Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Zechariah 12:10--Pierced Whom?

"They shall look at him [whom] they pierced"
(Aramaic John/Yoch
19:37 quoting Zech)

Now if we take a look at the texts the Greeks had
available to quote

"They shall look upon me (ET) whom ..." (Hebrew
Zech 12:10)
"They shall look upon me ..." (Greek Zech 12:10)
"They shall look upon me at him ..." (Aramaic
Peshitta Zech 12:10)
"They shall look at him ..." (Aramaic John/Yoch
19:37 quoting Zech)
"They shall look at him ..." (Greek John/Yoch
19:37 quoting Zech)

It's clear that the Greek John must have been a
translation of the


It is far from clear that the Greek John is a
translation of an Aramaic John/Yochanan. Besides the
burden of proof being upon you to provide evidence of
an Aramaic John preceding the "Greek" John, there are
a number of possibilities that you are overlooking in
trying to set forth your argument. For instance, the
NJB reads: "They will mourn for the one whom they have
pierced . . ." The Zech 12:10 footnote in the NJB then
informs us:

"We preserve the MT reading by making a clear break
after 'to me'. Theodotion understood 'to the one whom
they have pierced', and this reading is followed by
John (Jn 19:37)."

David Aune adds:

"Jellicoe (Septuagint, 87) claims that the citation
from Zech 12:10 in Rev 1:7 [and also in Jn 19:37]
reflects a Theodotiontic reading, perhaps more
accurately described as a proto-Theodotiontic reading.
Justin reads 'and your people will see [OYETAI] and
will recognize whom they have pierced [EIS hON
EXEKENTHSAN]' (Dial. 14.8); cf. 1 Apol. 52.12: 'and
then they will see the one whom they pierced [EIS hON
EXEKENTHSAN]'; this is identical with the Lucianic
text" (Revelation 1-5, p. 56).

The point is that John is not the only person to have
read the Hebrew text in the way that he did. On the
other hand, another possibility is mentioned by Gerald
Borchert in his commentary on John:

"The Johannine renderings of these Old Testament texts
[Zech 12:10, etc.] are not exact quotations as though
he had a copy of the Hebrew or Greek Scriptures in
front of him, but in substance they certainly
represent accurately the meanings of those cited
texts" (John 12-21, p. 279).

Finally, the Expositor's Greek Testament observes:

"John gives a more accurate translation: OYONTAI EIS
hON EXEKENTHSAN: 'They shall look on Him whom (EKEINON
hON) they pierced'. The same rendering is adopted in
the Greek versions of Aquila, Theodotion and
Symmachus, and is also found in Ignatius, Ep. Trall.,
10; Justin, I. Apol., i. 77; and cf. Rev. 1:7, and
Barnabas, Ep., 7" (p. 860).


Duncan said...


Did the ET move at some point?


"mourn for him" is the tricky part.

Edgar Foster said...

I'm not aware of any evidence that suggests ET moved. "Me" is a possible rendering and the mourning for "him" (i.e., YHWH) could be penitential because of sins committed against Jehovah. However, NT writers apply the prophecy to Christ.

Edgar Foster said...

Some additional points:

The operative Hebrew words are ELAY ET ASERDAQARU ("They shall look upon me whom they have pierced"). S.R. Driver recommends the MT emendation ELAYW ("to him") and avers that more than fifty instances
buttress this reading (See Driver, The Minor Prophets, p. 266).

Even if one reads "upon" or "to me" rather than "to him," it is still possible to understand the text as a reference to the representative of YHWH, that is, His shepherd (compare Zech 11:12-13; 13:7).

Another friend of mine once noted:

"Et-asher [--> 'whom'] is chosen here, as in Jer. 38:9, in the place
of the simple 'asher' [whom], to mark 'asher' more clearly as an accusative, since the simple 'asher' might also be rendered 'who
pierced (me).'" -- K-D, Volume 10, page 609.

Thus, one function of 'et at Zechariah 12:10 is to clarify and

Edgar Foster said...

See S.R. Driver's comments for Zech. 12:10 here: https://books.google.com/books?id=rOVEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA408&dq=sr+driver+minor+prophets&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjqs4zO-6bOAhUJtBoKHS14BzkQ6AEITzAJ#v=onepage&q=pierced&f=false

Duncan said...

Thanks Edgar. Unfortunately I am unable to preview in the UK.

With the work that is being done with regard to "Hebraisms" I think the language as written is not as important as the author source language.

Even a segment that appears to be good koine, may not be & there are some unique characteristics in this gospels grammar. As the evidences becomes more prominent regarding the significant use of Hebrew in the first century region of origin of the disciples, the fact that we have our earliest witness in Greek will matter less.

Edgar Foster said...

Driver's work, because it's so old, is public domain material. It's his commentary about the Minor Prophets.

I think it's becoming easier to determine what constitutes standard Koine, since we have so many examples from the classical and post-classical period. But John's allusion to Zech 12:10 doesn't have much to do with grammar IMO. The issue is why he (and others) does not read/write "me" in 19:37.

P.M. Casey tried to reconstruct Aramaic Mark, and while the attempt is clever and he was likely one of the few persons on earth qualified to embark upon such an endeavor, the finished product is less than convincing. We can't recover an Aramaic substratum (Vorlage) for the Greek Gospels. Scholars have been there and done that.

I appreciate your input and contributions.

Duncan said...

I have just found this - from our favorite publishing hose :) (& hopefully, I am posting it to the correct thread)


Edgar Foster said...

Yes, definitely our favorite publishing house. The scholarship looks good, and I'm sure the price is just right. :)

I've also been reading an interesting dissertation on Rev. 1:7 which might help although the author's focus is different.

Duncan said...

Just for clarification I was not implying that John was originally written in Aramaic. If I were to imply anything of this nature the source language would have to be Hebrew.


I think I have given you a link to this information before, but just in case.

I am suggesting that John is neither Hebrew or Aramaic, but rather that greek Hebraisms by one Hebrew author are not necessarily the same as another, so broad surveys do not give all the information. I think this is demonstrated in the LXX. Hebraism are more likely to be regional or even only of a specific writer.


Edgar Foster said...

Here's another reply that I made to the same gentleman and some further research I did on John 12:11: