NO LXX - The Fictitious Use of the so-called Greek Septuagint
Short Version - There was no pre-Christian, official and authoritative so called Greek Septuagint. What passes for the LXX today is nothing more than the Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus manuscripts, all of which were written some 250 to 300 years AFTER the New Testament was already complete.
If there had been an authoritative pre-Christian LXX in wide use and circulation, there would not have been any need for people like Jerome, Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotian, Lucian and Hesychius to make their own translations years later. There are several so called Septuagints out there and none of them agree with the others. There are only a few remaining scraps that could possibly be dated as B.C. writings, and even those sites that mention them tell us that they do not agree with other Septuagint copies. In all likelihood they are nothing more than the confused remnants of an independent individual's own attempt at a translation, just as several others did at a later date.
There are several scholars like Jerome, John Gill and John Owen who affirm that already completed N.T. quotations were deliberately placed back into the Septuagint versions to make more of them line up. And finally, for examples of how God often "quotes" Himself, see the later part of the study.
The Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles did NOT quote from a Pre-Christian LXX. This from Wikipedia article on the so called Greek Septuagint -
"The Septuagint (/ˈsɛptuədʒɪnt/), or simply "LXX", is the Koine Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, erroniously assumed to be translated in stages between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC in Alexandria. The Septuagint was most probably translated by Origen in about 300 AD. There is at least one nearly complete text of the LXX, Codex Alexandrinus. Nearly complete texts of the Septuagint are also found in the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.
The Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles did not quote from a Pre-Christian LXX, but rather Old Testament quotes within the Greek New Testament were later added to Greek Old Testament LXX. What passes today as the so called Greek LXX are bascially compilations of different Greek translations taken from Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus, which do not perfectly coincide. Many modern versions like the RSV, NIV will often reject the Hebrew readings and then tell you in a footnote: "SOME LXX versions say...." It must be noted that not all LXX versions read the same. It would be impossible to reconstruct what a pre-Christian LXX version may have looked like, even if such a thing had existed.
There are Four main points to this article. I will list them, and then expand the points in order.
#1. The Letter of Aristeas. Other sites to consult which debunk the idea of an widespread pre-Christian LXX version, and show the utter spuriousness of the Letter of Aristeas.
#2. The Bible itself contradicts the idea that God would approve of an authoritative Greek translation of the Old Testament Scriptures that would then be used by the Lord Jesus and the apostles in the making of the New Testament.
A. The Levites were guardians of the O.T. Scriptures B. "Do not go back to Egypt" C. Jots and Tittles shall not pass away D. The Hebrew language was still widely used in the time of Jesus Christ.
#3.There is no solid proof of a Pre-Christian LXX.
What is generally referred to as the LXX today is nothing more than compilations of different Greek translations taken from Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus, and these do not even agree with each other. Versions like the RSV, NIV will often reject the Hebrew readings and then tell you in a footnote: "SOME LXX versions say...." Not all LXX versions read the same. It is utterly impossible to reconstruct what an authoritative and widespread pre-Christian LXX version may have looked like, even if such a thing had existed.
#4. The LXX "quotations" and references in the Old Testament which differ significantly from the Hebrew Scriptures were taken directly from the already completed New Testament writings, and then transplanted back into the Greek O.T. translations in an effort to harmonize the different readings. This is the exact opposite view of the one held by many scholars and seminarians today.
Every New Testament "quote" can be explained by referring instead to the Hebrew texts and the manner in which God often "quotes" Himself by way of expansion, application, specificity, or explanation. Furthermore, there is not a scholar alive today who can prove otherwise.
Part Two will consist of An explanation of some of the alleged LXX readings.
These are the 4 main points I wish to cover in this article.
#1. The Letter of Aristeas - Many Bible defenders have written articles refuting the fallacious idea that the apostles and our Lord Jesus Christ quoted from a Greek translation called the Greek Septuagint, or simply referred to as the LXX.
Here are some good articles that give you a good overview of why the claims of those who promote the LXX are false.
Dr. Floyd Nolan Jones has written a very informative article dealing with the evidence and history of the alleged pre-Christian Greek translation of the Old Testament.
Likewise, David W. Daniels has written a concise and well thought out article exposing the spurious nature of the claims made for a pre-Christian Septuagint version, titled "What is the Septuagint". He goes into specific detail about the alleged Letter of Aristeas, which is the primary "historical" document used to buttress the idea that a formalized LXX was actually put together. -
Dr. Phil Stringer also has a very good article titled "Was the Septuagint the Bible of Christ and the Apostles?
And Scott Jones has written an article about the so called Greek Septuagint called "THE LXX - A MODEL OF REVERSE ENGINEERING"
Many LXX defenders who quote people like Justin Martyr, Philo, or Josephus, in support of a pre-Christian LXX version, overlook the fact that these men are merely parroting the same information found in the Letter of Aristeas. None of them have any independent evidence of a pre-Christian LXX.
#2. The Bible itself contradicts the LXX
The LXX got its name by supposedly having been written by six scholars from each of the twelve tribes of Israel who traveled to the city of Alexandria in Egypt, where they miraculously produced their Greek translation from the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. But there is a minor problem. The custodians of the Old Testament Scriptures were members of the tribe of Levi alone - not the other tribes. Not only that, but many orthodox O.T. Jews hated Paul's ministry to the Gentiles, and never would have accepted an O.T. translation made from a heathen, Gentile language. A Greek Old Testament translation into a pagan tongue and produced by the other eleven tribes in addition to the Levites is UNSCRIPTURAL and unacceptable.
2A. The Levites were guardians of the O.T. Scriptures
Malachi 2:7-8 "For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts."
The covenant of Levi was with this tribe alone, to copy and guard the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. Deuteronomy 31:24-26 "And it came to pass, when Moses made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee."
Ezra 7:6 "This Ezra went up from Babylon: and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given." Ezra was a Levite and a scribe of the law of God.
Davis's Dictionary of the Bible tells us that "the Levites were employed as scribes for the business of repairing the temple", and it refers to 2 Chronicles 34:13-15 "...and of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and porters. And...Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses. And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD."
2B. "Do not go back to Egypt"
In the book of Jeremiah God brought judgment upon the nation of Israel because of their idolatry. There was a remnant left in the land, and yet these too rebelled against God and his prophet. In Jeremiah 42 the people feign a desire to know the mind of the Lord, but in reality they wish to go their own way back into Egypt. The prophet Jeremiah clearly tells them "when ye shall enter into Egypt...ye shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach...O ye remnant of Judah, GO YE NOT INTO EGYPT; know certainly that I have admonished you this day." Jeremiah 42:13-19.
In Genesis 26:2 there was a famine in the land where Isaac dwelt, "And the LORD appeared unto him and said, GO NOT DOWN INTO EGYPT...Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee."
God delivered His people out of Egypt, and did not want them to return there. In Matthew 2:12-21 when Herod sought to kill the baby Jesus, Joseph was warned of God to take his wife Mary and the child Jesus and flee into Egypt. However this was done to fulfill the spiritual type and prophecy - "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, OUT OF EGYPT have I called my son."
This is a direct reference to Hosea 11:1 "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called MY SON OUT OF EGYPT." It is of interest that the LXX translation is wrong here. It says "out of Egypt I called HIS CHILDREN", instead of the Hebrew text which says " I called my son".
While in Egypt there is no recorded revelation given by God until He told Joseph to leave Egypt and "go into the land of Israel".
Jerusalem will be in a corrupted state in the last days. In Revelation 11:8 we read of the beast who arises to kill the two prophets sent from God. "And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom AND EGYPT, where also our Lord was crucified."
Many commentators have pointed out the great truths of the book of Genesis, which begins with the words: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The book goes on to tell of the creation of Adam in innocence, his fall, and the sad history of his descendants which ends with these final words: "in a coffin in Egypt."
The Bible itself tells us what God thinks of anything associated with the land of Egypt.
2C. Jots and Tittles shall not pass away
The Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
"Jots and Tittles" have only to do with the Hebrew written tongue. They are not found in a Greek language translation of the Old Testament Scriptures.
As David Daniels says in his article about the so called LXX - “Many scholars claim that Christ and his apostles used the Septuagint, preferring it above the preserved Hebrew text found in the temple and synagogues. But if the Greek Septuagint was the Bible Jesus used, he would not have said,
"For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matthew 5:18)
Why would Jesus not have said this? Because the jot is a Hebrew letter, and the tittle is a small mark to distinguish between Hebrew letters. If Jesus used the Greek Septuagint, His scriptures would not have contained the jot and tittle. He obviously used the Hebrew scriptures!
In addition, Jesus only mentioned the scripture text in two ways, (1) "The Law and the Prophets" and (2) "The Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms":
"And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me." Luke 24:44
The Hebrews divide their Bible into three parts: the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Jesus clearly referred to this. The Septuagint had no such division. In fact, it contains Apocryphal books interspersed throughout the Old Testament. The sequence is so hopelessly mixed up that Jesus could not possibly have been referring to it!”
I have read some articles by those who promote the so called LXX try to defend themselves claiming that the O.T. books were not out of order having the Apocryphal books mixed up among them. They tell us to look to the printed edition of Brenton’s LXX copy which does separate these books from the rest of the O.T. However Brenton’s edition of the LXX has been rearranged to make it appear more like the real Bible. You can easily see for yourself how the Apocryphal books ARE mixed up with the O.T. Scriptures by taking a look at this translation of the Septuagint by this same Mr. Brenton found online here -
God committed His O.T. words of truth only to the nation of Israel, not to the Greek, the Syrians or the Romans. "He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD." Psalm 147:19-20
Romans 3:1-2 "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."
It is supremely important to recognize the truth that God gave His inspired words in the Old Testament Scriptures in the Hebrew language and only to the nation of Israel. Any translation that rejects or departs from the Hebrew text is not the pure words of God.
The Greek Septuagint changes the Hebrew text in literally thousands of places, and omits hundreds of whole verses from the Hebrew Scriptures. It changes many numbers and names, and the book of Jeremiah alone is over one-eigth shorter that its Hebrew counterpart.
Those who defend the LXX version today are men like James White and Doug Kutilek who do not believe that any Bible or any text in any language is now the inspired, infallible, complete and inerrant word of God. They always promote the modern versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV, or Holman Standard, and all of these versions frequently reject the Hebrew texts and follow various readings of the LXX, the Syriac, or the Vulgate, and none of them do this in all the same places as any of the others. "Every man did that which was right in his own eyes." The King James Bible is the only popular Bible that consistently follows the God inspired Hebrew texts in all its readings.
If you want to know the real reasons these men promote the LXX, just listen to the words of Doug Kutilek.
"If the LXX existed in the days of Christ and the Apostles, and if Christ and the Apostles often quoted from it as authoritative , and if the LXX is demonstrably a less-than-perfect translation of the Hebrew text (as it admittedly is), then we have a clear case of Jesus and the Apostles making good use of and deriving spiritual profit from an uninspired, imperfectly preserved translation. In short, the example of Christ and the Apostles in their use of the LXX version of the OT demonstrates that it was not necessary that they--or we--have an “infallible and inspired, perfectly preserved” translation before they could know or serve God. It is therefore not a corollary of perfect verbal inspiration that there must be perfect verbal preservation in translation. Rather, a translation that is generally good though imperfect in details can be entirely adequate. It then follows that the very foundational premise of KJVOism--that we must have, and therefore do have such an inspired and infallible Bible translation in the KJV--is exposed as entirely bogus, a sham, a fraud."
Mr. Kutilek then goes on to give us his "opinion" about the LXX, and you will notice his opinion is different than many others in his "No Bible is Inspired" camp. He says (caps are mine) : “My own OPINION, on the controversial part of the subject, may be given in a few words: I believe that the five books of Moses, the most correct and accurate part of the whole work, were translated from the Hebrew into Greek in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, about 285 years before the Christian era; that this was done, not by seventy-two, but PROBABLY by five learned and judicious men, and that when completed it was examined, approved, and allowed as a faithful version, by the seventy or seventy-two elders who constituted the Alexandrian Sanhedrim; and that the other books of the Old Testament were done at different times by different hands, as the necessity of the case demanded, or the providence of God appointed. IT IS PRETTY CERTAIN, from the quotations of the evangelists, the apostles, and the primitive fathers, that a complete version into Greek of the whole Old Testament, PROBABLY called by the name of the Septuagint, was made and in use before the Christian era; but IT IS LIKELY that some of the books of that ancient version are now lost, and that some others, which now go under the name of Septuagint, were the production of times posterior to the incarnation.” - Doug Kutilek
Well, there you have it. I was somewhat amazed that Mr. Kutilek would be so out in the open about what his real agenda is, but those are his own words. He has no infallible Bible and promotes the idea that what we have is a diverse ballpark collection of "generally good though imperfect ...adequate translations." Is this what you read in your Bible?
2D. The Hebrew language was still widely used in the time of Jesus Christ
Dr. Norman Golb demonstrated the fact that the majority of the poetry at Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls site) was written in Hebrew. This shows that the Hebrew language was very much in use during the time of the Lord Jesus and the apostles. "Who Wrote The Dead Sea Scrolls? The search for the secret of Qumran"; Dr. Norman Golb ISBN 0-02-544395-x
Dr. Golb states (caps are mine): "We must thus observe, as a notable example, how the 'Paean to Alexander Jannaeus' - one of several Jewish historical personalities mentioned in the scrolls - emerges as the work of a Palestinian poet who took pride in that ruler's reign and had a conception of the overall unity of the Jewish nation, both in Palestine and in the widespread Diaspora that already existed long before the destruction of the Second Temple. The hymn is one small fragment among MANY HEBREW POEMS found in the caves that have no sectarian bias. From it, as from others, we may note the lyrical RICHNESS OF ANCIENT HEBREW UP TO THE VERY DESTRUCTION OF THE Second Temple in A.D. 70; and we observe that virtually all of this poetry, as well as OVER THREE QUARTERS OF THE PROSE TEXTS, WAS COMPOSED IN HEBREW, disproving the view that Aramaic had overtaken Hebrew as the main language of the Jews in Palestine in the first century A.D."
Did the Messiah Speak Aramaic or Hebrew (Part 4) by E.A.Knapp
Of the Biblical scrolls found at Qumran the vast majority were in Hebrew....
Among the non-Biblical texts found at Qumran about 120 are in Aramaic. All of the hundreds of remaining non-Biblical texts are in Hebrew. This came as a big surprise for scholars who presumed that Hebrew was not a living language by that time in history. Furthermore, this Qumran Hebrew is not exclusively the Classical Biblical Hebrew style of the Bible. On the contrary, these scrolls are mostly original Hebrew compositions showcasing later stages of Hebrew, including scrolls like the Copper Scroll, which exemplifies Mishnaic Hebrew. This wide array of previously unknown literature reveals that Hebrew was clearly a vibrant living language in the first century C.E.
And from Part 1, two excepts:
Josephus, a Jewish contemporary of the New Testament authors who also wrote in Greek, uses the words for both “Hebrew” (Εβραιστι) and “Aramaic” (Συριστι) in his writings and distinguishes between them with casual precision, so we know that Hebrew and Aramaic were both extant and distinct from one another. It also seems evident that knowledge of “Hebrew” was not something specialized and restricted to the educated elite. Quite to the contrary, Paul, for example, actually goes before a crowd and publicly makes his defense in Hebrew! So the New Testament says plainly that Hebrew was being written, read and spoken at the time of the Messiah. Furthermore, many places had either Hebrew names, or Aramaic names which had been absorbed into colloquial Hebrew.
... at Paul’s Damascus road encounter he was spoken to by the Lord in Hebrew. That implies either Hebrew is God’s language of choice or else the Lord was using it because it was Paul’s mother tongue." (End of quotes from E.A. Knapp.)
In his book Crowned With Glory, Dr. Thomas Holland discusses the LXX question in chapter Six. Here are a couple of his quotes:
"For years it had been thought that the Bible Christ used was the Greek Septuagint (also known as the LXX). The common thought was that the Jews at the time of Christ had all but lost their use of Hebrew since the international language of that day was Greek. However, with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (which will be discussed in greater detail in the following chapter), it has been established that the Jews did not lose their use of Hebrew. In fact, most of their writings (both sacred and otherwise) were written in Hebrew.
Alan Millard, Professor of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages at the University of Liverpool, England, observed that for years scholars believed that Hebrew was limited to religious usage during the time of Christ. But from the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and books written in common Hebrew among them, it can now be established that a form of Hebrew, like the Hebrew used in the Old Testament yet distinct in form, was in use during the time of Christ and the apostles."
