[ Music ] Do textual variants support Hebrews 8:9 quote of Jeremiah 31:32? Welcome to
another edition in our series “Is Christianity the Mormonism of Judaism,” where we are examining the claims of the Jewish rabbis, who teach that Christianity distorted the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures of the Jews in much the same way that we Christians believe that Mormonism distorts the teachings of Christianity. To back up this claim, the Jewish rabbis teach that at Hebrews 8:9, where it quotes the New Covenant passage of Jeremiah 31:32, the rabbis claim that the Christian Bibles, the New Testament writers, have distorted the text of Jeremiah 31 in this quotation at Hebrews 8:9.
Let’s begin by listening to a popular Jewish rabbi explain this claim, and then what we’re going to do is we’re going to examine his statements in light of the evidence.
Host: Rabbi listen. There was a question that was actually sent in through through text. I want to put that one up first, can we do that? Is that okay? Well, of course we’ll have the phone lines up in just a minute. Let’s go and get onto this one. I just want to see how you’re going to deal with this cat, because he seems to be a little irritated, not at me, of course, cuz I’m your happy host, but he’s really, really got it in for you it would seem, so I’m gonna pull it.
Rabbi Tovia Singer: “I really, I really appreciate -”
Host: “- putting you on the spot like this?”
Rabbi Tovia Singer: “Don’t you have anybody that has anything really nice to say about me?”
Host: “That’s funny, that’s great. Okay, I’m gonna put it on screen, so you guys can read along in case I’m misreading it, because it is very typed out well. So let me just do that real quick, it’s right there. Okay. ‘In a show about the divorce of Israel, and comparing the quote from the book of Hebrews and the quote from Jeremiah 31, it is not the fault of the author of the Hebrews, rather, it is an issue with the Septuagint. … I am surprised that Tovia PRETENDS not to be aware of this. (You’re such a liar.) TRUTH and righteousness are the foundations of all instruction given by God. Walk as HE walks. … I suspect that there is ONLY a SINGLE HEBREW LETTER DIFFERENCE between the word “husband” and the word “disregard[ed].”‘
“So with that said, rabbi? How would you defend yourself against this claim of being a liar and a deceiver to try to trick people? That’s the way I read it.”
Rabbi Tovia Singer: “This is one of the most incredibly scandalous quotes because the text says in Jeremiah, ‘I was their husband,’ God is speaking of the Jewish people. If you go to Hebrews 8:9, it changes the word. It cuts out the word husband out, and then you get on the keyboard and you type in ‘rejected’ or ‘disregarded.’ It replaces it. As it turns out, it’s not only not a synonym, it couldn’t be more different. It’s the exact opposite. In Hebrews change the Word of God. That means that the credibility of the entire Christian Bible collapses, and it therefore renders Christianity to be, not just a mistaken religion, but a criminal religion. It’s that serious. What did he say?”
Host: “‘I suspect that there is only one single Hebrew letter difference between the word husband.'”
Rabbi Tovia Singer: “Okay, it went to ‘I knowingly changed it,’ like I know the Septuagint too. He suspects something. Okay, so let me explain this for this part – you know what? So I have been doing this 36 years now, so I’ve heard it all many, many times. Here’s where this this little gem comes from. So, as it turns out, just like in the English language, if you take the word bad and you put instead of BAD, you take the B out and you put a D there, it becomes DAD, and dad and bad they rhyme, but they mean – it’s not that they mean two different things, they have nothing to do with each other. But of course, you could change a letter of any word and and give it a whole new meaning. Here’s the deal. So Jeremiah says the Nike Balti bum (Hebrew). This is Jeremiah 31. ‘And I was a husband to them.’ So he says, ‘I suspect if you change one letter’ – he doesn’t say what that letter is. I don’t know; I think if I was betting, if I had to bet on it, he’s not sure what letter it is. He just read this somewhere, but whatever. So if you change a letter, like in any language, if you change a letter, you change a root letter, you are gonna change the meaning – I don’t know what language that wouldn’t happen.
