Septuagint Translation – Apostle Paul’s Fallibility?
Apostle Paul quoted the Septuagint Greek LXX Translation which is not accurate to the Original Hebrew and thus this proves his fallibility.
Apostle Paul did not quote all of the Septuagint. For example, apostle Paul never quoted the Septuagint translation error of “creditors” instead of the original Hebrew word to mean “women” as per the copy Masoretic Texts for Isaiah 3:12. So, let’s not quote an error which apostle Paul never approved.
It is known from ancient Christianity itself that the Septuagint Translation cannot be used to be equal to Inspired Scripture ‘all the time’, to quote:
“Origen In About 217 AD Says Jews Dissatisfied with Septuagint Too.
In an article at Coptic Church.com, we read: “In Hom 12:5: 5:8; 7:5, and 12:4, Origen points out that the Jews have rejected part of the Septuagint.”
Jerome Identifies Errors
In the late 300s AD, Jerome affirms that the Hebrew Bible text in the fourth century read differently than the Septuagtint of two passages. For example, Isaiah 11:1 said “He shall be called a Nazarene” which Jerome says Matthew 2:23 was quoting. Proverbs 18:4 no longer reads “Rivers of living water shall flow out of his belly.” Jerome was saying these Messianic texts quoted by the apostles were all missing in the Septuagint but were present in the Hebrew text in Jerome’s hands in the Fourth Century.
What is more startling is that apparently due to the influence of Augustine, Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation of 405 A.D. was evidently tampered with. This is demonstrable because these verses (Isaiah 11:1, Proverbs 18:4) which are cited by Jerome as proof of Septuagint corruption are shockingly left to read in the Latin Vulgate in the form that Jerome says was a Septuagint corruption.”
I admit that there can be Translational errors in the Septuagint and that the Masorectic Text is Primary and more accurate being a copy of the Inspired Hebrew.
But this does not mean that apostle Paul is “fallible”but rather that the Septuagint translation identigies a larger meaning which is True together with the original Hebrew.
Here’s is the so called “Paul’s 29 quote from the Septuagint which makes him fallible”.
Let’s look at each separately as follows:
Here is a partial list of twenty-nine quotations in Paul’s writings that come from the Septuagint at odds with the Hebrew:
1) Rom. 2:24 / Isaiah 52:5 – Paul quotes that the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles. Hebrew – blasphemed (there is no mention of the Gentiles).
Type: Extension of Meaning
The Extension of Gentiles is approved since the Gospel has been preached to the Gentiles too. Apostle Paul is mentioning more than the Hebrew Verse to include the Gentile Context. The Original Meaning is included and extended under Divine Inspiration.
2) Rom. 3:4 / Psalm 51:4 – thou mayest “prevail” (or overcome) when thou art judged. Hebrew – thou might “be clear” when thou judges.
A synonym of “prevail when judged” is to “be clear” at the end of the Judgment result. The Original Hebrew Meaning is included and a equivalent Greek meaning is used.
3) Rom. 3:12 / Psalm 14:1,3 – they have gone wrong.” Hebrew – they are “corrupt” or “filthy.”
A synonym of “they have gone wrong” is “to be corrupt or filthy”. The Original Hebrew Meaning is included and a equivalent Greek meaning is used.
4) Rom. 3:13 / Psalm 5:9 – they use their tongues to deceive. Hebrew – they flatter with their tongues. There is no “deceit” language.
Type: Highlight (Specifics)
To “flatter” with the tongue includes a wide range of ways such as to “deceive, speak unruly, speak arrogantly, etc. “. The Original Hebrew Meaning is broader and apostle Paul chooses a particular sub-meaning equivalent “to deceive” in Greek to refer to the Context of that Verse “highlighting” (specifying) the ‘type of flattering of tongue meant in his particular quote’.
5) Rom. 3:13 / Psalm 140:3 – the venom of “asps” is under their lips. Hebrew – “Adder’s” poison is under their lips.
The Hebrew “Akshub” here refers to these particular type of snakes (“coiling” or “lying in wait”), an asp or viper.