As the aforementioned quotes demonstrate, not only did Aramaic not overtake the Hebrew, but neither did Greek.
The King James Bible translators and the so called Septuagint reference
Brother Steven Avery, a brother in the Lord Jesus Christ and an adamant defender of the King James Bible has noted the reference of the KJB translators to the LXX. He comments:
The A.V. reference to the Greek O.T. reads to me as politely and humorously dismissive, especially in light of their emphasis on translating from the Hebrew and Aramaic Tanach.
http://www.ccel.org/bible/kjv/preface/pref10.htm THE TRANSLATORS TO THE READER Neither did we run over the work with that posting haste that the Septuagint did, if that be true which is reported of them, that they finished it in 72 days; [Joseph. Antiq. lib. 12.]... the work hath not been huddled up in 72 days, but hath cost the workmen, as light as it seemeth, the pains of twice seven times seventy two days and more:
Sounds like they were very wary of the strangeness of the Aristeas fable. The one area where the Greek OT was quite helpful to them (and the Vulgate and Peshitta and other versions would help on this as well) was to have the early language cross-reference translation understanding of difficult words, often animals and plants. Here is another section from the preface.
"S. Jerome maketh no mention of the Greek tongue, wherein yet he did excel, because he translated not the old Testament out of Greek, but out of Hebrew... If you ask what they had before them, truly it was the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the Greek of the New. These are the two golden pipes, or rather conduits, where-through the olive branches empty themselves into the gold. Saint Augustine calleth them precedent, or original tongues; [S. August. 3. de doctr. c. 3. etc.] Saint Jerome, fountains. [S. Jerome. ad Suniam et Fretel.] The same Saint Jerome affirmeth, [S. Jerome. ad Lucinium, Dist. 9 ut veterum.] and Gratian hath not spared to put it into his Decree, That "as the credit of the old Books" (he meaneth of the Old Testament) "is to be tried by the Hebrew Volumes, so of the New by the Greek tongue," he meaneth by the original Greek. If truth be tried by these tongues, then whence should a Translation be made, but out of them?" - Steven Avery
#3.There is no solid proof of a Pre-Christian LXX.
Here are a few statements by Jobes & Silva, both of whom are noted LXX scholars and both of whom believed that the New Testament writers made use of the LXX - "We have NO EVIDENCE that any Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, or even of the Pentateuch, was called the Septuagint prior to the second century of this era." Jobes & Silva, Invitation To The Septuagint, p 32. (emphasis mine)
"The great task of Septuagint textual criticism is to RECONSTRUCT the pre-Hexaplaric text, which means UNDOING Origen's labor so as to rediscover the form of the Septuagint in the second century. WITHOUT GREEK MANUSCRIPTS predating Origen, however, that goal is not easily achieved." ibid, p 53.
"There really is no such thing as THE Septuagint. If the entire corpus of the Hebrew Bible had been translated at one point in history by one group of translators in one location and for one purpose, then it would be much easier to use the Septuagint as a snapshot of the history of interpretation and theological thought. However, apart from the translation of the Pentateuch (for which we have very limited information), the when, where, and who, and why of the Greek translation of other books is basically unknown." ibid, pg 89-90.
More Quotes from the experts
Eugene Ulrich is the chief editor of the biblical scrolls from Qumran, and is the John A. O'Brien Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at the University of Notre Dame.
Dr. Ulrich states: "The oldest extensive manuscripts of the Septuagint that are EXTANT are dated in the fourth century, at least A CENTURY AFTER ORIGEN, so we cannot always be certain that our Septuagint text corresponds to that of his day either in its pre-Origenic or post-Origenic form. (Ulrich, pg. 203)
"We do not, and Origen did not, have extant for any book what anyone would consider the original form of that translation. All manuscripts display a considerable amount of textual development-certainly unintentional changes, such as the well-known panoply of errors, but also intentional changes, such as clarifications, revisions, doublets, and harmizations." (ibid, pg. 211)
Dr. F. F. Bruce points out that, strictly speaking, the LXX deals only with the Law and not the whole Old Testament. Bruce writes, " The Jews might have gone on at a later time to authorize a standard text of the rest of the Septuagint, but . . . lost interest in the Septuagint altogether. With but few exceptions, every manuscript of the Septuagint which has come down to our day was copied and preserved in Christian, not Jewish, circles." (The Books and the Parchments, p.150). This is important to note because the manuscripts which consist of our LXX today date to the third century AD.
Josephus - Apparently one of the strongest evidences against there being a Greek Tanach in full at the time of the New Testament writings has been overlooked. The following links are all the same text, with different style pages.
http://www.godrules.net/library/flavius/flaviusb10c10.htm (Christian site) http://www.nalanda.nitc.ac.in/resources/english/etext-project/history/antiqjews/book-10chapter10.html http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/josephus/ant-10.htm (Peter Kirby) http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/josephus/ant10.html (Peter Kirby) http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/josephus/ant-10.htm http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-10.htm http://www.jcsm.org/StudyCenter/josephus/ant-10.htm - (Jason Gastrich)
Here is the quote by Josephus, Antiquities - Book 10, Chapter 10 (AJ 10.218) "But let no one blame me for writing down every thing of this nature, as I find it in our ancient books; for as to that matter, I have plainly assured those that think me defective in any such point, or complain of my management, and have told them in the beginning of this history, that I intended to do no more than translate the Hebrew books into the Greek language, and promised them to explain those facts, without adding any thing to them of my own, or taking any thing away from there."
Obviously, there would be little need for such a translation in Rome by Josephus in 70AD if such a translation was circulating.
Throughout history various individuals have taken upon themselves to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into various foreign languages. Well into the Christian era, there were at least five individuals who attempted a Greek translation - Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotian, Lucian and Hesychius. Yet all five versions differed not only from the Hebrew texts, but from each other as well. Other individuals translated portions of the Hebrew Scriptures into Syriac, Aramaic and the Sammaritan tongues.
When some LXX scholars claim there are a few scraps here and there of a Greek translation of "THE Septuagint" that predate the Christian era, the more likely explanation is these are nothing more than surviving pieces of individual attempts at a personal translation of the Hebrew into another language, just as they did with the Aramaic and Samaritan languages.
Here is a site that shows a very small fragment from the book of Exodus that they think dates to what they call 1st century b.c.e. (before common era) Yet you will notice that they label it as "Exodus Paraphrase" - In other words, some individual took it upon himself to "give it a shot" at giving a rough translation into Greek from the Hebrew texts. There may well have been many different individuals who made their own private attempts at translating their Hebrew Scriptures into different languages, but no proof of a widespread and widely accepted, uniform and authoritative Pre Christian Septuagint Version, much less one that was quoted by our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles. See this fragment titled "Exodus Paraphrase" here - (Sorry, the link no longer works)
Robert A. Kraft (University of Pennsylvania) has published a paper about the Greek fragments found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. How these fragments read are generally in disagreement with both the Hebrew and the present day "LXX" versions.
He notes: "The textcritical situation seems analogous to what the NT papyri have shown -- that the textual relationships prior to the imagined watershed of recensional activity in the 3rd and early 4th centuries CE are in many ways just as confused and confusing as afterwards. Of course, the materials from this early period, on rolls and early mini-codices, must be examined book by book (and sometimes even in smaller units within "books") rather than in generalized "text types," but even then clear patterns seldom emerge. Did we really expect clear patterns, given what we have learned from the Judean Desert discoveries as well as from other avenues of information about those textually tumultuous early times?"
Rather than assuming the existence of a Pre-Christian, authoritative and widespread Greek translation of the entire Old Testament which was supposedly used and quoted from by the the Lord Jesus and His apostles (and which differ significantly from anything we have now), doesn't it make more sense to see these scrapes of Greek writing as the efforts of various men trying their individual hand at a personal translation?
The sites that list some alleged Pre-Christian LXX fragments never seem to tell us exactly what portions have been found, and more importantly, whether they differ significantly from what passes as "The Septuagint" today.
The only Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures that are dated to before Jesus and the apostles are a few scraps of papyrus which contain small portions from the Penteteuch. None of these partial sections are quoted in the New Testament. These are Ryland's Papyrus, Papyrus Fouad, and four small, fragmetary pieces. No one knows who wrote them, and the scholars do not tell us IF they match any of the other LXX's or not.
The oldest piece that exists contains only parts of the following verses: Deut.23:24-31; 25:1-3; 26:12,17, 19; and 28:31-33. That's it!
The Dead Sea Scrolls and the LXX
When it comes to the Dead Sea Scrolls, it seems every "scholar" has his own opinion on things, and his opinion differs from everybody else. The vast majority of the writings found at the DSS sites were written in Hebrew. In fact, in three different types of Hebrew texts. There also were writings found in Aramaic and a very few in Greek.
To see a factual and easily verified study of how fickle and inconsistent the modern new version scholars are regarding the often wildly divergent Dead Sea Scrolls readings and how they use them or not, please see my study of Isaiah called "The Dead Sea Scrolls Fiasco" here:
It used to be quite fashionable and widely taught that the Jews had lost their use of the Hebrew language at the time of Christ. However, one thing the Dead Sea Scrolls has done is to demolish this previously held theory. The Hebrew language was very much alive and well in the time of Jesus Christ.
Also found in the DSS were texts of several books of the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha. These texts — none of which was included in the Hebrew canon of the Bible — are Tobit, Sirach, Jubilees, portions of Enoch, and the Testament of Levi, hitherto known only in early Greek, Syriac, Latin, and Ethiopic versions. Also found were Ecclesiasticus, first composed in Hebrew and later translated into Greek, and the Letter of Jeremiah, a single chapter attacking idolatry, and Psalm 151 written in Hebrew.
Many scholars, in an effort to support the idea of a Pre-Christian LXX version, make mention of a Greek translation of the 12 minor prophets found in the DSS. However, most who mention these fail to give us the whole story about this Greek minor prophets translation, but thankfully, some do.
This Site shows the Greek texts from DSS minor prophets and compares them to the existing so called LXX readings. They are quite different. There are partial textual readings taken from the Old Testament books of Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah and Zechariah
There is NOTHING at all in the DSS to prove a Pre-Christian Septuagint. The alleged 12 minor prophets in Greek were not found in Qumram but some 12 miles away and they were found with pottery and coins that date well into the Christian era. Charles Pfeiffer says in his book that the coins prove the scroll was written after 200 A.D. (Charles F. Pfeiffer - The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible, Baker Book House 1969.) This was just some guy making a translation into Greek as they also did with the Aramaic.
Scott Jones, who has examined a lot of the DSS evidence, says: "The so-called LXX quotes from the DSS, fragmentary as they are, are fictitious. They do NOT match the quotations in the LXX of Vaticanus, Sinaiticus or Codex Alexandrinus, thus proving yet again that what passes for the LXX today is not even remotely what existed prior to Christianity."
Mr. Jones continues: "Take this statement concerning the VERY fragmentary scroll of the minor prophets found at Nahal Hever -"...it preserves twenty-four FRAGMENTARY COLUMNS written in the hand of two different scribes. Moreover, THE TEXT THAT IT PRESERVES HAS DISTINCT CHARACTERISTICS THAT SET IT APART FROM THE MAIN LXX TRADITION." Jobes & Silva, Invitation To The Septuagint, p 172. (emphasis added). And further -"The order of the twelve prophets apparently follows the sequence of the MT, not the LXX codices." ibid. These 24 fragmentary columns are hardly impressive. Only half of the minor prophets are represented, and only a few verses from each one can be clearly discerned."
Mr. Scott Jones continues: "There were NO Greek LXX bibles found in Qumram and nobody has ever produced one that predates around 320 AD. The Septuagint today is in reality Vaticanus. There are 4 small texts that come from parts of Deuteronomy that they think are pre-Christian, but none of these verses were ever quoted by any apostle. I have yet to see what these fragments actually say in Greek and if they match up with the present day LXX versions."
Brother Scott Jones has recently written another article proving that what passes today as the so called LXX is nothing more than Sinaiticus and Vaticanus copies that have BACKTRANSLATED the New Testament texts into their "LXX" version. http://www.scionofzion.com/lxx_reverse_engineering.htm
Other LXX experts admit there is no actual evidence for a BC LXX. Here is Sir Frederick Kenyon: "A considerable number of MSS. exist which give information AS TO ORIGEN'S HEXAPLARIC TEXT and PARTICULAR PASSAGES in the other columns, BUT THESE DO NOT GO FAR towards enabling us to recover the LXX text AS IT EXISTED BEFORE ORIGEN; AND THIS REMAINS THE GREATEST PROBLEM WHICH CONFRONTS THE TEXTUAL STUDENT OF THE SEPTUAGINT." "The Text of the Greek Bible", Sir Frederick Kenyon, p 35.
Now comes Brenton, who edited a contemporary issuing of the LXX: "It may also be doubted whether in the year 285 BC there were Jews in Palestine who had sufficient intercourse with the Greeks to have executed a translation into that language; for it must be borne in mind how recently they had become the subjects of Greek monarchs... we must also bear in mind that we find at this period NO TRACE OF ANY VERSIONS HAVING BEEN MADE BY THE JEWS INTO THE LANGUAGES OF OTHER COUNTRIES in which they had continued for periods much longer than that of their settlement at Alexandria." Brenton's Septuagint Introduction, Zondervan, from the original 1851, p ii.
With regard to being able to recover a pre-Origenian LXX, Brenton then remarks: "The Hexapla itself is said never to have been copied: what remains of the versions which it contained (mere fragments) were edited by Montfaucon in 1714, and in an abridged edition by Bahrdt in 1769-70. The Hexaplar text of the Septuagint was copied about a half century after Origen's death by Pamphilus and Eusebius; it thus obtained a circulation; but the errors of copyists soon confounded the marks of addition and omission which Origen placed, AND HENCE THE TEXT OF THE SEPTUAGINT BECAME ALMOST HOPELESSLY MIXED UP WITH THAT OF OTHER VERSIONS." ibid, p vi.
In other words, we can't even reconstruct Origen's fifth column of the LXX, let alone a pre-Origenian Septuagint, much less a BC LXX.
WAS THERE A PRE-CHRISTIAN SEPTUAGINT?
In his book Forever Settled, Jack Moorman writes on page 13 "Paul Kahle ( a famous O.T. scholar) who has done extensive work in the Septuagint does not believe that there was one original old Greek version and that consequently the manuscripts of the Septuagint (so-called) cannot be traced back to one archtype.
His arguments can be summarized as follows:
The letter of Aristeas is mere fabrication (Kahle calls it propaganda), and THERE IS NO HISTORICAL EVIDENCE THAT A GROUP OF SCHOLARS TRANSLATED THE O.T. INTO GREEK BETWEEN 250 - 150 B.C.
The research of Paul Kahle shows that there was no single, authoritative pre-Christian LXX.
The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible
Eugene Charles Ulrich
Septuagint Origins: Hypotheses
".... Kahle, in contrast, thought that the Septuagint arose as did the targumim — from a plethora of individually produced partial translations that, after a period of multiplication, were supplanted by a single translation now endorsed by rabbinic decision as being authoritative. In 1915 he claimed that the letter, though fictionally set in the third century b.c.e., was actually written as propaganda to assure the outcome for one side of a conflict over the authority of competing Greek texts in the late second century B.C.E."
The Old Testament
"P. Kahle questioned whether what is preserved in our LXX manuscripts is a single preChristian translation or an arbitrary, almost random, selection from many oral renderings, analogous to the early Palestinian Targums. Because of the diversity of witnesses to the LXX text he maintained that there never was one original translation but rather several, designed to meet the needs of specific communities. The Aristeas story, he held, was propaganda for an official revision of earlier translations, not the description of a new one (Kahle 1959)."
Jack Moorman continues: "No one has produced a Greek copy of the Old Testament written before 300 A.D. In fact, the Septuagint "quotes" from the New Testament and not vice versa, i.e. in the matter of N.T. - O.T. quotation, the later formulators of the Greek O.T. made it conform with the New Testament Text.
In the Second part of this article, I would like to address the very interesting topic of some of the alleged LXX readings found in the New Testament.
No LXX - Part Two
Explanations of some alleged LXX quotations in the New Testament
Early testimony to the non-use of a LXX translation.
John Owen (1616-1683) is a well known Puritan theologian, pastor and prolific Bible commentator. He was a man who loved the Lord Jesus Christ and His Book. If you ever try to wade through any of his theological writings, you will immediately be impressed by his extraordinary scholarship and attention to detail. He knew his Bible.
