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Preaching in the LXX (Old Testament): Genesis-Micah

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in scripture | 3 comments

Preaching in the LXX (Old Testament): Genesis-Micah

In this series, I plan to examine the use of the term κηρύσσω (kerusso – usually translated “preach”) in the Old Testament. Specifically, I will examine the use of the term “preach” in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament.

In this post, I’ll examine the following uses of the term κηρύσσω (kerusso – usually translated “preach”): Genesis 41:43; Exodus 32:5; 36:6; 2 Kings 10:20; 2 Chronicles 20:3; 24:9; 36:22; Esther 6:9, 11; Proverbs 1:21; 8:1; Hosea 5:8; Micah 3:5. Here are the passages:

Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out [preached] before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:42-43 ESV)

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation [preached] and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” (Exodus 32:5 ESV)

So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed [preached]throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more. (Exodus 36:6-7 ESV)

And Jehu ordered, “Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal.” So they proclaimed [preached] it. (2 Kings 10:20 ESV)

Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed [preached] a fast throughout all Judah. (2 Chronicles 20:3 ESV)

So the king commanded, and they made a chest and set it outside the gate of the house of the LORD. And proclamation [preached] was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to bring in for the LORD the tax that Moses the servant of God laid on Israel in the wilderness. (2 Chronicles 24:8-9 ESV)

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation [preached] throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him. Let him go up.” (2 Chronicles 36:22-23 ESV)

So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set. And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming [preaching] before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.'” Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he dressed Mordecai and led him through the square of the city, proclaiming [preaching] before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.” (Esther 6:6-11 ESV)

Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out [preaches]; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” (Proverbs 1:20-33 ESV)

Does not wisdom call [preach]? Does not understanding raise her voice? (Proverbs 8:1 ESV)

Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah. Sound [preach] the alarm at Beth-aven; we follow you, O Benjamin! (Hosea 5:8 ESV)

Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry [preach] “Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths. (Micah 3:5 ESV)

In these passages, the verb κηρύσσω (kerusso – “preach”) is not used in the same way that the English verb “preach” is normally used. Instead, the usage of the term κηρύσσω (kerusso) more closely resembles the English word “announce”. In each passage, an announcement is made. In fact, in most of the passages, there is a specific herald who is given a specific message to announce. The message is generally short (with the exception of the Proverbs passages), and the short message is to be repeated.

Even in the Proverbs passages, while the message is longer, the personification of Wisdom is making an announcement for those who will hear. There is a specific message that Wisdom announces repeatedly.

However, there are more passages in the Greek translation of the Old Testament which include the term κηρύσσω (kerusso – “preach”). I will look at the passages in Joel through Daniel, plus the noncanonical usages in the next post in this series.


“Preaching” in the LXX (Old Testament) Series:

  1. Introduction
  2. Genesis – Micah
  3. Joel – Daniel + Non-canonical books
  4. Conclusion

Addendum: Apostolic Fathers


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  1. 7-17-2012

    Quite fascinating! So far, it very much mirrors the usage we see in the New Testament. It’s a proclamation or announcement, not a sermon.

  2. 7-17-2012

    …and it’s not oratory.

  3. 7-17-2012

    I agree guys. Thanks for the comments.