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Zech 6:12 "Branch" or "Orient"

Discussion in 'Christian Scriptures' started by Vanellus, Apr 17, 2021.

  1. Vanellus

    Vanellus Newbie

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    So the NIV of Zech 6:12 reads:
    Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD.
    There aren't any capital letters in the original Hebrew!

    The Douay-Rheims version reads:

    And thou shalt speak to him, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, saying: BEHOLD A MAN, THE ORIENT IS HIS NAME: and under him shall he spring up, and shall build a temple to the Lord.

    Now there's quite a difference between "branch" and "orient"

    The Hebrew has:
    tsemach: a sprout, growth
    Original Word: צֶמַח

    The Greek Septuagint has ανατολή
    anatolé: a rising
    Original Word: ἀνατολή, ῆς, ἡ
    Usage: (a) rising of the sun, hence (b) (sing. and plur.) the quarter whence the sun rises, the East.

    Now a branch or sprout does "rise" but there is another word in Hebrew for East (mizrach) and another word in Greek for branch (κλῆμα or klema). So why the big difference between the Septuagint and the Hebrew in Zech 6:12?
     
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  2. Leaf473

    Leaf473 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Vanellus, nice to meet you.

    Maybe the Hebrew text that the LXX translators were using was different?
     
  3. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Member

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    Another interesting thread :) Thanks Vanellus! The Aramaic bible translates it as 'sunrise', while the JPS Tanakh and literal bibles translate it as 'shoot'.

    This might (might!) suggest an idiomatic translation. Perhaps they translated the culturally bound 'sunrise' into 'branch' because this would be more intelligble. It might well be that the for the Greeks the image of a branch, buds and shoots was more indicative of hope.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  4. GreekOrthodox

    GreekOrthodox Psalti Chrysostom

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    That is very possible. I chant in Greek and English and when it comes to poetic phrasing, a Greek phrase doesn't translate well into an English idiom.
     
  5. Friedrich Rubinstein

    Friedrich Rubinstein Well-Known Member

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    The word ἀνατολή in the Septuagint is a nominalisation (transferring a verb into a noun) of the word ἀνατελλω, a fitting translation for the Hebrew word צֶמַח, as it means: (to) rise, (to) sprout, (to) spring up.
    The English translation didn't check the original Hebrew though and plainly translated the Greek word without understanding its meaning.

    The Greek word κλῆμα on the other hand does indeed mean "branch", but not the kind of branch the Hebrew text is talking about here. κλῆμα describes an existing branch on a tree (or bush). It even says in my dictionary in brackets: "a broken off or easily to break branch".

    This is a good example for the necessity to check the Bible's original language, and not simply relying on the translation of a translation (like the English translation of the Greek translation of the Hebrew text). The approximate translation of the approximate meaning will be far off at times.

    Here a picture of all the meanings of ἀνατελλω (showing how close it is to the Hebrew "sprout, growth". Unfortunately I got it in German only though:

    Unbenannt.png
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
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  6. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Member

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    Thank you very very much for this

    See:
    Strong's Hebrew: 6780. צֶ֫מַח (tsemach) -- 12 Occurrences

    The Hebrew word צֶ֫מַח (tsemach) (6780) refers to vegetative growth. It's something like the 'springing up of'. The English gerund is a good way to look at this. He is growth and development (he is [growing]. He is [developing]) growing and developing should be read as nouns not verbs.

    I am still not sure I understand where 'sunrise' is coming from, as this seems to be a specific metaphor. How do we go from vegetative to solar imagery? ἀνατολή is used in the context of celestial objects.
     
  7. Friedrich Rubinstein

    Friedrich Rubinstein Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately English is not my mother tongue and I can't think of a proper example there, but I will show you in German how there can be a difference between a noun and the nominalisation of the correspondent verb while both words are spelled identically:
    Let's take the word "Aufgang". These are the meanings in the dictionary:
    upload_2021-4-17_16-17-42.png

    You see, the word Aufgang is (mainly) used in these contexts. Yet Aufgang is at the same time the nominalisation of the word (to) aufgehen, which has the following meanings:

    upload_2021-4-17_16-20-0.png

    There is a bunch of possible ways to use "Aufgang" in a different context than the common usage, in contexts that are not noted in the dictionary explicitely.

    While both words are spelled the same (A-u-f-g-a-n-g), one of them is a noun, a word existing for itself in a language, and the other one is a gerund, a variation of a verb, and therefore a different word even though it is spelled identically.

    When you check the meaning of a Greek noun, don't get too stuck on the "common" translation. It can be very useful to look at the corresponding verb to find out what's actually meant :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
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  8. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Member

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    This is extremely informative thank you :-D.

    The Hebrew is צֶ֫מַח (tsemach)
    The Greek Septuagint renders this G395 Ἀνατολή

    G395 - anatolē - Strong's Greek Lexicon (KJV) seems to suggest that G395 Ἀνατολή is from an entirely different lexical field. It is drawn from geography/the celestial. On the other hand,צֶ֫מַח (tsemach) Strong's Hebrew: 6779. צָמַח (tsamach) -- 33 Occurrences is used almost exclusively to talk about things growing. There doesn't seem to be any reference to things rising - this would convince me!