Yes, the Hebrew Word “akshub” refers either to an “asp or viper” (link below) having a broader or variant meaning with the common trait of ‘coiling’ or ‘lying in wait’ type of serpents and since the Greek doesn’t have a ‘single word’ to ‘represent both the asp & viper’, so a word referring to either could be used and apostle Paul opts to the already established Septuagint Greek’s asp to refer to it.
6) Rom. 3:14 / Psalm 10:7 – whose mouth is full of curses and “bitterness.” Hebrew – cursing and “deceit and oppression.”
The “deceit and oppression” in Hebrew referred to here in Romans 3:14 is expressed to have an effect of “bitterness” (its fruit). Apostle Paul is not doing a translation for his words to match the Hebrew since he is often quoting a verse to highlight consequences and extensions of meaning too such as this case.
7) Rom. 9:25 / Hosea 2:23 – I will call my people; I will call my beloved. Hebrew – I will have mercy (love versus mercy).
The Hebrew word meaning “to Love” or show compassion here is in the Context or “fruit” of “showing Mercy”. Apostle Paul highlights this theme of “Mercy” as the Product of the Love shown by quoting the Old Testament Verse but using the “Effect of Mercy” as God Willed in this case in his exegesis in Romans.
8.) Rom. 9:27 / Isaiah 10:22 – only a remnant of them “will be saved.” Hebrew – only a remnant of them “will return.”
Apostle Paul is clearly highlighting the effect that the ‘remnant’ of them who ‘return’ (Hebrew) will be ‘saved’. The effect of ‘returning’ to be ‘saved’ is only seen post-Revelation of Lord Jesus Christ’s Death & Resurrection and hence this ‘Effect’ is clearly highlighted further in the New Testament.
9) Rom. 9:29 / Isaiah 1:9 – had not left us “children.” Hebrew – Yahweh had left us a “very small remnant.”
The ‘few survivors’ (‘remnant’, Isaiah 1:9) left are called a ‘seed’ (posterity, descendant) and not children in Romans 9:29 which speaks the Prophecy that these ‘remnant’ may form a ‘new surviving generation’. The Purpose of the ‘remnant’ to ‘continue their descendants’ is highlighted by the usage of the Greek Word ‘Seed’ (Offspring, Descendant).
10 & 11) Rom. 9:33; 10:11; 1 Peter 2:6 / Isaiah 28:16 – he who believes will not be “put to shame.” Hebrew – shall not be “in haste.”
Explanation 10 & 11
Type: Extension of Meaning
Those who are called to believe will ‘not be in haste’ or ‘not be moved’ (Isaiah 28:16, Isaiah 10:11) in the Context of ‘not being put to shame’ (Romans 9:33, 1 Peter 2:6). The New Testament reveals a Deeper meaning of ‘not being in haste in the context of being put to shame’ for this Old Testament Verse under the Inspiration of His Holy Spirit via both apostle Paul & apostle Peter who Speak the Same in this Regard here.
12) Rom. 10:18 / Psalm 19:4 – their “voice” has gone out. Hebrew – their “line” is gone out.
Their “Line” (Psalm 19:4) having been gone out refers to a ‘message’ which we now know that it refers to the “Gospel” which is primarily preached via their “voice” (Romans 10:18) as per the New Testament’s Clarification in regards to this.
13) Rom. 10:20 / Isaiah 65:1 – I have “shown myself” to those who did not ask for me. Hebrew – I am “inquired of” by them.
The Prophecy in Isaiah 65:1 regarding ‘God being inquired of those who did not ask for Him’ is fulfilled via His Gospel being Preached to the Gentiles and this is Considered as ‘God having Shown Himself’ through His Word to them as Romans 10:20 Clarifies ‘how’ this Prophecy began to be Fulfilled with the Gospel being Preached unto the Gentiles.
14) Rom. 10:21 / Isaiah 65:2 – a “disobedient and contrary” people. Hebrew – a “rebellious” people.
