Various bibles place Zechariah's prophecy of the four craftsmen (also translated as smiths, workmen and carpenters) at the end of the Book of Zechariah chapter one. Others place it at the beginning of chapter two.

  • Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen. And I said, "What are these coming to do?" (Zech 1: 20-21 NASB)

  • Then the Lord showed me four workmen. 4 And I said, “What are these coming to do?” (Zech 2:3-4 NABRE

I'm sure there is a basis in the manuscript histories for this difference. Can someone shed light on this question?

1 Answer 1


This is a simple matter of where the chapter division is placed between Zech 1 & 2. There are two traditions:

A: Chapter division after Zech 1:17. This means Zech 1 has 17 verses and Zech 2 has 17 verses

B: Chapter division after Zech Zech 1:21. This means Zech 1 has 21 verses and Zech 2 has 13 verses

Now here are the various texts that follow each tradition:

  • A Tradition: Hebrew Masoretic text; LXX, NAB, NABRE, Jerusalem Bible, CJB, JPS, etc.
  • B Tradition: Jerome's Vulgate, Clementine Vulgate, DRB, KJV, NIV, NRSV, NASB, ESV, etc.

There are dozens of examples of this sort of thing; in some case involving re-ordering of chapters, etc. The book of Jeremiah is especially tricky in this regard.

Now, just why the Latin Vulgate tradition departed from the MT and LXX is another question that I cannot shed any light on.

  • Is it a question of departing, or not having a reference point? ' Codex Vaticanus, a fourth century Greek manuscript, used paragraph divisions. These were comparable to what we find in manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible. In the fifth century, the biblical translator Jerome divided Scripture into short portions, or passages, called pericopes... His work preceded the dividing of Scripture into chapters. The actual chapter division took place much later." source Jul 19, 2023 at 23:34

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