Here is an online site that contains most of his writings. http://www.godrules.net/library/owen/owen.htm
In his massive exposition of Hebrews, John Owen makes some interesting observations regarding the relationship of the book of Hebrews to the LXX. He was well schooled in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Syriac. He possessed a vast knowledge of manuscripts and other translations. In his work on the book of Hebrews, Owen discusses each passage in great detail about the Hebrew and Greek, along with comments about the LXX translations done by Aquila, Theodotian, and Symmachus. (These last three men mentioned each attempted a Greek translation of the O.T. after the N.T. was already completed. Today, there is little left of their writings, but we know that they all three differed from each other.)
In his commentary, John Owen makes this amazing statement: "It is evident that they are exceedingly mistaken who affirm that the apostle cites all his testimonies out of the translation of the LXX, as we intimated is by some pleaded... Should he [Paul] have had any respect unto that translation [LXX], it were impossible to give any tolerable account whence he should so much differ from it almost in every quotation, as is plain that he doth... And thus, in those testimonies where there is a real variation from the Hebrew original, THE APOSTLE TOOK NOT HIS WORDS FROM THE TRANSLATION OF THE LXX, BUT HIS WORDS WERE AFTERWARDS INSERTED INTO THAT TRANSLATION... Whereas the reasons of the apostle for his application of the testimonies used by him in his words and expressions are evident, as shall in particular be made to appear, so no reason can be assigned why the LXX - IF ANY SUCH LXX THERE WERE - who translated the Old Testament, or any other translators of it, should so render the words of the Hebrew text." Exposition Of Hebrews, Vol I, Exercitation V. (CAPS are mine)
William Whitaker wrote concerning the Septuagint in 1588 saying:
"Learned men question, whether the Greek version of the Scriptures now extant be or be not the version of the seventy elders. The sounder opinion seems to be that of those who determine that the true Septuagint is wholly lost, and that the... Greek text as we have it, is a mixed and miserably corrupted document. Aristeas says that the Septuagint version was exactly conformable to the Hebrew originals, so that when read and diligently examined by skillful judges, it was highly approved by the general suffrage of them all. But this of ours differs amazingly from the Hebrew, as well in other places and books, as specially in the Psalms of David." (William Whitaker, Disputations on Holy Scripture, 1588)
Hebrews 10:5 compared to Psalm 40:6
This example is frequently brought up as being proof that the apostles used the Greek translation of the Septuagint in their New Testament quotations.
Hebrews 10:5 "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but A BODY HAST THOU PREPARED ME."
Psalm 40:6 "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; MINE EARS HAST THOU OPENED: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required."
Psalm 40:6 in the LXX "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; a BODY THOU HAST PREPARED ME." (Note: If you follow on through the rest of the present LXX translation, it will be obvious that it neither matches the Hebrew nor the New Testament quote in its entirety."
Commentary by A.W. Pink
"But a body hast Thou prepared Me." Commentators have needlessly perplexed themselves and their readers by discovering a discrepancy between these words and Psalm 40:6 which reads, "Mine ears hast Thou opened" or "digged" (margin). Really, there is no discord whatever between the two expressions: one is figurative, the other literal; both having the same sense. They refer to an act of the Father towards the Son, the purpose of the action being designed to make Him meet to do the will of God in a way of obedience. The metaphor used by the Psalmist possessed a double significance. First, the "ear" is that member of the body whereby we hear the commands we are to obey, hence nothing is more frequent in Scripture than to express obedience by hearing and hearkening. Here too the part is put for the whole. In His Divine nature alone, it was impossible for the Son, who was co-equal with the Father, to come under the law; therefore did He prepare for Him another nature, in which He could render submission to Him.
It is impossible that anyone should have ears of any use but by having a body, and it is through the ears that instruction unto obedience is received. It is to this the incarnate Son made reference when, in the language of prophecy, He declared, "He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God hath opened Mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back" (Isa. 50:4, 5). Thus the figure used in Psalm 40:6 intimated that the Father did so order things toward the Messiah that He should have a nature wherein He might be free and able to be in subjection to the will of God; intimating, moreover, the quality of it, namely, in having ears to hear, which belong only to a "body."
Psalm 40:6 KJB - Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; MINE EARS HAST THOU OPENED, burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
NIV - Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but MY EARS YOU HAVE OPENED[a]—burnt offerings and sin offerings[b] you did not require.
Notice the NIV footnote “Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts but a body you have prepared for me”. It tells us that the Hebrew text reads “my ears you have opened” but SOME Septuagint mss. read “but a body you have prepared me.”
SOME, not even all of them. There are at least 5 different Septuagints out there, and they don’t agree with each other, or with the Hebrew texts in literally thousands of words, a multitude of verses omitted and many more added.
And obviously if the Messiah had ears, then He had a body to go with them.
NASB - Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; MY EARS YOU HAVE OPENED; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Dan Wallace’s NET version paraphrases the verse, but still does not follow the reading found in SOME Septuagint mss. -
“Receiving sacrifices and offerings are not your primary concern.
YOU MAKE THAT QUITE CLEAR TO ME! You do not ask for burnt sacrifices and sin offerings.”
The Modern Greek Bible Psalms 40:6 - Θυσιαν και προσφοραν δεν ηθελησας· διηνοιξας εν εμοι ωτα· ολοκαυτωμα και προσφοραν περι αμαρτιας δεν εζητησας. = “YOU OPENED MY EARS” - διηνοιξας εν εμοι ωτα
John Owen's commentary on Hebrews 10:5
He says the translators of the LXX took the reading of the New Testament and placed it in their LXX translation! Please note that the view that the LXX translation was made AFTER the New Testament was complete is NOT A NOVEL POSITION invented by the King James Only people.
John Owen says: "There was of old a different reading in that translation (the LXX). For instead of sw~ma , “a body,” some copies have wtia , “the ears;” which the Vulgar Latin follows: an evidence that A CHANGE HAD BEEN MADE IN THAT TRANSLATION, TO COMPLY WITH THE WORDS USED BY THE APOSTLE. The words, therefore, in this place are the words whereby the apostle expressed the sense and meaning of the Holy Ghost in those used in the psalmist, or that which was intended in them. HE DID NOT TAKE THEM FROM THE TRANSLATION OF THE LXX., but used them himself, to express the sense of the Hebrew text.
For although we should not adhere precisely unto the opinion that all the quotations out of the Old Testament in the New, which agree in WORDS WITH THE PRESENT TRANSLATION OF THE LXX, WERE BY THE SCRIBES OF THAT TRANSLATION TRANSFERRED OUT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT INTO IT, — WHICH YET IS FAR MORE PROBABLE THAN THE CONTRARY OPINION, that the words of the translation are made use of in the New Testament, even when they differ from the original, — yet sundry things herein are certain and acknowledged; as, (1.) That the penmen of the New Testament do not oblige themselves unto that translation, but in many places do precisely render the words of the original text, where that translation differs from it. (2.) That THEY DO OFTENTIMES EXPRESS THE SENSE OF THE TESTIMONY WHICH THEY QUOTE IN WORDS OF THEIR OWN , neither agreeing with that translation nor exactly answering the original Hebrew. (3.) THAT SUNDRY PASSAGES have been UNQUESTIONABLY TAKEN OUT OF THE New Testament, AND INSERTED INTO THAT TRANSLATION (the LXX) which I have elsewhere PROVED BY UNDENIABLE INSTANCES. AND I NO WAY DOUBT BUT IT HATH SO FALLEN OUT IN THIS PLACE, where no account can be given of the translation of the LXX. as the words now are in it. “ John Owen’s commentary on Hebrews 10:5.
The following example is given by illustration only. There are scores of such examples found in versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV and Holman Standard versions today. To see many more of these, please see my two articles showing when these modern versions all frequently depart from the Hebrew readings, and often, not even in the same places as the others.
Genesis 47:21 - "He removed them to cities"
In Genesis 47:21 we read in the King James Bible, RV, ASV, NASB, NKJV, the Jewish translations, Young's, Darby, the Geneva Bible, and the 2003 Holman Standard versions: "And as for the people, HE REMOVED THEM TO CITIES, from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof."
However the NIV says: "JOSEPH REDUCED THE PEOPLE TO SERVITUDE". The NIV footnote then tells us that this reading comes from the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint, but that the Hebrew reads "he moved the people into the cities". The NIV's LXX text is also the reading of the TNIV, the liberal RSV, the NRSV, as well as the 2001 ESV (English Standard Version. They too have the same footnote telling us they have rejected the Hebrew text and followed some other source.
Genesis 47:31 "upon the bed's head"
In this same chapter in 47:31 the NIV again departs from the Hebrew text and mistakenly follows the Greek Septuagint. In Genesis 47: 31 we read of Jacob making Joseph sware that he would not bury him in Egypt but in the land of his fathers in their buryingplace. "And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself UPON THE BED'S HEAD."
"UPON THE BED'S HEAD" is the reading of the Hebrew texts and all Jewish translations. It is also the reading of the Revised Version, American Standard Version, the NASB, NKJV, Young, Darby and even the RSV, NRSV, the ESV and the Holman Standard. Only the NIV and the TNIV reject the clear Hebrew text here and follow the incorrect LXX reading. The NIV says "Israel worshipped AS HE LEANED ON THE TOP OF HIS STAFF."
The NIV "scholars" mistakenly applied Hebrews 11:21 to this event in Genesis 47. In Hebrews 11:21 it says "By faith Jacob, WHEN HE WAS A DYING, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon THE TOP OF HIS STAFF."
It is commonly assumed by SOME modern scholars that the writer of Hebrews quoted from the LXX's rendering of Genesis 47:31 when he penned Hebrews 11:21. In other words, the writer of Hebrews was copying the Greek LXX from Genesis 47:31.
The Hebrew text states that Jacob "bowed himself upon the bed's head." The LXX declares that Jacob "bowed himself on the top of his STAFF." Naturally, since the writer of Hebrews used the word "staff" instead of "bed's head", the THEORY is that he must be quoting the LXX .
However, if you look closely at the context in both the New Testament book of Hebrews and especially in Genesis chapters 47 through 49, we see that Jacob did not die during the events recorded in Genesis 47, where the chapter ends with the correct reading that Israel "bowed himself upon the bed's head".
In chapter 48:1 we read: "And it came to pass AFTER THESE THINGS, that one told Joseph, Behold thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim". Then the whole of chapter 48 is taken up with Jacob blessing the two sons of Joseph and all of chapter 49 with Jacob telling each of his own sons what would befall them in the last days. Then Jacob dies at the very end of chapter 49 where we read: "And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people." The NIV has placed the wrong LXX reading in the wrong place.
It should be clear that the writer of the LXX had the already completed New Testament before him when he wrote the LXX - the exact OPPOSITE of what many modern scholars assert. The writer of the LXX confused the context. He apparently thought he would help God out and prevent the Holy Ghost from making an error. So, the writer of the LXX back-translated the Greek word for "STAFF" into Genesis 47:31, based on the Greek text of Hebrews 11:21, which he had in front of him as he penned the book of Genesis in Greek.
The writer of the LXX decided he was going to harmonize Genesis with the book of Hebrews by clarifying the account in Genesis. Only he didn't pay attention to the context and thus, not only did he fail to "harmonize" the account, but in fact introduced yet another of his legions of errors into the text.
Yet, according to the THEORY, Paul and the other apostles, when trying to convert the Jews and prove that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, they supposedly used a very poor Greek translation - a document which was soundly rejected by these very Jews because it did not agree with their own Hebrew texts.
The LXX was written AFTER the New Testament was written, and some of the New Testament readings were placed back into the O.T. translation. This is what really happened.
Proof that the LXX was copied from the New Testament
Psalm 14 with Romans 3:10-18
In the epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul makes a list of Old Testament quotes showing the depravity of man and his rebellion against God. These citations are taken from various Old Testament books, and all of them can be found scattered throughout the Hebrew texts.
The Hebrew texts do NOT contain these nine verses listed one after the other in any place. Instead, they are scattered throughout the Psalms and the book of Isaiah.
3:10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
3:11 "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. "
3:12 "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
(The first three verses are taken from Psalm 14:1-3 and Psalm 53:1-3.)
3:13 "Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: (Taken from Psalm 5:9 and Psalm 140:3)
3:14 "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:" (from Psalm 10:7)
3:15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood:" (from Isaiah 59:7)
3:16 "Destruction and misery are in their ways:" (from Isaiah 59:7)
3:17 "And the way of peace have they not known:" (from Isaiah 59:8)
3:18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes." (from Psalm 36:1)
In the Hebrew texts both Psalm 14 and Psalm 53 read basically the same in the first three verses, and then the remaining content of each differs considerably. They are two different Psalms.
In the Hebrew texts, Psalm 14 reads as it does in the King James Bible. The first three verses are as follows:
Psalm 14:1-3 "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."
"The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God."
"They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
This is the reading of all Jewish translations, including the 1917 Jewish Publication Society, the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company version, the Judaica Press Tanach and the Complete Jewish Bible of 1998. So too read the Geneva Bible, the RV, ASV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NIV, NASB, NKJV and the Holman Standard. It is also highly significant that the Modern Greek O.T. now omits these extra verses too, and follows the Hebrew readings instead of the previous LXX version.
However the Greek Septuagint version greatly expands Psalm 14 verse 3, and ADDS SIX ENTIRE VERSES WORD FOR WORD taken from the New Testament book of Romans 3:13-18.
I am astounded that some would point to Psalm 14 in the LXX version, and claim that Paul was using this Greek translation when he composed the book of Romans. I guess people believe what they want to believe. Rather, it seems to me Proof Positive that the present day LXX version took the already completed New Testament writings, and transplanted them back into their Greek translation.
IF the original LXX translators had made their translation from the Hebrew texts way back in 300 B.C, as all Septuagint promoters allege, then WHERE did they get these additional six whole verses, and place them word for word in their translation of Psalm 14, when NO Hebrew text reads even remotely like this??? The simple answer is, they got them directly from Romans 3:10-18 AFTER the New Testament was already complete.
Another old translation that also contained these extra six entire verses added to Psalm 14 is the Latin Vulgate of 425 A.D. It is almost certain that the Vulgate translation got these extra verses from the Post-Christian copies of the LXX version, and there is historical evidence for this assertion. Wycliffe's version of 1395 was translated from the Latin Vulgate, as was some of Coverdale's 1535 translation, and they also contained these extra verses in Psalm 14. Today, the Catholic versions are a mixed bag. The Douay-Rheims, and the more modern Douay version of 1950 contain the extra verses, but the newer St. Joseph New American Bible of 1970, the Jerusalem Bible of 1968, and the New Jerusalem Bible of 1985 have gone back to following the Hebrew texts of Psalm 14, and have now correctly omitted these extra verses.
SUPPORT FROM AN UNEXPECTED SOURCE - ST. JEROME
In Adam Clarke's commentary on Psalm 14 he notes: "Yet IT HAS BEEN CONTENDED, PARTICULARLY BY ST. JEROME, THAT PAUL DID NOT QUOTE THEM (the verses in Romans 3:10-18) from this Psalm; but...he collected from different parts several passages that bore upon the subject, and united them here....AND THAT SUCCEEDING COPYISTS, FINDING THEM IN ROMANS INSERTED THEM INTO THE SEPTUAGINT, from which it was presumed they had been lost. It does not appear that they made a part of this Psalm in Origen's Hexapla. In the portions that still exist of this Psalm there is not a word of these additional verses referred to in that collection, neither here nor in the parallel Psalm 53."
Now keep in mind, that in working on the Latin Vulgate in 380 A.D., Jerome began to consult the Hebrew texts. Here is testimony from a learned scholar way back in 380 A.D. who held to the idea that the LXX borrowed whole verses from the already completed N.T. text, and transplanted them back into their LXX version.
CHARACTERISTICS OF ST. JEROME'S WORK
Jerome originally thought the Greek translation of Origen's Hexpla was the inspired version, but later in life he came to believe that the LXX was not inspired, but instead, it was the Hebrew texts which were the inspired words of God.
Jerome then began to write several works on the supremacy of the Hebrew texts over the various Greek translations. Jerome writes: “It would be tedious now to enumerate, what great additions and omissions the Septuagint has made, and all the passages which in church-copies are marked with daggers and asterisks [symbols indicating words present in the Greek but absent in the Hebrew, and vice versa]. The Jews generally laugh when they hear our version of this passage of Isaiah, ‘Blessed is he that hath seed in Zion and servants in Jerusalem [Is. 31.9].’ In Amos also ... But how shall we deal with the Hebrew originals in which these passages and others like them are omitted, passages so numerous that to reproduce them would require books without number?" - [ Jerome's Letter LVII]”
In Jerome's Latin Vulgate translation of 405 A.D. , he did NOT include the extra 6 verses . Psalm 14 (13 in the LXX and Latin) does not contain the additional 6 verses found in the LXX. It can be seen here:
"St. Jerome owes his place in the history of exegetical studies chiefly to his revisions and translations of the Bible. Until about 391-392 A.D., he considered the Septuagint translation as inspired. But the progress of his Hebraistic studies and his intercourse with the rabbis made him give up that idea, and he recognized as inspired the original text only. It was about this period that he undertook the translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew."
