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The apostle Paul often quoted from the “Septuagint”
The “Septuagint” was understood by many people to whom Paul preached
The Septuagint is the common term for the Old Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The word means “seventy” and is frequently shortened by using the Roman numeral LXX, which is a reference to the tradition 72 Jewish translators (rounded off), who are alleged to have produced a version in the time of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.E.). The first five books of Moses being done around 280 B.C.E., with the rest being completed by 150 B.C.E. As a result, the name Septuagint came to denote the complete Hebrew Scriptures translated into Greek.
Acts 8:26-38 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; who had come to worship in Jerusalem, 28 and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:
“He was led as a sheep to slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
33 In his humiliation was taken away.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
34 And the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I beg you, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he declared to him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.
The Eunuch court official was an influential man, who was in charge of the treasury of the queen of Ethiopia and to whom Philip preached. He was a proselyte [convert] to the Jewish religion who had come to Jerusalem to worship God. He had been reading aloud from the scroll of Isaiah (53:7-8 as our English Bible has it sectioned), and was puzzled as to who it was referring to; however, Philip explained the text, and the Eunuch was moved to the point of being baptized. The Eunuch was not reading from the Hebrew Old Testament; rather he was reading from the Greek translation, known as the Greek Septuagint. This work was very instrumental to both Jews and Christians in the Greek-speaking world in which they lived.
WHAT IS THE SEPTUAGINT
There are currently over 2000 classified manuscripts of the Greek Septuagint. The Septuagint is the oldest translation from the original language of biblical Hebrew, and it has more significant deviations from the Masoretic Text (MT) than all other versions combined. The Pentateuch (Genesis – Deuteronomy) was translated first between 280-240 B.C.E. The rest of the books were translated between 240-150 C.E. Later translators used that OG Original Greek Pentateuch as a sort of lexicon to have Greek equivalents for certain Hebrew words. If you see the siglum OG Original Greek, this is scholars trying to distinguish between the original translation of the Septuagint (280-150 B.C.E.) from the later translations and revisions. The name Septuagint can refer to the original translation from the Hebrew into Greek and sometimes the term is used to refer to all later Greek translations and revisions. Some making translations of the Hebrew text into Greek had access to the OG translation and were aware of the differences with the standardized Hebrew text, and so, some endeavored to make corrections in the Greek text to bring it in alignment with the protomasoretic text. Others, instead, attempted to do what they felt was a better translation than the translators of the OG translation.
The kaige revision, or simply kaige, is the group of revisions to the Septuagint made in order to more closely align its translation with the proto-Masoretic Hebrew. … The individual revisions characteristic of kaige were first observed by Dominique Barthélemy in the Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever. The kaige revision wrote out the Tetragrammaton, God’s personal name (JHVH) in Paleo-Hebrew script. The kaige revision is, at times, also called kaige-Theodotion because it has shared readings with Theodotion. This is a good place to explain that the Jews loved the Greek Septuagint and they initially saw it as being just as inspired as the original Hebrew books were. However, the Christians were drawn to the Septuagint as well. In the late first century and second century, these Christians used the Greek Septuagint apologetically in debates with Jews. Well, the Jews grew suspicious of the Greek Septuagint that they once saw inspired. They dropped the Greek Septuagint and returned to their Hebrew text, which ended up being a good thing. This also brought about three different Greek translations that rival each other.
Aquila of Sinope was a translator of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, a Jewish proselyte, and disciple of Rabbi Akiva. Aquila, also called Akilas, (flourished 2nd-century C.E.), a scholar who in about 150 C.E. completed an extremely literal translation into Greek of the Old Testament; it replaced the Septuagint (q.v.) among Jews and was used by the Church Fathers Origen in the 3rd century and St. … Jerome in the 4th and 5th centuries. It was so literal that he would use the same Greek word for the same Hebrew word in every instance even if the context demanded otherwise. Without having knowledge of the Hebrew text that lies behind it it is very much difficult to understand.
