Malachi and the LXX

Discussion in 'Bible Prophecy' started by Utuna, Jan 17, 2015.

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    Utuna

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    I've studied the LXX book of Malachi during the last past weeks. I found many interesting details in there. My study is as part of my personal research about Elijah/Moses.

    "Also, he will go before him with E·li′jah’s spirit and power, to turn back the hearts of fathers to children and the disobedient ones to the practical wisdom of righteous ones, to get ready for Jehovah a prepared people.â€￾" - Luke 1:17

    Malachi provides several reasons to keep hope in giving details about the time of the end and making the distinction therein between several periods and actors. Before God's triumph, certain events won't be totally accompanied by supernatural signs : a messenger will come and accomplish a preparation work, whom the last verses of the book (...), identify with the prophet Elijah. Each generation of readers wanted to know during the time period they were living in, somewhat quite nondescript, whether the coming of a unique prophet would mark or not the start of a chain of events that would lead to the cosmic disruption.

    The authors of the NT saw John the Baptizer in this foretold messenger, who was considered as Jesus' precursor. Thus, Malachi, the last Hebrew prophet on chronological grounds, would mention in his conclusive words the beginning of the New Covenant. That's because of its transitional value between the two corpora* that, since the Vulgate, it has obtained the honor of closing the OT.

    (...)

    In the first part of Malachi's book, God's current love for his people is compared with an event that happened during the very first times of Israel's history, the favor granted to Jacob, in preference to Esau (Gn 25:23). From the latter will stem the state of destruction in which the land of Esau happens to be, which state will repeat itself in the near future (Mal. 1:3-4).

    In the double discourse about priesthood, the characters proposed as a model belong to the present (1:11: the nations) or to a remote past (2:5-7; if Levi is intended, then the book of Genesis is concerned; but the book of Exodus and Numbers are if the perfect priest that is mentioned is either Aaron or Phinehas). God has only threats of immediate punishement to tell them. However, from the third chapter onward, he answers the objections with positive promises: First off, a messenger and precursor, then a judge whose action, marked by a certain duration, will end up in the renewed approval of "Levi's sons, of "Judah" and "Jerusalem".

    (...)

    Elijah will come and make up for the imperfection and the confusion that keep caracterizing human life, and will bring to full justice those who were half righteous only.

    (...)

    The verses 3:22-24 use a different kind of vocabulary, with the expression "Lord's day" used by other prophets and mention Elijah the prophet which is likely destined to identify who the precursor in 3:1 is.

    (...)

    The account of Elijah on Mount Sinai recorded in 1 Kings 18:46-19:16 is often compared with Phinehas' role recorded in Nb 25:10-30:1 and particularly is the mention made of a "covenant of peace", like in Mal. 2:5-8, wherein Levi is depicted as a model priest. The tradition says that Elijah and Phinehas are the same person, caracterized by a "jealous zeal".

    (...)

    Mal. 3:1-24 is also compared with Ex. 23:20-24:18. The entry of Israel in Canaan has the following sentence in common with Malachi : "“Here I am sending an angel ahead of you"; the Gospels merge both accounts into one. Through this connection, a parallel is drawn between the crushing of the Canaanites by the Israelites and the victory of the righteous ones over the wicked ones in the end of times.

    *plural of corpus
     
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    Utuna

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    The title of the book

    Malachi is either a name or means "my angel"*. Therefore, some titles of the book are "Malachi", "My angel" or "the prophet angel".

    (...)

    Elijah's mission will be the threshold of the Judgment period.

    (...)

    There are Hebraisms in the LXX version of Malachi. It means that the translation is destined to readers who already know other parts of the LXX and who, far from being puzzled by said Hebraisms, are expecting them as a proof of authenticity.

    (...)

