Textual Error?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Keith M, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. Keith M

    Keith M
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    It has often been said the KJVs contain an error when reporting the age of King Ahaziah when he began his reign. Others disagree.

    This discrepancy did not originate with the KJV as some assume. This discrepancy was in the Wycliffe Bible (1395), the Coverdale Bible (1535), the Bishops' Bible (1568), the Geneva Bible (1587) and the Douay-Rheims Bible (1609) before the KJV was published. After the KJV was published the same readings are found in the Webster Bible (1833), the English Revised Version (1885), the American Standard Version (1901), the Jewish Publication Society Old Testament (1917) and many other versions published later.

    Young's Literal Translation (1862) gives Ahaziah's age as 22 in both verses. The NASB has age 22 in both verses, but a footnote for 2 Chronicles 22:2 indicates the Hebrew text had 42. Ditto the NIV.

    This is not a question of the inferiority or superiority of any English Bible version. The translators of no Bible version can be condemned for accurately translating the texts available. Yet it seems quite logical Ahaziah could not have been both ages when he began his reign.

    When did the different ages for Ahaziah first appear? Of course the originals are not available for us to compare. Can someone with a working knowledge of OT Hebrew texts shed some light on this question?

    Please do not stray off topic into a KJVO debate. As I stated before, this is not a question of the inferiority or the superiority of any particular English Bible version. Please do not try to turn it into such a discussion.
     
    #1 Keith M, Jun 9, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2007
  2. Askjo

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    Check with the link: http://www.letgodbetrue.com/bible/scripture/ahaziah-contradiction.pdf
     
  3. Salamander

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    Now, ASKJO, you know you shouldn't be so bold as to confuse the scholars with Biblical truth.

    I wonder if anyone else ever noticed the ways the Hebrews had their own way of setting things in order to keep things hidden from the casual interests of outsiders?

    Something behind all that vowel point omissions, huh?
     
  4. Keith M

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    Thanks for the Link, Askjo, but that article uses nothing but opinion and confusion to support the variant readings. It gives not a shred of factual information concerning this topic, only bends over backward to try to prove that Ahaziah could have been both 22 and 42 when he became king.

    The topic of discussion is textual in nature and, as I said before, is not a discussion of the inferiority/superiority of any particular English Bible version.
     
  5. TCassidy

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    All the Hebrew texts and manuscripts read the same. The most likely explanation of the difference between 2 Chron 22:2 and 2 Kings 8:26 is that forty-two years does not refer to the age of Ahaziah, but of the reign of the family of Omri, king of Israel, which is what the majority of Jewish commentaries tell us. Ahaziah's mother was of the family of Omri, and it was through her that evil crept into the godly line of the kings of Judah, which is what is being recounted in these verses. Ahaziah was 22 when he assumed the throne of Judah, but the wickedness that he did dated back 44 years to the ascension of wicked Omri, king of Israel. Thus he was "Two and twenty years old . . . when he began to reign" while, at the same time "Forty and two years old was Ahaziah," that is, the wickedness he was raised in, when he began to reign.
     
  6. Keith M

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    Thanks, TCassidy, for a lucid and intelligent reply. Your reply makes the variant readings more understandable.
     
  7. Deacon

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    The Syriac, some Latin and Greek manuscripts read differently suggesting:
    1. The verse was recognized as a problem and was “corrected” in the translations.
    2. There was an early error in the Masoretic family of Hebrew texts.

    IMO, the “correct answer” could be one or the other, or even both.

    The verses are not extant in the Qumran texts.

    Rob
     
  8. Askjo

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    According to these manuscripts, they respectively showed 22 years old and 42 years old rathar than 22 and 22 on these passages. However textual critics rejected the KJV concerning this wrong age.
     
  9. Keith M

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    Askjo, we know the KJVs accurately translate the Hebrew texts they are based on. The question is not about the KJV rendering. The question is textual in nature. Can you address the issue without dragging the question of whether the KJVs are right into the discussion? If not, please keep further comments to yourself as you are already straying off topic.
     
  10. Keith M

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    Thanks, Rob. Do you know what any other Hebrew textual families beside the Masoretic may say?
     
  11. Deacon

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    Good question.

    The answer is partially speculation based upon evidence found in the Dead Sea Scrolls texts and related documents.

    It appears that there were a variety of text types at that time, with the Masoretic text being the more stable of the bunch.

    It’s been suggested that some of the exclusive readings in the LXX were due to a different textual base used in its translation.

