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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Why the LXX shouldn't be judged by the MT

When some reformed protestants say the LXX is corrupt. What they mean is it differs from the MT. The MT is not the original hebrew text type. Infact, there are several different Hebrew text types. The LXX follows a different Hebrew text type and besides, the MT was butchered(edited) in certain parts by nonbelieving jews for theological reasons.

The LXX shouldn't be judged by the MT, because the MT is a post Christian Hebrew text that has been edited and compiled from about 150 A.D. to about 900A.D. (give or take a century)

The LXX is a 3rd or 2nd century B.C. Greek Translation of an earlier Hebrew text. And when the dead sea scrolls were found. The LXX cynics, were surprized to find out that where the Dead Sea scrolls differed substantialy from the MT it usually agreed with the LXX. Now the LXX and the MT agree in most places, but in some parts they do differ. What we have today is called by scholars the "Hexaplar recension". It is called that because it is a combined text of the hebrew of Origens day along with 4 or 5 greek translations. 3 of which were post christian literal greek translations by nonbelieving Jews that rejected christianity. The LXX had it's own colomn in the Hexaplar. Thus the Hexaplar was what we would call in modern times a Parallel Bible. A couple other recension texts were also around as spoken of by Jerome.

Tertullian speaks about the Hebrew text type that the LXX was based on, which was still in existence in his day.

"That the understanding of their books might not be lacking, this also the
Jews supplied to ptolemy. For they gave him seventy-two interpreters......The
same account is given by Aristeas. So the King left these works unlocked to all,
in the Greek language. To this day, at the temple of serapis, the libraries of
Ptolemy are to be seen, with the identical Hebrew originals in them. The Jews,
too, read them publicly."
Tertullian(197 A.D.) [1]

[1]page 608 dictionary of early christian beliefs. David Bercot,
Hendrickson publishers

The Serapeum temple would have been destroyed around 391 A.D. with the Decree of Theophilus. Just because the Temple was destroyed doesn't mean the books were destroyed along with it.

A list of Some Pre-nicene christians that quoted the deutoros

"When you can do good, defer it not, because alms
delivers from death"[tobit 4:10; 12:9]

Polycarp 135 A.D.

"Cyrus, King of the Persians, said to Daniel, the
prophet, "why do you not worship Bel?" Daniel replied, saying, "Because I do not
worship idols made with hands" [Dan. 14, also known as Bel and the
Irenaeus 180 A.D.

"For that reason, the scripture most strenuously
exhorts, "Do not introduce everyone into your house, for the snares of the
crafty are many" [Sir 11:29]
Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

"Who is this but Christ? They say, "come, let us remove
the righteous one, because he is hateful to us; he sets himself contrary to our
doings" [Wis. 2:12].
Tertullian 207 A.D.

"They are all clearly described in the books of the
Hippolytus 205 A.D.

"That we may believe on the authority of the Holy
Scriptures that such is the case, hear how in the book of Maccabees, where the
mother of seven martyrs exhorts her sons to endore torture, this truth is
Origen 225 A.D.

[2]page 208 A dictionary of early beliefs, David Bercot, Hendrickson

The Post Nicene christian Saint Athanasius also embraced some of the deuterocanonical books in his 3 class system of books. His 3 tier system included the Canonical scripture(which included the books of Baruch, and the letter of Jeremiah), the scripture that is read(the rest of the deutero books), and the uninspired Apocrypha(other books like the Apocalypse of Peter, the Apocalypse of Abraham, the book of Noah, the apocalypse of Adam, Acts of Peter, Ascension of Isaiah.....ect).

And according to Gary G. Michuta in the book "Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger: The untold story of the lost books of the Protestant Bible"(copyright 2007 Published by Grotto Press). He says on page 111

"In another argument against Arians, he(Athanasius) calls both the Protocanonical Proverbs and the Deuterocanonical Wisdom "Holy Scripture" [sacris litteris/tais hagiais graphais].234

his source

234 Defense Against Arius 1, 3 [L. quod in Sacris Litteris scriptum est (Prv 19:5; Ws 1:11); GK. ou phobountai de hen tais hagiais Graphais gegrammenon].

Comparing Some verses of the Dead Sea scrolls with the LXX and MT.

Also I would like to note that the dead sea scrolls had the books of Tobias, Sirach, Baruch, and psalm 151 of David.

The LXX and the dead sea "4QSam-a" are very similar.

How tall was Goliath?

1 Samuel 17:4 of the dead sea scroll "4QSam-a" says "4 cubits and one span". The LXX says:

1st Kingdoms 17:4(1st Samuel 17:4) "And a mighty man went out from the
battle line of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath. His height was four
cubits and a span.

