We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Bible Use this Lookup to open a specific Bible and passage. Start here to select a Bible.
Make selected Bible the default for Lookup tool.
Book: Ch.V. Select book from A-Z list, enter chapter and verse number, and click "Go."
:
OR
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result

The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Textual History.

1.

In addition to LXX Esther, the story of Esther exists in another Greek version, often referred to as the Alpha Text (AT). The AT is similar though not identical to LXX Esther in the content and wording of the six Additions, but differs substantially from it in those sections that are paralleled in MT Esther. AT Esther is shorter than LXX Esther, due in part to the absence of many personal names, numbers, dates, and repetitious elements. Differences in content also abound. For example, AT omits the theme of the unalterability of Persian law, as well as the aetiology of the Purim festival and the lengthy instructions for Purim observance (cf. AT Esth 8:30, 47 ). Equally striking is its ending. In contrast to the LXX, in which Addition F concludes the book with a colophon, and the MT, which ends with a testimonial to the greatness and popularity of Mordecai, AT's version of F ends with Mordecai's interpretation of his initial dream (cf. A).

2.

How does one account for the similarities and differences among the Hebrew and Greek versions of Esther? The body of LXX Esther is similar to MT Esther (and therefore presumably to the Heb. version available to the Gk. translator) in the content and structure of its story. These similarities support much of LXX Esther being based on a Hebrew original similar to the MT. Significant differences in wording, however, suggest that LXX Esther was a rather free translation of the Hebrew original. Some of the differences reflect stylistic or theological changes, as in 2:20 , in which Mordecai's words to the newly chosen queen include not only the instruction to keep her Jewish identity a secret but also to maintain the fear of God and keep God's laws. A number of substantive differences also exist. For example, MT Esth 2:19 refers to the king's ‘gate’. Assuming that the translator found ‘gate’ in his Hebrew version, the Greek should have read pulē. The fact that aulē (court) appears instead, however, suggests copyist error (Moore 1977: 175). A similar conclusion emerges from discrepancies within AT and Greek Esther concerning the date of the anti-Jewish pogrom: the thirteenth of Adar, reflecting the Hebrew original ( 3:12; 8:12; 9:1 ; E 16:20 ), or the fourteenth (B 13:6; Moore 1977: 192–3). To the free rendition of Hebrew Esther were added six sections, four of which appear to have been translated from a Hebrew source or sources independent of the Hebrew Vorlage of the MT (Additions A, C, D, F) and two of which were probably composed in Greek (Additions B, E).

3.

More complex is the relationship between the AT and LXX. Paton (1908: 38) considered AT to be a recension of some form of the LXX, arguing that there were too many parallels between them to view the latter as an independent translation of the Hebrew. Bickerman (1950 ) suggested that the AT was a recension of an abbreviated Greek Esther, as was Josephus' paraphrase, Ant. 11 §§183–96, which lacks the first and sixth of the Additions which are present in both AT and LXX. More recently Emanuel Tov (1982: 25) has contended that the AT is a translation or more accurately, perhaps, ‘a midrash-type of rewriting of the biblical story’ which corrects the LXX towards a Hebrew or Aramaic text which differed from the later MT. Fox (1992: 209–10) suggests a similarly complex theory. He posits the existence of a proto-AT, as the Greek translation of an original Hebrew text that differed from the Hebrew text used by the translator of LXX Esther. Proto-AT was then redacted by someone who had access to LXX Esther. Comparing proto-AT and LXX, this redactor drew on the latter to supplement the former. Hence the redactor did not set out to borrow the deutero-canonical Additions but rather moved sequentially through the two texts, transferring material from the LXX to fill the gaps perceived in proto-AT. Most scholars, however, hold to the view that AT is a separate Greek translation based upon a Hebrew or Aramaic text quite different from the MT (Clines 1984: xxv). The Additions in AT were borrowed directly from the LXX, as indicated by the strong verbal agreement between their respective forms of these sections. Hence the AT has become an important factor not only in the textual history of the Greek versions but also in the composition history of the Hebrew Esther (Fox 1991b ; Clines 1984; Wills 1990; 1995 ).

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2020. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice