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I was reading my bible when I stumbled on Isaiah 65:20:

There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.

From what I understand the verse refers to the new heavens and earth. But the expression "for the child shall die an hundred years old" gave me a lot of headaches. I asked myself what? Will there still be death at that time? So I tried to do some research and I saw that many people asked themselves the same question. Everyone giving his interpretation, or proposing a new translation like here: In Isaiah 65:17-25 does the author envision death in the new Heavens and new Earth?

I was thinking of choosing a proposal that could satisfy me, and not give much weight to the thing. But I was even luckier, on this page I found what I think is the best explanation: http://allpowertothelamb.com/2016/04/reconciling-isaiah/

And there shall be no more there a person of immature years, or an old man who shall not fulfil his days. For the young man shall be an hundred years old; but the sinner who dies an hundred years old, he shall be accursed.

As you can read the quote of Justin Martyr is different from the translations we have today. As the author of the article explains the new meaning of the verse is this:

...Isaiah is contrasting the state of the sinner with the state of the righteous in the new heavens and the new earth. The righteous people that are born in the new earth and have lived 100 years will be considered young, a mere youth. In contrast, the sinner that lived to the ripe old age of 100 during this life and was seemingly blessed by having had a long life, will find the situation dramatically changed in the new earth...

Then the author continues with various speculations: he states that the Jews have changed different verses of the bible to make them incompatible with Christian writings. But he also states that the early Christians read the Septuagint, which according to tradition was translated centuries before the formation of Christianity. Did those Jews altered also all the copies of the Septuagint?! (/s) Even modern versions of the bible based on the Septuagint do not contain the verses as expressed by Justin Martyr.

From further research I discovered that the Septuagint contains the apocrypha, which made me doubt that it was used by the early Christians. And after reading the book "Did Jesus Use the Septuagint?" by David W. Daniels, I doubt that such a thing ever existed.

In short, I would like to know if any of you have studied the subject and if you could tell me if a version of the bible, containing Isaiah 65:20 as expressed by Justin Martyr, has come to this day. Or the writing of Justin Martyr is not a precise quotation, but just an insightful paraphrase.

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    "From further research I discovered that the Septuagint contains the apocrypha, which made me doubt that it was used by the early Christians" Do you know of a Christian Bible without them before the 1500s that isn't a complete novelty in the Christian world? The first time we hear of the term 'apocrypha' in reference to these books' place in the canon is Jerome in the fifth century, and that to make the remark that the Jews don't accept these books (the New Testament also being among the number of such an 'apocrypha'), not that Christians don't—his translation of the Bible contained these. – Sola Gratia Feb 14 '19 at 22:11
  • Is it possible that what you are referring to concerns the millennium, instead of the new earth? – Constantthin Feb 18 '19 at 10:23
  • Welcome to the site, vikz. That's an intriguing question but unfortunately it veers off at a tangent, questioning the Septuagint. If you removed the third, and second-last paragraphs in your question, it would still stand intact. It really is not helpful to include an individual's "various speculations". I would encourage you to edit your question, remove those two paragraphs near the end, and thus keep your question on-track regarding Justin Martyr's quote. – Anne Feb 20 '19 at 15:38
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@vikZ......I have reviewed right now all as much as I could in my Logos Bible Software and scholarly resources online. I read All Power to the Lamb as well written by James Johnson. It seems to me that James Johnson misunderstood what's going on with the Septuagint (LXX). I dont see anything wrong. It's simply phrased slightly differently from the Hebrew MT and how English translations handle the difficulties in the Hebrew text.

Here is Justin Martyr:

Chapter LXXXI.—He endeavours to prove this opinion from Isaiah and the Apocalypse. “For Isaiah spake thus concerning this space of a thousand years: ‘For there shall be the new heaven and the new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, or come into their heart; but they shall find joy and gladness in it, which things I create. For, Behold, I make Jerusalem a rejoicing, and My people a joy; and I shall rejoice over Jerusalem, and be glad over My people. And the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, or the voice of crying. And there shall be no more there a person of immature years, or an old man who shall not fulfil his days. 2265 For the young man shall be an hundred years old; 2266 but the sinner who dies an hundred years old, 2267 he shall be accursed.

But, it says and means the same as the LXX we have:

20 Neither shall there be there any more a child that dies untimely, or an old man who shall not complete his time: for the youth shall be a hundred years old, and the sinner who dies at a hundred years shall also be accursed

Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton, The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament: English Translation (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1870), Is 65:20.

James Johnson says:

Justin Martyr’s Bible did not have the young man dying at a hundred. To paraphrase it, his Bible said of the time when the new heavens and the new earth have come that a 100 year old man would be considered young. It says nothing about that youth dying when he was 100.

But, this is not quite right. Both the LXX we have and Justin's quotation of the LXX he had in his possession for reading say the same thing. So, dont put much weight on James Johnson (and I have nothing against him--it's ok to miss details as I do myself).

Now, it's true that the Hebrew MT text does have the word "will die" / death when it says " the boy of a hundred years will die " and the LXX does not have "will die" / death in this clause. But, they both mean the same thing. It seems to me that the LXX translators tried to fix the difficulty with this clause from the Hebrew, so the LXX translators do not mention death, otherwise it causes this precise confusion.

The NET Bible, the LEB and the ISV all translate it correctly as well as some other modern translations.

Look at the NET Bible and its notes:

tn Heb “for the child as a son of one hundred years will die.” The point seems to be that those who die at the age of a hundred will be considered children, for the average life span will be much longer than that. The category “child” will be redefined in light of the expanded life spans that will characterize this new era.

Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005).

I prefer the ISV and it's based on the Great Isaiah Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Also, I just reviewed John D. W. Watts, Isaiah 34–66 (vol. 25, Revised Edition.; Word Biblical Commentary; Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2005). He translates in his commentary and explains that it means that if someone dies at 100 years, that person would be like an infant, but the person who dies before 100 years, that person will be considered accursed---and it might not have anything to do with a sinner:

The line is usually translated “the sinner who lives to be a hundred is thought accursed,” which seems strange in the context of the previous line. BHS emends MT יְקֻלָּל piʿel, “he is accursed,” to יֵקָל qal, “he is of little account,” i.e., not unusual, but it is more effective to simply translate החוטא, “sinner,” as “one who fails,” following NEB and Whybray.

The line is usually translated “the sinner who lives to be a hundred is thought accursed,” which seems strange in the context of the previous line. BHS emends MT יְקֻלָּל piʿel, “he is accursed,” to יֵקָל qal, “he is of little account,” i.e., not unusual, but it is more effective to simply translate החוטא, “sinner,” as “one who fails,” following NEB and Whybray.

John D. W. Watts, Isaiah 34–66 (vol. 25, Revised Edition.; Word Biblical Commentary; Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2005).

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