“So if you change the word balti to the word galti, That means you change the base into a gimel. If you change the Hebrew, the word galti means to reject, so it only requires the changing of one letter to give the word a new meaning. This is not novel. I don’t know of any language where I can’t change one letter and the entire meaning – cat, bat, I mean they have nothing to do with each other. Hit the cat with a bat. They have nothing to do with each other. It’s true anywhere, but that doesn’t mean you could do that with the Bible. As it turns out, I challenge any person, go to Yemen. Actually, that’s not a good idea, it’s a little rough around the edges right now. Go to where you want to. Go to Yemen, go to Iraq, go to London, go to Melbourne, go to New York, go to Jerusalem. Go to Sydney, go to Toronto, go to British Columbia. Dig up an ancient scroll that’s more than a thousand years old anywhere. There’s not one scroll anywhere in the world that has a different spelling. There is no variant. There is nothing, because God preserves His word. Parris Hashem taneema (Hebrew), the teachings of God are perfect machine bus no fish they restore the song (Hebrew). Don’t say you suspect something when you have no evidence. Not only no evidence, every single manuscript ever written anywhere in the world says the exact same thing.”
Christy: Okay. Well, you just saw the video where the rabbi teaches that there are no textual variants to form the basis between the New Testament’s rendering of “I do not care for Israel” versus the Old Testament rendering of “I was a husband to them.” Yet when we go to the critical textual apparatus for the Old Testament, the Biblia Hebraica, we find that there are a number of
textual variants noted on this particular passage. So I contacted our Greek and Hebrew professor, who, over the phone, went over each of the textual variants in Jeremiah 31:32, and several of them provide the basis for the New Testament rendering of Hebrews 8:9, that “I did not care for them” over the “I was a husband to them.” So let’s examine that Hebrew textual variants that are noted in the critical apparatus for the Old Testament in Biblia Hebraica. It’s a bit of a technical phone call. We’re gonna go through each of those notations that are given at the bottom of the page, but I think it will be encouraging for you, if you are a Christian, to know that your faith is well grounded in textual support for our New Testament manuscripts.
But before we get into the textual apparatus, I want to show you something that I think would be very helpful, and that is a chart of the, what you might say, Hebrew manuscript recension lines or textual transmission lines that form different renderings into what we might call textual families. We have the term textual families in the New Testament to refer, to the Byzantine manuscripts that were found in a particular area of Byzantine [Byzantium], of the old Roman Empire, or you have the Alexandrian manuscripts, and then you also have in the New Testament, we just have different textual families. And in much the same way, we have textual families in the Hebrew Old Testament. I’d like to take a moment and look at these textual families because it’s going to help you understand what we’re talking about when we’re discussing the textual variants of Jeremiah 31:32.
On the screen you will see that, at the very basis of all of these textual families, you’ll have a notation. This is [dost, dost, dost] lost, lost, lost. What that means is that we don’t have the Hebrew support of the original manuscripts or the very, very ancient manuscripts that led to these textual differences. But what we do have are significant textual differences in the manuscripts when you compare them together in each of these manuscript traditions.
So you could see the Masoretic text forms, one side of this textual family tree, and then next we see the Aquila and Onkelos textual families, and then next to that we have the Latin Vulgate and tied to Latin Vulgate, we also have Symmachus. I’m not sure if I’m pronouncing all these correctly, but you have Symmachus and then you have also, off that tree, that the Masoretic came off of as well. We have the Peshitta leads over to Philoxenian textual families. And then from that tree, now, if we go back to the root of that tree, we just dealt with a tree that formed the basis for Masoretic text, Aquila, Onkelos translations, Vulgate translation, Symmachus and the Peshitta and Philoxenian. But there’s another textual tree that textual scholars look at that also springs off into different textual families. On the same basis, coming up is Theodoton and Hexaplar. We have Palestinian renderings and then there’s another tree. There’s the
LXX Septuagint, which formed the basis or the textual families from which the LXX Septuagint may have been based on, formed different translations like Lucian and Hesychus. I’m not sure if I’m pronouncing these right – Q and then Sahidic translations. So it’s very interesting when we look at the textual families. These are, I think, most of them are translations.
