LXX Isaiah 40:2: “O Priests, speak to the heart of Jerusalem”

In a fine paper by Dr Alison Salvesen at the Oxford OT Seminar yesterday there was mention of a passage in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT) that I had not seen before. It says:

O Priests, speak to the heart of Jerusalem; comfort her,
because her humiliation has been fulfilled, her sin has been released, because she has received from the Lord’s hand double that of her sins.

The Hebrew does not have “O Priests”. Evidently, the Greek translator(s) thought it was important that those whom the prophet summons to announce the good news of forgiveness to Jerusalem were priests.

Interesting. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that the NT claims the first verses of Isa 40 were fulfilled by John the Baptist—a priest (Matt 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4–6; Matt 3:3, cf. Luke 1:76).

Perhaps this Septuagint text (and others like it) ought to guide our interpretation of passages where Jesus of Nazareth announces the forgiveness of sins.

I’m just saying.

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