Acts 28:25-26: τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν... λέγων

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.

Acts 28:25-26: τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν... λέγων

Postby Jason Hare » October 2nd, 2012, 5:00 pm

On another forum, someone raised this verse in Acts 28 in a discussion of constructio ad sensum as regards the Holy Spirit as masculine in concept.

Acts 28:25-26 (NA27):
ἀσύμφωνοι δὲ ὄντες πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἀπελύοντο εἰπόντος τοῦ Παύλου ῥῆμα ἕν, ὅτι καλῶς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας ὑμῶν λέγων· πορεύθητι πρὸς τὸν λαὸν τοῦτον καὶ εἰπόν· ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε·

At first I was inclined to go along with this explanation, but today I was rummaging through some of the statements about "the word of the Lord" coming to various prophets in the Septuagint, and this is a sample of what I ran across:

Genesis 15:1 – ἐγενήθη ῥῆμα Κυρίου πρὸς Αβραμ ἐν ὁράματι λέγων…
Genesis 15:4 – φωνὴ Κυρίου ἐγένετο πρὸς αὐτὸν λέγων…
1 Samuel 15:1 – ἐγενήθη ῥῆμα Κυρίου πρὸς Σαμουηλ λέγων…
2 Samuel 7:4 – ἐγένετο ῥῆμα Κυρίου πρὸς Ναθαν λέγων…
2 Samuel 24:11 – λόγος Κυρίου ἐγένετο πρὸς Γαδ τὸν προφήτην τὸν ὁρῶντα Δαυιδ λέγων…
1 Kings 12:22 – ἐγένετο λόγος Κυρίου πρὸς Σαμαιαν ἄνθρωπον τοῦ θεοῦ λέγων…
καὶ τὰ λοιπά

I found it surprising that both ῥῆμα (n.) and φωνή (f.) were paired with λέγων instead of the expected λέγον and λέγουσα, respectively.

Is there a rule of grammar that explains what's going on here as regards the pairing of non-masculine subjects with the masculine form of the participle when thus separated?

Thanks a lot!

Jason
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Re: Acts 28:25-26: τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν... λέγων

Postby David Lim » October 2nd, 2012, 10:00 pm

Jason Hare wrote:I found it surprising that both ῥῆμα (n.) and φωνή (f.) were paired with λέγων instead of the expected λέγον and λέγουσα, respectively.

Is there a rule of grammar that explains what's going on here as regards the pairing of non-masculine subjects with the masculine form of the participle when thus separated?


I am just guessing, but I think it is related to what I asked some time back about some passage in Exodus, where "λεγοντες" was used with an implicitly referred subject, which in the cases you found would be "κυριος". So the declension of the participle matches that of the actual speaker or speakers.
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Re: Acts 28:25-26: τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν... λέγων

Postby GlennDean » October 2nd, 2012, 10:54 pm

Jason Hare wrote:On another forum, someone raised this verse in Acts 28 in a discussion of constructio ad sensum as regards the Holy Spirit as masculine in concept.


My take is that, because the Holy Spirit was talking thru Isaiah, and that it was in fact Isaiah who was speaking, that the participle is referring to the masculine proper noun Isaiah (just my guess),

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Re: Acts 28:25-26: τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν... λέγων

Postby David Lim » October 3rd, 2012, 12:01 am

GlennDean wrote:My take is that, because the Holy Spirit was talking thru Isaiah, and that it was in fact Isaiah who was speaking, that the participle is referring to the masculine proper noun Isaiah (just my guess)


I don't think so because since "ησαιου" is genitive your suggestion should have been using "λεγοντος". Also it makes most sense to me that "λεγων" refers to the one whose spirit "το πνευμα το αγιον" is (see 2 Sam 23:2, Neh 9:30, Zech 7:12).
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Re: Acts 28:25-26: τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν... λέγων

Postby Jason Hare » October 3rd, 2012, 1:15 am

David Lim wrote:
GlennDean wrote:My take is that, because the Holy Spirit was talking thru Isaiah, and that it was in fact Isaiah who was speaking, that the participle is referring to the masculine proper noun Isaiah (just my guess)


I don't think so because since "ησαιου" is genitive your suggestion should have been using "λεγοντος". Also it makes most sense to me that "λεγων" refers to the one whose spirit "το πνευμα το αγιον" is (see 2 Sam 23:2, Neh 9:30, Zech 7:12).


Κύριος in my verses above is also genitive, so how is it different from what you've just stated about Ἠσαΐας in this specific verse? Should it not have been λέγοντος also in order to refer to Κύριος in the genitive?
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Re: Acts 28:25-26: τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν... λέγων

Postby Ken M. Penner » October 3rd, 2012, 2:13 am

The Greek λέγων in the Bible is usually (625 times) translating the Hebrew לאמר, which is actually an infinitive introducing direct speech.
Very rarely, this Hebrew infinitive comes across as a Greek infinitive, as in Gen 26:7 ἐφοβήθη γὰρ εἰπεῖν ὅτι ...
Sometimes (73 times) לאמר does not have a Greek word corresponding to it, as in Gen 5:17, where the direct speech is rendered with indirect speech: οὗ ἐνετειλάμην σοι τούτου μόνου μὴ φαγεῖν, or Isa 36:21 διὰ τὸ προστάξαι τὸν βασιλέα μηδένα ἀποκριθῆναι.