John Gill comments on Psalm 14:3 - "Here follows in the Septuagint version, ACCORDING TO THE VATICAN COPY, all those passages quoted by the apostle, (Romans 3:13-18) ; which have been generally supposed to have been taken from different parts of Scripture."
The ancient Syriac Peshitta does not add the extra verses to Psalm 14, nor did John Calvin add nor even mention the extra verses in his Latin translation or commentary. The Bishops' Bible of 1568 did not add the extra verses, nor does any other Protestant Bible I am aware of since then. If current thought about the LXX is right, and Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, "quoted" directly from the LXX version of Psalm 14 to give us Romans 3:10-18, then WHY do all modern versions OMIT these words from Psalm 14 NOW?
There are many serious theological problems associated with the acceptance of the idea that there existed a widespread and authoritative Greek translation of the Old Testament, that subsequently was used and quoted from by the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles. There are several things that smack of the serpent's "Yea, hath God said...?" Satanic spirit.
First of all, this whole notion directly implies that all the Hebrew Scriptures have been corrupted. This in fact is the position held today by most seminaries and Bible translators. All modern translations like the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV and Holman Standard frequently reject the Hebrew readings and substitute texts taken from the LXX, the Syriac or the Vulgate. Most versions like the NIV, RSV, ESV and Holman Standard tell you this in their footnotes.
This "science" of textual criticism directly contradicts the many verses in the Bible where God tells us not to add to nor take away from His inspired words. "The Scripture CANNOT BE BROKEN" - Jesus Christ (John 10:35). It contradicts the idea that God gave His Old Testament revelation ONLY to the Jews in their own Hebrew language. "Unto them were committed the oracles of God." - Romans 3:2.
For an example of how modern scholars and versions are mixed up by believing some of God's words have been lost, please see my article on 1 Samuel 13:1. - http://brandplucked.webs.com/1samuel131wordslost.htm
Secondly, the use of the LXX version in "reconstructing" the Old Testament implies that God has failed to preserve His words in an inerrant Book. ALL modern versionists, like James White, Doug Kutilek, Gleason Archer, Daniel Wallace, and most pastors today who are not King James Bible only, do NOT BELIEVE that any Bible or any text is NOW the inerrant, inspired, complete and pure word of God. Ask them. They all take the position that "only the originals were inspired", thus denying that any Bible now exists that is the inspired word of God. All we have, according to their view, is "best guess approximations" or the clichéd "reliable versions" of what God may or may not have said. Of course one man's "reliable version" may differ in thousands of words and hundreds of meanings from another man's "reliable version", but, "Hey, the Message is pretty close, isn't it?".
The modern versions pick and choose among the various and conflicting LXX readings, rejecting some and accepting others, yet not in the same places as do the others. None of them agrees with the other modern versions. "In those days there was no king in Israel: Every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Judges 21:25
Thirdly, a question that no one seems to ever ask is this: If the alleged Pre-Christian LXX version existed and was so widely spread abroad and used by countless thousands, then why, after the New Testament was completed, did at least three or four different men (Origen, Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotian) attempt to make new Greek translations between 140 A.D. and 240 A.D.? Other editions of the Septuagint were produced by Lucian of Antioch and Hesychius of Alexandria; and these editions seem to have circulated respectively in Palestine, in Syria and Constantinople, and in Egypt. The practice of revision and of local texts is well evidenced in the case of the Greek Old Testament.
If the Lord Jesus and the apostles had given their seal of approval to an already existing and widespread Pre-Christian LXX version by quoting it in the New Testament, this would have given special authority to that particular version. Then why try to overthrow it by making 5 or 6 new ones?
There are just too many Biblical principles and logical contradictions to accept the idea that an authoritative pre-Christian LXX version existed, much less was used by the Lord and the apostles. "By their fruits ye shall know them" seems to be a good principle to apply to what the fiction of the LXX has produced in the thinking of Christians today.
Matthew 21:16 compared to Psalm 8:2 "thou hast perfected praise"
This is a typical example of where the writers of a Post-Christian LXX version tried to "harmonize" the New Testament reading with the Old Testament Hebrew text.
In Matthew 21 the Lord Jesus had just cleansed the temple of the moneychangers and those that bought and sold in it. At that time some children begin to cry out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David". The chief priests and scribes were displeased with this, and asked the Lord: "Hearest thou what these say?".
Then the Lord responded: "Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast PERFECTED PRAISE?"
This is a reference to Psalm 8:2. However the Hebrew text of Psalm 8:2 does not read the same way as the New Testament "quotation".
The Hebrew text reads: "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ORDAINED STRENGTH because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger."
This is the reading found in the King James Bible, the Geneva Bible, the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, 1998, Youngs, the Hebrew Names Version, the RV, ASV, NASB, NKJV, Green's Modern KJV, and the 2001 ESV.
The word used here is # 5797 gohz, and it means "strength, power, or might", but never "praise". 'Praise' is an entirely different Hebrew word. However the LXX version reads: "out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected PRAISE."
The Hebrew word "strength" is used in such verses as Exodus 15:2 "The LORD is my STRENGTH and song, and he is become my salvation."; Psalm 29:1-2 "Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and STRENGTH. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness."; and 2 Samuel 6:14 "And David danced before the LORD with all his MIGHT."
As can be seen from these verses, there can be a logical connection between Strength and Praise. "Lord is my Strength and song", "give glory and strength...worship", "danced before the LORD with all his might". A great verse that brings this out is Nehemiah 8:10 - "for this day is holy unto our Lord; neither be ye sorry; for THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH." We find strength in hard times and against our foes, when we begin to praise God for His goodness and power.
A perfect N.T. example is when Paul and Silas were beaten, cast into prison, and their feet placed in the stocks. "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God." (Acts 16:22-25) They found great spiritual strength in the midst of their hardships by praising their God.
However the NIV translators, in an apparent attempt to harmonize the N.T. with the Old Testament, have adopted the reading found in the LXX version. The NIV 1984 edition reads: "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained PRAISE because of your enemies."
But he "new" NIV of 2011 has gone even further and has now added words not found in any single text. It says: "Through the PRAISE of children and infants you have established A STRONGHOLD against your enemies."
The new NIV 2011 has taken part of the LXX reading, and combined it with a paraphrase of the Hebrew text, and Violá, a new rendering.
Some other modern version have come up with some rather strange renderings of Psalm 8:2, which further confuse the matter. The RSV of 1952 and the NRSV of 1989 read: "by the mouth of babes and infants, thou hast FOUNDED A BULWARK because of thy foes, to still the enemy and the avenger."
However the ESV of 2001-2011, a revision of a revision or a revision, has now gone back to read the same as the King James Bible - "Out of the mouth of babies and infants YOU HAVE ESTABLISHED STRENGTH because of your foes"
The Holman Standard Version reads: "Because of Your adversaries, You have established a STRONGHOLD from the mouths of children and nursing infants, to silence the enemy and the avenger."
Dan Wallace and Company's NET version - (an ongoing train wreck)
One of the most pretentious new versions to come along is the NET version so popular among many intellectuals today. James White is beginning to quote this thing in his books too. This version is put out by the "preminent textual authority", Daniel Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary. His version actually reads: "When children and nursing babies CRY FOR HELP, YOU PROTECT THEM from your foes."
Then the good Doktor tells us in a footnote that he has emended (changed) the Hebrew text. "Heb “you establish strength because of your foes.” The meaning of the statement is unclear."
Well, perhaps the meaning is unclear to Daniel Wallace, but does this give him the right to change God's word to fit his limited understanding? I trow not.
The "QUOTES" in Scripture
Since the Lord Jesus Christ is the Author of Scripture, He has the right to change, modify, explain, or apply His own words to any situation or context He wishes. There is no need to alter either the Hebrew or the Greek texts. All we have to do is just THINK about what God is saying in both references, and then we can see the connection.
There are many Biblical examples of God, the apostles or other men "quoting" something in different words from different sections of Scripture. One clear example of God “quoting” something in this way is found in Genesis 18:12-13.
Notice exactly what Sarah says and then how God "quotes" her. "Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, "Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?" God did not give an exact quote of what Sarah had actually said; instead He uses different words to express the intent of what she had said out loud.
Another clear example of using different words to express essentially the same thing is found in 1 Samuel 15 verses 2 and 3 compared to 15:18. In verses 3-4 we read: "Thus saith the LORD of hosts...Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."
Yet in this same chapter where Samuel rebukes Saul for his disobedience, he says to him: "And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed." Not the same words, are they. Yet in both cases we have "and the LORD said"
1 Corinthians 2:9 with Isaiah 64:4 and the so called Greek Septuagint.
In 1 Corinthians 2:9 we read: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
Yet when we look at the Hebrew text of Isaiah 64:4 we see that what "is written" is quite different. In Isaiah 64:4 we read: "For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him."
And when we get to the so called Greek Septuagint, it gets even more confusing. The LXX is very different from both the Hebrew text and from the Greek text of the New Testament.
It reads: "From of old, we have not heard, neither have our eyes seen a God beside thee, and thy works which thou wilt perform to them that wait for mercy." It should be obvious that the apostle Paul is NOT quoting from some alleged Greek Septuagint, nor even from the Hebrew text in a verbatim manner. Instead, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, is taking a verse of the Hebrew Scriptures and adapting them to the context of 1 Corinthians chapter two.
In Romans 4:13 the apostle Paul referring to Abraham writes: “For the promise, that he should be THE HEIR OF THE WORLD, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”
Yet when we look back to the Old Testament to find this promise what we read is not that he should be heir of the world, but: “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, THE LAND, wherein thou art a stranger, ALL THE LAND OF CANAAN, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:8). Yet the apostle “quotes” this reference in an expanded fashion according to the now further revealed purpose of God.
Again, in Ephesians 6:3 the apostle Paul is quoting a clear O.T. reference when he says: “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long ON THE EARTH.”
However when we refer back to the Scripture he “quotes” from, what we read there in Exodus 20:12 is: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy DAYS may be long UPON THE LAND which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” The quote has once again been expanded.
On a merely human level recorded in Scripture we find the king David saying to Joab and his men: “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.”
Yet just seven verses later we hear a man repeating to Joab what David had just said as: “for in our hearing the king charged the and Abishi and Itai, saying, Beware that none touch the young man Absalom.” Did he misunderstand or misquote king David? No, he was merely expressing the intent of what was previously stated.
There is no need to think that praise and strength are totally unrelated concepts. It seems more probable that our Lord was expanding upon this connection between the two rather than using some fictitious pre-Christian LXX version that is generally so far out of whack with what the inspired Hebrew Scriptures say.
Did Jesus quote the Greek Septuagint?
Luke 4:16-19 compared with Isaiah 61:1-2
Did Jesus quote the Greek Septuagint? See also the article from KJV Today site on these verses here -
"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; "
Some Bible critics like to tell us that Jesus was quoting the Greek Septuagint version rather than expounding the Hebrew Scriptures. There are several problems with this view. There is no historical proof that there ever was such a thing as a widely accepted, authoritative, pre-Christian Septuagint version that Jesus could have been reading at this time. The Jews still spoke and read the Hebrew language.
Secondly, it was the post Christian Septuagint versions that were written to bring them in line with many New Testament quotes, not the other way around.
Thirdly, if Jesus were quoting the Septuagint, He didn't do a very good job of it, because the LXX version also differs not only from the Hebrew texts, but also from the quote as it is found in the Greek New Testament, and this is in ALL Bible versions, not just the King James Bible they love to criticize so much.
In Luke 4:18 and 19, after "recovering of sight to the blind" the Greek N.T. reads "TO SET AT LIBERTY THEM THAT ARE BRUISED, To PREACH the acceptable year of the Lord." In Greek this is: "aposteilai tethrausmenous en aphesei, keeruxai eniauton kuriou dekton".
However the Septuagint version reads: "to CALL FOR an acceptable year of the Lord, AND A DAY OF RECOMPENSE, to comfort all that mourn." In Greek this is: "KALESAI eniauton kuriou dekton, KAI HEMERAN ANTAPODOSEOS, parakalesai pantas tous penthountas."
We can clearly see that the "quotes" from the so called Septuagint, do not match what is written in the New Testament. The so called Septuagint completely omits "to set at liberty them that are bruised", changes "to preach" into "to call for", and changes "day of VENGEANCE OF OUR GOD" to "and a day of recompense " This is hardly what is recorded in the gospel of Luke chapter four, nor does it match the Hebrew text of Isaiah 61.
Dr. Phil Stringer writes in his article -
"Well they had to be quoting something - it must be the Septuagint." This is the argument of advocates of the "Christ used the Septuagint theory." So what were the New Testament writers and Christ quoting? There are 268 references to "as it is written" in the New Testament. Few match the exact wording of the Hebrew Old Testament passages they refer to. Eighty-eight match (or are matched by) Origen's Septuagint. Most of the other 180 don't match any ancient document word for word.
Some have suggested that perhaps an Aramaic translation of the Old Testament or a Chaldean paraphrase are being quoted but this is unlikely. Actually the explanation is simple and has been known for a long time. The Greek phrase "as it is written" is a common one in ancient Greek writings. It is never an indication of an exact quote - in the New Testament or anywhere else. Frederick Spitta wrote a century ago, "According to the unvarying practice in the New Testament, the citation formula "as it is written" is never the introductory clause but rather always follows a report of something seen as the fulfillment of a prophetic word." The phrase implies not a quotation but a reference to a fulfillment of a prediction or a prophecy. For example, see the way the phrase, "as it is written," is used in the writings of Justin Martyr. These passages are simply not quotes at all - they are allusions to Old Testament prophecies. These are Holy Spirit inspired allusions - they are not quotations at all. This was clear to the Reformed theologians and many of the old Church of England writers. A little bit of research gives a clear explanation. The critics of the King James position would be well served to read more widely."
Now, let's take a closer look at the actual quotes, with some of the information I have already provided.
In Luke 4:18 and 19, after "recovering of sight to the blind" the Greek N.T. reads "TO SET AT LIBERTY THEM THAT ARE BRUISED, To PREACH the acceptable year of the Lord." In Greek this is: "aposteilai tethrausmenous en aphesei, keeruxai eniauton kuriou dekton".However the Septuagint version reads: "to CALL FOR an acceptable year of the Lord, AND A DAY OF RECOMPENSE, to comfort all that mourn." In Greek this is: "KALESAI eniauton kuriou dekton, KAI HEMERAN ANTAPODOSEOS, parakalesai pantas tous penthountas."
In addition to this, the words found in Luke 4:18 "TO HEAL THE BROKEN-HEARTED" are missing from versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV, RSV, NWT, but are found in both the KJB and the Septuagint version. Those who insist on the use of the LXX have departed from it in this verse more so than the KJB.
The words "to heal the broken-hearted" are found in the Majority of all Greek texts and many uncial copies including Alexandrinus of the 5th century. The reading is also found in many ancient versions such as the Syriac Peshitta, Harclean, Palestinian, the Georgian, Slavonic, and some Coptic Boharic manuscripts. It is also quoted by early church fathers such as Irenaeus, Hipplytus, Cyril, Theodoret, and Hillary.
However the usual suspects of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus omit these precious words from Holy Writ, and so the NASB, NIV ESV and the Catholic versions like the Douay, St. Joseph NAB and the New Jerusalem bible also omit them.
Any man or author is able to freely quote HIMSELF if he wants to. But no one has the right to freely quote another and put words into his mouth; this is bearing false witness. God can freely-quote or explain further what He means if He wants to, but we do not have the right to change His words.
A good Biblical example of God "quoting" something in different words is found in Genesis 18:12-13. Notice exactly what Sarah says and then how God "quotes" her. "Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, "Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?" God did not give an exact quote, yet He says this is what Sarah said. Do you see it?
John Gill remarks: "To set at liberty them that are bruised: these words are not in Isaiah 61 but...possibly from Isaiah 42:7, it being allowable for a reader in the prophets, to skip from place to place, which our Lord here did, in order to explain this passage more fully."
The Lord Jesus Christ combined several Scriptural ideas and explained the sense of the passage in His own words - He was not quoting directly from a non existent Septuagint version.
