The NET gives the following information about the list of names found in 1 Samuel 12:11:

In the ancient versions there is some confusion with regard to these names, both with regard to the particular names selected for mention and with regard to the order in which they are listed. For example, the LXX has “Jerub-Baal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel.” But the Targum has “Gideon, Samson, Jephthah, and Samuel,” while the Syriac Peshitta has “Deborah, Barak, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson.”

The KJV and NASB following the MT seemingly matching the LXX, but instead of Barak they have someone named Bedan. In that case it seems preferable to go with Barak since it mentions Sisera in verse 9 and since there's nobody really named Bedan elsewhere in the OT. As for the rest of the list, is preference given usually to the LXX? Or how would one decide who is listed when putting together a translation?

  • 3
    There's a couple of questions in here. IMHO, "Is preference given to the LXX when translating OT passages?" would be a great question in and of itself.
    – Dan
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 18:25
  • Wikipedia writes: "and the two latter versions list in that verse Samson as the last deliverer of the Israelites, instead of Samuel. [5] These readings are adopted by Charles François Houbigant, and appear to be genuine, for it is not probable that Samuel would enumerate himself." I tend to agree with this statement, indeed it is unlikely and unnatural for Samuel to refer to himself in 3rd person. The MT thus should be emended.
    – bach
    Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 0:59

1 Answer 1


The layers of abstraction increase as you move through the sources.

  1. Masoretic Text/Dead Sea Scrolls are generally perceived as closest to the source
  2. The LXX, as a Greek translation of the HOT is the first layer of abstraction since it is a translation. However, when dealing with the NT usage of the OT, the LXX is preferred since that is the "Scripture" that was available to them.
  3. Syriac Peshitta is also a translation
  4. Targums are commentaries/translations on and of the text.

In your specific example, I'd stick with the Masoretic Text since you're looking for the specific people involved. If you were looking for the history of interpretation, then the targums would be helpful (in addition to any recent research that includes targum research).

So to answer the overarching question, "it depends." The favorable interpretation and textual foundation depends on the context of your question as well as the type of information that you seek.

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