Is Your Bible Wrong?
This may come as a shock, but if you are using a modern English translation of the Bible, the Old Testament that you are reading has been intentionally corrupted. It is not the version that Jesus and the Apostles used. I will reveal who corrupted it and why in a bit. Nearly all modern English translations of the Old Testament are based on the corrupted Hebrew Masoretic text, including the KJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, etc.
I believe that the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, were written by Moses in paleo-Hebrew aka proto-Sinaitic, and I agree with Dr. Douglas Petrovich, Dr. David Rohl and others that Hebrew was the world's first alphabet. We have evidence of this alphabet in use in Wadi el-Hol and elsewhere around the time of Joseph prior to the Exodus. To quote Dr. Rohl: "...it took the multilingual skills of an educated Hebrew prince of Egypt to turn these simple first scratchings into a functional script, capable of transmitting complex ideas and a flowing narrative. The Ten Commandments and the Laws of Moses were written in Proto-Sinaitic. The prophet of Yahweh - master of both the Egyptian and Mesopotamian epic literature - was not only the founding father of Judaism, Christianity and, through the Koranic traditions, Islam, but also the progenitor of the Hebrew, Canaanite, Phoenician, Greek and therefore modern western alphabetic scripts."
Unfortunately, we do not have the original Hebrew manuscripts that originated in the time of Moses. The only Hebrew that we have is the Hebrew Masoretic which only dates to the 9th century AD, that was changed and corrupted after the time of Jesus. Fortunately, we do have other translations or "witnesses" such as the Septuagint, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Samaritan Pentateuch which are much older.
The Septuagint was translated in the third century BC by order of Ptolemy II, the Greek ruler of Egypt to add it to the famed Library of Alexandria. At Ptolemy's request, the governor of Judea sent 72 elders to Alexandria, six from each of the 12 tribes, to translate the Hebrew manuscripts, likely Ezra's Quattuordecim, into Greek. This translation is called the Septuagint, or LXX, because of these 72 elders - septuaginta meaning seventy. According to legend, these scribes translated them into Greek independent from each other, and yet the translations were identical, and thus a product of divine inspiration. Whether or not this legend is true, the Septuagint was praised by everyone, including the Jews, for its accuracy and it was used widely for centuries.
By the start of the first century AD, the time of Jesus, the Septuagint had become the standard version of the Scriptures used by the Jews. Christians were using the Old Testament prophecies found in the Septuagint and in the Hebrew of the time, to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah, much to the consternation of the Jews who denied that Jesus is the Messiah. Legend has it that the Jews met at the Council of Jamnia to react to determine how to react to Christianity, ultimately by excluding Christians and changing the texts to attempt to deny Jesus as the Messiah. Around 160 AD at Zippori, Rabbi Yose ben Halafta and others made significant modifications to the Hebrew manuscripts that they had control of, omitting many of the prophecies and verses that confirm Jesus is the Messiah, adding in language where it suited them, and heavily modifying the chronologies and genealogies. Shortly thereafter, the Jews introduced three new Greek translations of the Old Testament: Theodotion, Aquilla of Sinope, and Symmanchus, in an attempt to replace the Septuagint and deny Jesus' divinity. In 600 AD the Masoretes modified the Zippori text to add vowel accent marks. That text later became the Leningrad Codex that dates to 1008 AD that has been used for most English translations of the Bible.
For centuries, the Septuagint was universally accepted and used by the Christian churches. In 380 AD, however, Jerome translated the Bible into Latin for the western Churches that did not speak Greek. Augustine implored Jerome to use the Septuagint "whose authority is worthy of highest esteem" for the translation. Unfortunately, Jerome used the Hebrew text instead, because he lived in Jerusalem and worked with the rabbis who were using the corrupted version. This resulted in the Latin translation of the Old Testament being based on the corrupted Hebrew and that became the predominant Bible version used throughout the western world. Future translations into western languages such as English followed this tradition of translating from the Hebrew, in the form of the Hebrew Masoretic text.
