Commentary on Greek Jonah

Reading Notes for Greek Jonah

Prepared by Larry Perkins, Ph.D. Not for Publication 2017

Some abbreviations:

LXX         Septuagint, Greek translation of the Old Testament

BDB         Brown, Driver, Briggs, Hebrew Lexicon

Jonah 1

  1. καὶ ἐγένετο λόγος κυρίου πρὸς Ιωναν τὸν τοῦ Αμαθι λέγων[1]

καὶ ἐγένετο λόγος κυρίου.  The Greek translation follows the Hebrew word order: verb, subject/object. γίνομαι can have the sense “come into existence, emerge” and in the prophetic corpus often is associated with λόγος (“message”). This expression occurs as the introduction to several of The Twelve Minor Prophets. The lack of an article with λόγος probably reflects the Hebrew construct idiom where the head noun always occurs without the article. However, it is still definite to some degree because of the individual (κυρίου = Yahweh) who is identified with this “λόγος.” κύριος is the usual equivalent for Yahweh (יהוה) in LXX. In 2 Kings 14.25 דבר is rendered as ῥῆμα.

πρὸς Ιωναν τὸν τοῦ Αμαθι λέγων.  The prepositional phrase defines the recipient of Yahweh’s message. We have no idea why this person is chosen for the task. As you can tell from the form Ιωνας in v. 3, this proper name is transliterated into Greek (יונה) as a declinable noun. Often Hebrew names ending in ה are transliterated in Greek with a final sigma, e.g., Ἀβδιας (Obediah). In this verse it has an accusative form. The indeclinable transliteration Αμαθι reflects the other common strategy when rendering proper names. In such cases an article often accompanies to indicate case. The collocation τὸν τοῦ when used in the context of names usually signifies “the son of” (a shortened form of τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ Αμαθι). This is an idiomatic rendering of בן־אמתי. See 2 Kings 14.25 Ἰωνᾶ υἱοῦ Ἀμαθέι.

  1. ἀνάστηθι καὶ πορεύθητι εἰς Νινευη τῆν πόλιν τῆν μεγάλην καὶ κήρυξον ἐν αὐτῇ, ὅτι ἀνέβη κραυγὴ τῆς κακίας αὐτῆς πρός με.

ἀνάστηθι καὶ πορεύθητι.  This verse contains God’s instruction to Jonah, but we do not yet know what the message for Nineveh will be. It begins with two aorist imperatives. The first is a first aorist active and the second passive, but with an active sense. G (the translator) adds καί; in the MT (Masoretic Hebrew text) there is no connective between the two imperatives. See the wording of 3.1. ἀνίστημι is a common rendering for the Hebrew verb קום as in 1.3, 6; 3.2,3.

εἰς Νινευη τῆν πόλιν τῆν μεγάλην. Νινευη is an indeclinable transliteration of נינוה. Herodotus calls this city Νίνος.  τῆν πόλιν τῆν μεγάλην is appositional and its accusative form indicates the case of the proper noun. The word order follows normal Hebrew work order (adjectives follow nouns). The second attributive position in Greek often expresses a bit of emphasis, but not so here. Position is due to Hebrew influence.

καὶ κήρυξον ἐν αὐτῇ. The Greek verb is an aorist active imperative. The Hebrew verbal phrase means “cry against it” (קרא עליה), with an aggressive sense, perhaps with the idea of condemnation. The Greek translation means “make a proclamation in it,” which expresses a different perspective than the Hebrew text. Is this a different assessment of the mission (cf. Jon. 3.2)? The Hebrew verb occurs also in 1.14; 3.8 and is translated as ἀναβοάω (“cry out”).

ὅτι ἀνέβη…πρός με. The ὅτι is probably causal (“because, for”) and gives a reason for this action. The verb is second aorist active (“has come up, ascended”). The adverbial prepositional phrase indicates the party to whom the cry has ascended. The referent is Yahweh. See Ex. 2.23: καὶ ἀνέβη ἡ βοὴ αὐτῶν πρὸς τὸν θεὸν.

ἡ κραυγὴ τῆς κακίας αὐτῆς. This is the subject of ἀνέβη. It is modified by a genitive which may define the source or cause of the cry or it may define the content of the cry, i.e., the raucous sound of evil. It may be a subjective genitive, i.e., evil has generated this cry.  The Hebrew text says “because their evil has ascended before me.”  Note that G has a singular possessive pronoun, whereas MT seems to identify the inhabitants of Nineveh as generating this cry. So it is unclear whether G means “the city cries because of the evil being done it” or “the city’s evil actions cry out.” κραυγή can mean a prayer for help in time of difficulty (see Jon. 2.3). However, in Gen. 18.20 in relation to Sodom and Gomorrah it means the sound of evil.

  1. καὶ ἀνέστη Ιωνας τοῦ φυγεῖν εἰς Θαρσις ἐκ προσώπου κυρίου καὶ κατέβη εἰς Ἰόππην καὶ εὗρε πλοῖον βαδίζον εἰς Θαρσις καὶ ἔδωκε τὸ ναῦλον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐνέβη εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦ πλεῦσαι μεταὐτῶν εἰς Θαρσις ἐκ προσώπου κυρίου.

καὶ ἀνέστη Ιωνας. G uses the same verb as at the beginning of v.2. We do not know whether this activity is in obedience or disobedience to God until the infinitive phrase is heard. There is complete serial fidelity with the MT in terms of word order and morphemic representation. Notice the repeated καί as a connective. This is not literary Greek style, but is understandable Greek (compare Mark 1).

τοῦ φυγεῖν εἰς Θαρσις ἐκ προσώπου κυρίου. The infinitive with the genitive article expresses purpose and is a good equivalent for the Hebrew infinitive marked by the preposition ל which similarly signifies purpose. Θαρσις is another indeclinable transliterated proper name. The Hebrew name is rendered as “Carthage” in Isa. 23.1, 6, 10, 14 (cf. Ezek. 27.12, 25). The phrase εἰς Θαρσις occurs three times, as in the MT, to give prominence to Jonah’s rebellious action. This prepositional chain (ἐκ προσώπου) translates the Hebrew prepositional chain מפני from the face of. This again shows Semitic influence upon the resultant Greek text.

καὶ κατέβη εἰς Ἰόππην. G uses three compounds of βαίνω in these two verses — ἀναβαίνω, καταβαίνω, ἐμβαίνω. This has the effect of tying the discourse together and creating a bit of paronomasia. Ἰόππην is a declinable Greek proper noun. It was an important port city at this time in Israel’s history, with prior history as a Phoenician city.

καὶ εὗρε πλοῖον.  The Hebrew noun אניה “ship” is unarticulated, i.e., a ship and G reflects this with πλοῖον.

βαδίζον εἰς Θαρσις.  The present participle βαδίζον is probably adjectival, i.e., which was going.

καὶ ἔδωκε τὸ ναῦλον αὐτοῦ. τὸ ναῦλον = fare, passage. δίδωμι τὸ ναῦλον in Greek means to pay the freight for something. What does αὐτοῦ refer to? Jonah? The ship? Is Jonah the sole passenger?

καὶ ἐνέβη εἰς αὐτὸ. ἐμβαίνω εἰς  means to step into, embark (idiom found in Xenophon, Anabasis 1, 4, 7). See John 6. 24.

τοῦ πλεῦσαι μετ’ αὐτῶν εἰς Θαρσις ἐκ προσώπου κυρίου.  Another infinitive with genitive article to indicate purpose, i.e., “to sail.” In the MT the verb is בא, go, which has many different senses and is rendered previously in this verse by βαδίζω.

  1. καὶ κύριος ἐξήγειρε πνεῦμα εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, καὶ ἐγένετο κλύδων μέγας ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ, καὶ τὸ πλοῖον ἐκινδύνευε συντριβῆναι.

καὶ κύριος ἐξήγειρε πνεῦμα εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν. Notice the word order in the first and third clauses. It reflects Hebrew word order: subject – verb. Such clause structure following waw indicates a waw-disjunctive situation. It could mark contrast, or special circumstances, or additional information which does not necessarily advance the plot-line. In both cases G renders it with καί, without differentiating the waw in any specific way. The Hebrew verb which ἐξήγειρε renders is a causative verb meaning “hurl, cast” (NRSV) (it occurs also in vv. 5, 12, 15). However, G’s equivalent means “awake, rouse.” It is probably aorist here (see vv. 11, 13). The wind in the MT has an adjective “great,” which G ignores. Do these transformations lessen the violence of Yahweh’s action expressed in the Hebrew text? πνεῦμα  can have various meanings depending on context. εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν – what is the sense of the preposition here – “towards”? No sea has been mentioned up to this point in time, so what is the sense of the article? Perhaps it mimics the Hebrew text.

καὶ ἐγένετο κλύδων μέγας ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ. Notice that G here does render the adjective גדול with the noun — κλύδων μέγας, in contrast with its occurrence in the first clause, and follows the Hebrew word order. The Hebrew word סער means “tempest,” which G interprets as “wave” (see vv. 11, 14; see Luke 8.23-24).  The verb ἐγένετο here probably means “occurred.”

καὶ τὸ πλοῖον ἐκινδύνευε συντριβῆναι. καί could have a resultative nuance here, “and so….” ἐκινδύνευε is an imperfect tense form, completed by an infinitive, meaning “was in danger to be shattered.” MT has a word play חשבה להשבר – the ship was intended for destruction. G employs a reasonable idiomatic rendering.

  1. καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν οἱ ναυτικοὶ καὶ ἀνεβόων ἕκαστος πρὸς τὸν θεὸν αὐτῶν καὶ ἐκβολὴν ἐποιήσαντο τῶν σκευῶν τῶν ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν τοῦ κουφισθῆναι ἀπαὐτῶν· Ιωνας δὲ κατέβη εἰς τὴν κοίλην τοῦ πλοίου καὶ ἐκάθευδε καὶ ἔρρεγχε.

καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν οἱ ναυτικοὶ. The translator displays general serial fidelity with the MT.

καὶ ἀνεβόων ἕκαστος πρὸς τὸν θεὸν αὐτῶν. ἀνεβόων is an imperfect tense form, meaning “began crying aloud” (see v. 14 and 3.8). MT reads “his God,” but G makes an ad sensum change in line with the number of the verb in the clause. τὸν θεὸν is not a reference to Yahweh, but has the sense “to the god which they knew” (but compare the similar construction at 3.8 where G uses a singular pronoun). ἕκαστος renders איש which functions as an indefinite pronoun here.

καὶ ἐκβολὴν ἐποιήσαντο τῶν σκευῶν τῶν ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν. ἐκβολὴν…τῶν σκευῶν – G uses a verb-noun construction to render the Hebrew verb ויטלו which means “jettison.” Because of this choice, he has to make τῶν σκευῶν modify ἐκβολὴν, whereas in MT the Hebrew noun “cargo/הכלים” functions as the object of the verb.  G literally means “they made a jettisoning/discharge of the stuff which was in the boat….” Aristotle EN 1110a.9 uses the noun in this way. G employs the article with the prepositional phrase to render a Hebrew relative clause.

τοῦ κουφισθῆναι ἀπ’ αὐτῶν.  Articulated, genitive infinitive expresses purpose (see v. 3). MT uses an active verb, followed by a prepositional phrase, but G has a passive formation. NRSV seems to apply the pronoun in the prepositional phrase to the sailors (to lighten it for them), but is this the sense of G? The pronoun in G’s text probably refers to the cargo items (ἀπ’ αὐτῶν).