We don’t have a whole lot of Hebrew manuscripts, as I’ve mentioned in other videos, the Hebrew scripts, texts, we have mostly from the seventh century, eighth, ninth centur[ies], the Masoretic manuscripts [are] by far the most Hebrew manuscripts that we have. We have a few manuscripts in the Dead Sea Scrolls and some that have been found in other places as well, but the Dead Sea Scrolls, by far, are the oldest Hebrew manuscripts. The main thing we have to understand is we have a very limited number of manuscripts, of Hebrew manuscripts, that predate Christianity or go back to the first century and those would be in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Unfortunately, at this particular passage of Jeremiah 31:32, the Dead Sea Scrolls are damaged and we’re not able to read this particular text to see how the Dead Sea Scrolls rendered this particular passage.
So we have to rely on a lot of these ancient translations to get an idea of what the Hebrew textual family that formed the basis of these manuscripts might have looked like. It’s so very important to understand, as we look at the textual apparatus for Hebrews 8:9, that the Hebrew manuscripts were not a cohesive unit, where you just had one particular branch of textual family. As we just saw in the chart, there were many different textual traditions that were formed off of, what scholars believe, many different Hebrew textual families or textual traditions. So that’s why you find such different readings between the Septuagint rendering, which the New Testament is based off of, and the Masoretic text, which is what we possess today.
And, as noted by Immanuel Tove in his book, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, he noted that only 35 percent of the readings found in the Dead Sea Scrolls were what they call proto-Masoretic. In other words, only 35 percent actually support the Hebrew Bible, the manuscripts that were compiled by the Jews in the seventh century to the tenth century that formed the basis of the Jewish Bible today. The Masoretic text, only 35 percent of the readings in the Dead Sea Scrolls actually support the Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible that we use today.
That means that 65 percent of the readings found in the Dead Sea Scrolls actually support these other renderings, these other translations that we find today like the Septuagint, like the Samaritans, the Pentateuch. So with that as a backdrop, let’s get into the textual analysis of Jeremiah 31 with our Greek and Hebrew professor Justin Alfred, who serves on the board of directors with our ministry, Witnesses for Jesus. Let’s go into this. This is why we need to analyze the textual critical analysis, the translations that support different renderings of Jeremiah 31, to see if the New Testament’s rendering at Hebrews 8:9 is indeed supported by the textual variants we find in this passage.
Christy, on the phone: “All right, Justin Alfred,
“Thank you for talking this Hebrew variant through with me. This is the one on recovering Jeremiah 31:32, the quotation that is in Hebrews 8:9, based on Jeremiah 31:32, on that textual variant and I’m definitely interested in learning what you have to say about that.”
Justin Alfred, on the phone: “Get the sheet that I sent you, get some stuff and I emailed you.”
Christy: “Okay, I’ve got it. I have it up.”
Justin: “Alright. So what you have there are the first two things Syriac-Leiden Peshitta. This is the Leiden Peshitta. That first thing is just a different format of printing in the Syriac. The other is the better. You can read, it is much easier to read. And then the third one there is the the Syriac put in Hebrew letters. You see that?”
Christy: “Yes, I see that, the Syriac.”
Justin Alfred: “So the Syriac came out, probably, obviously later, as far as the Old Testament – New Testament. I mean they’re already Syriac believers, probably around the first – second century B.C., and so they translated the Hebrew then, of course, after that, the Syriac became a dominant language there in the area where Syria is today in that whole area. It’s also very similar to the Aramaic as far as the grammar and all that kind of stuff like that. They’re first cousins, they’re brother – I mean you can almost say they’re brother and sister, but anyway they’re related, they’re integrally related, the Syriac and Aramaic. Now, so there you see these first reforms. The third form down there is the Hebrew lettering of the actual Syriac, okay? All right? Aramaic lettering, however you want to put it.
