Note- This is not a duplicate of Is Joshua 21:36-37 authentic or an addition? because I am asking what the source of the hebrew of those two verses is, and for the BHS specifically. So for example, the answer to that question says "These words do appear appear in the LXX and the Vulgate, but not in the Masoretic text of the Second Rabbinic Bible" But that wouldn't answer my question, of what the source for the Hebrew is.

Looking at a hebrew bible called "BHS reader", (BHS being Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia), I see it has two verses in Joshua Chapter 21, that are not in my Feldheim Tanach Simanim

The BHS bible has 45 verses in Joshua 21, (two of those verses are in small print). The Feldheim Tanach Simanim has 43 verses in Joshua 21. The difference being from those two verses.

The BHS has those verses, which it puts in small writing (actually i'm showing a pic from the BHS Reader, which is based on the BHS)

BHS page image

The Leningrad Codex doesn't contain those verses

annotated screenshot below, from 700MB leningrad codex pdf linked to here http://www.seforimonline.org/seforimdb/pdf/264.pdf

here is a screenshot of the Leningrad Codex, showing Joshua chapter 21, making clear the two missing verses. (Note- missing may be the wrong word to use). Contrast with the BHS.

Codex Leningrad annotated

I understand that the BHS is based on the LC(Leningrad Codex).

So, what manuscript(s) has the BHS used to get those verses?

I've heard that the Targum Yerushalmi / Jerusalem Targum, has it, but that's not Hebrew. I've heard that the Septuagint has it, but that's not Hebrew.

  • It is possible that some medieval scribes translated from the Greek to fill in the missing verses. I have read that this was not unheard of. The Oxford JPS Study Bible acknowledges the presence of variants of this passage.
    – user15733
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 12:40
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Is Joshua 21:36-37 authentic or an addition?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 16:50
  • @curiousdannii no it is not a duplicate. This is asking what the SOURCE for the Hebrew, of those two verses is Why has this question been marked as a duplicate? Can it be unmarked?
    – barlop
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 17:53
  • @barlop It's only been suggested as a duplicate, and the question in the body is "What is the manuscript evidence for these verses?" which encompasses this one.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 1:29
  • @curiousdannii though my one asks specifically about BHS, so the answers try to go there...first, also it's better not to ask multiple questions in one which may be what your question does. Better to separate multiple questions. So whether authentic or not is one question.. What source the BHS uses is related to the question of what are the sources for that verse.
    – barlop
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 20:56

3 Answers 3


I don't usually do tl;dr summaries, but it seems it might help in this case...

tl;dr summary

OP Q: what the source of the Hebrew of those two verses [i.e., Josh 21:36-67]?

A: the majority of Masoretic Hebrew manuscripts other than Leningradensis; see end of post for more details.

In fact, the BHS itself provides the answer to the question, although in quite an opaque form. The information is in the apparatus at the foot of the page, linked by the superscript "a" by the verse number (36):

BHS Joshua 21

Here's a "key" to that footnote:

  • 36 a = note identifier;
  • v 36.37 = unusually identifying extent of text covered by the note (usually the superscript letter does this job unambiguously);
  • > LC Mssโ€  ๐”…๐”—* (Syh c ob); = these two verses are omitted by the Leningrad Codex, Codex Cairensis, and other manuscripts of the MT, as well as Bomberg's Second Rabbinic Bible and the Targum, and noting in parenthesis that in the Syrohexapla it appears under the obelus [รท] sign which indicated text that ought to be removed.
  • [Thus far the note has described evidence for the absence of these verses; now it records the evidence for its presence.]
  • extstat in mlt Mssโ€  Edd = [however] it exists in many manuscripts and [printed] editions;
  • ๐”Š๐”—Mss๐”™ = and also present in the Septuagint, some Targum manuscripts, and the Vulgate;
  • cf. 1 Ch 6,63 sq; = compare 1 Chron 6:63-64 where this information (in a slightly different form) is also found;
  • S tr post 34a = the Syriac (again, "Fraktur S" doesn't look much like BHS's symbol here) has this material after v. 34, not after v. 35.

* The letter shape of the "Fraktur-T" symbol differs from that of "Blackletter-T" as found in BHS, also true of the Vulgate symbol which appears towards the end of the note; I don't think there are unicode entities for these precise letter-shapes, but if someone knows them, please do edit!

โ€ The Sigla of BHS use the abbreviation "Ms(s)" to indicate collections of medieval manuscripts, and refers readers to the standard treatments in this way (see further on de Rossi below, and see barlop's answer for the contribution of Ginsburg):

codex manuscriptus Hebraicus (codices manuscripti Hebraici) secundum B. Kennicott, Vetus Testamentum Hebraicum, voll. I. II (Oxonii 1776.1780), et J. B. de Rossi, Variae Lectiones V.T. librorum, voll. I โ€” IV (Parmae 1784 sqq) et eiusdem Scholia Critica in V.T. libros (1798), generatim inclusis codicibus, qui prima, exclusis illis, qui secunda manu lectionem tuentur et C. D. Ginsburg, The Old Testament, voll. I โ€”IV (London 1908 โ€” 1926)

Unusually at this point, then, BHS does not simply represent Codex Leningrad, but introduced text commonly found in the wider tradition of Masoretic manuscripts (and other ancient sources), signalling this "plus" by means of the reduced font size. It doesn't often happen like this in BHS!

