Truly Truly the Greek Septuagint forgot an αμην "Amen"? - In the Hebrew Tanakh the phrase "Truly Truly" can be found in [Nehemiah 8:6].

Nehemiah 8:6

"And Ezra blessed YHVH, The-Great God, and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," with the uplifting of their hands, and they bent their heads and prostrated themselves to-YHVH on their faces to the ground." ( וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ עֶזְרָ֔א אֶת־יְהֹוָ֥ה הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים הַגָּד֑וֹל וַיַּֽעֲנ֨וּ כָל־הָעָ֜ם אָמֵ֚ן אָמֵן֙ בְּמֹ֣עַל יְדֵיהֶ֔ם וַיִּקְּד֧וּ וַיִּשְׁתַּֽחֲווּ֛ לַיהֹוָ֖ה אַפַּ֥יִם אָֽרְצָה )

"Amen Amen" אָמֵ֥ן אָמֵֽן = "Truly Truly".


However in the Greek Septuagint, we see the scribal error of writing only 1 αμην "Amen" in [Nehemiah 8:6] - "καὶ ηὐλόγησεν Εσδρας κύριον τὸν θεὸν τὸν μέγαν καὶ ἀπεκρίθη πᾶς ὁ λαὸς καὶ εἶπαν αμην ἐπάραντες χεῗρας αὐτῶν καὶ ἔκυψαν καὶ προσεκύνησαν τῷ κυρίῳ ἐπὶ πρόσωπον ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν"


  • Why does the LXX only show 1 Amen?
  • You appear to answer your own question when you assert that it is a "scribal error," do you not? Apr 16, 2021 at 20:39
  • Is this a scribal error in the LXX? Apr 16, 2021 at 20:51
  • 1
    This is one of the countless differences between the MT and LXX due to things like scribal errors, and simple differences in the Hebrew text behind LXX.
    – Dottard
    Apr 16, 2021 at 21:28
  • We have absolutely no idea how many times the word amen appeared in the Hebrew text in pre-Christian times, which is basically when the Septuagint was translated; nor do we know how many times the same word appeared in the pre-Christian Greek translation either. All we have are fourth century copies of the Septuagint, and ninth or tenth century copies of the Hebrew. Nor is it clear why a translation should be word for word.
    – Lucian
    Apr 30, 2021 at 1:19
  • It is not a serious difference for which we may need to compare the legitimacy of the LXX translation. It could well be superior in accuracy than the Hebrew Mesoretic Text and DSS, if not equal. The phrase "amen amen" maybe a Hebrew idiom which the translators chose to render just once like in the NT where the new English versions use "most certainly" or "solemn truth" for the repeated Amen amen (Truly truly) in John.
    – Michael16
    Jul 29, 2021 at 12:03

2 Answers 2


It is strange to assume a "scribal error" on the part of the Old Greek translators when the Leningrad Codex dates only to the 11th Century, whereas the Old Greek is a 1200 years younger witness. Yes if there was some complex hebrew or reference to an exotic animal or flower we can posit a translator error, but amen is a simple word.

There are multiple options

  1. What many scholars believe is that the MT dates to a different textual stream, one dominant in Babylon, then the textual streams dominant in Palestine and Egypt. This is because with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Palestine, it was found that they agree with the Old Greek much more than they do with the Leningrad Codex, and there was wide variation in spelling, phrasing and textual changes in different copies of the same books, supporting the notion of multiple textual streams circulating together. It is also believed that the Old Testament was not canonized yet and that there was disagreement as to which versions of texts were authoritative. There is evidence for proto-samaritan, proto-masoretic, and proto-septuagint texts in the DSS. Thus we now have three textual streams: Egypt (whose witness is Old Greek), Palestine (whose witness is the DSS), and Babylon (whose witness is MT), and in some cases they disagree with each other. In all cases, the proto-LXX hebrew texts have excellent agreement with the LXX and the proto-MT texts have strong agreement with the Leningrad codex[1]. Thus there is no reason to believe "a scribal error" has to explain the difference as this could be different textual traditions. This is similar to the disparaties between Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds with rabbinical judaism prefering to follow the tradition stemming from Babylon rather than from Palestine.

  2. Another option is that there is a single textual stream and during the intervening 1200 years some corruptions were added to the Leningrad Codex from the Hebrew copies made repeatedly over that period.

  3. The translators of the Old Greek forgot to add the second amen during translation

  4. Corruptions in our current copies of Old Greek

More options also exist. Readers can decide for themselves which is the more likely answer.

[1] EUGENE ULRICH. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Biblical Texts, published in Peter W. Flint, James C. VanderKam - The Dead Sea scrolls after fifty years_ a comprehensive assessment. Volume 1 (1998)


When some English translations use the double Amen as single, or use "Most certainly", "Solemn Truth" etc. you don't think they forgot to translate one amen, do you? There are only 3 Amen in Rahlfs' LXX. The Abbot Smith Lexicon shows on Amen:

(Heb. H543 אָמֵן, verbal adj. fr. H539 אָמַן, to prop, ni., be firm),
[in LXX: 1 Chronicles 16:36, 1 Esdras 9:46, Nehemiah 5:13; Nehemiah 8:6-8, Nehemiah 4:15, 3 Maccabees 7:23, 4 Maccabees 18:24 (elsewhere ״א is rendered ἀληθινός , Isaiah 65:16; ἀληθῶς , Jeremiah 28:6; γένοιτο , Numbers 5:22, Deuteronomy 27:15 ff, 1 Kings 1:36, Psalms 41:13; Psalms 72:19; Psalms 106:48, Jeremiah 11:5)*.]

  1. As adj. (cf. Isa, l.c.), ὁ ἀ ., Revelation 3:14

  2. As adv.,

(a) in solemn assent to the statements or prayers of another (Nu, Ne, etc., ll. c.): τό ἀ ., 1 Corinthians 14:16;

(b) similarly, at the end of one's own prayer or ascription of praise: Romans 1:25; Romans 15:33, Galatians 1:5, 1 Timothy 1:17;

(c) in the Gospels, exclusively, introducing solemn statements of our Lord, truly, verily: Matthew 5:18; Matthew 5:26, Mark 3:28 (v. Swete, in l), Luke 4:24, al.; ἀ . ἀ ., always in Jo 1:52, 3:3, 5:19, al.; τὸ ναί , καὶ . . . τὸ ἀ ., 2 Corinthians 1:20 (on usage in Papyri, v. MM, VGT, s.v.).

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