Between the seventh and eleventh centuries AD, the Masoretes became the Jewish scribes that maintained the copies of the Hebrew Old Testament and thus it became known as the Masoretic Text. The oldest copies of the Mosoretic Text that we have today date to the 9th century AD, or about a thousand years after the oldest manuscripts that we have of the Septuagint. The Masoretic Text was used as the Old Testament source for the King James Bible, and nearly every English translation since.
There are many reasons why the Septuagint should be trusted more than the Masoretic Text. Here are just a few of them:
- When Jesus and the Apostles quote the Old Testament in the New Testament, as they do approximately 300 times, 90% of the time they quote the text of the Septuagint, NOT the Hebrew Masoretic. I will cite several examples of this shortly.
- The writings of Flavius Josephus, a renowned Jewish first century historian, including his chronologies, agree closely with that of the Septuagint.
- The Samaritan Pentateuch, the text of the five books of the Bible maintained by the Samaritans, aligns with the Septuagint more closely than the Hebrew Masoretic text. In fact, there is evidence that in 458 BC when Ezra and 13 other translators created the Quattuordecim, by translating from the paleo-Hebrew to Aramaic "square" Hebrew, they made 4 deliberate changes in the text to counter the Samaritan's claims that Mt. Gerizim and not Jerusalem was God's holy mountain. See Steve Rudd's article in the footnotes below for more information about this.
- The Septuagint was universally used by the early Christians, as well as first century Jews, and was praised by the Jews for it's accuracy.
- Justin Martyr in 160 AD confirmed the corruption of the Hebrew when he said "the Jewish teachers have altogether taken away many of the Scriptures from the translation of the seventy." Paul counseled Timothy and Titus to "not give heed to Jewish fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith." 1 Timothy 1:4, Titus 3:9, and Titus 1:14 Iraneaus, Origen, and many others confirmed this corruption as well.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in caves in Qumran in 1947 and date back to 318-408 BC. Unfortunately they did not contain a copy of Genesis 11, but they contained many other books of the Old Testament, and those books agree with the Septuagint far more often than the Hebrew Masoretic, as in Psalm 145 and Exodus 1:5. The Dead Sea Scrolls were likely copies made from the Quattuordecim which was finalized in 445 BC, which is also what the Septuagint was translated from 200 years later.
- Paul the Apostle quoted the Old Testament more than 100 times, and usually sided with the Septuagint. Stephen the Martyr does the same in Acts 7:14 as compared to Genesis 46:27.
- Jesus, in Luke 4:18, uses the Septuagint verbiage "and recovery of sight to the blind" from Isaiah 61:1 that is completely missing from the Hebrew Masoretic text.
- Psalm 22:16 in the Septuagint reads "the assembly of the wicked doers has beset me round: they pierced my hands and feet." As this is a clear reference to the crucifixion of Jesus, the Jewish scribes changed it to read "a company of evildoers have enclosed me: like a lion they are at my hands and my feet."
- Psalm 22:20 was changed from "deliver my soul from the sword; my only-begotten one from the power of the dog" to "deliver my soul from the sword, my only life from the power of these dogs" due to the obvious similarity to John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son"
- In the Septuagint, Isaiah 7:14 states "the Lord himself will give you a sign: Look, the virgin will become pregna nt and will bear a son, and you will call his name Immanuel." The word virgin or maiden, comes from the Greek "parthenos." The Hebrew Masoretic uses the Hebrew word "almah" which means young woman, and not the Hebrew word "bethulah" which means virgin. While we don't have the original Hebrew that was used to create the Septuagint to confirm this, it seems highly likely that the original Hebrew text must have used the term bethulah, for the translators to have chosen parthenos, or virgin, since it would have made no sense for the translators to have translated almah to parthenos. Thus, this was quite likely another area the Jewish scribes corrupted to remove yet another prophecy from the Old Testament that pointed to Jesus as the Messiah.
- According to the Hebrew Masoretic text (and thus the text of your Old Testament), the Israelites were in Egypt 430 years (Exodus 12:40). However, this is not mathematically possible because Kohath went to Egypt with Jacob in Genesis 46. If you total up the lifespans of Kohath, his son Amram, and his son Moses, it only totals 350 years, so they would not have lived long enough to be in Egypt 430 years. However, according to the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, Flavius Josephus, and Paul the Apostle, the Israelites were in Egypt and Canaan for 430 years. 2 Corinthians 13:1 says "by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established." Here we have four witnesses which confirm that the original Hebrew said Egypt and Canaan, and not Egypt. This s perfect sense and fits with the genealogies. The evidence supports the Israelites being in Canaan for 215 years, and Egypt for 215 years, for a total of approximately 430 years. See the link in the footnotes below for a link to Nathan Hoffman's excellent videos explaining this and the next point in more detail.
