Bible Query from the Old Testament



 

Q: In the OT, who was the first in the Bible to answer hard questions?
A: The first person recorded to do so was Moses in Exodus 18:13-16, who afterwards at Jethro’s suggestion had judges to decided the less difficult things in Exodus 18:22-26. Solomon, when the Queen of Sheba asked him hard questions in 2 Chronicles 9:1-2. Presumably, many of these questions were about God and his law.
 

Q: Why do you trust the Old Testament?
A: Both scripture and archaeology indicate there are no significant changes in our copies today for at least five reasons:
God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; 59:21; 1 Peter 1:24-25, Matthew 24:35. We can trust God.
Jesus and the New Testament confirmed the Old Testament scriptures in Matthew 19:4; 22:32,37; 39; 23:35; Mark 10:3-6; Luke 2:23-24; 4:4; 11:51; 20:37; 24:27,44
Archaeological evidence: In the Septuagint, the Torah was translated into Greek around 400 B.C. The Dead Sea Scrolls were from about 250 B.C. to after the time of Christ, and we can compare them with our Bibles today. Aramaic Targums are translations made around the time of Jesus. The Dead Sea Scrolls are about 95,000 fragments from 867 manuscripts of the Old Testament and other writings. About 1/3 of the Dead Sea scrolls are manuscripts of the Old Testament according to The NIV Study Bible p.1432. Archaeology shows the Bible Jesus knew was preserved. Nahal Hever (=Wadi Habra) is a cave near Engedi, that has parts of 35 scrolls. One is a fragment written between 50 B.C. and 50 A.D. of the minor prophets in Greek Nahal Hever scroll 5/6HevPs has part of Psalm 22, and another has Psalm 15:1-2.
At Masada, there was a copy of Joshua dated 169-93 B.C. The Journey from Texts to Translations p.190 also says texts at Masada come from Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Psalms, and Ezekiel. The Romans captured Masada in April 73 A.D., so the scrolls had to be before then.
Note that the Genesis fragment (Genesis 46:7-11), Talmon thinks could be from a paraphrase of Genesis included in the Book of Jubilees. See The Dead Sea Scrolls & Modern Translations of the Old Testament p.80 for more info.
The Nash Papyrus, dated 150 B.C., contains the Ten Commandments combined from Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-6:4f. In it the sixth and seventh commandments are reverses according to The Journey from Texts to Translations p.188.
At wadi Muraba’at/Murabba’at a Hebrew scroll (Mur.88) of ten of the twelve Minor Prophets is from c.132 A.D. Small fragments of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Isaiah were found in cave 2. The Journey from Texts to Translations p.188-189 also says that all of the Muraba’at scrolls are virtually identical to the Masoretic text.
Early church writers, as early as 97/98 A.D., extensively referred to the Old Testament.
Jewish scribes, even though hostile to Christianity, preserved the same Old Testament found in every Protestant Bible today.
As a side note for Muslims, the Qur’an says that Muslims are to believe in all the prophets, and that God gave Jesus the Torah and the gospels.
Sura 4:150-151 says, "Those who deny Allah and his messengers, and wish to separate between Allah and his messengers, Saying: ‘We believe in some but reject others’: and wish to take a course midway, (151) They are in truth unbelievers;..."
Sura 3:48 says, "And Allah will teach him [Jesus] the book and Wisdom, the Torah, and the Gospel. If Jesus was taught the Old Testament, and we have the Old Testament from the time of Jesus, then Jesus was taught what we have.
Sura 3:50 says, "‘I [Jesus] have come to you), to attest the Torah which was before me. ... I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah, and obey me." People have a near impossible time trying to do the following.
Sura 5:47 says, "Let the People of the Gospel Judge by what Allah hath revealed Therein...." If the People of the Gospel are to judge by what God has revealed in the Gospel, then how can the Gospel they are to judge by not be the Gospel God told them to judge by?
Sura 5:48 says, "To thee (People of the Book) We sent the scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the truth that hath come to thee...."
Sura 15:9-10 says "We have, without doubt, Sent down the Message; And We will assuredly Guard it [from corruption]. We did send messengers before thee Amongst the sects of old:" Sura 15:9 does not say just the "Qur’an" was guarded, but "the message."
In summary, God is Almighty, All-knowing, and far from careless. We can trust that He has always preserved right direction for those who look to follow wherever He leads.
 

Q: In the OT, how many verses and words are there?
A: According to Wick Allison in That’s In the Bible? - The Ultimate Learn-As-You-Play Bible Quiz Book, (Dell Trade 1994) p.18, the (KJV) Old Testament has 23,214 verses and 647,000 words in English. These verses include Genesis: 1,533, Exodus: 1,213, Leviticus: 859, Numbers: 1,288, and Deuteronomy: 959, for a total of 5,852 verses in the Torah.
 

Q: What evidence is there that the Jews recognized there were no prophets for the 400 year period?
A: There are at least four sources of evidence.
1 Maccabees 4:45; 9:27; 14:41 says the people were waiting "until a prophet should arise".
The Manual of Discipline among the Dead Sea Scrolls also looked for the "coming of a prophet".
The Babylonian Talmud 7-8 says "After the latter prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, the Holy Spirit departed from Israel"
The New Testament never quotes any book written after Malachi.
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.243 for more info.
 

Q: Into how many sections did the Jews divide the Old Testament?
A: As A General Introduction to the Bible p.243 shows, different Jews had different classifications.
No classification is in the Septuagint, the Christians manuscripts of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, of the list of the Jewish convert Epiphanius of Salamis (c.315-403 A.D.)
Law and prophets are mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 7:12; 22:40
Moses and all the Prophets was mentioned in Luke 24:27.
Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms is what Jesus said in Luke 24:44.
Law (Torah), Prophets, Writings is first mentioned in the Prologue to Ecclesiasticus (c.132 B.C.), but it does not list which books are in which section.
Josephus (c.100 A.D.) also has three sections, but only 4 books in the writings. Apparently Ruth was counted in Judges, Lamentations was counted in Jeremiah, and Esther and Daniel were with the prophets.
Philo the Jew (lived 20 B.C. to 50 A.D.) mentioned "the Law, the Prophecies, as well as hymns and the others which foster and perfect knowledge and piety". (The Contemplative Life 3.25)
The Babylonian Talmud gave the modern threefold division.
Law (Torah): (Five books in the order of: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
Prophets: 8 books in the order of: Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel (as one book), 1 and 2 Kings (as one book), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Twelve minor prophets (Hosea through Malachi). In the Hebrew Bible, the twelve minor prophets directly follow Ezekiel.
Writings (Ketubim): 11 books in the order of: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah (as one book) and 1 and 2 Chronicles (as one book).
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.22-23,243-250 for more info.
 

Q: When were the books of the Old Testament written, and where did the New Testament quote from them?
A: The Old Testament is one of the most amazing books in the entire world. Its thirty-nine books were written over a span of one thousand years by kings, slaves, priests, warriors, shepherds, rich, and poor. Here is a table of the dates of writing and a partial list of New Testament references. For a complete list of references consult Kurt Aland et al. The Greek New Testament 3rd edition 1975 p.897-903.

