Stuart D. Chepey, «Samson the ‘Holy One’: A Suggestion Regarding the Reviser’s Use of a#gioj in Judg 13,7; 16,17 LXX Vaticanus», Vol. 83 (2002) 97-99
While the use of the Greek term a#gioj, ‘holy one’, as a reference to Samson and rendering of the Hebrew religious technical term ryzn, ‘Nazirite’, in LXXB Judg 13,7 and 16,17 seems odd given their lexical disparity, an association between the terms does occur in the law for the Nazirite to be holy respecting the growth of hair in Num 6,5.8. A contextual similarity between the Numbers passage and Judg 13,5.7 and 16,17 occurs in that Samson is accorded only one proscription — the use of a razor upon his head. It is likely therefore, perhaps as a way of introducing a new and unintelligible term, that the reviser of LXXB Judg followed the word association made in Num 6,5.8 and used the two terms, nazir in 13,5 and a#gioj in 13,7 and 16,17, interchangeably in his version of the Samson story.
Scholars have long noted and wrestled with the lexical disparities between the two prominent LXX MS families — Codex Alexandrinus (LXXA) and Codex Vaticanus (LXXB). One such lexical oddity that has drawn particular attention over the last several decades, especially amongst New Testament scholars1, is the reference to the figure Samson in Judg 13,7 and 16,17 of LXXB. LXXA and the Masoretic Text (MT) both refer to Samson simply by the designation ‘Nazirite’ in Judg 13,5.7 and 16,17 (nazirai=oj — LXXA; ryzn — MT). In contrast, LXXB, while using a form of the Greek transliteration in 13,5 (nazir), surprisingly substitutes a#gioj, ‘holy one’, for the religious technical term in 13,7 and 16,17. When recalling the instructions given her by the angel of the Lord, Samson’s mother in LXXB 13,7 reiterates, ‘and now drink no wine or strong drink and eat nothing unclean, for the boy will be a holy one (a#gion) of God from the womb until the day of his death’. Similarly, Samson himself, when divulging the secret of his power to the Philistine harlot in 16,17, declares, ‘no razor has come upon my head, for I am a holy one (a#gioj) of God’.
Though the presence of the peculiar title applied to Samson in LXXB Judg has been well noted, relatively few have suggested a possible origin for the reading. With respect to the significant lexical disparity between the two terms, on what basis did the original author of the reading deem a#gioj a suitable rendering of the religious technical term ryzn? The purpose of this article is to briefly address this issue and provide one possible solution to the aforesaid question. In short, I suggest the answer lies in an influence exerted on the reviser of LXXB by the legislation for the Nazirite vow as stated in Num 6,5.8 — ‘all the days of his separation he shall be holy’.
Of the general relationship between the two MS families of LXX Judg, it can be said that they represent either preserved revisions of one another or separate revisions of a common Greek text now lost, rather than separate competing translations2. In terms of their respective dates the recent works of Bodine have substantiated the theory of Barthélemy that LXXB Judg represents, in general, part of the early kai/ge recension dating back to the turn