OTTC GENESIS 38:25: When Should the Translator Abandon the Hebrew Masoretic Text?

Please Help Us Keep These Thousands of Blog Posts Growing and Free for All

$5.00

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

HEBREW TEXT: Who Were the Masoretes?

EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 140 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Major Critical Texts and Manuscript Abbreviations of the Old Testament

AC: Aleppo Codex
AT: Aramaic Targum(s), paraphrases
ATJ Jerusalem Targum I (Pseudo-Jonathan) and Jerusalem Targum II (Fragmentary Targum).
ATO Targum of Onkelos (Babylonian Targum), Pentateuch.
ATP Palestinian Targum, Vatican City, Rome, Pentateuch.
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
DSS: The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible; The Lexham Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible
LXX: The Greek Septuagint (Greek Jewish OT Scriptures in general and specifically used during of Jesus and the apostles)
     OGOriginal 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.
CTConsonantal 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
SYR: Syriac Peshitta
TH: Greek translation of Hebrew Scriptures by Theodotion, second cent. C.E.
VG: Latin Vulgate by Jerome, c. 400 C.E.
VGc Latin Vulgate, Clementine recension (S. Bagster & Sons, London, 1977).
VGs Latin Vulgate, Sixtine recension, 1590.

Genesis 4:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Cain said to Abel his brother. “Let us go out into the field.”[1] And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

[1] Likely Genesis 4:8 originally included two consecutive clauses that end with the expression “in(to) the field” (bassadeh). It is most likely that the scribe’s eye skipped over the earlier expression ending with the expression “into the field” to the same word in the second instance; therefore, accidentally omitting the quotation. Clearly, the LXX, as well as the SP, SYR, and the VG have been useful in identifying this error in the Hebrew text. The odds are increased greatly that “let us go over into the field” was in the original because of it being found in such a wide number of versions, especially with the Septuagint being one of those versions.

THE LENINGRAD CODEX (B 19-A): A Precious Bible Treasure

DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP Agabus Cover BIBLICAL CRITICISM

GENESIS 38:25

ATO LXX SYR VG “cord” MT “cords” Some cords made from several twisted strands of string were sometimes used as pieces of attire. Judah, it would seem carried his signet ring on a “cord.” (Heb., פָּתִיל pathil [Ge 38:18, 25])

The primary weight of external evidence generally goes to the original language manuscripts. The Codex Leningrad B 19A and the Aleppo Codex are almost always preferred. In Old Testament Textual Criticism, the Masoretic text is our starting point and should only be abandoned as a last resort. While it is true that the Masoretic Text is not perfect, there needs to be a heavy burden of proof in we are to go with an alternative reading. All of the evidence needs to be examined before we conclude that a reading in the Masoretic Text is a corruption. 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. Genesis 38:25 would be one of those times to abandon the Hebrew text. You have the internal evidence of 38:18 and the weighty eternal evidence of Targums, the Greek Septuagint, the Syriac, and the Vulgate all supporting the rendering “cord” with the Masoretic Text alone reading “cords.”

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. Even so, it should be noted that the Septuagint manuscript of Aquila (Codex X), Symmachus (also Codex X), and Theodotion also read “according to the number of the sons of Israel.”

9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

Genesis 38:18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
18 He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” And she said, “Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and had relations with her, and she conceived by him.

Genesis 38:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She replied, “Your signet and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him.

APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot APOSTOLIC FATHERS

Genesis 38:25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
25 It was while she was being brought out that she sent word to her father-in-law, saying, “I am pregnant by the man to whom these things belong.” She also said, “Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?”

Genesis 38:25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
25 As she was being brought out, she sent to her father-in-law saying, “By the man to whom these belong, I am with child.” And she said, “Please examine to whom these are, the signet and the cord[2]and the staff.” [See also, ESV, LEB, CSB]

[2] ATO LXX SYR VG “cord” MT “cords” Some cords made from several twisted strands of string were sometimes used as pieces of attire. Judah, it would seem carried his signet ring on a “cord.” (Heb., פָּתִיל pathil [Ge 38:18, 25])

The Masoretic Text (MT) is or primary text and should be abandoned only when the weightiest evidence stands against it. Genesis 38:25 would be an example of this. Why the 2020 New American Standard Bible ignored the evidence is beyond this author.

Other Examples

Genesis 4:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Cain said to Abel his brother. “Let us go out into the field.”[3] And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

[3] Likely Genesis 4:8 originally included two consecutive clauses that end with the expression “in(to) the field” (bassadeh). It is most likely that the scribe’s eye skipped over the earlier expression ending with the expression “into the field” to the same word in the second instance; therefore, accidentally omitting the quotation. Clearly, the LXX, as well as the SP, SYR, and the VG have been useful in identifying this error in the Hebrew text. The odds are increased greatly that “let us go over into the field” was in the original because of it being found in such a wide number of versions, especially with the Septuagint being one of those versions.

Genesis 4:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
15 So Jehovah said to him, “Not so![4] Whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And Jehovah put a mark on Cain so that no one finding him would slay him.

[4] The BHS/MT, along with the KJV, ASV, NASB, and the LEB has the reading “Therefore whoever kills Cain.” This reading would suggest that God is agreeing with Cain that his punishment is too severe (vv. 13–14). On the other hand, we have a variant in the LXX, SYR, and VG, along with the ESV, NIV, NRSV, REB, and the UASV that reads “Not so! Whoever kills Cain.” In this reading, God is correcting Cain’s fearful rant in his response, not dealing with his being expelled, telling him that his punishment is not too severe. The external evidence is found in such a wide number of versions (SYR, VG), especially with the Septuagint being one of those versions.

