Re: ho thronos sou ho theos

Douglas de Lacey writes:

> But I am puzzled by Glenn's explanation of the text at issue.
> He cites MT Ps 45.3 (sic) / LXX Ps 44.3:
> " brkk 'lhym l`vlm (he-blessed-you God forever')
>  eulogesen se ho theos eis ton aiwna (he-blessed you the God forever)."
> and comments
> "The word that is in apposition here is 'God' and it is in apposition to
> the personal pronoun 'k' in the Hebrew which is translated as 'sou' and
> 'se' in the Greek.  The LXX solves the problem of the quote.  What it does
> not solve, however, is whether the writer knew this.  I expect s/he did,
> given the use of it in verse 3 of the Psalm and the use of it in Greek in
> general."
> In my book neither 'lhym nor ho theos is in apposition to anything.  Each
> is the subject of its verb. I don't see the "problem" to be solved (nor the
> antecedent of the last two "it"s). Is he suggesting an *intended* parallel
> between the two verses?  That the LXX observed and preserved it? We need
> Emanuel Tov to help us on translation techniques in the LXX, but I'd rather
> doubt such subtlety. Would you like to amplify, Glenn?

You are correct!  I looked rather too quickly, saw the visible parallel and 
typed before checking the context or thinking about basic Hebrew grammar 
(the subject follows the verb). :-(  (I can not convey red on the screen!)

However, I still maintain my main point.  In Hebrew, a noun can be used with 
a vocative sense after second person pronominal suffixes. So, I checked the 
morphologically tagged BHS Book of Psalms using Lbase and looking for all occurrences 
of words with a second person pronominal suffixes followed by 
a noun (common or proper). The results show that when a Hebrew vocative of 
"'lhm" ("God", and _without_ the article) is rendered in the LXX, the
form "ho theos" is used.  See, e.g.,  MT 40:9, 42:2; 48:11 and LXX 39:9, 41:2, 47:11
respectively.  When "yhwh" is used with a vocative sense, however, the greek
vocative is employed, i.e., "kurie". (Just for comparison.) 

Now, to rephrase my ambuiguous conclusion:

Recourse to the the LXX, not classical greek, solves the "problem" (perceived or 
real) of the translations of the quote of Hebrews 1:8 with vocatives. It is 
possible that the writer of the book of Hebrews did not know this and thought
"ho theos" was in apposition to "ho thronos", but I expect s/he did 
know it was a vocative, given its usage for this in the LXX version of the Psalms
and from which s/he was quoting and from its occurrence in Greek in general.  

Glenn Wooden

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