But what is the explanation for this situation?

(1) It's sometimes the case in manuscript transmission in antiquity that parallel passages get fused to some extent in the copying process, probably inevitable in a situation where the scribes would know the parallel passage well. It might in some cases even have been intentional -- with the best of intentions -- to bring about some harmonization between the parallels. That would be one explanation for what has happened in the case of these two lists of Levitical cities from Joshua and Chronicles.

(2) The unusual step of BHS to include this text here signals a different explanation, pointing to a conviction that these verses are originally part of MT Joshua, but have dropped out of part the Hebrew manuscript tradition (which included the Leningrad Codex), while being maintained otherwise and also (consistently) among the ancient versions, although the Targumim give a mixed picture for Aramaic.

So, for example, among older commentators, C.F. Keil (1880, p. 214 n.2) points out that not only does the evidence of the manuscripts point towards inclusion, even the MT text of Joshua depends upon it, for otherwise its own totals here for the Reubenite cities does not tally (a point echoed by George Cooke, 1918). The rationale for the omission is that the scribe's eye jumped from the ื•ืžืžื˜ื” which begins v. 36, to the same form which begins v. 38, missing out the intervening text (i.e. "parablepsis owing to homoioarcton" if you like the technical terms).

Thus, (2) has widespread support, and explains the unusual course of action taken by the editors of BHS here. The essential point is that these verses persisted in Hebrew in other MS traditions, and their antiquity is attested in the versional evidence.

Non-Leningradensis Masoretic witnesses for longer text

These may still most conveniently be found in Jean Bernard de Rossi's Variae lectiones Veteris Testamenti ex immensa mss. editorumque codicum congerie haustae..., Vol. 2 (Regio, 1785), pp. 96-106. It is very unusual to have nine pages of discussion (it begins at the very end of p. 96). The Hebrew witnesses are initially listed on p. 97:

de Ross, vol. 2, p. 97

OP should be able to satisfy the impulse to look for "Hebrew sources" there.

  • But what's the source for the Hebrew. The Septuagint is in greek, the vulgate is latin, and the targum is aramaic. (and as a side note, I think the septuagint is not a translation from a masoretic text). And if it was translated from greek or latin or aramaic into hebrew, then who would've done it?!
    – barlop
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 18:01
  • What are the names of these manuscripts and are they available online?
    – barlop
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 18:25
  • +1 Thanks for your efforts and answer, it has also jogged my memory that there is a work by C.D. Ginsberg that may answer my question even more directly. I'll post an answer re that with some screenshots
    – barlop
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 9:58
  • This is a good answer - though it does not actually answer the question ("what manuscripts...). I find it strange that the editors of the BHS write only "in mult MSS" without mentioning at least one example.
    – fdb
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 11:19
  • 1
    @barlop Wrong. BHS specifically refers to de Rossi (and Ginsberg!) by its "ms(s)" siglum. IF you mean, "Is there a book, published subsequent to BHS, which identifies all the manuscripts referred to by its "ms(s)" siglum?": there isn't. If you mean: "How do I find out which manuscripts are referred to by BHS's "ms(s)" siglum?": the answer is by checking Kennicott, de Rossi, and Ginsberg. I hope that's clear! (And, as you have seen here, there are a lot of mss listed in these works.)
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 19:35

David's excellent answer has reminded me, there is a very comprehensive work by C.D. Ginsberg.

Ginsberg's work, written in 1896, predates the BH/BHK/BHS and covers the first and second rabbinic bibles by bomberg, which are from the 1500s. It describes some hebrew masoretic manuscripts that have and some that don't have, those two verses. Though which ones the BHS used is another matter.. But perhaps the closest we can get is this.

David provided a comment with a screenshot included here, showing that the BHS in its explanation of Ms(s), mentions Kennicott, and De Rossi and Ginsberg, and perhaps others.

enter image description here

Furthermore, here is a screenshot from BHS 5th edition, we see that Ms(s) includes more than those three(eg the Cairo Geniza is mentioned), and that Ed(d) also mentions those three.

enter image description here


enter image description here

BHS introductory pages also mention that mlt=multi, exstat=it exists.

So therefore since BHS mentions those works, it makes sense to look at those works. kennicott, de rossi, and ginsberg.

As you see from the screenshot, BHS also mentions fragments from the cairo geniza, (there has been a project to digitize the cairod geniza https://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/genizah/1 )

David's answer looks at De Rossi's work. I'll look here at Ginsberg.

