Friday, February 6, 2009

Hebrews 1:10-12 and the LXX Rendering of Psalm 102:23

Bacon, B. W. “Heb 1, 10-12 and the Septuagint Rendering of Ps 102, 23.” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 3 (1902): 280-85.

In this brief article Bacon disagrees with scholars who claim that the author of Hebrews was misled by the LXX translation of Psalm102:25-27 (102:26-28 MT; 101:26-28 LXX), when it inserts κυριε into the text, or that the author created an innovation when he applied the verses to Christ in Heb 1:10-12. Bacon goes back to verse 24 of the LXX which translated the Hebrew ענה as “he answered” rather than “he afflicted.” Thus, “instead of understanding the verse as a complaint of the psalmist at the shortness of his days which are cut off in the midst, LXX and Vulg. understand the utterance to be Jahve’s ‘answer’ to the psalmist’s plea that he will intervene to save Zion, because ‘it is time to have pity upon her, year the set time is come’ (v. 13)” (page 283). He argues that the passage became a locus classicus in early Jewish and Christian apologetics to refer to the Messiah who will “cut short” the days before his return (see, for example, Epistle of Barnabas 4:3; Matt 24:22; Mark 13:20 which Bacon believes are influenced by this verse). Thus, the author of Hebrews had precedence when he applied the psalm quotation in a messianic way.


  1. How available is this article? I am also very intently studying Hebrews and this looks like a very valuable resource.
    -Tom S

  2. This journal is one of the leading journals in NT studies. It is hard to say how available it is--it will depend on the school. Schools with a substantial theological library should have the journal, but whether they will have issues that go back to 1902 is another question. You might want to use interlibrary loan to obtain the article.