 

O.T. Book Author Dates B.C. Quotes and References
Genesis Moses ca.1407 B.C. Mt 19:4-5; Mk 9:16; 10:6,8; Acts 3:25; 7:3,7; Rom 4:17,18; 9:7,9,12; 1 Cor 6:16; 15:45; 2 Cor 4:6; Gal 3:6,8,16; 4:30; Eph 5:31; Heb 4:4; 6:14; Jms 3:23
Exodus Moses ca.1407 B.C. Mt 5:21,38; 15:4; 19:19; 22:32; Mk 7:10; 10:19; 12:26; Lk 2:23; 18:20; ~Jn 6:31; 19:36; Acts 7:28,32,34,40; 23:5; Rom 9:15,17; 13:9; 1 Cor10:7; 2 Cor8:15; Heb8:5;9:20; 12:20; Jms2:11 (2 times)
Leviticus Moses ca.1407 B.C. Mt 5:38,43; 15:4; 19:19; 22:39; Mk 7:10; 12:31; Lk 2:24; 10:27; Rom 10:5; 13:9; Gal 3:12; 5:14; Jms 2:8; 1 Pet 1:16
Numbers Moses ca.1407 B.C. 2 Tm 2:19 (LXX) ~Jn 19:36
Deuteronomy Moses (mostly) ca.1407 B.C. Mt 4:4,7,10; 5:38; 6:13; 15:4; 18:16; 19:19; 22:37; Mk 7:10; 10:19; 12:30; Lk 4:4,8,12; 10:27; 18:20; Acts 3:23; 7:37; Rom 10:6-7,8,19; 11;8; 12:19; 13:9; 15:10; 1 Cor 9:9; Gal 3:10,14; Eph 6:3; Heb 1:6; 10:30 (2 times); 12:21,29; 13:5; Jms 2:11 (2 times)
Joshua Joshua ca.1377 B.C. ~Heb11; Jms 2:25
Judges anon. Samuel? 1377-1004 B.C. ~Heb 11:32
Ruth anon. Samuel? ca.1011 B.C. ~Mt 1:5; ~Lk 3:32
1,2 Samuel anon. Samuel? 1050-1004 B.C. Rom 15:9; 2 Cor 6:18; Heb 1:5
1,2 Kings anonymous c.950-550 B.C. Rom 11:3,4
1,2 Chron. anon. Ezra? c.950-550 B.C. Allusion in Heb 1:5
  part written 340 B.C.  
Ezra Ezra 450-430 B.C. Neh 8:1; 12:32
Nehemiah Nehemiah 445-430 B.C. ~Ezra 2:2; ~Jn 6:31
Esther anonymous c.470-424 B.C. -
Job anonymous perhaps 2100 Rom 11:35; 1 Cor 3:19
Psalms David & others ca.1050 B.C. Mt 4:6; 8:2; 13:35; 21:9,16,42; 22:44; 23:39; 27:46; Mk 11:9; 12:11,36; 15:34; Lk 4:11; 13:35; 19:38; 20:17,43; Jn 2:17; 6:31,45; 10:34; 12:13; 13:18; 15:25; 19:24,36; Acts 1:20 (2 times); 2:28,35; 4:11,26; 13:33,35; Rom 2:6; 3:12,13 (2 times),14,18; 4:8; 10:18; 11:10; 15:3,9,11; 1 Cor 3:20; 10:26; 15:27; 2 Cor 4:13; 9:9; Eph 4:8,26; Heb 1:5,7,9,12,13; 2:8,12; 3:11,15; 4:3,7; 5:5,6; 7:17,21; 10:7,30; 13:6; 1 Pet 2:7; 3:12; Rev 2:27; 19:15
  Ps 137 after 587 B.C.  
Proverbs Solomon, Agur, c.971-931 B.C. Rom 2:6; 12:20; Heb 12:6,13; Jms 4:6; 1 Pet 4:18; 5:5; 2 Pet 2:22
  Lemuel, others    
  25:1 copied 729-686 B.C.  
Ecclesiastes Solomon after 967 B.C. - (Rom 3:12 similar concept)
S. of Songs anonymous after 967 B.C. -
Isaiah Isaiah 696-622 B.C. Mt 3:3; 4:16; 8:17; 12:21; 13:14-15; 21:13; 24:29; Mk 1:3; 4:12; 7:6,7; 9:48; 11:17; 13:25; Lk 3:4-6; 4:19; 8:10; 19:46; 22:37; Jn 1:23; 12:40; Acts 7:50; 8:33; 13:34,47; 28:27; Rom 2:24; 3;17; 9:20,28,29,33; 15:12,21; 10:15,16,20, 21; 11:8; 14:11; 1 Cor 2:9,16; 14:21; 15:32,54; 2 Cor 6:2,17; Gal 4:27; Heb 2:13 (2 times); 1 Pet 1:25; 2:6,8,22; 3:14
Jeremiah Jeremiah 627/6-587 B.C. Mt 2:18; 21:14; Mk 11:17; Lk 19:46; 23:30; 2 Cor 10:17; Heb 9:12; 10:16,17
  Jer 52:31-34 ca.561 B.C.  
Lamentations Likely Jeremiah 586-583 B.C. -
Ezekiel Ezekiel 7/593-571 B.C. Rom 2:24; 2 Cor 6:17
Daniel Daniel 606-536 B.C. Mt 24:15; Mk 13:14; Rev 4:14
Hosea Hosea c.790-710 B.C. Mt 2:15; 9:13; 12:7; Lk 23:30; Rom 9:25,26; 1 Cor 15:55
Joel Joel 900;587;400? Acts 2:21; Rom 10:13
Amos Amos 760 earthquake Acts 7:43; 15:16-18
Obadiah Obadiah 844;723;585? -
Jonah Jonah ca.763 B.C. 2 Ki 14:25; references: Mt 12:39-41; Lk 11:29-32
Micah Micah before 722 B.C. Mt 2:6; 10:36; 10:35-36
Nahum Nahum before 612 B.C. -
Habakkuk Habakkuk c.697-598 B.C. Ac 13:41; Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38
Zephaniah Zephaniah 640-609 B.C. -
Haggai Haggai 520-515 B.C. Ezra 5:1; 6:14; Allusion in Heb 12:26
Zechariah Zechariah 520-515 B.C. Ezra 5:1; 6:14; Mt 21:5; 26:31; Mk 14:27; Jn 12:15; 19:37
Malachi Malachi 538; 450-430 Mt 11:10; Mk 1:2; Lk 7:27; Rom 9:13

The author is the person to whom God revealed his word. The words were either written down by him or by secretaries. For example, Jeremiah’s scribe Baruch wrote down many of his prophecies. Jeremiah 51:64 says, "...the words of Jeremiah end here."
There are about 250 references to Old Testament passages in the New Testament. Old Testament writers often mentioned each other.
Five books of the Law: Joshua 1:7; 8:31; 23:6; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6;17:37;18:6; 1 Chronicles 16:40; 2 Chronicles 17:9; 23:18; 30:5,16,18; 31:3; 35:26; Ezra 3:2,4; 6:18; 7:6; Daniel 9:11,13; Hosea 8:12
Ezra: Nehemiah 8:1; Nehemiah 12:32
Nehemiah: Ezra 2:2
Isaiah: 2 Kings 19:2; 2 Chronicles 32:20
Jeremiah: Daniel 9:2; 2 Chronicles 36:22
Jonah: 2 Kings 14:25
Micah: Jeremiah 26:18
Haggai: Ezra 5:1; Ezra 6:14
Zechariah: Nehemiah 12:1,4,16, Ezra 5:1; 6:14
The point of this is that the Old Testament books fit together, as interlocking pieces of a puzzle.
 

