Re: Question on Psa. 39:7 LXX

From: Ben Crick (
Date: Wed Mar 15 2000 - 17:32:51 EST

On Wed 15 Mar 2000 (05:59:52), wrote:
> Regarding KEFALIDI, in Psa. 40:7 (or 39:7?):
> Is it, or could it be regarded to be, a reference to the
> Book of Genesis (the Seed of the Woman)?
> Eg "in the HEAD of the Book it is written of Me . . ."?
> If so, what is the meaning of the Hebrew word thus
> tr'd by the LXX?

 Dear Bob,

 KEFALIS means a head; but it also means a Chapter or a chapter-heading.

 The original Hebrew is BiM:GiLLaT-SePeR KaTuWB `aLaY, "in the Scroll
 of the Book [of the Law] it is written concerning me" (BH Psalm 40:8).
 The same phrase occurs in Jeremiah 36:2, 4. M:GiLLaH is either from the
 root G-L-L, to roll, or from the root G-L-H, to make open or to uncover.
 It seems it meant the finials on the spindles upon which a Scripture scroll
 was wound, preventing the parchment or vellum from falling off the ends.
 So, by synechdoche or pars pro toto, it could refer to the scroll itself.
 Jerome translates /in capite libri scriptum est de me/.

 The reference seems to be not to the beginning of the Torah scroll; but
 bearing in mind the context in Psalm 39[40], something like Deuteronomy
 10:12-13, as more likely to be the place in the Scroll which is being
 alluded to. The Servant is answering the Master's summons: IDOU hHKW.
 Deuteronomy 10:12-13 is the task he is called to perform. Compare Numbers
 22:38; 2 Samuel 19:20; and Isaiah 6:8.

 The "Seed of the Woman" (Genesis 3:15) is possibly what Christian
 commentators see referred to in Psalm LXX 39:6b, SWMA DE KATHRTISW MOI
 as quoted in Hebrews 10:5. But it is stretching credulity too far to
 see that connection with EN KEFALIDI BIBLIOU.

 If you have access to a library, see BF Westcott, /The Epistle to the
 Hebrews/, 3rd Ed., London 1903, ad loc (page 312f in my copy).


 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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