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"6 " it comes to pass that these two Translations have such Variations, « from each other? I do not mean in some few Words only, but in “ whole Sentences ; many being in our English Translation which are “ not to be found in the Septuagint, and some again in the LXX which
are not to be found in our English Bible.”
I do not at all wonder at your asking such a Question; for a Clergyman who has but a small Benefice, which will not afford him Means to buy Books of a large Price, and lives in an obscure Place in the Country, near no Library from which he may borrow such Books, or have Opportunity to consult them, is not to be blamed, if he should not know how to answer this, or other Questions relating to ecclesiastical Matters. For although he came from the University well versed in the learned Languages, (as you fhew yourself to be, or you could not have compared our English Bible with the Lxx, and so would never have thought of the Matter) yet for want of Books to inform him how the Scriptures have from Time to Time been copied, translated and published, he may not be able to answer such a Question, and satisfy himself in such a Point as this.
And I muft confess for myself, that if I had not the Polyglot Bible, before which Bishop Walton (the learned Editor of that noble and useful Work, consisting of fix large Folios) has put several excellent Prolegomena, and Du Pin's Compleat Canon' of Scripture, with some other Books relating to the Editions and Translations of the Holy Scriptures, I could not have answered your Question. But by the Affiftance of Vol. III, А
these Books, I hope I may do it to your Satisfaction. And I can give you a plain, short, and caly Answer, which is, that there were different Copies of the Hebrew Original, and the LXX translated from one Copy, and our English Translators from another; so as the Copies differed, the Translations differed also.
But another Question may arise. How came there to be so much Difference between several Copies of the fame Book? I answer, the fame will always happen in all Books frequently transcribed by feveral Hands. Now, I believe no Book ever had so many Transcripts as the Bible. As the Jerus had several Synagogues in Judea, so had they in all Countries where they were dispersed after the Captivity. For they did not all return to fudea at the Restoration of Jerusalem and the Rebuilding of the Temple, but very many continued in those Parts of the Chaldean, Perfinn, Grecian and Roman Empires where they had obtained Settlements, where also they increased and multiplied. This we may be convinced of irom what we find in the New Testament, where we read hat in every Place unto which the Apostles went to preach the Gospel they found Numbers of Jews and a Jewish Synagogue. And every Synagogue had at least one Copy of the Bible, beside the many Copies written for the Use of private Persons. Every one of thele Copies was written singly by itself, (the Invention of Printing, by which ten Thousand Copies coming out of the same Press shall not differ so much as a Letter or a Comma, being yet scarce three Hundred Years old) and therefore could hardly fail to differ in some Particulars even from the Copy froin which it was taken, unless more than once carefully revised, compared and corrected, which we may reafonably fuppose was not always done. These Copiers therefore could hardly keep free from inaking many Mistakes, such as often to omit a Word, or to write one Word for another: which last Miftake might easily be made in Hebrew Books, where the Letters and , 7 and 7, 77 and 77, and some others are so near alike, that very often in Writing one can liardly be distinguished from the other; and the mistaking such a Letter changes the Word, and gives it another Signification.
Copiers allo, in the transcribing so large a Book as the Hebrew Bible, might easily mistake so far as to be guilty of considerable Oversights, even to overlook and omit a whole sentence, especially when they wrote in Hafte, as, no Doubt, many of them did, who made it their Business to copy Books for their Livelihood. Where therefore the LXX want a period or Sentence which is in our English Bibles, we may suppose it was wanting in the Copy from whence they translated : And where ihey have a Sentence which is wanting in our English Bibles, we may fuppofe it was in the Copy from which their Tranflation was made, but left out in the Copy from whence our prefent Hebrew Copies were taken, and from which we have our Englise Tranflations And so vice versa. This I think is a natural and rational Account how these Diversities arose; that is, from different Copies of the Original. Which Differences could hardly be avoided, and might easily happen through the Carcleinefs and Oversights or Mistakes of Transcribers, who ould scarce avoid then in so long a Work.
