing, and states that in their old synagogues, their Scriptures contain the uncorrupted versions of the texts which he referenced. This is rather difficult to verify, seeing that those ancient Hebrew copies no longer exist, but we may have some ancient Greek manuscripts that we could compare it with.

Reason 2: Aside from Justin’s account of the Jews manipulating Scripture, we can see the book of Acts (15:17) give a quotation from the book of Amos (9:12) which reads “That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.” [KJV].

But when we go to that same verse which was quoted from Amos, it reads “That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.” [KJV]

Is it possible that some verses concerning the Christ and his Church was deliberately taken out by the ancient Jews as an attempt to discredit the Christians?

Could this explain why the Septuagint reads “Christ” and the Hebrew reads “thoughts”?

I’m interested to hear what you think.

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