The Hebrew word here means ‘rebellious’ (Isaiah 65:2) where the particular ‘type of rebellion’ has been identified as being ‘disobedient or contrary’ in Romans 10:21 as apostle Paul highlights this.
15) Rom. 11:9-10 / Psalm 69:22-23 – “pitfall” and “retribution” and “bend their backs.” Hebrew – “trap” and “make their loins shake.”
Type: Figure of Speech
The Hebrew in Psalm 69:22 – 23 clearly employs a ‘figure of speech’ in Hebrew via the phrases ‘may their table become a snare/trap’ and ‘that their loins continue to shake’ which means that ‘they have a pitfall/retribution’ and that this causes them to ‘bend their backs’ which signifies ‘fear’ (in Romans 11:9 – 10) when the ‘factual’ meaning or an equivalent ‘figure of speech’ in Greek is employed to match its meaning.
16) Rom. 11:26 / Isaiah 59:20 – will banish “ungodliness.” Hebrew – turn from “transgression.”
The “turning from transgression” (in Isaiah 59:20) is pointed or ‘highlighted’ to refer to the ‘banishing of ungodliness’ (Romans 11:26).
17) Rom. 11:27 / Isaiah 27:9 – when I take away their sins. Hebrew – this is all the fruit of taking away his sin.
Isaiah 27:9 Speaks of the ‘fruit of taking away his sin’ which is explained by apostle Paul in Romans 11:27 to refer to the ‘Covenant God makes with them’ as the ‘fruit’ of ‘taking away their sins’.
18) Rom. 11:34; 1 Cor. 2:16 / Isaiah 40:13 -the “mind” of the Lord; His “counselor.” Hebrew – “spirit” of the Lord; “taught” Him.
The Hebrew (Isaiah 40:13) mentions “directed the Spirit of the LORD” (KJV) which refers to the ‘mind of the Lord’ and likewise the translated Hebrew phrase “being his counseller hath taught him” (KJV) from this same Verse refers to someone being His “Counselor” in the Context of Trying to ‘Teach the Lord’ as apostle Paul Clarified that there is “none” like that (implied rhetorically) in both those New Testament Verses.
19) Rom. 12:20 / Prov. 25:21 – feed him and give him to drink. Hebrew – give him “bread” to eat and “water” to drink.
It’s obvious that apostle Paul just mentions the Principle behind the verse in Proverbs 25:21 namely that to ‘feed him’ and ‘to give him a drink’.
20) Rom. 15:12 / Isaiah 11:10 – the root of Jesse…”to rule the Gentiles.” Hebrew – stands for an ensign. There is nothing about the Gentiles.
Type: Extension of Meaning
Isaiah 11:10 mentions an “ensign/banner” which is only Revealed to refer to the ‘sign of Christ ruling over the Gentiles’ (Romans 15:12) as apostle Paul Writes under Divine Inspiration.
21) Rom. 15:21 / Isaiah 52:15 – been told “of him”; heard “of him.” Hebrew – does not mention “him” (the object of the prophecy).
Isaiah 52:15 in Hebrew mentions “for that which had not been told them shall they see” (KJV) which apostle Paul Clarifies to refer to the Person Lord Jesus Christ, i.e. “To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see” (KJV in Romans 15:21).
22) 1 Cor. 1:19 / Isaiah 29:14 – “I will destroy” the wisdom of the wise. Hebrew – wisdom of their wise men “shall perish.”
The Wisdom of their wise man “shall perish” (Isaiah 29:14) refers to “God Destroying it” as the phrase “I will Destroy” Clarifies as apostle Paul Writes in 1 Corinthians 1:19.
23) 1 Cor. 15:55 / Hosea 13:14 – O death, where is thy “sting?” Hebrew – O death, where are your “plagues?”
The Word “Plagues” in Hebrew is more General as ‘Death can cause many Plagues both in this life & in the afterlife’ where the ‘pre-Resurrection Victory of Death’ is highlighted as ‘Death’s Sting’ which is Overcome by Christ’s Gift of Resurrection as apostle Paul highlights this Resurrection Effect particularly as ‘Death’s Sting’ in 1 Corinthians 15:55.
