From: Dan E. Barnes (
Date: Wed Sep 01 1999 - 17:29:03 EDT

Robert W Meyers wrote:
>Could someone tell me the meaning of this word
>in the LXX of Job 22:14 and Isa. 40:22?

        I am not any sort of Greek scholar, but I have looked into these verses a
little because Isaish 40:22 is often to prove that Bible writers had a
correct cosmological views. All occurences of noun 'guron' in the Septuagint
"canonical" OT books occur in the following passages*:

Job 22:14 (and [God] passes through the circle [gk. 'guron'] of heaven.)
Isaiah 40:22 (it is [God] that comprehends the circle [gk. 'guron'] of the

Behind these occurences, the Hebrew has the noun 'chug'. The noun 'chug'
also occurs in Proverbs 8:27 (when he drew a circle [heb. chug] on the face
of the deep), but the LXX has a variant reading (when he prepared his throne
upon the winds). But the versions of Aquila and Theodotion do have 'guron'
(en tw akribazein *guron* epi proswpon abussou, see. Origen's Hexepla).

Additionally, the verb 'gurow' occurs in Job 26:10 ([God] has encompassed
[gk. 'egurwsen'] the face of the water). Whereas the noun 'guron'
represented the noun 'chug', so too the verb 'gurow' represents the verb
'chug'. All forms of 'chug' and rendered by some form of 'guron' in the LXX,
except Proverbs 8:27. Outside of the "canonical" works, this same
correspondence holds true, as can be seen in Ben Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus.
The following are the two occurences of forms of the word 'guron' in the

Ben Sirach 24:5 (I alone compassed [gk. 'guron'] the circuit of heaven)
Ben Sirach 43:12 (It encompasseth [gk. 'egurwsen'] the heaven about with a
glorious circle)

Part of the Hebrew text for 43:12 was found in Masada and does have 'chug'
for 'egurwsen'. As for 24:5, I think the Hebrew for it was found in the
Geniza of the Ben Ezra Synagouge in Egypt (My notes do not have it written
down the scroll designation for either, however see
gopher:// which has the Greek/Hebrew
in parallel [maybe down though...]).

Although not translated in Greek, the last occurence of 'chug' found in
Hebrew outside of those mentioned above occurs in the War Scroll (1QM,
10.13) from Qumran where it speaks of "the circle of the seas".

Out of all of these occurences there are somethings to note.
1. all occur in Poetical contexts
2. as someone just mentioned as I was writing this "In each case the majesty
of the Creator is in view." There is definte contrast made between God who
transends all, and his works which are limited.

I personally take both the Greek and Hebrew in these instances to mean just
that God has set limits on his works, or that they are limited, while he
remains about them all. The Greek and Hebrew is something like that which
surrounds something else. There is no view here to describing the literal
shape of the earth as being a sphere anymore than the other passages are
saying the seas and heaven are literally spherical. Also I find it strange
that someone would push for literal sphericity in this word, and not take
all the surrounding context which talk about "pillars of heaven" and
"foundations of the earth" also literally. But this all goes over the aim of
the list so I will stop here.

Daniel Barnes

(LXX: Brenton, 1QM: Vermes, all others NRSV)

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