The Text Of Genesis 31 -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 073:289 (Jan 1916)
Article: The Text Of Genesis 31
Author: Harold M. Wiener


The Text Of Genesis 31

Harold M. Wiener

There have been preserved in the LXX and the Vulgate a number of variants to the text of this chapter which possess considerable intrinsic importance and bring us nearer to the original than we can hope to reach without their help. The following notes discuss some of these. No attempt is made to consider the instances of minor glosses or variant readings of inferior importance, attention being concentrated on certain outstanding difficulties.

Verse 24:”And there came [ויבא] God to Laban the Syrian in a dream of the night,” etc. There is nothing here at first sight to arouse suspicion except the qualification “the Syrian.” This had been used in verse 20, where, however, there is a literary reason. The implication is that the Syrian Laban is outwitted by the Hebrew Jacob. No such reason

can be suggested in the present verse; but if any difficulty were felt it would be easy to conjecture that the epithet had been added from the earlier verse by a glossator. The Vulgate, however, has a startling difference of reading, “Viditque in somnis dicentem sibi Deum.” Jerome, therefore, read, “And he saw [וירא] God in a dream,” etc., a difference of one letter in the verb; and there is no trace of “to Laban the Syrian.” In weighing this reading it must be borne in mind that if the scribes found it they would certainly have altered it, because of Exodus 33:20. If original, it would explain the gloss “to Laban the Syrian “; while, if the Massoretic text were the earlier, it is difficult to see how Jerome’s reading was arrived at. It is therefore probable that the narrative in the first instance told of Laban’s seeing a supernatural being. This reading seems to be of considerable importance to the textual history.

In verses 25–53 we find a very unusual number of cases in which the Versions suggest that transpositions have taken place. General observations arising from these will be made after the consideration of the passages in question, but it should first be said that, to some extent, the several scattered difficulties seem to be due to a common cause or causes, so that the individual variants should not be judged entirely without reference to the other difficulties of the section.

Verse 25:”And Laban came up with Jacob, and Jacob pitched his tent in the mountain, and Laban pit...

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