Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Passover Connection

One never knows where one might find insight into a scripture. Sometimes it is simply a matter of making an odd connection.

This connection deals with a side note on something I wrote about a a few years ago on the various versions of Leviticus 1-5. (Sorry, the pdf or print version will be necessary to follow the philological arguments.)

In the Septuagint version of the Chronicles account of the passover feast of Hezekiah it mentions more than once the peace offerings that were made (2 Chronicles 29:35; 30:22). Specifically it says:
And Hezekiah spoke to every heart of the Levites and of those who had a good understanding of the Lord, and they finished the feast of unleavened bread, seven days of offering "peace offerings" and confessing to the Lord God of their fathers (2 Chronicles 30:22 LXX).
The peace offerings, of course, are detailed in Leviticus 3. Two details strike me as significant in this passage.
  1. The first is that the major offering of Passover was the so-called peace offering. 
  2. The second is that the Septuagint does not call it the "peace offering." That is the translation the King James Version uses for the Hebrew of this term. The Septuagint calls it the θυσία σωτηρίου "the offering of salvation."
For early Greek-speaking Christians, whose version of the scriptures was the Septuagint, the connection of Jesus's death with the Passover would have made perfect sense. The major sacrifice associated with Passover was the sacrifice of salvation and Jesus offered his life to bring about salvation.