“Now, let’s go down here and there you see the translation. Now that PS means Payne Smith, that’s the Syriac dictionary that I was using to give where these words mean and what they mean and so forth and so on. It says, ‘Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; and because they nullified my covenant, (and I write all this stuff in there and trying to give it) so I also despised,’ and there you see that phrase there. Are now by seed. All right, that’s huge. This has the personal pronoun I, ana, preceding the verb, and thus it is for emphasis. ‘So I also despise them, says the Lord God directing/creating-director of the covenant.’ So directing or creating or creator-director of the covenant. That’s what that Aramaic word means, and it’s the last phrase up there. So then we go down here to the Targum. Alright, and we read this: ‘Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day that I took them by the hand out from the land of Egypt, which covenant of mine they changed.’ Now that word change there is in
“italics, not because it’s not there, is just emphasized. Now here’s what’s important about this, which they themselves caused to change. This is clearly an emphatic statement and this is used – this as what’s called the Aphel Aramaic verb. I know it doesn’t mean anything to you right now, but the Aphel is it caused it, and it means ‘which covenant of mine they caused – they themselves caused to change,’ so they are [in] their own will and so forth. That’s what the Aramaic is emphasizing here. ‘Although I took pleasure,’ and did you see this here? ‘This is once again an emphatic statement, with the personal pronoun, “I,” being inserted before the verb, and the Aramaic verb root is an Ithpeel, which is a reflexive.’ And again, I know all this, but I’m giving this to you, because this is very important for you. ‘It’s a reflexive stem, indicating that this was coming from within the very heart of God from a metaphorical, human perspective.’
“In other words, although God within, I mean the very nature of God, was taking pleasure in them, ‘says the Lord.’ That’s what the Aramaic says, all right? Now we go on down here, and we come to the Masoretic text: ‘Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband ([and this is the verb right here] ba alti, and this is an emphatic statement, as it contains the personal pronoun with a verb) to them,’ (In other words, I myself was a husband) ‘declares the Lord.’ Boom!
“Now we come down to the Septuagint. ‘Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day which I took hold (literally, “in the day of my taking hold of their hand”).’ So this is the way that the Greek word bears, emphasizing that it’s what’s called a middle, and I’m not going to get into all that stuff, but anyway it’s an Aorist middle participle, masculine genitive singular, middle is a reflexive. It means “God within yourself.” Alright? ‘Of their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, but they abode not in my covenant and I disregarded, ([and there you have the verb there] – ημελησα (emelesa) – from the context of this passage, this would be a constative aorist) them, saith the Lord.’
“Now we move on down to the Greek New Testament. Now, just from what you said there about the Christians – let me go back to that, hold on just a minute. He says that ‘Christians distorted the Septuagint reading, to teaching [that] God did not care for Israel; instead of God was a husband to Israel.'”
Christy: “That’s the claim of the rabbi. This is what the rabbi is telling the former Mormon Bishop, and so we’re trying to say no, that’s not true, because the variant occurs in the Hebrew and the rabbi’s trying to say that Christians made this up, changed it.”
Justin: “That the rabbis saying we’re part, so that’s an absolute, utter perversion. Now let me just say this: you’re not going to change that guy’s mind, and so he’s saying that [the] New Testament is anti-Semitic and all that. That’s just asinine and that’s being complimentary.
“Okay, so let’s go back and look at this, so going back now to what I sent you, let’s go back to the New Testament. ‘For finding fault with them, He says, “Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, When I will effect a new covenant With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant which I made with their fathers On the day when I took them by the hand To lead them out of the land of Egypt; For they did not continue in My covenant, And I did not care for them, says the Lord.”‘ You see that word care for them, that’s the word up there, ημελησα (emelesa). That’s the one he’s translating “did not care for.”
“Now, look at that, okay, and then go up to the Septuagint. Look on the last line and the fourth word from the end, you have the same exact word. You see that? All right, the point being is that the writer(s) of the New Testament, about 70 percent of the quotes from the Old Testament in the New Testament are taken from the Septuagint. That’s a huge thing, keep in mind. Now, that being said, let’s go down here. Look what I said: ‘The above quote from the Greek New Testament is a direct quote from the Greek Septuagint, with the exception of the very last statement of, “says the Lord.” The Septuagint has Fasin Kurios, and I just explained that this in the New Testament has legei, “says the Lord,” in both of the same pages. Two different were like, say are speak, like we say here. He is saying He is speaking. You know what I’m saying? Does that make sense?”
Christy: “Yeah, I think it makes sense.”
Justin: “The point being is that if you look at the very end of the Greek New Testament, legei Kyrios, you see that? Go up there to the Septuagint. Look at that, it’s Fasin Kyrios. I just simply say fame and lego are the difference between using the English words “speak” and “say.” That’s all it is. All right. They basically are conveying the same exact word. Now, after all of that, we come to the Latin Vulgate and why? Because in the critical apparatus here in the Hebrew, he makes reference to it. All right. So I have the English translation, ‘Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day that I took hold of their hand and was bringing them out from the land of Egypt, a covenant, which they made vain, and I had dominion over them.’