    The different readings we see in some of our modern versions follow the ancient translations that were based upon this proposed Hebrew text.

    Rob
     
    #11 Deacon, Jun 10, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2007
  12. TCassidy

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    The Masoretic Text is actually two slightly different text types. The Ben Chayyim type and the Ben Asher type. However, there are only about a half dozen differences that would affect translation.


    However there is a distinctly different textform, the Vorlage textform, from with the Septuagint was probably translated. That textform is no longer extant, except for some fragments found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The best evidence we presently have to indicate the readings of that textform is the Septuagint, which, in this case, reads 20 years in 2 Chron 22:2 and 22 years old in IV Kings 8:26 (2nd Kings the way we number the books). So, the Septuagint sheds no light at all on the subject but injects another variant. However, 20 is a lot closer to 22 than 42 is and it has been speculated that 20 is the correct reading of 2 Chron 22:2, as quite often the bible will round off numbers. However, we don't see that happening when the age of ascent is given for a King so that is not, in all likelihood, the answer to the dilemma.

    Again, in my considered opinion, the most likely answer is found as I stated in the post above. The chronological age of Ahaziah as opposed to the age of the dynasty of Omri.
     
  13. Hope of Glory

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    Most Messianic Jews with whom I associate place the quality of the LXX in higher esteem than the Masoretic. What is the oldest Masoretic manuscript that we have?
     
  14. TCassidy

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    The oldest legitimate date is 916 A.D. (Babylonian type) and 1009 (non-Babylonian type).

    However, recent investigations into Manuscript 4445 suggest it might be slightly older than either of the above.

    However, the Dead Sea Scrolls show us that, by and large, the ancient manuscripts found at Qumran testify to the accuracy of the later Masoretic text.

    Remember, the Masoretes worked between the seventh and tenth centuries AD.
     
  15. Hope of Glory

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    What is the date spread of the Dead Sea scrolls?
     
  16. TCassidy

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    250 BC - 68 AD.
     
  17. Deacon

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    The New English Bible (1961),
    the New American Bible (1970),
    and the New Revised Standard Version (1989),
    make the most use of the alternative readings found in the Septuagint, Old Latin and Dead Sea Scroll documents.

    Most of the changes are hardly noticable.

    Having studied through Samuel a few years ago, I think the most interesting plus is found in 1 Samuel 10:27-11:1 of the NRSV.

    But some worthless fellows said, “How can this man save us?” They despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.
    Now Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been grievously oppressing the Gadites and the Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye of each of them and would not grant Israel a deliverer. No one was left of the Israelites across the Jordan whose right eye Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had not gouged out. But there were seven thousand men who had escaped from the Ammonites and had entered Jabesh-gilead. (*)

    (*)Q Ms Compare Josephus, Antiquities VI.v.1 (68–71): MT lacks Now Nahash … entered Jabesh-gilead.
    1 Samuel 10:27 NRSV

    Rob
     
    #17 Deacon, Jun 10, 2007
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  18. Hope of Glory

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    So, the LXX may have preceded the oldest manuscripts that we have in our possession?

    Would it be safe to say that the LXX, which at one time was a modern version, may contain more accurate information? Or, at the very least, try to include them all?
     
  19. TCassidy

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    Most Greek/Bible scholars say the LXX is, in large part, a poor translation of the Hebrew into Greek. There are certainly fragments of the OT translated into Greek that very well may predate the oldest DSS manuscripts, specifically Papyrus #458 which dates to around 150 BC, but, for the most part, the LXX manuscripts probably date from 150 - 750 AD. The oldest near complete manuscripts of the LXX are Aleph and B, which date to 325 - 350 AD.
     
  20. Hope of Glory

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    I know I'm asking a bunch of questions, but, although I know the history of the NT fairly well, the OT is another story. I do know that most Messianic Jews that I associate with think the LXX is better, but that does not make it so, in and of itself. (Although I do know at least two Hebrew scholars who say the Masoretic text is quite faulty, but they don't endorse the LXX.)

    So, what I see so far is that the LXX was translated before the oldest Hebrew manuscript that we have, but we have no LXX mss that date back older than the Dead Sea scrolls, although they do date back prior to the oldest Masoretic texts. Is this correct?

    Also, is it possible that the "insufficient" translations are a result of using different Hebrew manuscripts than the ones that we currently have available?

    I do know of at least one place personally that the LXX doesn't line up with the Masoretic, and it's a biggie.
     

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