Why we should care about the Hebrew Masoretic Text

In my previous post “Why we should care about the Greek Old Testament” I wanted to share with my readers why Christians should care about the Old Greek (LXX) translation, especially because Jesus and the Apostles are quoted in the New Testament as using it on occasion.

In this blog post however I want to show “Why we should care about the Hebrew Masoretic Text” specifically focusing on Messianic Prophesies that are quoted in the New Testament but represent the Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT) rather than the Old Greek (LXX).

In the following passages Matthew, John and Paul quote the Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT) as opposed to the Old Greek (LXX). They might not have had a Hebrew text in front of them, they might have used a revised Greek text to bring the text into closer agreement with the proto-Masoretic Text. Some scholars call this revised Greek text the “Proto-Theodotion” Greek version.

New Testament quotation… … depends Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT) … … to show that God had  prophesied… …but the Greek Septuagint (LXX) reads…
“Out of Egypt I have called My Son.”

(Matthew 2:15 MEV)

“…out of Egypt I called My son.”

(Hosea 11:1 MEV)

…that the Messiah would like Israel come up out of Egypt. “…out of Egypt have I called his children.”

(Hosea 11:1 LXX2012)

“…and again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.”

(John 19:37 MEV)

“…they look to Me, whom they have pierced through.”

(Zechariah 12:10 MEV)

…that the Messiah would be pierced upon a Cross. “…they shall look upon me, because they have mocked me,”

(Zechariah 12:10 LXX2012)

“…the saying that is written shall come to pass: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

(1 Corinthians 15:54 MEV)

He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;”

(Isaiah 25:8 MEV)

…that the Messiah would have victory over death. Death has prevailed and swallowed men up; but again the Lord God has taken away every tear from every face.”

(Isaiah 25:8 LXX2012)

Here is My Servant, whom I have chosen, My Beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased;

I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will render judgment to the Gentiles.”

(Matthew 12:18-21 MEV)

Here is My servant, whom I uphold, My chosen one, in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth justice to the nations.”

(Isaiah 42:1-4 MEV)

…that the Messiah would be the Servant of the Lord to restore the Gentiles. Jacob is my servant, I will help him: Israel is my chosen, my soul has accepted him; I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”

(Isaiah 42:1-4 LXX2012)

We can see from the above chart that the Apostles did not only use the Old Greek (LXX). Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians 15:54 would make no sense from the Old Greek (LXX) as it says the exact opposite.

It should also be noted that Jesus’ words from the cross are also taken from the proto-Masoretic text. He says:

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

(Mark 15:34 MEV)

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”

(Psalm 22:1 MEV)

“O God, my God, attend to me: why have you forsaken me?”

(Psalm 22:1 LXX2012)

The words “attend to me” are in the Old Greek (LXX) but not in Mark or the Hebrew Psalm.

I would also recommend Dr. Peter Williams excellent talk “Why I Don’t Believe In The Septuagint”

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