    Massoretic text : “As for my covenant, it proved to be with him, [one] of life and of peace, and I kept giving them to him, with fear. And he continued fearing me; yes, because of my name he himself was struck with terror." - Mal. 2:5

    Here, the Hebrew verb "to fear" is nihat. In the LXX, it's stéllesthai autón. The problem here is that the Greek rendering isn't very clear. "Fear" in the LXX Greek is usually translated by apostéllo or exapostéllo, but not stéllo without preverb. In the NT, stéllomai means "to avoid", "to keep from", "to huddle up" and even "to get ready" in order to weather something.

    In the LXX, out of the six occurrences of stéllomai (Malachi excepted) recorded therein, three of them mean "to depart for travel".

    The sentence seems to affirm that the perfect priest is down here as a traveller coming from before God. That idea tallies perfectly with the title of angel or messenger of the Lord given to him in 2:7. It contributes, moreover, to make the connection between that character and the other divine envoys mentioned in the book, in 3:1 and Elijah in vv. 3:22-23. The merging of both characters into one is attested in the medieval Judaism.

    It seems to us that the word stéllesthai was chosen on purpose because of its ambiguity. It corresponds with the Hebrew text by one of its meanings: "to fear". But that acception is quite rare, and as a result, the context gives it another sense, which the translator considers as a benefit: because what matters to him is to emphasize the fact that that character comes from God. In the context, stéllesthai is easily understood, either as a passive meaning "to be sent", or as a middle : "to travel".

    * Like in Arabic, the final "-i" indicates possession. Ex: booki = my book.
     
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    Utuna

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    The divine envoys

    Contrary to what happens in so many other prophetic books, in Malachi the prophet as a person is almost entirely subdued, as well as the historic context in which he expresses himself. The "I" is always pronounced by God, and in 2:10 where the MT says "we", which includes the prophet himself, the LXX removed it in favor of the "you".

    The sole reference to the bearer of the divine word is recorded at the end of the first verse : "The word of Jehovah concerning Israel by means of Mal′a·chi:" That word has imposed itself in history as the name of the prophet and therefore, the title of the book. The existence of such a name was proved thanks to an ostracon dated VII[SUP]th[/SUP] century BCE.

    (...)

    Yet, mal'ak is a common noun, which means "messenger". It also got the specialized meaning of "angel". We can therefore translate the Hebrew text : "by means of my angel" instead of using it as if it was a name. That's the choice made by the LXX. Yet, the LXX says "by means of his angel".

    (...)

    Or course, such a designation doesn't imply that those who used it believed that the prophecy was proclaimed by a real angel. The word angelos designates, like its Hebrew counterpart, a "messenger". However, when it is used in biblical context, it inherited the semantic ambiguity of mal'akh. The prophet Haggai is called "messenger/angel of the Lord" in v.1:13, and nothing indicates therein anything other about him than a human nature. Most of the ancient commentators of the LXX admit that such a designation may be metaphorical and therefore be applied to the bearer of a mission, even if there is nothing supranatural insinuated and they remind the readers that aggéllo means "to announce". As a result, "angel" has become the first meaning of the word and "messenger", the second.

    (...)

    Besides the prophet himself in 1:1, three other characters are called ággelos in the book ; the perfect priest in 2:7, "the angel who will oversee the path" in v. 3:1, and the "angel of the covenant" in the same verse. In this, the Greek text reflects the Hebrew one, every time mal'ak is used.

    (...)

    In the MT : “Look! I am sending to YOU people E·li′jah the prophet before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah."

    Here, the Greek verb used is apostéllo and means "to send for a mission" and is very frequent in the LXX. The preverb ex- adds the meaning of expulsion, of dismissal like the repudiated wife in 2:16, as well as the shoot of an arrow (like the denunciations thrown at the priests in 2:2 and 2:4) and eventually, the sending of an emissary from a hideout so he appears in broad daylight, which is the case regarding the "angel who will oversee the path" in 3:1. The correspondency between apostéllo and exapostéllo did surely contribute in identifying this angel with Elijah through the connection between the verses 3:1 and 3:22, identification that we find established beyond any doubt in the NT.