Q: What ancient books are mentioned by the Old Testament but not in the Old Testament?
A: In ancient times, just as now, there are a number of religious and historical writings, many of varying quality. Besides the apocryphal books, there are what are called "pseudo-apocryphal books" that are not accepted by anyone today. These are often spurious works that claim to be written by a historical figure but in fact are not. Of course if something is false, it is not God’s word. Other books, while not perfect, are not too bad. Of course if a godly person writes something that is true, that is not necessarily God’s word, nor did he claim it to be so. Likewise a good Christian book written today can be good, but not God’s word. Some books, like 1 Enoch, are more complicated. First Enoch is a composite book, with the oldest author likely writing most of the first section. By the way, Jude 14-15 quotes from the oldest part of First Enoch.
The Old Testament itself mentions some books and records we do not have any copies of today.
Acts of Solomon 1 Kings 11-41
Chronicles of Kings 1 Kings 14:19, 29, 2 Kings 19:9-12, 11
Kings of Judah/Israel 2 Chronicles 16:11; 25:26; 28:26,32; 27:2; 35:27; 36:8
Kings of Israel 2 Chronicles 20:34; 33:18; 24:7; 1 Kings 14:19
Jasher (Upright one) Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18
Wars of the Lord Numbers 21:14
These were never claimed to be scripture, but these simply other reliable records, which have been lost to the modern world.
 

Q: Which Early Church authors quoted from which Old Testament Books?
A: Here is what I have found. Cr 1 Clement (of Rome) (16 pgs) 97/98 A.D.
Ba Epistle of Barnabas (13 pgs) 100-150 A.D.
Ig Ignatius (21 pgs) c.110-117 A.D.
Pa Papias disciple of John (3 pgs) 110-113 A.D.
Di Didache (Teach. of 12 Disc.)(6 pgs) <125 A.D.
Dg (anonymous) To Diognetus (6 pgs) c.130 A.D.
Po Polycarp, disciple of John (4 pgs) c.150 A.D.
JM Justin Martyr (119 pgs) c.138-165 A.D.
He Shepherd of Hermas (47 pgs) 160 A.D.
Th Theophilus [Antioch](33 pgs)168-181/188 A.D.
Me Melito of Sardis (11 pgs) 170-177 A.D.
Ae Athenagoras (34 pgs) c.177 A.D.
Ir Irenaeus (264 pgs) 182-188 A.D.
CA Clement of Alexan.(424 pgs)193-217/220 A.D.
Te Tertullian [Rome] (854 pgs) 198-220 A.D.
Hi Hippolytus, (233 pgs) 225-235/6 A.D.
Or Origen (622 pgs) 230-254 A.D.
Nv Novatian (39 pgs) 250-257 A.D.
an Anonymous against Novatian(7 pgs)c.255 A.D.
And Treatise on Rebaptism (11 pgs)
Cp Cyprian and friends (270 pgs) c.246-258 A.D.
Not shown are Julius Africanus (232-245 A.D.). [Neh,Dan by name, allude Ex]
W
= Books or quotes mentioned by name or by writer

I
= Implied
G
= Mentioned as words of God + quoted
S
= Mentioned as scripture or quoted + "it is written"
Q = quote of 1 or more verses. ½ =quote of ½ a verse
A = Allusion. – = no reference X = excluded

Writer Cr Ig Ba Pa Di Dg Po JM He Th Me Ae Ir CA Te Hi Or Nv an Cp
Old T. - - - - - - - - - - W - W W W W W W W W
Gen S - G - - - - W - W W A B W G W W W W W
Ex G - W - Q - - W - G W - W Q W W W W Q W
Lev - - W - - - - W - - W - ½ W W W W - - W
Num Q A - - - - - W A - W - W S W W W - W W
Dt Q A W - - - - W - - W - W W W W W W W W
Josh Q - - - - - - W - - W - W W W Q W - - W
Judges - - - - - - - - - - W - A W W - W - W W
Ruth - - - - - - - - - - W - - - - - - - - -
1,2Sam - - - - - - - Q - - W - S W A W I - Q W
1,2Ki A - - - - - - W - - W - Q W W Q W - W W
1,2Ch - - - - - - - - - - W - - - - W W ½ - W
Ezra - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - A - - -
Neh - - - - - - - - - - X - - - - - - - - Q
Esther W - - - - - - - - - X - - W - - W - - -
Job W - - - - - - W - Q W - - W - W W - - W
Psalms W - W - - - - W - W W - W W W W W W W W
Prov G G - - - - - W - W W S W W W W W - - W
Ecc - - - - - - - - A - W - - W W W W - - W
SofS - - - - - - - - - - W - A - W W W - - W
Isaiah Q Q G - - - Q W - W W W W W W W W W W W
Jer - - G - - - - W A W W W W W W W W - W W
Lam - - - - - - - - - - - - A W Q - W - - -
Ezek G - G - - - - W - W W - W W W W W A W W
Daniel A - S - - - - W - - W - W W W W W - W W
12 min-or pro. - - - - - - - W - - W - - - - - W - - -
Hosea - - - - - - - W - W - - W W W Q W W - W
Joel - - - - - - - S - W - - S W W - W W Q W
Amos - - - - - - - W - - - - S W W W Q ½ - W
Obad - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Jonah A - - - - - - W - - - - W W W - W - - -
Micah - - - - - - - W - - W - Q W W W S - Q W
Nahum - - - - - - - - - - - - - Q W - W - - W
Hab S - - - - - - - - W W - W W W - W W - W
Zeph - - S - - - - - - - - - - W - - W - S W
Haggai - - S - - - - - - - - - - S A - W - - W
Zech - - G - - - - W A W - - W W W ½ W W W W
Malachi ½ - - - - A - W - W - - W W W W W - - W
Writer Cr Ig Ba Pa Di Dg Po JM He Th Me Ae Ir CA Te Hi Or Nv an Cp

 

Q: What lists of Old Testament books do we have apart from Bible texts?
A: Here are the lists.
Ben Sira, in 2nd century B.C. Ä all but Ezekiel
Philo the Alexandrian Jew (De Vita Contemplativa 25) Ä 3 sections
Josephus the Jewish writer <100 A.D. Contra Apion 1.8.
Jewish Council at Jamnia 90 A.D. Ä no Apocrypha
Council at Carthage 397 A.D. Ä has historic Apocrypha (including 1, 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses, not found in the Catholic Apocrypha today)
 