- The Genesis 11 timeline gives the genealogies and timelines from Shem down to Abraham. This was another area that was corrupted. The Hebrew Masoretic says that Arphaxad's son was born when he was 35, Shelah's at 30, Eber's at 34, Peleg's at 30, Reu's at 32, and Serug's at 30. However, the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and Flavius Josephus all say that Arphaxad's son was born when he was 135, Shelah's at 130, Eber's at 134, Peleg's at 130, Reu's at 132, and Serug's at 130. The Jewish scribes dropped a hundred years from each of them. This was necessary for the scribes to assert that Shem was the same person as Melchizedek and that he was still alive during the time of Abraham. This gets a bit complex, but the Book of Hebrews says that Jesus, who comes from the tribe of Judah, is the New High Priest and that he comes from the priestly order of Melchizadek, who is eternal, and of a higher order than the Levite order of the Jewish priests. The Jewish Rabbis apparently attempted to disprove what the book of Hebrews said about Melchizadek and Jesus by claiming that Melchizadek was Shem. They claim that Shem was the founder of the priesthood, and therefore that Jesus can't be the New High Priest because he comes from the tribe of Judah, rather than Levi. Of course, this scheme is easily dismissed by following the real timeline of the original Hebrew as demonstrated by the Septuagint, Samaritan Pentateuch, and Flavius Josephus, which all demonstrate that Shem was not alive during the time of Abraham.
- If the Hebrew Masoretic timeline were correct, then there were only 100 years between the flood (around 3298 BC) and the construction of the massive Tower of Babel. If we use an aggressive population growth rate of 3.2%, starting with the 8 people who survived the flood, there would have only been 186 people alive at the time of the construction of the Tower of Babel. That is simply not enough people to build a large city with an enormous tower. However, if you use the correct timeline, you'll have 400 years between the flood and the construction of the Tower of Babel, which would allow for 2.3 million people at that time, which is far more realistic.
- The Genesis 5 timeline describes the time from Adam to the birth of Abraham. In the Septuagint, the timeline indicates 3394 years, while the Masoretic indicates only 2008 years. Therefore the Septuagint's timeline puts the creation of Adam around 5554 BC, as compared to the Masoretic Text at around 4174 BC. Numerous external chronologies agree with the Septuagint timeline, including Demetrius, Eupolemus, Philo of Alexandria, Josephus, 2 Esdras 14, the Testament of Levi and the Twelve Patriarchs, Julius Africanus Sextus, and Augistine. Unfortunately, this was another change that the Jewish scribes made to the Hebrew text in order to attempt to disprove that Jesus is the Messiah. Jews believe that their messiah will come between 4292 and 6000 years from creation. Jesus started his ministry at year 5474. In order to attempt to disprove Jesus, they had to change the creation timeline by modifying the genealogies so that Jesus would have appeared to come too early to be the messiah.
- A good example of a translation issue is Genesis 22:2. In the Septuagint, the verbiage is "take your beloved son, whom you love, Isaac" (LES) whereas in most English versions from the Masoretic, the verbiage is "take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love" (ESV). The Masoretic versions no sense, since we know that Isaac is not Abraham's only son, as Genesis 16 clearly demonstrates. The Hebrew word, yachiyd, can mean either only or beloved, but the translators of the Septuagint translated it correctly into agapetos in the Greek, meaning beloved, whereas nearly all English Bible translations using the Hebrew Masoretic clearly got it wrong.
- Amos 9:11-12 describes the restoration of Israel. The Septuagint (LES) reads "On that day I will raise up the tent of David that has fallen, and I will rebuild its things that have fallen, and I will raise up its things that have been destroyed, and I will rebuild it just as the days of the age, so that the remnant of the people, and all the nations upon whom my name was invoked upon them, will search for me” However, the Hebrew Masoretic translation (ESV) reads “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name” If you're not reading the Septuagint, you'll come away thinking that Israel will posses or take over all of the nations, not that the nations will be called to seek God.
