Πόλις ασεδεκ in Isaiah 19:18: a translator’s wordplay or the actual Jewish name for “Leontopolis”?
Among different explanations of the peculiar reading πόλις ασεδεκ in Isaiah 19:18, the most
probable seems to be the one that regards this expression as an allusion to עיר הצדק in Isaiah 1:26.
However, observations on the translation technique of the LXX-Isaiah make it dubious that this
allusion was created by the translator of Isaiah himself. Additionally, in Isaiah 1:26 the Hebrew
expression is translated, while in Isaiah 19:18 it is transliterated, which is a strange way of creating
an intertextual allusion.
The present paper suggests an alternative, namely that the wording of the Hebrew text of
Isaiah 1:26 may have influenced the Greek text of Isaiah 19:18 indirectly, first by becoming the
name the “Leontopolis” Jews gave to their settlement, not in the imagery of the book of Isaiah but in
the real world of Ptolemaic Egypt, and only afterwards finding its way into LXX-Isaiah. Our
analysis of the translation technique of LXX-Isaiah lends support to this scenario.