לאמר does sometimes get translated as the participle of λέγω in other genders and numbers, but not nearly as often as with the masculine singular:
158 times masculine plural λέγοντες, e.g. Gen 19:15; an interesting example in Is 7:2 καὶ ἀνηγγέλη εἰς τὸν οἶκον Δαυιδ λέγοντες
17 times feminine singular λέγουσα, e.g. Gen 18:12
12 times masculine plural λεγόντων, e.g., matching the speaker in Gen 31:1 Ἤκουσεν δὲ Ιακωβ τὰ ῥήματα τῶν υἱῶν Λαβαν λεγόντων
5 times feminine plural, e.g., Is 4:1 καὶ ἐπιλήμψονται ἑπτὰ γυναῖκες ἀνθρώπου ἑνὸς λέγουσαι
2 times accusative plural, e.g., Ex 17:7 διὰ τὸ πειράζειν κύριον λέγοντας

N.B.: never does לאמר get translated as a neuter participle!
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Re: Acts 28:25-26: τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν... λέγων

Postby David Lim » October 3rd, 2012, 10:11 am

Jason Hare wrote:
David Lim wrote:
GlennDean wrote:My take is that, because the Holy Spirit was talking thru Isaiah, and that it was in fact Isaiah who was speaking, that the participle is referring to the masculine proper noun Isaiah (just my guess)


I don't think so because since "ησαιου" is genitive your suggestion should have been using "λεγοντος". Also it makes most sense to me that "λεγων" refers to the one whose spirit "το πνευμα το αγιον" is (see 2 Sam 23:2, Neh 9:30, Zech 7:12).


Κύριος in my verses above is also genitive, so how is it different from what you've just stated about Ἠσαΐας in this specific verse? Should it not have been λέγοντος also in order to refer to Κύριος in the genitive?


Hi Jason! It is because it is natural for the reader to connect any participle of "λεγειν" to the speaker in focus, thus as I said, "λεγων" refers as expected to the unstated subject "κυριος". This means that for the author to convey a sentence where the participle refers to something that is not the current focus, he has to use the correct matching declension, thus it should be "λεγοντος" if it was intended to refer to "ησαιου". In other words, when we read the participle, we expect it to match with the speaker or speakers, and supply that if necessary.

Ken M. Penner wrote:לאמר does sometimes get translated as the participle of λέγω in other genders and numbers, but not nearly as often as with the masculine singular:
158 times masculine plural λέγοντες, e.g. Gen 19:15; an interesting example in Is 7:2 καὶ ἀνηγγέλη εἰς τὸν οἶκον Δαυιδ λέγοντες
17 times feminine singular λέγουσα, e.g. Gen 18:12
12 times masculine plural λεγόντων, e.g., matching the speaker in Gen 31:1 Ἤκουσεν δὲ Ιακωβ τὰ ῥήματα τῶν υἱῶν Λαβαν λεγόντων
5 times feminine plural, e.g., Is 4:1 καὶ ἐπιλήμψονται ἑπτὰ γυναῖκες ἀνθρώπου ἑνὸς λέγουσαι
2 times accusative plural, e.g., Ex 17:7 διὰ τὸ πειράζειν κύριον λέγοντας

N.B.: never does לאמר get translated as a neuter participle!


It seems to me that my explanation does account well for all the examples you brought up. Also I am not surprised that the neuter participle is rarely used because we hardly have "neuter" entities that speak (Gen 45:12, Jdg 9:38, Dan 7:8,20).
(Gen 18:12) The speaker is feminine.
(Isa 7:2) The ones who announced the tidings to the house of David are plural.
(Gen 19:15, 31:1, Exo 17:7, Isa 4:1) The participle is tied directly to its explicit subject and hence has the same declension.
Do you have any that doesn't fit; are there any participles of "λεγειν" that match neither an explicit subject nor the speaker currently in focus?
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Re: Acts 28:25-26: τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν... λέγων

Postby Ken M. Penner » October 3rd, 2012, 12:09 pm

David Lim wrote:Do you have any that doesn't fit; are there any participles of "λεγειν" that match neither an explicit subject nor the speaker currently in focus?

I've only really looked into this in Isaiah, where the only somewhat unexpected renderings of לאמר (besides the indicatives in 3:7 and 23:4) are:

Is 7:2 ἀνηγγέλη εἰς τὸν οἶκον Δαυιδ λέγοντες
Is 49:8–9 ἔδωκά σε εἰς διαθήκην ἐθνῶν τοῦ καταστῆσαι τὴν γῆν καὶ κληρονομῆσαι κληρονομίαν ἐρήμου, 9 λέγοντα τοῖς ἐν δεσμοῖς
Is 37:9 καὶ ἀκούσας ἀπέστρεψεν καὶ ἀπέστειλεν ἀγγέλους πρὸς Εζεκιαν λέγων

.
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Re: Acts 28:25-26: τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν... λέγων

Postby David Lim » October 3rd, 2012, 11:59 pm

Ken M. Penner wrote:
David Lim wrote:Do you have any that doesn't fit; are there any participles of "λεγειν" that match neither an explicit subject nor the speaker currently in focus?

I've only really looked into this in Isaiah, where the only somewhat unexpected renderings of לאמר (besides the indicatives in 3:7 and 23:4) are:

Is 7:2 ἀνηγγέλη εἰς τὸν οἶκον Δαυιδ λέγοντες
Is 49:8–9 ἔδωκά σε εἰς διαθήκην ἐθνῶν τοῦ καταστῆσαι τὴν γῆν καὶ κληρονομῆσαι κληρονομίαν ἐρήμου, 9 λέγοντα τοῖς ἐν δεσμοῖς
Is 37:9 καὶ ἀκούσας ἀπέστρεψεν καὶ ἀπέστειλεν ἀγγέλους πρὸς Εζεκιαν λέγων

.


Oh okay thanks anyway! I found "λεγοντα" in Isa 49:9 also, but isn't it a "normal" participle referring to "σε"?
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