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Re: TRANSLATION: Sabaoth (cf Steg Belsky and msgs # 130585 & prequelae)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 6, 2005, 6:02
On Tuesday, July 5, 2005, at 05:28 , Tom Chappell wrote:

> Hello, I hope this question is appropriate for this list. > In an answer I can no longer locate, Steg Belsky told me that he did not > know where the idea that '"Sabaoth" could be interpreted as "Almighty"' > came from. >   > WebBible.html and say that LXX (which I take it > means the Septuagint) use the Greek word meaning "Almighty" to translate > the Hebrew word we transliterate as "Sabaoth" whenever it is used as part > of God's name or title.
Those sites may say so, but they seem to be misinformed. Isaiah 3:1 Idou dē ho despotēs Kyrios sabaōth ..... Behold indeed the Master, Lord sabaoth ... Isaiah 6:3 hagios, hagios hagios Kyrios sabaōth.... Holy, holy, holy Lord sabaoth... Isaiah 6:5 .. ton basilea Kyrion sabaōth eidon ... .. the king Lord sabaoth I saw ... Isaiah 8:18 .. para Kyriou sabaōth, hos katoikei en tōi orei Siōn. ..from Lord sabaoth, who dwells in the mount Sion. et cetera. The Vulgate consistently has _Dominus exercituum_ "Lord of armies" in these passage, but the Septuagint has σαβαώθ (sabaoth) in these passage, not 'almighty'. The word σαβαώθ (sabaoth) is also used in the New Testament: Romans 9:29 ei mē Kyrios sabaōth enkatelipen hēmin sperma... if not Lord sabaoth left us offspring ... James 5:4 .. eis ta ōta Kyriou sabaōth ... the ears of Lord sabaoth ... In the NT passages the Vulgate also has _sabaoth_. In an obvious reference to Isaiah 6:3 the Apocalypse does use the word 'pantokrator' (all-mighty) - but it is not an exact quote (indeed the Geek is not entirely grammatical): Hagios, hagios, hagios Kyrios ho Theos ho pantokratōr, Holy, holy, holy [is] Lord the God the almighty, ho ēn kai ho ōn kai ho erkhomenos. the was and the being and the coming [one]. Note: 'the was' is *not* a typo! The Greek has the nominative singular masculine of the definite article followed by the 3rd person singular of the past tense of "to be". ('to be' had only one past tense in Greek).  
> They (that is, WebBible.html and and the other top > ten Google responders) say that "Sabaoth", which could refer either to > "the Heavenly Hosts" or "the armies of Israel", 
It was a transliteration of Hebrew tsĕbha'ōth "armies". (Sorry - can't get my mailer to accept Hebrew script)
> does not appear as a title for God in the first 6 or 7 books of the Old > Testament, but appears frequently in the Prophetic books.
The divine title _YHWH tsĕbha'ōth_ certainly does not occur in the Pentateuch or in Joshua. It is, it is true, most frequently used in the books of the prophets. Some think the term __YHWH tsĕbha'ōth_ arose among the early Israelites as a tile of God as protector of their armies. But if this were so, it is odd that the title is not found at all in the Pentateuch, even tho the armies of Israel are often mentioned. Its frequent use in the prophets must surely point to a more exalted and universal meaning - referring either to the several orders of angels or perhaps, by metaphor, to the stars and the whole universe. Cf. Genesis 2:1 "And the heaven and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." ..where the Hebrew has the singular form of the army/host word.
> They also say that it is not always entirely clear that "Sabaoth" should > be translated as "of hosts";
Not sure what they mean. Certainly "host" has several different meanings in English and can be misunderstood. Tho it is the traditional translation because of its use in the KJV translation, it is not IMO the best translation.
> perhaps the Septuagint was closer to the mark in using "Almighty", > sometimes.
  Umm - modern translation seem to favor leaving it as Sabaoth. I note that Zamenhof in his translation of the Hebrew scriptures regularly translated _YHWH tsĕbha'ōth_ as 'la Eternulo Cebaot'.
> [In case I've misread these web sources, please feel free to look at them > yoursel(f/ves)]
I have.
> Steg, and others, is that consistent with your knowledge?
Partly - see above. Ray =============================================== =============================================== MAKE POVERTY HISTORY