Look this up in your trusty King James or Revised Standard (or whatever) version (Zephaniah 3.9). There, you will find something quite different. But then, ALL modern English versions have been made on the basis of the latest Masoretic revision of the Hebrew, a text which dates, as we have said, over 1000 years AFTER the Crucifixion of Our Divine Saviour.

But here is the list:

The Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses:
Genesis: the Birth of the World
Exodus: the Way out of Egypt
Deuteronomy: a Recapitulation of the Law
Jesus the son of Navê
Of the Kingdoms, four books
Paralipómena, two books
The Twelve Prophets
The Four Prophets
The Epistle of Jeremy
Of Esdras the Priest, two books
Of the Maccabees, four books
The Psalter (plus the additional early psalm of David, not numbered with the 150)
The Song of Songs
The Wisdom of Solomon
The Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach
The Psalms of Solomon

11 – God’s Language

We have written about the differences between today’s Masoretic text of the Old Testament and the ancient Septuagint translation of the Old Testament. Actually, since the Septuagint translation was finished about 290 years before Christ, and the contemporary Hebrew Masoretic text was only completed a millennium after Christ, the Septuagint version is almost 1,300 years older than the current Masoretic edition!

The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in the middle of the last century, sometimes favor the Septuagint text and sometimes the Masoretic text. As far as the Septuagint is concerned, it is important to remember that it was done by scholars of the Jewish faith almost 300 years before Christ. So it cannot possibly be argued that it has a pro-Christian bias. In the case of the Masoretic text, however, it was done in the centuries after Christ, so there are always suspicions about an anti-Christian bias in the choice of the variant Hebrew texts that were picked in order to create the Masoretic edition. These suspicions are especially strong when passages in the Septuagint which lend themselves readily to a Christian interpretation are substantially different, or even disappear entirely, in the Masoretic text.

But, the truth be told, and to be fair, there are passages in the Masoretic text that really are very beautiful and more eloquent than the Septuagint version. And, the fact of the matter is that the Septuagint is, after all, a translation of the Hebrew text. As we know, every translation from one language into another is, in reality, an interpretation. Every language has words whose full range of nuances and implications cannot possibly be translated accurately into another language.

This is especially true when we are talking about God’s language. What language does God speak? Well, it would be helpful for us to know, first of all, that God speaks in a very ancient language. This language is known by the name “Uncreated Divine Grace.” This language does not translate well into our Semitic or Indo-European languages, or, for that fact, into any man made language. Many fine men and women have thrown up their hands in despair trying to translate God’s language (and yet, oddly, children sometimes have no problem at all understanding it). Furthermore, nobody can duplicate the sounds of God’s language; it seems to have no vowels or consonants that human beings can articulate.

In the article, “Rationalism and Fundamentalism,” we quoted what some Saints of the Church had to say about conveying God’s language into ours.