“Alright, so go back up here again, and we look at the – that’s the Vulgate up there. And look at the one, two, the third line of the Latin Vulgate. You see the first word quod irritum fecerunt. You see that? Then you see et ego. You see that? ‘And I,’ ‘having dominion, I over them.’ That is an emphatic statement and I put in there, ‘(This is (what’s called) a periphrastic construction, which indicates emphasis),’ so saying, ‘God had dominion over them.’ All right. ‘Says the Lord.’
“Now we go down here. So here’s what I said to you, ‘Christy, I included all of the above languages … because that is what is in the Critical Apparatus in BHS under Jeremiah 31:32.’ Now let’s look at it. Now, I want you to go up there and find the number 32 in the Hebrew text, that I sent you. You see it up there?”
Christy: “The Hebrew text, Masoretic text?”
Justin Alfred: “That’s it. Go down here and then you see 31. Then you see 32, correct? Go two lines below there. You see 33. All right, now go back one, two, three four words. Now, do you see that little A? Alright? Now that is the word, right there, ba-alti. That is the word for being a husband or whatever,
“It comes from that – this is where they – the other word ba-al “Lord, a master” you’re a ba-al all the time in the Old Testament. That’s where it comes from. It also means husband. Okay, now go all the way down to the bottom, to the Masoretic to the Critical Apparatus. Now you see 32a? That first sign there, which I explained to you here – that’s the sign of the [symbol of] Septuagint. It says the Septuagint says this – and that’s what we’ve already looked at. Remember? ‘I did not care, or neglected or I was not concerned.’ Right after that, you see the Latin form et. That means and, a-n-d, English and. And then it says [symbol of] Syriac. You see that? Now, what’s that “bsjt”? If you look at what I wrote you, the “bsjt” is an English transliteration of the Syriac verb (which I wrote to you) basjit. So that what bsjt [is], so Syriac is basjit and then it says equals ga-alti and, notice it has a question mark after that. You see that? Okay, so the question mark is this, but the bassam means “to disdain, despise or scorn,” and we go down there and we look at ga-al, it means “to abhor and loathe.” Now, that question mark is saying this is not a certain thing; in other words, it’s saying, “This is not some absolute thing of where this came from.” Alright? They don’t know. They think this would be the Hebrew verb that would correspond to that, but they don’t know if, indeed, that is where it came from. Then notice: you got vel. You see that? All right, now look at what I wrote, then what follows is “perhaps” or (that’s what vel means, it means “perhaps,” “or”) okay, the bsjt equals the – they didn’t have bsjt, but it means that “perhaps or” that bsjt, that basjit, equals, and that funny-looking thing there means Masoretic text. And there’s a question mark, but again, it’s not certain. You see that?”
Christy: “Right. They have a question mark on that, too. So Masoretic text is not 100 percent, and they’re not even 100 percent sure -”
Justin: “No, no! No! No! They’re not certain of, is the Syriac Peshitta. Corresponding to that is – this are “perhaps” equals the Masoretic text with a question mark, and then it says the Masoretic text compare – you see that? that’s what that cf means, it means “compare.”
Christy: “Interesting. Compared to -”
Justin: “society? So you know it means to compare or examine the Masoretic
“texts in conjunction, and then you see that “a” there with that little line going at it.”
Christy: “Yeah, like accent?”
Justin: “What that is, that that’s representing Aquila’s Greek translation of the Old Testament. And the word that he uses there, if you see εκυριευσα, translated means, “and I ruled over, or dominated, or had control, and was master over.” And then he goes, that funny-looking thing there, that’s a sign for the Vulgate.”
Christy: “And that fits, agrees with the Vulgate ‘dominate.'”
