Skip to main content
Humanities Libertexts

LXX Psalm 142:1-6

  • Page ID
    11503
  • Instructions: Translate the Greek text with help from the reader notes. Complete the MYONs (Make Your Own Notes) and Discussion Questions if you desire.[1]

    Habakkuk 2:1–5 ἐπὶ τῆς φυλακῆς μου στήσομαι καὶ ἐπιβήσομαι ἐπὶ πέτραν καὶ ἀποσκοπεύσω τοῦ ἰδεῖν τί λαλήσει ἐν ἐμοὶ καὶ τί ἀποκριθῶ ἐπὶ τὸν ἔλεγχόν μου 2 καὶ ἀπεκρίθη πρός με κύριος καὶ εἶπεν γράψον ὅρασιν καὶ σαφῶς ἐπὶ πυξίον ὅπως διώκῃ ὁ ἀναγινώσκων αὐτά 3 διότι ἔτι ὅρασις εἰς καιρὸν καὶ ἀνατελεῖ εἰς πέρας καὶ οὐκ εἰς κενόν ἐὰν ὑστερήσῃ ὑπόμεινον αὐτόν ὅτι ἐρχόμενος ἥξει καὶ οὐ μὴ χρονίσῃ 4 ἐὰν ὑποστείληται οὐκ εὐδοκεῖ ἡ ψυχή μου ἐν αὐτῷ ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεώς μου ζήσεται 5 ὁ δὲ κατοινωμένος καὶ καταφρονητὴς ἀνὴρ ἀλαζών οὐδὲν μὴ περάνῃ ὃς ἐπλάτυνεν καθὼς ὁ ᾅδης τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ καὶ οὗτος ὡς θάνατος οὐκ ἐμπιπλάμενος καὶ ἐπισυνάξει ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν πάντα τὰ ἔθνη καὶ εἰσδέξεται πρὸς αὐτὸν πάντας τοὺς λαούς. Rahlfs[2]

    2:1

    [SN] Repetition of καί to separate clauses is a common Hebraism and translates the conjunction vav.

    [SN] The preposition ἐπί with the genitive is likely a #spatial expression (“upon”).

    [LN] The noun φυλακῆς (FSG LF: φυλακή) refers here to a guard station or watchpost.

    [GMN] Στήσομαι is FMI1S (LF: ἵστημι).

    [GMN] Ἐπιβήσομαι (FMI1S LF: ἐπιβαίνω) means “to sit.”

    [SN] The prepositional phrase ἐπὶ πέτραν (FSA LF: πέτρα) is likely another #spatial expression, as these two clauses (Ἐπὶ . . . στήσομαι and ἐπιβήσομαι ἐπὶ πέτραν) are meant to parallel each other.

    [TN] Πέτραν (“rock”) is used here to translate the Hebrew matsor, which refers to a siege-enclosure (e.g., a “rampart”).

    [LN] Ἀποσκοπεύσω (FAI1S LF: ἀποσκοπεύω) means “to attend to” or “to keep watch.”

    [SN, TN] Τοῦ ἰδεῖν (AAN LF: ὁράω): The genitive article with the infinitive indicates an #infinitive of purpose construction. In translation, we should treat this somewhat like a #complementary infinitive with a nuance of purpose (“I will keep watch in order to see”).

    [SN, LN] The interrogative phrase τί λαλήσει (FAI3S LF: λαλέω) further unpacks the content of the verb-infinitive phrase (“to see what he will say”).

    [SN, TN] The prepositional phrase ἐν ἐμοὶ is difficult to translate because the underlying Hebrew syntax is not completely clear. The Greek translation could express #means (“what he will say by me”; cf. 2:2f. for contextual support) or even opposition (“what he will say against me”).

