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I was comparing various passages in the KJV (translated from the Masoretic Text) with the Septuagint (LXX) to see what the differences would be. One of the passages that I used was from Ezekiel 37, the well-known prophecy about the valley of dry bones. I knew that the Masoretic Text often omitted things that were found in the Septuagint, but one thing that really struck out to me is that the LXX seemed to omit a part of verses 25 and 26 that were found in the MT.

And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. Ez 37:25, 26 MT

And they shall dwell in their land, which I have given to my servant Jacob, where their fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell upon it: and David my servant shall be their prince forever. And I will make with them a covenant of peace; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will establish my sanctuary in the midst of them for ever. Ez 37:25, 26 LXX

As you can see, in both verses 25 and 26, the LXX completely omitted the parts about multiplying and living with the children and the children's children, as if it was never there. This omission is kind of strange to me since I expected that the Septuagint would include something the MT wouldn't, not the other way around. I also checked the Peshitta and it includes the multiplying, unlike the Septuagint.

So which is it? Were those parts about living with children and their children's children and God multiplying them included in the original Hebrew text or not? And if they were, why aren't they in the Septuagint?

http://qbible.com/brenton-septuagint/ezekiel/37.html

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  • The two versions may not contradict each other. They may both touch on spiritual parenthood, and that salvation runs in holy families. And regarding the everlasting part, it is not the resurrected Jerusalem reigning priests that cut eternity short on earth, but the attacking hoards at the end of time. Eternity will then continue in heaven for the holy priests when they ascend up Jacob’s ladder to where they came from. Sep 25, 2023 at 1:07

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All that one can say here is that the KJV and all other modern version accurately translate the Masoretic Text and those that translate the LXX accurately translate it.

This is one of many thousands of times the LXX and MT differ. Often this difference is significant or minor and everything between. For example, compared to the Masoretic text, the LXX is different in the following ways:

  • It adds whole books to the MT
  • It adds whole chapters to the MT
  • It adds the occasional verse or two to the MT
  • It deletes the occasional verse from the MT
  • It changes the wording by adding and deleting phrases
  • It changes the sense frequently

Thus, the LXX differs from the MT in thousands of places and thus is a quite different tradition from the MT. For the most part, most believe that the MT is more correct but on a number of occasions (a minority), some believe that the LXX preserves a more ancient text but this is impossible to prove or disprove.

So, we have the MT and we have the LXX and the two are different.

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I would most time compare the version from chabad.org. And if you're able, get Artscroll's translation by physical books (Stone edition) or digital version (I used digital version). This Jewish source has a much better / more accurate translation than most non-Jewish sources. Hope this helps in your learning with God's word.

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Though I'm not qualified to give you an authoritative answer as to WHY the Septuagint omits those parts, I do believe that the Hebrew text existed before the Septuagint. If the Septuagint translators omitted those parts, then the overall meaning still remains intact - that God will restore Israel to Zion. God "multiplying Israel's children and blessing them generations beyond" is all over other scriptures

Genesis 22:17

I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies

Exodus 20:6

showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

and I rather assume it would apply to this passage even if it was omitted. Perhaps the Septuagint translators felt the same way and so they left it out on comfortable assumption?

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One of the rules of textual criticism (dare I say one of the more important ones) is that that which best explains the manuscript evidence that we are left with is best conclusion.

That approach fits best here. As we look at the witnesses stacked up here, here's what we have:

  • The Mastoretic text includes the two extra phrases, "And their sons, and the sons of their sons" (”וּבְנֵיהֶ֞ם וּבְנֵ֤י בְנֵיהֶם֙“ (Ezekiel 37:25 BHS-T)) and "And I will cause them to be many" (וְהִרְבֵּיתִ֣י)
  • The LXX omits the phrases entirely (“<25> καὶ κατοικήσουσιν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς αὐτῶν ἣν ἐγὼ δέδωκα τῷ δούλῳ μου Ἰακώβ, οὗ κατῴκησαν ἐκεῖ οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν, καὶ κατοικήσουσιν ἐπ’ αὐτῆς αὐτοί. καὶ Δαυεὶδ ὁ δοῦλός μου ἄρχων εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. <26> καὶ διαθήσομαι αὐτοῖς διαθήκην εἰρήνης, διαθήκη αἰωνία ἔσται μετ’ αὐτῶν· καὶ θήσω τὰ ἅγιά μου ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα,” (Ezekiel 37:25-26 LXXS-T))

Ok, in this push-pull scenario, which is the direction to go in? Here the versions give us a little help:

