[b-hebrew] Deportation of Judea and Samaria

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sun Oct 28 21:18:16 EDT 2007

On 10/28/07, Bryant J. Williams III wrote:

> Dear Yitzhak,
> It is clear from Jeremiah 40:1-43:7 that the Judeans remaining in Jerusalem and
> Judah fled to Egypt after the assassination of Gedaliah. This around 582-581 BC.
> Furthermore, it is clear from Jeremiah that those who would go to Egypt would
> never return, but die in Egypt. This did happen, even Jeremiah and Baruch died
> in Egypt since he was went with them. Exactly how many went to Egypt is a good
> question. The TEXT does not say. It does say "all" in 43:4-5. But you know as
> well as I do that "all" does not necessarily mean "all" at this point, but is
> being used by Jeremiah for rhetorical purposes (just as my teenagers would say,
> "Everyone else is doing it").
> Rev. Bryant J. Williams III

I do not know about the use of kl "all" for rhetorical purposes.  In
fact, before we
even deal with rhetorical issues, the first issues we need to deal
with are textual
issues.  I had slightly elaborated these in the second posting, let me
go further.

As it turns out, Jer 43: has the portion from "mkl" to "$m" missing in the LXX.
DSS 4QJer-d* has lgwr b?rc yhwdh missing.  We get the impression from these
two notable omissions that there is either some kind of program of minimizing
which Jews left, but more likely, that there is some kind of textual
to the original text of Jeremiah, in the last centuries of the Second Temple
period of portraying the Jews who left as representing all of Judea.  This is
further underscored by other omissions, for example, in 40:12, wy$bw until
$m is missing in the LXX.  If we can at least analyze the various textual
variants that we have, we do not see any change in "kl" but the missing
parts of the verses impart a different impression of which and how many Jews
(* I use 4QJer-d based on the critical apparatus of HUB of Jeremiah,
interpreting the notation ib as ibid whereby in the start of the line
4QJer-d is
mentioned.  I did not find anywhere, though, that this is what ib really

Another issue is that 2 Kings 25 which is definitely speaking of the same
events as in Jeremiah adds that these events took place in the 19th year,
in the 5th and 7th month, and yet in Jer 52:30 we learn that more Jews
were exiled in the 23rd year.  Either the 7th month of 2 Kings 25 is talking
of a different year than the 19th, or not all the Jews were exiled in the 19th
year.  But if these events are in the 7th month of a different year (not 19th),
we are dealing with a much stronger case of textual editing than the issue
of an additional two letter word kl "all".  We either choose between
accepting that the original text read kl "all" and a mention of a different year
in 2 Kings 25 was omitted, or rather that 2 Kings 25 is speaking of one year,
and kl is a later addition.   In view of the LXX/DSS textual issues described
in the paragraph above, it would seem that kl could just as easily be a later
textual addition in the same spirit as the other additions which try to
provide a feeling that all Jews left.

Lipschitz also offers a different analysis of who these $?ryt yhwdh were.  We
see this by following the events:
1) Ishmael kills the appointed governor and slaughters many Jews that were
in Mispah as well as additional Jews who come to Mispah later.
2) Some Jews cooperate with Ishmael thereby saving their lives.
3) When Yohanan attacks Ishmael, most of the people that were with Ishmael,
apparently those who cooperated to save their lives, go over to Yohanan's side.
4) Ishmael flees.
5) Yohanan and the freed Jews go to Beth Lehem preparing to go to Egypt,
fearing the Babylonian response after the revolt.  This may also have to do with
the cooperation that some Jews showed towards Ishmael.
6) Jeremiah suggests they don't go to Egypt but Yohanan claims he is speaking
lies and wants to get them killed and exiled by the Babylonians.
7) All the people go to Egypt.

If we follow these events, we begin to get a clear picture that $?ryt yhwdh in
43:5 is not speaking of all of Judah but rather of those same people as the
$?ryt h(m in Jer 41:16.  These were not all the Judeans, but rather a small
group that had been captured by Ishmael and around 10 other people and
later freed.  The size can be estimated by considering how many people
Ishmael and 10 others could have captured.  Obviously, additional forces
could overcome Ishmael as Yohanan did later.  So they couldn't have been
that great a number of people. In addition, to the textual issues raised above
about the word kl, we could also and perhaps more rightfully, claim that rather
kl is original, but the word yhwdh is a later expansion replacing an earlier
h(m -- that is, not all of Judah, but all the people who are discussed in these

There are admittedly slightly more complex issues involved here than a
simple comparison of textual versions, but there are also more complex
problems that all require some solution -- the apparent absence of various
verses in the LXX and some DSS of Jer, which appear to speak more than
just of a simple copyist error, but of some ideological extension of the
message of the text beyond what it originally said, as well as the
dissonance of the expulsions and dates (19th vs 23rd) in 2 Kings 25 and
Jer 52.  One has to juggle all of these together just to come to a starting
point as to what the message of the text was at different periods, and
for our interests here, during the 6th century BCE.

Now Karl has in the past accepted some limited textual correction of
Biblical verses.  I don't remember something similar for Dave Washburn
but I do remember that at one point he seemed to acknowledge differences
between the DSS and the Bible.  In fact, I think he is perhaps more
knowledgeable than most about the extent of such differences.  Lastly,
the doctrine of "inerrant in the original autographs" is a Christian
Evangelistic doctrine, and not a Jewish one, so I can hardly claim I
understand it.  In the formulation as stated in the Chicago statement,
however, which as I understand it is widely accepted in conservative and
Evangelistic circles, there seem to be some paragraphs that allow for the
type of textual analysis as above.  Karl and Dave's position, then, must
be viewed as being of a much more conservative nature than the Chicago
statement.  This is highlighted by the "it says kl - all therefore all must
have gone to Egypt!" discussion, where, even if one does not accept
the above analysis, is a very weak argument in the perspective of textual
criticism and the possibility of differences from an original manuscript.
I think it places them in an extreme minority of Biblical scholars, almost
bordering on fundamentalism, and it is their right, of course, to believe
what they want, but it is problematic when they represent this as a
consensus position amongst scholars or as one that either one accepts
their position or one has "written off" the Bible.

It is also completely unwarranted to use these arguments for any kind
of linguistic conclusions because none of this has anything to do with
language, and language can survive in all kinds of ways, but this is
also one of the reasons why I separated my discussion of these
issues in different threads.

Yitzhak Sapir

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