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Staff or bed? Another LXX influence in the NT

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by BrianT, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. BrianT

    BrianT New Member

    Mar 20, 2002
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    A very interesting article from http://www.biblepacesetter.org/education/bibleans3.shtml . What are the implications for KJV-onlyism?


    Q: In Hebrews 11:21 we read, "By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff." (NIV) What does it mean to worship leaning on the top of a staff?

    A: The quotation in Hebrews 11:21 is taken from Genesis 47:31, ". . . Israel worshipped as he leaned on the top of his staff." (NIV) This reading is taken from the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew scriptures, a translation into Greek that was in common use in the time of Jesus and of the apostles. The NIV uses that same reading in translating Genesis.

    The Hebrew text as we have it today, however reads: "Then Israel bowed himself on the head of his bed." (NRSV) For hundreds of years the Hebrew text was transmitted without vowels. Only beginning after the 6th century AD were vowels and accent marks added to the text. The difference between the two readings is between two different sets of vowels that could be added to the same consonants.

    To loosely illustrate this with letters from our English alphabet, the older manuscripts would have HMTH. The translator of the Septuagint would have read HAMATTEH (doubling the 'T' is also an added mark), and the Hebrew text with the vowels reads HAMITTAH. The first means "staff" and the second means "bed."

    Most Biblical scholars believe that the reading in Hebrew of 'bed' is more likely in Genesis, though the New Living Translation and the New International Version choose to translate the Greek version and indicate the Hebrew in a footnote. (Lest anyone think this is a conservative vs. liberal issue, the New American Standard Bible and the New King James Version as well as the venerable KJV all read 'bed' as well!)

    If this is correct, why would the author of Hebrews use a flawed translation? He often uses the Septuagint throughout the book. It is likely that he is simply using a version familiar to himself and his readers and is not concerned with an issue that has no impact on his message. The message of Hebrews 11:21 is simply that Jacob had full faith in the promises of God, and relied on them in giving a blessing. He worshiped God as he blessed the sons of Joseph.

    Perhaps there is a lesson for us here as well about worship!
  2. Forever settled in heaven

    Jul 29, 2000
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    i think the implications go way beyond KJBOism.

    of course, KJBOism, like ALL other Version-onlyisms, will be confuted--even the biblical writers n Jesus Himself did not share their mentality.

    but going beyond that, the impact will hit both FEs n DEs as well. that's becos "bed" n "staff" r neither Formally nor Dynamically Equivalent.

    so what r our options fr here on out? :eek:
  3. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Jul 31, 2000
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    Brian, this is just another case of some KJVOs not wanting to face the brutal fact that not even the very writers of Scripture were limited to just one version. This is why they've invented so many theories against the age of the LXX. They don't want to face the evidence found in the KJV ITSELF!!

    Also, there's the opinion of the AV 1611 translators concerning the LXX, posted on your website, from their preface to the AV. But I reckon some Onlyists think more of their myth than they do of the AV 1611 itself. Their ignoring the plain evidence from the AV itself and its translators seems to confirm this.
  4. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769 New Member

    Aug 27, 2002
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    I don't see any implications. Classifying the Hebrews passage as a direct quotation of Genesis is speculative. Even if it is, it's of no real import. The Holy Spirit is merely affirming that Jacob both bowed on the head of his bed and leaned on his staff at some point during the proceedings.