Some indeed will tell you that the LXX in their Translation took
great Liberties, and departed from the original Text with Design, adding some Things, and leaving out others wilfully to serve some private Views of their own. And others will tell you that this has been done by the fows, who out of Hatred to the Christians have malicioufly altered the Hebrew Copies. But I think it is unjuft to charge either the Jews, who were the Keepers and Preservers of the Original Hebrew, or the LXX, who translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, with any wilful Variations froin the true and authentic Text, where those Variations
may be otherwise accounted for in the Manner I have thewed they may be. However, I confess, there are fome Variations which I think cannot be so accounted for; the Difference being such as could hardly proceed from mere Mistake or Oversight. This particularly appears in the Genealogies of the Patriarchs in the fifth and eleventh Chapters of Genefis: Where almost every Patriarch is said to have lived an hundred Years longer before he begat his Son according to the LXX, than he is according to the present Hebrew Bibles. Such a long, regular Difference as this could not proceed from the Carelesness or mere Oversight of any Transcriber. However, we cannot say that the LXX did here wilfully vary from the Original, or that this Variation was not in the Hebrew Copies before the LXX made their Translation, and that these hundred Years might be in that Hebrew Copy from whence they translated; though at this Distance of Time we cannot account for it. We have just Reason to believe that in the Chronology of those Genealogies there was a Variation in the Hebrew Copies before the Days of Josephus, who lived at the Time when ferufalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Romans: And therefore also might be in those Copies before the Version of the LXX.
For as Josephus was a Priest, who in his Course attended on the Temple to perform the Service of the Temple, we can scarce doubt but he had an Hebrew Copy of the Bible; nevertheless, in his Chronology, he differs from the present Hebrew Text, as he does also from the LXX. The Samaritan likewise (which is but another Copy of the Original Hebrew, written in the more ancient Hebrew Letter ; that which is now used by the Jews, being what they learned from the Chaldeans during their Captivity in Babylon) differs in its Chronology from the other three. From whence we may reasonably conclude, that the LXX were not the Authors of this Difference, but followed that Hebrew Copy from whence they translated.
Another great Difference between the present Hebrew Copies and the LXX, which may also seem to have been done with Defign, is the Transposition of Chapters or Parts of Chapters towards the latter End of the Book of Exodus. After you come to the End of the seventh Verse of the 36th Chapter in the LXX, you will find iminediately following, what follows not in the prefent Hebrew, consequently not in our English Bibles, until you come to the 39th Chapter. And so through the 36, 37, 38 and 39th Chapters, you will find that put in one Place of the LXX which stands in another place in the present Hebrew and English Bibles. The Occasion of these Transpositions, and of the like in some other Places, Dr. Grabe, in his Letter to Dr. Milles, conjectures might probably proceed from those who made up or stitched
together the Rolls or Leaves of the Books after they were written, and by Mistake placed one Roll or Leaf where another should have been : Such Mistakes we find Bookbinders sometimes make now. And this Mistake having been made in the Hebrew Copy from whence the Verfion of the LXX was made, these Dislocations are found in all the Copies of the LXX.
Another Ocoafion of various Readings, particularly as to whole Sentences or Periods, is supposed to have risen froin inarginal Notes, which private Persons sometimes made in their Bibles ; Tome Copier transcribing from such Book, believing these Notes to have been set there to supply an Omifsion of a Sentence by the former Copier, has put it into the Text of the Copy he writes, from whence other Copies being taken, this marginal Note becomes Part of the Text in those Copies which are tranferibed from it. This might be done in Hebrew Bibles, before the Translation of the LXX, and from thence might be taken into that and other Translations.
Many various Readings also with regard to Words only between the LXX and other ancient Translations, and that of our English Bible and other modern Translations made from the present Hebrew Copies, have proceeded from the Jewish Maforites, who having invented a Number of Vowel Points and Pauses, have thereby affixed a particular Reading and Senfe to many Words, different from that Reading and Şense in which they were understood by the LXX, and other ancient Translations made before the Invention of these Points. But of these Maforitic Points I shall have Occasion to say more hereafter.
