The Lxx Of 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 As An Exposition Of Genesis 48-49 -- By: P.J. Williams

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 49:2 (NA 1998)
Article: The Lxx Of 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 As An Exposition Of Genesis 48-49
Author: P.J. Williams

The Lxx Of 1 Chronicles 5:1-2
As An Exposition Of Genesis 48-49

P.J. Williams

In the middle of the genealogical survey of history in the opening nine chapters of 1 Chronicles we encounter details of the descendants of Reuben (5:1-10). At the very beginning of his genealogy Reuben is described as the firstborn of Jacob. However, before his genealogy proper commences, there is a brief note explaining in what sense he may still be called ‘firstborn’, despite his misconduct recorded in Genesis 35:22. The MT of 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 reads:

And the children of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, and when he defiled his father’s bed his right as firstborn [בְּכֹרָה] was given [נִתְּנָה] to the sons of Joseph, son of Israel, but not so as to be reckoned in the genealogy as firstborn [בְּכֹרָה]. For Judah was great among his brothers, and there came a leader from him, but the right as firstborn [בְּכֹרָה] belonged to Joseph) [my translation].

In these verses the LXX differs from the MT in several ways. For the MT’s ‘when he defiled’, the LXX reads ‘when he ascended’ (ἐν τῷ ἀναβῆναι); for ‘was given’, it has ‘he gave’ (ἔδωκεν); for the first and third occurrences of בְּכֹרָה noted above, it gives ‘blessing’ (εὐλογία; i.e., בְּרָכָה] instead of בְּכֹרָה); for ‘the sons [בְּנֵי] of Joseph’, it reads ‘for his son [בְּנוֹ] Joseph’. The textual apparatus of BHS notes variants in the latter two places. In the case of the variation between ‘right as firstborn’ ((בְּכֹרָה and ‘blessing’ (בְּרָכָה) the MT is generally judged to contain the earlier reading.1 This is because the

whole purpose of 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 is to explain the status of the birthright among Jacob’s sons and not to consider their blessing. MT’s reading alone suits the context. However, the presence of a cluster of differences between the MT and the LXX at th...

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