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They have said in their heart, even all their kindred together, Come, let us abolish the feasts of the Lord from the earth. Brenton's LXX: (Psalm 74:8).

They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land. in the land. KJV: (Psalm 74:8).

Is it the feast of God or God's meeting place that is the proper translation?

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The operative word in Ps 74:8 is מוֹעֵד (mo'ed) can mean the following (see BDB)

  1. appointed time, eg, Genesis 18:14; Exodus 13:10 (J), Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18; Joshua 8:14
  2. appointed meeting, eg, Job 30:23, Num 16:2, Lam 1:15, etc 3.appointed place, eg,
  • a. the temple, "" שׂכּוֺ Lamentations 2:6, ׳נוּגֵי ממ afflicted (and driven) from the place of assembly Zephaniah 3:18 (compare BrMP 225).
  • b. synagogues, כָּלמֿוֺעֲדֵיאֵֿל בָּאָרֶץ all the appointed places of El in the land Psalm 74:8 = בֵּית וַעַד Sota Psalm 9:15.
  1. appointed sign, signal, Judges 20:38.
  2. the sacred tent of the Exodus (see אֹהֶל 3) Exodus 33:7 (twice in verse); Numbers 12:4; Deuteronomy 31:14 (twice in verse) (E), Numbers 11:16 (J); often in P, as Exodus 27:21; Exodus 29:4; Leviticus 1:1,3; Joshua 18:1; Joshua 19:51, etc. (131 t.)>; elsewhere only 1 Samuel 2:22b (omitted by ᵐ5), 1 Kings 8:4 2Chronicles 5:5; 1 Chronicles 6:17; 1 Chronicles 9:21; 1 Chronicles 23:32; 2Chronicles 1:3,6,13.

Thus, in Ps 74:8 מוֹעֵד (mo'ed) could be legitimately translated any of the above meanings. So, which is intended here?

The answer is readily deduced from the context - the meaning intended is the sanctuary/tabernacle for the following reasons:

  • according to Ps 74:8, the "mo'ed" is burned (שָׂרְפ֖וּ) - one cannot burn an appointed time/feast but only an appointed meeting place such as a synagogue or temple
  • the temple is the subject of the earlier part of Ps 74, specifically, V3, V7
  • the same word is used in V4 where it means "meeting place" [I note that the LXX also translates this "feasts" as well.]

Thus, while the LXX translation ("appointed feasts") is semantically possible, the context dictates that it be "sanctuary" in the sense of "appointed meeting place."

None of this makes the LXX wrong - perhaps it had a different exemplar (other than the MT) from which to translate.

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  • Thanks! edited Job 30:33 to vers 23 Jul 30, 2023 at 11:59
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    @DanielDahlberg - many thanks for detecting they typo.
    – Dottard
    Jul 30, 2023 at 12:03
  • Lee Brenton copied from Codex Vaticanus and the word is κατακαύσωμεν we burn not abolished. Jul 30, 2023 at 12:32

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