24) 2 Cor. 4:13 / Psalm 116:10 – I believed and so I spoke (past tense). Hebrew – I believe, for I will speak (future tense).
The Prophecy in Psalm 116:10 (‘future tense’) is being Fulfilled by each believer as he speaks (hence ‘past tense’ in 2 Corinthians 4:13 – clarified to be fulfilled in each such cases).
25) 2 Cor. 6:2 / Isaiah 49:8 – I have “listened” to you. Hebrew – I have “answered” you.
The Greek in 2 Corinthians 6:2 is actually “epakouó” which translates to both ‘hearing and to answer favourably’.
Example of lexicographical quote in support of this:
- a) “attentively “with the implication of heeding and responding to what is heard” (L & N, 1, 24.60)”
- b) “hear with favor, grant one’s prayer (Aeschylus choëph. 725; τῶν εὐχῶν, Lucian, Tim. 34)”
26) Gal. 3:10 / Deut. 27:26 – cursed be every one who does not “abide” by all things. Hebrew – does not “confirm” the words.
It is implied in Deuteronomy 27:26 that “Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them” (NASB) where the phrase “This Law” or “This Torah” clearly refers to ‘not abiding (obeying) all the things in the Torah’ as apostle Paul Clarifies this meaning in Galatians 3:10.
27) Gal. 3:13 / Deut. 21:23 – cursed is everyone who hangs on a “tree.” Hebrew – a hanged man is despised. The word “tree” does not follow.
The ‘hanging’ of any kind is considered ‘cursed’ in Deuteronomy 21:23 and is inclusive of the particular highlight of a Man being hung by a “tree” as it is evidenced only after Christ’s Crucifixion as apostle Paul explains in Galatians 3:13.
28) Gal. 4:27 / Isaiah 54:1 – “rejoice” and “break forth and shout.” Hebrew – “sing” and “break forth into singing.”
Apostle Paul is highlighting in Galatians 4:27 that the Purpose is to “rejoice” and “break forth and shout.” where the Hebrew Contains further details that this is Done via “Singing” (Isaiah 54:1). Yes, apostle Paul is just highlighting the Purpose of that “Singing” to refer to “rejoicing with a shout”.
29) 2 Tim. 2:19 / Num. 16:5 – The Lord “knows” those who are His. Hebrew – God will “show” who are His.
In Numbers 16:5, it was Prophesied that God “Will Show” who are His. Post New Testament Revelation, apostle Paul is confirming that “believers” are the ones whom God “Knows” that are His because ‘we are shown now’ (as believers, ‘hence known’) which before Christ was Hidden.
There is only a problem if apostle Paul quote of the Septuagint or his extension of Inspired Meaning contradicts the Original Hebrew Masoretic Text which we clearly see that it’s not the case.
What has happened here is obvious: Apostle Paul either introduces an extension of the Original Meaning Intended in the Masoretic Text (which sometimes coincides with the extended meaning of the Septuagint Translation) while at other times includes a synonym to the word used since the Hebrew or Equivalent Greek Words have a composite or deeper meaning attached to it.
Either way, the Original Meaning Intended in the Masoretic Text is clearly endorsed in each case and not sacrificed in any way proving that the ‘fallibility claim’ arises from a ‘word matching argument’ instead of a ‘meaning matching argument’ which is irrelevant here unless it causes a contradiction in “meaning” which is “not” the case.
We cannot do a ‘word matching argument’ here since the Original Masoretic Text is primarily in Hebrew + a little Aramaic while apostle Paul wrote the New Testament Epistles in Greek where a language transition itself allows the usage of words which are similar since there is not always an exact lexicographical match between words of two different languages, how much so an etymological & usage match in parallel as well.
Also, the Depth of the Hebrew Word’s meaning sometimes relates to more than one equivalent Greek Word and thus apostle Paul chooses the more ‘matching meaning’ in each case under divine inspiration being the endorsed apostle of the Gentiles guided by His Holy Spirit.
Peace to you