- The Septuagint, like the Latin Vulgate, also contains the apocryphal or deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament, including important books such as the book of Enoch that, in my opinion, are critical to a full understanding of God's word.
- Daniel 9:24-27 contains a prophecy for the Messiah. This gets very deep but, in a nutshell, it declares that seventy sevens, or 490 years, were decreed for the rebuilding of Jerusalem until the Messiah. From the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 458 BC by Artaxerxes, to Jesus' crucifixion in 33 AD was exactly 490 solar years, to the day, when reading the uncorrupted Septuagint. The Jewish scribe Yose ben Halafta, again attempting to sabotage prophecy, changed the verbiage and timeline in the Herbew copy of Daniel to match the Seder Olam chronology that he created, which changed the starting and end points of the prophecy, in which he even cut down the Persian empire timeline from 205 years down to 52 years to make it fit. See the footnotes for a more detailed explanation of this by Steve Rudd.
Irenaeus said "[The Septuagint] was interpreted into Greek by the Jews themselves much before the period of our Lord's advent... Had they been cognizant of our future existence and that we should use these proofs from the Scriptures [they] would themselves never have hesitated to burn their own Scriptures." Origen, one of my favorite theologians, explained why it is foolish for Christians to go to the Jews for the Old Testament, in this sarcastic quote: "Indeed! When we notice such [differences], we immediately reject as false the copies in use in our Churches, [we] command the brotherhood to put away those sacred books currently used among them [and we] coax and persuade the Jews to give us copies which will [certainly] be untampered with and free from forgery!"
If you want to read an English translation of the Septuagint, there are a few options:
If you want to read an English translation of the Septuagint, there are a few options:
- Brenton's - This is a translation done by Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton in 1851. There are PDF versions of this online for free. This is a good translation, but uses an older English style, so it can be harder to follow.
- OSB - The Orthodox Study Bible is more of a merger between the Hebrew Masoretic and the Septuagint, rather than a true Septuagint translation, and thus I don't recommend this as your primary Septuagint. Available in print or online.
- PDF Version: https://www.worldhistory.biz/download567/The_Orthodox_Study_Bible_-_St.pdf
- Print Version: https://amzn.to/2JEpGjx
- NETS - The New English Translation of the Septuagint. This is a recent translation, but it's very academic and a bit difficult to read fluently. There are PDF versions available online for free.
- LES - The Lexham English Septuagint was translated by Logos Bible Software in 2012 and thus is the most modern translation. It is also my favorite and reads very smoothly. Unfortunately, it is not free and must be purchased from Logos (electronic version) or Lexham Press (print version). The electronic version is also a reverse interlinear, meaning you can read the original Greek along with the English translation, which makes it very easy to go straight to the source text.
- Logos Software Version: https://www.logos.com/product/36588/the-lexham-english-septuagint
- Print Version: https://amzn.to/2JEr3yH
Don't get me wrong. This is not a reason to throw out your existing Bible. There are still numerous prophecies pointing to Jesus in the Hebrew Masoretic Old Testament that "slipped through" the cracks of the Jewish scribes. This is likely what Jesus meant in John 10:35 when he said "Scripture cannot be broken" and where Isaiah 55:11 states "My word will accomplish what I desire and succeed in the purpose for which I sent it."
Below are the footnotes, including much of the source material that I used for this presentation. I encourage you to research this further. Don't take my word for it! Thank you for watching and don't forget to like and subscribe.
- How Long Were the Israelites in Egypt? by Nathan Hoffman
- Were the Pyramids Built Before the Flood? by Nathan Hoffman
- Why You Should use the Septuagint by Tim Harris
- New Testament Quotations that Follow the Septuagint by Post-Apostolic Church
- Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus (documentary on Amazon Prime Video)
- Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy (documentary on Amazon Prime Video)
- World's Oldest Alphabet by Steve Law
- Birth of the Masoretic Text (MT) by Steve Rudd
- Primeval Timeline by Steve Rudd
- Daniel's 490 Year Prophecy by Steve Rudd