Q: Where are chiasms found in the Old Testament?
A: Chiasms are a symmetric poetic structure common in Hebrew poetry. Here are some of them.
Genesis 7:4-8:12; 7:21-23a
Leviticus 24:13-23
Leviticus 25:14-17
Numbers 15:35-36
1 Samuel 2; 3:17; 3:1-4:1; 8:5-22, and 18:20-26
2 Samuel 1:19-27; 5:17-8:18; and 23:1-7
Job 4:5-5:27
Psalm 3:7-8; 51, 58. Psalm 109 is close to a chiasm.
Isaiah 15:1-14; 21:1-10; 22:8-11; 22:1-4; 22:8-11; 22:12-14; 23:1-14; 24:1-13; 26:1-21; 27:1-13; 29:9-14; 32:1-5; 37:14-20; 38:1-8; 38:10-20; 41:17-20; 42:1-4; 42:13-17; 43:1-7; 43:8-13; 43:22-24; 43:25-44:5; 44:6-8; 48:17-22; 51:1-3; 51:7-8; 51:13-15; 55:1-13; 56:9-12; 59:14-20; 61:5-9; 63:15-64:12; 65:1-66:24; 65:17-18b; 65:18c-20; 66:5-14; 66:18-24.
Jeremiah 9:1-11; 20:24-18
Zechariah 6:9-15
Ezekiel 26:3-14 has chiastic structure, though it is not a perfect chiasm.
Some commentators see the entire books of Esther and Matthew as chiastic in structure.
 

Q: In the Old Testament, where is Aramaic found?
A: The Encyclopedia Britannica volume 1 (1956) p.684 says, "the earliest records of Aramaic go back to about 800 B.C…. The alphabet at this time differs little from that of the Moabite Stone." It says there were two tendencies which were completed during the time of the Persians
The Bible passages in Aramaic are the following:
Genesis 31:47 (two words only)
Daniel 2:4b-7:28
Ezra 4:8-6:18
Ezra 7:12-26
Jeremiah 10:11
Ecclesiastes has some Aramaic expressions
Some names are both Hebrew and Aramaic
El, Mordecai, Mara (Ruth 1:20), Tobias, Geshem
Some other words are both Hebrew and Aramaic.
lahen ("therefore" in Aramaic, "to them" in Hebrew) (Ruth 1:13)
Two inscriptions in halls in caves 11 miles (18 km) west of Amman, Jordan mention "Tobiah" in Aramaic. (From 590 B.C. to as late as 200 B.C.)
All post-exilic Old Testament books have some Babylonian or Aramaic expressions according to When Critics Ask p.265-267. For reference, Isaiah has no Aramaic terms.
Various words in the Gospels in the New Testament are in Aramaic too.
 

Q: In the Old Testament, what is the difference between a scribal (or copyist) error, and an error in the originals? Which explanation would be more reasonable?
A: Scribal errors are typically mispellings, changes of a few letters, or occasionally skipping or repeating a line of text. There are also deliberate scribal changes where they would change or add a word, or add a word or phrase to bring out the meaning, similar to what paraphrases do today.
For a particular passage, if we only had the Old Testament, it would be difficult to say which was more reasonable because we do not have enough manuscripts. However, we can compare by analogy with the 10,000+ New Testament manuscripts. The New Testament manuscripts show many one, two, and three letter variations due to scribal errors and mispellings. To say that the New Testament manuscripts had lots of scribal errors because we have many manuscripts to prove it, and the Old Testament had almost none because we do not have many manuscripts showing variations, would not make sense, because we do not have so many Old Testament manuscripts. No, rather, the frequency of copyist errors in the Old Testament is probably of roughly similar magnitude as copyist errors in the New Testament.
 

Q: Do Church of Christ denominations believe the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament? (a Christian asked this)
A: No, this is a false charge I have heard. Some Church of Christ churches have some serious errors relating to water baptism actually saving people, contrary to Acts 10:44-48, and a Pelagian view of man’s nature, contrary to John 6:44,65 and Romans 3:10-18. However, to the best of my knowledge no Church of Christ person has ever said the God of the Old Testament is different from the New Testament. The various schools of the Gnostics, an ancient type of heresy, were the ones who said this, and would not worship the Creator.
 

Q: Why does God smite people left, right, and center in the Old Testament, but does not do so now?
A: God related to the Israelites before Jesus came somewhat differently than He relates to Christians since the crucifixion.
In the Old Testament, God created a people for himself from descendants of Jacob. They did not have all the knowledge we have been given today, but they knew the importance of the need for sacrifices, and the seriousness of sin. While almost every major theme in the New Testament is also found in the Old Testament, often it was unclear, in veiled form.
Since Jesus came, God deals with his children, from all nations and peoples, more gently. For the Jews who rejected Jesus, and their descendants, God has not seemed to have anything more to say to them, or dealings with them, though they will once again enter the picture during the end times.
Of course, one could argue that God’s "smitings" really have not changed much, since people are still going to Hell. It is just that in Old Testament times, with less knowledge given out, God gave out more warnings, while in New Testament times, we have already been warned.
 