Symmachus (/ˈsɪməkəs/; Greek: Σύμμαχος “ally”; fl. … late 2nd century) was a Samaritan that converted to Judaism, who would then translate the Old Testament into Greek. His translation was included by Origen in his Hexapla and Tetrapla, which compared various versions of the Old Testament side by side with the Septuagint. It is thought that he used Aquila in his efforts to make his translation but unlike Aquila, he sought to be more varied in his use of the vocabulary to communicate more clearly in Greek.
Theodotion (/ˌθiːəˈdoʊʃən/; Greek: Θεοδοτίων, gen.: Θεοδοτίωνος; died c. 200) was a Hellenistic Jewish scholar, perhaps working in Ephesus, who in c. 150 CE translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek. … In the 2nd century, Theodotion’s text was quoted in The Shepherd of Hermas and in Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho. The literalness of his version was between Aquila and Symmachus. He left some difficult Hebrew words untranslated. Many believe that he was also using the kaige revision, mention above because many of his readings were actually known before he lived.
Origen (184-253 C.E.) brings us to the next stage in the history of the Greek OT. The Hexapla (Ancient Greek: Ἑξαπλᾶ, “sixfold”) is the term for a critical edition of the Hebrew Bible … Origen’s eclectic recension of the Septuagint had a significant influence on the Old Testament text in several important manuscripts, such as the
Lucian of Antioch (240-312 C.E.) is credited with a critical recension of the text of the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament, which was later used by Chrysostom and the later Greek fathers, and which lies at the basis of the textus receptus. “This revision was a stylistic update of an existing Greek text that was not Origen’s edition in the fifth column of the Hexapla. Like Theodotion, it contains distinctive readings that were known long before Lucian lived in the fourth century. We call this earlier Greek text proto-Lucian. The Lucianic revision tends to fill in gaps in the Greek text (in comparison with the Hebrew MT), adds clarifying elements, and corrects grammatical difficulties. It is a full text, and less woodenly literal than the previous translations and revisions.” – Brotzman, Ellis R.; Tully, Eric J.. Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction (pp. 70-71). Baker Publishing Group.
Ellis R. Brotzman,
Therefore, there were five stages in the development of the Septuagint as a group of Greek translations. First, there was an original translation (Old Greek) of the Pentateuch and then the rest of the OT. Second, there were early revisions of the Greek text (proto-Lucian and kaige-Theodotion). Third, the translations/ revisions of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion were completed. Fourth, Origen included the preceding work along with his own revision in the Hexapla. Finally, Lucian completed a new revision (see image above). The Septuagint “was produced by many people unknown to us, over two or three centuries, and almost certainly in more than one location. Consequently, the Greek OT does not have the unity that the term the Septuagint might imply.” – Brotzman, Ellis R.; Tully, Eric J.. Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction (pp. 71-72). Baker Publishing Group.
The collection of compositions commonly known as the Septuagint is an ancient translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Jewish Scriptures, into Greek. Although there are many English translations of the Bible, only a few English translations of the Septuagint exist. Most English translations of what Protestant Christians call the “Old Testament” are translations from Hebrew and Aramaic, because these are the languages in which these books of the Bible were originally written. By contrast, the Septuagint is, for the most part, itself a translation of these Hebrew and Aramaic biblical books into Greek.
And yet, the Septuagint itself should be studied—and therefore translated—because of the important role it plays in biblical studies. More often than not, when the New Testament writers quote the Jewish Scriptures, they quote the Septuagint. Other early Christian literature does the same, including the apostolic fathers, post-New Testament extracanonical material, and later patristic writings. Not only is it likely that the Septuagint was the Bible of the apostle Paul, it was probably also the one consulted by Josephus, Clement of Rome, Clement of Alexandria, and perhaps even John Chrysostom.
Did the New Testament Authors Really Quote the Greek Septuagint Rather than Hebrew Texts?