    Thanks to the pun between "to fear" in Hebrew and "to be sent" (passive) or "to travel" (middle), the perfect priest is understood to be sent "from the face of (God's) name"; said otherwise, he was previously in the very presence of God. We see here that the term of angel is manifestly deserved. The Greek text increases here the supranatural nature given to this great sacerdotal figure. The tradition compares him to Phinehas or to Elijah. Here, the LXX indicates subtly that a perfect priest will come from heaven, and reinforcing the textual links between Ml 2:5, 3:1 and 3:22, it underlines the fact that this priest from the past may have an eschatological role.

    Regarding the messenger quoted in 1:1, the connection between him and the other messengers mentioned later in the book isn't made.

    (...)

    The Jewish literature depicts Elijah's role as a priest who will find solutions to the obscure questions. He will explain how to apply the Law properly.
     
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    Utuna

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    The parts in bold and green are quotations from the OT and the other parts below them are from the NT.

    Precursor

    "“Look! I am sending my messenger, and he must clear up a way before me. And suddenly there will come to His temple the [true] Lord, whom YOU people are seeking, and the messenger of the covenant in whom YOU are delighting. Look! He will certainly come,†Jehovah of armies has said." - Mal. 3:1

    "This is he concerning whom it is written, ‘Look! I myself am sending forth my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way ahead of you!" - Mt. 11:10

    "Just as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “(Look! I am sending forth my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way;)" - Mk 1:2

    "But as for you, young child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go in advance before Jehovah to make his ways ready" - Lk 1:76

    "This is he concerning whom it is written, ‘Look! I am sending forth my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way ahead of you." - Lk 7:27

    Elijah

    “Look! I am sending to YOU people E·li′jah the prophet before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah. And he must turn the heart of fathers back toward sons, and the heart of sons back toward fathers; in order that I may not come and actually strike the earth with a devoting [of it] to destruction.†- Mal. 3:22-23 (4:5-6)

    "and if YOU want to accept it, He himself is ‘E·li′jah who is destined to come." - Mat. 11:14

    "However, the disciples put the question to him: “Why, then, do the scribes say that E·li′jah must come first?†In reply he said: “E·li′jah, indeed, is coming and will restore all things. However, I say to YOU that E·li′jah has already come and they did not recognize him but did with him the things they wanted. In this way also the Son of man is destined to suffer at their hands.†Then the disciples perceived that he spoke to them about John the Baptist." - Mat. 11:10-13

    "And they began to question him, saying: “Why do the scribes say that first E·li′jah must come?†He said to them: “E·li′jah does come first and restore all things; but how is it that it is written respecting the Son of man that he must undergo many sufferings and be treated as of no account? But I say to YOU, E·li′jah, in fact, has come, and they did to him as many things as they wanted, just as it is written respecting him.â€" - Mark 9:11-13

    "Also, he will go before him with E·li′jah’s spirit and power, to turn back the hearts of fathers to children and the disobedient ones to the practical wisdom of righteous ones, to get ready for Jehovah a prepared people.â€" - Luke 1:17

    -------------------------------------------------

    "...for he will be great before Jehovah. But he must drink no wine and strong drink at all, and he will be filled with holy spirit right from his mother’s womb; and many of the sons of Israel will he turn back to Jehovah their God. Also, he will go before him with E·li′jah’s spirit and power, to turn back the hearts of fathers to children[SUP]#[/SUP] and the disobedient ones to the practical wisdom of righteous ones, to get ready for Jehovah a prepared people.â€" - Luke 1:17

    "But as for you, young child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go in advance before Jehovah to make his ways ready*, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender compassion of our God. With this [compassion] a daybreak will visit us from on high, to give light to those sitting in darkness and death’s shadow, to direct our feet prosperously in the way of peace.â€" - Luke 1:76-79

    # Ml 3:22
    * Ml 3:1

    The part in red above is a quotation from Mal 3:1; Luke 1:17 quotes Mal. 3:22 afterwards (cf Mal 2:6) whereas Luke 1:76 develops further the quotation of Mal 3:1 (+ quotation from Isaiah).