Q: Which early writers referred to the Old Testament as the Old Testament?
A: Here is the list. If a writer mentions the New Testament, but not the Old, then an Old Testament is implied. If it is just implied, the name is not in bold and it says "Implied".
Justin Martyr (c.138-165 A.D.) mentions "how the New Testament, which God formerly announced" Dialogue with Trypho the Jew ch.51 p.221.
Melito of Sardis (170-180 A.D.) mentions the "Old Testament" and lists the books in fragment 4 from the Book of Extracts vol.8 p.759
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) mentions the New Testament and the Old Testament in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 5 ch.34.1 p.563. He also mentions it on p.564
The Muratorian Canon (c.170 A,D.) ch.3 p.603 mentions the Old Testament.
Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.) "For God is the cause of all good things; but of some primarily, as of the Old and the New Testament;" The Stromata book 1 ch.5 p.305. See also Stromata book 4 ch.21 p.434
Tertullian (c.213 A.D.) "He is clearly defined to us in all Scriptures-in the Old Testament as the Christ of God, in the New Testament as the Son of God." Against Praxeas ch.24 p.620
Tertullian (207/208 A.D.) mentions the Old and New Testaments in Tertullian’s Five Books Against Marcion book 4 ch.6 p.351.
Hippolytus (225-235/6 A.D.) (Implied) refers to the New Testament in Fragments from Commentaries Commentary on Genesis 49:11 p.165
Asterius Urbanus (c.232 A.D.) "But they will never be able to show that any one of the Old Testament prophets, or any one of the new…" The Exordium vol.7 ch.9 p.337
Commodianus (c.240 A.D.) "Now astounded, swear that thou wilt believe in Christ; for the Old Testament proclaims concerning Him." Instructions of Commodianus ch.25 p.207
Origen (225-254 A.D.) refers to the "Old Testament" in Origen Against Celsus book 7 ch.24 p.620. He mentions the Old and New Testaments in Commentary on John book 5 ch.4 p.348.
Novatian (250-257 A.D.) mentions the Old Testament and New Testament in Novatian’s Treatise Concerning the Trinity ch.7 p.617. he also mentions the truth of both the Old and New Testaments in ch.17 p.627
Anonymous Treatise on Rebaptism (c.248-256 A.D.) ch.15 p.676 quotes Numbers 11:17 as said by God to Moses in the Old Testament.
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) mentions the Old Testament in Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 12 ch.4 p.509
Dionysius of Rome (259-269 A.D.) says the Trinity is in Scripture but the doctrine of "three gods is neither taught in the Old nor in the New Testament." Against the Sabellians ch.1 vol.7 p.365
Archelaus (262-278 A.D.) mentions there are neither two old testaments nor two new testaments. (The Christian Diodorus is speaking) Disputation with Manes ch.45 p.220
Archelaus (262-278 A.D.) refers to the Old Testament. Disputation with Manes ch.42 p.217
Anatolius of Alexandria (270-280 A.D.) refers to the "Old Testament" which implies a New. The Paschal Canon of Anatolius of Alexandria ch.8 p.148
Victorinus of Petau (martyred 304 A.D.) mentions the Old and New Testaments in his Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John p.345
Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.) "I will bring forward to you, O virgins, from the Old Testament, written prophecy from the Book of Judges, to show that I speak the truth," Banquet of the Ten Virgins Discourse 10 ch.2 p.348
Alexander of Alexandria (313-326 A.D.) "And besides the pious opinion concerning the Father and the Son, we confess to one Holy Spirit, as the divine Scriptures teach us; who hath inaugurated both the holy men of the Old Testament, and the divine teachers of that which is called the New." Epistles on the Arian Heresy Letter 1 ch.12 p.296
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) "But all Scripture is divided into two Testaments. That which preceded the advent and passion of Christ-that is, the law and the prophets-is called the Old; but those things which were written after His resurrection are named the New Testament." The Divine Institutes book 4 ch.20 p.122
After Nicea
Eusebius
(318-339/340 A.D.)
Athanasius (367 A.D.) mentions the "Old Testament" and lists its books in Athanasius’ Festal Letter 39 ch.4 p.552
Ephraim/Ephrem (350-378 A.D.)
Basil of Cappadocia (357-379 A.D.) refers to the New Testament in Letter 42 ch.3 p.144-145.
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.) mentions the Old Testament and New in Lecture 2.4 p.8 and 3.6 p.15
The Synod of Laodicea (343-381 [or 363] A.D.) canon 59 p.158 mentions the Old and New Testaments.
Gregory of Nyssa (382-383 A.D.) mentions the Old Testament Against Eunomius book 11 ch.5 p.238
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.) mentions the Old and New Testaments in Of the Christian Faith book 1 ch.8.57 p.210
Gregory Nanzianzus (330-391 A.D.)
Pacian of Barcelona (342-379/392 A.D.) mentions the New Testament in On Penitents ch.4.1 p.74
Didymus the blind (398 A.D.) refers to the Old and New Testament. Commentary on Zechariah 8 p.201
Syriac Book of Steps (Liber Graduum) (350-400 A.D.)
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.) mentions the Old and New Testaments. The Panarion section 3 scholion 1 and 5 p.334
RufinusCommentary on the Apostles Creed (374-406 A.D.)
John Chrysostom (martyred 407 A.D.) refers to the "Old Testament" Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers First Series vol.11 p.349
Council of Carthage (393-419 A.D.)
Jerome (317-420 A.D.)
Augustine of Hippo (338-340 A.D.) mentions the Old Testament in The City of God book 17 ch.5 p.345 and book 17 ch.7 p.347. Also Commentary on Psalms 405,521, 531, 681
John Cassian (419-430 A.D.) The New Testament is referred to by name in the Institutes of John Cassian book 1.1 p.201 and the Conference of the Abbot Paphnutius ch.15 p.327
Vincent of Lerins (c.434 A.D.) references the "Old Testament". Twelve Books book 1.1 p.201
Socrates (c.400-439 A.D.) Socrates’ Ecclesiastical History
Theodoret of Cyrrus (423-458 A.D.)
Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.)
Pope Leo I of Rome (440-461 A.D.)
Among heretics and spurious books
Marinus
(c.300 A.D.) a Bardesene, in disputing with Adamantius, appealed to the "Old Testament" and referred to David as a prophet. Dialogue on the True Faith ch.862a 20 p.173
Theodore of Mopsuestia (392-423/429 A.D.) mentions the Old Testament, the Seventy translators of divine scripture. Commentary on Zephaniah ch.1 p.289
 

Q: What are the main manuscripts of the Old Testament we have preserved today?
A: There are six main families.
1. Masoretic text is the family Jews themselves preserved through the Middle Ages.
2. The Samaritan Pentateuch compares very closely with the Masoretic text and Dead Sea scrolls, except for some obvious changes (Mt. Gerizim instead of Jerusalem, etc.) All of the Samaritan Pentateuch manuscripts are Medieval though. Some of them are Codex Add. 1846 (1100 A.D.), Codex B (1345/1346 A.D.), Manuscript E (1219 A.D.), and the Sepher ‘Abisha’ Scroll (12th -13th century). The also translated their Torah into Aramaic, Greek, and Arabic. See The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls p.93-95 for more info.
3. The Greek Septuagint, including the Lucianic recension and Christian writings,
4. Origen’s Hexapla had a Fifth Column of the Septuagint.
Pamphilus and Eusebius had it copied many times and distributed. We have preserved a manuscript of that, called the Leiden Codex Sarravianus (4th or 5th century A.D.). Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series vol.1 p.38
5. The Syriac translation not gives us clues about specific words that are difficult to know for certain in ancient Hebrew, it also shows us how they understood verses in the time of Christ.
6. Dead Sea scrolls from about the time of Christ. Most of these manuscripts are most similar to the Masoretic text, but some are more similar to the Septuagint. In addition to Bible manuscripts they also have many commentaries on scripture, and other religious books.
In addition, here are other manuscripts that were found.
The Nash Papyrus, dated 150 B.C., contains the Ten Commandments combined from Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-6:4f. This was the oldest known Biblical text until the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. A photograph of it is in the New International Dictionary of the Bible p.228.
At Masada, there was a copy of Joshua dated 169-93 B.C. by mass spectrometer radiocarbon dating. (The Dead Sea Scrolls Today p.18). The Romans captured Masada in April 73 A.D., so the manuscripts had to be before then.
Nahal Hever is a cave near Engedi just west of the Dead Sea, that has a fragment of the minor prophets in Greek (8 Hev XIIgr). It also has Numbers (5/6 Hev 1a), and Psalms (5/6Hev 1b). According to Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.34, they were written between 50 B.C. and 50 A.D.. A wealthy woman named Babatha took refuge there at the start of the Bar Kochba revolt against Rome. It is a revision of the Septuagint, made in Judea, and almost identical to the Masoretic text.
The Wadi Muraba’at scroll of the Minor Prophets (Mur 88) is from c. 132 A.D. It contains Habakkuk 1:3-2:11 and 2:18-3:19. Wadi Muraba’at also contains some writings of Bar Kokhba himself in 132 A.D.
See the Dictionary of New Testament Background p.540-541 for more info on Nahal Hever and wadi Muraba’at.
 