It had been thought by scholars prior to 1947 that the differences in the LXX were the result of errors on the part of the scribes, even possibly intentional alterations by the translators. When the Dead Sea Scrolls became known, it was revealed that these differences were due to the variations of the different Hebrew versions. Ellis R. Brotzman and Eric J.Tully write, “Perhaps the most significant aspect of the Qumran biblical manuscripts is their witness to variant readings that were previously found only in early translations, such as the Greek Septuagint. Before the discovery of the scrolls, scholars could not be certain that the readings reflected true variants since it was always possible that they had been introduced by the translator in the translation process. But the Qumran scrolls demonstrate that many of these differences in the versions point to variants in the Hebrew tradition.” – (Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction (p. 27). Baker Publishing Group) Brotzman and Tully go on to say, “… There was real textual variety in this period and that the text form that would later form the basis of the standardized MT was only one of many. Some of the scrolls at Qumran closely parallel this “proto”-MT. Other Qumran manuscripts are similar to the textual tradition of the Septuagint or the Samaritan Pentateuch.” (p. 27)
This could possibly explain why writers from the New Testament quote from the Hebrew Bible texts using wording different than the MT (Exodus 1:5; Acts 7:14) In other words, it isn’t that the NT authors are preferring the Greek Septuagint over the Hebrew Old Testament text of the day per se, but rather the quotation, paraphrase, or reference to a verse(s) from the OT is the same as the Greek Septuagint that was translated from a Hebrew text that reads differently than the Proto-Masoretic Text (later Masoretic Text), were variants found in other Hebrew Old Testament texts of the day that we do not have today.
The Septuagint continues to be very much important today and is used by textual scholars to help uncover copyists’ errors that might have crept into the Hebrew manuscripts either intentionally or unintentionally. However, it cannot do it alone without the support of other sources. While the Septuagint is the second most important tool after the original language texts for ascertaining the original words of the original Hebrew text, it is also true that the LXX translators took liberties at times, embellishing the text, deliberate changes, harmonizations, and completing of details. So, how do we explain when we have a reading in the Hebrew Masoretic Text that all translations accept as being the original reading but the Greek Septuagint has a different reading in its place that translators reject as a variant (corrupt reading), yet the New Testament author quotes the Septuagint reading, which the same translators take as the preferred original reading that is in opposition to the accepted Hebrew Old Testament reading?
- The Hebrew Masoretic Text has Moses writing ______________. All Bible translations accept this as the original reading.
- The Greek Septuagint has Moses writing ______________. All Bible translations reject this as the original reading. It is considered corruption.
- The New Testament author quotes this verse and has Moses writing _____________, which is the Septuagint reading that is considered corrupt for the Hebrew text.
- All Bible translations reject this corruption of the Septuagint when it comes to the original Hebrew reading but accept it as the original reading for the New Testament author. In other words, did the New Testament author use a corrupt reading? Did the New Testament author make a mistake? Did the Holy Spirit make a mistake? No.
