Monday, March 5, 2012

ISAIAH AND THE MESSIAH

ISAIAH AND THE MESSIAH

                          The 'Septuagint' ('the seventy', LXX) is the oldest Greek translation of the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. It was translated from the original Hebrew Bible of the Jews. It was started in about 280 BC at Alexandria under emperor Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Egypt. He sent messengers to the High Priest of the Jews to send Holy Scriptures, scholars and scribes to undertake the translation to be preserved in the large library he planned at Alexandria. The High Priest selected about seventy scholars (about six from each of the twelve tribes of Israel) and deputed them to Alexandria. As the translation took about three centuries, the scholars of the original team (70 or 72) were possibly replaced by others during the progress of the translation.
                          One of the scholars who translated the Scriptures from Hebrew to Greek was a learned priest by name 'Simeon'. He was entrusted with the translation of the verses of the Book of Isaiah. When he reached the verse, Isaiah 7: 14, the Hebrew verse read as: "Behold, a virgin (almah) shall conceive and bear a son and name him Immanuel." Simeon doubted the possibility of a virgin giving birth to a child. He thought for a long period and substituted the correct Greek word for 'virgin' (parthenos)  by a different word in Greek which means 'a young woman' . But miraculously, the word used by Simeon was erased by an angel and replaced by the correct word for virgin (parthenos). Simeon tried to change it again but the miracle occurred thrice and was followed by a divine revelation to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that the miracle of virgin birth was possible for God and that since he had doubted His divine will, Simeon would not die before he had seen the Lord's promised Messiah {Luke 2: 26}, as the son of the Holy virgin, St. Mary.
                         Decades later, Simeon was led by the Holy Spirit into the Temple when Joseph and Mary brought child Jesus for the 'presentation'. Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God: "Now, Lord, you have kept your promise, and you may let your servant go in peace. With my own eyes I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: a light to reveal your will to the Gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel" {Luke 2: 27-35}.
                          This story teaches us that no one is permitted  to alter the words of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. St. Paul warns the Galatians, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel that is different from the one we preached to you, may he be condemned to hell!" {Galatians 1: 8}.
                          This message is strongly emphasized in the hymn, " Poulose Sleeha dhanyan cholketten ithevam..." sung before the reading of the Epistles of St. Paul during the Holy Eucharist in the Antiochene (Antiochian) liturgy that is followed by the Malankara Orthodox Church, Jacobite Syrian Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. This meaningful hymn may be translated and sung in the original tune as follows:
Poulose Sleeha dhanyan cholketten ithevam...
(English translation by Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Email: drbabuphilip@gmail.com)
Listen, St. Paul, Holy Apostle taught us,
"If someone comes and teaches
Against what we taught you well,
He will be cursed by the Church
Though he may be an angel."
       Different versions of doctrines
      May arise and spread in world.
      Blest is the one who stays firm
      In divine guidance of God.
Videos of the hymn are available in the links given below:
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© By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India, Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally and Leo. S. John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit our web-sites:
This is Story No. 236  in the second site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in these sites. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

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