SCROLL THROUGH DIFFERENT CATEGORIES BELOW

BIBLE TRANSLATION AND TEXTUAL CRITICISM

4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2
The Reading Culture of Early Christianity From Spoken Words to Sacred Texts 400,000 Textual Variants 02
The P52 PROJECT THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS
APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot APOSTOLIC FATHERS I AM John 8.58
English Bible Versions King James Bible KING JAMES BIBLE II
9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

BIBLICAL STUDIES / INTERPRETATION

CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM how-to-study-your-bible1
How to Interpret the Bible-1 INTERPRETING THE BIBLE how-to-study-your-bible1
israel against all odds ISRAEL AGAINST ALL ODDS - Vol. II AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT_01

EARLY CHRISTIANITY

THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST by Stalker-1 The TRIAL and Death of Jesus_02 THE LIFE OF Paul by Stalker-1
The Epistle to the Hebrews BIBLE DIFFICULTIES
THE LIFE OF Paul by Stalker-1 Paul PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL
APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot APOSTOLIC FATHERS

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS BIBLE DIFFICULTIES
The Epistle to the Hebrews Paul PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL
REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES APOLOGETICS CONVERSATION EVANGELISM
Young Christians AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT_01 EARLY CHRISTIANITY-1
INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
Jesus Paul THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK
REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES REASONING WITH OTHER RELIGIONS APOLOGETICS
REASONABLE FAITH Why Me_ FEARLESS-1
Satan BLESSED IN SATAN'S WORLD_02 HEROES OF FAITH - ABEL
is-the-quran-the-word-of-god UNDERSTANDING ISLAM AND TERRORISM THE GUIDE TO ANSWERING ISLAM.png
DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP Agabus Cover BIBLICAL CRITICISM
Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS
The Holy Spirit_02 THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

TECHNOLOGY

9798623463753 Machinehead KILLER COMPUTERS
INTO THE VOID

CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY

The Holy Spirit_02 Explaining the Doctrine of the Last Things Understaning Creation Account
Homosexuality and the Christian second coming Cover Where Are the Dead
The Holy Spirit_02 THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy
CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. II CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. III
CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. IV CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. V MIRACLES
Human Imperfection HUMILITY

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

READ ALONG WITH ME READ ALONG WITH ME READ ALONG WITH ME

PRAYER

Powerful Weapon of Prayer Power Through Prayer How to Pray_Torrey_Half Cover-1

TEENS-YOUTH-ADOLESCENCE-JUVENILE

THERE IS A REBEL IN THE HOUSE thirteen-reasons-to-keep-living_021 Waging War - Heather Freeman
 
Young Christians DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS 40 day devotional (1)
Homosexuality and the Christian THE OUTSIDER RENEW YOUR MIND

CHRISTIAN LIVING

GODLY WISDOM SPEAKS Wives_02 HUSBANDS - Love Your Wives
 
ADULTERY 9781949586053
WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD THE BATTLE FOR THE CHRISTIAN MIND (1)-1 WAITING ON GOD
ADULTERY 9781949586053 PROMISES OF GODS GUIDANCE
APPLYING GODS WORD-1 For As I Think In My Heart_2nd Edition Put Off the Old Person
Abortion Booklet Dying to Kill The Pilgrim’s Progress
WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE WAITING ON GOD WORKING FOR GOD
 
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE Let God Use You to Solve Your PROBLEMS THE POWER OF GOD
HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR BAD HABITS-1 GOD WILL GET YOU THROUGH THIS A Dangerous Journey
ARTS, MEDIA, AND CULTURE Christians and Government Christians and Economics

CHRISTIAN COMMENTARIES

Book of Philippians Book of James Book of Proverbs Book of Esther
CHRISTIAN DEVOTIONALS
40 day devotional (1) Daily Devotional_NT_TM Daily_OT
DEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS DEVOTIONAL FOR TRAGEDY
DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS 40 day devotional (1)

CHURCH ISSUES, GROWTH, AND HISTORY

LEARN TO DISCERN Deception In the Church FLEECING THE FLOCK_03
The Church Community_02 THE CHURCH CURE Developing Healthy Churches
FIRST TIMOTHY 2.12 EARLY CHRISTIANITY-1

Apocalyptic-Eschatology [End Times]

Explaining the Doctrine of the Last Things Identifying the AntiChrist second coming Cover
ANGELS AMERICA IN BIBLE PROPHECY_ ezekiel, daniel, & revelation

CHRISTIAN FICTION

Oren Natas_JPEG Sentient-Front Seekers and Deceivers
Judas Diary 02 Journey PNG The Rapture

3 thoughts on “OTTC GENESIS 38:25: When Should the Translator Abandon the Hebrew Masoretic Text?

Add yours

  1. Genesis 38:25 (ESV) As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” So, what are you saying? I’d love to understand.

    1. I chose a verse that really is simple “cord” or “cords” You will notice that the ESV you cite has “cord” instead of what the Masoretic Hebrew text has, “cords.” The Aramaic Targums, Gree Septuagint, Syriac and the Vulgate all have “cord” and only the Masoretic Text has “cords.” Moreover, Genesis 38:18, where the incident first starts, the Hebrew text has “cord.” How much evidence must mount before you abandone the Masoretic Text. This was not enough for the NASB 2020 edition.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: