118. Babylon has fallen (21:6-11)
6 διότι οὕτως εἶπεν πρὸς μὲ Κύριος Βαδίσας ἑαυτῷ στῆσον σκοπὸν καὶ ὃν ἂν ἴδῃς ἀνάγγειλον· 7 καὶ εἶδον ἀναβάτας ἱππεῖς δύο, ἀναβάτην ὄνου καὶ ἂν ἀναβάτην καμήλου. ἀκρόασαι ἀκρόασιν πολλὴν 8 καὶ κάλεσον Οὐρίαν εἰς τὴν σκοπιὰν Κυρίου. καὶ εἶπεν Ἔστην διὰ παντὸς ἡμέρας καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς παρεμβολῆς ἐγὼ ἔστην ὅλην τὴν νύκτα, 9 καὶ ἰδοὺ αὐτὸς ἔρχεται ἀναβάτης συνωρίδος. καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Πέπτωκεν Βαβυλών, καὶ εἰπόντα τὰ ἀγάλματα αὐτῆς καὶ τὰ χειροποίητα αὐτῆς συνετρίβησαν εἰς τὴν γῆν. 10 ἀκούσατε, οἱ καταλελειμμένοι καὶ οἱ ὀδυνώμενοι, ἀκούσατε ἃ ἤκουσα παρὰ Κυρίου Σαβαώθ· ὁ θεὸς τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ ἀνήγγειλεν ἡμῖν.
πρὸς μὲ Κύριος] with B; εἶπε κύριος πρός με (Rahlfs); εἶπε κύριος πρός με (Ziegler)
ἑαυτῷ] B (Rahlfs, Ziegler) has the more specifically second person σεαυτῷ.
ὃν ἂν] masculine, changed by ca to the neuter ὃ ἐὰν, with Ziegler; B (Rahlfs) has ὃ ἂν. Note the difference between Rahlfs and Ziegler.
εἶδον] although at first glance it would seem more natural to take it as a first person singular, this could be third person plural. It could also be an imperative ἴδον (as it is spelled in S), in a string of imperatives beginning with στῆσον, continuing with ἀκρόασαι, and ending with κάλεσον. Even εἶπεν could be an imperative, since the final ν is indicated only by an overbar in S.
ἱππεῖς] nominative or accusative, but ἀναβάτας is already an accusative, so nominative is preferable, unless either ἀναβάτης or ἱππεύς is an adjective, or the two nouns are in apposition. Ottley has “I saw two mounted horsemen,” and Silva has “I saw two riding horsemen,” both treating ἀναβάτης as an adjective.
ἀναβάτην] with Rahlfs, Ziegler; B has καὶ ἀναβάτην
ἂν] lacking in B (Rahlfs, Ziegler)
ἀκρόασαι] aorist middle imperative of ἀκροάομαι, “listen”
ἀκρόασιν πολλὴν] reading this as an adverbial accusative fits better than as direct object: “listen to a long recitation.”
Κάλεσον] imperative of καλέω, here with the prepositional phrase, used in the sense of summoning or appointing.
Κυρίου] Rahlfs, Ziegler have κυρίου; lacking in B.
καὶ εἶπεν] with Rahlfs, Ziegler; B has Κύριος εἶπεν. Κύριος written as a nominum sacrum would be Κ̅Ϲ̅, resembling ΚΕ. Without Κύριος, the (third-peson) speaker would be Ourias.
διὰ παντὸς] throughout
ἐγὼ] with B, representing the Hebrew אנכי; lacking in Rahlfs, Ziegler.
αὐτὸς] redundantly emphatic subject
συνωρίδος] συνωρίς is a pair of horses; the “rider” must have been a charioteer.
Πέπτωκεν] with Rahlfs, Ziegler; B has the repeated Πέπτωκεν πέπτωκεν, like the Hebrew.
εἰπόντα] corrected by cb3 to πάντα, with B (Rahlfs, Ziegler). In the original text, εἰπόντα must be the nominative neuter plural predicate of the ἀγάλματα.
αὐτῆς] that is, Babylon’s
χειροποίητα] things made by human hands
συνετρίβησαν] plural, with Rahlfs, Ziegler; B has συνετρίβη, the singular form, appropriate for neuter plural subjects.
καταλελειμμένοι] Swete spells it καταλελιμμένοι
A red cross mark appears at the end of this title, at the end of the line before the paragraph number. Compare the mark at 21:1.
ἡμῖν] the (unexpected) plural probably refers to Israel.
Comparison with Hebrew
In verse 6, we see a misunderstanding that will have significant consequences for the rest of the oracle. He apparently translated the Lamed-Kaf twice, the first time as the imperative lek, becoming Βαδίσας, then then again as לְךָ, becoming σεαυτῷ. He reasonably understood this לְךָ to refer to the person who was to become the watcher, as in “set yourself as a watchman.” Since he understood the watchman to be the prophet, so he changed the 3rd person יִרְאֶה to the 2nd person ἴδῃς, and likewise, the 3rd person יַגִּיד to a 2nd person imperative.
In verse seven, the watchman continues to be the prophet, so now the verbs become 1st person rather than 3rd person. The word vocalized as rekev in the Masoretic tradition was read as rokev.
In verse eight, The initial Aleph of the word vocalized as Arieh in the Masoretic Text and read as Ouria by our translator was likely originally a He, haro'eh, according to the Qumran Great Isaiah Scroll. Here, the continued identification of the prophet as the watchman causes even the 3rd person וַיִּקְרָא to be changed to a 2nd person imperative. This move requires Ouria to become the object rather than the subject of the verb. The Mizpeh was reasonably understood to be in the construct state, resulting in Κύριος in the genitive rather than vocative. When the translator finally encountered an explicit first person subject pronoun אָנֹכִי, he realized he needed to change to the first person, so he added the third person εἶπεν to introduce the first-person speech. The word that is a present participle עֹמֵד in the Masoretic text was reasonably read as a qatal form `amad, and therefore became an aorist indicative. Interestingly, but expectedly, both עמד and נצב are rendered as ἔστην.
In verse nine, the צֶמֶד “yoke” which was rendered as δύο in verse seven is now rendered as a συνωρίς, for no obvious reason. The two wayyiqtols was changed to a participle and aorist indicative, for Greek style. The singular αὐτὸς ἔρχεται matches the Hebrew זֶה בָא. The double “fallen” is simplified in the Greek, for no significant reason. אֱלֹהֶיהָ “her gods” was read as ’elileyha, which typically gets rendered as χειροποιητα. Since two separate nouns were now understood, an “and” was needed. The singular active “he smashed” was changed to the plural passive “were smashed.”
In verse ten, the reasons for changes are less clear. The imperative “Listen” was added, possibly because the Hebrew sentence was going on too long without a verb. The first person pronoun “My” was removed from “downtrodden and “son.” Possibly the dalet of מְדֻשָׁת was read as a resh and transposed with the shin, so that a form of שאר was read.“My son of threshing” was changed to “pained,” and the first person subject and second person object “I reported to you” was changed to the third person subject and first person object “he reported to us.”
Eusebius said the “forsaken and tortured” for verse 10 were not “those of the circumcision” but rather “those of the time of the apostles who regretted and lamented the evil of humanity” (Proof of the Gospel 2.3).
Gregory Nazianzen claimed to take the role of a “watcher,” announcing the disobedience of his people (Oration .16).
Jerome quoted “Babylon is fallen, is fallen” in reference to the downfall of John of Constantinople (Letter 113.1).
Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University