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Major Critical Texts and Manuscript Abbreviations of the Old Testament
AC: Aleppo Codex
AT: Aramaic Targum(s)
AQ: Aquila’s Gr. translation, second cent. C.E.
B.C.E.: Before Common Era
BHS: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Edited by Karl Elliger and Wilhelm Rudolph. Stuttgart, 1984.
B 19A: Codex Leningrad
c.: Circa, about, approximately
LXX: The Greek Septuagint (Greek Jewish OT Scriptures in general and specifically used during of Jesus and the apostles)
OG: Original Greek (Oldest recoverable form of the Greek OT (280-150 B.C.E.)
SOPHERIM: Copyists of the Hebrew OT text from the time of Era to the time of Jesus.
CT: Consonantal Text is the OT Hebrew manuscripts that became fixed in form between the first and second centuries C.E., even though manuscripts with variant readings continued to circulate for some time. Alterations of the previous period by the Sopherim were no longer made. Very similar to the MT.
MT: The Masoretic Text encompasses the Hebrew OT manuscripts from the second half of the first millennium C.E.
QT: Qumran Texts (Dead Sea Scrolls)
SP: Samaritan Pentateuch
SYM: Symmachus Greek translation, c. 200 C.E.
SYR: Syriac Peshitta
TH: Greek translation of Hebrew Scriptures by Theodotion, second cent. C.E.
VG: Latin Vulgate
NOTE: Hebrew reads right to left not left to right. So, start at the right and read back to the left, which might seem strange to the Western mind.
Zechariah 12:10 The Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC)
10 וְהִבִּיטוּ אֵלַי אֵת אֲשֶׁר־דָּקָרוּ
Zechariah 12:10 The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible (QT) Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich
*[10 And I will pour upon] the house of David, [and upon the inhabitant of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look to me whom] they [have pier]ced; and they shall mourn [for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.]
* Square brackets [ … ] surround areas lost in the scroll due to various types of damage.
Zechariah 12:10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
10 “I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication, and they will look to me whom they pierced, and they shall mourn over him, as one wails over an only child, and they will grieve bitterly over him as one weeps bitterly over a firstborn.
Zechariah 12:10 The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament: English Translation
10 καὶ ἐπιβλέψονται πρὸς μὲ
Zechariah 12:10 Brenton Septuagint Version of the Old Testament: English Translation
10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and compassion: and they shall look upon me, because they have mocked me, and they shall make lamentation for him, as for a beloved friend, and they shall grieve intensely, as for a first-born son.
Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, by E. Kautzsch and A. E. Cowley (1949 reprint), says on page 446, in footnote 1 belonging to section 138 (2) e, the following: “In Zechariah 12:10 also, instead of the unintelligible e·laʹi ēth a·sherʹ, we should probably read el-a·sherʹ, and refer the passage to this class.” In the MT the written text reads אֵלַי אֵת אֲשֶׁר (’ela ’et ’asher, “to me whom”), but the marginal note reads אַלֵי אֵת אֲשֶׁר (’ale ’et ’asher, “to the one whom.” Some of the later Hebrew manuscripts read אַלֵי אֵת אֲשֶׁר (’ale ’et ’asher, “to the one whom.” LXX reads: “to me for the reason that”; VG, “to me whom”; AQ, SYM, TH, “to the one whom.”
The Father, Jehovah God is the speaker here, the subject of this clause and the shift from the pronoun “me” to “him” in the next clause makes it sound as though God the Father was the one to be pierced instead of Jesus. (John 19:37; Rev. 1:7) In order to avoid this difficulty, some of the later Hebrew manuscripts read “look upon him whom they have pierced,” rather than “look upon me whom they have pierced.” Initially, the Hebrew manuscripts in the Keri,* or corrected reading in the margin that was to be read had “look upon him whom they have pierced;” but eventually, in some manuscripts, the marginal reading was brought up into the main body of the text itself.
* Kethib, Qere. For questionable readings of the Hebrew Bible, scribes used a Kethib (“that which is written”) notation to designate the actual reading of the text and a Qere (“that which is to be read”) notation to signify what the scribes believed to be the proper reading. (Wegner, 2006, 305)
Looking at the literal and semi-literal translations (ASV, NASB, LEB, CSB, and the UASV, as they try to remain faithful to the original text, we have “they will look to me whom they pierced.” However, the RSV and the ESV have “they look on him whom they have pierced,” Nevertheless, the oldest and best Hebrew manuscripts read “me” rather than “him.” This is also the more difficult reading, which would be the motive for change, so clearly, the scribes found this reading objectionable. Therefore, translations should reject the later scribes in favor of the more difficult reading, “they will look to me whom they pierced.” It should be noted too that no translation except the Updated American Standard Version (UASV) and the NET Bible has a footnote dealing with this difficulty. Not even the ESV study Bible.
The literal piercing took place with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and at John 19:37 the prophecy of Zechariah 12:10 is quoted and applied to Jesus: “And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on him whom they pierced.’” (UASV) Of course, no Christian who knows his Bible well would ever suggest that it was God the Father, who was actually in heaven at the time to whom Jesus was speaking when he was being executed. (Matt. 27:46; Luke 23:46) God the Father was not the one who died and then resurrected himself, it was the Son of God. Jesus “is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His [the Father’s] nature.” (Heb. 1:3, NASB) Thus, in piercing the Son, they, in essence, pierced the Father. Scripture helps us to understand this. For example, when Jesus sent out his disciples to preach he said: “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.” (Matt. 10:40) This shows us that when we receive the Son, we are receiving the Father who sent him. Similarly, to pierce Jesus was to pierce the Father who had sent him, just not in the literal sense.
- Paul D. Wegner, A Student’s Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible: Its History, Methods & Results (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 305.
- Ken M. Penner, The Lexham Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), Zec 12:10.
- Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English (New York: HarperOne, 1999), Zec 12:9–10.
- John Joseph Owens, Analytical Key to the Old Testament, vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989), 923.
- Henry Barclay Swete, The Old Testament in Greek: According to the Septuagint (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1909), Ge 11:13.
- Randall K. Tan, David A. deSilva, and Isaiah Hoogendyk, The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint: H.B. Swete Edition (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), Zec 12:10.
- Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton, The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament: English Translation (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1870), Zec 12:10.
- Biblia Sacra Juxta Vulgatam Clementinam., Ed. electronica. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005), Zec 12:10.
- Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Zec 12:10.
- David J. Clark and Howard A. Hatton, A Handbook on Zechariah, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 2002), 320–321.
- George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 365.
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