| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 22 - Page 178 of 214 Index | Zoom | |
The volume of the Book.
#13. The Septuagint.
The age of the Alexandrian Version.
pp. 33 - 37
In our earlier articles which dealt with the transmission of the sacred text of the
Old Testament, we drew attention to the fact that, owing to the practice which obtained
among the Jews of destroying their Hebrew scrolls as soon as they began to show signs
of wear, the most ancient Hebrew scroll known dates from a time not much earlier than
the days of William the Conqueror. This fact may seem, at first, to introduce an
element of uncertainty into the text, and we therefore hasten to quote the words of
J. Paterson Smyth, LL.B., B.D. (Primate Hebrew Prizeman, etc.):--
"In all the Hebrew Manuscripts that have ever been examined, the text is almost word
for word the same."
Apart, however, from this agreement of text, for which we must thank God Who
has watched over His Word, we have a version that goes back to the second or
third century B.100:, and therefore comes with all the dignity of age and with the tests of
time, as a witness to the text of the Hebrew scrolls as they existed in that early period.
This version is commonly called the Septuagint (or the LXX)--a title that strictly belongs
to the translation of the Pentateuch only, but which has in common parlance been
extended to include the Greek translation of the whole Old Testament. This version has
important features that commend it to every lover of the truth:--
It is the most valuable witness that we possess as to the canon and actual material of
the Hebrew Scriptures.
It is quoted by the Lord and by His apostles as the Scriptures, and is actually quoted
more frequently than the Hebrew Scriptures themselves. This we must see for
Almost every word used in the N.T. in doctrine or practice, is found in the
Septuagint also. Consequently the latter provides a check upon any extravagant
exegesis, which would be foreign to the plain and settled theological meaning which
the word considered has possessed for many years.
The reader of The Berean Expositor will have noticed that whenever any uncertainty
has been felt concerning existing interpretation, the Editor has generally applied the
principle of consulting the Septuagint.
A glance at the comprehensive indices to Volumes I-XX will show (under heading
No. 6:) a list of 112 references to the LXX and to its particular bearing upon the
meaning of N.T. terminology. We do not pretend to write this series for advanced
scholars, but we believe that the average reader of the Word will realize enough of the
importance of this ancient version, to welcome some sidelights upon its origin,
composition and usage. Accordingly, we hope to devote a series of articles to an
examination of the Septuagint.