Joshua 11:20 in the Septuagint

josh11(20)This isn’t the best title to entice a tired reader, but it’s the best I could do! In my devotions the other day, I ran across Joshua 11:20. Here it is, with the immediate context:

So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same; Even from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them. Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle. For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses (Joshua 11:16-20, KJV).

This verse means what it reads. You cannot escape it. You cannot wish it away. You cannot “contextualize” it and change the meaning of the words. Look at all the English translation you like (e.g. ESV, NLT, NIV, NASB, NET, ISV, LEB, KJV, NKJV, Tyndale, NRSV, RSV), and you won’t find an escape hatch. But, more on that later. For now, I wanted to post my own translation of this verse from the Septuagint.

The LXX, or Septuagint, is the Greek translation of the Old Testament Hebrew which dates from perhaps 200 B.C. and was the Bible the early church, including Jesus Christ, used and quoted from.

Here is my own translation of Joshua 11:20 from the Greek Septuagint (the PDF is available here):

Greek Text:

ὅτι διὰ κυρίου ἐγένετο κατισχῦσαι αὐτῶν τὴν καρδίαν συναντᾶν εἰς πόλεμον πρὸς Ισραηλ ἵνα ἐξολεθρευθῶσιν ὅπως μὴ δοθῇ αὐτοῖς ἔλεος ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα ἐξολεθρευθῶσιν ὃν τρόπον εἶπεν κύριος πρὸς Μωυσῆν

English Translation:

Joshua 11:20 (LXX): “for because of the Lord it came to pass that their heart was strengthened in order to meet Israel in battle so that they would be annihilated. That is, so that mercy would not be granted to them – even so that they would be totally destroyed, just as the Lord said to Moses!”

Detailed Translation:

josh11(20)aa

ὅτι: (1) Classification – the conjunction is expressing the intentional cause, the grounds, of the preceding statement (Josh 11:19)

διὰ: (1) Classification – the preposition is expressing reason

κυρίου: (1) Case – in the genitive case because it is the object of the preposition διὰ

ἐγένετο: (1) Translation – this construction is common in narrative literature, and its general sense is to move the events along. The normal gloss is “it came to pass,” or something of that nature (cf. BDAG, s.v. “1646 γίνομαι,” 4.f.).

κατισχῦσαι: (1) Classification – an anarthrous, simple infinitive which complements and completes the thought of the verb ἐγένετο. (2) Voice – a simple active, indicating the subject (the heart of Israel’s enemies) is performing the action of the infinitive. Of course, it was “because of the Lord” (διὰ κυρίου) that their heart did this in the first place! (3) Tense – context suggests a constative aorist, describing a simple historical event in the past.

αὐτῶν: (1) Case – the personal pronoun is possessive, indicating the heart in question belong to Israel’s enemies

τὴν καρδίαν: (1) Case – an accusative subject of the infinitive κατισχῦσαι

συναντᾶν: (1) Classification – an anarthrous, simple infinitive which complements the prepositional phrase

εἰς: (1) Classification – the preposition is expressing purpose. Why was their enemies’ heart strengthened? So that they would sally forth into battle against Israel and be destroyed!

πόλεμον: (1) Case – in the accusative case because it is the object of the preposition εἰς

josh11(20)b

πρὸς: (1) Classification – the preposition is either expressing association (“battle with Israel”) or opposition (“battle against Israel”). (2) Translation – I opted to leave this completely untranslated, because it’s basically superfluous.

Ισραηλ: (1) Case – in the accusative case because it is the object of the preposition πρὸς

ἵνα ἐξολεθρευθῶσιν: (1) Classification – this is a standard purpose clause. (2) Voice – a simple passive, which indicates the subject (Israel’s enemies) receive the action of the verb.

ὅπως: (1) Classification – the conjunction is expressing purpose. I believe it’s acting in apposition to the preceding purpose clause, further explaining God’s intentions here – therefore I translated it with “that is . . .”

μὴ: This is a simple negation

δοθῇ: (1) Voice – a simple passive, which indicates that mercy is something being dispensed (or in this case, not being dispensed!) to Israel’s enemies

αὐτοῖς: (1) Case – a dative of direct object, signifying Israel’s enemies are receiving the action of the verb

ἔλεος: (1) Case – the subject nominative of the sentence

ἀλλ᾽: (1) Classification – the conjunction is expressing emphasis. It makes no contextual sense to translate this to express contrast (“but”), because the preceding subjunctive purpose clause is already negative. I think it serves to just heighten the sense of God’s divine condemnation, so I translated it as “even.”

ἵνα ἐξολεθρευθῶσιν: (1) Classification – this is a standard purpose clause. (2) Voice – a simple passive, which indicates the subject (Israel’s enemies) receive the action of the verb.

Josh11(20)c

ὃν τρόπον: (1) Translation – this construction is usually expressed in English with the gloss “just as . . .” (Friberg, s.v. “27075 τρόπος,” 1).

εἶπεν: (1) Voice – a simple active, indicating the Lord performed the action of the verb. (2) Tense – context suggests a constative aorist, describing a simple historical event in the past. (3) Mood – a declarative indicative.

κύριος: (1) Case – the subject nominative

πρὸς: (1) Classification – the preposition is expressing association

Μωυσῆν: (1) Case – in the accusative case because it is the object of the preposition πρὸς

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