Samstag, 18. Januar 2014

Septuagint and Halakha on Parasha Mishpatim

In this parasha we learn a halakha:
רמב"ם הלכות שכירות פרק א הלכה ב

ש"ח שנגנב הפקדון ממנו או אבד ואין צריך לומר אם נאנס הפקדון אונס גדול כגון שהיתה בהמה ומתה או נשבית ה"ז א נשבע ששמר כדרך השומרין ופטור שנאמר וגונב מבית האיש וגו' ונקרב בעל הבית אל האלהים
When an entrusted article is stolen from or lost by an unpaid watchman and - needless to say, when the entrusted article is destroyed by forces beyond the watchman's control - e.g., it was an animal and it died or was taken captive -the watchman must take an oath that he guarded the article in a manner appropriate for a watchman, and then he is freed of liability, as Exodus 22:6-7 states: "And it was stolen from the man's home... and the homeowner shall approach the judges."

According to Rambam the halakha, that the shomer hinam (the unpaid watchman) has to make an oath, is derived from this verse:
אִם־לֹא יִמָּצֵא הַגַּנָּב וְנִקְרַב בַּעַל־הַבַּיִת אֶל־הָאֱלֹהִים אִם־לֹא שָׁלַח יָדוֹ בִּמְלֶאכֶת רֵעֵהוּ  (Exo 22:7)
But the verse doesn’t say anything about making an oath. The Talmud in Bava Qama 63b makes a גזרה שוה:
תלמוד בבלי מסכת בבא קמא דף סג עמוד ב
ומנלן דבשבועה? דתניא: ונקרב בעל הבית אל האלהים - לשבועה; אתה אומר: לשבועה, או אינו אלא לדין? נאמר שליחות יד למטה ונאמר שליחות יד למעלה, מה להלן לשבועה, אף כאן לשבועה

N. And how on the basis of Scripture do we know that that is the rule only if he has falsely taken an oath?
O. It is in line with that which has been taught on Tannaite authority:
 P. “If a man shall deliver to his neighbor money or stuff to keep [without fee, that is, we deal with an unpaid bailee] and it be stolen … if the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall be brought to the judges” (Ex. 22:7)—to take an oath.
 Q. You say that it is to take an oath. But perhaps it is only for a trial [to enter the plea that the beast was stolen, and merely making that plea would suffice to impose upon the bailee the penalty of a twofold repayment]?
 R. Here we find a reference to unlawful use, and there we find the same matter [the paid bailee, Ex. 22:10, the unpaid bailee, Ex. 22:7]. Just as in the latter passage, the purpose is for the bailee to take an oath [the paid bailee: “then an oath of the Lord shall be between them both”], so in the former passage, it is for the purpose of taking an oath.

The Talmud is simply asking how do we know that אִם־לֹא שָׁלַח יָדוֹ implies an oath? The purpose could be, that he just has to pay, like Rashi says: לפרעון דשומר חנם שטוען נגנבה ישלם. But since it is written about the שומר שכר in Ex. 22:10 שְׁבֻעַת ה' תִּהְיֶה בֵּין שְׁנֵיהֶם אִם־לֹא שָׁלַח יָדוֹ בִּמְלֶאכֶת רֵעֵהוּ וְלָקַח בְּעָלָיו וְלֹא יְשַׁלֵּם so here in our verse it must imply an oath, that he guarded it.
We find the same concept in the Mekhilta de Rabbi Ishmael:
ונקרב בעל הבית אל האלהים לשבועה
אתה אומר לשבועה או אינו אלא בשבועה ושלא
בשבועה הרי אתה דן נאמר כאן שליחות יד ונאמר
להלן שליחות יד מה להלן שבועה אף כאן שבועה
Then the Master of the House Shall Come Near unto Elohim. For the purpose of taking an oath. You interpret it to mean, for the purpose of taking an oath. Perhaps this is not so but it means, for the purpose of making a declaration, whether with an oath or without an oath? Behold, you must reason: Here the expression “putting the hand” is used and there (v. 10) the expression “putting the hand” is used. Just as there the declaration is made under oath, so also here the declaration must be made under oath
Based on this understanding Targum Jonathan  translates:
תרגום יונתן שמות פרק כב פסוק ז
אִין לָא אִישְׁתַּכַּח גַּנְבָא וְיִתְקְרֵיב מָרֵיהּ בֵּיתָא לִקְדָם דַּיָינַיָא וְיוֹמֵי דְלָא אוֹשִׁיט יְדֵיהּ בְּעִיסְקָא דְחַבְרֵיהּ
If the thief be not found, the master of the house shall be brought before the judges, and shall swear that he hath not put forth his own hand upon the property of his neighbor.
But the oldest written evidence for this halakhic interpretation is about 3rd century B.C. (and this is amazingly old) from the Septuagint. It states:
ἐὰν δὲ μὴ εὑρεθῇ ὁ κλέψας προσελεύσεται ὁ κύριος τῆς οἰκίας ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ὀμεῖται ἦ μὴν μὴ αὐτὸς πεπονηρεῦσθαι ἐφ᾽ ὅλης τῆς παρακαταθήκης τοῦ πλησίον (Exo 22:7 BGT)
But if the thief be not found, the master of the house shall come forward before God, and shall swear that surely he has not wrought wickedly in regard of any part of his neighbor’s deposit.
The phrase בִּמְלֶאכֶת is rendered with παρακαταθήκη, what exactly means deposit. (Liddell&Scott)
Another interesting point is the translation of the phrase: אִם־לֹא שָׁלַח יָדוֹ  (that he has not laid hands). The Septuagint renders it: ἦ μὴν μὴ αὐτὸς πεπονηρεῦσθαι (that surely he has not wrought wickedly) which is mostly the equivalent of זמם, מאס,רעע it is not attested, but it could also mean פשע.
Now look at this:
אמר ליה רב נחמן, והלא שלש שבועות משביעין אותו: שבועה שלא פשעתי בה, שבועה שלא שלחתי בה יד, שבועה שאינה ברשותי
Said to him R. Nahman, “But is it not the case that we impose upon an unpaid bailee [who claims that the animal has been lost] three distinct oaths: first, an oath that I have not deliberately caused the loss, that I did not put a hand on it, and that it is not in my domain at all?
One oath is שלא פשעתי which could be equal to πονηρεύομαι.
What we can see from all this? We see how well תורה בעל פה was transmitted and that the Septuagint translators were not  סתם אזוי peasants, but הכמים.

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