Re: Isaiah 45:19 (also Isaiah 7:14 in Mt 1:23)

From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (
Date: Mon Sep 07 1998 - 08:02:18 EDT

At 19:34 05/09/98 -0600, you wrote:
>Speaking of LXX variants, I came across something last night in Matthew's
>quotation from Isaiah 7:14 which puzzles me. The author is apparently
>quoting the LXX, but uses KALESOUSIN rather than KALESEIS. My NA27 text
>shows -SEIS appearing only in D (pauci), Bohairic MSS, Origen, and Eusebius.
>Now where did Matthew get the 3rd plural reading? The author uses -SEIS in
>1:21, so why not in 1:23? Luke's reference is a less reliant on the LXX,
>but the author uses -SEIS in Luke 1:31 just the same. I'm not much good
>with Hebrew at this point, but my Logos BHS has tagged WeQaRa'T as 3rd
>singular (hope my transliteration of that is clear enough). There is,
>however, a variant reading WQR' in my 1983 BHS if someone can help with the
>person and number on it.

In citing the Logos BHS tag, you seen to have forgotten that Hebrew has two
form for the 3rd pers. sing. --- masculine and feminine.
Maybe you would check the Logos tag again?

My Bible Windows tagged BHS shows 3 pers. sing fem. -- but, without
further explanation, this is quite puzzling to someone who just knows the
basic verb paradigms.

As so often, you then have to go to the Gesenius/Kautzsch grammar, to find
a note in ss. 74g and 75m that the form in the BHS is an older form.
The variant [ marked b-b in the BHS you quote ] is simply the normal
paradigm Qual form of the 3rd pers. MASC -- for whether it is an active or
a passive form, see below. [Incidentaly, did you note that the two sources
cited for the variant are the Qumran Isaiah scroll and Sinaiticus?]

There is also, as noted on p.151 of Raymond Brown's " Birth of the Messiah"
, another Hebrew reading in the Dead Sea scroll of Isaiah [ 1 QIsa ] " a
reading which can be translated ' he will be called'.
Incidentally, this translation as a passive relies on the existence of an
older form too, this time of a Qual passive.
So, as Brown summarises the matter, "they will call him" = he will be
called. But after remarking that the 'most commonly accepted explanation'
is that Matthew deliberately changed the LXX to suit his own narrative,
Brown, in a footnote combines this explanation with the previous one
derived from Qumran to venture the possibility that " Matthew deliberately
sought out a reading different from the LXX to suit his own narrative.

Hope this helps


Maurice A. O'Sullivan
[ Bray, Ireland ]

" Blessed he that neither tastes
bitter wisdom from the Greeks,
nor spits out the simple words
of the men of Galilee!"

-------- St. Ephraim the Syrian

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