Q: What is the Septuagint?
A: The Septuagint (abbreviated LXX) is a translation of the Old Testament into Greek. It consists of the entire Jewish Old Testament plus some additional material. The Septuagint was translated between 285 (for the Torah) and the Old Testament was completed prior to 160 B.C. The translation of the Torah was of high quality, but other books, such as some of the minor prophets, were simply paraphrases; Isaiah was the most paraphrastic. Nonetheless, it is interesting to read the Septuagint the two reasons:
a) To see what is different from the Masoretic version, and
b) How Jews before Christ interpreted the meaning of the Old Testament as they translated it into another language.
Remember that the Alexandrian Greek dialect before Christ did not have the theological terms of Hebrew and the Greek after Christ. Indeed, the Septuagint and study of the Old Testament in Greek may have played a role in the theological terms being amenable to Greek by the time of Christ. In addition, a passages in the New Testament agree more with the Septuagint than the Masoretic text.
The name "Septuagint" comes from the word for "seventy". The legend in the so-called Letter of Aristeas says 72 Jews from Jerusalem came to Alexandria and translated it in 72 days. Philo also says they translated it just off of Alexandria. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.10-11 for more info.
There are different versions of the Septuagint. Besides the major text line, there are what are termed "Lucianic texts" of the Septuagint. Lucian was a teacher at the church of Antioch.
The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.1002 says the oldest known copy of the Septuagint is a fragment of Deuteronomy 25:1-3 dated 150 A.D. However, the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.436-438 says the oldest known existing copy of the Septuagint is a copy of Leviticus from 100 B.C. among the Dead Sea Scrolls found in cave 4. As for complete Bibles, Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.) and Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D.) all have the Septuagint Old Testament. Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.) has most of the Septuagint Old Testmant, though not Deuteronomy 4:22-28:67; and 30:17 to the end.
 

Q: Did the Septuagint contain the all of the Apocrypha?
A: Conservative Protestant Christians have two views.
a) Yes, the entire apocrypha is in the manuscripts Vaticanus (325-250 A.D.) and Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D.). Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.) contains Tobit, Judith, 1 and 4 Maccabees, Wisdom, and Sirach. About 19 early church writers quoted from books of the historic apocrypha. For example, Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) quotes from Ecclesiasticus in Treatise 8 ch.2 p.476 and Tobit in Treatise 8 ch.5 p.477. Some early church writers considered it Scripture and others did not.
b) No, only Sirach and possibly fragments of Tobit exist today that were provably written prior to Christ. Among the Dead Sea scrolls, 2Q18 (= 2 Qsir) contains Sirach 6:14-15,20-31), and Cave 7 478 possibly contains fragments of Tobit. Cave 4 has five fragments of Tobit (4Q196 through 4Q200), 4 in Aramaic and one in Hebrew. Also, Responses to 101 Questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls p.25 says that scrolls at Masada include Sirach 39:27-44:17c in Hebrew. A photograph of Tobit 6:12-7:10 in 4QTobitb (=4Q197) is in The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls p.184. 11QPs(a) contains Sirach 51:13-30; a translation of the text is in The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls p.186.
Other books: The Dead Sea Scrolls also had a number of hymns and other books not in the apocrypha, including 1 Enoch, Jubilees, and many known only among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Thus Sirach and possibly Tobit among the Dead Sea scrolls does not prove that anyone, even the Qumran community necessarily thought of them as scripture.
Bible Books: The Dead Sea scrolls had Septuagint copies of Exodus 28 (7Q1 = 7QLXXExod of Exodus 28:4-7), Leviticus (4Q119, 4Q120), Numbers (4Q121), Deuteronomy (4Q35; 4Q122). Apparently the Dead Sea scrolls did not have any copies of any other Septuagint books, and certainly no apocryphal Septuagint books.
The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated p.467-518 gives many details of Septuagint manuscripts. 4Q51 is the most unusual. It is a copy of 1, 2 Samuel as a Hebrew manuscript whose text appears to be the Hebrew behind the Septuagint of Samuel. 4Q75 contains Zechariah, Malachi, and Jonah, and appears to be halfway between the Masoretic text and the Septuagint.
The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land p.114 says that unlike the books of the Bible, the copies of the apocryphal manuscripts were not written by scribes living in Qumran, but these manuscripts were brought in to Qumran.
While the apocryphal books were undoubtedly written before the time of Christ, When Cultists Ask p.287 observes that we cannot say for certain whether they were added to the Septuagint before or after the time of Christ.
Conclusion: While we have no direct evidence saying whether the apocryphal books were first considered by some to be a part of the Bible before or after Christ, Clement of Rome quoted Judith in 1 Clement ch.55, without saying it was not scripture. Since the entire apocrypha was copied in the Septuagint by 325 A.D., and there is no mention of any Christians or Jews being aware of it being added only after the time of Christ, then it is safe to say:
Conclusion 1: We cannot prove it was in the Septuagint prior to Christ but,
Conclusion 2: It was put in at some point, and the evidence of an addition after Christ is not there.
 

Q: What is the Lucianic recension of the Septuagint?
A: Lucian was a presbyter (elder) at the church in Antioch who died as a martyr in 312 A.D. He made a copy of the Septuagint where he corrected imperfections in Greek grammar and style.
We do not have any writings preserved of Lucian’s theology. However, one of his disciples was Arius, and another was the Arian heretic Eusebius of Nicomedia (not Eusebius the church historian). See The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787) p.51-53,77 for more info.
 

Q: What other Greek translations of the Old Testament were made?
A: In addition to the Septuagint, and the Lucianic recension of the Septuagint, there were three other Greek translations.
Aquila: After Christianity started to grow, Aquila, a proselyte to Judaism from Pontus made a translation in 126 A.D., for the purpose of opposing the Septuagint, since Christians were using the Septuagint to convert Jews.
Symmachus: The Ebionites were a Christian cult that held to many Jewish practices and did not believe Jesus was God. Symmachus the Ebionite made a translation in the second century.
Theodotion was another Ebionite who made a translation in the same century. We only have small fragments of their texts though.
See The Septuagint Version: Greek and English p.iv-v for more info.
 

Q: What is an overview of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Qumran community that preserved them?
A: God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 59:21; 40:8; Psalm 119:89, and 1 Peter 1:23-25. However, since there were few Old Testament manuscripts earlier than 950 A.D., someone might be curious just how precisely the Old Testament was transmitted before then. However, in 1947 a Bedouin boy, Muhammad Adh-Dhib, threw a stone into a cave at Qumran and heard the crash of pottery. That uncovered a stored library of about 500 to 867 manuscripts from Jesus’ time, 1/4 to 1/3 of them from the Bible.
Only about 200-300 people lived in Qumran at any one time. Qumran was like a monastery, for of the 1,200 graves in the cemetery, only 6 were of women and 4 of children. There were about 200-300 caves, and people lived in 30 of them. Most of the people lived in huts or tents, though. Coins at Qumran show people lived there from about 135 B.C. to the abrupt destruction in 68 A.D. The Romans captured Qumran and killed or enslaved all who did not escape.
Beliefs of the Children of Light Jewish Sect: Modern scholars once confused the inhabitants of Qumran with Essenes because of their similarities. This sect, calling itself, "Children of Light", started about 200 B.C. They believed in the resurrection of the dead (like the Pharisees), practiced baptism by immersion, and had overseers similar to Christian bishops. They thought Melchizedek was a heavenly being and the wicked would be annihilated.
Qumran commentaries on Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 11:1-3 show they recognized these as Messianic prophecies. Like others, the Qumran community believed the Messiah would do miracles and healings. They also believed the Messiah would personally slay the Roman Emperor. It would take years to bury all the dead from the Messiah’s military victories. Thus, as the Christian News (11/23/1998) says, "So now we know that when Caiaphas conducted the trial of Jesus, all he had to do was get Jesus to admit that he was the Messiah. As Jesus, who has performed the predicted miracles, made that admission, he was assumed to be guilty of treason against the emperor."
Let’s Visit "The Library": Eleven caves preserved about 95,000 fragments, 40,000 in cave 4 alone. Some of the non-Bible fragments include mezuzot (verses worn on arms) and phylacteries (verses worn on the forehead) from Exodus and Leviticus. Here are some of the preserved Old Testament texts.

