Once More, Jeremiah 10:4-10 Masoretic Text And The Septuagint -- By: Homer Heater Jr.

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 174:695 (Jul 2017)
Article: Once More, Jeremiah 10:4-10 Masoretic Text And The Septuagint
Author: Homer Heater Jr.

Once More, Jeremiah 10:4-10
Masoretic Text And The Septuagint

Homer Heater Jr.

Homer Heater Jr. is Professor Emeritus, Capital Bible Seminary, Lanham, Maryland.


The Septuagint of Jeremiah 10:1-16 is shorter than the Masoretic Text; it transposes and deletes certain verses. Analysis of the Septuagint and Masoretic Text along with the Qumran scroll 4QJerb suggests that the shorter and rearranged text of Jeremiah 10:4-10 in the Septuagint is based on a Hebrew text crafted by editors who used the catchword “silver” to eliminate verses 6-8 and 10, thereby creating a unitary diatribe against idols. The Septuagint has followed its Vorlage and is not responsible for the new structure.


The Septuagint of Jeremiah is about one-eighth shorter than the Masoretic Text. Janzen explains, “The divergence in length, consisting of some 2700 words which are present in [the Masoretic Text] but absent in [the Septuagint], may be described briefly as follows. The Greek omissions . . . comprise single words, phrases, sentences, and some entire passages, the longest amounting to about 180 words.”1 In addition, the Oracles against the Nations are located in different places (in the middle in the Septuagint, but at the end in the Masoretic Text) and have some internal differences.

The main issue is which should be considered the better text—the Septuagint or the Masoretic Text. Over the past one hundred years, opinions have varied, now favoring the Septuagint, now the Masoretic Text. Those favoring the Masoretic Text have tended to dismiss the Septuagint as sui generis with its own agendas and tendencies.

In the course of this discussion, particular attention has been paid to Jeremiah 10:1-16, a polemic against idols. The Septuagint in this section is shorter than the Masoretic Text, and transposes and deletes certain verses. Compared with the Masoretic Text, the Septuagint splits verse 5 into two parts, placing the first part before verse 9 and the second part after. The Septuagint also omits what are verses 6-8 and 10 in the Masoretic Text; these verses proclaim the uniqueness and power o...

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