This would be in accord with the Biblical pattern recorded in the days of Nehemiah. We read in Nehemiah 8:8: "So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, AND GAVE THE SENSE, and caused them to understand the reading."
From Alfred Edersheim, a converted Rabbinic scholar in the 19th century-
"When unrolling, and holding the scroll, much more than the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah must have been within range of His eyes. On the other hand, it is quite certain that the verses quoted by the Evangelist could not have formed the Haphtarah. [Edersheim explains earlier that the Haphtarah is a normal range of verses employed according to Jewish custom]. According to traditional rule (Massech. Soph. 12.7), the Haphtarah ordinarily consisted of not less than twenty-one verses, though, if the passage was to be "targumed" [Edersheim explains this means "expounded" by the preacher, also a well-known Jewish custom], or a sermon to follow, that number might be shortened to seven, five, or even three verses. Now the passage quoted by St. Luke consists really of only one verse..." Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah, 1.453.
Jesus either added a verse from another section of Isaiah (examples above) in order to make sure that the minimum range of scripture was covered according to Jewish custom, or He merely "targumed" the passage, which, as Edersheim shows, was a common practice.
Luke stated that Jesus FOUND the PLACE where it was written. He did NOT say that Jesus QUOTED directly from the scroll, or that Jesus explicitly READ the scroll VERBATIM. Remember, the phrase "it is written" is not a reference to a word for word quotation as much as it is a reference to a previous prophesy that is now being fulfilled.
The Lord Jesus is merely explaining in further detail the sense of the passage as found in the Hebrew Scriptures, just like any good Jewish teacher would do for the sake of the congregation. He is not quoting from a non existent Greek Septuagint version.
This is another example of where the so-called LXX was translated by later Christian scribes in an effort to bring it more into conformity to the New Testament references.
There are many such examples in the gospels where the sense of an O.T. passage is given, rather than a literal quote.
For example, in Matthew 12:17-21 we read: "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust."
The "quote" in Isaiah 42:1-4 is a quite different, but we can see the same general sense and expanded meaning given to us in Matthew's gospel.
Isaiah 42:1-2 says: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law."
Yet if we were to compare the Septuagint reading, we find that it gives a very different meaning than the one found in either the New Testament or the Hebrew text of Isaiah 42.
In the LXX version we read: "Jacob is my servant, I will help him. Israel is my chosen, my soul has accepted him; ...nor shall his voice be heard without....He shall shine out, and shall not be discouraged..."
It should be obvious that Matthew, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, is not quoting some LXX version. Rather, he is restating the same truths found in the Hebrew text by placing the same ideas in different terms. God has the right to do this, because He is refering to what He Himself has inspired. We, on the other hand, do not have the right to alter God's words or thoughts.
If I were to say to my young son: "I don't want you to play with that John Baker kid anymore. He is too rough and hurts other kids", then several days later I saw my son again with this boy and I now tell him: "Didn't I tell you not to hang around with Johnny because he is a bully?", would it be fair to say I hadn't told him that before? And this is just a human example. How much more can God vary His own specific words according to His design and purpose?
Understanding the meaning of the phrase "it is written"
As other Biblical scholars have pointed out, the meaning of the oft repeated phrase "as it is written" does not necessarily or even usually refer to an exact word for word "quote" from some other place in Scripture, but rather takes us back to a general reference to previous statements made and then expounds upon them to give a new or more fully developed application to the present circumstances. One of many good examples of this is found in the book of 1 Corinthians 14:21 where the apostle Paul says regarding the use of the gift of tongues in the church for the edifying of the saints: "In the law IT IS WRITTEN, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord."
Yet when we look of the specific reference as found in the Hebrew texts of Isaiah 28:10-12 we find that this "quote" does not match the meaning of the context found in Isaiah 28, nor does it match the Hebrew and much less what is found in what passes today as the so called Greek Septuagint. The context of Isaiah 28 is speaking of bringing judgment upon the rebellious people of Israel, not the edification of the saints. And the Hebrew text reads as does the King James Bible and basically all other versions as well. It reads: "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For WITH STAMMERING LIPS AND ANOTHER TONGUE WILL HE SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, TO WHOM HE SAID, THIS IS THE REST WHEREWITH YE MAY CAUSE THE WEARY TO REST; AND THIS IS THE REFRESHING: YET THEY WOULD NOT HEAR."
However when we look at the Greek "Septuagint" we find a TOTALLY different reading. There instead of the Hebrew text the present day LXX says in Isaiah 28:10-12: "EXPECT THOU AFFLICTION, HOPE UPON HOPE: YET A LITTLE, AND YET A LITTLE, BY REASON OF THE CONTEMPTUOUS WORDS OF THE LIPS, BY MEANS OF ANOTHER LANGUAGE; FOR THEY SHALL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, SAYING TO THEM, THIS IS THE REST TO HIM THAT IS HUNGRY, AND THIS IS THE CALAMITY; BUT THEY WOULD NOT HEAR."
It should be abundantly obvious that the apostle Paul is not "quoting from the Septuagint" when he makes reference to "in the law it is written". Instead, he is making a general reference to a section of the Hebrew text and making a new application of it to the then present situation within the church at Corinth and the proper use of speaking in tongues.
Here are a few more examples of the Holy Ghost expanding, explaining, amplifying, and applying His words as the occasion requires.
Luke 2:23 "As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord". This "quote" is found in only one place and that is in Exodus 13:2. Yet when we look at both the Hebrew Masoretic text and the so called Greek Septuagint, what is written in Luke 2:23 does not match either the Hebrew nor the Greek texts. This is true of ALL Bible translations out there; not just the KJB.
Luke 7:27 "This is he of whom IT IS WRITTEN, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before THEE." Yet when we look at Malachi 3:1 the text says: "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before ME." The LXX reads differently with: "and he SHALL SURVEY THE way before MY FACE." (kai epiblepsetai odon pro proswpou mou).
An interesting case is cited by our Lord in Luke 19:46 where He says: "It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves." At first glance this would seem to be a single Scripture taken from the Old Testament, yet in fact the first part is a revised reference to Isaiah 56:7 where God says: "for mine house SHALL BE CALLED an house of prayer for all people". The second part of the quote is a revised application taken from Jeremiah 7:11 where the prophet asks: "Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes?". Yet Christ combines the two different quotes from two different books into a new saying, and says: "It is written".
There are many examples like this which show that God can revise His "quotes" anyway He wants to. In John 12:39-41 the apostle, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, writes: "Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias SAID again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart: that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. THESE THINGS SAID ESAIAS when he saw his glory, and spake of him."
Yet when we look at the passage in Isaiah 6:9-10 we read God telling Isaiah: "Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not: and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed."
The "quote" of what Isaiah "said" is quite different. Was God lying? Of course not. He can change, alter, expand, explain, or modify His own words as He sees fit. So when we read in Luke 4 that Jesus stood up to read, and He found the place where the Scripture was written, He has every right to modify and interpret His own words as He chooses.
Isaiah 53:7-8 with Acts 8:32-33
This is another example that is frequently brought up to disprove an inerrant Bible and promote the multiplicity of conflicting versions in use today. In this instance an Ethiopian eunuch refers to a Messianic passage found in Isaiah, and his quotation seems to match the so called Greek Septuagint version rather than the Hebrew text.
In Isaiah 53:7-8 we read: "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. HE WAS TAKEN FROM PRISON AND FROM JUDGMENT: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken."
In Acts 8:26-39 we have the account of Philip being sent to speak to an Ethiopian eunuch who had gone to Jerusalem to worship and was now returning home. He was reading the prophet Isaiah, and Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading. We are then told in verses 32-33: "The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth. IN HIS HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY; and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth."
Then the eunuch said, "I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus."
A careful comparison of these two quotes show various shades of differences.
Isaiah - "he is brought as a lamb"
Acts - "he was led as a sheep"
Isaiah - "and as a sheep before HER shearerS is dumb"
Acts - "and like a lamb dumb before HIS shearer"
Isaiah - "he was taken from prison and from judgment"
Acts - "in his humiliation his judgment was taken away"
Isaiah - "for he was cut off out of the land of the living"
Acts - "for his life is taken from the earth"
A possible explanation of these apparent discrepancies is that the Ethiopian spoke in Greek, giving Philip a paraphrase of the Hebrew text, and Luke, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, recorded the conversation. The meaning is basically the same whether in Hebrew or Greek.
The Hebrew word for "prison" in Isaiah 53 is # 6115 and is used only three times in the entire Old Testament. Once it is translated as "prison", another time in Psalms 107: 39 "they are brought low THROUGH OPPRESSION, affliction, and sorrow."; and the other time in Proverbs 30:16 as "the BARREN womb."
The thoughts expressed by "he was taken from prison" and "in his humiliation" are typical of the literary device known as Hebrew Parallelism. A similar or related idea is expressed in different words. When Christ, who rightfully should have been placed on the throne as King of kings, was instead taken as a common prisoner, accused before Pilate, and unjustly sentenced to death, this was indeed the hour of His humiliation and true justice and judgment was taken away. The same general idea is expressed in both the Hebrew and the Greek translation given by the eunuch.
The Ethiopian had come to Jerusalem to worship. He could most likely read Hebrew but not speak it very well. Most adults who learn a foreign language can read it long before they can speak it well. I doubt Philip spoke the Ethiopian's native tongue, so the only common spoken language between them was Greek.
Another possibility was suggested to me by brother Schmuel. He says: "It is also very possible that the Ethiopian's Scripture version was in Geez (Ethiopic) not Greek. Remember we have "Beta Israel" (aka Falasha), Jews from Ethiopia from early times who read only Geez, and it seems not any Hebrew, although determining their language skills in 30 AD would be largely conjectural.
Jewish Enclyclopedia 1911 about the Ethiopian Jews. http://82.1911encyclopedia.org/F/FA/FALCK.htm
They possess not in Hebrew, of which they are altogether ignorant, but in Ethiopic (or Geez) the canonical and apocryphal books of the Old Testament.
A third likely explanation is that Luke, who himself was a Greek and was used by the Holy Ghost to record these things, translated the entire event into his own language. Luke may have learned of the conversion of the Ethiopian through Philip himself, and then translated the narrative into inspired Greek. Regardless of which language or tongues were originally used, God used Luke to record these events in his native tongue. We see this same thing in Acts 21:40 - 22:21, where Paul preached a whole sermon in the Hebrew tongue, yet the sermon is translated by Luke into Greek and thus it stands in the New Testament. This one example of many found in the Holy Bible proves that a translation can be the inspired words of God.
Those who deny that the Ethiopian is translating a loose paraphrase of the Hebrew insist that he was using the Greek Septuagint translation. There is no historical evidence to prove this, but the assertion is frequently made in the strongest of terms.
One of the problems faced by those who assert the apostles and other Jews used a LXX version, is that the LXX frequently matches neither the Hebrew nor the Greek of the New Testament.
Even in this passage the present form of the Septuagint rendition of Isaiah 53:7-8 does not perfectly match the New Testament Greek, and is quite different from the Hebrew text.
There are frequent examples of a free quotation being given in the New Testament that does not match either the Hebrew or the Septuagint. See for example Acts 2:16-21 where Peter says: "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy..." There is a lengthy "quote" given by Peter, yet many words and whole phrases in the New Testament are not found in either the Hebrew or the Greek Septuagint versions.
The same is true in the first "quote" found in the book of Acts in chapter 1:20 where Peter again refers to the death of Judas as says: "For it is written in the book of the Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take."
Yet if you look up these references in either the Hebrew or the Greek LXX, they do not perfectly match but give the same general sense either by typical fulfillment or expansion of thought.
We also have the case in Acts 20:35 where Paul is addressing the elders of Ephesus and tells them "to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
You will search in vain for these exact words of the Lord Jesus in any of His discourses, yet several of the things He taught can rightly be summed up in this way.
God, Who inspired every word of the Holy Bible, has every right to quote Himself by way of expansion, explanation, summation or variety of form; but you and I do not have the right to "correct, edit, or call into question" what He has said.
Matthew 2:15 and 18. Two more examples.
The vast majority of all the “quotes” from the Old Testament found in the New Testament are neither literal quotations from the Hebrew and certainly not from one of the ficticious “pre-Christian Septuagint (LXX) versions”. Instead, the Holy Ghost refrases, expands upon, explains or adapts an Old Testament verse and applies it to a New Testament context with some modifications. This is true in almost every “quote” taken from the O.T. and applied in the N.T.
Examples abound, but for the moment let’s take a look at two such “quotes” found in the second chapter of St. Matthew’s gospel.
In Matthew 2:15 we read: “And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, OUT OF EGYPT HAVE I CALLED MY SON.”
So reads the New Testament Greek text. Yet when we read the Old Testament scripture of Hosea 11:1, the context there was not referring directly to the child Jesus being taken to Egypt when Herod sought to kill Him, and then being brought back into the land of Israel again. Instead, Hosea 11:1 refers to the initial deliverance and redemption of the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
“When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” - Hosea 11:1. However, the alleged LXX versions has a very different reading. It says: “Early in the morning were they cast off, the king of Israel has been cast off: for Israel is a child, and I loved him, and OUT OF EGYPT HAVE I CALLED HIS CHILDREN.”
The LXX is a confused mess, not following the Hebrew reading in numerous ways (it adds many extra words to the text), and not even the small part referenced in the N.T. agrees with what the supposed LXX version says.
Again, in Matthew 2:17-18 after Herod had killed all the children in Bethlehem that were two years old and under, we read: “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, IN RAMA WAS THERE A VOICE HEARD, LAMENTATION, AND WEEPING, AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN, AND WOULD NOT BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT.”
The Hebrew text differs in several particulars from the N.T. quote. The Hebrew text is found in Jeremiah 31:15 and is translated as: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and BITTER WEEPING: Rahel weeping for her children REFUSED to be comforted FOR HER CHILDREN, because they were not.”
Yet the alleged LXX reading is quite different from both the Hebrew and the N.T. Greek. In fact, the whole chapter of Jeremiah 31 is not even in chapter 31 of the LXX version, but is found in chapter 38 instead. There this Greek versions says: “A voice was heard in Ramah of lamentation, and of weeping, and wailing (omits polus GREAT) Rachel WOULD NOT CEASE (instead of “refused to be comforted”) weeping for her children, because they are not.”
The Greek of the LXX is quite different from the Greek of the New Testament. The LXX has APOKLAIOMENE OUK ETHELE PAUSASTHAI EPI TOUS UIOIS, but the N. T. Greek has KLAIOUSA TA TEKNA AUTEES KAI OUK EETHELE PARAKLEETHEENAI.
It should be clear that the Holy Ghost is not quoting directly from the Hebrew and certainly not from some LXX version, but is instead adapting a general prophesy to a more specific case as found in the New Testament. God Himself is the author of Scripture and He can rephrase and apply His words as He sees fit to do so.
70 or 75 souls - Hebrew text or LXX?
Acts 7:14 with Genesis 46:27. Was Stephen quoting from a pre-Christian Greek translation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint (LXX)?
Many Bible critics claim that Stephen was quoting from an alleged Greek translation of the Old Testament when he says in Acts 7:14 "Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers."
There is another explanation of how Stephen arrived at the number of 75 persons, rather than the 70 souls mentioned in the book of Genesis, without having to resort to the idea that he supposedly was quoting from the LXX. We will get to that explanation in a moment.
First, let's look at what passes today as the Greek Septuagint. Most people are utterly unaware of just how really bad and inaccurate this version is.
In the Hebrew texts the number 70 is mentioned three times - Genesis 46:27 "All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, BESIDES JACOB'S SON'S WIVES, all the souls were threescore and ten".
"Threescore and ten" or 70 is the reading of ALL Hebrew texts and ALL Bible versions in all languages, except the LXX.
This number is repeated two more times. In Exodus 1:5 we read: "All the souls that came OUT OF THE LOINS of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already." Here again, all Hebrew Masoretic texts, and the ancient Samaritan Pentateuch, and all Bible versions read 70, except the Greek LXX, which says 75. It is reported that the pieced together fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls also read 75 souls in Exodus 1:5 (thus agreeing with some of the LXX readings), but the other portions found in Genesis 46 and Deuteronomy 10:22 are missing from the DSS, so they do not go far in establishing the true reading.
One more time we read of the 70 and this is found in Deuteronomy 10:22. "Thy fathers went down into Egypt with THREESCORE AND TEN persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude."
Here again, all Hebrew texts and Bible versions read 70, INCLUDING THE LXX. The LXX version contradicts itself by saying 75 persons in two passages and 70 in the third. But wait! It gets much worse.
