I was wondering if you could help me out with this. The names of Jashobeam, one of King David’s warriors (I Chon. 11:11), and Jeshebeab, one of the twenty-four families of Kohanim (I Chron. 24:13), are translated in the Septuagint as Iesebaal and Isbaal respectively. I was wondering if you could help me find out more about this translation and other renderings of those names. I see that the Vulgate and various fragments of the DSS mirror the Masoretic version (as do the Vulgate and Peshitta) and do not have names theophorically recalling Baal. Are there any other translations/versions of the Bible which follow the LXX on this? Why would the LXX make such a change to the names of these people?

1 Answer 1


It is not so much that the names have been altered in the Septuagint (LXX) but that the LXX probably preserves the original names, which have been altered for theological reasons in the Masoretic Text (MT). Jeffrey H. Tigay says ('Israelite Religion: the Onomastic and Epigraphic Evidence', page 157) "For centuries after their occupation of Canaan the Israelite tribes remained polythistic, differing little from their neighbors except in the identity of their own chief or national deity."

Then on pages 160-1:

The Israelite theophoric names preserved in the Masoretic Text are overwhelmingly Yahwistic ...[A] certain percentage of pagan PNs has been altered in the MT to a point where they are no longer recognizable to us, and the MT cannot be automatically assumed to present us with a reliable impression of the extent of the use of pagan theophoric names in ancient Israel.

Tigay goes on to say that recent archaeological discoveries indicate "that ba'al names remained in use longer, and may have been more popular than the biblical evidence suggests."

Tigay says (ibid, page 161) that Jeshebeab and Jashobeam are read in the MT as Isbaal and Iesebaal respectively. Tigay believes the MT names to be later substitutions.

Even within the Masoretic text, we find instances where a pagan theophoric name and a neutral pseudonym are sometimes used for the same individual. Gideon's birth name is clearly Jerubbaal (May Baal Contend). Not only is the name Gideon a substitution, but elsewhere in the MT his name is also given as Jerubbeshet.

  • So you are saying that the LXX preserves a pre-censored version of a tradition older than the MT? Does this mean that only the names Jeshebeab and Jashobeam were censored by the MT because we don't find other instances of LXX translating a name differently than the MT. If this is true, then it would suggest that Baalic names weren't as possible as you are trying to make them out to be, because there are only a handful in the entire Bible. And if you want to say there were really more, then why does the LXX single out Jeshebeab and Jashobeam and not those others? Oct 27, 2016 at 8:31
  • In some cases such as these, yes, the LXX preserves an earlier version of their names. In many other cases, the MT is considered more reliable thant the LXX. By no means were these the only names altered, but I focussed on the ones you asked about. I added the example of Gibeon, where even among Hebrew authors, as comes down to us in the MT, to show how this 'censorship' worked. Please don't think I'm "trying to make them out to be" something improper - I'm reporting what a representative scholar says. .../ Oct 27, 2016 at 9:09
  • .../ I found this item on the web because I already knew the answer (in general) and wanted an online reference that you could look up and which specifically dealt with Jeshebeab and Jashobeam. Biblical Hermeneutics sometimes leads us to conclusions we do not really want to reach :) Oct 27, 2016 at 9:09

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