Wednesday, May 16, 2007

An Example of Textual Criticism Using the Masoretic Text with the Septuagint

So we've gone over a lot of material regarding textual criticism of the Tanakh. What would this look like in practice? What would consulting the Septuagint look like?

Let me give a relatively quick and straightforward example. There are others listed in the above link.

There are two verses in the Tanakh which seem to contradict each other.
2 Samuel 8:4 And David took from him 1,700 horsemen, and 20,000 foot soldiers. And David hamstrung all the chariot horses but left enough for a hundred chariots.

1 Chronicles 18:4 And David took from him 1,000 chariots, 7,000 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers. And David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but left enough for 100 chariots.

So, is it 1700 or 7000 horsemen?

This is a problem. If we look at the Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls, we see that both verses have 1700 in both of them. Based on all the textual evidence, it looks like "7000" was due to a scribal error in the transmission of the text.

My next post should be the last in this series, and we will tackle a more controversial Messianic prophecy.

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