[b-hebrew] Psalm 14 'smoothed' to Romans 3 in Greek OT

schmuel schmuel at nyc.rr.com
Mon Oct 16 18:40:01 EDT 2006

Hi Folks,

Skipping ahead.

Personally I consider the following strong evidence, almost conclusive proof,
of a major Greek OT tampering, 'smoothing' to match the NT.  If one sees this
one, (perhaps a bit aghast) others are minor in comparison.

First Paul beautifully puts together a number of scriptures, without referencing
any one book .. simply "it is written".

Romans 3:10-18 
As it is written, 
There is none righteous, no, not one: 
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable;
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.  (** Psalm 14:1-3 ** and Psalm 53:1-3.) 
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; (Psalm 5:9)
the poison of asps is under their lips: (Psalm 140:3).
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:  (cf. Psalm 10:7)
Their feet are swift to shed blood: (Isaiah 59:7; cf. Proverbs 1:16).
Destruction and misery are in their ways:  (Isaiah 59:7).
And the way of peace have they not known:  (Isaiah 59:8).
There is no fear of God before their eyes.  (Psalms 36:1).

Then we find in the fourth century, no earlier,
the following text in a Greek Psalms manuscript.

Psalm 14 (from Ralph Klein - change to the LORD)
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
They act corruptly; they do abominable deeds;
There is no one who does that which is good.
The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of humankind
to see if there is any one who acts circumspectly,
who seeks God.
They all turn aside; together they act immorally;
There is no one who does that which is good--there is not even one!
Do all the trouble-makers have no insight, 
the ones who eat up my people as they eat bread,
who do not call upon the LORD?
In so doing they experience great dread,
for God is in (with) the righteous assembly.
In the plan against the poor you act shamefully [you come to ruin] 
for the LORD is their refuge. 
Oh that deliverance for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will be glad, Israel will rejoice!

Perhaps some scribe thought that Psalm 14 and 53 were similar enough.
So Psalm 14 would be modified to match the beautiful Romans quote.

That is clearly the Ockham razor understanding, especially considering the lack of 
any such Psalm 14 in the DSS, Targumim, Peshitta and Vulgate. Your mileage may vary. 

A little rigging of the Psalms.  

Unless you really think that Paul was only quoting Psalm 14 from the Greek (without
so stating), not putting together a beautiful teaching, and this vanished from all textual
history until 4th century alexandrian Greek.  

Oh, I have a bridge for sale.

Psalm 14 with Romans 3:10-18 - Will Kinney
In the epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul makes a list of Old Testament quotes showing the depravity of man and his rebellion against God. These citations are taken from various Old Testament books, and all of them can be found scattered throughout the Hebrew texts. The Hebrew texts do NOT contain these nine verses listed one after the other in any place. Instead, they are scattered throughout the Psalms and the book of Isaiah. 

The Old Testament and the Ancient Near East - Ralph W. Klein
BHS notes a long insertion here in LXX, which began in Romans 3:13-18, was then added to LXX, and even found its way into two medieval Hebrew manuscripts. Note also that the DSS is a confirmation of Psalm 14 (and 13) as in the Masoretic Text, omitting one verse in the reconstruction while matching the Masoretic Text verse by verse. 

Harold, do you agree with Professor Klein and BHS that this was a Greek OT rigging 'smoothing' to match Psalms ?

Or do you think that Paul was quoting a Greek copy of Psalms verbatim ?

This example is so fundamental that I dropped the dialog to share with the forum :-) 

Steven Avery

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