Against the Lying Pen of the Scribes

‘Parable of the Wheat and the Tares’
-Abraham Bloemaert

It is an established historical fact that the Hasmonean ruler John Hyrcanus I conquered the Edomites in the late 2nd century BC, forcibly converted them to the religion of Judah and integrated the Edomites into the nation of Judah (Josephus, Antiquities 13.257-258, 13.395-397, Strabo, Geography 16.2.34 et al.). The conquest and mass conversion of any people, let alone a cursed and mongrelized people like Edom, was an unprecedented event in Israel’s history which had catastrophic results.

The Jews of today are themselves descended from the Edomites and are thoroughly mixed with them, and therefore they find it necessary to justify and even praise the absorption of the Edomites into the nation of Judah. In the Masoretic Text of Amos 9 we read “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name” (vv. 11-12, King James Version).

The Edomite Jews of course interpret that this refers to the conversion of their ancestors during the reign of Hyrcanus I. There are many points of apparent conflict with other Scriptures in this interpretation (Ezekiel 35, Isaiah 34, Obadiah, Malachi 1.2-4, Romans 9 et al.), but there is a simple resolution. Most modern Old Testament translations are based upon the Masoretic Text of the Jews, but the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament provides a different reading which is certainly more consistent with Scripture.

“11In 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:
12that 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.”
-Amos 9 (Brenton’s Septuagint)

Where the Masoretic Text has אדום/Edom (Strong’s H123) the Septuagint has ανθρώπων/men (Strong’s G444). This reading gives a very different picture of the prophecy which is much more consistent with the rest of Scripture. It is apparent here that the Septuagint translators read אדם/Adam (H120) where the Masoretes read אדום/Edom. Aside from the vowel markings of the Masoretes, the ו/vav is the only thing to distinguish the Hebrew words אדם and אדום and the addition of a single simple line (ו) to the text transforms the message. Ostensibly this corruption of the text must predate Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation (late 4th century AD) which has Idumeae/Edom in this verse.

It is evident from the reading of Amos 9.12 in the elder Septuagint, which preceded the Vulgate by over 5 centuries and which was favoured by the early Church, that this prophecy refers to the remnant of Adamic man called back to God through Israel under the New Covenant. It is certainly not a prophecy of the integration of Edom into the nation of Judah. The unchanging God never changed his mind about Edom who has been condemned of God since ancient times, but God has always had a plan for the redemption of the authentic seed of Adam. That the Septuagint contains the correct reading is proven fully by James’ speech at the Council of Jerusalem where he paraphrases the Septuagint reading (Acts 15.16-17).

Obadiah 1.18 states that “the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble: and they shall be kindled in them, and shall devour them: and there shall be no remains of the house of Esau”. Would the God of Jacob be a God unto “the remnant of Edom” only to later have Israel ensure that “there shall be no remains of the house of Esau”? Why would God annihilate his own authentic followers?

The Kenite, Canaanite and Edomite Jews dread the righteous judgement of our God upon Edom and all the aliens, and this has influenced their textual traditions of the Old Testament in another place; Malachi 4.1. The Masoretic Text reads here “behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble” (King James Version). The Septuagint however, gives a different reading.

“1For, behold, a day comes burning as an oven, and it shall consume them; and all the aliens [αλλογενείς, Strong’s G241], and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that is coming shall set them on fire, saith the Lord Almighty, and there shall not be left of them root or branch. 2But to you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise, and healing shall be in his wings: and ye shall go forth, and bound as young calves let loose from bonds. 3And ye shall trample the wicked; for they shall be ashes underneath your feet in the day which I appoint, saith the Lord Almighty.”
-Malachi 4 (Brenton’s Septuagint)

Here in Malachi 4.1 the LXX translators apparently read a resh where the Masoretes read (or corrupted to) a dalet instead. Thus the Masoretes have zedim (plural of H2086) where the LXX translators read zarim (plural of H2114) and translated αλλογενείς (G241) meaning “of another race” (Liddell and Scott s.v.) or “sprung from another race” (Thayer s.v.). Compare zedim/זדים and zarim/זרים.

The same scribal error (or corruption) has been noted elsewhere by other scholars. In a note for Psalm 54.3 the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges states that “This verse is repeated almost verbatim in Psalm 86:14 (a mosaic constructed of fragments of other Psalms), with the change, accidental or intentional, of strangers into proud. The consonants of the Heb. words zârîm, strangers, and zêḏîm, proud, are almost identical, and some Heb. MSS. and the Targ. read zêḏîm here; but the rest of the versions support the Massoretic Text”. Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers corroborates this under the entry for Psalm 54.3 stating “This verse, with some variations, occurs again (Psalm 86:14); some MSS. even reading here “proud,” instead of “strangers.””

There are several other examples of dalet/resh confusion evident in a comparison of the LXX and MT. For example at 1 Samuel 22.9 Doeg is called a Syrian in the LXX where the translators apparently read ארמ/Arammiy (H761) instead of אדמ/Edomiy (H130). Another example is Genesis 10.4 where in the MT we have דדנים/Dodanim (H1721) while the LXX translators read רדנים/Rodanim (H7290c) and translated as Rhodians. Other examples can be found.

That the Septuagint reading of Malachi 4.1 is most accurate is evident in the New Testament in Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares when Christ uttered “things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13.35). In this parable recorded in Matthew 13 Jesus tells us that the weeds sown in the field of wheat were planted by an enemy (vv. 25, 28) who is the devil and whose children are the weeds (vv. 38, 39). Does the devil go about planting evil spirits in vessels created by God? Nay, Satan has no such power over the spirits and bodies that God has created. The children sown by the devil are the same aliens refered to in Malachi 4.1 whose fate is the lake of fire.

At 1 Thessalonians 2.15 the Majority Text, (and therefore the King James Version) describes the wicked Judeans as those “Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own [ιδιους, Strong’s G2398] prophets”. This reading might be taken to mean that the murderers of Christ could call the prophets of God “their own”, which is certainly not the case. Jesus said that “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15.24) and that “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10.27), yet He had also said to his Judean opponents that “ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep” (John 10.26). Why then would the text say that those who plotted against Jesus’ life were lost sheep of the house of Israel to whom were sent the prophets?

All the oldest manuscripts (e.g. the codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Claromontanus, Freerianus and 0208) have “the” (τοὺς, G3588) rather than “their own”. That “the prophets” is the correct reading has been noted by other scholars. Metzger’s Textual Commentary states that “The Textus Receptus reads ιδιους προφήτας, following a variety of secondary witnesses … Whether these somehow derived the reading from Marcion, who inserted the word in order to limit the reference to Jewish prophets, or whether they were influenced by ἰδίων in the preceding verse, is immaterial to the present purpose. The shorter reading is decisively supported by the best representatives of several text types …”.

A footnote for this verse in the New English Translation says of the longer reading that “This is obviously a secondary reading. Marcion’s influence my stand behind part of the tradition, but the Byzantine text probably added the adjective in light of its mention in v. 14 and as a clarification or interpretation of which prophets were in view”. It is not only the anti-Christ Jews who have failed to faithfully transmit the text but Christian scribes have also erred in this regard. We must take great care to faithfully examine the Scriptures to obtain the most accurate readings that we might rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2.15).

“8 How do you say: We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Indeed the lying pen of the scribes hath wrought falsehood.”
-Jeremiah 8

Published by SloanVSutherland

"I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord"

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