Luke uses the Greek word ἀπορίᾳ which the RSV has translated as perplexity. This Greek wood is a Lucan hapax legomenon.
“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,” Lk. 21:25.
This Greek word appears seven times in the Septuagint: Lev. 26:16; Dt 28:22; Pr 28:27; Isa 5:30; 24:19; Jer 8:21; 29:18. The English translations of these verses appear below.
Leviticus 26:16 LXX appears in a section starting with verse 14 that tells the people the results of disobeying God’s Orders. Verse 16 states: “then I will do this to you and I will to set upon you perplexity and also the mange and jaundice inflaming of your eyes and life wasting away And you shall sow ineffectually of your seeds and your opponents shall eat them.”
Deuteronomy 28:22 LXX appears in a section starting with verse 15 that tells the people results from the curse. Verse 22 states: “The Lord strike you with perplexity and burning heat and shivering and aggravation and carnage and windblown and paleness and may they pursue until whenever they destroy you.”
Proverbs 28:27 LXX The one who gives to the poor shall not be in want; but the one who turns his eye will be in much perplexity.
Isaiah 5:30 LXX appears in a section starting with verse 11 that says Woe to the Sinner. “And he shall yell on account of them in that day as the sound of the sea swelling up And they shall look into the heaven upward and below and behold a hard darkness in their perplexity.”
Isaiah 24:19 LXX appears in a section beginning with verse 1 addressing the Desolation of the Inhabitable World. Verse 19 states: “By disturbance the earth shall be disturbed and with perplexity the earth shall be perplexed.
Jer 8:21 Upon destruction of the daughter of my people I have been enveloped in darkness; in perplexity pangs prevailed over me a woman giving birth.
Jer 29:18 LXX And I shall pursue them with a sword and famine and pestilence. And I shall give them for movement in all the kingdom of the earth and for a curse and for perplexity, and for a blessing, and for a scorning to all the nations to whom I shall cast them.”
Isaiah 5:30 contains these words “the sound of the sea swelling up” in a verse ending with the word “perplexity” and thus appears to be the partial Lucan source for 21:25. However, Luke does not use any Greek words appearing in Isaiah 5:30 LXX with the exception of ἀπορίᾳ.
I suspect the mere use of the word ἀπορίᾳ conjured for the First Reader some of the imagery contained in the other six verses of the Septuagint containing this Greek word.
The Greek words for “perplexity” and “the waves” ἀπορίᾳ and σάλου are both Lucan hapax. Does the usage of σάλου in the Septuagint provide us with the clue for understanding of the perplexing verse 25?
The investigation of the 21st chapter of Luke continues. The Lucan hapax legomenon are always in view.