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μακρουμειν in Ben Sira 35:19 and Luke 18:7

A Lexicographical Note

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This article investigates the lexical meaning of μακρουμειν in Luke 18:7 with a view to clarifying whether the verb means “to be patient or longsuffering” or “to delay or tarry”. The former meaning is well-attested in Greek sources, while evidence for the latter is sparse and is primarily supported by appeal to Sir 35:19 [22], in which μακρουμειν occurs in parallelism with βραδυνειν. After noting some of the limitations of parallelism as a lexicographical tool, the article examines the underlying Hebrew text of Sir 35:19. The verb μακρουμειν is used to render the hithpael of ℘ℑℵ, a verb which never indicates a “slowness to act” but rather refers to restraining or controlling oneself. Lexical evidence that μακρουμειν means “to delay or tarry” is therefore lacking; any sense of a temporal “delay” in Luke 18 or Sir 35 is to be attributed to the larger literary context and not to the semantics of the verb itself.

Affiliations: 1: Columbia, South Carolina


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