Many modern-day scholars do not accept that the Bible authors were inspired (2 Tim. 3:16-17), that they were moved along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21) They do not believe that the originals were fully inerrant, infallible. Thus, they will argue things such as the New Testament author used different sources, or he only had access to the Septuagint or they quoted from memory instead of consulting the OT, or he used a corrupt manuscript or translation problems when going from Hebrew or Aramaic to the Greek or whether the NT author had access to the different recensions of the Greek OT. Of late, the argument from the scholars is that the differences arise because when the NT author is quoting, he is allegedly incorporating into the quote his own application or interpretation of the text. Then, there is the why is the NT authors are quoting the OT authors for four different reasons. (1) The NT author quotes the OT in the same sense as it was used in the OT. (Matt. 4:4, 6, 7, 10; Luke 4:4, 8, 10, 12 quoting Deut. 8:3; Ps. 91:11; Deut. 6:16; 6:13) (2) The NT author is quoting an OT text that was vague enough for its original application that the NT author could use it in some new event of his day. (Matthew 4:15–1 from Isa. 8:22-9:1) (3) The NT author has the license to deliberately abandon the OT context for a new situation or purpose. (Romans 2:23–2 quotes Isaiah 52:5) (4) The NT author uses an eschatological (last days) text to reaffirm the event was still in the future. (Romans 9:26–27 quotes Isaiah 59:20–21 and 27:9) (Walter C. Kaiser Jr., 2001, p. 8) This discussion is a very complex one that is not really addressed well or from a Christian apologetic mindset, in that the New Testament author had what God had intended him to have. What the NT author penned was perfect and in complete harmony with the Old Testament original as well. It can be as simple as what the NT author penned was corrupted very early in the copying process so the weightiest manuscript witnesses that give us the view that the error was the original reading is misleading and that is the very reason later copyists or versions changed it to what they too believed was the likely original reading. Or, there could be any number of reasonable reasons depending on which quotation that we are referring to in our investigation. Again, repeating above, the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit that many of these differences were actually due to variations in the Hebrew text. This is possibly why we have NT authors and early Christians quoting the Hebrew Scripture texts using wording that differ from the Masoretic text.
Not having the evidence one needs to make a beyond a reasonable doubt decision does not mean that there is no evidence that may come to light one day or that has been lost to the sands of time. It may very well have existed. The primary materials used to receive writing in ancient times were papyrus and parchment. These were used by Bible authors and copyists. While parchment is far more durable than papyrus, it will also perish in due course if mishandled or exposed to the elements (temperature, humidity, and light) over time. Parchment is made from animal skin, so it too is also a victim of insects. Hence, when it comes to ancient records, Everyday Writing in the Graeco-RomanEast states, “survival is the exception rather than the rule.” (R. S. Bagnall 2009, 140) Think about it for a moment, the Bible and its special revelation could have died from decay in the elements. (See How Did Our Bible Manuscripts Survive the Elements?)
Simply put, having no perfect solution does not mean that there is no perfect solution, it merely eludes us at this time. We have resolved thousands of textual variants establishing the Greek New Testament text to a mirror-like image of the original. Right now we can put the rendering in the main text that has the best evidence even if it might not be what the author originally penned and then place the variant reading in a footnote explaining the circumstances. Out of 138,000+ Greek New Testament words, we have maybe a handful of these issues. Nevertheless, nothing is lost because the original reading that only God knows, in this case, will be either in the main text or a footnote, so nothing is lost.
Whenever we find a difficulty like this, simply acknowledge it because there is no real difficulty when you have the original reading in the main text or in a footnote. Do not try to hide it or cover over it with some contorted explanation. Do not for a moment assume that there is no solution just because you have found none at this time. Do not let these difficulties cause you any doubt, no matter how unanswerable they may seem or how insurmountable it looks at first sight. The Bible had a 1,400-year period where copyists’ errors slipped into the text and it still withstood the test of time, impacting hundreds of millions of lives just as God had intended. Moreover, following the corruption era, we had 500 years where hundreds of textual scholars gave their lives to give us a restored text.
How the Greek Septuagint Came About
What contributed to the Hebrew Old Testament being translated into Greek and when and how did it occur? What was the need that brought the Septuagint about? How has it affected the Bible throughout these last 2,200 years? What impact does the Septuagint still have for the translator today?
In 332 B.C.E., Alexander the Great had just finished destroying the Phoenician city of Tyre, and was now entering Egypt, but was received as a great deliverer, not as a conqueror. It was here that he would found the city of Alexandria, bringing mankind one of the great learning centers of all time in the ancient world. The result of Alexander’s conquering much of the then known world was the spread of Greek culture and the Greek language. Alexander himself spoke Attic Greek, which was the dialect that spread throughout the territories that he conquered. As the Attic dialect spread, it interacted with other Greek dialects, as well as the local languages, resulting in what we call Koine Greek or common Greek spreading throughout this vast realm.