    It seems like quite a stretch. I understand that you are saying there has been a grammatical transformation, but I can't find any other uses of ἀνατελλω or Ἀνατολή in the context of shoots, branches etc. Do you know of any other examples where it is used in this way?

    In the NT it seems to actually literally mean 'the orient' or 'sunrise'. I do see the loose connection between shoots, springs, floral growth and the sunrise however. This is why it seems maybe a little more plausible to me that they were just favouring a Greek idiom over a Hebrew one.
     
  9. Friedrich Rubinstein

    Friedrich Rubinstein Well-Known Member

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    The NT doesn't talk about growing plants much indeed :p

    Let's take a look at the Old Testament. We find a form of the word ἀνατελλω in Genesis 2:5 already, where the Bible talks about the time before plants had risen. Shortly after it appears in Genesis 3:18 again, where "thorns and thistles" shall grow. In Genesis 19:25 it appears as well, in the context of God destroying everything that had grown on the ground.

    Do you perhaps start to see how often it is used in the context of plants in the Septuagint? :) We didn't even leave the very first book of the Bible yet.

    I didn't check all these places, but here is a list of all verses in the Septuagint where the word ἀνατελλω or a grammatical variation of it appears (a total of 60 verses):

    Kata Biblon Wiki Lexicon - ἀνατέλλω - to rise/appear on horizon (v.)
    (Scroll down a bit to where it says "Occurrences in the LXX")

     
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  10. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Member

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    Yes! I see thank you. That clears things up.
     
  11. Vanellus

    Vanellus Newbie

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    Hi guys. Thanks for all this but as it's late now in the UK I won't comment until I've had more time to think through these interesting posts. I note the German book has the old style of German lettering.
    What book is it?
     
  12. Friedrich Rubinstein

    Friedrich Rubinstein Well-Known Member

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    Hi :)
    The book is called "Langenscheidts Grosswörterbuch Griechisch Deutsch unter Berücksichtigung der Etymologie" by Prof. Dr. Hermann Menge, 22nd Edition, 1973.

    Hope that helps!
     
  13. Vanellus

    Vanellus Newbie

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    I don't think we know the answer to that i.e. what was the Hebrew text that the LXX translators used.

    Istr that the oldest mss for the LXX are older (by centuries) than for the Hebrew Masoretic version.

    Also nice to meet you as well Leaf473
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2021
  14. Vanellus

    Vanellus Newbie

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    I don't know why "sunrise" is culturally bound for the Israelites. Ex 22:3 describes a rising sun
     
  15. pescador

    pescador Newbie Supporter

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    Here is the translator's note from the NET Bible 2.1 ...

    The epithet “Branch” (צֶמַח, tsemakh) derives from the verb used here (יִצְמָח, yitsmakh, “will sprout up”) to describe the rise of the Messiah, already referred to in this manner in Zech 3:8 (cf. Isa 11:1; 53:2; Jer 33:15). In the immediate context this refers to Zerubbabel, but the ultimate referent is Jesus (cf. John 19:5).
     
  16. Vanellus

    Vanellus Newbie

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    Even so the female noun form that occurs in Zech 6:12 (as per OP) occurs many times in the LXX as "east" as per that useful LXX lexicon you cited:
    Kata Biblon Wiki Lexicon - ἀνατολή - east [place] (n.)
     
  17. Friedrich Rubinstein

    Friedrich Rubinstein Well-Known Member

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    The noun, yes. The noun means east.
    Have you considered that the word in Zech 6:12 is not a noun? It is written identically to the noun, but it is not a noun. It is a verb-form, a gerund. The mere spelling does not define it as a noun.
     
  18. Vanellus

    Vanellus Newbie

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    The Hebrew word is a noun (translated often as branch) - do you agree to that? Why is that not relevant?
    The Kata Biblon link you provided states that it is a feminine noun in
    ἀνατολή

    and the same spelling is used in the NT in Lk 1:78 also as a feminine noun.

    Where is your evidence it is a gerund in Zech 6:12 LXX?

    No more from me tonight (now 1am).
     
  19. Friedrich Rubinstein

    Friedrich Rubinstein Well-Known Member

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    As far as I know there is no Greek noun with the precise meaning of צֶמַח, so what would you do if you had to translate this Hebrew word into Greek? I would take the corresponding verb (to sprout) and nominalize it. The nominalisation of the Greek word for "to sprout" happens to be spelled identically to the Greek noun ἀνατολή.

    Why do I think that it is a gerund in Zech 6:12 LXX? Because it was translated by Jews, and I believe they are good enough at Hebrew to know what they're doing. I myself would use just the exact same word in their position to express the meaning of צֶמַח.
     
  20. pescador

    pescador Newbie Supporter

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    Here is the NET Bible translator's note on Zechariah 6:12 --

    The epithet “Branch” (צֶמַח, tsemakh) derives from the verb used here (יִצְמָח, yitsmakh, “will sprout up”) to describe the rise of the Messiah, already referred to in this manner in Zech 3:8 (cf. Isa 11:1; 53:2; Jer 33:15). In the immediate context this refers to Zerubbabel, but the ultimate referent is Jesus (cf. John 19:5).

    I like the the NET Bible because a) I am not a professional translator and b) appreciate all the work translators do to give us understanding of their work. Translation is very, very difficult, because not only are they translating the words of another language, but what those words meant -- as accurately as possible -- to the early readers/hearers.
     
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