When we go back to Genesis chapter 46 we read in the Hebrew texts and in all Bible versions the following numbers of the children of Israel. The totals are 33 + 16 + 14 + 7 which equal 70.
The LXX however is quite different from the Hebrew texts and seriously contradicts itself. Comparing the Hebrew texts and all Bible versions in all languages along with the so called Greek Septuagint we read the following.
Verse 15 counts the sons of Leah, wife of Jacob - "all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three." LXX has 33 too.
Verse 18 lists the sons of Zilpah - "and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls." LXX also has 16.
Verse 20 is radically different in the LXX than it is in the Hebrew texts. Verses 19 through 22 list the sons of Rachel, Jacobs wife as Joseph and Benjamim. Then it lists the sons of Joseph and Benjamin by name, and the total is FOURTEEN. Verse 22 "all the souls were fourteen."
The Hebrew texts and the King James Bible read: 19."The sons of Rachel Jacob's wife; Joseph, and Benjamin. 20. And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. 21. And the sons of Benjamim were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard. 22.These are the sons of Rachel, which were born to Jacob: all the souls were FOURTEEN."
Go ahead, and count the names. You will come up with exactly fourteen.
However the LXX version says in verse 20 AFTER listing Manasseh and Ephraim: "And there were sons born to Manasses, which the Syrian concubine bore to him, even Machir. And Machir begot Galaad. And the sons of Ephraim, the brother of Manasses: Sutalaam, and Taam. And the sons of Sutalaam: Edom. And the sons of Benjamin; Bala, and Bochor, and Asbel. And the sons of Bala were Gera, and Noeman, and Amchis, and Ros, and Mamphim. And Gera begot Arad. These are the sons of Rachel, whcih she bore to Jacob, all the souls WERE EIGHTEEN."!!!
Instead of listing 14 names and coming up with the total of 14, the LXX version lists 18 different names. Thus, the Hebrew text - 14; and the LXX -18.
Then in verse 25 we have the list of Jacob's wife Bilhah "all the souls were seven", and here the LXX has seven too.
In verse 26 again the LXX agrees with the Hebrew text reading 66. Here we read: "All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were threescore and six." The number of 66 excludes Jacob himself, and Joseph and his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, because they were already in Egypt. This number also EXCLUDES the wives of Jacob's sons. Thus 66 plus these additional 4 (Jacob, Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim) makes 70.
However, instead of equaling the number 66 in verse 26, the LXX count is already up to 70, and we haven't even gotten to verse 27 yet.
In Genesis 46:27 we read: "And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were TWO SOULS: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were THREESCORE AND TEN (70) souls." This number 70 is the 66 of verse 26, plus the additional 4 of Jacob himself, and his son Joseph and his two grandchildren of Manasseh and Ephraim - 66 + 4 = 70.
BUT, when we look again at the LXX, which already has a total of 70 instead of 66, we read in Genesis 46:27 "And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in the land of Egypt, were NINE SOULS (not TWO), all the souls of the house of Jacob who came with Joseph into Egypt, were SEVENTY-FIVE souls."
The LXX's numbers do not add up!! Let's count the LXX numbers again. 33 + 16 + 18 (not the Hebrew 14) + 7 + 9 (not the 2 of the Hebrew texts) = 83, yet the LXX says there were 75!!!
So how did the Greek Septuagint get so messed up? I think I know how it happened, but of course I can't prove it, but it makes a lot of sense to me. The copies of the LXX we have today are in fact Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, and both of these date out at 150 years AFTER the New Testament was already complete.
I think is quite likely that there were two different scribes who "doctored up" the Greek copies, both thinking they were "helping God out". The first scribe comes along and he sees the number 70 in Gen. 47:27. He then adds up the numbers, and sees 66 souls mentioned in verse 26, and thinks the account is 4 persons short. So, he goes back to verses 20-22 and adds four new names to the list to equal the number 70 in verse 27.
Then another scribe comes along and he has Acts 7:14 IN FRONT OF HIM, and sees that Stephen mentions 75 persons, and not the 70 as it reads in the Hebrew and the existing Greek translation at that time. So he decides to help reconcile the apparent contradiction by taking the number of 66 souls in v. 26, and changes the "two souls" in verse 27 to "nine souls", thinking that 66 + 9 will equal the 75 he wants to write in. However, he missed the fact that the number of 66 souls found in verse 26, excludes Jacob, Joseph and his two sons born in Egypt. By failing to notice that the number 14 in verse 22 had already been changed to 18 by a previous scribe, and the exclusion of Jacob, Joseph and his two sons in verse 26, this new scribal correction ends up giving us a larger number that even the 75 he put into the text.
The Greek Septuagint is such a mess in hundreds of verses. It is one of the worst translations out there. It is consistently inconsistent with itself. The LXX tells us there were 75 persons who went down into Egypt here in Genesis, yet the LXX count in 83. But in Deuteronomy 10:22 the LXX does match the Hebrew text and tells us there were 70 persons who went down into Egypt.
Now for a simple explanation by Dr. Thomas Holland on how to reconcile the apparent contradiction of Stephen saying there were 75 persons, and yet the Hebrew texts consistently tell us there were 70 souls who went down into Egypt.
by Dr. Thomas Holland
It should also be noted that not every passage cited as an Old Testament quotation is in fact a quotation. Many times they are allusions or simply a general reference, but not an excerpt from an OT passage. For example, in Acts 7:14 Stephen states, " Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls." The number which Stephen gives is 75. However, the passage in Genesis 46:27 totals 70. There we read, " And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten." The Greek LXX agrees with Stephen in Genesis 46:27 and lists the number as 75 souls. This passage is often used as an example of a NT saint citing the LXX. The truth is that Stephen is not quoting anything, he is referring to something.
Dr. George Ladd writes, " These two texts reflect two ways of numbering Jacob's family." (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p.1136). Although Dr. Ladd was commenting on how the LXX and the Hebrew text derived their totals, the same may be said at how the passage in Gen. 46 and Stephen derived theirs. In his book, Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, Dr. John W. Haley lays out the differences without referencing the LXX. Haley writes, " Jacob's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren amounted to sixty-six (Gen. 46:8-26). Adding Jacob himself, and Joseph with his two sons, we have seventy. If to the sixty-six we add the nine wives of Jacob's sons (Judah's and simeon's wives were dead; Joseph could not be said to call himself, his own wife, or his two sons into Egypt; and Jacob is specified separately by Stephen), we have seventy-five persons, as in Acts." (Baker Book House, 1983 ed., p.389). Therefore the difference in number can be clarified by an examination of the Biblical texts and not referencing the citation to that of the LXX. Further, scrutiny of the passage in Acts clearly shows that Stephen was referring to events in Genesis 46 and not quoting the passage."
There is Scriptural evidence that when the number of the wives are added to the 66 persons mentioned, the total would be 9 and not 11, which would give us the number 75 which Stephen mentions in Acts 7:14. We know for a fact that Judah's wife had died. It is recored in Genesis 38:12 "And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died."
The other wife that seems to have died as well, is that of Simeon. In Genesis 46:10 we read: "And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, AND SHAUL THE SON OF A CANAANITISH WOMAN." His youngest son was born to him from a different woman than his wife, so it is surmised that his first wife had died.
John Gill comments on Genesis 46:10 "... and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman - "whom Simeon married, VERY PROBABLY AFTER THE DEATH OF HIS FIRST WIFE, or she was his concubine."
By this reckoning we arrive at the number 75 mentioned by Stephen (66 plus the 9 wives = 75), without having to assume, as many adamantly assert, that Stephen was somehow "quoting" from an alleged pre-Christian Greek Septuagint.
John Gill has these interesting comments on Acts 7:14 where Stephen says there were 75 souls who went down into Egypt. "and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls - which seems to disagree with the account of Moses, who says, that "all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten" (Genesis 46:27). But there is no contradiction; Moses and Stephen are speaking of different things; Moses speaks of the seed of Jacob, which came out of his loins, who came into Egypt, and so excludes his sons' wives; Stephen speaks of Jacob and all his kindred, among whom his sons' wives must be reckoned, whom Joseph called to him. According to Moses's account, the persons that came with Jacob into Egypt, who came out of his loins, and so exclusive of his sons' wives, were threescore and six; to which if we add Jacob himself, and Joseph who was before in Egypt, and his two sons that were born there when Jacob went down, the total number is threescore and ten... NOR WAS THERE ANY NEED TO ALTER AND CORRUPT THE SEPTUAGINT VERSION of Genesis 46:27 TO MAKE IT AGREE WITH STEPHEN'S ACCOUNT."
Luke 3:36 and the alleged LXX
Who is Cainan in Luke 3:36?
"Answers in Genesis" is usually a very good ministry which defends creationism versus evolution. However the textual consultant, Mr. Sarfati, does the usual tap dance when discussing the inspiration of Scripture. Here are some of his comments.
Cainan: How do you explain the difference between Luke 3:36 and Genesis 11:12? by Dr. Jonathan D. Sarfati -
"The difference is that Luke 3:36 has the extra name Cainan. Some skeptics have used this difference to attack biblical inerrancy. However, it is important to note that Biblical inerrancy, derived from the teaching that Scripture is ‘God-breathed’ (2 Timothy 3:15-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21 and ‘cannot be broken’ (John 10:35) and many other places, has to refer to the original autographs that God directly inspired, not to copies or translations. The Cainan difference is NOT an error in the original autographs of Scripture, but one of the EXTREMELY FEW copyist’s errors in the manuscripts available today.
1. The Bible is the written Word of God. It is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
So if a copyist of Luke’s gospel is responsible for the error, how come it is in the LXX as well? A clue to the solution is that the extra Cainan in Genesis 11 is found only in manuscripts of the LXX that were written long after Luke’s Gospel. The evidence shows conclusively that the extra name Cainan is not part of God’s original Word, but due to a later copyist’s error. The oldest LXX manuscripts do not have this extra Cainan."
Mr. Sarfati starts off his "defense" of inerrancy with three huge whoppers. He says: "The Cainan difference is NOT an error in the original autographs of Scripture, but one of the EXTREMELY FEW copyist’s errors in the manuscripts available today." He then assures us that the Bible's assertions are factually true in ALL THE ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPHS and that they are the supreme authority in all matters of faith.
How can something that does not exit "be the supreme authority in all matters of faith"? Mr. Sarfati has never seen one of these "original autographs" a day in his life, simply because they do not exist, and he knows they don't exist when he says this. He has absolutely no way on earth of knowing for sure what or what was not "in the original autographs".
His second big lie is implying "A COPYIST of Luke's gospel is responsible for the error". The simple fact is, the reading of Cainan in Luke 3:36 is not found in just one or two copies of Luke, but is the reading found in practically every known Greek manuscript in existence today. It is in the vast Majority of all Greed copies, including Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, as well as the ancient Syriac Peshitta, Harkelian, Coptic and Latin versions.
It is also the reading of the Latin Vulgate 425 A.D, Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Geneva Bible, the NKJV, NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV,ISV, Holman Standard, and every English Bible version I have ever seen. It is also in the Spanish Reina Valera, the Italian Diodati, and Luther's German Bible. I know of no Bible version in any language that omits this name from the genealogy of Christ in Luke chapter three.
His third big lie is telling us: "this is one of the EXTREMELY FEW copyist’s errors in the manuscripts available today." Mr. Sarfati should be well aware of the fact that there are literally THOUSANDS of variant readings, different names, numbers, phrases and entire verses found in some copies that that are not in others. The New Testaments of such versions as the NASB, NIV, RSV (none of which totally agree with each other) differ from the New Testament of versions like the King James Bible, NKJV, Young's, and the Geneva Bible, by about 5000 words! This can hardly be called "extremely few".
Mr. Sarfati also assures us that the oldest LXX manuscripts do not contain the name Cainan, though he has never seen one of these because, again, they don't exist.
Mr. Sarfati continues to make his case for "Christian Logic 101" even worse by saying: "Either way, this extra name ‘Cainan’ cannot be used as an argument against biblical inerrancy." Why not, Mr. Sarfati? IF it is an ERROR found in every Bible on the earth today, then why is it not proof that the Christian Bible is not inerrant?
Then Mr. Sarfati attempts to bolster the soundness of his arguments by quoting a certain Mr Pierce who summarizes: "I think we have more than enough evidence that would stand up in any court of law to show that EVERY SINGLE COPY WE HAVE OF THE LXX TEXT WAS CORRUPTED SOME TIME AFTER AD 220."
Notice here that Mr. Scarlati quotes from another man who tells us that every copy of the LXX we now have is corrupted, yet Mr. Scarlati earlier referred to the oldest LXX which did not contain the name of Cainan. BUT he himself has never seen, nor can he produce for this hypothetical court of law any such evidence. Do you see how the scholar's game is played?
So there you have the thoughts of "scholars" who assume there is no way the Holy Bible can be correct as it stands today, yet they assure us there is really nothing to worry about, and that God's words were once inspired in the "originals", though they have never seen them.
In a somewhat similar fashion, we have the names of two individuals listed in the New Testament, which are not found in the Old Testament. In 2 Timothy 3:8 we read: "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith."
This is an interesting verse in light of those who criticize the Holy Bible and tell us it contains errors, isn't it? "Men of corrupt minds, reprobate concering the faith."
It seems, though we are nowhere told this directly, that Jannes and Jambres were probably two of the magicians in Pharoah's court who performed miracles imitating those God did through Moses. Where did Paul get this additional information about the specific names of these individuals? God revealed it to him. The Bible is a supernatural book.
Likewise I do not believe that the additional name of Cainan, who is listed as a "son" of Arphaxad is an error in the Holy Bible.
Those who tell us the name Cainan is not in the original have only two manuscripts of very dubious character that either do not contain the name Cainan (Manuscript D) or, to quote many scholarly articles, "appears not to contain this name" - (P75).
It should be noted that neither does manuscript D contain many other whole verses or sections of Luke's gospel, though found in the others. Manuscript D is notorious for adding large sections to the gospel of Luke which are not found in any other manuscript, and D is also well known for omitting other large portions of Luke's gospel.
One example of many that could be provided is the additional reading found in manuscript D, also known as Codex Bezae, in Luke 6:5. There our Lord says: "And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath". Then D alone adds: "On the same day seeing some one working on the Sabbath, He said to him: man, if you know what you do, blessed are you; but if you do not know, you are cursed and a transgressor of the law."
Manuscript D also omits all of Luke 23:34 "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do." It also alone omits Luke 24:6 "He is not here, but is risen"; Luke 24:12 "Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass."; Luke 24:36 "and saith unto them, Peace be unto you"; Luke 24:40 "And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet."; and Luke 24:51 "and carried up into heaven." These are just a very few of the many omissions found in manuscript D. Not very reliable, is it?
As for P75, not only does it "appear" to omit the name Cainan from Luke 3:36, but P75 also is missing all of Luke 3:23 to 3:33! It also is missing Luke 4:3 to 4:33; 5:11 to 5:36; 6:5 to 6:9; 7:33-34; 7:44-45; 17:16-18, and from Luke 18:19 all the way to Luke 22:3!
Such is the scant evidence for the omission of the name Cainan from the gospel of Luke 3:36.
So how do we explain who this man Cainan is? In Luke 3 we read of the lineage of the Lord Jesus from the side of Mary. There we see "Heber, which was the son of Sala (Salah), which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem (Shem), which was the son of Noah..."
In the Bible, the words "begat" and "son" do not necessarily imply a direct father to son relationship. For example: Matthew 1:8 "And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias." Did you know that Uzziah (Ozias) is the great-great-grandson of Joram? Yet the text says, "Joram begat Ozias".
In the book of Ruth we read in 4:17 "And the women her neighbours gave it a name (the child Ruth just gave birth to), saying, There is a SON BORN TO NAOMI; and they called his name Obed; he is the father of Jesse, the father of David."
Naomi was actually the grandmother of the child, yet Scripture calls the grandchild her son, and says he was BORN TO Naomi.
Likewise the gospel of Matthew 1:1 starts off saying: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Obviously the word "son" does not always mean a direct line from father to son.
The word "son" is also used to denote a son-in-law. King David was Saul's son-in-law, yet Saul calls David his "son" several times in Scripture. In the book of Ruth, Naomi calls Ruth her "daughter", yet in fact she was her daughter-in-law.
Among the various possibilities of who this man Cainan was are the following two.
#1. Cainan may have been the firstborn son of Arphaxad who married at an early age. Cainan conceives Salah with his wife, but he dies before his son Selah is born. So Arphaxad, his father, adopts Salah and becomes his "father". Remember, the word "beget" does not necessarily mean direct father-son relationship.