    It was therefore commonly accepted that both passages (Elijah + Precursor) from Malachi talked about the same person.
     
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    Utuna

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    What remains to be seen now is the role of the perfect priest :

    "“As for my covenant, it proved to be with him, [one] of life and of peace, and I kept giving them to him, with fear. And he continued fearing me; yes, because of my name he himself was struck with terror. The very law of truth proved to be in his mouth, and there was no unrighteousness to be found on his lips. In peace and in uprightness he walked with me, and many were those whom he turned back from error. For the lips of a priest are the ones that should keep knowledge, and [the] law is what people should seek from his mouth; for he is the messenger of Jehovah of armies." - Mal 2:5-7

    We already talked about him in the previous post when Mal 2:6 was quoted.

    The angel Gabriel quoted and developped this part when he announced to Zechariah that he would have a son : "...and many of the sons of Israel will he turn back to Jehovah their God." - Luke 1:16

    Although in Judaism, Elijah, the precursor and the perfect priest are the same person, the Christians finally applied the role of the latter to Jesus Christ, given the impressive level of excellence described. The roles of Elijah and of the precursor remaining on John the Baptizer.

    Mt 11:10, Mk 1:2 and Lk 7:7 quote Mal 3:1 but phrase it according to Ex 23:20 :

    "“Here I am sending an angel ahead of you to keep you on the road and to bring you into the place that I have prepared."

    The Gospels quote Mal 3:1 but use "you" instead of "me". The first "you" was destined to Israel, at first, and by implication, to Jesus.

    The use of "you" in the Gospels, instead of a literal quotation using "me", means that they (and Jesus when he quoted it) considered that Mal 3:1 was talking about Jesus and that God was talking to his Messiah; and that it's him that is meant in this verse and thereafter (judge, etc.).
     
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    Joshuastone7

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    “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will clear up a way before me. And suddenly the true Lord, whom you are seeking, will come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant will come, in whom you take delight. Look! He will certainly come,â€￾ says Jehovah of armies."

    Surely you aren't saying the two messengers in the scripture are the same person, right?

    Just trying to understand what your saying. Please clarify...
     
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    Utuna

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    No effectively, they aren't the same person.
     
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    Joshuastone7

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    So then, you know the next question. Is Elijah in the time of the end a man just as John the Baptist was?
     
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    Joshuastone7

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    I look forward to your response to this question, for it is my opinion you have allowed the LXX, and your own preconceptions to influence you, and has led you down a path to believe that the first messenger is a physical angel from heaven in the time of the end when heavenly origin is never implied.

    While quite emphatically history shows the first fulfillments of this man were human.

    Below is a copied section from your posts and is clearly personal interpretation that has come from the influence of the LXX translators and personal opinion, and when one honestly reads the original text, these connections are not conferred.

    "Here, the Greek verb used is apostéllo and means "to send for a mission" and is very frequent in the LXX. The preverb ex- adds the meaning of expulsion, of dismissal like the repudiated wife in 2:16, as well as the shoot of an arrow (like the denunciations thrown at the priests in 2:2 and 2:4) and eventually, the sending of an emissary from a hideout so he appears in broad daylight, which is the case regarding the "angel who will oversee the path" in 3:1. The correspondency between apostéllo and exapostéllo did surely contribute in identifying this angel with Elijah through the connection between the verses 3:1 and 3:22, identification that we find established beyond any doubt in the NT.