    [GMN, TN] Ἀποκριθῶ (ADS1S LF: ἀποκρίνομαι): The verb ἀποκρίνομαι customarily drops the ν to accommodate the θ in passive forms. Remember that as an aorist #passive deponent verb, ἀποκριθῶ should be translated with the active voice (“I will answer”). It is important also to remember here that the subjunctive, as the mood of possibility/potential/etc. necessarily envisions future time. It is possible that this choice is meant to highlight the contingent nature of the speaker’s (Habakkuk’s) response to “what [God] will say” (τί λαλήσει ἐν εμοὶ) i.e., the nature of the response depends upon the content of God’s address.

    [LN] The preposition ἐπί (“upon”) is a direct translation of a Hebrew preposition with the same basic meaning. Idiomatically, we should understand it as referential (“concerning”).

    [LN] The noun ἔλεγχόν (MSA LF: ἔλεγχος) here refers to a “reproof” or “complaint.”

    2:2

    [TN] The redundant ἀπεκρίθη . . . καὶ εἶπεν attempts to reflect the Hebrew wording.

    [GMN] Γράψον is AAM2S (LF: γράφω).

    [LN] Ὅρασιν (FSA LF: ὅρασις): This third declension noun is based on the verb ὁράω and means “a vision.”

    [LN, SN] The adverb σαφῶς means “clearly” or “plainly” and modifies the verb Γράψον. Here the adverb stands in for a separate imperative verb in the Hebrew text that means “to make plain.”

    [LN] Πυξίον (NSA LF: πυξίον) refers to a “tablet” and is singular in number in contrast to the Hebrew plural “tablets.”

    [SN] The conjunction ὅπως is similar to ἵνα in that it introduces a #purpose clause and expects a subjunctive verb (διώκῃ).

    [LN] Διώκῃ (PAS3S LF: διώκω): While in Galatians διώκω typically connotes persecution, here the verb is used in a way that is truer to its base meaning, “to pursue.”

    [SN] Ὁ . . . ἀναγινώσκων (PAPMSN LF: ἀναγινώσκω) is a #substantival participle (“the one who reads”).

    2:3

    [LN] The conjunction διότι means “for/because.”

    [SN] The clause διότι ἔτι ὅρασις εἰς καιρὸν has no verb, so a verb of being must be supplied.

    [SN] The prepositional phrase εἰς καιρὸν likely expresses #goal or perhaps #reference.

    [LN] Καιρὸν (MSA LF: καιρός) here refers to an “appointed time.”

    [LN, GMN] Ἀνατελεῖ (FAI3S LF: ἀνατέλλω) means “to grow/spring up” or “to rise.” It is a #liquid verb, hence the #compensatory lengthening to accommodate the dropped σ in the future tense.

    [SN, LN] The prepositional phrases εἰς πέρας and εἰς κενόν both express #goal. The former should be translated “toward the end/finish/conclusion,” while the latter is an idiomatic phrase meaning “in vain.”

    [SN] Ἐάν with a subjunctive verb introduces the #protasis of a #third-class conditional statement, with ὑπόμεινον αὐτόν comprising the #apodosis.

    [LN, SN] Ὑστερήσῃ (AAS3S LF: ὑστερέω) can mean “to lack” or “to be late/tarry.” Here the latter meaning is in use. Its subject is ὅρασις.

    [LN] Ὑπόμεινον (AAM2S LF: ὑπομένω) often means “to persevere,” but here the sense is “to wait upon.”

    [SN] The pronoun αὐτόν (MSA) refers back to ὅρασις.

    MYON [SN] Describe the use of ὅτι in this verse.

    [SN, LN] The verbal phrase ἐρχόμενος (PDPMSN LF: ἔρχομαι) ἥξει (FAI3S LF: ἥκω, “to be present”) should not be translated as a #periphrastic construction. Rather, it is an attempt by the LXX translator to reproduce a Hebrew construction in which an infinitive and a verb of the same root are paired together in order to add a force of certainty to the action. Therefore, this phrase should be translated something like, “It will surely come.”

    [LN, SN] Χρονίσῃ (AAS3S LF: χρονίζω) means “to delay” or “to be late” (cf. Matt 25:5). The use of the aorist subjunctive here with οὐ μὴ expresses emphatic negation, in parallel with the emphatic assurance of the previous verbal phrase (“it will surely come, and it absolutely will not be late”).

    2:4

    [SN] The particle ἐάν with the aorist subjunctive introduces the #protasis of a #third class conditional statement, with οὐκ εὐδοκεῖ . . . ἐν αὐτῷ comprising the #apodosis.

    [LN] Ὑποστείληται (AMS3S LF: ὑποστέλλω) means “to withdraw” (cf. Gal 2:12).

    [LN] Εὐδοκεῖ (PAI3S LF: εὐδοκέω) means “to be pleased” (cf. Gal 1:15).

    [SN] Ἐκ πίστεώς expresses #means and modifies the verb ζήσεται.

    [SN, TN] The most natural reading of μου would be as a #possessive genitive, and this constitutes an important translational variant: while the Hebrew text reads, “The righteous one shall live by his faith/faithfulness,” the LXX translator here has chosen “The righteous one shall live by my [i.e., God’s] faithfulness.”

    2:5

    [SN, LN] Ὁ . . . κατοινωμένος (RDPMSN LF: κατοινόω) is a #substantival participle meaning “the drunkard” or “the one who is drunk.”

    [LN, GMN] Καταφρονητής (MSN) refers to someone who despises or feels contempt for another. The component parts of the noun are helpful in this case: κατά (“against”) and φρονέω (“to think/regard”).

    [LN, SN] Ἀλαζών (MSN) refers to a boastful or arrogant person. It is functioning here as an attributive adjective in relation to ἀνὴρ (“a boastful man”).

    [TN] There is a textual variant involved with the phrase ὁ . . . κατοινωμένος . . . ἀνὴρ ἀλαζών in which a separate Greek tradition seems to have attempted to smooth out the reading. Instead of mentioning the drunkard at all, this reading replaces ὁ . . . κατοινωμένος . . . ἀνὴρ ἀλαζών with ὁ . . . κατοιόμενος (“the proud/conceited”).

    [LN, SN] Περάνῃ (AAS3S LF: περαίνω) means “to finish/complete.” It is possible to understand οὐδὲν as the object, with the negative force strengthened by μή (“he will accomplish nothing”).

    [LN, SN] Ἐπλάτυνεν (AAI3S LF: πλατύνω) means “to enlarge,” with τὴν ψυχὴν functioning as the object of the verb. Literally, the phrase means “he enlarges his life/soul” and should probably be understood as a poetic description of the subject’s arrogance.

    [LN] ᾍδης (MSN) means “Hades” and is here used to gloss the Hebrew Sheol.

    [LN, SN] Ἐμπιπλάνμενος (PPPMSN LF: ἐμπίπλημι) means “to fill (with food)” or “to satisfy.” It is an adjectival participle functioning as a #predicate adjective in relation to οὗτος (“This one/He . . . is not satisfied”).

    [LN] Ἐπισυνάξει (FAI3S LF: ἐπισυνάγω) means “to gather together.”

    [SN, TN] Both prepositional phrases ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν and πρὸς αὐτὸν should be understood as #spatial expressions, as both are translations of the same Hebrew preposition.

    [LN, TN] Εἰσδέξεται (FAI3S LF: εἰσδέχομαι) should be understood as roughly synonymous with ἐπισυνάξει, as the phrases ἐπισυνάξει . . . τὰ ἔθνη and εἰσδέξεται . . . τοὺς λαούς stand in parallel to each other.

    Discussion Question (LXX Hab 2:1–5)

    [2:1] The note on ἐν ἐμοὶ explains that two possible translations are “by means of me” or even “against me.” Are there any other likely possibilities? How does our translation of this phrase affect our understanding of Habakkuk’s interaction with God in this passage?