The MT says

1st Samuel 17:4 "And there went out a champion out of the camp of the
Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a

Recent Archeology of the middle eastern region in regards to the ancient stories of giants in that area agrees with the dead sea scrolls and LXX of 4 cubits and a span.

4QGen-k fragment has the longer reading of "and dry land appeared" in its text.

The LXX says

Gen 1:9 "Then God said, let the water under heaven be gathered together
into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. The water under
heaven was gathered into its places, and the dry land appeared."

The MT says

"9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one
place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so."

This shows the Hebrew that the LXX was based on was very similar to the one of the dead sea scrolls. At least in regards to Genesis.

4Q Exod-a of the DSS says of Exodus 1:5 "75 souls"

The lxx says:

"All those who were the seed of Jacob were seventy-five persons (for
Joseph was in Egypt already)."

The MT says:

"And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls:
for Joseph was in Egypt already."

The Dead sea scroll fragment agreed with the LXX. Also the New Testament agrees with the LXX.

Acts chapter 7:14 says:

"Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and all his relatives to him, seventy-five people."

Steven quoted the LXX, yet some people would like to re-write history and pretent that Jesus and the Apostles didn't make use of the LXX. Also some people would like to pretend that the LXX only had the first five books of Moses. The fact that the New Testament quotes the LXX in other places shows that the LXX had more books in it than just the first 5 books of Moses.

4QDeut-j in Deuteronomy 32:8 agrees with the LXX in that it has "according to the number of the sons of God"

LXX says:

"When the Most High divided the nations, when He scattered the Sons of
Adam, He set the boundaries of the nations by the number of God's angels"

The MT says

"When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he
separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the
number of the children of Israel."

The 5/6HevPs of Psalm 22:17 says "They have pierced my hands and feet"

The LXX says:

Psalms 21:17(22:17 in MT) "For many dogs surrounded me; an assembly of evildoers
enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet."

The MT says:

"I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me."

The New Testament in comparision with the LXX and MT

Luke 3:35-36 "Cainan" is missing in the MT between Arphaxed and Selah

"he son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the
son of Noah, the son of Lamech,"

Gen 10:24 of the LXX says

Brenton's lxx
"And Arphaxad begot Cainan, and Cainan begot Sala. And Sala begot

Gen 10:24 of The MT says:

"And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber."

What did Jesus read in Luke 4:18-19?

NKJV Luke 4:16-21
""So 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 to read. And He
was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. 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 has anointed Me To preach the
gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal
the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the
captives And recovery of sight to the
blind, To set at liberty those who are
oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable
year of the LORD.”

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and
sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And
He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your

The LXX says:

Brentons lxx
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me; he has sent
me to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken in heart, to proclaim
liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; to declare
the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompence; to comfort all that

The MT says

KJV Isaiah 61:1-2
""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

You can't really see it in english but Jesus followed the greek of the LXX.

Matthew 1:22-23 says:

"So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the
Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and
bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God
with us.”

Brentons LXX says:

Esaias 7:14
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall
conceive in the womb
, and shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name

The MT says

Well. I wasn't able to find a translation that went with the MT. Instead, they all chose to go with the LXX. But the MT says young woman......not virgen. However, there is evidence that the Jews who used the dead sea scrolls did understand that hebrew word in a similar way that the Jewish translaters of the LXX did. So it could have been a common interpretation before the time of Christ as well as during the time of Christ. The MT was edited for hundreds of years after 150 A.D. It is well known that the Jewish nonbelievers edited alot of the Messianic prophecies because of the rise of Christianity, and conversion of their own peoples.

Romans 9:17 says

"For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”"

The LXX of Exodus 9:16 says:
Brentons lxx
"And for this purpose hast thou been preserved, that I might display in thee my strength, and that my name might be published in all the earth."

The NASB says of Exodus 9:16
"But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth."

New Testament

Romans 9:26 NKJV
“And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘ You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

Old Testament

Hosea 1:10
"Yet the Number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which shall not be measured or numbered. Then it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' Even then they shall be called the sons of the living God."

The MT says

"Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God."

You can't see it in english but Paul was following the LXX in Romans 9:25-26. The same is true for Romans 9:27; 9:29; and 9:33.

It is well known that the LXX was the Christian Old Testament. Yes you had a few christians from time to time that had their own personal view against the LXX, but over all when push came to shove, and when big councils gathered. The LXX stayed with the Church. To Judge the LXX with the eyes of the MT is to side with those that blotted out references to Christ. It is to side with those that persecuted christians because they followed Christ. It is to side against the Apostles for they quoted the LXX alot. It is to side with those who persecuted christians in 150 A.D. for refusing to see Simon Bar Cochba of the second Jewish revolt as the promised Messiah. This is where the MT has it's beginning. And this is what alot of modern english speaking christians don't know.



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