Triglot Question

From: Larry J. Swain (
Date: Fri Oct 01 1999 - 11:40:44 EDT

The other night a group of students and I were reading a passage in the Vulgate and came across a rather odd construction in Psalms 3.8. The text reads:
(3.7 in the Vulgate) exsurge Domini salvum me fac Deus meus.
The question was over the use of the Vocative in Domini and the use of the Nominative in with Deus meus. I opened my LXX and lo, the same construction there which reads: AVASTA KURIE SWSON ME hO THEOS MOU
Ok, so it is quite apparent that Jerome is following the LXX text. But why the odd construction in the LXX. So I goes to my Hebrew and while my skills in that language are considerably rustier I didn't detect anything there that would force the last reference to God in clause, the THEOS MOU, into the Nominative.

The only thing I can conclude is that grammatically THEOS MOU is being used as the subject of the imperative verb which in English we're going to translate as a vocative just so that it makes sense. But it seems a very odd construction to me. Is there something in Koine that I'm missing where the Nominative can be used as a vocative in such a case? (I checked Goodwin and Gulick and found that Nominatives could be vocatives in exclamations and other limited circumstances which didn't seem to fit this verse.)

So what say the gathered wise of the list?

Larry Swain

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