RE: Parallelism in Hab. 3:12 LXX

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Sat Jan 29 2000 - 15:02:16 EST

<x-flowed>Clayton wrote:
>In Hab 3:12 MT the two clauses appear to be parallel both syntactically
>and semantically. By this I mean the parallelism is not just confined to
>formal elements but also appears at the level of meaning.
>(Note: The LXX in this verse differs from the MT at several points but
>that has little or no bearing on my question.)
>Hab 3:12 LXX (Rahlfs) reads:
>I have seen a recent private translation of Hab 3:12 LXX where EN
>APEILHi is rendered as the means by which the action of the verb is
>accomplished and EN QUMWi is rendered as the state in which the agent
>performs the action.
>EN APEILHi is rendered "by threatening"
>EN QUMWi is rendered "in anger"
>This rendering seems to negate the semantic parallelism. I suspect that
>lexical considerations were active in making this rendering. APEILH is
>often found with the meaning "threat." However LEH (vol 2. page 46)
>suggests "anger" as the best gloss for this context. Also LEH cites
> Isa 54:9 as an example in the LXX where APEILH should be rendered
>I noticed that Charles Thomson in his now ancient translation of the LXX
>preserves the semantic parallelism:
> Charles Thomson's Rendering:
>EN APEILHi is rendered "with a threat"
>EN QUMWi is rendered "with wrath"
>I would like to suggest that both of these clauses use the EN + dative
>to describe the state of the agent and/or some quality of the action. I
>would render them with the ambiguous English preposition "in" which
>would allow the reader to decide on one of several semantic
>EN APEILHi "in anger"
>EN QUMWi "in fury"
>I am not as concerned about how this parallel structure is glossed as I
>am with preserving the semantic level of the parallelism. If anyone can
>come up with arguments for abandoning the semantic level of the
>parallelism I would like to hear them.


The parallelism in Hebrew where B.: bears two different "meanings" doesn't
strike me as all that unusual. Hebrew poetic parallelisms can function both
on either the semantic or formal level (sort of like rhyming words at the
end of lines in songs/poetry). Also, you find another example in Hebrew
poetry of the same thing at Hab 3:2, where the LXX has EN in both cases
(though the LXX has an additional phrase in it): "in the midst of years
make it known, in anger remember mercy." What the LXX does with the Hebrew
depends on the translator of that individual book, since each book is
different because of the skills, theology, etc., of each translator. Its
interesting to note that the translator of Habakkuk is "sensitive" to
change the preposition B.: (for whatever reason) even when it occurs in a
poetic parallelism with another B.:, eg., B.: become EK at Hab 2:4.

I think for APEILH the meaning "rebuke, threat" is appropriate both in Hab
3:12 and Isa 54:9 (objective genitive with SOU), and it certainly
represents the Hebrew at both points; though LEH is possibly correct that
the LXX translator of Hab. has misread the Hebrew (Daleth for Resh) and
translated the first verb incorrectly with OLIGOW.

As to the use of EN, as Carl pointed out, its not uncommon; BAGD "EN," I.5,

Hope this helps...


Dale M. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-251-6478 E-Mail:

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