Ιωνας  δὲ κατέβη εἰς τὴν κοίλην τοῦ πλοίου. The use of δέ suggests a new topic in the discourse. Note also the word order, with the subject first. So this is probably “sidebar” information and does not advance the flow of the plot. Here is another use of καταβαίνω (see v.3). κοίλος is an adjective, but here is used substantively to describe the hold of a ship as sometimes occurs in Classical Greek writers (it literal means “hollow”).  It is not a technical term (see 2.1). πλοῖον refers to any kind of boat. Although the verb is aorist, in English we would render a clause of information like this as a pluperfect. Here G treats it as a simple past tense – “now Jonah went down into the hold of the ship….” Did this happen as the storm was occurring?

καὶ ἐκάθευδε καὶ ἔρρεγχε. Two imperfect tense forms – “and he was lying asleep and snoring.” The verb ῥέγχω can describe a horse snorting, humans wheezing, people snoring. It only occurs in the LXX in Jon 1.5, 6, both times rendering the niphal forms of רדם = “be or fall into a heavy sleep; stunning effect of awe or dread.” Other equivalents in the LXX include ἀποσκαρίζειν (gasp for air, convulse) Judg 4.21 (A); ἐξιστάναι (pass out, lose consciousness) Judg 4.21 (A); θαμβεῖν (be astonished) Dan Th. 8.18; κατανύσσεσθαι (affect profoundly) Dan Th.10.9; κοιμᾶν (lie down to sleep) Dan LXX 8.18; νυστάζω (doze) Ps 75(76):6; πίπτειν (to prostrate) Dan Th 8.18. In my opinion the translator has chosen an apt equivalent, indicating graphically the deep sleep which Jonah experienced. The cognate Hebrew nounתרדמה  occurs in Gen. 2.21 and is rendered as ἔκστασις.

  1. καὶ προσῆλθε πρὸς αὐτὸν πρῳρεὺς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Τί σὺ ῥέγχεις; ἀνάστα ἐπικαλοῦ τὸν θεόν σου, ὅπως διασώσῃ θεὸς ἡμᾶς καὶ μὴ ἀπολώμεθα.

καὶ προσῆλθε πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ πρῳρεὺς. G’s text shows serial fidelity with MT. Note again the general parataxis (καὶ…καὶ). ὁ πρῳρεὺς (skipper) renders רב החבל “chief of sailors.” This is a good translation.

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ. Standard equivalents.

Τί σὺ ῥέγχεις;  In G the question means “why are you snoring?” As NRSV indicates, the question in Hebrew means “What are you doing sound asleep?”, literally “what to you sleeping?” Participles in Hebrew often get rendered as present tense forms.

ἀνάστα ἐπικαλοῦ τὸν θεόν σου. Note the lack of particles, which is a way to express emotion – probably a bit of agitation or anger? G notes the imperatives in the source text and renders them as an aorist imperative, followed by a present imperative. The accent on ἐπικαλοῦ indicates a middle imperative. ἀνάστα is a second aorist imperative from ἀνίστημι. The difference in the tense forms of the imperative may suggest the sense “get up, start imploring your god….” Compare how G rendered two consecutive imperatives in v. 2. Again τὸν θεόν σου is not a specific reference to Yahweh, given that the captain is the one speaking and he is probably a non-Jew.

ὅπως διασώσῃ ὁ θεὸς ἡμᾶς.  The Hebrew particle is אולי, an adverb with the sense “perhaps.” In Classical Greek final clauses following verbs of effort sometimes are introduced by ὅπως (Smyth, Greek Grammar, § 2214) with the subjunctive. Its meaning limits the idea of purpose to manner and is more restrictive in Classical Greek than ἵνα (Smyth, §2193a). A significant number of Greek manuscripts texts read ει πως (perhaps). The Hebrew verb יתעשׁת is related to an Aramaic verb meaning to “give thought to, think about.” It is rare in the OT (see Dan. 6.4). G may have thought it was a form of ישׁע meaning “to save, deliver” and so chose διασώσῃ as its rendering. The article with ὁ θεὸς may be anaphoric and deictic “this god.”

καὶ μὴ ἀπολώμεθα. The negative with subjunctive regularly is μή.

  1. καὶ εἶπαν ἕκαστος πρὸς πλησίον αὐτοῦ Δεῦτε βάλωμεν κλήρους καὶ ἐπιγνῶμεν τίνος ἕνεκεν κακία αὕτη ἐστὶν ἐν ἡμῖν. καὶ ἔβαλον κλήρους, καὶ ἔπεσεν κλῆρος ἐπὶ Ιωναν.

καὶ εἶπαν ἕκαστος πρὸς πλησίον αὐτοῦ. While some Greek manuscripts agree with the MT in reading a plural verb, many have a singular form here, under the influence of the ἕκαστος (see v.5).

Δεῦτε βάλωμεν κλήρους. δεῦτε is a plural imperative form, which often is followed asyndetically as here with a plural hortative and which urges some collective activity (see Mark 12.7). βάλωμεν = 2nd aorist 1st pl. subjunctive. The expression “cast lots” occurs in a slightly different form in the writings of Homer.

καὶ ἐπιγνῶμεν. The conjunction καί has a resultative sense, i.e., “and so….” ἐπιγινώσκω as a compound form may suggest “and let us really discern….”

τίνος ἕνεκεν ἡ κακία αὕτη ἐστὶν ἐν ἡμῖν. G renders well the Hebrew prepositional and relative construction בשלמו which seems to mean “on account of whom.” G uses a postposition ἕνεκεν. The same construction occurs in the following verse, but it renders a different Hebrew construction באשר למי. G adds ἐστιν. Why? This is an indirect question.

καὶ ἔβαλον κλήρους. καί again could have a bit of a resultative sense, i.e., “and so.”

καὶ ἔπεσεν ὁ κλῆρος ἐπὶ Ιωναν.  See Acts 1.26. ἐπί could mean “against” here.

  1. καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Ἀπάγγειλον ἡμῖν τίνος ἕνεκεν κακία αὕτη ἐστὶν ἐν ἡμῖν. τίς σου ἐργασία ἐστί; καὶ πόθεν ἔρχῃ, καὶ ἐκ ποίας χώρας καὶ ἐκ ποίου λαοῦ εἶ σύ;

καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν.

Ἀπάγγειλον ἡμῖν τίνος ἕνεκεν ἡ κακία αὕτη ἐστὶν ἐν ἡμῖν. ἀπαγγέλλω means “inform, tell, announce, narrate.” See v.10. Even though the Hebrew structure is somewhat different than what we find in v. 7, G renders the interrogative in exactly the same way. It serves to tie the discourse together more tightly. G again adds ἐστίν. The series of questions is expanded. Does τίνος ἕνεκεν  mean the same thing here? Is τίνος masculine or neuter?

τίς σου ἡ ἐργασία ἐστί. G changes the word order by placing the possessive pronoun before ἡ ἐργασία. It gives more prominence to the pronoun. In Hebrew possessive pronouns usually are suffixes attached to the ends of nouns. G also adds ἐστί.

καὶ πόθεν ἔρχῃ. A number of manuscripts add και που πορευη which is marked with an obelus in hexaplaric texts, i.e., it is not in the Hebrew text. So this indicates that it is a pre-Origenian addition, but probably not original to the translation.

καὶ ἐκ ποίας χώρας καὶ ἐκ ποίου λαοῦ εἶ σύ. G changes the syntax somewhat and combines the last two questions into one compounded interrogative. MT reads “what is your country and of what people are you?” Note another added εἶ. καί 3° is an addition.

  1. καὶ εἶπε πρὸς αὐτούς Δοῦλος κυρίου ἐγώ εἰμι καὶ τὸν κύριον θεὸν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐγὼ σέβομαι, ὃς ἐποίησε τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ τἠν ξηράν.

καὶ εἶπε πρὸς αὐτούς. G continues to render his Hebrew text with serial fidelity.

Δοῦλος κυρίου ἐγώ εἰμι. This is direct speech and functions as the object clause of εἶπε. The verb εἰμί often is used to expression characterization. In Exodus we often find the expression ἐγώ εἰμι κύριος. MT places the predicate nominative first, giving it emphasis. However, MT reads עברי אנכי, “I am a Hebrew,” which is quite different from G. It seems that G read his Hebrew text as עבד י, which suggests that he expected to find abbreviations for the tetragrammaton in his Hebrew text. Kaminka (MGWJ 72(1928), 248) finds about 50 cases of the shift between ד and ר in The Twelve. The description of the prophet Jonah in IV Kings 14.15(MT II Kings 14.25) reads ἐν χειρὶ δούλου αὐτοῦ Ιὠνά and this may have influenced the translator’s understanding of the text. Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion render it as εβραιος εγω ειμι. In the translation of The Twelve ἐγώ εἰμι often renders the long form of the first person pronoun אנכי in distinction to simple ἐγώ which renders the short form אני.

καὶ τὸν κύριον θεὸν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐγὼ σέβομαι. This is the only context in Greek Jonah where we have the expression τὸν κύριον θεὸν. Usually it is κύριος ὁ θεός. A number of textual witnesses read κυριον τον θεον, which may be original. However, if Ziegler’s choice is the original text, then the article may be anaphoric, i.e., “this Lord, God of heaven”. The expression σέβομαι θεόν occurs frequently in Greek literature, particularly the works of the Tragedians. However, in the LXX it is relatively rare. Normally the verb ירא is rendered by φοβέομαι (see v.10, 16). σέβομαι is the term used in Acts to describe non-Jewish “god-fearers.” This is the only context in Jonah where it occurs and it seems to distinguish Jonah from the sailors in terms of their response to Yahweh.

ὃς ἐποίησε τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ τἠν ξηράν. God is defined as creator of sea and land.

  1. καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν οἱ ἄνδρες φόβον μέγαν καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Τί τοῦτο ἐποίησας; διότι ἔγνωσαν οἱ ἄνδρες ὅτι ἐκ προσώπου κυρίου ἦν φεύγων, ὅτι ἀπήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς.

καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν οἱ ἄνδρες φόβον μέγαν. G again tends towards serial fidelity in representing his Hebrew text. The use of the cognate accusative φόβον renders the Hebrew text well, but also suits Greek idiom. See 1.16; 3.2; 4.1, 6; Mark 4:41. The rendering οἱ ἄνδρες assumes that the sailors were males.

καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν. Standard renderings.

Τί τοῦτο ἐποίησας. G’s text could mean “Why have you done this?”, but the Hebrew text is “what is this you have done.”

διότι ἔγνωσαν οἱ ἄνδρες. διότι generally does not mark an independent clause and so perhaps here we have a kind of ellipses, i.e., “they asked this because….” Notice that here G uses ἔγνωσαν, rather than a form of ἐπιγινώσκω as in v. 7. The both translate the same Hebrew verb.

ὅτι ἐκ προσώπου κυρίου ἦν φεύγων. For ἐκ προσώπου κυρίου see v. 3. G uses an imperfect periphrastic construction to translate the nominative pronoun (“he” – הוא) + participle (ברח). This tense-form would emphasize a past, continuing aspect.

ὅτι ἀπήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς. Note that here G uses the same compound, ἀπαγγέλλω – “tell by way of explanation, inform.” See v. 8 – same Hebrew verb.

  1. καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Τί σοι ποιήσωμεν, καὶ κοπάσει θάλασσα ἀφ’ ἡμῶν; ὅτι θάλασσα ἐπορεύετο καὶ ἐξήγειρε μᾶλλον κλύδωνα.

καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν. G demonstrates general serial fidelity with the MT in this verse, but does expand the last clause.

Τί σοι ποιήσωμεν. A deliberative subjunctive expressed as an interrogative. G preposes the dative pronoun σοι, placing it in the focal point of its clause. This is a different word from MT. The Hexaplaric textual tradition follows the Hebrew word order. The Greek with the subjunctive means “what should we do to you/with you?” The Hebrew text can be construed as a simple future, i.e., “what shall we do to you?”

καὶ κοπάσει ἡ θάλασσα ἀφ’ ἡμῶν. The waw conjunction following a future in Hebrew can have a resultative sense. Perhaps this is how καί should be construed, i.e., “and so the sea shall stop what it is doing/cease to be troublesome from us.” The Hebrew verb שתק means “to be quiet.” κοπάζω according to Muraoka means “to lose strength and cease to be troublesome, cease, stop what one is doing.” LEH suggest “to have rest from” (Josh.14.15) or “to become calm” (Gen 8.1) or “to cause to cease, to still (the deep).” According to LSJ it can describe natural phenomenon abating, i.e., wind. For ἀφ’ ἡμῶν see v. 5 – idea of separation, resulting in relief.

ὅτι ἡ θάλασσα ἐπορεύετο καὶ ἐξήγειρε μᾶλλον κλύδωνα. Explanatory clause, outlining why calmness was necessary. The subject is placed first, indicating a clause that adds information. The initial Hebrew verb is a participle, which G renders as an imperfect tense form. The second Hebrew verb also is a participle, rendered as ἐξήγειρε (see v.4, but in that context is describes wind).  The Hebrew text just has the verb וסער “and was surging, was becoming stormy.” G translates this as “the sea…was raising a surge even more.” This Greek verb form could be imperfect or aorist, but here, given the initial verb is imperfect, probably is intended to be read as imperfect. It adds the adverb μᾶλλον.

  1. καὶ εἶπεν Ιωνας πρὸς αὐτούς Ἄρατέ με καὶ ἐμβάλετέ με εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, καὶ κοπάσει ἡ θάλασσα ἀφ’ ὑμῶν· διότι ἔγνωκα ἐγὼ ὅτι δι’ ἐμὲ ὁ κλύδων ὁ μέγας οὗτος ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς ἐστι. 

καὶ εἶπεν Ιωνας πρὸς αὐτούς. G reflects general serial fidelity with the MT, but does add Ιωνας in the first clause. This emphasizes that Jonah is saying these things.

Ἄρατέ με καὶ ἐμβάλετέ με εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν. Two aorist imperatives render Hebrew imperatives, each with a first person pronominal suffix. The Hebrew verb rendered by ἐμβάλετέ is translated as ἐξήγειρε in v. 4.

καὶ κοπάσει ἡ θάλασσα ἀφ’ ὑμῶν. G uses exactly the same rendering as in the middle of v. 11, apart from the shift in person from first to second person plural.

διότι ἔγνωκα ἐγὼ. Why does G use the perfect form, rather than the present form? Does G indicate what Jonah “has come to know”? MT uses a participle and pronoun construction. Does διότι mark a dependent or independent clause?

ὅτι δι’ ἐμὲ ὁ κλύδων ὁ μέγας οὗτος ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς ἐστι. G recognizes the unusual prepositional formation בשׁלי and understands it correctly as “because of me.” ὁ κλύδων ὁ μέγας οὗτος follows the Hebrew word order. G adds ἐστι. ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς could mean “upon you” or “against you.” Muraoka (GELS, 267) notes the ἐπί + accusative can signify “to the disadvantage of.”

  1. καὶ παρεβιάζοντο οἱ ἄνδρες τοῦ ἐπιστρέψαι πρὸς τὴν γῆν καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο, ὅτι θάλασσα ἐπορεύετο καὶ ἐξηγείρετο μᾶλλον ἐπαὐτούς.

καὶ παρεβιάζοντο οἱ ἄνδρες. G expresses serial fidelity with the MT.  The Hebrew verb חתר means “to dig, row.” G, however, renders it with the more general verb παραβιάζω, which means “to endeavor, strive.”

τοῦ ἐπιστρέψαι πρὸς τὴν γῆν. The main verb is completed by a genitive articulated infinitive of purpose τοῦ ἐπιστρέψαι, rendering a Hebrew infinitive. MT has יבשׁה which means “dry land,” but again G opts for a more general term πρὸς τὴν γῆν. See v. 9.

καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο. Standard equivalents.

ὅτι ἠ θάλασσα ἐπορεύετο καὶ ἐξηγείρετο μᾶλλον ἐπ’ αὐτούς. ὅτι marks an explanatory clause. G follows Hebrew word order and begins the clause with the subject, indicating that it is adding information. Note similar expressions in v. 11c. Why does G use a middle form here with ἐξηγείρετο (imperfect middle)? Is he emphasizing the action of the sea itself? G adds the adverb μᾶλλον (as in v.11). ἐπ’ αὐτούς again could be spatial “over them” or express hostility “against them.”

  1. καὶ ἀνεβόησαν πρὸς κύριον καὶ εἶπαν Μηδαμῶς, κύριε, μὴ ἀπολώμεθα ἕνεκεν τῆς ψυχῆς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τούτου, καὶ μὴ δῷς ἐφἡμᾶς αἷμα δίκαιον, ὅτι σύ, κύριε, ὃν τρόπον έβούλου πεποίηκας.

καὶ ἀνεβόησαν πρὸς κύριον καὶ εἶπαν. G demonstrates serial fidelity with the MT. καὶ ἀνεβόησαν renders ויקראו אל but in v. 5 it rendered ויזעקו אל. This might be a case of G levelling the meaning of the source text by using the same verb for two different Hebrew lexemes. In v. 14 the Hebrew verb קרא means “call to”, rather than “cry out, shout,” as in v. 5. Note here the pagan sailors address their plea to κύριος, which has no article. Is this because of Jonah’s revelation in v. 9?

Μηδαμῶς, κύριε, μὴ ἀπολώμεθα ἕνεκεν τῆς ψυχῆς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τούτου. The Hebrew particle אנה is a term of entreaty, i.e., “we beseech.” G renders this with μηδαμῶς, which expresses a strong negative protest, i.e., “certainly not, oh no.” (See another equivalent at 4.2.) It is strengthened by the second negative μή. The translator uses a first person plural imperative, i.e., “let us not perish, we should not perish,” employing a cohortative subjunctive. τῆς ψυχῆς is the equivalent of בנפשׁ, but the Greek noun here means “life.”

καὶ μὴ δῷς ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς αἷμα δίκαιον. A second entreaty follows, reflecting the source text, with a negative giving this sense “and you should not set upon us just/guiltless blood,” i.e., do not hold us responsible for the death of this man.

ὅτι σύ, κύριε, ὃν τρόπον έβούλου πεποίηκας. ὅτι marks another explanatory clause. The nominative personal pronoun is emphatic in Greek, as it is in Hebrew. Why does G use the perfect tense form πεποίηκας. The Hebrew uses a simple past tense. The use of the imperfect middle ἐβούλου suggests a past incomplete sense of the action in this clause, i.e., “because you, Yahweh, have done according as you were desiring.”

  1. καὶ ἔλαβον τὸν Ιωναν καὶ ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, καὶ ἔστη θάλασσα ἐκ τοῦ σάλου αὐτῆς.

καὶ ἔλαβον τὸν Ιωναν. G follows the word order of its source text. The Hebrew text has the same verb as in v. 12 rendered ἄρατε, but here G chooses ἔλαβον. Is this another example of variation for the sake of style?

καὶ ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν. At v. 12 G uses a different compound verb ἐμβάλετε. Here he seems to emphasize the idea of throwing Jonah out of the ship into the sea.

καὶ ἔστη ἡ θάλασσα ἐκ τοῦ σάλου αὐτῆς. In the prepositional phrase the Hebrew text reads מזעפו using a noun which means “storming, raging” and it may be a word play on the use previously of זעק which describes the shout of the men. σάλος means “tossing motion” describing earthquakes or the action of ships on the seas.

  1. καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν οἱ ἄνδρες φόβῳ μεγάλῳ τὸν κύριον καὶ ἔθυσαν θυσίαν τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ ηὔξαντο εὐχάς.

καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν οἱ ἄνδρες φόβῳ μεγάλῳ τὸν κύριον. G expresses serial fidelity with the MT. Note that in each clause we have a verb and a cognate dative or accusative noun, by which G replicates the MT in each instance. It is a striking climax to this segment of the narrative. In the first clause the cognate noun is a dative of manner, i.e., “they feared with a great fear.” Compare the structure in v. 10 where the noun is a cognate accusative. However, G has to render it this way because את־יהוה is a marked accusative in the clause. So the meaning is “they feared Yahweh with a great fear.”

καὶ ἔθυσαν θυσίαν τῷ κυρίῳ. G uses standard equivalents to describe the sailors’ sacrifice. In this clause ליהוה identifies the recipient of the sacrifice, i.e., “to Yahweh.” What is the function of the article – anaphoric? Many Greek texts read a plural θυσιας, but the source text is singular. In the following clause the object is plural.

καὶ ηὔξαντο εὐχάς. Finally, the narrative says “they pledged vows” presumably to Yahweh. Consider Jonah’s expression in 2.10 where we find similar language of religious ritual. By using this terminology, what is the writer/translator saying about the religious state of these sailors? Have they become monotheists?

Jonah 2 – Jonah’s psalm.

  1. καὶ προσέταξε κύριος κήτει μεγάλῳ καταπιεῖν τὸν Ιωναν· καὶ ἦν Ιωνας ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ τοῦ κήτους τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας.

This is v. 17 in English versions.

καὶ προσέταξε κύριος κήτει μεγάλῳ. The translation demonstrates serial fidelity with the Hebrew text. The Hebrew piel verb form וימן (מנה) means “appoint, ordain.” It occurs also in 4.6, 7, 8 and each time, as here, the translator renders it with a form of προστάσσω – “issue a command, order.” This equivalence only occurs in Greek Jonah. The aorist active indicative renders a past form of the Hebrew verb. The dative form is an indirect object, defining to whom the order was directed, with the infinitive functioning as the object, giving the substance of the command. Note once again the use of the adjective μεγάλῳ. Α κῆτος according to Muraoka (GELS) is “a huge sea-fish,” perhaps a “sea monster.” In Gen 1.21 it renders תנין and in Job 3.2 לויתןְ; 26.12 רחב. Here it renders דג = fish. In Homer Odyssey 5.422 it describes a great sea-monster ἠέ τί μοι καὶ κῆτος ἐπισσεύῃ μέγα δαίμων
ἐξ ἁλός “lest some god may even send forth upon me some great monster from out the sea.”Is the translator echoing this Homeric terminology?

καταπιεῖν τὸν Ιωναν. The MT has an infinitive here, which G replicates with καταπιεῖν (swallow = בלע).

καὶ ἦν Ιωνας ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ τοῦ κήτους. The second clause defines the state or condition in which Jonah existed. ἐν τῇ κολίᾳ renders a Hebrew noun (מעה = internal organs, inward parts (intestines, bowels, belly) usually in the plural). See Gen 25.23 where the same equivalent occurs with reference to the inward parts from which two children come. See 2 Chron. 21.18. It occurs again in v. 2. What is the nature of the genitive?

τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας. The accusative plurals indicate length of time. Jesus references this experience of Jonah in Matthew 12.40.

  1. καὶ προσηύξατο Ιωνας πρὸς κύριον τὸν θεὸν αὐτοῦ ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας τοῦ κήτους

καὶ προσηύξατο Ιωνας πρὸς κύριον τὸν θεὸν αὐτοῦ. Serial fidelity continues. The main Hebrew verb means “intercede, pray” and with the preposition means “pray to.” The translator renders the past waw-consecutive imperfect with an aorist tense form, which is normal. See 4.2. In classical Greek the verb means to “offer prayers, vows; to worship.”

ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας τοῦ κήτους. See previous verse. What is the force of ἐκ here?

  1. καὶ εἶπεν Ἐβόησα ἐν θλίψει μου πρὸς κύριον τὸν θεόν μου, καὶ εἰσήκουσέ μου· ἐκ κοιλίας ᾅδου κραυγῆς μου ἤκουσας φωνῆς μου.

καὶ εἶπεν Ἐβόησα ἐν θλίψει μου πρὸς κύριον τὸν θεόν μου. G shows general serial fidelity, with some pluses and different readings of the Hebrew lexemes. The “prayer” of Jonah is introduced with the standard καὶ εἶπεν which signals discourse is following and the discourse functions as the “object” of the verb. The verb ἐβόησα (aorist) is the same root verb used in the compound ἀναβοάω 1.5, 14), but the Hebrew verb in 2:3 (קרא) is different from that used in 1.5 (זעק). However, in v. 14 it is the same as here. מצרה לי are two phrases meaning “from/because of distress to me,” which G renders as ἐν θλίψει μου. G shifts the sense from the idea of source or cause to one of context or situation. Further it simplifies by using the first person possessive pronoun. Finally, G adds τὸν θεόν μου, presumably to clarify, but may just follow the expression in v.2.

καὶ εἰσήκουσέ μου. The Hebrew verb means “he answered me,” but G gives the sense “Yahweh heeded, paid attention to me.” So Jonah shouts to Yahweh and Yahweh hears in a responsive way. See Psalm 26.7; 37.15.

ἐκ κοιλίας ᾅδου κραυγῆς μου ἤκουσας φωνῆς μου. The Hebrew text has two cola which parallel the first half of the verse. However, G combines the two clauses into one, reading the first verb as a noun formation. NIV renders the Hebrew as “From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help and you listened to my cry,” but NETS has “out of the belly of Hades you heard my cry, my voice.” κοιλία renders a different Hebrew term than in v. 1 – בטן = belly, body, womb. Presumably the translator wants to generate some resonance between its use in vv. 1 & 3. It is hard to know how to render ᾅδης – Hades, underworld as abode of the dead (Muraoka) = שאול. Is Jonah already dead or does he perceive himself as good as dead? κραυγῆς μου reads שועתי as a noun, not a verb, meaning “my cry,” rather than “I cried.” This requires us then to read φωνῆς μου as appositional to κραυγῆς μου.  ἤκουσας is a default rendering for שמע “to hear, listen.” The genitive implies not just an auditory experience, but a responsive hearing.

  1. ἀπέρριψάς με εἰς βάθη καρδίας θαλάσσης, καὶ ποταμοί με ἐκύκλωσαν· πάντες οἱ μετεωρισμοί σου καὶ κύματά σου ἐπἐμὲ διῆλυον.

ἀπέρριψάς με εἰς βάθη καρδίας θαλάσσης. There is general serial fidelity, but some transpositions and syntactical changes. ἀπορρίπτω means “to throw away.” Previously it was the pagan sailors who threw Jonah into the sea (1.12, 15) but the verb previously used is ἐνβάλλω/ἐκβάλλω, translating a different verb. The Hebrew verb שלך means “to throw, fling, cast” and is a causative formation. The noun מצולה means “depth, deep” and sometimes means “the deep,” i.e., the sea as here (cf. Psalm 107.24). βάθη is a neuter plural noun. Note how all references to the sea/water are plural in the Greek translation of this verse. The Hebrew construction is difficult because it has the noun מצולה followed by a prepositional phrase בלבב ימים “in/into the heart of the seas,” but it is unclear how these two elements relate to the verb, since the verb already has an object, i.e., “me.” G transforms the Hebrew construction into a prepositional phrase with a genitive modifier. For καρδίας θαλάσσης see Ex. 15.8; Ps. 45.3; Pr. 23.24; Ezek. 27.4. G has done a reasonable job of translation given a complex Hebrew text.

καὶ ποταμοί με ἐκύκλωσαν. G renders the singular נהר (“river”) as a plural. G also places the pronominal object before the verb, putting it in the focal point of the clause. In Hebrew pronominal objects are verbal suffixes. The Hebrew verb is singular.

πάντες οἱ μετεωρισμοί σου καὶ κύματά σου ἐπ’ ἐμὲ διῆλθον. The Hebrew term משבריך (οἱ μετεωρισμοί σου) means “breaker, of sea” (Psalm 88.8; 93.4; 2 Sam. 22.5). It is paralleled with גליך (“waves”) also in Psalm 42.8. The Greek noun means “billow” (see Psalm 41.8) or “the act of lifting high.” LSJ give no example of its application to “waves” in previous literature. In medical literature it refers to swellings.

  1. καὶ ἐγὼ εἶπα Ἀπῶσμαι ἐξ ὀφθαλμῶν σου· ἆρα προσθήσω τοῦ ἐπιβλέψαι πρὸς τὸν ναὸν τὸν ἅγιόν σου;

καὶ ἐγὼ εἶπα. G follows the Hebrew text with considerable fidelity. In this initial clause he employs default renderings (see v.3).

Ἀπῶσμαι ἐξ ὀφθαλμῶν σου. ἀπῶσμαι is a perfect passive indicative form of ἀπωθέω, “to drive away, reject.” This is a good equivalent for גרש – drive out, cast out (niphal/passive form). “Eyes” is a metonymy for “presence.”

ἆρα προσθήσω τοῦ ἐπιβλέψαι πρὸς τὸν ναὸν τὸν ἅγιόν σου; The Hebrew particle אך defines something regarded as certain, i.e., surely, howbeit, yet,” which seems to suggest confidence in the opportunity for restoration. G however construes it as a question, expressing doubt. ἆρα is an interrogative particle expressing impatience or anxiety. The Hebrew idiom יסר (+ infinitive) = “I will again (look),” is common in Hebrew, but not a classical Greek idiom. ναός regularly renders היכל temple, palace, in the LXX.

  1. περιεχύθη μοι ὕδωρ ἕως ψυχῆς, ἄβυσσος ἐκύκλωσέ με ἐσχάτη, ἔδυ κεφαλή μου εἰς σχισμὰς ὀρέων.

περιεχύθη μοι ὕδωρ ἕως ψυχῆς. Although G follows the order of the Hebrew text and renders each term for the most part, it expresses a different understanding of the last part of v.6 and the beginning of v. 7. It manages to create three balanced cola, all of which express parallelism. Is this something the translator discerned, or does this represent a different reading well-known in the Jewish community and MT represents a divergent reading tradition?

The Hebrew verb אפף means “to surround, encompass’ (see Psalm 40:13), as sense that περιεχύθη “was poured around” roughly conveys, but the sense is different. G uses a passive sense, i.e., “water was poured around me.” The extent of the water is expressed by ἕως ψυχῆς – “as far as life” – expressing the endpoint.

ἄβυσσος ἐκύκλωσέ με ἐσχάτη. ἄβυσσος is an adjective meaning “bottomless, unfathomable,” and often is linked with words that describe water whose depth or source if beyond measure. Here it renders תהום “the deep” sometimes referring to subterranean waters (cf. Gen. 49.25; Deut 33.13; Ps. 36.7; Hab 3.10 (in parallel with “waters” as in Jon. 2.6)). See Gen. 1.2. It is a two termination adjective so the feminine ἐσχάτη probably modifies it in some sense (see NETS). The adjective renders סוף which G has read as the noun meaning “end” rather than the noun meaning “reed.” This differs from the MT vowel tradition and which links this noun with the last colon.

ἔδυ ἡ κεφαλή μου εἰς σχισμὰς ὀρέων. The Hebrew text means “reeds/weeds were wrapped around my head at the roots of the mountains.” The verb ἔδυ is a second aorist formation of δύω, “to move to a lower place, plunge.” It describes the setting of the sun (Deut 23.11). The Hebrew verb form חבוש is a passive participle, meaning “binding, clinging” so we have the sense of weeds clinging to the head of Jonah. Quite a different image from the Greek translation. G makes the preposition phrase לראשו “with reference to my head” the subject. So the syntax is interpreted quite differently. And then it includes the first two words of v. 7 לקצבי הרים “at the roots of the mountains,” as part of this colon. With the preposition εἰς G makes it directional, i.e., “to/into the crevices of the mountains” (see Isa 2.19, 21).

  1. κατέβην εἰς γῆν, ἧς οἱ μοχλοὶ αὐτῆς κάτοχοι αἰώνιοι, καὶ άναβήτω φθορὰ ζωῆς μου, κύριε θεός μου.

κατέβην εἰς γῆν. G follows the MT quite closely, but does diverge with the relative clause structure. G interprets the Hebrew to mean “I descended into earth/ground.”

ἧς οἱ μοχλοὶ αὐτῆς κάτοχοι αἰώνιοι. MT has an independent, verbless clause, i.e., “her bars about me forever.” The meaning of G depends on our interpretation of κάτοχοι. According to LSJ it is an adjective (“holding down”), but may in this context function substantivally, with the sense “her bars are/have become eternal barriers.” The redundant αὐτῆς, while not impossible Greek, is certainly unusual and probably reflects the form of the Hebrew text.

καὶ άναβήτω φθορὰ ζωῆς μου, κύριε ὁ θεός μου.  In the MT this is a declaration, i.e., “and you caused to rise my life from destruction, Yahweh, my God.” G transforms this into a petition. He uses the third person aorist imperative, “and may the corruption/decay of my life rise up, Kyrios, my God.” The parallel text in Odes reads ἐκ φθορὰς ἡ ζωῆ μου. MT points משחת as מן־שחת, a prepositional phrase, but G seems to have read it is a noun, i.e., “destruction” in a construct formation with חיי (Hebrew noun with a first person singular suffix), i.e., “destruction of my life.” See the parallel in Psalm 102(103).4.

  1. ἐν τῷ ἐκλείπειν ἀπἐμοῦ τὴν ψυχήν μου τοῦ κυρίου ἐμνήσθην, καὶ ἔλθοι πρὸς σὲ προσευχή μου εἰς ναὸν ἅγιόν σου.

ἐν τῷ ἐκλείπειν ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ τὴν ψυχήν μου. G’s translation demonstrates general serial fidelity, but with some interpretational differences. It provides a competent translation of the initial Hebrew infinitival construction which expresses an adverbial clause of time or circumstance, i.e., “in the ebbing away of my life.” The verb עטף has the sense of “fainting away.” The Greek verb ἐκλείπω can mean “take leave of, become non-existent; lose strength or efficacy” (cf. Psalm 83.3). How do we translate ψυχή here (נפשי).

τοῦ κυρίου ἐμνήσθην. This Greek verb marks its object in the genitive case. Why does G use the article with κύριος here? Consider the use in 1.1, 3, 4, 9, 14 – all anarthrous and then in 1.16 we have two arthrous usages. In 2.1, 2, 3, 7 all uses are anarthrous, but then in 2.8 there is an arthrous usage, as also in v.10. Are the arthrous structures examples of anaphoric articles?