By the time of the third century B.C.E., Alexandria had a large population of Jews. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and exiled its people to Babylon centuries before. Many Jews had fled to Egypt at the time of the destruction. The returning Jews in 537, were scattered throughout southern Palestine, migrating to Alexandria after it was founded. The need of a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures arose out of the necessity for the Jews in their worship services and education within the Jewish community of Alexandria.
Many of the Jews in Alexandria could no longer understand the Hebrew language, with others simply letting it grow out of practice. Most could only speak the common Greek of the Mediterranean world. However, they remained Jews in custom and culture and wanted to be able to understand the Scriptures that affected their everyday lives and worship. Therefore, the time was right for the production of the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Aristobulus of Paneas (c. 160 B.C.E.) wrote that the Hebrew law was translated into Greek, being completed during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.E.). We cannot be certain as to what Aristobulus meant by the term “Hebrew law.” Some have suggested that it encompassed only the Mosaic Law, the first five books of the Bible while others suggested that it was the entire Hebrew Scriptures.
Beginning of the Letter of Aristeas to Philocrates. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 11th century.
Letter of Aristeas
This Greek writing is allegedly a letter written by Aristeas, who was a high official in the court of Ptolemy II in Alexandria. It was sent to Jerusalem in order to secure a copy of the Jewish Law together with a group of seventy-two scholars who would translate the Law from Hebrew to Greek. The recipient is Philocrates, about whom nothing is said except that he was a brother of Aristeas. The alleged purpose of the book is to tell the story of the translation of the Septuagint.
The book contains a delightful story. Demetrius of Phalerum, head of the great library in Alexandria, suggests to the king that a translation be made of the Hebrew Law. The king writes to the high priest Eleazar in Jerusalem requesting him to send seventy-two scribes to perform the work of translation. He sends rich gifts for the temple in Jerusalem. The story includes a description of the Holy City. Eleazar delivers an apologetic for the Law. When the translators come to Alexandria, they are feted in a series of royal banquets. The king plies the scribes with philosophical questions, and they answer with amazing wisdom. Then they are taken to the island of Pharos in the harbor of Alexandria where they set to work. Demetrius compares their work every day and writes down a consensus. They complete the work in seventy-two days. It is then read to the Jews, who laud it. When it is read to the king, he is greatly impressed and expresses wonder as to why it has not been mentioned in earlier Greek literature. Demetrius says that earlier authors were divinely restrained from mentioning it. Finally, the translators are sent home bearing rich gifts.
It is obvious that this beautiful story is fictional, although it has a core of reliable information. Aristeas and Philocrates are not known in other historical literature. Furthermore, the Letter of Aristeas itself reflects a knowledge and usage of the LXX. The work also bears obvious unhistorical traits. For example, an Egyptian king would not attribute his throne to the Jewish God (37). The author, however, seems to be thoroughly familiar with the technical and official language of the court and of Alexandrian life and customs.
The purpose of the book is fairly obvious. It is a piece of Hellenistic Jewish apologetic writing designed to commend the Jewish religion and law to the Gentile world. The book emphasizes the honors showered on the seventy by the Greek king. High praise is accorded to Jewish wisdom by heathen philosophers. It explains the failure of Greek historians and poets to mention the Jewish law. The apology of Eleazar on the inner meaning of the law tries to interpret in meaningful categories the Jewish distinction between clean and unclean things. The Jews are said to worship the same god as the Greeks but under a different name. Zeus is really the same as God (16).