Justin: “Yes, yes, exactly, alright! So, here’s the deal. That ga-alti is not in the Masoretic text. You understand? It’s not there. He’s just saying, “perhaps, maybe this is what it was,” or “maybe this is what it could have been.” There is no certainty about that. As he’s examining this, he’s just trying to look at it and say, ‘Where does this perhaps come from?’ Now, so here’s what we’re talking about. The translators of the Septuagint, what’s understood, and there were probably three Hebrew recessions, three Hebrew texts going around, alright? And very likely, what we see in the Septuagint came from an alternate reading and indeed a variant reading, but it was a variant, completely different, I wanna say, a different text. It was similar, but just a different Hebrew text going around. That’s what the Septuagint comes from.
“So, as we look at that, what this rabbi had to say, and I would encourage you, I’m trying to think of a good book to teach you that would give you some reference on that. Hold on just one second, don’t hang up, hold on. Okay, I want to recommend you getting a book and reading it. It’s entitled Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. and Darrell L. Bock, and the last one is Peter Enns. Well, there’s a lot of stuff in here that you’re going to have that you’ve never probably confronted before, but this is going to be very helpful for it. But let me just pray with you right now, but before we terminate our conversation here, do you understand what I went over, the critical thing there in Jeremiah 31:32? Did you understand what I was saying? Is that clear, when I sent the stuff that I sent you? In other words, that make it -”
Christy: “That definitely helps because I was pretty lost,
“especially since I don’t understand, and I don’t even know what these symbols mean. So. I did have one little question that bsjt, which gives you that Hebrew rendering.”
Justin: “Yeah, that is the transliteration. Go back up there and look at the Syriac bsjt. You see that? Which are the transliterated letters of the Syriac verb. You see that? So they’re the Syriac letters, that’s basjit, and so that bsjt, that B represents the b, the S the s, the J represents that what we call the old there and that final letter represents the t.”
Christy: “Right. That’s in the text you gave me, which is very helpful.”
Justin: “Now, here’s what you need to understand. That ga-alti is not in the text; they’re saying, ‘Perhaps this goes back and it would be a Hebrew variant text from which that came,’ but they don’t have a copy of it. Are you with me?”
Christy: “Right, so that’s why it’s question-marked. It could have been, because you have this Syriac version, and you have the Septuagint following the same translation, if that word was there in the original Hebrew.”
Justin: “If it was there, but we don’t know that it was, but here’s what we do know. Someplace the translators of both the Septuagint, which came first, and then the Syriac came later, and then the early church, and in Syriac the New Testament, but they found that that came from some text, somewhere, someplace. It came from a Hebrew source, because it started with the Septuagint. And this guy’s an imbecile. This rabbi, he’s a total liar. He knows, he knows that the Jews were the ones who translated, not the Christians. He says what?”
Christy: “He says the Christians edited it and the Christians changed it to fit their Bible.”
Justin: “Oh, we’re – you’re not going to – that guy, he is an absolute liar, so the only thing, sweetheart, that’s going to break through to him as the power of the Holy Spirit. Jews were the ones who translated the Septuagint as you see it today. Period. Now, I did make a notation that you have that church father there, Aquila, who made that Greek translation of the Hebrew and you notice the word that he used. You see that word? Ekurieusa, which means “I ruled over,” which fits right in line with the Vulgate. We don’t know quite, we’re not sure where he got that from, but that was his translation in the Septuagint.”
Christy: “Was it a translation in the Septuagint, or was it in the Hebrew text he had?”
Justin: “Well, the reality of it, very likely, probably, I don’t know that he had a Hebrew text. I mean I don’t know; he may have just looked at that, he may have looked at the Syriac, he could have looked at the Aramaic Targum and that’s what he came up with. Listen. When you go read those books, you’re gonna realize, you know, we like ball, baboom, baboom, baboom. Well, you imagine back then, they had, everything was done by hand.”
Christy: “And they didn’t have everything we can just look up online.”
Justin: “Yeah. The only way they communicated was by horse, by letter, and it took days, weeks, months, and so we’re talking about a completely different perspective, where we are now versus 2 thousand years ago.”
Christy: “Yeah, we have made more texts available to us.”
