[b-greek] Re: Question on LXX Proverbs 3:6

From: Mark DelCogliano (cassian@dellepro.com)
Date: Tue Feb 26 2002 - 17:08:40 EST

> >My copy of the Septuagint renders Proverbs 3:6 as
> >"In all thy ways acquaint thyself with her, that she may rightly
> >direct thy paths."
> >But the only possible antecedent for "her" that I can see is GOD, in
> >vs. 5. It seems most unusual that God would be referred to in the
> >feminine (maybe Isa. 31:5 is an example?).
> >Is this some corruption, or is there some other explanation? Could it
> >be referring to WISDOM, as in Prov. 8? How would one know, from the
> >immediate context?
> ___________________________
> In view of the prominence of "wisdom" in the book of Proverbs, I wonder if
> perhaps it is not referring ALL THE WAY BACK to SOFIAS in 2.1,2

In the LXX, the usage of the feminine for the neuter is a recognized
Hebraism; cf. e.g. Conybeare and Stock, _A Grammar of Septuagint Greek_. But
unfortunately I don't think this applies to the construction under

If one defines a translational error as a grammatically inaccurate rendition
from Hebrew into Greek, then, at least according to the MT, the LXX's AUTHN
would be such an error since the suffix on the imperative verb in the Hebrew
is masculine. For what it's worth, the Vulgate 'correctly' renders the
Hebrew with a masculine demonstrative adjective acting as a pronoun, ILLUM.

Nevertheless, I like gfsomsel's response. Perhaps, due to the prominence of
SOFIA in the book of Proverbs, the LXX translator 'appropriated' the text
for his/her Greek speaking audience or even just unconsciously for some
reason thought of SOFIA as the proper object of GNWRIZE rather than QEOS.
Also, the translator could somehow have been influenced by the reference to
SHi SOFIAi in the colon before v. 6, and by employing AUTHN set up some sort
of antithesis. All this is of course speculation, but perhaps it is in line
with the LXX's recognized tendency to refine ideas in the course of
translation. The recent book on the LXX by Jobes and Silva discusses this,
but I don't have it at hand to provide a more exact reference.

I don't think, however, that it is in any way some sort of cloaked feminine
reference to God. It must refer to wisdom.

At least that my two cents. Others may have something of greater value to

Mark DelCogliano

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