The book is really not a true letter but belongs to the genre that may be called belles lettres. It falls in the Greek literary and artistic traditions rather than in the Semitic pattern. This governs its purpose, which is not to impart sound historical information but to produce a general ethical effect. The book is therefore far more important as a reflection of Jewish life and culture in the 2nd cent B.C. than as an account of the formation of the LXX. Thus very little attention is actually given to the work done on the LXX. We know that in the 2nd cent. B.C., before anti-Semitism had raised its head, a large colony of Jews lived in Alexandria, and the work reflects the fact that they were enthusiastically embracing Hellenistic culture, social usages, literary forms, and philosophical beliefs so far as they did not directly oppose their central religious tenets.
The date of the book is an almost insoluble problem. Scholars date it variously from 200 b.c. to 63 b.c. Perhaps an estimate of about 100 b.c. will suffice. While some scholars think that the LXX involved a protracted development, this letter may reflect the fact that at some time an official translation was made.
Useful in the First Century
The Septuagint was put to use at great length by Greek-speaking Jews both prior to and throughout first-century Christianity. Just after Jesus ascension, at Pentecost 33 C.E., almost a million Jews customarily gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover and Festival of Weeks, coming from such places as the districts of Asia, Egypt, Libya, Rome, and Crete, places that spoke Greek. There is little doubt that these were using the Septuagint in their services. (Acts 2:9-11) As a result, the Septuagint played a major role in spreading the Gospel message in the Jewish and proselyte communities. For example, we can look to Stephen.
Acts 6:8-10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, both Cyrenians and Alexandrians and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they were not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.
In his defense, Stephen gave a long history of the Israelite people, and at one point he said,
Acts 7:12-14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers the first time. 13 On the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and the family of Joseph became known to Pharaoh. 14 And Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all.
This account comes from Genesis chapter 46, verse 27, which reads, “All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.” The Hebrew Old Testament reads seventy, but it is the Septuagint that reads seventy-five. Therefore, Stephen was referencing the Septuagint in his defense before the synagogue of the Freedmen.
The Apostle Paul traveled about 10,282 miles on his missionary tours, which brought him into contact with Gentiles, who feared the God of the Bible and the devout Greeks who worshiped God. (Acts 13:16, 26; 17:4) These became worshipers or fearers of God because they had access to the Septuagint. The Apostle Paul used the Septuagint quite often in his ministry, and his letters.–Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:8
The Greek New Testament contains about 320 direct quotations, as well as a combined 890 quotations and paraphrases from the Hebrew Old Testament. Most of these are from the Septuagint. Therefore, those Septuagint quotes and paraphrases became a part of the inspired Greek New Testament. Jesus had said, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) He had also foretold, “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world.” (Matt 24:14) For this to take place, it had to be translated into other languages, to reach the people earth wide.
Still Beneficial Today
The Septuagint’s great purpose today is the light that it sheds on textual variants that crept into the Hebrew Old Testament text, as it was being copied throughout the centuries. An example of this can be found in Genesis 4:8, which reads,
Genesis 4:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 Cain said to Abel his brother. “Let us go out into the field.” And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
The portion “let us go out to the field” is not in the tenth century C.E. Hebrew manuscripts. However, it is found in the earlier Septuagint manuscripts, as well as the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate. First, the Hebrew that is used to introduce speech [yomer, “to say something”] is in the Hebrew text, “Cain Spoke.” However, no speech follows in the Hebrew text. Many scholars argue that these words were in the original Hebrew text, but were omitted accidentally very early. Second, a few others, on the other hand, claim that the Hebrew that is used to introduce speech [yomer, “to say something”] is used in three other passages, with nothing being said. Therefore, they maintain that the more difficult and shorter reading is original, which would mean that the Greek translators added the words to complete the meaning. This book supports the first textual argument, along with the majority of scholars. Herein, we see how the Septuagint can help in identifying textual errors that may have crept into the Hebrew text over centuries of copying.
