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Translating Misfortune

The Textual Problem of 1 Samuel 1:15 in the mt and the lxx

In: Vetus Testamentum
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The divergence between the mt and lxx in Hannah’s response to Eli’s accusation of drunkenness (1 Sam 1:15) has long puzzled scholars. The Greek phrase, “I am a woman who has a hard day (σκληρὰ ἡμέρα)”, is an improbable rendering of the Hebrew קשת רוח (“hard of spirit”). This is commonly explained by way of a hypothetical Vorlage, קשת יום (lit., “hard of day”), which consequently becomes the preferred reading over against the mt. The central argument is that קשה would mean “obstinate” or “stubborn”, which is not fitting for Hannah’s speech. This brief study problematizes this prevailing view, arguing instead that the mt appropriately characterizes a misfortune perceived by Hannah to be the result of God’s action.

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