Author Topic: Tzevaot - Sabaoth  (Read 301 times)

Offline Vetus Ordo

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Tzevaot - Sabaoth
« on: April 02, 2020, 11:27:09 PM »
The word Tzevaot (צבאות, [tsvaot]) appears in the OT in reference to armies or hosts. We read, for instance, in Exodus (Douay-Rheims translation):

Quote from: Douay-Rheims
And he will not hear you: and I will lay my hand upon Egypt, and will bring forth my army (צִבְאֹתַי), and my people the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, by very great judgments (7:4).

Which being expired, the same day all the army (צִבְאוֹת) of the Lord went forth out of the land of Egypt (12:41).

The same passages in the Septuagint read:

Quote from: LXX
Kαὶ οὐκ εἰσακούσεται ὑμῶν Φαραώ· καὶ ἐπιβαλῶ τὴν χεῖρά μου ἐπ᾿ Αἴγυπτον καὶ ἐξάξω σὺν δυνάμει μου τὸν λαόν μου τοὺς υἱοὺς ᾿Ισραὴλ ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου σὺν ἐκδικήσει μεγάλῃ (7:4).

Kαὶ ἐγένετο μετὰ τὰ τετρακόσια τριάκοντα ἔτη, ἐξῆλθε πᾶσα ἡ δύναμις Κυρίου ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου νυκτός (12:41).

The word Tzevaot was redendered here as dynamis (δύναμις) which has the general meaning of power, might or strength but can also mean a force of war which is closer to the meaning of the original Hebrew. In the Vulgate, Tzevaot is plainly rendered as exercitus which is army:

Quote from: Vulgata Clementina
Et non audiet vos : immittamque manum meam super Ægyptum, et educam exercitum et populum meum filios Israël de terra Ægypti per judicia maxima (7:4).

Quibus expletis, eadem die egressus est omnis exercitus Domini de terra Ægypti (12:41)

However, the same word is not translated when used as a divine epithet in the Sanctus. We are all familiar with the term the Lord God of Hosts being rendered as Dominus Deus Sabaoth in Latin. We hear it at Mass prior to the Canon. In Isaiah, the prophet uses the epiteth YHWH Tzevaot and this is rendered as Lord of hosts except in the Septuagint:

Quote from: Douay-Rheims
And they cried one to another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts (צְבָאוֹת), all the earth is full of his glory (6:3).
Quote from: LXX
καὶ ἐκέκραγεν ἕτερος πρὸς τὸν ἕτερον καὶ ἔλεγον· ἅγιος, ἅγιος, ἅγιος Κύριος σαβαώθ, πλήρης πᾶσα ἡ γῆ τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ (6:3).
Quote from: Vulgata Clementina
Et clamabant alter ad alterum, et dicebant : Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus, Deus exercituum (6:3).

I assume that Sabaoth persists in the Latin liturgy because the Septuagint preserved Tzevaot in this instance. What I don't know is why the Septuagint did it. Was it to signify the specificity of the divine title of God as Lord of the heavenly and earthly armies?

I'd appreciate your inputs.
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Tzevaot - Sabaoth
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2020, 05:24:37 AM »
I assume that Sabaoth persists in the Latin liturgy because the Septuagint preserved Tzevaot in this instance. What I don't know is why the Septuagint did it. Was it to signify the specificity of the divine title of God as Lord of the heavenly and earthly armies?

Another datum to consider is the usage in the Novus Ordo liturgy, where the Sanctus contains the expression
"Lord God of power and might."  While "power and might" is not an unreasonable translation for dynamis (δύναμις), it neither reflects that the Septuagint left σαβαώθ untranslated in the Isaiah passage, nor the Vulgate translation "exercitus".  It is just the sort of problem one would expect from the Novus Ordo.

I suspect the Tridentine Mass's use of "Sabaoth" in the Sanctus shows the influence of the Greek language liturgy of the first centuries of the Church.  Much as we retain the Greek Kyrie for this reason, we keep the Septuagint Isaiah's untranslated σαβαώθ rather than following the Vulgate.

« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 05:48:49 AM by Jayne »
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Tzevaot - Sabaoth
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2020, 08:20:07 AM »
With regard to the Mass, my guess is that it comes through the Old Latin. I think that the older texts which had already been established in the liturgy were generally not updated to reflect the Vulgate. (Same thing with the Gloria.)


As for why the Septuagint translates the word at some times and leaves it untranslated at other times, I don't know. My guess would be the same as yours: that it's because it's a divine name/title.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 08:22:42 AM by Daniel »
 
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