The text of the LXX is largely close to that of the Masoretes and Vulgate. For instance, Genesis 4:1-6 is identical in both the LXX, Vulgate and the Masoretic Text. Similarly, Genesis 4:8 to the end of the chapter is the same. There is only one visible difference in that chapter, at 4:7
|Genesis 4:7, LXX and English Translation (NETS)||Genesis 4:7, Masoretic and English Translation from MT (Judaica Press)||Genesis 4:7, Latin Vulgate and English Translation (Douay-Rheims)|
|οὐκ ἐὰν ὀρθῶς προσενέγκῃς, ὀρθῶς δὲ μὴ διέλῃς, ἥμαρτες; ἡσύχασον· πρὸς σὲ ἡ ἀποστροφὴ αὐτοῦ, καὶ σὺ ἄρξεις αὐτοῦ.||הֲלוֹא אִם תֵּיטִיב שְׂאֵת וְאִם לֹא תֵיטִיב לַפֶּתַח חַטָּאת רֹבֵץ וְאֵלֶיךָ תְּשׁוּקָתוֹ וְאַתָּה תִּמְשָׁל בּוֹ:||nonne si bene egeris recipes sin autem male statim in foribus peccatum aderit sed sub te erit appetitus eius et tu dominaberis illius|
|If you offer correctly but do not divide correctly, have you not sinned? Be still; his recourse is to you, and you will rule over him.||Is it not so that if you improve, it will be forgiven you? If you do not improve, however, at the entrance, sin is lying, and to you is its longing, but you can rule over it.||If thou do well, shalt thou not receive? but if ill, shall not sin forthwith be present at the door? but the lust thereof shall be under thee, and thou shalt have dominion over it.|
However, the Hebrew text is the foundation and most trustworthy text. Thus, it is used to correct the Septuagint text as well. It is by the comparison of the Hebrew manuscripts, and the many early versions that we discover any textual errors, and establish the original reading. This can give us confidence that we are reading the Word of God. Old Testament textual scholar, Paul D. Wegner writes,
The job of the textual critic is very similar to that of a detective searching for clues as to the original reading of the text. It is reminiscent of the master detective Sherlock Holmes who could determine a number of characteristics of the suspect from the slightest of clues left at the crime scene. In our case, the “crime scene” is the biblical text, and often we have far fewer clues to work from than we would like. Yet the job of the textual critic is extremely important, for we are trying to determine the exact reading of a text in order to know what God has said and expects from us.
We have complete copies of the Septuagint that go back to the fourth century C.E., and many other fragments that date much earlier. Some of these do contain the divine name, Jehovah (JHVH/YHWH). This is represented in the Hebrew text with what is known as the Tetragrammaton. What these copyists have done is to substitute the divine name or Tetragrammaton with the Greek words for “God” and “Lord.” However, with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, were the discovery of a leather fragment scroll that contained the minor prophets (Hosea through Malachi), written in Greek. These have been dated to the time between 50 B.C.E. and 50 C.E. In these Greek Old Testament texts were the Tetragrammaton. Thus, in the earlier Septuagint version, they retained the divine name.
(1) LXXP. Fouad Inv. 266 renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in square Hebrew characters in the following places: De 18:5, 5, 7, 15, 16; 19:8, 14; 20:4, 13, 18; 21:1, 8; 23:5; 24:4, 9; 25:15, 16; 26:2, 7, 8, 14; 27:2, 3, 7, 10, 15; 28:1, 1, 7, 8, 9, 13, 61, 62, 64, 65; 29:4, 10, 20, 29; 30:9, 20; 31:3, 26, 27, 29; 32:3, 6, 19. (first century B.C.E.)
(2) LXXVTS 10a renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in ancient Hebrew characters in the following places: Jon 4:2; Mic 1:1, 3; 4:4, 5, 7; 5:4, 4; Hab 2:14, 16, 20; 3:9; Zep 1:3, 14; 2:10; Zec 1:3, 3, 4; 3:5, 6, 7. (end of the first century C.E.)
(3) LXXIEJ 12 renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in ancient Hebrew characters in Jon 3:3. (end of the first century C.E.)
