02.02.25 Septuagint. In the beginning of the third century B.C., the Greek language had become so prominent in Egypt, that the Hebrew language was threatened with extinction. In Alexandria, a group of scholars in the royal library made the first translation of Hebrew Scriptures into another language – Greek. This translation became known as the Septuagint. The rabbis attempted to meet the need of their youth who were losing the Hebrew language. The rabbis were constantly challenged to keep the faith of their people intact. The Septuagint was their attempt to keep the Word of God relevant and vibrant.
However, Jews living in the Holy Land did not accept the Greek language as readily as did their counterparts in Egypt. Holy Land Jews appeared to have been far more concerned with keeping their traditions and faith. One reason may be because they were close to the temple and were constantly influenced with Greek paganism. Ironically, those living in Babylon were more faithful to biblical Judaism than were their counterparts in Jerusalem who had developed the Oral laws. This will be explained in more detail later.
Finally, there is an interesting legend concerning the translation work. In the Pseudepigraphical book, Letter of Aristeas is an account that states that 72 men, six from each tribe, translated the entire Hebrew Bible in 72 days. That number was rounded off to 70, which is the origin of the name “Septuagint” and its abbreviation of “LXX.” Jewish records supposedly also preserved the names of the 72 scholars. However, the work took several decades, not seventy-two days. Incidentally, since the Letter refers to all twelve tribes, obviously the so-called “ten lost tribes” were not lost.
 See 02.02.01.V for more information on this subject.
. Soderlund, “Septuagint.” 4:401-03. See also a brief discussion by Dr. Petra Heldt at 02.04.01.V.
. Soderlund, “Septuagint.” 4:402-04.