ANGLES AND JUDGES

Angels and judges

In a few cases in the Greek Septuagint (LXX), Hebrew elohim with a plural verb, or with implied plural context, was rendered either angeloi (“angels”) or pros to kriterion tou Theou (“before the judgement of God”).[14] These passages then entered first the Latin Vulgate, then the English King James Version (KJV) as “angels” and “judges”, respectively. From this came the result that James Strong, for example, listed “angels” and “judges” as possible meanings for elohim with a plural verb in his Strong’s Concordance, and the same is true of many other 17th-20th century reference works. Both Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon and the Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon list both angels and judges as possible alternative meanings of elohim with plural verbs and adjectives.

The reliability of the Septuagint translation in this matter has been questioned by Gesenius and Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg. In the case of Gesenius, he lists the meaning without agreeing with it.[15] Hengstenberg stated that the Hebrew Bible text never uses elohim to refer to “angels”, but that the Septuagint translators refused the references to “gods” in the verses they amended to “angels.”[16]

The Greek New Testament (NT) quotes Psalm 8:4-6 in Hebrews 2:6b-8a, where the Greek NT has “ἀγγέλους” (angelos) in vs. 7,[17] quoting Ps. 8:5 (8:6 in the LXX), which also has “ἀγγέλους” in a version of the Greek Septuagint.[18] In the KJV, elohim (Strong’s number H430) is translated as “angels” only[19] in Psalm 8:5.

The KJV has elohim translated as “judges” in Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8; and twice in Exodus 22:9.[20]

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