  • The Peshitta follows the MT very closely: "And they dwell in her—they along with their sons, and the sons of their sons, forever." (”ܘܢܬܒܘܢ ܒܗ݁ ܗ݂ܢܘܢ ܘܒ̈ܢܝܗܘܢ ܘܒܢ̈ܝ ܒ̈ܢܝܗܘܢ݂ ܠܥܠܡ“ (Ezekiel 37:25 PESHOT-T))
  • The Vulgate follows the MT very closely: "and they will dwell on top of the earth for I have given to my servant, Jacob in which they will dwell—Your fathers and they will dwell on top of it/him they themselves along with their sons and the sons of their sons as far as forever." (“et habitabunt super terram quam dedi servo meo Iacob in qua habitaverunt patres vestri et habitabunt super eam ipsi et filii eorum et filii filiorum eorum usque in sempiternum” (Ezekiel 37:25 VULG-T))
  • Even the Vetus Latina (which has a strong habit of following the LXX) follows the MT: "Where their fathers will dwell, and they themselves will dwell in it, along with their sons, and the sons of their sons, as far as forever." (“ubi habitaverunt patres eorum, et habitabunt in ea ipsi, et filii eorum, et filii filiorum eorum, usque in sempiternum” (Ezekiel 37:25 V-LATINA))

When one considers the fact that the the MT preserves the longer reading and all the versions (except the LXX) follow the MT, it's not difficult to conclude that this example, along with so many others, is an example where the LXX is lacking in comparison to the MT. The best explanation to describe the evidence that we have is that the LXX, being a translation of the Hebrew, messed up here.

Furthermore, only the most literalistic, formal versions of the LXX are actually useful in determining the source text due to the fact that the LXX is a translation, not the source. Tov explains it this way:

  1. Evidence from the translation. Only the most literal translations (like Aquila’s) represent most grammatical features of the Hebrew so consistently and stereotypically that they can be retranslated reliably into Hebrew. In all other translation units, that is, in the great majority of the books of the LXX, one encounters different and inconsistent representations of these elements, as indicated in chapter 1.E.2; hence the techniques used by the translators provide insufficient information for the reconstruction of many grammatical categories. For examples relating to the LXX, see Ch. Heller, Peshitta, Genesis (Berlin, 1927; repr. Tel Aviv, 1980), pp. xxi–xxiv. (Tov, The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research, p. 170)

Likewise, further on in the same book on LXX TC, Tov writes:

As a result of these uncertainties, it is almost impossible to evaluate deviations in the LXX in many grammatical categories. Because many aspects of the translation techniques cannot be analyzed satisfactorily, no reliable variants can be reconstructed in these areas. Moreover, when internal Greek evidence militates against the retroversion of a given deviation in the LXX to a Hebrew variant, Hebrew evidence complicates the situation: the reconstruction of several types of variants which seemed improbable from the point of view of the LXX should now be considered possible because of the existence of such readings in Hebrew sources. (Tov, The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research, p. 171)

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I have found the following about the LXX and the MT:

  • The LXX is a translation from old Hebrew completed 150 BC
  • The MT is a translation from old Hebrew into modern Hebrew done about 600 AD - 700 AD. Meaning if we were able to go back in time and give the MT to Moses, he will not be able to read any part of it
  • The LXX translation is 1000 years older than the MT translation. Both LXX and MT are translations
  • Many references by the New Testament like James 4:5 only exit in the LXX
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls follows the LXX and not the MT
  • The Jews scribes rejected Jesus as the Christ and there existed a strong motive for more than 600 years to change the MT. Only God knows the extent they changed the MT scriptures and what was added and what was removed. This is the only logical reason why the LXX and the MT differ
  • The passage Eze 37 tells of the everlasting covenant and of heaven were marriage as done on earth will pass away and children are no longer born. The LXX is therefore the correct translation. There are no children in heaven.
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  • The 'land' that God gave to Jacob and in which will live - for ever - the 'seed' of Jacob, is a spiritual concept. And the inspired Hebrew original is that which must be respected above the Greek translation (by unauthorised translators ) centuries later.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 28, 2022 at 13:44
  • @Nigel J. 'Unauthorised translators'? Tens of Israelite elders produced the Septuagint, the translation utilized by NT writers for the about 80% of times (apostles and Jesus included), and we must convinct ourselves that they were 'unauthorised'? May 28, 2023 at 17:32
  • @SaroFedele There is no proof that any NT quotation is from the Septuagint. Nor is it ever mentioned. It is not inspired. (Evidently, from its content.)
    – Nigel J
    May 28, 2023 at 18:02
  • @Nigel J. I hope you are joking. But, in the case you are serious, your stance is awesome. Evidently you have not ever read the LXX, comparing it with the MT, as hundreds of scholars have made (including me). This is not the place to dissert thoroughly about this topic, but if you were really interested to know the truth you may email me (I've lot of related material), or, alternatively, study some of the essays about this topic (you could start with the articles of Emanuel Tov, that you may download from - for example - from academia.edu). May 29, 2023 at 6:22
  • @Nigel J. My e-mail address is [email protected] May 29, 2023 at 6:26

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