Translation of the Books of the Old Testament into the Greek Language

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By: Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy
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The Greek Empire

The Translation of the Books of the Old Testament into the Greek Language

For a long time, about two hundred years, the Median-Persian empire continued. The Jews, upon returning from captivity in Babylon, remained under the power of the Persian

Then the Persian kingdom was conquered by the Greek King Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, who was also sovereign over Egypt and Syria. Alexander the Great, the most powerful king of his time, respected the holy Temple of Jerusalem and throughout his life he was especially protective of the Hebrew people.

After his death the kingdom disintegrated, and it fell to four of his military chiefs. One of these, Ptolemy, having become King of Egypt, subjugated the Hebrews and brought many thousands of Jews to Egypt.

Under his son, King Ptolemy II Philadelphia, who was kindly disposed to the Jews, a magnificent work was done. By his command the books of the Old Testament were translated from the Hebrew language into Greek. The translation was made by seventy interpreters, that is, scholars. Greek was the most commonly used language of that time. This translation was of enormous benefit for it enabled even the pagans to read the Holy Scriptures in a language known to them. In this way the empire of the Greek King served to spread the truth about God among the heathens.

For about a hundred years the Jews were under the power of the Greek kings reigning in Egypt. However, the Greek kings reigning in Syria did not treat the Hebrews and the faith in the true God in the manner that the Egyptian kings did. While living under the power of Syrian kings, the Jews endured much sorrow. The Syrian kings began to persecute them for the true faith and to force them into idolatry. An especially brutal oppressor was the King Antiochus Epiphanes.

(from: The Law of God

by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)