Some Substitutions In Old Testament Texts -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 074:295 (Jul 1917)
Article: Some Substitutions In Old Testament Texts
Author: Harold M. Wiener

Some Substitutions In Old Testament Texts

Harold M. Wiener

London, England.

In previous papers a number of cases of textual substitution have been examined. The present article will be devoted to some further instances. We shall find that in some cases, at any rate, our textual authorities display a good deal of hesitancy, and that the true reading often persists by the side of the alteration. But this is not always so. There are passages where we can see, in spite of the consentient testimony of all the authorities, that a change has taken place, and there are others where we can only speak with less certainty and suggest a greater or less probability. In some places we shall be dealing with alterations that have been recognized by other writers, but in more than one passage the views expressed will, so far as I know, be enunciated for the first time.

We may begin by directing attention to the fact that in a series of passages the LXX or its Hebrew original refused to apply the term “god” to certain deities of other nations where the original text clearly used it. In Num. 25:2 the Massoretic text, in connection with the Moabite women, speaks of “the sacrifices of their gods “and worshiping “their gods.” Jerome, perhaps more correctly, reads “their sacrifices,” but retains the second “gods.” The LXX, however, will have none of this. In the earlier part of the verse, n only has “gods,” and all the other Septuagintal authorities read “idols.” In the latter all the Septuagintal texts, without exception, have “idols.” Similar phenomena may be observed in the Septuagintal Dan. 3:18; 5:4, 23; Isa. 37:19, and other passages. In 1 Kings 11:33 Ashtoreth is the goddess of the Sidonians in the Massoretic text, but their “abomination” in the LXX, which in the same verse speaks of “the idols of

Moab, and their king [= Malkom], an offense of the children of Ammon.” The Massoretic text and Vulgate have “god” in each case.

A moment’s consideration will show that in each of these instances the Greek reading is the worse. There can be no doubt that such terms as “abomination” were never applied in any age or country by a devout worshiper to the object of his adoration, and a great master of style would not use the term in such a connection. This gives us a clue to the true text in many other passages.

The LXX gives

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