καὶ ἔλθοι πρὸς σὲ ἡ προσευχή μου εἰς ναὸν ἅγιόν σου. MT has an indicative verb, as the clause carries forward the action. G however interprets this clause as a prayer, using an optative verb form. The variation between πρός/εἰς, even though MT has the same preposition, reflects Greek idiom in that πρός generally occurs when the reference is a person. Notice the word order in the last prepositional phrase. What would this express normally in Greek?

  1. φυλασσόμενοι μάταια καὶ ψευδῆ ἔλεος αὐτῶν ἐγκατέλιπον.

φυλασσόμενοι μάταια καὶ ψευδῆ. G generally reflects the Hebrew with serial fidelity, but transforms the construct formation הבלי־שוא into two coordinated substantival adjectives μάταια καὶ ψευδῆ. The initial participle in MT (משמרים) probably functions as the subject of the verb.  It is pointed as a piel participle, quite rare for this verb, and in the BDB Hebrew dictionary is rendered as “those paying regard to false vanities (i.e., idols).” φυλάσσω is the default rendering for this Hebrew verb throughout the LXX, so G’s choice is understandable. According to LSJ this Greek verb can have the sense of “preserve, keep, cherish,” which seems to be the sense here. Whether the Greek participle should be considered a substantive here, even though it lacks the article, might be debated. It could be understood adverbially, i.e., “when they preserve/cherish vain and deceptive things, they forsake their ‘mercy’” or “because they preserve/cherish vain and deceptive things, they forsake their ‘mercy’.”      הבלי־שוא (cf. Psalm. 31.7 = idols) means literally “empty things (vanities) of emptiness (vanity).” G offers a viable rendering.

ἔλεος αὐτῶν ἐγκατέλιπον. The verb means “forsake, abandon, leave behind.” The subject ἔλεος αὐτῶν renders the Hebrew noun חסדם, a frequent equivalent in the LXX. The Greek means “their mercy,” but MT has the sense of “covenant loyalty.” How are we to understand this equivalent?

  1. ἐγὼ δὲ μετὰ φωνῆς αἰνέσεως καὶ ἐξομολογήσεως θύσω σοι· ὅσα ηὐξάμην, ἀποδώσω εἰς σωτηρίαν μου τῷ κυρίῳ.

ἐγὼ δὲ μετὰ φωνῆς αἰνέσεως καὶ ἐξομολογήσεως θύσω σοι. G shows serial fidelity with the MT, apart from the doublet αἰνέσεως καὶ ἐξομολογήσεως and its treatment of εἰς σωτηρίαν μου. The rendering of the Hebrew conjunction waw as δέ is unexpected, given the translator’s previous usage. However, it certainly fits as marking a new topic in the discourse and it may have a contrastive sense, as Jonah differentiates himself from those described in the previous verse. תודה (“thanksgiving, praise”) frequently in the LXX is rendered by αἰνέσις. ἐξομολογήσις occurs less frequently in the LXX, but has the sense of acknowledging with the perspective of appreciation. These terms are used in parallel in contexts such as Isa 51.3. Often it has the sense of confession of sins. Why G uses a doublet here is unclear, unless he wanted to add some weight to the conclusion of the psalm and emphasize Jonah’s submission to Yahweh who has responded to his prayer.  θύσω is a future indicative, but MT has a cohortative form, i.e., “let me sacrifice.”

ὅσα ηὐξάμην. The Hebrew relative particle אשר is represented either by the standard relative pronoun or the relative pronoun ὅσος which technically has the sense “the sorts of things which” and has a more general referent.

ἀποδώσω εἰς σωτηρίαν μου τῷ κυρίῳ. In the MT we have two cola in this half of the verse. The first clause incorporates a relative clause (“what I have vowed”) which functions as the object of the main verb (“I will make whole/good”) in the sense of pay vows. ἀποδίδωμι is used in this sense in Psalm 21(22).25 for example. Many manuscripts read σοι (not in the MT) after the verb (a reading adopted by Rahlfs-Hanhart in their edition). Also some manuscripts read σωτήριον, which can mean “thank-offering,” but this reading would diverge from the Hebrew text (see Gen 32.6; Lev. 9.4). The second colon is a noun and a prepositional phrase, which functions as a verbless clause, i.e., “salvation belongs to Yahweh.” G, however, links these expressions with the previous clause and indicates that paying his vow will be the basis of his deliverance and the prepositional phrase ליהוה defines the person to whom the vow is repaid. This is quite a different understanding of the Hebrew syntax. Rahlfs-Hanhart read ἀποδώσω σοι σωτηρίου τῷ κυρίῳ (ישועתה ליהוה).

  1. καὶ προσετάγη τῷ κήτει, καὶ ἐξέβαλε τὸν Ιωναν ἐπὶ τὴν ξηράν.

καὶ προσετάγη τῷ κήτει. This language reflects the initial clause in 2.1. However, the Hebrew verb is אמר which normally is rendered by λέγω. Presumably G wishes to show parallelism and connection with Yahweh’s previous command. The Greek verb is an aorist passive construction without an expresses subject. It has then an impersonal sense, i.e., “it was commanded to the sea creature.”  What is curious is that G does not represent the subject יהוה in his translation.

καὶ ἐξέβαλε τὸν Ιωναν ἐπὶ τὴν ξηράν. The Hebrew verb ויקא (קיא) could be qal or hiphil and means “vomit up.” ἐξέβαλε generally means “and it threw/cast out, ejected,” but it can be used to describe “throwing up blood” and “spitting” according to LSJ. See 1.15.


Jonah 3

  1. καὶ ἐγένετο λόγος κυρίου πρὸς Ιωναν ἐκ δευτέρου λέγων

The translation demonstrates serial fidelity with the MT. Both Greek and Hebrew texts reflect the wording at 1.1. As in that context the lack of articles is noteworthy. ἐκ δευτέρου is an idiom that appears in Hellenistic Greek and reflects the ability of the preposition to express a temporal sequence, i.e., “from/for a second time” (BDAG 2985.b.β). It occurs in the NT and 3rd-2nd century BCE papyri. For other occurrences in the LXX see 2 Reigns 14.29; 3 Reigns 19.7; Hag 2.21(20); Zach 4.12; Isa 61.7; Jer 1.13.

  1. Ἀνάστηθι πορεύθητι εἰς Νινευη τὴν πόλιν τὴν μεγάλην καὶ κήρυξον ἐν αὐτῇ κατὰ τὸ κήρυγμα τὸ ἔμπροσθεν, ἐγὼ ἐλάλησα πρὸς σέ.

The translation expresses serial fidelity with the MT, but does add τὸ ἔμπροσθεν. The Greek text for ἀνάστηθι (2nd per. sg. aorist active imp) πορεύθητι (2nd per. sg. aorist passive imp)… καὶ κήρυξον (2nd aorist active imp) ἐν αὔτῇ parallels the text in 1.2, except that there is no conjunction connecting the first two verbs (a plus in the Greek text of 1.2). The commands repeat those expressed in the MT. Yahweh has not changed his instructions. The translator by adding τὸ ἔμροσθεν wants to emphasize that nothing in the first prophecy has changed in this second iteration. κατὰ τὸ κήρυγμα reflects well the play on words in the MT, with the noun cognate with the verb (וקרא…את־הקריאה). It is modified adjectivally by the adverb ἔμπροσθεν signaled by the repeated article. This construction occurs in classical Greek with the adjectival sense “earlier, before.” The prepositional phrase אליה normally would mean “call/proclaim…to it/against it.” However, the translator renders it as “in it.” In the relative clause MT uses a participle as the main verb, indicating a present or future sense. This would mean “which I am telling you,” but LXX uses an aorist, again implying that nothing has changed since the original prophecy.

  1. καὶ ἀνέστη Ιωνας καὶ ἐπορεύθη εἰς Νινευη, καθὼς ἐλάλησε κύριος· δὲ Νινευη ἦν πόλις μεγάλη τῷ θεῷ ὡσεὶ πορείας ὁδοῦ ἡμερῶν τριῶν.

The translation expresses serial fidelity with the MT. The initial part of this verse repeats the key terms in Yahweh’s instruction to Jonah in v.2, showing his compliance. The δέ in the second main clause represents ו (waw) conjunctive in the Hebrew text, but has the sense of “now,” marking background information. The word order of the Hebrew text marks a similar function. Νινευη is marked as nominative by the article and subject of the equative verb, not πόλις. What is the sense of the dative τῷ θεῷ? Presumably it modifies the adjective μεγάλη and is referential in sense, i.e., “great in God’s eyes” or perhaps “important to God,” giving motive for God’s actions to save it. The translator’s πορείας ὁδοῦ contains a plus (ὁδοῦ) which removes possible ambiguity and referring the “three days” to the length of the journey across the city, not the duration of the journey, i.e., “a three days journey by road.” Note the different construction in v. 4. πορείας is a genitive of measure (Muraoka, Syntax, 132,22k). The Greek text reverses the order of שלשת ימים with ἡμερῶν τριῶν. Either word order is possible in Greek.

  1. καὶ ἤρξατο Ιωνας τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν πόλιν ὡσει πορείαν ἡμέρας μιᾶς καὶ ἐκήρυξε καὶ εἶπεν Ἔτι τρεῖς ἡμέραι καὶ Νινευη καταστραφήσεται.

καὶ ἤρξατο Ιωνας τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν πόλιν. The translation shows serial fidelity with the MT. The Hebrew verb ויחל is a hiphil form of חלל meaning “begin” which καὶ ἤρξατο represents well. The Hebrew verb is complemented by an infinitive, just as in the Greek text (τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν). In this case the translator uses a genitive articulated infinitive, but the article is not necessary in this construction (compare Hos 5.11 and Mic 6.13). In the Greek Pentateuch the anarthrous form is used. Muraoka, Syntax, 364-66 observes that “there is no functional opposition recognizable between a bare inf. and a τοῦ inf.” The compound verb εἰσελθεῖν picks up the following prepositional phrase εἰς τὴν πόλιν.
ὡσει πορείαν ἡμέρας μιᾶς. In the previous verse the translator used the genitive with this noun to express duration. Now he chooses the accusative to describe the length of this part of the journey, i.e., a journey length of one day. The position of the numeral matches MT.

καὶ ἐκήρυξε καὶ εἶπεν  Ἔτι τρεῖς ἡμέραι καὶ Νινευη καταστραφήσεται. Here we find a major change with τρεῖς ἡμέραι rendering ארבעים יום (“forty days). GKC §134e notes that in Hebrew “the tens, when they precede, take a singular of certain nouns frequently used with numerals.” Greek however has to have concord between the plurality of number and the noun modified (ἡμέραι). What is the origin of this unusual transformation in the Greek text? No surviving Hebrew text witnesses such a reading. It is not easy to see how the translator could have misread and thus misinterpreted this Hebrew Vorlage. There is no inner-Greek explanation for this reading and no Greek text has a different number. The later translations of Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion all have τεσσαρακοντα (forty). It seems probable that this change is due to the translator. If this is case, why does he make this change? The Greek verb καταστραφήσεται and the verb נהפכת mean “overturn, ruin/destroy, bring to an end.”

  1. καὶ ἐνεπίστευσαν οἱ ἄνδρες Νινευη τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἐκήρυξαν νηστείαν καὶ ἐνεδύσαντο σάκκους ἀπὸ μεγάλου αὐτῶν ἕως μικροῦ αὐτῶν.