    Psalm 142:1–6 ψαλμὸς τῷ Δαυιδ ὅτε αὐτὸν ὁ υἱὸς καταδιώκει κύριε εἰσάκουσον τῆς προσευχῆς μου ἐνώτισαι τὴν δέησίν μου ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ σου ἐπάκουσόν μου ἐν τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ σου 2 καὶ μὴ εἰσέλθῃς εἰς κρίσιν μετὰ τοῦ δούλου σου ὅτι οὐ δικαιωθήσεται ἐνώπιόν σου πᾶς ζῶν 3 ὅτι κατεδίωξεν ὁ ἐχθρὸς τὴν ψυχήν μου ἐταπείνωσεν εἰς γῆν τὴν ζωήν μου ἐκάθισέν με ἐν σκοτεινοῖς ὡς νεκροὺς αἰῶνος 4 καὶ ἠκηδίασεν ἐπ᾽ ἐμὲ τὸ πνεῦμά μου ἐν ἐμοὶ ἐταράχθη ἡ καρδία μου 5 ἐμνήσθην ἡμερῶν ἀρχαίων καὶ ἐμελέτησα ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἔργοις σου ἐν ποιήμασιν τῶν χειρῶν σου ἐμελέτων 6 διεπέτασα τὰς χεῖράς μου πρὸς σέ ἡ ψυχή μου ὡς γῆ ἄνυδρός σοι διάψαλμα. Rahlfs[3]

    142:1

    [SN] The construction ψαλμὸς τῷ Δαυιδ is a #dative of possession or perhaps a #dative of association.

    [LN] Καταδιώκει (PAI3S LF: καταδιώκω) means “to pursue” or “to search diligently.”

    [TN] The phrase ὅτε αὐτὸν ὁ υἱὸςκαταδιώκει is a LXX addition that does not appear in the original Hebrew text as we have it.

    [GMN] Κύριε is MSV (LF: κύριος).

    [LN, GMN] Εἰσάκουσον (AAM2S LF: εἰσακούω) means “to pay attention” or “to obey” and probably has the sense here of listening in such a way that leads to action. Notice that it has no augment, as it is imperative in mood.

    [LN, GMN] Ἐνώτισαι (AMM2S LF: ἐνωτίζομαι) means “to listen carefully/pay attention.” Note that the dental stem ending has dropped out to accommodate the σ tense formative.

    [TN] The noun τῇ ἀληθείᾳ (FSD LF: ἀλήθεια) is here a translation of a Hebrew word meaning “faithfulness” or “steadfastness.”

    [SN] The prepositional phrases ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ σου and ἐν τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ σου should probably be understood as expressing #manner.

    [TN] The three verbal phrases in this verse (εἰσάκουσον . . . ἐνώτισαι . . . ἐπάκουσόν) should be read parallel to one another, virtually as synonyms.

    142:2

    [SN] Μὴ εἰσέλθῃς (AAS2S LF: εἰσέρχομαι) is a #prohibitive subjunctive and should be read with imperatival force.

    [TN] Μὴ εἰσέλθῃς εἰς κρίσιν (FSA LF: κρίσις) is a direct translation of the Hebrew text and evokes a courtroom image in which God enters into a lawsuit against the speaker.

    MYON [SN] Describe the use of ὅτι in this verse.

    [GMN] Δικαιωθήσεται (FPI3S LF: δικαιόω) is a #contract verb.

    [GMN, SN] Ζῶν (PAPMSN LF: ζάω): The contract verb here is an #anarthrous attributive participle modifying πᾶς (“everyone who is living”).

    142:3

    [LN] Ἐταπείνωσεν (AAI3S LF: ταπεινόω) can mean “to humble/humiliate,” but should probably be understood here as “to bring down” (it is a translation of a Hebrew verb meaning “to crush”).

    [SN] The verb ἐκάθισέν (AAI3S LF: καθίζω) is transitive in this case, taking με as its object (“he seated me”).

    [SN, LN] The adjective σκοτεινοῖς (NPD LF: σκοτεινός, -ή, -όν) is substantival, so it should be translated “darkness.”