Or #2. Cainan may have married one of Arphaxad's daughters and Salah was his son. However, in the genealogy listed in Genesis chapter 11, Arphaxad is listed as having "begotten" Salah, even though he was the grandfather. Genealogies often skip over generations, and sons are not always listed in the order in which they were born. See Genesis 6:10 where Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Though Japheth was the elder (Genesis 10:21) yet he is listed last. In Luke, Cainan is listed as Arphaxad's "son", even though he was in fact his son-in-law.
These are the two possibilities that make the most sense to me, and do not in any way call into question the reliability or accuracy of the Scriptures.
MORE COMMENTS ON THE LXX
John Gill's commentary of Luke 3:36. Though I do not agree with everything John Gill states about this verse, (he does not believe Cainan should be in the text at all), yet it is to be noted that he too believed that the present copies of the LXX got their reading in Genesis from the already completed gospel of Luke.
Gill says: "Which was the son of Cainan…This Cainan is not mentioned by Moses in (Genesis 11:12) nor has he ever appeared in any Hebrew copy of the Old Testament, nor in the Samaritan version, nor in the Targum; nor is he mentioned by Josephus, nor in (1 Chronicles 1:24) where the genealogy is repeated... it indeed stands in the present copies of the Septuagint, but was not originally there; and therefore could not be taken by Luke from thence... and (it was) SINCE PUT INTO THE SEPTUAGINT TO GIVE IT AUTHORITY."
Scholars are a funny bunch. Get five scholars in a room, and you will come out with seven different opinions. Some scholars emphatically tell us that Luke got his reading of 'Cainan' from the LXX itself. Others tell us the opposite, saying that the LXX got it from Luke. And then there are those that tell us that the name Cainan was not in the original LXX NOR in the original gospel of Luke! Go figure.
John Lightfoot comments on the LXX reading of 'Cainan" by saying: "I find a hundred such kind of additions in the Greek version, which the Hebrew text will by no means own, nor any probable reason given to bear with it. Let us take our instances only from proper names, because our business at present is with a proper name.
Genesis 10:2: Elisa is added among the sons of Japhet: and, verse 22, another Cainan among the sons of Shem.
Genesis 46:20: Five grandchildren added to the sons of Joseph; Malachi 4:5, the Tishbite.
Exodus 1:11: the city On, is added to Pithom and Raamses.
2 Samuel 20:18: the city Dan is added to Abel. Not to mention several other names of places in the Book of Joshua.
Nor can I believe that these names ever were in the Hebrew copy, since some of them are put there without any reason, some of the against all reason, and all of them with no foundation at all."
Commenting on the additional 5 to 7 children added to the family of Joseph by the LXX in Genesis 46:20, Lightfoot says: "Let us add, for example's sake, those five souls which they add to the family of Jacob; numbering up five grandchildren of Joseph, who, as yet, were not in being,--nay, seven, according to their account, Genesis 46:27. Children that were born to Joseph in the land of Egypt, even NINE souls. (The Hebrew says TWO souls.)
"Now, which copy do we think it most reasonable to believe, the Greek or the Hebrew? And as to the question, whether these five added in the Greek were anciently in Moses' text, but either since lost by the carelessness of the transcribers or rased out by the bold hand of the Jews, let reason and the nature of the thing judge. For if Machir, Gilead, Shuthelah, Tahan, and Eran, were with Joseph when Jacob with his family went down into Egypt, (these are variations of the additional names added in the LXX copies), and if they were not, why are they numbered amongst those that went down? Then must Manasseh at the age of nine years, or ten at most, be a grandfather; and Ephraim at eight or nine. Can I believe that Moses would relate such things as these? I rather wonder with what kind of forehead the interpreters could impose such incredible stories upon the Gentiles, as if it were possible they should be believed."
Lightfoot give his opinion of the LXX version saying: "Before the bible had been translated for Ptolemy - AS IT IS SUPPOSED - into the Greek tongue, there were an infinite number of copies in the Hebrew in Palestine, Babylon, Egypt, even everywhere, in every synagogue: and it is a marvellous thing, that in all antiquity there should not be the least hint or mention of so much as one Hebrew copy amongst all these that agrees with the Greek version. We have various editions of that version which they call the Septuagint, AND THOSE PRETTY MUCH DISAGREEING AMONG THEMSELVES... The interpreters have still abounded in their own sense, not very strictly obliging themselves to the Hebrew text...IT IS PLAIN ENOUGH TO ANY ONE THAT DILIGENTLY CONSIDERS THE GREEK VERSION THROUGHOUT, THAT IT WAS COMPOSED BY DIFFERENT HANDS, WHO GREATLY VARIED FROM ONE ANOTHER, BOTH IN STYLE AND WIT."
The Alleged LXX and Hebrews 1:6
Hebrews 1:6 "And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him."
If Hebrews 1:6 refers not to the incarnation of Christ but rather to the second coming of Christ, then it may well be asked: Why does this appear as a quote from the Old Testament? It is a very good question and I will try to explain as best I can.
In verse 5 the tense of the verb shows it was something said in the past. "For unto which of the angels SAID he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee".
Even this verse is variously interpreted by Christians. Some think it refers to His incarnation, others to His resurrection. I believe it refers to His resurrection based on Acts 13:33.
Then when we get to verse six, "And again, WHEN HE BRINGETH IN the firstbegotten into the world, he SAITH (not said) And let all the angels of God worship him."
I personally lean towards the interpretation that this is speaking about the second coming of Christ, which has not yet happened, but this is what will be said when it occurs.
The Holy Ghost is not referring to a past event, but rather to the future and no specific quote from the Old Testament is in the mind of the writer of the book of Hebrews.
Even commentators like Matthew Henry, John Gill, John Owen and the Peoples New Testament commentary all say that this could be referring to the second coming, though they do mention other interpretations.
John Gill comments: " the bringing of him into the world may refer to his second coming, for this seems agreeable from the natural order of the words, that is, a second time,... and from the glory he shall then have from the angels, who will come with him, and minister to him; and not to his resurrection from the dead, when he was exalted above angels, principalities, and powers;"
Matthew Henry also says: "When God bringeth his First-begotten into the world, let all the angels of God worship him; that is, when he is brought into this lower world, at his nativity...OR when he shall bring him again into the world, to judge the world, then let the highest creatures worship him. God will not suffer an angel to continue in heaven who will not be in subjection to Christ, and pay adoration to him; and he will at last make the fallen angels and wicked men to confess his divine power and authority and to fall before him."
John Owen expounds at great length on the book of Hebrews and in his commentary on Hebrews 1:6 he mentions several views held by various Christians regarding this verse. He says: "Some suppose the personal reign of Christ on the earth for a thousand years with his saints is intended in these words, when God will bring him again with glory into the world: of which judgment was Mede, and now many follow him. 5. Others again, and they the most, assign the accomplishment of what is here asserted to the general judgment and the second coming of Christ in the glory of the Father, with all the holy angels attending him, to judge the quick and the dead."
John Owen also believed that the N.T. quotation from Hebrews 1:6 was taken from the apostle Paul and INSERTED INTO THE Greek O.T. translation. In his commentary on the book of Hebrews he states:
John Owen on Hebrews 1:6 - “And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.:
1. Our first inquiry must be whence this testimony is taken. Many of the ancients, as Epiphanius, Theodoret, Euthymius, Procopius, and Anselm, conceived the words to be cited from Deuteronomy 32:43, where they expressly occur in the translation of the LXX., εὐφράςθητς οὐρανοὶ ἄμα αὐτοῦ καὶ προσκυνησάτωσαν αὐτῷ πάντες ἄγγελοι θεοῖ; — “Rejoice ye heavens with him, and let all the angels of God worship him.” But there are two considerations that put it beyond all pretensions that the words are not taken from this place of the LXX.: —
(1.) Because indeed THERE ARE NO SUCH WORDS IN THE ORIGINAL, nor any thing spoken that might give occasion to the sense expressed in them; but THE WHOLE VERSE IS INSERTED IN THE GREEK VERSION QUITE BESIDE THE SCOPE OF THE PLACE.. Now, though it may perhaps be safely granted that the apostles, in citing the Scripture of the Old Testament, did sometimes use the words of the Greek translation then in use, yea, though not exact according to the original, whilst the sense and meaning of the Holy Ghost was retained in them; yet TO CITE THAT FROM THE SCRIPTURE AS THE WORD AND TESTIMONY OF GOD WHICH INDEED IS NOT THEREIN, NOR WAS EVER SPOKEN BY GOD, BUT BY HUMAN FAILURE AND CORRUPTION CREPT INTO THE GREEK VERSION, IS NOT TO BE IMPUTED UNTO THEM.
AND INDEED I NO WAY QUESTION BUT THAT THIS ADDITION UNTO THE GREEK TEXT IN THAT PLACE WAS MADE AFTER THE APOSTLE HAD USED THIS TESTIMONY. For it is not unlikely but that some considering of it, and not considering from whence it was taken, because the words occur not absolutely and exactly in the Greek anywhere, INSERTED IT INTO THAT PLACE OF MOSES, amidst other words of an alike sound, and somewhat an alike importance, such as immediately precede and follow the clause inserted.
(2.) The Holy Ghost is not treating in that place about the introduction of the first-born into the world, but quite of another matter, as is evident upon the first view of the text: so that this testimony is evidently not taken from this place; nor would nor could the apostle make use of a testimony liable unto such just exceptions.
Later expositors generally agree that the words are taken out of Psalms 97:7 where the original is rendered by the LXX., προσκυνήσατε αὐτῷ πάντες ἄγγελοι αὐτοῦ: which, with a very small variation in the words, and none at all in the sense, is here expressed by the apostle, “And let all the angels of God worship him.”
In other words, John Owen is saying that Hebrews 1:6 "And let all the angels of God worship him." is NOT taken from the so called Greek Septuagint at all, but rather that the apostle Paul is using the Hebrew text found in Psalms 97:7 "worship him, all ye gods." and expanding upon the thought there and applying it in a different way. The Hebrew word is # 430 eloh-heem, which itself is variously translated as "God, gods, mighty (Genesis 23:6 a mighty prince), great (great wrestlings) might thunderings (Exodus 9:28), judges (Exodus 21:6, 22:8 and 9) and exceeding (an exceeding great city - Jonah 3:3)
Thomas Hewitt, writes, ” There is no Hebrew equivalent for Let all the angles of God worship him in our existing text. It may be derived from Psalm xcvii. 7 ‘worship him, all ye gods’ (Heb. elohim). The LXX has ‘angels’ instead of ‘gods’. The quotation, however, is exactly found in Deuteronomy xxxii. 43 (LXX), THOUGH THIS MAY BE AN ADDITION BY A LATER HAND." (Tyndale NT Commentaries in Hebrews, p. 55).
It is interesting that Hewitt states that the passage found in Deut. 32:43 of the LXX may have been added by a later hand. If this is true, there very well may be additional places where the LXX simply adds to the OT by citing the NT.
John Owen on Hebrews 8:9 - It is generally supposed that the apostle followed the translation of the LXX., in the present copy whereof the words are so expressed. But how they came to render בָּעַלתּי by ἠμέλησα, they are not agreed. Some say the original copies might differ in some letters from those we now enjoy. Therefore it is thought: they might read, as some think, בָּחַלְתּי, neglexi,” or גַָּעַלְתִי, “fastidivi,” — “I neglected” or “loathed them.” And those who speak most modestly, suppose that the copy. which the LXX. made use of had one of these words instead of בָּעַלְתִּי, which yet is the truer reading; but because this did not belong unto the substance of the argument which he had in hand, the apostle would not depart from that translation which was then in use amongst the Hellenistical Jews.
BUT THE BEST OF THESE CONJECTURES IS UNCERTAIN, and some of them by no means to be admitted. UNCERTAIN IT IS THAT THE APOSTLE MADE ANY OF HIS QUOTATIONS OUT OF THE TRANSLATION OF THE LXX; YEA, THE CONTRARY IS CERTAIN ENOUGH, AND EASY TO BE DEMONSTRATED. Neither did he write this epistle unto the Hellenistical Jews, or those who lived in or belonged unto their dispersions, wherein they made use of the Greek tongue; but unto the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea principally and in the first place, WHO MADE NO USE OF THAT TRANSLATION. HE EXPRESSED THE MIND OF THE SCRIPTURE AS HE WAS DIRECTED BY THE HOLY GHOST, IN WORDS OF HIS OWN. And the coincidence of them with those in the present copies of the LXX. hath been accounted for in our Exercitations.
My apprehensions are grounded on what I have before observed and proved. THE APOSTLE NEITHER IN THIS NOR IN ANY OTHER PLACE DOTH BIND UP HIMSELF PRECISELY UNTO THE TRANSLATION OF THE WORDS, BUT INFALLIBLY GIVES US THE SENSE AND MEANING; and so he hath done in this place. For whereas בַּעַל signifies a “husband,” or to be a husband or a lord, בbeing added unto it in construction, as it is here, בָם בָּעַלְתִּי, it is as much as “jure usus sum maritali,” — ’I exercised the right, power, and authority of a husband towards them; I dealt with them as a husband with a wife that breaketh covenant:’that is, saith the apostle, ‘“ I regarded them not” with the love, tenderness, and affection of a husband.’So he dealt indeed with that generation which so suddenly brake covenant with him. He provided no more for them as unto the enjoyment of the inheritance, he took them not home unto him in his habitation, his resting-place in the land of promise; but he suffered them all to wander, and bear their whoredoms in the wilderness, until they were consumed. So did God exercise the right, and power, and authority of a husband towards a wife that had broken covenant. And herein, as in many other things in that dispensation, did God give a representation of the nature of the covenant of works, and the issue of it.”
Robinson's Word Pictures as well as Jamieson, Faussett and Brown commentators all allow that Hebrews 1:6 may be a reference to the second coming of Christ. The meaning of this verse is by no means clear and has been variously discussed and debated for centuries.
The only other time in Scripture where Jesus is referred to as the first begotten of the dead is found in Revelation 1:5 where it obviously is one of His titles AFTER His resurrection.
So, if we apply this same name to Him here in Hebrews, then it is referring to Him as the first resurrected one, and when God brings him into the world again, He says 'Let all the angels of God worship him".. It will be part of the event when every knee shall bow, of THINGS IN HEAVEN (angels), and things in earth (men) and things under the earth (the damned).
I am not saying categorically that the other interpretation is wrong; it might be right. I'm just presenting a different way of looking at it.
The book of Hebrews contains many references to events and quotes which are not found anywhere in the Hebrew Old Testament, nor in the Greek Septuagint. I do not believe there ever was such a thing as a widespread, authoritative pre-Christian Septuagint version from which the author of Hebrews was quoting. Different people at various times attempted to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek and other languages, but I do not believe any of these were directly quoted by the Lord Jesus Christ or the apostles in the formation of the New Testament.
Most of the quotes taken from various Greek translations do not match the New Testament, but are paraphrases, though some do match more closely than others. It is important to note that not even Hebrews 1:6 in the Greek N.T. is an exact quote from anywhere in the LXX.
The closest reference some people use to tell us that Hebrews 1:6 comes from the so called Greek Septuagint is Deuteronomy 32:43 and this verse is wildly different from the Hebrew reading and the context has nothing to do with the first or second coming of Christ. The Hebrew text as found in the King James Bible says: "Rejoice, O YE NATIONS, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his SERVANTS, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and WILL BE MERCIFUL UNTO HIS land, AND TO his people."
However the LXX is totally different throughout the entire verse. It says: "Rejoice, YE HEAVENS, WITH HIM, AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM, REJOICE YE GENTILES, with his people, AND LET ALL THE SONS OF GOD STRENGTHEN THEMSELVES IN HIM, FOR HE WILL AVENGE THE BLOOD OF HIS SONS, and he will render vengeance, AND RECOMPENSE JUSTICE to his enemies, AND WILL REWARD THEM THAT HATE HIM, AND THE LORD SHALL PURGE THE LAND OF HIS PEOPLE." The verse as found in the LXX has little resemblance to the Hebrew text.
Some examples of things found in the New Testament book of Hebrews which are not recorded anywhere in the Old Testament are the following.
Hebrews 2:2 "For if the WORD SPOKEN BY ANGELS was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;" Nowhere are we told in the O.T. that the law of Moses was spoken by angels.
9:19 "For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people acording to the law, he took the blood of CALVES AND OF GOATS, WITH WATER, AND SCARLET WOOL, AND HYSSOP, AND SPRINKLED BOTH THE BOOK, and all the people."
