Re: Song of the Sea LXX

From: Steve Puluka (
Date: Wed Nov 10 1999 - 20:58:44 EST

<x-flowed>>From: "clayton stirling bartholomew"
>To be fair to the memory of U. Cassuto (d. 1949?) I think his reasoning
>here does not have much to do with the LXX reading. On page 173 of his
>commentary on Exodus he describes what he sees
>as the markers that set off the three strophes in the this song (Ex 15:1-6,
>7-11, 12-18). It is his analysis of the poetic structure
>that leads him to connect elements in 15:11 with 15:6. He points
>out several similarities between the endings of each strophe.

While I can't shed any light on the differences between the Hebrew and Greek
in the Song of Moses we do sing this song during the Vespers of Holy
Saturday in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Exodus 13:20-15:18 is the sixth
of fifteen readings taken on the eve of the Resurrection. When the reader
reaches 15:1 the reader and the congregation sing the song of Moses. The
reader takes the main verses and the people sing the refrain between each
set of verses. I believe this organization of the verses would correspond
to how early Christians saw the "strophes" deliniated.

The breaking of verses is as follows:

Exodus 15:1
Reader: Let us sing to the Lord
People: For he has been clothed with Glory!

Reader: verse-2
People Refrain: Let us sing to the Lord for he has been clothe with Glory!
Reader: verses 3-5
People Refrain
Reader: verse 6
People Refrain
Reader: verse 7 & 8
People Refrain
Reader: verse 9 & 10
People Refrain
Reader verse 11
People Refrain
Reader verse 12 & 13
People Refrain
Reader verse 14 & 15
People Refrain
Reader verse 16
People Refrain
Reader Verse 17
People Refrain
Reader Verse 18
People Refrain
Reader Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
People Refrain
Reader Now and ever and forever Amen
People Refrain

Our current English translation for the service on verse 11 is:
Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?
Who is like to You, magnificent in Holiness?
O terrible in renown, worker of wonders.

Naturally, this is rendered from the LXX version with a pass through the Old
Slavonic for my jurisdiction.

You may also be interested to know that this song forms the archtype for the
first ode of the Canon songs. The Canon is sung during festal Matin
services and the odes used vary with the feast or fast day. But whenever
Ode One is used one of the themes from this song will be woven in. I have
scanned the Festal Menion, Triodion of the Great Fast and the
Pentacostarion. Unfortunately, verse 11 has not been selected for
amplification by any of the hymographers, so there is no additional insight

Hope this helps.

Steve Puluka
Adult Education Instructor
Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh

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