As I said before, various Readings, and considerable ones too, will be found in all Books written before Printing was invented. And the more Copies of such Books have been written, the more various Readings there will be. And as more Copies of the Holy Scriptures have been written than of any other Books, it is no Wonder if more various Readings be found in them, than in Books less often transcribed. For except the Transcribers of the Holy Scriptures were all inspired, and preserved from Error by the Spirit of God, as the first Penmen of thofe sacred Books were, it is morally imposible but they should be guilty of fome Night Mistake or Oversight in so long a Work. And therefore we find like various Readings in the Greek Copies of the New Testament, which you (by comparing the LXX and the English Versions) have done in the Old, though perhaps not so considerable. The learned and industrious Dr. Milles has collected a very great Number of various Readings from feveral Manuscripts, in his excellent Edition printed at Oxford and published 1707. To give an Instance of one or two confiderable ones. The Doxology at the End of the Lord's Prayer, Matth. vi. 13. is omitted in several MSS. And eleven whole Verfes at the Beginning of the eighth Chapter of St. John's Gospel. Also the 7th Verse of the fifth Chapter of the first Epiltle of St. John is omitted in almost all the MSS. now remaining in these western Parts of the World.
So that the Doctor could not procure or be informed of one MS. that had it. Though Robert Stephens declares it to have been in fome of the MSS. from which he publithed his neat and correct Edition of the New Testament 200 Years ago; Which Edition our present
printed printed Greek Teftaments have generally followed. And as there are such Omissions in some Copies, so there are also some Additions of whole Periods or Sentences: As At. vi. 18. at the End of the Verse is added και επορεύθη εις έκασος εις τα ίδια. . Now if our English Translation had been made from one of these Copies, you would have seen a Difference as to whole Periods or Sentences between our Translation and our common Greek Teftaments. And I doubt not but our common Greek Teftaments may be corrected from some of the various Readings.
There is no Doubt but the Holy Scriptures, as written by the divinely-inspired Penmen, were without the least Mistake or Oversight. Therefore the five Books of Mofes, which were written with his own Hand, and repofited first in the Tabernacle, and from thence tranfferred to the Temple, were perfectly free from all Error, so much as in a single Letter. The same we are to believe of the other Books of the Old Tetament, written by the Prophets or inspired Writers. The Originals of which we may also believe were from Time to Time reposited in the fame Place, from whence Copies were taken, for publick Use. For we read Deut. xvii. 18. that the King (when they should have one) was commanded to write him a Copy of the Law in a Book, out of that which is before the Priests and Levites. And 2 Chron. xvii. 7, 8, 9, Jehofhaphat sent his Princes, and with them be sent L vites, and they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them, and went about throughout all the Cities of Judah, and taught the People. From hence it is manifest that there were many Copies of the Law, or of the five Books of Mofes. And no Doubt but Copies were taken of the other sacred Books from Time to Time as they were written.
But when the Temple was destroyed, and the whole Nation of the Jews carried into Captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, then all the original Books written by Moses and the Prophets perished together with the Temple, and only Copies remained. However at their Return from the Captivity, when Cyrus had not only permitted, but gave them Protection and Encouragement to rebuild their Cicy and Temple, God raised up Prophets at the fame Time to encourage thein in their work, and to teach and direct them how to restore the divine Worship according to the Law; which could not be done without having the Books of the Law, that is the Pentateuch, or five Books of Moses. And, I think, it is not to be supposed that they had not also Copies of all the other Books of Holy Scripture written before that Time, and to which the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah, who returned with the first, added their own Books. After this, as we read Ezra vii. 1. 6. Ezra a ready Scribe in the Law of Mofes went up from Babylon, and came 19 Jerusalem, in the Reign of Artaxerxes King of Persia, above seventy Years after the Restoration granted by Cyrus. He, as is confessed both by Jews and Christians, together with the Prophet Malachi and Nehemiah, another inspired Writer, having added 'their own Books to the former, did, together with the great Synagogue, collect all the inspired Writings, and compleat the Canon of the Old Testament. No Pro