I see that the meaning of Isaiah 30:15 in the LXX differs completely from the KJV/Masoretic text. Can this difference be resolved from the DSS texts?

  • 4
    A little bit more of context in this question might be welcome. Quoting the different passages, your research and thoughts so far would make this question much more attractive. Feb 8, 2018 at 16:32
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    You really have to quote the passages to which you refer from all three texts and indicate which editions or manuscripts you are quoting. You need to describe the differences that you see in passages. Did you search for the texts of the known DSS fragments containing the text in question?
    – user17080
    Feb 8, 2018 at 17:08

2 Answers 2


The Dead Sea Scrolls witnesses for Isaiah 30:15 are clearly and conclusively consistent with the MT and not with the LXX.

The Aleppo Codex1 of Isaiah 30:15 as copied in he.wikisource.org2 is:

כִּ֣י כֹֽה־אָמַר֩ אֲדֹנָ֨י יֱהֹוִ֜ה קְד֣וֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל בְּשׁוּבָ֤ה וָנַ֨חַת֙ תִּוָּ֣שֵׁע֔וּן בְּהַשְׁקֵט֙ וּבְבִטְחָ֔ה תִּֽהְיֶ֖ה גְּבֽוּרַתְכֶ֑ם וְלֹ֖א אֲבִיתֶֽם

The Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaa)3 if Isaiah 30:15 as copied by myself is:

כי כה אמר אדני יהוה קדוש ישראל בשובה ונחת תושעון בהשקט ובבטחה תהיה גבורתכם ולוא אביתם

If you follow the links provided in the footnotes below, you can visually compare these two manuscripts and see for yourself that there are only two minor differences between them in this verse, apart from the diacritics, readers marks and masoretic notes in the Aleppo Codex.

The first difference is that the fourth word of the verse, "אדני" (the Lord) is written directly above the tetragrammaton (the LORD) in the inter-parsha space after verse 14 in the Great Isaiah Scroll, whereas in the Aleppo Codex the word "אדני" has apparently been elided into the text, and is placed in-line, before the tetragrammaton.

The second difference is a single letter, the "ו" in the second to the last word of the verse; "ולא" in the Aleppo Codex versus "ולוא" in the Great Isaiah Scroll. This difference does not affect the meaning of the word, which is "and not".4 The Great Isaiah Scroll often uses a fuller spelling, whereas the later Aleppo Codex uses the shorter, more elegant, consonantal form.

Of the Dead Sea Isaiah fragments, only the Great Isaiah Scroll, 1QIsaa, and the fragment 4Q58 Isaiahc have the full text of the verse. The fragment 4Q58 Isaiahc leaves out the "אדני" which is in any event is an addendum in the inter-parsha space in 1QIsaa, and 4Q58 Isaiahc leaves out the "ולוא אביתם" at the end of the verse.

So, for Isaiah 30:15, it is crystal clear that the Great Isaiah Scroll agrees completely with the Masoretic Text, and the only other known fragment containing a significant portion of the verse, 4Q58 Isaiahc, agrees except for the omission of the last two words of the verse. 5

The simple meaning in Hebrew of Isaiah 30:15 is relatively clear, with only two minor questions. As a Hebrew speaker and reader, my preference for current American English translation of this verse is the NASB:

For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength." But you were not willing

This translation is very close to the Hebrew in terms of word order and number of words, with no interpolated English words.

The translation questions are:

  1. If בשובה should be "repentance" or "returning", to closely related concepts in Hebrew. The intent of the text is not completely clear, but apparently "repentance" rather than "returning" (physically) is the intent.
  2. How to render אביתם, whether as "unwilling", "would have none of it", "didn't want to hear from it", or similar. There is no ambiguity in the Hebrew, but there is no close cognate word in English.

Since I am not familiar with the with LXX manuscript criticism and I am not literate in LXX Greek, I can only comment on the English translations such as the Brenton. That translation appears to interpolate

  1. "and mourn"
  2. "and thou shalt know where thou wast, when thou didst trust in vanities
  3. "became vain"

which have no basis in the MT or DSS manuscripts. Like many passages of the LXX, this passage appears to be an interpretive translation, based on a contextual reading of the verse together with the following verses and without regard for the parsha (Hebrew chapter) break preceding the verse.

  1. http://www.aleppocodex.org/newsite/index.html
  2. https://he.wikisource.org/wiki/%D7%A7%D7%98%D7%92%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%94:%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%A2%D7%99%D7%94%D7%95_%D7%9C_%D7%98%D7%95
  3. http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/he/isaiah#30:15
  4. This difference is a common difference in spelling known as "full spelling", in which particular Hebrew letters are added to the consonantal spelling, as if they were vowels, in order to indicate the vocalization of the word.
  5. See also https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/27666/17080

According to the KJV, the Masoretic Text reads:

For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: And ye would not.

According the Brenton translation of the Septuagint:

Thus saith the Lord, the Holy Lord of Israel; When thou shalt turn and mourn, then thou shalt be saved; and thou shalt know where thou wast, when thou didst trust in vanities: then your strength became vain, yet ye would not hearken

According to Abegg, Flint, and Ulrich English translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1QIsaa conforms to the Masoretic Text, except for the opening phrase, Thus saith the Lord instead of Thus saith the Lord God, which conforms to the Septuagint:

For thus said the Lord, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you will be saved; in quietness and confidence will be your strength. But you were unwilling.

I do not think the Dead Sea Scrolls are necessarily a conclusive witness, though. According to the Abegg, Flint, and Ulrich apparatus, in Isaiah 30 alone there are instances where a particular Dead Sea Scroll (e.g. 1QIsaa) agrees with the Masoretic Text (MT), but not the Septuagint (LXX); with the LXX, but not the MT; and sometimes with both the LXX and MT, but not other Dead Sea Scrolls containing the same verse (e.g. 4QIsac). In many cases a Scroll contains some text that is not in either the MT or the LXX or even other Scrolls that have the same verse. These phenomena seem to be the case with almost every book included in the Scrolls. In fact, the Scrolls contain whole books that are not even in the Masoretic Text (e.g. Tobit, Sirach), but are found in the Septuagint, and even there what is found sometimes contradicts the Septuagint reading.

It seems to me that very often the Dead Sea Scrolls introduce still more confusion about what the "original" text might have been, rather than help clarify things.

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