Original Research - Special Collection: Septuagint

The Biblical Hebrew idiom ‘lift the face’ in the Septuagint of Job

Douglas Mangum
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 3 | a5025 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i3.5025 | © 2018 Douglas Mangum | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 April 2018 | Published: 31 July 2018

About the author(s)

Douglas Mangum, Department of Hebrew, University of Free State, South Africa


This study examined the renderings of the Biblical Hebrew idiom ‘lift the face’ (םינפ אשנ) in the Septuagint of Job in comparison with the renderings of the Biblical Hebrew idiom elsewhere in the Septuagint and in other ancient versions including the Peshitta and the Targums. The aim of this study was to determine how the translators of the Septuagint typically handled the implicit meaning of figurative language and to examine whether the translator of the Septuagint of Job followed similar strategies, because Job is known to be one of the books where the Septuagint is more literary than literal. It was hypothesised that the opaque meaning of the Biblical Hebrew idiom would provide an opportunity for the translator of the Septuagint of Job to intervene and manipulate the text for literary or theological reasons. The analysis applied methodology from Translation Studies and linguistics to describe the translation strategies used by some ancient translators to address the communication challenge presented by semantically opaque figures of speech like idioms. The major finding of the study is that although literal translation is the predominant approach to translating this Biblical Hebrew idiom in all the ancient versions examined, the Septuagint of Job used more idiomatic and natural expressions to communicate the meaning of the idiom. The translator of the Septuagint of Job took the use of the idiomatic expression ‘lift the face’ as an opportunity to reframe the theological emphasis of a passage.


Biblical Hebrew; Septuagint; idioms; Book of Job; translation technique; Translation Studies


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