Judges B 3:23-25 ἐσφήνωσεν compared with ἀπέκλεισεν

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Stephen Hughes
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Judges B 3:23-25 ἐσφήνωσεν compared with ἀπέκλεισεν

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 8th, 2016, 3:45 am

So far as I know, ἐσφήνωσεν in relation to doors means "chocked", and ἀπέκλεισεν means "locked". But in the following verses that doesn't seem to be the case.
JudgesB 3:23-25 (+ Brenton) wrote:καὶ ἐξῆλθεν τοὺς διατεταγμένους καὶ ἀπέκλεισεν τὰς θύρας τοῦ ὑπερῴου κατ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐσφήνωσεν (וְנָעָֽל). 24 καὶ αὐτὸς ἐξῆλθεν καὶ οἱ παῖδες αὐτοῦ εἰσῆλθον καὶ εἶδον καὶ ἰδοὺ αἱ θύραι τοῦ ὑπερῴου ἐσφηνωμέναι καὶ εἶπαν μήποτε ἀποκενοῖ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ ταμιείῳ τῷ θερινῷ. 25 καὶ ὑπέμειναν ἕως ᾐσχύνοντο καὶ ἰδοὺ οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ ἀνοίγων τὰς θύρας τοῦ ὑπερῴου καὶ ἔλαβον τὴν κλεῖδα καὶ ἤνοιξαν καὶ ἰδοὺ ὁ κύριος αὐτῶν πεπτωκὼς ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τεθνηκώς.
And Ehud went out to the porch, and passed out by the appointed [guards], and shut the doors of the chamber upon him, and locked [them]. 24 And he went out. And Eglon's servants came, and saw, and behold, the doors of the upper chamber were locked. And they said, Does he not uncover his feet in the summer-chamber? 25 And they waited till they were ashamed [really??!], and behold, there was no one that opened the doors of the upper chamber; and they took the key, and opened them. And behold, their master was fallen down dead upon the ground.
We can use ἐσφηνωμένη of keeping a door either open, closed or anywhere in between with a σφήν - as we ourselves still use chucks for.

[Just in passing, when fruit or cheese is cut (κόπτειν) from a (round or spherical) whole to form a σφήν (σφηνοειδὲς κόμμα / κομμάτιον), the verb used is "cut" not σφηνόω, but perhaps cutting a rectalinear block into a wedge might be. :lol: ]

[Just in passing again, let me say, the New Testament passage using ἀποκλείω is also with just the door - that's how we use φυλάσσω, which is constructed just within the immediate context of the guard and the person or thing guarded. Differentiating contexts, κατακλείω is used in the construction accusative of person (+ ἐν) with a dative - similar to φρουρέω's common construction (undifferentiated by the catagory of ἐν / type of dative) - expressing not only the guarding itself, but also the broader context within which the guarding takes place. To state it plainly, in the Judges passage given above, ἀποκλείω is used in an immediate context of the locking and the door. To paraphrase it to make the man not the door the centre of attention would need the change in verb described above, κατακλείσας τὸ πτῶμα ἐν τῷ ταμιείῳ τῷ θερινῷ τὰς θύρας ἐσφήνωσεν, or something more paratactic.]
Luke 13:25 wrote:Ἀφ’ οὗ ἂν ἐγερθῇ ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης καὶ ἀποκλείσῃ τὴν θύραν, καὶ ἄρξησθε ἔξω ἑστάναι καὶ κρούειν τὴν θύραν, λέγοντες, Κύριε, κύριε, ἄνοιξον ἡμῖν· καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ἐρεῖ ὑμῖν, Οὐκ οἶδα ὑμᾶς, πόθεν ἐστέ·
Acts 26:10 wrote:καὶ πολλοὺς τῶν ἁγίων ἐγὼ (ἐν) φυλακαῖς κατέκλεισα,
Luke 3:20 wrote:καὶ κατέκλεισεν τὸν Ἰωάννην ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ.
Back to the point, 2 Samuel 13:17 has καὶ ἐκάλεσεν τὸ παιδάριον αὐτοῦ τὸν προεστηκότα τοῦ οἴκου αὐτοῦ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ἐξαποστείλατε δὴ ταύτην ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ ἔξω καὶ ἀπόκλεισον τὴν θύραν ὀπίσω αὐτῆς, in which is also translated from וּנְעֹ֥ל.

A few questions. Were door-bolts at the time of the story or the time of translation wedge-shaped? Could the LXX use of two verbs be read as a hendyasis, "locked the door with a wedge (or a locking device consisting primarily of a wedge shaped part)"? Could the Greek be read as, "the door was locked (requiring a key to open it) and (just to make sure) he also kicked in a few door-chucks"? How does the Hebrew read - as two separate actions or a hendyasis?
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

S Walch
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Location: Manchester, UK

Re: Judges B 3:23-25 ἐσφήνωσεν compared with ἀπέκλεισεν

Post by S Walch » August 8th, 2016, 4:43 am

From The History of Locks:
History of mechanical locks started over 6 thousand years ago in Ancient Egypt, where locksmith first managed to create simple but effective pin tumbler lock that was made entirely from wood. It consisted of the wooden post that was affixed to the door, and a horizontal bolt that slid into the post. This bolt had set of openings which were filled with pins. Specially designed large and heavy wooden key was shaped like modern toothbrush with pegs that corresponded to the holes and pins in the lock. This key could be inserted into opening and lifted, which would move the pins and allow security bolt to be moved.

As such, the wedge/chuck doesn't appear to have been around (or at least used widely) at the time of the story here in Judges.

For the Hebrew, I read it as two separate actions in Judges 7:23, for it technically reads "and he closed the doors of the upper room behind him, and bolted [them]", in the exact same order that the LXX has.

נעל is quite the rare word in the Tanakh (appearing just 6 times), and always has the meaning of "lock with a bolt", with the LXX translating it with either σφηνόω (Judg 7:23, 24); ἀποκλείω (2 Sam 13:17, 18); or κλείω (Cant 4:3).

Furthermore, we have another instance of απο/κλειω + σφηνοω in the LXX in the translation of Nehemiah 7:3 (Esdras B 17:3): κλείσθωσαν αἱ θύραι καὶ σφηνούσθωσαν ; here translating the Hebrew verbs גוף and אחז.

Seems to me that the LXX is just making it clear here that the door wasn't just "shut" but "bolted" as well, making sure to use two different verbs to bring this out.

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Judges B 3:23-25 ἐσφήνωσεν compared with ἀπέκλεισεν

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 8th, 2016, 2:38 pm

S Walch wrote:נעל is quite the rare word in the Tanakh (appearing just 6 times), and always has the meaning of "lock with a bolt", with the LXX translating it ... or κλείω (Cant 4:3).
Perfects of naturally short-term actions are interesting. Both κλείειν and σφραγίζειν are naturally short actions. These perfect forms are stative.
Song of songs 4:3 wrote:κῆπος κεκλεισμένος
ἀδελ-φή μου νύμφη
κῆπος κεκλεισμένος
πηγὴ ἐσφραγισμένη
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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