Book Copies / fragments Earliest scroll Commentaries
Genesis 15 / 20 1
Exodus 15 / 23 250 B.C.  
Leviticus 8 / 13  
Numbers 6 / 8    
Deuteronomy 25 / 29    
Parallel Torah 1    
Joshua 2    
Judges 3    
Ruth 4    
1,2 Samuel 4    
1,2 Kings 3 / 4    
2 Chronicles 1    
Ezra 1    
Nehemiah 0    
Esther 0    
Job 4    
Psalms 27 / 36   chap. 37
Proverbs 2    
Ecclesiastes 2 175-150  
Song of Solomon 4   possibly
Isaiah 18 / 23 120-100 B.C. 1
Jeremiah 4 / 6    
Lamentations 4    
Ezekiel 6    
Daniel 8 120 B.C.  
Hosea 3   2
Obadiah 0    
Jonah 3    
Micah 2 3rd century 1
Nahum (4Q82)   1
Habakkuk (4Q238)   1
Zephaniah 2   Possibly
Zechariah 3    
Joel, Amos, Zeph, Malachi (4Q78, 4Q82)    
Jonah,Haggai, Zech, Malachi (4Q76)    
Total O.T. 175-200 250 B.C. 8-10
Total Other 325-667   0

No commentaries on other books showed that they considered non-Bible books as scripture.
Shedding Light on Jewish culture back then is one important function of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
One belief the Qumran Community held in common with others was that the Messiah will do miracles, and healings. They also believed the Messiah would personally slay the Roman Emperor. It would take years to bury all the dead from the Messiah’s military victories. Thus, as the Christian News (11/23/1998) says, "So now we know that when Caiaphas conducted the trial of Jesus, all he had to do was get Jesus to admit that he was the Messiah. As Jesus, who has performed the predicted miracles, made that admission, he was assumed to be guilty of treason against the emperor."
The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.441 says that the Dead Sea scrolls show that the Gospel of John, rather than being a second century Hellenistic document, "is shown more clearly than ever to be a product of 1st century Palestine by virtue of its many parallels with the Qumran texts."
One manuscript from Qumran cave 4 is Exodus from the Samaritan Pentateuch. One of the oldest scrolls is 4Q17, contains Exodus 38 to Leviticus 2. It is one of the oldest manuscripts, copied towards 250 B.C. It is practically identical to the Masoretic text. The Isaiah scroll has the complete text of Isaiah. It and the other copy in cave 1 were identical with the standard Hebrew Bible in 95% of the text according to A Survey of Old Testament Introduction p.25. (As a spot check, from my own sampling I saw complete agreement on 94.6% on a consonant by consonant basis.)
There are a number of small variations in the Masoretic vs. Qumran texts, and they could be due to dialect differences and changes, such as today we have British English vs. American English. Here are a few of the larger or more important variations. Also, scholars caution that while the Masoretic scribes extreme care in precisely copying every scroll, the sect at Qumran might not have had as high a standard in copying.
Exodus 1:5 in the Masoretic text says 70 people went into Egypt. When Stephen said 75 in Acts 7:14, one could assume scripture was (inerrantly) recording Stephen reciting from a Septuagint error, which said 75. However, the Dead Sea Scrolls also say 75, so perhaps Stephen and the Septuagint were correct here.
Deuteronomy 32:43 has "let all God’s angels worship him" while the Masoretic text does not. Hebrews 1:6 quotes this.
The Masoretic 1 Samuel 17:4 says Goliath was 6 cubits and a span, or roughly 9 feet 9 inches. However, the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls say 4 cubits and a span, or about 6 feet, 9 inches.
Targums, which are Aramaic paraphrases, have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls of Leviticus, and two targums from parts of Job. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls are commentaries of Genesis, Psalm 37, possibly Song of Songs, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, two of Hosea, and a badly mutilated one of Habakkuk 1:2 through the end of chapter 2. The authors tried to relate everything to events of their day.
The Septuagint: Cave 4 has the oldest copy of part of the Septuagint, which is the text of Leviticus, dated 100 B.C.. Cave 7 has a copy of Exodus chapter 28. Other scrolls contain a copy of Numbers and two copies of Deuteronomy. Two scrolls are very curious. One scroll appears to be the Hebrew behind the Septuagint for 1 and 2 Samuel. Another scroll of Zechariah, Jonah, and Malachi are Hebrew that appears to be between the Septuagint and the Masoretic text. The Septuagint version of Jeremiah is 60 verses (1/8 shorter) than the Masoretic text. The Dead Sea scroll 4QJerb supports some of these absences. One scroll contained the Hebrew of Psalm 151, which is also in the Septuagint.
The Apocrypha and Other Books: 2Q18 (= 2QSir) contains chapter 6 of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), and Cave 7 contains fragments of Tobit. Cave 4 also contains 5 fragments of Tobit (4Q196 through 4Q200). The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land p.114 says that unlike the books of the Bible, the copies of the apocryphal manuscripts were not written by scribes living in Qumran, but were brought in to Qumran. While the apocryphal books were undoubtedly written before the time of Christ, When Cultists Ask p.287 observes that we cannot say for certain whether they were added to the Septuagint before or after the time of Christ.
One scroll, 11QPs, contains additional Psalms, so-called Psalms 152-155. Apart from the Dead Sea scrolls, various versions of these are known only in the Syriac language.
The Dead Sea Scrolls also had a number of hymns and other books not in the apocrypha, including 1 Enoch (except section 2), 14 copies of Jubilees in Hebrew, and many known only among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Thus Sirach and Tobit among the Dead Sea scrolls does not prove that anyone, even the Qumran community necessarily thought of them as scripture.
The Dead Sea scrolls are useful for shedding light on Jewish thought back then. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.441 says that the Dead Sea scrolls show that the Gospel of John and Paul’s writings, rather than just being 2nd century Hellenistic documents, in fact have some parallels with the Dead Sea scrolls.
Summary: The Qumran caves provided a wealth of Old Testament manuscripts from the time of Christ, and about a 1,000 years older than the Masoretic texts. Other writings also provide background to some of the New Testament.
See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.434-441 for more info on the Dead Sea Scrolls in general.
 