(4) LXXVTS 10b renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in ancient Hebrew characters in the following places: Zec 8:20; 9:1, 1, 4. (middle of the first century C.E.)
(5) 4Q LXX Levb renders the divine name in Greek letters ? (IAO) in Le 3:12; 4:27. (first century B.C.E.)
(6) LXXP. Oxy. VII.1007 renders the divine name by abbreviating the Tetragrammaton in the form of a double Yohdh in Ge 2:8, 18. (third century C.E.)
(7) AqBurkitt renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in ancient Hebrew characters in the following places: 1Ki 20:13, 13, 14; 2Ki 23:12, 16, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27. (end of the fifth century or the beginning of the sixth century C.E.)
(8) AqTaylor renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in ancient Hebrew characters (??) in the following places: Ps 91:2, 9; 92:1, 4, 5, 8, 9; 96:7, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13; 97:1, 5, 9, 10, 12; 102:15, 16, 19, 21; 103:1, 2, 6, 8. (after the middle of the fifth century C.E., but not later than the beginning of the sixth century C.E.)
(9) SymP. Vindob. G. 39777 renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in archaic Hebrew characters in the following places: Ps 69:13, 30, 31. (fourth century C.E.)
(10) Ambrosian O 39 sup. renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in square Hebrew characters (??) in all five columns in the following places: Ps 18:30, 31, 41, 46; 28:6, 7, 8; 29:1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3; 30:1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 10, 12; 31:1, 5, 6, 9, 21, 23, 23, 24; 32:10, 11; 35:1, 22, 24, 27; 36:Sup, 5; 46:7, 8, 11; 89:49 (in columns 1, 2 and 4), 51, 52. (end of the ninth century C.E.)
The year 1971 brought us the release for publication of Papyrus Fouad 266, which is a copy of the Pentateuch in the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, also a Septuagint version. It is a papyrus manuscript in scroll form. The manuscript has been assigned palaeographically to the second or first century B.C.E. The manuscript has survived in a fragmentary condition. The divine name is preserved here as well.
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 A quotation from Isaiah 53:7–8
 P45, 74 א AB C 33 81 614 vg syrp, h copsa, bo eth omit vs 37; E, many minuscules, itgig, h vgmss syrh with * copG67 arm, And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
 G. E. Ladd, “Pseudepigrapha,” ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 1041.
 “The first Christian martyr; foremost of those chosen to bring peace to the quarreling church (Acts 6:1–7) and so mighty in the Scriptures that his Jewish opponents in debate could not refute him (Acts 6:10) as he argued that Jesus was the Messiah. Saul of Tarsus heard Stephen’s speech to the Jewish Sanhedrin accusing the Jewish leaders of rejecting God’s way as their forefathers had (Acts 6:12–7:53). Saul held the clothes of those who stoned Stephen to death; he saw him die a victorious death.” (Brand, Draper and Archie 2003, p. 1534)
 Stanford University recently unveiled ORBIS, a site that lets you calculate the time and cost required to travel by road or ship around the Roman world in A.D. 200. (University 2012)
 Genesis 4:8: SP LXX It Syr inserts these bracketed words; Vg, “Let us go outdoors”; MT omits; some MSS and editions have an interval here.
 This version only encompasses the first five books, and is really a transliteration of the Hebrew text into Samaritan script, developed from the ancient Hebrew script.
 The Syriac version of the Bible, written around the 4th century.
 A Latin version of the Bible, produced by Saint Jerome in the 4th century.
 Paul D. Wegner, A Student’s Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible: Its History, Methods & Results (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 22-23.
 Hebrew name for God: a four-letter Hebrew name for God revealed to Moses, usually written JHVH or YHWH (Exodus 3:13-14). Judaism of Jesus’ day, in their traditions, regarded this name as too sacred to be pronounced. Jesus said of such traditions, “thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.” (Mark 7:13)