    Thanks to the pun between "to fear" in Hebrew and "to be sent" (passive) or "to travel" (middle), the perfect priest is understood to be sent "from the face of (God's) name"; said otherwise, he was previously in the very presence of God. We see here that the term of angel is manifestly deserved. The Greek text increases here the supranatural nature given to this great sacerdotal figure. The tradition compares him to Phinehas or to Elijah. Here, the LXX indicates subtly that a perfect priest will come from heaven, and reinforcing the textual links between Ml 2:5, 3:1 and 3:22, it underlines the fact that this priest from the past may have an eschatological role."
     
  10. Hi Joshua:

    Is it impossible in your eyes that John the Baptist was more than just a man? Jesus was more than just a man, and John the Baptist was the messenger that was to make the way of the Lord straight, was he not? Elizabeth, like Sarah was way beyond normal child bearing years, is it too much of a stretch to see Jehovah God sending an actual messenger from the heavens on such a vital mission? Mary indeed was not past child bearing the normal way, but she was foretold to be a virgin girl, not an old maid, but Elizabeth did not need to be so young.

    Frank
     
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    Utuna

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    Otro que bien baila.....!
     
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    Utuna

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    Jesus said that John was a man and a prophet, and even more than a prophet. He was more than a prophet because he (through his mission ) was also the fulfillment of past prophecies. There is no reason to interpret things other than that. Jesus and his disciples didn't see him otherwise.
     
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    Utuna

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    I never said that John wasn't a man.
     
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    Joshuastone7

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    So then, Malachi 4:5,6; is Elijah in the time of the end a single human man?
     
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    Utuna

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    Hi Frank,

    Yes, John's birth was miraculous but there was nothing in his life afterwards that indicate that he was more than a human or had supranatural powers. John did no miracle (John 10:41). He was just a man led by Holy Spirit to accomplish God's will for him.

    "for he will be great before Jehovah. But he must drink no wine and strong drink at all, and he will be filled with holy spirit right from his mother’s womb; and many of the sons of Israel will he turn back to Jehovah their God. Also, he will go before him with E·li′jah’s spirit and power, to turn back the hearts of fathers to children and the disobedient ones to the practical wisdom of righteous ones, to get ready for Jehovah a prepared people.â€￾" - Luke 1:15-17
     
  16. Hi Utuna:

    Yes, his birth was miraculous, and it was clear that he had an abundance of Holy Spirit before that Holy Spirit was given out by Jesus at Pentecost, some 50 days after his death and resurrection. Also, the Angel Gabriel made it clear to both Elizabeth a Zachariah as well as Mary and Joseph that they were to give them cetain names. Now, in Hebrew customs who names a son?

    frank
     
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    Joshuastone7

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    Mth 11:11 "Truly I say to you, among those born of women, there has not been raised up anyone greater than John the Baptist, but a lesser person in the Kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is."

    This was said after Johns death. In no way was John anything more then a human male, who is destined to be raised here on earth, he's not even going to rule with Christ.

    Mth 11:12 "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of the heavens is the goal toward which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it."

    Acts 2:1,2 "Now while the day of the Festival of Pentecost was in progress, they were all together at the same place. Suddenly there was a noise from heaven, just like that of a rushing, stiff breeze, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting."

    Jesus also made it very clear who was the only man to ever see God.

    John 1:18 "No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him."

    Jhn 6:46 "Not that any man has seen the Father, except the one who is from God; this one has seen the Father."


     
  18. Hi Joshua:

    That's all well and good, but in Hebrew terms and customs, who names sons?

    frank
     
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    Joshuastone7

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    I think you put undue emphasis on this. What about Isaac?

    Gen 17:19 "To this God said: “Your wife Sarah will definitely bear you a son, and you must name him Isaac."
     
  20. Hi Joshua:

    You are doing it again. Just answer the simple question who names sons in Hebrew culture in the Bible? Can you do that simple thing Joshua? I know you can if you want to. So, do you want to or do you just want to drag this out until I get tired and give up, cause you are very good at that.

    frank
     

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