Brian W. Davidson

sharing things I enjoy

When reading the Hebrew Bible or Septuagint, these questions naturally arise:

  • What does the LXX usually do with this Hebrew word?
  • What Hebrew words does this Greek word normally translate?

Emmanuel Tov’s Hebrew/Greek parallel tool allows users to answer these questions with just a few clicks. In decades past, one had to pull the massive concordance of Hatch and Redpath off the shelf (or the slimmer less informative updated index of Muraoka). The combination of Tov’s parallel tool and Accordance Bible Software is both a more efficient and much more powerful solution.

I’m going to demonstrate two ways to find Hebrew-Greek equivalents in Accordance:

  1. The old way using the MERGE command
  2. The new way using the TEXT command

This post is part of the Accordance Workspaces Series where I demonstrate how to use Accordance as an ideal reading companion for readers of the Bible in its ancient versions.

Old Way: MERGE Command

The MERGE command allows you to bring search results from a tagged text into the MT-LXX parallel tool.

In the screenshot above, here’s what I have done and what you can see:

  • Left side: I ran a search for משׁך in the HMT-W4 tagged Hebrew text, and I have Rahlfs’ LXX (LXX1) in parallel down below.
  • Middle: I ran a MERGE search (⌘+Shift+M) to bring those search results into the MT-LXX parallel tool and adjusted the display settings so that I could see each result with it’s Greek equivalent.
  • Right: The top portion of the right side shows an overview of the equivalents.

If you are interested in using this method, here’s how you setup the workspace.

Setting up the workspace

Setting up and saving a workspace for MT-LXX is helpful.

  • Run a lexical search in MT.
  • Open MT-LXX.
  • Run the Merge command (⌘+Shift+M) & link to your MT search tab.
  • Display text as paragraphs & add titles.
  • Open an Analysis Analytics tab with these settings:
  • Repeat for LXX.
  • Save your workspace.

Using the workspace

Once the workspace is set up and saved, you can easily copy and paste a lexical form in the MT or LXX to look for equivalents.

  • Copy the word as a lexical form (⌃+⌥+⌘+C OR two-finger click and copy as > lexical forms)
  • Open your MT-LXX workspace.
  • Paste into the search bar.

Less appealing features of this workspace

This approach has a couple drawbacks. First, it’s pretty cumbersome. There’s a lot going on in that screenshot, and I don’t always remember exactly how to set it up. It’s also easy to get your thoughts twisted regarding exactly where to search for what. Finally, when you are looking over your equivalents in the analysis tab (far right) and you want to see all the instances where a particular equivalent occurs, it isn’t easy to transition. These are some of the reasons I have been using the TEXT command more frequently.

New Way: TEXT Command

I think the TEXT command in Accordance is the easiest way to find and work through Greek-Hebrew equivalents. Until recently, I hadn’t taken the time to establish an easy workflow for this method. I would just default to the old way.

Take a look at this workspace, and let me explain why I think this method is easier and puts more answers at your finger tips.

Here’s what is going on there: I wanted to find Greek equivalents for משׁך so I opened a search tab with Rahlfs’ Septuagint (LXX1). That’s easy to remember: If I want to find Greek equivalents, I open my Greek tagged text.

I put two things in parallel: a tagged Hebrew text (HMT-W4), which you see in the middle of the screen, and Tov’s MT-LXX parallel down below.

I ran my search for משׁך right inside the LXX search box by using the TEXT command (⌘+Shift+T). To enter a lexical form just click Insert Text, type your word, and hit enter.

The final step is to setup the analysis tab so that you can see your equivalents at a glance. To do this, you click the pie chart at the right of your search results count and select Analysis.

In the analysis tab, you can then click the gear icon and customize the display like this:

This setup makes it easy to see your equivalents at a glance. Here is a focused screenshot on that top right analysis tab.

Now, as I look over these results, I frequently wnat to see in context where a certain equivalent occurs. In the screenshot above, I can see that משׁך is translated with ἐκτείνω twice. If I want to see these משׁך/ἐκτείνω texts in context, it’s easy an easy transition.

Particular Equivalents in Context

I can see the places where משׁך is translated with ἐκτείνω with two easy steps:

  1. Two-finger click on the LXX1 search tab, select duplicate tab (⌘+D) and hit enter to rerun the search.
  1. now simply add the @ sign to the end of my search string, click ⌘+L, type ἐκτείνω, and hit enter twice.

This beautifully displays in context the places where משׁך is translated by ἐκτείνω, and I can work through these hits with all the benefits of seeing them a fully-tagged search tab.

Wrapping Up

I have this TEXT command workspace saved so that when I open Accordance it is sitting right there on the toolbar ready to go.

One click and everything is setup and ready to go again — no need to re-setup everything.

You’ll notice I have a Hebrew Bible search tab there ready to go as well — I labeled it Hebrew equivalents. This is for moving the other way, for those times when I wonder what Hebrew words a particular Greek word usually translates. In this screenshot, you can see all the Hebrew equivalents for LXX καταβαίνω:

The bottom right analysis tab overviews the results.

I find this workflow to be the best method for finding and exploring Greek-Hebrew equivalents between the Hebrew Bible and the Septuagint.