- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- ἀπέρριψάς με εἰς βάθη καρδίας θαλάσσης, καὶ ποταμοί με ἐκύκλωσαν· πάντες οἱ μετεωρισμοί σου καὶ κύματά σου ἐπ‘ ἐμὲ 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.
- 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.
- περιεχύθη μοι ὕδωρ ἕως ψυχῆς, ἄβυσσος ἐκύκλωσέ με ἐσχάτη, ἔδυ ἡ 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).
- κατέβην εἰς γῆν, ἧς οἱ μοχλοὶ αὐτῆς κάτοχοι αἰώνιοι, καὶ άναβήτω φθορὰ ζωῆς μου, κύριε ὁ 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.
- ἐν τῷ ἐκλείπειν ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ τὴν ψυχήν μου τοῦ κυρίου ἐμνήσθην, καὶ ἔλθοι πρὸς σὲ ἡ 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?
- 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?
- 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).
- 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.