καὶ ἐνεπίστευσαν οἱ ἄνδρες Νινευη τῷ θεῷ. Even though Νινευη is an indeclinable noun the translator considers the context sufficiently clear to establish the syntactical function. ἐμπιστεύω is not a common compound in the LXX, found mostly in Chronicles and the Maccabean literature. A few classical Greek occurrences mentioned in TLG. Many LXX texts use the simplex form. It takes a dative complement.

καὶ ἐκήρυξαν νηστείαν. Jonah “make a proclamation” regarding God’s judgment and the leaders of Nineveh in turn make a proclamation for a fast. νηστεία is a default rendering of צום in the LXX.

καὶ ἐνεδύσαντο σάκκους ἀπὸ μεγάλου αὐτῶν ἕως μικροῦ αὐτῶν. σάκκος is the default rendering for שק in the LXX. σάκκος  is a bag made of goat hair, burlap and is a loan word from Semitic (Beekes, Etymological Dictionary, 2, 1302). The accusative plural probably means “clothes made of burlap” and commonly indicates mourning. Note the middle form of the verb. Only one Greek manuscript (W) reads the text that Ziegler selects ἀπὸ μεγάλου αὐτῶν ἕως μικροῦ αὐτῶν, which does reflect the MT order, but adds possessive pronouns and omits the conjunction ו. Most read απο μικρου εως μεγαλου which reverses the Hebrew word order. It is hard to know which textual variant is original.

  1. καὶ ἤγγισεν λόγος πρὸς τὸν βασιλέα τῆς Νινευη, καὶ ἐξανέστη ἀπὸ τοῦ θρόνου αὐτοῦ καὶ περιείλατο τὴν στολὴν αὐτοῦ ἀφἑαυτοῦ καὶ περιεβάλετο σάκκον καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐπὶ σποδοῦ.

καὶ ἤγγισεν ὁ λόγος πρὸς τὸν βασιλέα τῆς Νινευη. The translation follows the MT, expressing a series of coordinated conjunctions which narrate various sequential actions attributed to the king of Nineveh in response to Jonah’s message. The Greek verb with the subject “message, news” means “reached” and the preposition πρός might express the idea of how widely the message penetrated the city’s population. The article appears with both nouns in the prepositional phrase, perhaps following Apollonius’ Canon. The article also serves to show that the proper name is not appositional to the head noun.

καὶ ἐξανέστη ἀπὸ τοῦ θρόνου αὐτοῦ. The verb ἐξανέστη can just mean “got up” but the additional prepositional prefix might add the sense “got up out of/from,” which is also made explicit by the prepositional phrase. θρόνος is the default rendering for כסא for most of the LXX.

καὶ περιείλατο τὴν στολὴν αὐτοῦ ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ. The hiphil form of עבר can mean “cause to take away, put away,” as here. אדרת means “glory, mantle, cloak” which is valuable. TDNT (8.689) comments that “clothing shows what a man is; a specific garment is part of a specific situation.” στολή can mean any kind of outer garment and context has to indicate the nature of the garment. In this case it refers to the garments that express the king’s status. ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ indicates that the king himself participated in this action, using a reflexive pronoun, along with the middle form of the verb. περιείλατο means “he removed.”

καὶ περιεβάλετο σάκκον. He then “covered himself with clothes made of sackcloth.” He follows the lead of his subjects expressed in v. 5. The translator used a different verb (see 3 Reigns 1.1) here to describe the king’s action to re-clothe himself, a difference also found in the MT (cover, clothe oneself) (לבש…כסה).

καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐπὶ σποδοῦ. אפר means “ashes” (collective sense) and to “sit on ashes” is a sign of mourning and contrition. σποδή is a default rendering for אפר in the LXX. ἐπί + genitive means “upon.” See Esther’s actions in 4.2, 17; Judith 9.1; 1 Macc. 3.47; 4.39; Daniel 9.3. This is not a normal way for Greeks to display grief or contrition.

  1. καὶ ἐκηρύχθη καὶ ἐρρέθη ἐν τῇ Νινευη παρὰ τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ παρὰ τῶν μεγιστάνων αὐτοῦ λέγων Οἱ ἄνθρωποι καὶ τὰ κτήνη καὶ οἱ βόες καὶ τὰ πρόβατα μὴ γευσάσθωσαν μηδὲν μηδὲ νεμέσθωσαν μηδὲ ὕδωρ πιέτωσαν.

καὶ ἐκηρύχθη καὶ ἐρρέθη ἐν τῇ Νινευη. The Greek text demonstrates serial fidelity with the MT. The initial verb וזעק (cf. 1.5 ἀνεβόων) is different from the verb which the translator represents by κηρύσσω in 3.2,4,5. The translator transforms the active verb of which presumably the king is the subject, into a passive form. Probably a different oral reading of these verb forms. Also, the proclamation does not begin until οἱ ἄνθρωποι, but in the Hebrew text it probably begins with מטעם המלך, defining the source of the proclamation. ἐρρέθη is the aorist passive form of λέγω, the default translation of אמר – he said. Why does the translator modify Νινευη with the article? Note that although the verbs are impersonals, the adverbial participle λέγων is masculine singular.

παρὰ τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ παρὰ τῶν μεγιστάνων αὐτοῦ. In the Greek translation these phrases describe the source of the proclamation and modify the two initial verbs (NETS “A proclamation was made, and it was spoken in Nineue by the king and his nobles, saying…”). However, the Hebrew phrase מטעם means “from a decree of….” The translation leaves the term “decree” implicit. BDB (381,3) “(late Aramaism, cf. Dn 310 etc.) decision, decree…Jon 37.” It has Assyrian origin. In Daniel LXX it is rendered as προσέταξας.  Μεγιστάν always occurs in the plural meaning “noblemen” (see Nah 3.10 where it also translates גדול)… Fairly common noun in LXX. Not used in Classical Greek, but found in Menander (4-3rd cent. BCE).

Οἱ ἄνθρωποι καὶ τὰ κτήνη καὶ οἱ βόες καὶ τὰ πρόβατα. MT uses singular nouns as collectives, but Greek employs plurals to accommodate its normal usage.

μὴ γευσάσθωσαν μηδὲν μηδὲ νεμέσθωσαν μηδὲ ὕδωρ πιέτωσαν. The Hebrew verb יטעם is cognate with the term טעם (“decree”) used earlier in the verse. The verb means “taste” and is a prohibition. םאומה is an indefinite pronoun, rendered here as μηδέν. νέμω in the middle means “roam in open spaces that provide grass and water.” Why does the translator use the aorist form with the first and third verbs, but present forms with the second verb? A prohibition formed from μή + aorist imperative is rare – usually with aorist subjunctive or present imperative. In LXX tends to be in third person forms (Muraoka, Syntax, 328-329).

  1. καὶ περιεβάλοντο σάκκους οἱ ἄνθρωποι καὶ τὰ κτήνη, καὶ ἀνεβόησαν πρὸς τὸν θεὸν ἐκτενῶς· καὶ ἀπέστρεψαν ἕκαστος ἀπὸ τῆς ὁδοῦ αὐτοῦ τῆς πονηρᾶς καὶ τῆς ἀδικίας τῆς ἐν χερσὶν αὐτῶν λέγοντες

In the MT v. 8 continues the decree, but not in the translation.

καὶ περιεβάλοντο σάκκους οἱ ἄνθρωποι καὶ τὰ κτήνη. The Hebrew verb ויתכסו is a hithpael formation, expressing a reflexive idea – covered/clothed themselves. The translator used the same verbal phrase as he did in v. 6 to represent this idea. MT has singular subjects, but they express a collective sense, captured in the Greek with the plural forms.

καὶ ἀνεβόησαν πρὸς τὸν θεὸν ἐκτενῶς. The Hebrew verb is ויקראו which the translator rendered with ἀναβοάω also at 1.14 but see 1.5 (ויזעקו). In this chapter the translator has also used κηρύσσω but this is not an appropriate rendering in this context. ἐκτενῶς means “earnestly, fervently,” which renders the prepositional phrase בחזקה i.e., “forcefully, strongly, forcefully.” This adverb also occurs in Jud 4.12 with the verb βοάω and Joel 1.14 with κράζω. It occurs infrequently in the LXX. What significance might the article have in πρὸς τὸν θεὸν (see 2.2, 3)?

καὶ ἀπέστρεψαν ἕκαστος. ἀποστρέφω means “turn away, dissociate oneself,” with an intransitive sense. The following prepositional phrases define what the person turns away from. In Greek Jonah it only renders (3.8, 9, 10) שוב, with the sense here of “turn back from (evil).” Humans and God can be the subject. ἕκαστος represents האיש, “the person” which here means each one.       The plural verb reflects the Hebrew verb form and also accommodates to Greek idiom.

ἀπὸ τῆς ὁδοῦ αὐτοῦ τῆς πονηρᾶς καὶ τῆς ἀδικίας τῆς ἐν χερσὶν αὐτῶν λέγοντες. ἀδικία (“injustice, wrongdoing”) translates חמס, “violence, wrong” (see Am 3.10; Joel 3.19). The translator renders an אשר clause with the adjectivized prepositional phrase τῆς ἐν χερσὶν αὐτῶν. The translator adds λέγοντες, identifying what follows as direct speech of those who turned away from evil.

  1. Τίς οἶδεν εἰ μετανοήσει θεὸς καὶ ἀποστρέψει ἐξ ὀργῆς θυμοῦ αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀπολώμεθα;

Τίς οἶδεν. The Hebrew expression is a participle following an interrogative. When this construction follows a verbal clause, it communicates the idea “perchance, it may be” (BDB 567, f.e), but is not followed by an interrogative particle. The translator renders it literally, with the sense “no one knows whether….”

εἰ μετανοήσει ὁ θεὸς. εἰ is not conditional, but interrogative here, with the sense “whether” and marks an indirect question following οἶδεν. MT has three verbs in sequence ישוב ונחם…ושב but the translator only reflects two of these (probably the last two) with μετανοήσει…καὶ ἀποστρέψει. He probably thought the Hebrew text was tautologous. μετανοέω regularly renders forms of the verb נחם          . This Hebrew verb is glossed as “be sorry, be moved with pity, console oneself.” See Exodus 32.12, 14. The sense could be “whether he will take pity and turn away from….” μετανοέω means “to change one’s mind, revise one’s view in the light of ‘after-knowledge’.” It does not necessarily imply admission of guilt or error.

καὶ ἀποστρέψει ἐξ ὀργῆς θυμοῦ αὐτοῦ. The translator continues to render שוב with ἀποστρέψω, even though God is the subject. The prepositional phrase describes what he “turns away from.” Given the usage in verses 8 & 9, one would expect the preposition ἀπό would continue to be used. מחרון אפו “from the burning of his nostril” (cf. Ex. 32.12), speaking of his anger. The translator represents both nouns and the possessive pronoun, but employs regular Greek terms describing wrath and anger.

καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀπολώμεθα (2nd aor. mid. subjunctive).  See Jonah 1.6. Notice here that the translator uses the strong, double negation, even though the Hebrew text is the same as in Jonah 1.6. Why the difference?

  1. καὶ εἶδεν θεὸς τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν, ὅτι ἀπέστρεψαν ἀπὸ τῶν ὁδῶν αὐτῶν τῶν πονηρῶν, καὶ μετενόησεν θεὸς ἐπὶ τῇ κακίᾳ, ἐλάλησε τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτοῖς, καὶ οὐκ ἐποίησεν.