Justin: “That’s an understatement, so the point being what they did have they – so when you get into the whole issue of inspiration, I tell my students all the time. I said, ‘Look guys. You think this was a gist of the prophets and the Polly’s and it’s
“kind of like robots and Ross said no way. I said, God used their mind, their thoughts, and I said God’s eternal inspired Word transcended their limitations, their flaws and their excuse, and I said the variance. I said His truth transcends all that and it comes through, even when you look at the variant reading and you realize – so, in other words, if you were to, for example, as I read over your letter there, I don’t know what they told you about that word there, but in your understanding, that’s what you came up with. Are you understanding what I’m saying? And so somebody that didn’t know anything they would read that, they say, ‘Oh, this is what the word really was.’
“Well, that’s not what it’s saying, because you see, that question mark – ”
Christy: “Right, we don’t know for sure.”
Justin: “But see, you didn’t know that, you just wrote that out.”
Christy: “Somebody else had written that but yeah, not the scholar, but somebody else had tried to write.”
Justin: “That doesn’t matter. The point I’m making is, listen to me. What I’m saying to you [is] that’s how things always happen. That’s how you get variants back then. People would hear something, you look at the New Testament. Various people would make notes on the side. It would be passed, and somebody else would take that note in the text. So that’s exactly what you, in other words, if I didn’t know beans, some doodly-squat about this stuff, and I said, wow, that’s what that word means, that’s where it comes from, but that’s not. They’re just suggesting, maybe, this is where it comes from, but there is no certainty of it.”
Christy: “Right. All we know is we have some very early, early translations of the Hebrew. Then, a couple hundred years before the time of Christ, before the New Testament was written, that support that variant. So it seems to indicate that there might have been a Hebrew text, that had that one.”
Justin: “That is exactly correct. What you’re just now saying. Very good!”
Christy: “Well, I really appreciate your time, especially on this critical question, because it has not had a very good articulation on where the variant is, or how the variant occurred, or anything on that, and at least you have answered some of those questions. I think it’ll be helpful for others.”
Justin: “Also remember this. I’m just going to say this to you, that Jewish apologist is a, he is a distorter. He is a absolute – he is no more of a scholar than your little puppy. Do you got a puppy dog, still, right?”
Christy: “Well, she passed away to cancer, but I have kitties! She died last summer.”
Justin: “Oh well! Your baby kitties have more scholarship than that guy does. Listen! He is distorting, twisting and manipulating. He is not an honest, scholarly exegete, a Jewish – You know you might disagree. This man, he’s a liar and a distorter, so I’m just saying. So nothing you say, you cannot argue that man into submission. Only God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, can either bring him to repentance, number one; number two, fully expose him, or number three, eliminate him. Those are the three options. It’s going to have to be God. You are not going to change his mind.
“Lord, I pray for this Jewish guy, I pray that you bring both of them to a place of absolute brokenness and Lord, I don’t know what’s going on in Lee’s life, but something is happening, transcending, just this business, motivating him in this area. I have no idea. Only you know, Lord, Christy doesn’t know. None of us know, but we pray Father, that as we share Your truth that we share it honestly, simply, and Lord just let your Holy Spirit be the one to bring brokenness to these guys’ lives, or either bring full exposure of them, or God, just get them out of the way; and just pray for Your truth and righteousness to prevail in everything that’s being said and done, and we ask that, believing and thanking You now, in Jesus name, amen.”
Christy: “Amen. Thank you Justin. I really appreciate your time on this. It’s very helpful for me, and I think it will be helpful for many others as well.”
Justin: “Good, well, praise the Lord, I’m here to serve you in any way I possibly can, okay? Okay, God bless you. Check out that last one, that last message about the commentary; that’s the big one. I mean, this is probably over a thousand pages.”
Christy: “So, of all the books you recommend, I mean, this is a lot for me to read. What do you think would be the best for me?”
Justin: “I would start off with the other, the first one. What was the one I just gave you? The small one.”
Christy: “Three Views on the New Testament.”
Justin: “Yeah, yeah. I would start off with that. I think that would be an excellent resource. I think, then, the book by – The Biblical Canon. Also the book by Weingreen, Introducing … Those are two smaller books, and I think Weingreen’s book, and that book about the New Testament, that’s going to be very – it’s very basic, very – and it’s easily written, something is easy to understand. Doesn’t get into all the scholarly stuff; ‘What in the world does that mean?'”
Christy: “Yeah, it would help me to even just have something to start with, especially since we’re getting hit with so many of these examples that this rabbi’s bringing up. If I have something that can give me somewhere to start on understanding, it would be, I think, helpful.”