According to https://stepweb.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/SUG/pages/24215583/More+about+OT+Editions Ginsberg's work only looks at "manuscripts from the thirteenth century onwards that were in the British Library".

C.D. Ginsberg's work is available here https://archive.org/details/MassorahMassorethMassoretic in what look like many PDFs but a comment gives a link here to what looks like it in two PDFs

The PDFs aren't that big either. vol1 is 28MB, vol2 is 43MB

Volume 1 is at http://www.archive.org/details/IntroductionToTheMasoretico-criticalEditionOfTheHebrewBible01

Volume 2 is at


A helpful table of contents in the pdf mentions

enter image description here

and the title of Chapter 12, (which is where vol 2 begins)

enter image description here

and that there is an index of manuscripts

enter image description here

On Page 1003-1005 He has a table of manuscripts all (perhaps most, but probably all), are hebrew manuscripts.

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

Vol 2 begins with chapter 12 which has a title which is exactly what i'm looking for

enter image description here

On Page 494-495

enter image description here

enter image description here

I'll look through some more, there may be other manuscripts, but for any of them, though it's worth bearing in mind that Ginsberg work is regarding masoretic manuscripts used by the 1525 Bomberg "rabbinic" bible, rather than by the BHS. (The BHS is based largely on the leningrad codex, though clearly a deviation from that is those two verses Joshua 21:36-37, even there the BHS has them in small print probably because they're not from the leningrad codex). So this would state hebrew manuscripts that has them, rather than the particular ones used by BHK/BHS). Also Ginsberg's work on the 1525 bomberg "rabbinic" bible, was published in 1896, that happens to also be before the BH/BHK was published - the BHS/BHK and of course BHS, was published post 1900-

He mentions on p178-180 and p434 some reasons why the 1525 bomberg rabbinic bible excluded them, though e.g. the 1521 bomberg bible included them. And he is of a sure view that they should have remained included. He indicates that they're in many if not most of the earliest manuscripts. (while he doesn't mention the following, they're clearly not in the st petersberg(i.e. leningrad), or the aleppo. He mentions the verses briefly on p434

Looking further, It seems to me that he doesn't discuss in detail, all the manuscripts that he mentions in that index, but he discusses 24 of them in some detail, as seen in the vol 2 pdf. I don't think he had access to the Aleppo Codex (I doubt Bomberg did either)..

He discusses the St Petersberg Codex (that became known as the Leningrad Codex when the city Petersberg got renamed Leningrad in 1924.. But at the time Ginsberg was writing it was known as the St Petersberg Codex). Though he doesn't mention those verses in connection with that codex(though we know, as shown from the question, that those verses aren't in that codex). But he does describe other codexes too and with those, he sometimes makes mention of whether they do or do not have those two verses.

In the red box I drew in, is a list of all references to those two verses. It seems to me that the earlier page numbers he's describing why they weren't in the 1525 bomberg but should've been.. And anything between p469-778 is discussion of 24 manuscripts, some of which he says whether or not they have reference to those two verses, and after p778 are just further mentions of those two verses.

enter image description here

  • There has been a lot of progress in Biblical studies since 1896. In particular, the Aleppo codex was not available to scholars until well into the 20th century.
    – fdb
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 11:15
  • 1
    And just for the record (I did check) these verses are missing in the Aleppo codex.
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 11:38
  • @fdb yes and the first edition of the BHS, known as the BH or BHK, was published before the aleppo codex was available..1913 so pre 1947, so as far as the question is concerned, what source the BHS used, the aleppo codex isn't that relevant. I do wonder though if the BHK even had those verses in small print like the BHS does.
    – barlop
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 0:14
  • 1
    Note that your comment in the latest revision represents a misunderstanding of how BHS and de Rossi are related. See my comment above for clarification.
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 19:49
  • @Dษ‘vïd can you quote the comment and elaborate on what you mean? thanks
    – barlop
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 6:31

Here is the page of the Ben Hayim 2nd Rabbinic Bible, the Rashi script margin note is on bottom left. https://app.box.com/s/oey13m8jon

The note says a lot but I do not have the translation handy.

Ben Hayim Joshua 21:36-37

Here is a picture of the full page using Abbyy, to keep it below 2 mg.

enter image description here

  • Hello, Steven Avery. This is considered a "link-only" answer. It would be helpful for future visitors to this question if you would edit in a summary of that page. Links can become broken or outdated so a summary would still provide the necessary information.
    – agarza
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 0:37
  • The link is only to the pic of the Ben Hayim page, which is often talked about but rarely viewed. Now I added a screenshot of the page, earlier I could not bring it in because where it sits it is over 2 mg. Most of the issues have been covered in the two threads, maybe someone will add the translation, but the Ben Hayim note from my remembrance, does give the verse in the margin and other helpful information. This is important when Ben Hayim edition is being critiqued for not having the verses, at least the margin note was good. Commented May 25, 2023 at 5:10

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