Re: LEH - Lexicon of the LXX

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Fri Nov 26 1999 - 15:11:27 EST

My comments on TROCOS in Psalm 77:19 (76:19) need some revision.
This word is a good example to illustrate the difficulties one is up
against when doing lexical analysis in the LXX.

The Hebrew word in question GLGL is ambiguous. BDB notes this by giving
the alternatives "whirlwind or wheel" for Psalm 77:19. M. Dahood (Psalms
II AB, p. 232) argues that this does not mean whirlwind, but something
round and in this case "the dome of heaven". You will need to see Dahood
for the details of his argument. I cite him only to illustrate the
difficulty with this word not because I find his argument compelling.

I did wonder what words were available in the Attic language for
"whirlwind" and I found several including QUELLA, TUFOWS, and PRHSTHR.
None of these words is a technical designation of whirlwind and only
QUELLA is used in the LXX and only in the Pentateuch Ex. 10:22, Deut.
4:11, Deut. 5:22 and in these passages nothing like a whirlwind is
intended so I am left wondering what the options were for the translator
of the LXX in Psalm 77:19 (76:19). I am sure that more research would
shed light on this but I am not sure I want to take the time.

I am inclined to speculate at this point that TROCOS was used in Psalm
77:19 (76:19) because TROCOS mirrored the ambiguity of GLGL nicely. This
is one approach to translation. If you find an ambiguous word use a
closely equivalent ambiguous word and let the reader decide what to make
of it.

So perhaps the LSJ rendering as "whirlwind" for this passage cannot be
blindly followed either.

I think this helps illustrate that doing lexical analysis in translation
Greek is a bit messy since there are a lot of things one must take into


>From: "clayton stirling bartholomew" <>

> Here is an example of how the LEH Lexicon falls short as a lexicon.
> In Psalm 77:19 (76:19) we find the word TROCOS which is a translation
> for the Hebrew word GLGL.
> LEH gives us the following on TROCOS
> 2 Sm 24:22; 1 Kgs 7:17,18,19(bis)(30.32(bis).33)wheel (of a chariot)
> Sir 33:5; id. (of an agricultural implement) 2 Sm 24:22; potterŐs wheel
> Sir 38:29; wheel of torture 4 Mc 15:22
> LS (intermdiate) gives us:
> anything that runs round:
> I. a round cake, Od.
> II. a wheel, Il., Soph.; to imitate wheels, of one who bends back so
> as to form a wheel, Xen.
> 2. a potters wheel, Il.
> 3. the wheel of a stage-machine
> 4. the wheel of torture,
> III. a boys hoop,
> . . . etc.
> *********
> In Psalm 77:19 LS (intermediate) gives us the data we need to make sense
> out of our text: "anything that runs round" or "to imitate wheels" in
> this case a whirlwind. LEH, however, fails to give us the data we need.
> As a lexicon of the LXX this is a serious shortcoming.
> Just thought I would show a specific example to those who might think
> some of us are being overly harsh in our evaluation of this lexicon.
> Keep in mind I did point out that LEH is worth having in your library. I
> am not trashing the book but just pointing out that it cannot be used in
> isolation form other resources.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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