Scholar Charles Provan writes, “…Though the sojourn [in Egypt] may be obtained in the Masoretic text, yet it is much easier to derive it from the Greek version. Indeed, that Numbers 24 is a Messianic prophecy is so obvious that it jumps off the page, as does the Egyptian sojourn of the Messiah.”
“Notice also that one name [of our Saviour] in the New Testament is The Lion from the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). Though there are Messianic prophecies in which it is stated that Christ would come from the Tribe of Judah, I am aware of none which refer directly to Christ as a Lion, except the Numbers 24 prophecy of Balaam. This is obtainable from the Masoretic text, but is unavoidable in Greek.”
Two and a half cheers for the Septuagint text!
As C. Provan points out, “There are differences….between the Septuagint Old Testament and the Old Testament of the Rabbinic Jews [the Masoretic text]. To make matters worse, many Christians now suppose that since the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the Hebrew Bible kept by the Rabbinic Jews is, in fact, the ‘original Hebrew’. In fact, it is not the original Hebrew, and it is not too old either. You see, the rabbis had very particular orders concerning the copying of the Old Testament. Among their rules is the command that all old, used copies of the Old Testament are to be destroyed. Hence, the oldest complete copy of the Hebrew Old Testament dates to about 1100 A. D. The Greek Old Testament is very much older than that.”
Some of the differences that we find between the Septuagint and Masoretic texts are the following:
In the Gospel of St. Luke, in the genealogy of Christ, in chapter three, verses 36 and 37, there are two Cainans mentioned. The Septuagint Greek Old Testament also mentions two Cainans in Genesis 10:24. The Hebrew Masoretic text, however, mentions only one. When the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in the middle of the last century, the Hebrew text of some two thousand years ago was examined, and that text —like the text of the New Testament and the Septuagint— had two Cainans! What happened?
C. Provan tells us the following: “According to ancient Jewish literature, the second Cainan was involved in the reintroduction of astrology into the post-flood world. By eliminating the second Cainan Noah’s great grandson is eliminated as a problem since he was esteemed a great sinner.” That is how the second Cainan disappeared from the genealogy of the Masoretic text! Does this remind us of the Soviet method of air-brushing the “enemies of the people” from old photographs? Apparently, some rabbis who worked on the Masoretic text felt they had even more divine authority than God!
Then, there is Acts 7:14. There, the God-inspired St. Stephen the First Martyr, “filled with Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:54), tells us that all the members of the Patriarch Jacob’s family were seventy-five in number. The Septuagint text also says “seventy-five“. But the Masoretic Hebrew text in Genesis 46:27 says “seventy.” Who is correct? If we check the Dead Sea scrolls, we find that they confirm what the Septuagint and the New Testament say: “seventy-five”!