The "bible contradictions thread" brought to light some problems with the Masoretic texts, I wanted to show how these "apologetics" problems do not exist in the Septuagint.
The Septuagint was the first translation made of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek. What I did not know was that it often reads differently from the Masoretic texts, the Old Testament texts that became standardized for the Jews after A.D. 70., and that is the text most of us have in our bibles today.
Most of our Bibles today in the West had been translated from the Masoretic texts, which means that early Christian quotations from the Old Testament sometimes do not fit our Bibles.
It seems strange to me that the early Christians preferred the Septuagint translation over the Hebrew text of their day? And, so did most of the New Testament writers. I never realized when they quoted from the Old Testament, the apostles primarily quoted from the Septuagint. So their quotations, frequently don't match the Old Testament passages in our Bibles.
For example, look at this passage from Psalms that is quoted in the book of Hebrews:
ESV Heb 10:5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired," but a body have you prepared for me;
Our Bibles don't say anything in Psalms about "a body now has been prepared for me." Is that not part of Scripture?
ESV Psa 40:6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
LXX Psa 40:6 Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not; but a body hast thou prepared me: whole-burnt-offering and sacrifice for sin thou didst not require.
This is not an isolated example either. Such bearing to between the Septuagint in the Masoretic texts are fairly numerous. In fact, one of the major teachings of Christianity revolves around one of these variances.
Let's look at Matthews quotation from Isaiah 7:14
ESV Mat 1:22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).
What I did not realize until recently was that the Hebrew Masoretic texts does not say, "the virgin shall be with child." It says, "the young woman shall be with child."
Unless you use the revised standard version, if you look up Isaiah 7:14 in your Old Testament you will probably find that it reads "virgin" instead of "young woman." That's because translators have pledged on their use of the Masoretic texts in order to conform to the common teaching of the Christian doctrine of the virgin birth. Seems to me, it would have been better to have the Septuagint text as our Old Testament instead of the Masoretic.
Several months ago, I found a web site that had several PowerPoint presentations. The site does not give a name? One of these PowerPoint presentations contained a large amount of information about the Septuagint. I thought I would share that here. BTW, His or Her info. matches several sources I have checked. One of which is Common Sense A New Approach to understanding Scripture by David Bercot
Manuscript/Bible time line:
TORAH: Dated to the time of Moses
Samaritan Pentateuch : 300 B.C.
Septuagint (LXX) OT: 250 B.C.
Aramaic Pecolon cannonballsta : 100-150 A.D.
Diatesseron: 170-200 A.D. (4 Gospels) / Tatiain
Chester Beaty Papyrus (200 AD)
Vatican NT : 250 A.D.
Sinai NT: 250 A.D.
Codex Bezae (300 AD)
Alexandrian NT: 350 A.D.
Masoretic Text O.T. 900 -1000 A.D.
Latin Vulgate OT / NT 350 A.D.
King James Version 1611 A.D.
MASORETIC TEXT O.T. 900 A.D.
The oldest translations of the ENTIRE Masoret Tanakh tend to come from the Leningrad Codex of 1008 AD. There's another from 925 AD, but nothing before that date has all the books of the Tanakh. So our oldest Masoret texts are from a rather recent date. There are a few Torahs from further back than that. There are partial scrolls from further back than that. But often the translation we generally get is from a text that is only about 1000 years old.
Most Scholars saw the LXX as inferior to the Hebrew Bible called the Masoretic Text (MT). With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, this all changed. Ancient Hebrew scrolls were found that follow the LXX, not the Masoretic Text. The DSS (Dead Sea Scrolls) showed that the LXX had an underlying Hebrew Text that was different from the MT. Now Scholars think the LXX has important readings that are superior to the MT. The LXX is now very important in textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible.
Even a leading atheist named Frank Zindler (although being sarcastic) made a good point when he stated the following:
"The problem for true believers is this: The Greek version (Septuagint) reflects a Hebrew text more than a thousand years older than the Hebrew text used as the standard for the King James. Shouldn't we follow the Greek even if it is a translation instead of the Hebrew? It should be noted that the authors of the New Testament, when citing the Old Testament, cited it in Greek resembling the LXX far more often than the Masoretic Textus Receptus. If the LXX was good enough for Jesus, shouldn't it be good enough for Presbyterians?"
Let's look at some of the key differences between the LXX and the MT where the LXX seems to be superior.
Age of Levitical Service
MT Numbers 4: 3, 23, 30, 35, 39
the ages of the Levites qualified to minister in the temple was between ages 30 to 50
MT Numbers 8: 24
the ages are between 25 and 50
In the Septuagint however, both chapters say between 25 and 50 each time. There is no discrepancy.
How Many Horsemen?
MT 2 Sam 8:4 (1,700 horsemen)
4 And David took from him a thousand and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand foot soldiers; and David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but left enough
for a hundred chariots.
MT 1 Chr 18:4 (7,000 horsemen)
4 And David took from him a thousand chariots, seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand foot soldiers; and David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but left
enough for a hundred chariots
LXX: agrees with both. It reads: 7,000 in both passages
2 Sam 8:4 - 4 And David took a thousand of his chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all his chariot horses, and he reserved to himself a hundred chariots.
1 Chr 18:4 4 And David took of them a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand infantry: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but there were reserved of them a hundred chariots.
How many years of famine?
2 Sam 24:13 (7 years)
13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine
enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
1 Chr 21:12 (3 years)
12 either three years of famine; or three months of devastation by your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you; or else three days of the sword of the
LORD, pestilence upon the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.' Now decide what answer I shall Return to him who sent
The LXX reads: 3 years famine in both (3 years) 2 Sam 24:13- And Gad went in to David, and told him, and said to him, Choose one of these things to befall thee, whether there shall come upon thee for three years famine in thy land; or that thou shouldest flee three months before thine enemies, and they should pursue thee; or that there should be for three days mortality in thy land. Now then decide, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
(3 years) 1 Chr 21:12 either three years of famine, or that thou shouldest flee three months from the face of thine enemies, and the sword of thine enemies shall be
employed to destroy thee, or that the sword of the Lord and pestilence should be three days in the land, and the angel of the Lord shall be destroying in all the
inheritance of Israel. And now consider what I shall answer to him that sent the message.
How Many Foremen?
1 Ki 5:16 (3,300 foremen) 16 besides Solomon's three thousand three hundred chief officers who were over the work, who had charge of the people who carried on the work.
2 Chr 2:18 (3,600 foremen)
18 Seventy thousand of them he assigned to bear burdens, eighty thousand to quarry in the hill country, and three thousand six hundred as overseers to make the people work.
LXX reads: 3,600 in both passages.
1 Ki 5:16 besides the rulers that were appointed over the works of Solomon, there were three thousand six hundred masters who wrought in the works.
2 Chr 2:18 And he made of them seventy thousand burden-bearers, and eighty thousand hewers of stone, and three thousand six hundred taskmasters over the people.
You can check your e-sword to confirm.