None of these things are mentioned in Exodus 24, except that Moses sprinkled the people. We are not told about the Book or the use of the other materials.
9:20 "Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you." This is not a direct quote from either the Hebrew or the LXX texts, though it is a loose translation.
9:21 "he sprinkled with blood both THE TABERNACLE, and all the vessels of the ministry." We are told about sprinkling the altar, but not the tabernacle.
11:10 Abraham "looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." This fact is not specifically recorded in the O.T. either in Hebrew or Greek.
11:11 Sarah "judged him faithful who had promised". The O.T. account in fact tells us the opposite; that Sarah did not believe God.
11:13 Referring to Abraham, Sarah and possibly Abel, Enoch and Noah, "they confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth" yet this exact confession is not found recorded in the Old Testament.
11:19 tells us that Abraham was "accounting that God was able to raise him (Isaac) up, even from the dead" yet none of this is revealed in the O.T.
11:21 "Jacob, when he was dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, LEANING UPON THE TOP OF HIS STAFF." We are not told about this in the O. T. Hebrew Scriptures. In fact, one of the proofs that the so called LXX was actually written after the New Testament is that the LXX places this in the wrong context and is followed by the NIV using the LXX rather than the Hebrew texts.
11:26 Moses esteemed "the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompence of reward." None of this is mentioned in the O.T.
11:37 some of God's people were "sawn asunder" - Again, this is not mentioned in the O.T.
12:21 "And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake." This whole quote in this context is not recorded in the O.T.
13:5 "For he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Again, this exact quote is not recorded in the Old Testament either in Hebrew or Greek, though the general idea can easily be extracted.
Neither are we told the names of Jannes and Jambres who withstood Moses - 2 Timothy 3:8, nor that it rained not for the space of three years and six months when Elias prayed - James 5: 17, nor that Michael the archangel disputed with the devil about the body of Moses and said "The Lord rebuke thee" - Jude 9
So, what we see are a whole series of quotes and events mentioned in the book of Hebrews and elsewhere for which we have nothing recorded in the Old Testament Scriptures, neither in Hebrew nor a Greek LXX. They are presented as additional details and expansions revealed to the writer of the book of Hebrews under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
I am suggesting that Hebrews 1:6 refers to what God will say at the second coming of Christ, and that it is not a direct quote from the Hebrew or the LXX.
It is also possible to take the expression found in Psalms 97:7 "worship him, all ye gods" as being interpreted by the writer of Hebrews to mean the fallen angels, who along with the devils and unclean spirits, are the driving force behind all false religions. The same word is variously translated as "gods, God, angels (Psalm 8:5), magistrates, mighty ones, and judges".
The view that purports that the writer to the Hebrews is using "the LXX" and not the Hebrew texts, is nothing more than an assumption. It is not a proveable fact and the text can be explained in a very different manner.
John Owen's commentary on Hebrews 1:6
John Owen clearly states that the LXX reading was placed into a Greek translation AFTER the apostle had penned his words in the New Testament.
"Our first inquiry must be whence this testimony is taken. Many of the ancients, as Epiphanius, Theodoret, Euthymius, Procopius, and Anselm, conceived the words to be cited from Deuteronomy 32:43, where they expressly occur in the translation of the LXX. “Rejoice ye heavens with him, and let all the angels of God worship him.”
BUT there are two considerations that put it beyond all pretensions that THE WORDS ARE NOT TAKEN FROM THIS PLACE OF THE LXX.: — (1.) Because indeed there are no such words in the original text, nor any thing spoken that might give occasion to the sense expressed in them; BUT THE WHOLE VERSE IS INSERTED IN THE GREEK VERSION quite beside the scope of the place... To cite that from the Scripture as the word and testimony of God which indeed is not therein, NOR WAS EVER SPOKEN BY GOD, BUT BY HUMAN FAILURE AND CORRUPTION CREPT INTO THE GREEK VERSION, is not to be imputed unto them. And INDEED I NO WAY QUESTION BUT THAT THIS ADDITION UNTO THE GREEK TEXT in that place WAS MADE AFTER the apostle had used this testimony."
Owen continues: "The Father, upon the account of the work of Christ in the world, and his kingdom that ensued it, gives a new commandment unto the angels to worship him, his glory being greatly concerned therein. And that,- VII. Great is the church’s security and honor, when the head of it is worshipped by all the angels in heaven. As also that,- VIII. It can be no duty of the saints of the new testament to worship angels, who are their fellow-servants in the worship of Jesus Christ."
Additionally, Thomas Hewitt, writes, " There is no Hebrew equivalent for Let all the angles of God worship him in our existing text. It may be derived from Psalm xcvii. 7 'worship him, all ye gods' (Heb. elohim). The LXX has 'angels' instead of 'gods'. The quotation, however, is found in Deuteronomy xxxii. 43 (LXX), THOUGH THIS MAY BE AN ADDITION BY A LATER HAND." (Tyndale NT Commentaries in Hebrews, p. 55). It is interesting that Hewitt states that the passage found in Deuteronomy 32:43 of the LXX may have been added by a later hand. If this is true, there very well may be additional places where the LXX simply adds to the OT by citing the NT.
Dr.James R. Davila - Lecturer in Early Jewish Studies, St. Mary's College, University of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
Note: The scholar who wrote this is not a King James Only man, and he accepts the widespread idea that there was some kind of Greek translation of the Old Testament. This makes his research all the more devastating to those who promote the idea of a Pre-Christian LXX version. The LXX defenders like to use quotes from people like Josephus, Philo, Augustine, Epiphaneus, Eusebius, Irenaeus and Justin Martyr who refer to the Letter of Aristeas as proof of this LXX version, and who themselves further embellished the accounts of this alleged Greek translation.
The account given by Josephus, who is merely repeating the information found in the Letter of Aristeas, can be seen here: http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/josephus/ant12.html
For another account of how the Letter of Aristeas is a work of fiction, see Mr. Daniels article here:
I have quoted the more pertinent facts Dr. Davila has put together and capitalized various phrases for emphasis, but you can see the whole article at the site provided. I have taken nothing out of context. - Will Kinney
Professor Davila states: "The title of Aristeas in the MSS is not "the letter of," rather just "Aristeas to Philocrates." OUR EARLIEST WITNESS, the first century CE Jewish historian JOSEPHUS, gives the title as "the book of Aristaeus." Eusebius (the fourth century CE church historian) calls it "On the Translation of the Law of the Jews." The work PURPORTS TO BE an account of the translation of the Pentateuch and to be written in the middle of the 3rd century BCE, BUT IT IS UNIVERSALLY AGREED THAT ARISTEAS IS PSEUDONYMOUS AND WAS COMPOSED MUCH LATER..
Aristeas also gives us an unusual answer to one important question we ask of many OT Pseudepigrapha: is it a Jewish or a Christian composition? A straightforward solution is often impossible, but there is one for Aristeas: it was transmitted in a MS tradition by Christians, it claims to be composed by a pagan, yet it was clearly written by a Jew and perhaps went through a couple of Jewish editions. The basic story tells how the Egyptian king Ptolemy II had a Greek translation of the Pentateuch made for the Library of Alexandria.
Josephus, as we shall see, gives us reason to believe that THE TEXT WE HAVE IS INTERPOLATED...In 1968 Sidney Jellicoe knew of 23 MSS dating from the 11th century CE on (i.e., all MS evidence for Aristeas is medieval or later). I am not aware of any new MSS recovered since then .
Aristeas was quite influential in early Christian circles because the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the LXX) was adopted by Christians as their inspired scripture to go with the Greek NT.
(Note: Dr. Davila apparently has not yet connected all the dots in his own arguments. He still believes the party line about the existence of an authoritative Greek translation of some kind, that supposedly was used and quoted by the New Testament writers. It is the Catholic church that first propagated the idea that the Hebrew texts had become corrupted and that, in places, it was the alleged LXX translation that "restored" the true text. Today, most evangelicals hold to this same theory, and most modern bible versions are based on the Catholic N.T. texts as well. We live in interesting times. - Will Kinney)
AUGUSTINE (in _City of God_ 18.42-43, written by 427 CE) IS CLEARLY DEPENDENT ON ARISTEAS IN HIS RETELLING OF THE STORY. He mentions that the king was Ptolemy Philadelphus, that Eleazar was the high priest, and that there were 72 translators--6 from each tribe. He also notes that in his time the translation was called the Septuagint. Named after 70 translators, presumably because the "Septuaginta et duum" was too much of a bother to say. But HIS STORY IS AN IMPROVED VERSION which we can trace back at least to the first century CE: the translators independently produced identical translations, thus proving the divine authority of the LXX.
JEROME (a contemporary of Augustine; see his _Preface to the Pentateuch_) knew both Hebrew and Greek and could compare the LXX with the Hebrew Bible, SO HE KNEW AUGUSTINES'S STORY WAS NONSENSE AND SAID SO in the preface to his translation of the Pentateuch from Hebrew into Latin. He does seem to think that whole HB (not just the Pentateuch) was done at once under Ptolemy Lagus (the father of Philadelphus) and he asserts that the translation was distorted because Ptolemy was a Platonist and the translators didn't want to offend him. Jerome's agenda was to justify his own translation of the HB from Hebrew.
EPIPHANIUS (c. 315-403; in _On Weights and Measures_ 3-11) has the wildest version of story. It is partly dependent on Aristeas, but is full of detail about how Ptolemy shut the translators up in pairs and took strict measures to keep them from collusion (even giving them separate cooks, and skylights rather than windows). Having taken these precautions, he then fed each pair of translators one book at a time until each pair had translated every book of the HB, plus the 22 books of the Apocrypha. The king then had the 36 translations compared before him and, of course, they were found to be identical.
IRENAEUS (c. 175 CE; _Against the Heresies_ 3.21.2) tells a brief version of the story, perhaps based on Aristeas, although it contains much else. Ptolemy son of Lagus had 70 elders brought from Jerusalem. He had them do the translations separately so they wouldn't conspire to hide things in their scriptures from him. But when translations were compared, they were found to be identical... Irenaeus uses the story to defend the divine inspiration of the LXX so he can use it for messianic prophecies even when it disagrees with the original Hebrew.
JUSTIN MARTYR (fl. c. 100-165 CE; _Apology_ 1.31), the first extant Christian writer to tell the story of LXX origins. In the context of a discussion of the Hebrew prophets, he relates that Ptolemy king of Egypt SENT TO HEROD (SIC!) king of the Jews and asked for a copy of the books of prophecies. When he found he couldn't read them (they were in Hebrew, after all), he sent again for translators and the books were translated into Greek. There is nothing in this version of the story about separating the translators, but Justin is the first recorded interpreter who misunderstood that whole HB was translated at once, rather than the Pentateuch alone. By implication he was defending the veracity of the LXX, since he goes on to condemn the Jews for disbelieving in Christian claims about messianic prophecies in the OT (including Isa 7:14). JUSTIN MAY HAVE READ ARISTEAS, BUT IT IS ALSO POSSIBLE THAT HE IS JUST WORKING FROM GENERAL LEGEND (perhaps even oral traditions?) ABOUT LXX ORIGINS.
III. Despite its importance for early Christian writers and despite its own claim to be an Egyptian pagan work, the final edition of Aristeas is clearly Jewish.
IV. There is also some evidence for the function of Aristeas (and the translation story in general) during time it was transmitted in Jewish circles. The most important data come from:
JOSEPHUS (_Antiquites_ 12.1-118), who gives a close paraphrase of the work as part of his overall agenda to justify Judaism for a hellenistic/Roman audience. He puts no more emphasis on the translation itself than did the original Aristeas; the real interest of the story for Josephus seems to be the good relations it shows between Jews and the Egyptian king as well as the king's deep respect for Jewish tradition.
It is worth noting that Josephus seems to handle the text of Aristeas with reasonable care. He abbreviates, but there is little indication of deliberate distortion. He changes the name Aristeas to Aristeaus; his numbers frequently vary from our MSS of Aristeas; the details of the king's dedicatory offerings (paras. 57-84) are sometimes different, but this whole passage is very difficult and Josephus may not have understood it much better than we do; he gives the name of the high priest as Elisha (Elissaios) not Eleazar (paras. 97). All these could be variants in the Aristeas MS Josephus had before him rather than deliberate changes by Josephus. Otherwise, he makes a small alteration of the sense of v. 18 in para. 23; he adds a little of own material from another source in paras. 43-44; he adds an interpretive comment in para. 91; he waters down the curse on anyone who alters the translation in para. 109; and makes perhaps one or two other small changes. BUT BASICALLY HE SEEMS TO HAVE SUMMARIZED THE TEXT HE HAD BEFORE HIM.
(Note: In other words, the first person to witness to the alleged translation of a formalized Pre-Christian LXX version, is not an independent witness, but was copying information he had before him from the Letter of Aristeas, which was later repeated and further embellished by other Christians. Most scholars now admit the Letter of Aristeas is a false document, yet the idea of a widespread and authoritative LXX persists.)
PHILO OF ALEXANDRIA (around the turn of the era; _Vita Mosis_ 2.25-44) also tells the story of a translation of the Pentateuch under Philadelphus with and outline very similar to Aristeas (IT IS QUITE LIKELY HE READ THE WORK). The king sends an embassy to Judea to get some translators; he treats them to feasting with witty and virtuous conversation and questioning; the translation takes place on the island of Pharos. But Philo seems to be the first to add that by prophetic inspiration all the translators produced exactly the same Greek text independently.
ARISTOBULOS may have written around the middle of the second century BCE; his work is lost except for quotations preserved by Eusebius and Clement of Alexandria. (These are translated in OTP 2, pp. 830-42, esp. 839-40). HE CLAIMS THAT THERE WERE EARLIER TRANSLATIONS EVEN BEFORE ALEXANDER'S TIME (and that Pythagoras and Plato were influenced by them). He refers to a translation under Ptolemy Philadelphus, managed by Demetrius Phalereus. THE LATTER DETAIL IS PROBABLY UNHISTORICAL AND IT IS ONLY KNOWN ELSEWHERE FROM ARISTEAS, so Aristobulus may have read him (or conceivably, the other way around). He uses the story to argue for the primacy of Jewish traditions over Greek philosophy.
V. The content and shape of the original edition of Aristeas is a complicated problem, as Hadas has shown, and as far as I've been able to find, this problem has been surprisingly neglected by scholars. Of 322 total verses, Josephus uses or alludes to vv. 9-81, 172-305 (with 187-292 summarized very briefly in paras. 100-102), and 308-21. Perhaps it's not surprising that he would leave out the introduction and conclusion, but it is more problematical to say he deliberately omitted the other material. Given his care in handling the details of the document, it seems likely that the journey to Jerusalem and Eleazar's comments (vv. 82-171) weren't in the MS he had. This may also be true of the defense of ritual hand-washing in vv. 306-7. In my view IT IS QUITE LIKELY THAT THEY ARE SECONDARY ADDITIONS AFTER THE TIME OF JOSEPHUS.
Finally, a word about the date of composition of the first edition. BASICALLY, WE CAN SAY THAT IT WAS OLD ENOUGH TO FOOL JOSEPHUS, but young enough for THE WRITER NOT TO HAVE ACCURATE KNOWLEDGE OF SOME IMPORTANT HISTORICAL MATTERS regarding the reign of Ptolemy II. A good guess might be 100 BCE +/- 125 years. I find it difficult to refine the possible date any further, although others have tried, drawing on more ambiguous evidence such as the political situation presupposed by the work, the geographical and architectural details it presents, its linguistic usage, and parallels with the papyri, especially the Zenon corpus. We have no evidence of the date of the redaction of the second edition (the one in our MSS), except that Josephus didn't have it and therefore it may well have been written after his time.
DR. James R. Davila, Divinity School of the University of St. Andrews, 1999
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Other good articles showing the Myth of Christ and the Apostles using the so called Greek Septuagint.
Here is a very informative article called Is the Septuagint the Bible of Christ and the Apostles? by Dr. Phil Stringer, President of Landmark Baptist College and member of the Dean Burgon Society. It contains a lot of good quotes from many others who have studied this area of textual studies.
LXX Hoax EXPOSED
From The Works of Many FAITHFUL Scholars
Assembled by Jim Searcy
Here is another excellent and in depth study about the Geek LXX by Dr. Floyd Nolan Jones. It is called The Septuagint; A Critical Analysis It can be seen here:
The King James Version
Other Bible Translations
(A Positional Statement on the Authorized Version)
By Pastor Kelly Sensenig
Long article, very good points. Has a lot of information about the so called Greek Septuagint.