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Acts 15:13-21 ESV translation:

After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

“‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek YHWH, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, declares YHWH, who makes these things known from of old.’

Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

Acts 15:13-21 translation proposal with verse 18 starting the new sentence:

After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

“‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek YHWH, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, declares YHWH.’

As known since long ago, it is my judgment, therefore, that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

The grounds for making this proposal are that the quoted passage of Amos 9:11-12 concludes at "declares YHWH" without the anomalous extension. Even the LXX, which is quoted by James here in Acts 15, does not have the supposed extension.

This makes me wonder if the text in verse 18 forms the start of James' response following the Amos quote, which also does not have the verse 18 extension. The reason for this proposal is that it was in James' judgement that the Gentiles should not be troubled, because it was known since long ago that Moses' writings were read in every city on the Sabbath in the synagogues even to the Gentiles, who desired to join the Hebrews in circumcision and be grafted into Israel to inherit the promises of God.

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This is actually quite simple - the LXX has a slightly extended text in Amos. Let me set this out clearly:

Hebrew of Amos 9:11, 12 - “In that day I will restore the fallen tent of David. I will repair its gaps, restore its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear My name,”

LXX of Amos 9:11, 12 - In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and will rebuild the ruins of it, and will set up the parts thereof that have been broken down, and will build it up as in the ancient days: that the remnant of men, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, may earnestly seek [me], saith the Lord who does all these things.

Note the extra text in the LXX that is absent in the Hebrew. It is now obvious that when James quoted the text of Amos 9:11, 12, he quoted from the LXX as recorded in Acts 15 and quoted by the OP.

Thus, the attribution as listed in most Bibles is correct and James' quote from Amos ends with Acts 15:17, 18.

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  • Dottard, despite the LXX having a longer ending, it does not include the rendering of verse 18 in it's version of Amos 9:12. My original question stands: could the material in verse 18 make up the beginning of James' response?
    – Joshua B
    Commented May 20 at 22:59
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    @JoshuaB - No, the grammar of the text in Acts precludes this. In any case, the text of the LXX we have now may not be the text of the LXX that James was quoting. Further, NT writers often "adjusted" their quotes from the OT and rarely quote perfectly verbatim and often paraphrase.
    – Dottard
    Commented May 20 at 23:42
  • @JoshuaB -you are persistent. Let the text say what it does rather than trying to force it to say what you want it to say
    – Dottard
    Commented May 21 at 1:25
  • Dottard, I'm going to agree with you here. I think Acts 15:18 presents a now-lost LXX version rendering of the end of Amos 9:12.
    – Joshua B
    Commented May 21 at 1:34
  • I find it deeply frustrating that almost all of the New Testament quotes of the Old Testament are found in the LXX, and not the Masoretic text. Because of this, I find the LXX to be vastly superior to the MT, with the LXX representing an older vorlage of Hebrew than the Masoretic, to the tune of over 1000 years.
    – Joshua B
    Commented May 21 at 1:38

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