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Can we know how or why the Septuagint renders "forever" in Psalm 102:28? No other translation has this.

Most render this "established." Is there an underlying semantic reason for it to carry the meaning of "forever" or permanence?

Your help is appreciated.

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    Which English translation of the Septuagint are you referring to?
    – user33515
    May 6, 2023 at 18:07

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Here is the verse from the LXX:

  • “σὺ δὲ ὁ αὐτὸς εἶ, καὶ τὰ ἔτη σου οὐκ ἐκλείψουσιν.” (Psalm 101:28 LXXS-T)
  • "And you, yourself, are he; And your years will not give out." (translation mine)

The LXX closely follows the Hebrew text:

  • ”וְאַתָּה־הוּא וּשְׁנוֹתֶיךָ לֹא יִתָּמּוּ“ (Psalm 102:28 BHS-T)
  • "You are he; and your years will not expire." (Translation mine)

So, to get at an answer to your question, from what I can see, the Septuagint doesn't have the words, "forever" in the text.

Perhaps the English version of the Septuagint you're using uses a more functional translation (changing the double negative, "not...give out" to "live forever)?


As it turns out, you're off a verse, so this is a revised answer:

In vs. 29, this is the Greek:

  • “οἱ υἱοὶ τῶν δούλων σου κατασκηνώσουσιν, καὶ τὸ σπέρμα αὐτῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα κατευθυνθήσεται.” (Psalm 101:29 LXXS-T)
  • "the sons of your slaves will dwell; and their seed will be directed in a straight line forever." (translation mine)

The translator of the LXX, (as often happens in the Septuagint),took a more functional approach in translation, evidently. Here's the Hebrew:

  • ”בְּנֵי־עֲבָדֶיךָ יִשְׁכּוֹנוּ וְזַרְעָם לְפָנֶיךָ יִכּוֹן׃“ (Psalm 102:29 BHS-T)
  • "The sons of your slaves will dwell; and your seed will [continute to] be established in your presence."

So, the Hebrew lets us know that the seed will be established without a foreseen end (יִכּוֹן). The LXX renders that with "into the ages" (εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα).

The other challenge, from a translation point of view is what to do with the "into the ages" phrase. BDB has this listed as the definition of "Olam":

  • 5769, 5865 עוֹלָם 439 n. m. long duration, antiquity, futurity <BDB, s.v. “עלם,” 761.>

Notice that it has two meanings:

  • a long time
  • forever

So, the phrase, "εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα" ("Into the ages") can be roughly equivalent to "יִכּוֹן" ("will be established.")

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    101:29 in LXX: οἱ υἱοὶ τῶν δούλων σου κατασκηνώσουσιν καὶ τὸ σπέρμα αὐτῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα κατευθυνθήσεται May 6, 2023 at 16:32
  • Ahh, so Deb was off a verse. got it.
    – Epimanes
    May 6, 2023 at 16:39

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