Three cheers for the Septuagint text!

6

Psalm 144 (Ps. 145 in the Masoretic text) is an “acrostic Psalm” in Hebrew, that is, each of its verses begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. But there is a problem in today’s Hebrew Masoretic text. The verse that should begin with the Hebrew letter “N” is missing.

At the same time, people have noted that in the Greek version of the Book of Psalms (i.e. the Septuagint text), there is an “extra” verse where the missing letter “N” should be in the Hebrew text. By “reverse translating” this verse from the Greek back into Hebrew, the verse begins with the missing letter “N”!! Furthermore, when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, the ancient Hebrew text of the Psalms had the verse exactly where the Septuagint had it.

In the Septuagint, the so-called “extra” verse is:

Faithful is the Lord in all His words, and holy in all His works (Ps. 144:14)

In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the so-called “missing” Hebrew verse says:

Faithful is God in His words, And gracious in all His deeds.

A twenty-one gun salute for the Septuagint!!

7

The Jewish people love the feast of Hanukkah. It is their answer to Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. But there is a little problem here. The Feast of Hanukkah is nowhere to be found in the present-day Hebrew Scriptures. Oy! Well, where can we find it? You guessed it: It is based on an oral tradition which, in turn, is based on an incident found only in the Greek Septuagint text!!! — the First Book of Maccabees (4:36-59).

Yes, the feast that is one of the most beloved for the Jewish people today is based on a text found only in the sacred Scriptures of the Orthodox Christians, the New Israel.

Happy Hanukkah to all!

8

As we know, around Christmas time, popular magazines like Time and Newsweek will go out of their way to publish articles that take potshots at Christianity. Inevitably, the magazines will find some liberal Protestant professor who is willing to attack anything that smacks of Christianity, and one of their favorite targets is the virgin birth.

This is what the Old Testament says:

Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel. (Esaias 7:14)

In connection with this biblical text, I recall an incident that was described to me some years ago by a student attending theology classes at Harvard University. When the Old Testament professor–who claimed to be Christian–came to the above–mentioned scriptural text, he went to considerable length to demonstrate that the Hebrew text did not really say “virgin,” but “young woman.” At this point, to his chagrin, a young Jewish woman stood up in the classroom and said to him, “I’m sorry, but you are very wrong. Many Jews believe that the Messiah is to be born of a virgin. Proof of this is that when Jewish scholars translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek–the well-known Septuagint version–they used the Greek word Parthénos, which can only mean ‘virgin,’ not ‘young woman.’” And with that, she sat down, while the professor hastily changed the subject.