Q: What are some of the differences in reading from the Masoretic text and the Dead Sea scrolls?
A: Here is a sampling of some of the "most significant" readings. Except where noted, the Masoretic text (MT) is the first reading and a Dead Sea scroll is the second.
Dt 5:5 "word" (MT) vs. "words" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum)
Dt 10:13 "Lord" vs. "Lord your God" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Syriac)
Dt 31:1 "went and spoke" vs. "had finished speaking all" (Dead Sea scrolls, Septuagint)
Dt 32:8 Masoretic: "children of Israel" vs. Septuagint: "angels of God" vs. a Dead Sea scroll: "sons of God"
Dt 32:15 "Jeshurun" vs. "Jacob ate his fill; Jeshurun" (Dead Sea scrolls, Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint)
Dt 32:19 "saw it" vs. "saw it and was jealous" (Dead Sea scrolls, Septuagint)
Dt 32:43 "nations" vs. "Heavens" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint)
Dt 32:43 (absent) (Masoretic text) vs. "Let all God’s angels worship him." (Septuagint, Hebrews 1:6, and Dead Sea Scroll 4Q44 (=4QDeut(q)), John Chrysostom (died 407 A.D.) Homilies on Hebrews Homily 4 no.2 p.382-383)
Dt 32:43 "servants" vs. "children" (Dead Sea Scroll 4Q44 (=4QDeut(q)), Septuagint)
Dt 32:43 (absent) vs. "he will repay those who hate him" (Dead Sea scroll 4Q44 (=4QDeut(q)), Septuagint)
Dt 32:43 "cleans his land his people" vs. "cleans the land for his people") Dead Sea Scroll 4Q44 (=4QDeut(q)), Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint, Vulgate)
Dt 33:8 "your Thummim" vs. "Give to Levi your Thummim" (Dead Sea scrolls, Septuagint)
Dt 33:17 "His firstborn bull" vs. "a firstborn bull" (Dead Sea scrolls, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate)
1 Sam 1:23 "his word" (MT, Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)) "your word" (Septuagint, Syriac)
1 Sam 1:24 "with three bulls" vs. "with a three-year old bull" (Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)), Septuagint, Syriac)
1 Sam 2:1 "the LORD" vs. "my God" (Septuagint)
1 Sam 2:1 "your victory" vs. "my victory" (Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)))
1 Sam 2:20 "give you" vs. "repay you" (Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)))
1 Sam 2:20 "petition that she asked of" vs. "gift that she made to" (Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)))
1 Sam 2:21 "When the LORD" vs. "And the LORD" (Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)))
1 Sam 2:27 "when they were at the house" vs. "when they were slaves to the house" (Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)))
1 Sam 2:29,32 "kick" vs. "look with greedy eye" (Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)))
1 Sam 2:33 "your eyes … your heart" vs. "his eyes … his heart" (Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)))
1 Sam 2:33 "die young men" vs. "die by the sword" (Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)))
1 Sam 3:4 "called Samuel" vs. "called, "Samuel! Samuel!" (Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)))
1 Sam 14:49, 1 Sam 18:17 "Merab" vs. "Merob" in the Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)) for 1 Sam 14:49, Dead Sea Scroll 1Q7 (=1QSam) for 1 Sam 18:17, and Septuagint (Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.3 p.669)
Job 22:8 (absent) vs. "And you say" (Dead Sea scroll targum of Job 11Q10 (=11QtgJob)).
Job 22:17 "to them" vs. "to us" (Septuagint, Syriac, Dead Sea Scroll Targum)
Ps 119:37 "in your way" (Hebrew Masoretic text, Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "according to your word" (two Masoretic manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Aramaic Targums)
Isa 7:14 Masoretic: "she shall call his name" vs. Septuagint and Dead Sea Great Isaiah scroll "His name shall be called." The difference is one consonant. See General Introduction to the Bible p.368 for more info.
Isa 53:9 "suffering of his soul and be satisfied" vs. "suffering of his soul he will see the light of life and be satisfied"
Isa 61:1 (absent) (MT, Septuagint) vs. "the dead are raised" Dead Sea scroll 4Q521. (See The Case for Christ p.142 for more info.)
Jer 3:1 "Saying, if" (MT) vs. "If" (Dead Sea scrolls, Septuagint, Syriac)
Jer 3:8 "I saw that I gave" (MT) vs. "She also say that I gave" (1 MT manuscript, Dead Sea scrolls, Septuagint, Syriac)
Dan 10:16 "one who looked like a man" vs. "something that looked like a man’s hand" (Septuagint, Dead Sea scrolls, one Hebrew Masoretic text)
Hab 2:16 "be exposed" (MT) vs. "stagger" (Dead Sea scrolls, Septuagint, Aquila the Jew (126 A.D.), and Syriac.)
For the details of all the differences in a passage, see the comparison of Isaiah 53 at the end of the questions on Isaiah.
Change in conclusions: Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, the Septuagint was considered merely an inferior translation of basically the Masoretic text. However, many of the differences between the Dead Sea scrolls and the Masoretic text are places where the Dead Sea scrolls and the Septuagint agree. Thus it seems the Septuagint was more of a translation of a different Hebrew manuscript family than the Dead Sea scrolls. (though there are still places where the Septuagint translators were confused or mistaken)
Bibliography for this question: The footnotes in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NRSV Bibles, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. The Masoretic translation was compared with Jay P. Green’s Literal Translation and the Septuagint rendering is from Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton’s translation of The Septuagint : Greek and English.
 

Q: What is the Masoretic text?
A: The Masoretes were scribes, in the Pharisee tradition, who lived after Jesus’ time. There are many Masoretic manuscripts, but they are after 900 A.D. Codex Leningradensis 1008 A.D. was a well-preserved Masoretic text that was a basis for the NIV translation, according to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 3 p.246.
 

Q: Is the God of the Old Testament a different being, and an evil or misguided one, compared to the God of the New Testament?
A: This is one of the two or three teachings common to all branches of an ancient heresy called Gnosticism. Some of their arguments were because the New Testament repealed Old Testament dietary laws, the universe had a contrast between the visible and invisible, and the belief that since matter was all evil, only an evil god would create matter.
Outside of the Bible, as early as Clement of Rome (97/98 A.D. 1 Clement ch.4 vol.1 p.6) Christians affirmed that the God of the Old Testament was good. We can say that He who is a friend of Abel and a friend of Abraham, is a friend of mine.
Theophilus of Antioch (168-181/188 A.D.) was one of the earliest Christian writers who mentioned Creation and explicitly said "for nothing evil was made by God."(To Autolycus book 2 ch.17 p.101).
Tertullian effectively refuted the theory of a different Old Testament God in his work Five Books Against Marcion in 207/208 A.D.. Here is an incomplete condensation of what he wrote.
a. Tertullian says you cannot find a church of apostolic origin that denied the Creator. "But if the churches shall prove to have been corrupt from the beginning, where shall the pure ones be found?… Show us, then, one of your churches, tracing its descent from an apostle, and you will have gained the day."
b. Why would the good god rescue man, if he did not create him?
c. Why did the bad god prophecy the coming of Christ in the Old Testament? The New Testament refers to these as prophesying the good Christ.
d. If the bad god prophesied a bad Christ, why did the good god prevent the bad Christ from coming and send the good Christ in his place. The good god should have let the bad Christ come first, instead of misleading people to think the bad god prophesied the good Christ.
e. Why did Jesus quote from the Old Testament as authoritative?
f. Why did Marcion have to reject parts of Luke and other parts of the New Testament to support his view?

 

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