καὶ εἶδεν ὁ θεὸς τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν. Perhaps ὁ θεός means “the deity.”

ὅτι ἀπέστρεψαν ἀπὸ τῶν ὁδῶν αὐτῶν τῶν πονηρῶν. ὅτι could be causal, i.e., “because they turned away,” but more probably marks a content clause which defines what these τὰ ἔργα included. Note that here the translator uses the plural τῶν ὁδῶν for the singular Hebrew word, whereas in v. 8 he used the singular.

καὶ μετενόησεν ὁ θεὸς ἐπὶ τῇ κακίᾳ. ונחם again is represented by μετανοέω. הרעה is the same word that described the evil deeds that people of Nineveh turned away from. Note how the translator renders it differently, using κακία which here has the sense of something distressful or dire, trouble. The Hebrew noun similar has diverse meanings, depending on context. See Jonah 1.7. See also Ex. 32.14; Joel 2.13; Jonah 4.2.

ᾗ ἐλάλησε τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτοῖς. ᾗ is the relative pronoun, but the case arises from attraction to the antecedent κακίᾳ, and does not represent its function as direct object of the verb in its clause. λαλέω is the default rendering for דבר and λέγω for אמר. The translator again uses the articulated genitive infinitive to express the complementary infinitive.

καὶ οὐκ ἐποίησεν. The conjunction could have a resultative tone, i.e., “and so he did not act.”


Jonah 4

4.1 καὶ ἐλυπήθη Ιωνας λύπην μεγάλην καὶ συνεχύθη.

καὶ ἐλυπήθη Ιωνας λύπην μεγάλην.  λυπεῖν can mean “grieve, cause grief; be distressed; displease,

be displeased.” The Hebrew verb רעע in the qal form means “be displeasing; be injurious, evil.” The

Greek term then probably carries the sense of displeasure. This is probably confirmed by the meaning of the following verb. Plato uses the verb + cognate construction to refer to a deep sorrow or grief. The Hebrew places the noun רעה (λύπην) as the subject and “Jonah” is in a prepositional phrase, i.e., “a great displeasure was displeasing for Jonah.” The LXX transforms the syntax. Usually

κακία /κακά is the translation of רעה.            .

καὶ συνεχύθη. συγχέω means “throw into confusion, disturb composure.” The Hebrew expression is

ויחר לו which is an impersonal structure presuming אף as the implied subject and signifying that “[anger] was kindled for him.” G creates an aorist passive with the sense – “and he was disturbed.

4.2 καὶ προσηύξατο πρὸς κύριον καὶ εἶπεν  κύριε, οὐχ οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι μου ἔτι ὄντος μου ἐν τῇ γῇ  μου; Διὰ τοῦτο προέφθασα τοῦ φυγεῖν εἰς Θαρσις, διότι ἔγνων ὅτι σὺ ἐλεήμων καὶ οἰκτίρμων, μακρόθυμος καὶ πολυέλεος καὶ μετανοῶν ἐπὶ ταῖς κακίαις.

καὶ προσηύξατο πρὸς κύριον καὶ εἶπεν. This follows the Hebrew text closely. Notice that prayer is the means by which Jonah deals with his confusion and displeasure over God’s action. Presumably the three days have passed and Nineveh still stands.

Ὦ κύριε, οὐχ οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι μου.  The vocative with the particle ὦ communicates emotion and this represents well the Hebrew אנה יהוה, i.e., marks a strong entreaty (cf. Ex. 32.31; Jon. 1.14). The interrogative οὐχ anticipates a positive response. The Hebrew has the singular “this my message”, whereas LXX has the plural. This is a verbless clause. What is the subject in the Greek text?

ἔτι ὄντος μου ἐν τῇ γῇ μου. The translator chooses a genitive absolute construction with a temporal sense to render the Hebrew preposition + construct infinitive + pronominal suffix. In 1.8 the Hebrew text read ארץ and it was rendered with χῶρα; but here we have אדמה rendered as γῆ. The   sense is the same.

Διὰ τοῦτο προέφθασα τοῦ φυγεῖν εἰς Θαρσις. For one of its meanings προφθαίνω signifies “to anticipate, have the foresight” and thus take some preventive action.  Perhaps we might say today

“Therefore I took the initiative to flee to Tarshish.” The Hebrew text has a very similar structure –main verb completed by an infinitive. εἰς Θαρσις renders תרשישה which ends with the ה-locale, a particle that indicates direction.

διότι ἔγνων ὅτι.  The initial particle כי can mark a causal (ὄτι) or explanatory (γάρ) clause. The translator chooses a causal conjunction διότι. Then he marks the indirect discourse with ὅτι (כי).

σὺ ἐλεήμων καὶ οἰκτίρμων, μακρόθυμος καὶ πολυέλεος. This declaration is a key part of the covenant framework in Ex. 34.6 κύριος κύριος ὁ θεὸς οἰκτίρμων καὶ ἐλεήμων, μακρόθυμος καὶ

πολυέλεος καὶ ἀληθινός (יהוה יהוה אל רחום וחנון ארך אפים ורב־חסד ואמת). See also Joel 2.13 and

Prayer of Manasseh 7 (Ode 12 in Rahlfs). Distinguishing clearly the semantic difference among  these terms is a challenge. The first two speak of mercy and clemency; the last two express    patience. The Hebrew order is אל־חנון ורחום ארך אפם ורב־חסד which is slightly different than Ex 34.6, but the translator seems to recognize this. Does the translator omit אל or does he think it is expressed in the ἐλεήμων and the latter part reflects חנון, in other words it reads as a rough transliteration, but also translation? Many Greek mss add ει θεος, but this is probably a revision towards the Hebrew text.

καὶ μετανοῶν ἐπὶ ταῖς κακίαις.  This terminology occurs in 3.10 (as well as Joel 2.13). The only difference is the object of the preposition is plural, not singular, giving it a more generic sense. The

Hebrew text is singular. So does the Hebrew text refer to this specific judgment against Nineveh

(“and you would change your mind about this calamity”) or is it more generic also?

4.3  καὶ νῦν, δέσποτα κύριε, λάβε τὴν ψυχήν μου ἀπἐμοῦ, ὅτι καλὸν τὸ ἀποθανεῖν με ζῆν με.

καὶ νῦν, δέσποτα κύριε.  The translation adds δέσποτα which sometimes renders אדוני. It is in some sense a duplication of the meaning of κύριε, which here functions as a proper name. The meaning might be “Lord Kyrie.” It is vocative, specifying the subject of the following imperative.

λάβε τὴν ψυχήν μου ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ. Attached to the Hebrew imperative is the particle נא, which marks the imperative as an entreaty. In this text ψυχή probably means physical life, rather than referencing the immaterial soul. This appeal is also made by Elijah in 3 Reigns 19.4 – a prophet similarly questioning Yahweh’s purposes.

ὅτι καλὸν τὸ ἀποθανεῖν με ἢ ζῆν με.  The ὅτι probably is causal reflecting the Hebrew כי. This is a verbless clause in which the articulated infinitive functions as the subject. We might translate “it is better for me to die than for me to keep living.” The two accusative pronouns are the subjects of the infinitives. The first infinitive is second aorist and the second is present. What might aspect suggest as to why the translator varies the tense-form here? In these kinds of comparative structures the positive form of the adjective καλός has a comparative sense (better). It is neuter nominative in form because it is a predicate adjective modifying the neuter singular verbal noun.

4.4  καὶ εἶπε κύριος πρὸς Ιωναν Εἰ σφόδρα λελύπησαι σύ;

καὶ εἶπε κύριος πρὸς Ιωναν. The LXX adds πρὸς Ιωναν. This fuller expression occurs in the Hebrew and Greek texts of v. 9.

Εἰ σφόδρα λελύπησαι σύ.  The conjunction εἰ can mark direct and indirect questions (see 3.9). It can mean “is it the case, whether.” The Hebrew text begins with the particle ה marking a question. The second word is the hiphil infinitive absolute היטיב which in this context probably has an ethical sense, i.e., “is it right for you to be angry/displeased?” σφόδρα is an adverb that expresses some idea of intensity, i.e., very very much, thoroughly, etc. The construction הרה לך occurred in 4.1b which the translator rendered as συνεχύθη. The same expression occurs in 4.9 and is rendered similarly. The verb λελύπησαι is perfect passive second person singular. What does the perfect tense-form contribute to the meaning of this verb in this context? The same tense-form occurs twice in v. 9. The personal pronoun in Greek has an emphatic sense, which the prepositional construction לך does not necessarily project.

4.5  καὶ ἐξῆλθεν Ιωνας ἐκ τῆς πόλεως καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἀπέναντι τῆς πόλεως· καὶ ἐποίησεν ἑαυτῷ ἐκεῖ σκηνὴν καὶ ἐκάθητο ὑποκάτω αὐτῆς ἐν σκιᾷ, ἕως οὗ ἀπίδῃ τί ἔσται τῇ πόλει.

καὶ ἐξῆλθεν Ιωνας ἐκ τῆς πόλεως.  The translator represents the Hebrew text with fidelity.

καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἀπέναντι τῆς πόλεως. The Hebrew term מקדם means “eastward.” The translator employs a more generic term ἀπέναντι meaning “facing, opposite,” as an improper preposition with the genitive. καθίζω means “seat oneself.”

καὶ ἐποίησεν ἑαυτῷ ἐκεῖ σκηνὴν. σκηνή renders the Hebrew noun סכה which means “booth, temporary shelter.” These are good equivalents. The reflexive pronoun is a Greek accommodation because Hebrew does not have such a form.

καὶ ἐκάθητο ὑποκάτω αὐτῆς ἐν σκιᾷ. The verb καθήμαι means “be seated, remain seated,” suggesting a state or condition. The pronoun αὐτῆς refers back to σκηνή. ἐν σκιᾷ renders the prepositional phrase בצל, in which the head noun means “shadow, shade.”

ἕως οὗ ἀπίδῃ τί ἔσται τῇ πόλει. A temporal relative clause introduced by the prepositional phrase ἕως οὗ “until such time as….” ἀφοράω means “to have in view, to look at (with some sense of exclusion).” The second aorist 3 subject is used here with a sense of contingency. The indirect question literally means “what shall belong to/be for this city.” The Hebrew expression היה ב can mean “what might come upon the city” with reference to blessing or judgment. The article is anaphoric.

4.6  καὶ προσέταξε κύριος θεὸς κολοκύνθῃ, καὶ ἀνέβη ὑπὲρ κεφαλῆς τοῦ Ιωνα τοῦ εἶναι σκιὰν ὑπεράνω τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ τοῦ σκιάζειν αὐτῷ ἀπὸ τῶν κακῶν αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἐχάρη Ιωνας ἐπὶ τῇ κολοκύνθῃ χαρὰν μεγάλην.

καὶ προσέταξε κύριος ὁ θεὸς κολοκύνθῃ. Compare the parallel clause at 2.1. The translation reflects the double name of the deity which the Hebrew text has. How do we render this? “Kyrios, the God”? κολοκύνθη describes a “round gourd.” The Hebrew term קיקיון describes some kind of plant, but we are not sure exactly which one. BDB indicates “castor-oil tree.” Compare Elijah’s experience in 3 Reigns 19.4 (broom bush ὑπὸ ραθμ ἕν רתם אחת).

