Ronald L. Troxel, «Economic Plunder as a Leitmotif in LXX-Isaiah», Vol. 83 (2002) 375-391
The translator of LXX-Isaiah is known to have perceived in the prophet’s words presages of events in his day and to have expressed those in his translation. Some such themes recur often enough to merit designating them leitmotifs. Such is the case with the description of the people’s plunder through taxation as portrayed in 3,12-15; 5,5.17; 6,13; 9,3-4. Each of these descriptions arises through a unique construal of Hebrew syntax or an assumption of novel semantic ranges for Hebrew lexemes. The appearance of this theme in each of these otherwise unrelated passages merits designating it a leitmotif.
A sure sign that an ancient translator was influenced by ideas extrinsic to his source text is a motif that recurs in multiple passages whose Hebrew, as understood in the light of contemporary scholarship, does not support that theme. Such a motif both reveals a facet of the translator’s ideology and sheds light on his translation method.
In the Septuagint of Isaiah one such leitmotif, yet to receive adequate attention 1, is the financial plunder endured by the people at the hands of their rulers. This theme is prominent in at least five passages: 3,12-15; 5,5-7, 16-17; 6,11-13; and 9,3-4.
While the suggestion that the Isaiah translator was influenced by an idea extrinsic to his source text accords with his well-deserved reputation for translating "freely", only examination of the relationship between his translation and his (reconstructed) Vorlage can prove such influence by showing how that idea governed his grammatical and lexical choices.
I. Isaiah 3,12-15
The motif of economic plunder first becomes apparent in the translation of 3,12-15b 2.
12lao/j mou, oi( pra/ktorej u(mw=n kalamw=ntai u(ma=j,
kai_ oi( a)paitou=ntej kurieu/ousin u(mw=n:
lao/j mou, oi( makari/zontej u(ma=j planw=sin u(ma=j
kai_ th_n tri/bon tw=n podw=n u(mw=n tara/ssousin.
13a)lla_ nu=n katasth/setai ei)j kri/sin ku/rioj
kai_ sth/sei ei)j kri/sin to_n lao_n au)tou=