    [SN, LN] The adjective νεκροὺς (MPA LF: νεκρός, -ἀ, -όν) is substantival, with the noun αἰῶνος (MSG LF: αἰών) likely modifying it as an #attributive genitive. The whole phrase ὠς νεκροὺς αἰῶνος (lit. “like the dead of an age”) should probably be understood in the sense of “like those long dead.”

    142:4

    [GMN] Ἠκηδίασεν (AAI3S LF: ἀκηδιάω) has a range of meanings from “to grieve/fret” to “to be lazy.” Other LXX uses seem to have the sense of “to grow weary/faint” (cf. Ps 60:3; 101:1; Sir 22:13), which approximates the Hebrew in this passage.

    [SN] Because of the poetic nature of this passage, the prepositional phrases ἐπ᾽ ἐμὲ and ἐν ἐμοὶ should probably be read as roughly synonymous, expressing #sphere (“within me”).

    [GMN] Ἐταράχθη (API3S LF: ταράσσω): The API form has substituted the double-σ of the stem for the #palatal χ (cf. ταραχή, ταραχός, “trouble/confusion”) in order to accommodate the θ formative of the passive ending.

    142:5

    [SN, GMN] Ἐμνήσθην (ADI1S LF: μιμνῄσκομαι), “to remember,” takes a genitive object (ἡμερῶν ἀρχαίων). This occurrence is a #passive deponent form.

    [LN] Ἀρχαίων (FPG LF: ἀρχαῖος, -α, -ον) means “old” or “ancient” (cf. ἀρχή, “beginning”).

    [LN, GMN] Ἐμελέτησα (AAI1S LF: μελετάω) has a range of meanings including “to practice,” “to ponder,” and “to plan/plot.” Here it is a translation of a Hebrew verb meaning “to meditate” and is probably intended that way in this passage. It is a #contract verb; notice that the final vowel α has lengthened to η.

    [SN] Both uses of ἐν in this verse are #spatial in a metaphorical sense (“I meditate on”). One might have expected ἐπί here instead, but ἐν seems to be more of a direct gloss of the Hebrew preposition bet.

    [LN] The noun ποιήμασιν (NPD LF: ποίημα) typically refers to something that is created, but it should be understood more generally here as “deeds” or “works” in parallel with ἔργοις.

    [SN] Τῶν χειρῶν is a #subjective genitive.

    [GMN] Ἐμελέτων (IAI1S LF: μελετάω): A #contract verb; notice that the final vowel α has contracted with the connecting vowel ο to produce ω.

    142:6

    [LN] Διεπέτασα (AAI1S LF: διαπετάννυμι) means “to spread/stretch out.”

    [SN] The prepositional phrase πρὸς σέ has a #spatial meaning (“toward you”).

    [LN, SN] The adjective ἄνυδρός (FSN LF: ἄνυδρος, -ον) means “dry/waterless/parched” (cf. the noun ὕδωρ, “water”). It is an #attributive adjective modifying γῆ.

    [SN] The phrase ἡ ψυχή . . . σοι is missing a verb, so one must be supplied. It is possible to assume a verb like “thirsts,” or one may also carry over a form of διαπετάννυμι from the previous clause and give a loose translation like “needs” or “longs for” (i.e., “as the dry earth longs for rain”).

    [SN] Σοι should probably be understood as a #dative of reference.

    [LN] Διάψαλμα (NSN) is a translation of the Hebrew selah. It is probably a musical notation meant to signal a pause or an interlude of some sort.

    Discussion Question (LXX Ps 142:1–6)

    [142:3] Assuming that the ὅτι in this verse is causal (“for/because”), does it link the clause in v. 3 to the thought in v. 2 or v. 1? Why?


    1. For help translating Septuagint texts, see the free digital version of the NETS (New English Translation of the Septuagint), http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/.
    2. The LXX = Septuaginta, ed. A. Rahlfs (Stuttgart: Württembergische Bibelanstalt, 1935; repr. in 9th ed., 1971).
    3. The LXX = Septuaginta, ed. A. Rahlfs (Stuttgart: Württembergische Bibelanstalt, 1935; repr. in 9th ed., 1971).
    • Was this article helpful?