καὶ ἀνέβη ὑπὲρ κεφαλῆς τοῦ Ιωνα. The Hebrew text does not have the term “head” but rather has an adverbial expression followed by a prepositional phrase with יונה as the head noun (מעל ליונה). The translator seeks presumably to create parallelism with the following clause.

τοῦ εἶναι σκιὰν ὑπεράνω τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ. The Hebrew text has two sequential infinitival clauses, both marked by ל + an infinitive construct. The translator replicates these with two articulated infinitives. The genitive article probably signals purpose here. The improper preposition ὑπεράνω better reflects the previous מעל rather than the simple על preposition.

τοῦ σκιάζειν αὐτῷ ἀπὸ τῶν κακῶν αὐτοῦ. The Hebrew text reads the verbal infinitive הציל which is from the root נצל which in the hiphil form means “to deliver.” Given the use of the noun צל (shade) earlier, the translator seems to interpret the verb as a form of צלל with the sense “cause shade” and so renders it as σκιάζειν, a causative form meaning “to cast a shadow, to provide protective shade.” The Hebrew text again uses the noun רעה found in v.2 and rendered as κακία with God as the subject. The translator chooses the substantival adjective κακῶν (gen. pl.) in this context, perhaps with the sense “his calamaties, misfortunes, troubles” (referencing discomfort from the hot sun). καὶ ἐχάρη Ιωνας ἐπὶ τῇ κολοκύνθῃ χαρὰν μεγάλην. We note again the use of the verb and cognate accusative structure, which reflects the Hebrew structure.

4.7  καὶ προσέταξεν θεὸς σκώληκι ἑωθινῇ  τῇ ἐπαύριον, καὶ ἐπάταξε τὴν κολόκυνθαν, καὶ ἀπεξηράνθη.

καὶ προσέταξεν ὁ θεὸς σκώληκι ἑωθινῇ  τῇ ἐπαύριον.  Note that the translator uses the same lexemes and idioms as he did at v.6. Many texts add κύριος. This parallelism emphasizes one of the key characteristics of God as sovereign in his creation. The Hebrew term תולעת  means “worm, grub” and σκώληξ is a good equivalent (see Ex. 16.20). It is modified by the adjective ἑωθινός (“daybreak, of very early morning”) (see Ex 14.24). Perhaps the sense is “a worm active in the early morning.” The Hebrew expression incorporates two nouns in a bound construction בעלות השׂחר (“in the ascending of the dawn”). The translator adds a second modifier, adjectivizing the adverb by using the article, i.e., “on the morrow.” Or, alternatively, it could be a dative of time, modifying the verb, with the article used to signal case with the indeclinable adverb. The adverb does not need the article in order to define the time context, so I think the first option is probably the correct interpretation.

καὶ ἐπάταξε τὴν κολόκυνθαν. The hiphil ותך means “and it struck fatally.” πατάσσω        is a default equivalent. Notice the different accent and vowel ending for this noun in this context in contrast with v.6.

καὶ ἀπεξηράνθη. And the aorist passive is interesting, i.e., “it was withered up, it became withered.” The Hebrew verb means “it dried up,” with a masculine pronominal formation indicating the gourd is the subject.

4.8  καὶ ἐγένετο ἅμα τῷ ἀνατεῖλαι τὸν ἥλιον καὶ προσέταξεν θεὸς πνεύματι καύσωνος συγκαίοντι, καὶ ἐπάταξεν ἥλιος ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν Ιωνα· καὶ ὠλιγοψύχησε καὶ ἀπελέγετο τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ καὶ εἶπε Καλὸν ἀποθανεῖν με ζῆν.

καὶ ἐγένετο ἅμα τῷ ἀνατεῖλαι τὸν ἥλιον.  The Hebrew construction ויהי + preposition + infinitive, followed by a pleonastic waw, construction is common and often marks a temporal transition, i.e., “and it happened as the sun arose that….” Greek idiom has nothing comparable and so we see Hebrew influence in this Greek syntax. ἅμα + dative has the sense “immediately (in time).” Here it marks the articulated aorist infinitive ἀνατεῖλαι, with the accusative noun functioning as its subject. The Hebrew infinitive is from the verb זרח “to rise” often used with the sun.

καὶ προσέταξεν ὁ θεὸς πνεύματι καύσωνος συγκαίοντι.  אלהים as no article in the Hebrew text. Same idiom as in v. 7. πνεῦμα here means “wind.” The genitive noun καύσωνος refers to a “hot wind” (see Isaiah 49.10; Hos 13.15). The Hebrew text has the adjective קדים which refers to an “east wind.” συγκαίω means “to burn, blaze” and here is an attributive participle modifying πνεύματι. So we have the sense “a blazing wind of hot wind.” It is unclear what the Hebrew term חרישית means. It is only found in this context. We do not know whether the translator guesses at the meaning or in fact knows what the term means and has translated correctly.

καὶ ἐπάταξεν ὁ ἥλιος ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν Ιωνα. No surprises here. The translator uses his normal defaults.

καὶ ὠλιγοψύχησε. A rare term in classical Greek writers, but frequent in the papyri. It describes physical or moral exhaustion as in Ex. 6.9. The Hebrew term ויתעלף means “enwrap oneself” according to BDB (see Amos 8.13), which NIV interprets as “grew faint.”

καὶ ἀπελέγετο τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ. The middle form of ἀπολέγω means “give up on, renounce” according to Muraoka (GELS, 78). Notice the imperfect tense-form. Plutarch De communibus notitiis adversus Stoicos 1060 D.2 used the expression καὶ τὸν βίον ἀπολέγεσθαι several centuries later, but it can be found in earlier, fourth century BCE writers also. The Hebrew text reads וישאל “and he asked for,” in the sense of a prayer for death, confirmed by the infinitive למות “to die,” omitted by the Greek translator or else bound up on the verb ἀπολέγομαι. See v… 3.

καὶ εἶπε Καλὸν ἀποθανεῖν με ἢ ζῆν. The Hebrew text here is exactly the same as in his prayer in v. 3. The only difference in the Greek text is the omission of the second με apparently. A number of Greek texts do add it.

4.9   καὶ εἶπεν θεὸς πρὸς Ιωναν Εἰ σφόδρα λελύπησαι σὺ ἐπὶ τῇ κολοκύνθῃ; καὶ εἶπε Σφόδρα λελύπημαι ἐγὼ ἕως θανάτου.

καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεὸς πρὸς Ιωναν.  The Hebrew text reads אלהים without any article.

Εἰ σφόδρα λελύπησαι σὺ ἐπὶ τῇ κολοκύνθῃ. The Hebrew text is the same as in 4.4 and the Greek translation follows suit. The direct question, in this occasion, specifies the reason or motivation for Jonah’s displeasure with the prepositional phrase. Notice that the noun here reverts to the form it has in the first instance (v.6).

καὶ εἶπε Σφόδρα λελύπημαι ἐγὼ ἕως θανάτου. The same defaults occur here. The extremity of his displeasure is measured in the final prepositional phrase ἕως θανάτου (עד־מות). He is so displeased that death seems the best option. Notice similar language in Mark 14.34. See λυπέω…περιλύπος  in Gen. 4:5-6.

4.10 καὶ εἶπε κύριος Σὺ ἐφείσω ὑπὲρ τῆς κολοκύνθης, ὑπὲρ ἧς οὐκ ἐκακοπάθησας ἐπαὐτὴν καὶ οὐκ ἐξέθρεψας αὐτὴν, ὑπὸ νύκτα ἐγενήθη καὶ ὑπὸ νύκτα ἀπώλετο.

καὶ εἶπε κύριος.  Usual defaults. Why does the original author switch to יהוה to define the subject?

Σὺ ἐφείσω ὑπὲρ τῆς κολοκύνθης. The Hebrew verb חוס means “show pity, have pity.” The translator’s rendering is quite appropriate. The form is aorist, 2nd p.s. middle (φείδομαι) – “you showed/had pity.” In v. 9 Jonah’s distress is ἐπὶ τῇ κολοκύνθῃ. Here he employs a different preposition, even though the Hebrew text is the same. What might be the difference in meaning? Or is it a matter of idiom, i.e., this Greek verb more usually is completed by a ὑπέρ phrase? The LXX uses various prepositions with this verb.

ὑπὲρ ἧς οὐκ ἐκακοπάθησας ἐπ’ αὐτὴν. This is followed by a relative clause, which picks up the ὑπέρ term. The Hebrew verb is עמל which means “to work, labour.” So Jonah has expended no labour over this gourd. In the Greek translation κακοπαθέω means “to strain oneself, to suffer difficulties/misfortune; to endure evil.” Perhaps here the sense of “to experience difficulties, endured trouble.” So the meaning of the Greek text is perhaps a bit different, i.e., Jonah has endured no trouble/suffered no difficulties regarding this gourd.” Notice the different Greek preposition ἐπ’ αὐτὴν (“in reference to it”).

καὶ οὐκ ἐξέθρεψας αὐτὴν. The second part of the relative clause asserts that Jonah “did not nourish it,” i.e., take any pains to tend to its care. The Hebrew verb גדלתו means “cause it to grow,” being piel. Again there is a slight change in sense.

ἣ ὑπὸ νύκτα ἐγενήθη καὶ ὑπὸ νύκτα ἀπώλετο. A second relative clause describes the way the gourd grew and then died. The Hebrew relative clause is introduced with the particle שׁ. It is attached to the noun בן “which is the son of a night,” a Hebrew idiom. The translator renders it with a Greek idiom, i.e., “during a night, in the course of a night.” Is the speed of growth and death extraordinary, given God’s interventions?

4.11 ἐγὼ δὲ οὐ φείσομαι ὑπὲρ Νινευη τῆς πόλεως τῆς μεγάλης, ἐν κατοικοῦσι πλείους δώδεκα μυριάδες ἀνθρώπων, οἵτινες οὐκ ἔγνωσαν δεξιὰν αὐτῶν ἀριστερὰν αὐτῶν, καὶ κτήνη πολλά;

ἐγὼ δὲ οὐ φείσομαι ὑπὲρ Νινευη τῆς πόλεως τῆς μεγάλης. The Hebrew text marks the subject withאני  and the translator represents this with the initial ἐγώ, both constructions giving the subject prominence.

ἐν ᾖ κατοικοῦσι πλείους ἢ δώδεκα μυριάδες ἀνθρώπων. The Hebrew text says “in which there exist” (יש בה), but the translator renders it as κατοικοῦσι which he might have read as a form of ישב “to dwell.” Note the plural as well. The infinitive absolute הרבה can function adjectivally (BDB) and that seems to be its usage here. The translator picks up on this well with πλείους (more), followed by the comparative particle ἤ. The Hebrew noun רבו means “ten thousand.” Here it is modified by the numeral “twelve” to express the number “120,000” – twelve myriads.

οἵτινες οὐκ ἔγνωσαν δεξιὰν αὐτῶν ἢ ἀριστερὰν αὐτῶν, καὶ κτήνη πολλά. The relative pronoun has the added sense of “who are of the sort.” This is a Greek nuance, not expressed in the Hebrew text. The idiom in the Hebrew text is “who did not distinguish between its right with reference to its left.” The Greek text simplifies the idiom to read “did not distinguish their right or their left.” This is description of moral naivete or ignorance. Often it references a child-like innocence. Why does the Hebrew writer add the note about animals? The translator uses the usual default in the LXX for this noun.

[1] The Greek text is quoted from the Gōttingen Septuagint edition of the Twelve Minor Prophets, which is essentially the same as that found in the Rahlfs-Hanhart edition of the Septuagint published by the United Bible Society.