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In 1 Samuel 12:11

  • NLT

Then the LORD sent Gideon, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel to save you, and you lived in safety.

  • NIV

Then the LORD sent Jerub-Baal, Barak, Jephthah and Samuel, and he delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around you, so that you lived in safety.

What's more likely to be correct: Barak or Bedan?

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The operative word here is בְּדָ֔ן which transliterates as "Bedan".

However, as is well known, spelling in ancient times was far from uniform and standardized as today. thus, people could sometimes spell their own names differently. For this and some closely related reasons, the NIV uses the LXX text to read "Barak" as explained by Ellicott -

Bedan.—This name does not occur in the record of the “judges.” We meet with it only in 1 Chronicles 7:17, as a name of one of the descendants of Machir the Manassite, but this Bedan of the Chronicles seems to have been a person of no importance. The LXX. and the Syriac, the two most ancient versions, read, instead of Bedan, Barak. The letters forming these two names in the Hebrew are very similar, and a scribe might easily have written the one for the other, and the mistake might well have been perpetuated—at least, this is probable. The famous Hebrew commentator, Rabbi D. Kimchi, suggests Bedan is written for Ben-Dan, the son of Dan the Danite. that is. Samson. The list of Hebrew heroes in Hebrews 11:32 noticeably connects Barak with Gideon and Jephthah. Wordsworth curiously prefers to leave the unknown name of Bedan in the hero catalogue, because he argues “that in this very obscurity of the name we have a confirmation of the genuineness of the speech. A forger would not have ventured to insert a name which occurs nowhere else.”

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