Justin: “The third will be The Biblical Canon, and I’d say that the last one would be that commentary on the New Testament of the Old Testament. That would be the last one.”
Christy: “Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament is fourth by D.A. Carson. Alright. Well, thank you. Okay, sounds great. Thank you, Justin.”
Justin: “Alright, God bless you, bye-bye.”
Christy: “God bless you too, sir. Bye.”
So, to summarize what we’ve learned today on the textual variants that formed the basis of the readings in Jeremiah 31:32 – of course, we have the Masoretic text reading of, “I was a husband to them,” supported by the Hebrew text that we have today of ba-alti, and then we have in the Septuagint’s rendering of “I do not care for them,” which is very similar to basjit in the Peshitta Syriac translation, which means, “I disdained them.” And, of course, even though the Christians were editing the text of the Septuagint for perhaps as late as the third century with Jerome, we have to consider the fact that the Syriac translations and getting the reading up “to disdain” is very similar to the reading of “I did not care for them.”
So this is why the scholars put in the textual apparatus critical analysis a question mark next to the word ga-alti, which means “I do not care for them.” They’re suggesting the possibility of this textual variant having occurred in the ancient Hebrew manuscripts. But since we do not have those Hebrew manuscripts to consult, it’s not verified and that’s why they put a question mark next to this word ga-alti. And then we have another interesting reading in the textual variants that we covered today. The Latin Vulgate reading, which is also supported by Aquila’s reading and, as you remember in the original textual tree that we looked at, that is another form or textual family that developed from a base that was very similar to the same base that they believed the Masoretic text came out of. But that gets the reading of “to dominate,” God
dominating Israel. So we have potentially three textual variants that may have had some support in Hebrew manuscripts, but what is verified right now? Nothing can be verified as far as from the Hebrew side of the text, because all we have are manuscripts from, probably the earliest is around 900 A.D. today, in the Masoretic manuscripts that were compiled by the Masoretic scribes in the seventh to tenth centur[ies]. So ultimately, we can’t verify the textual variants in the Hebrew texts, but we can look at these ancient translations, especially the Syriac and the Peshittic translations, Syriac Peshitta, and the, of course, Septuagint translations done 200 years before Christ. So it’s a very good likelihood that a Hebrew textual variant did exist in the original manuscripts.
Now, why do I bring all this up? Why is this important? Well, first of all, the rabbis claim that the Christians distorted the Old Testament. We know that’s definitely not the case, not with all these ancient translations, especially the ones that pre-date Christ. The Christians were not involved in those translations. So they weren’t distorting the text of the Septuagint and the Old Testament text of the Bible. But one thing I want to point out is, whether you have a reading of “I was a husband to them” or “I do not care for them,” it doesn’t change the overall message of the text. In fact, if we look at both of these textual variants, we see God’s heart for Israel, because, just like in the case of a husband and wife, sometimes one spouse irritates the other spouse, and they may not care about that spouse’s actions at the time. God did not care for Israel’s despising of His covenant, God disdained Israel’s actions, but yet, in the textual variance, we see that God was still a husband to Israel. So we see God’s heart for Israel coming through in the very textual variants of the ancient manuscripts of Jeremiah 31:32. So that is why I believe
God allowed this textual variant to come through in the text of our Bible. Having the New Testament carry the textual variant of “I do not care for them,” while the Old Testament carries – that’s based on the Masoretic text – carries the textual variant of “I was a husband to them,” because together, when we put them together, we see God’s heart for Israel. That, despite their actions that He did not care for, He still loves them, and He is still a husband to Israel.
So God has preserved His word. There is no need to be concerned or to criticize a text of the Old Testament or the New Testament, because it has not been corrupted. It has been preserved, as promised in the Scriptures.
FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE:
A Brief History of the Septuagint – biblicalarchaeology.org
What Is the Septuagint? Discusses many differences in the text – thegospelcoalition.org
Reject Jesus for Judaism? – Reasonable Faith with William Lane Craig – www.reasonablefaith.org
Dead Sea Scrolls-Septuagint Alignments Against the Masoretic Text / Click Here for a PDF of this list.