[b-hebrew] Septuagint vs. Masoretes/75 vs. 70: How Many Hebrews Did Jacob Lead into Egypt?

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Jan 21 10:58:35 EST 2008


In determining how many Hebrews Jacob led into Egypt, and in reconciling the 
conflicting accounts in the Masoretic text and the Septuagint in this regard, 
the key to figuring out what the original text of chapter 46 of Genesis 
originally said lies in the numerical symbolism that is used throughout the 
Patriarchal narratives.
 
1.  70 Is the “Egyptian” Number
 
As noted in a prior post, 70 is the “Egyptian” number.  We know that the 
author of the Patriarchal narratives was well aware of that well-known fact, 
because Genesis 50: 3 explicitly says that the Egyptians mourned the death of 
Jacob/“Israel” in Egypt for 70 days.
 
Thus the bottom line number of Hebrews that Jacob is credited with leading 
into Egypt should be 70, per the Masoretic text (vs. the Septuagint), because 70 
is the “Egyptian” number.
 
2.  Jacob’s Ages in Egypt Add to 70, Namely 15 + 55 = 70
 
Two ages are set forth for Joseph while Joseph is in Egypt.  Joseph is stated 
age 30 “years”, in 6-month “years”, when Joseph becomes Pharaoh’s powerful 
vizier.  Genesis 41: 46  Joseph is thus age 15 regular years.  The Patriarchal 
narratives end when Joseph dies at stated age 110 “years”, a fact so 
important that it is stated twice in the text.  Genesis 50: 22, 26  Thus Joseph’s 
un-doubled age at his death in Egypt is 55 regular years.
 
These two stated ages of Joseph in Egypt, in un-doubled regular years, neatly 
add up to the Egyptian number 70.  15 + 55 = 70.
 
3.  Jacob Should Lead 15 + 55 = 70 Hebrews into Egypt
 
Given the foregoing numerical symbolism, we can expect Jacob to be treated as 
leading one group of 15 people, and a second group of 55 people, into Egypt.  
Then 15 + 55 will equal 70, and the numerical symbolism in chapter 46 of 
Genesis will be perfect, just as it is in all the rest of the Patriarchal 
narratives.
 
4.  Group #1:  15 People -- Jacob and His Sons
 
The first group of 15 people as to which Jacob is treated as leading into 
Egypt consists of the following 15 people:
 
Jacob + Jacob’s 12 blood sons + Jacob’s 2 adopted sons (Manasseh and 
Ephraim, per chapter 48 of Genesis).
 
1 + 12 + 2 = 15
 
As we are seeing, Manasseh and Ephraim are treated as being Jacob’s (adopted) 
sons, not as being Jacob’s grandsons, per their adoption in chapter 48 of 
Genesis.  (Accordingly, the sons of Manasseh and Ephraim will be treated as being 
Jacob’s grandsons.)
 
5.  Group #2:  55 People -- All 55 of Jacob’s Grandsons (and No One Else)
 
Ideally, we would like to see Jacob have exactly 55 grandsons, all of whom he 
is treated as leading into Egypt for purposes of chapter 46 of Genesis 
(including the large number of Jacob’s grandsons who are born after Jacob moves to 
Egypt).  Chapter 46 should be giving us a complete list of all of Jacob’s many 
grandsons, and that ideally should be 55 in number.  (The Masoretic text lists 
10 sons of Benjamin.  Benjamin was only age 15 regular years when the Hebrews 
entered Egypt, so it is likely that all 10 of Benjamin’s sons were born after 
Jacob entered Egypt.  Jacob is being treated in chapter 46 of Genesis as 
leading into Egypt all of Jacob’s grandsons, including Jacob’s grandsons who were 
not born until after Jacob enters Egypt.) 
 
In this post, we will look only at the Masoretic text, and see that 55 
grandsons are there, though they’re not all set forth in chapter 46 of Genesis in 
the Masoretic text.  In a later post, we will see that the Septuagint confirms 
either the number or the names of the grandsons who are “missing” in chapter 
46 of Genesis in the Masoretic text.
 
(a)  49 Grandsons of Jacob Listed in the Masoretic Text Version of Chapter 46 
of Genesis
 
The Masoretic text version of chapter 46 of Genesis lists 49 grandsons of 
Jacob.  (That excludes Er and Onan, as predeceased grandsons.  Perez and Zerah 
are treated as being Judah’s sons (not Judah’s grandsons, since Judah is the 
biological father), and hence are Jacob’s grandsons.  The two sons of Perez are 
not Jacob’s grandsons, but rather are Jacob’s great-grandsons.  Likewise, the 
two sons of Jacob’s grandson Beriah by Asher are not Jacob’s grandsons, but 
rather are Jacob’s great-grandsons.  Manasseh and Ephraim are treated as being 
Jacob’s adopted sons, not as being Jacob’s grandsons.)  [The way the 
Masoretic text counts to 70, which in my view is erroneous, is as follows:  49 named 
grandsons + Jacob + Jacob’s 12 blood sons + Jacob’s 2 adopted sons + 2 
great-grandsons by Perez + 2 great-grandsons by a son of Asher + Dinah + 1 
granddaughter by Asher = 70.] 
 
(b)  The 6 “Missing” Grandsons of Jacob
 
In chapter 48 of Genesis, Jacob tells Joseph that Jacob will not adopt Joseph’
s sons born after Manasseh and Ephraim.  Genesis 48: 6  That strongly implies 
that Joseph sires 2 younger sons after Jacob enters Egypt.  (The Septuagint 
will confirm that number, as we will see in a later post.)
 
Genesis 50: 23 tells us that Joseph lived long enough to see (i) Ephraim’s 
grandsons, and (ii)  grandsons of Joseph’s son Manasseh by Manasseh’s son 
Machir, whom Joseph bounced on Joseph’s knee.  Genesis 50: 23 itself does not tell 
us how many sons that either Ephraim or Manasseh had, but based in part on the 
names of the descendants of Manasseh and Ephraim given to us in the 
Septuagint, it is likely that each of Manasseh and Ephraim had 2 sons.  (The Septuagint 
misconstrues the second son of Machir as being a sole grandson.  Genesis 50: 
23 strongly implies that Machir had at least 2 sons, not just 1 son, and does 
not say that Manassseh had only 1 son.)
 
Those are the 6 “missing” grandsons of Jacob, who are referenced in the 
Masoretic text, even though the Masoretic text has, for the most part (unlike the 
Septuagint), left them out of chapter 46 of Genesis.  Jacob’s 2 younger sons + 
Manasseh’s 2 sons + Ephraim’s 2 sons = 6 missing grandsons of Jacob.
 
6.  Jacob Had 55 Grandsons
 
Jacob had the 49 named grandsons in chapter 46 of the Masoretic version of 
Genesis.  Also clearly referenced in the Masoretic text, but not in chapter 46 
of Genesis and not with great specificity, are the 6 “missing” grandsons of 
Jacob, namely Joseph’s 2 younger sons, 2 sons of Manasseh, and 2 sons of 
Ephraim.  49 named grandsons + 6 “missing” grandsons = 55 grandsons of Jacob in all. 
 (Many, though not all, of the missing details here as to Jacob’s 6 “missing”
 grandsons will be filled in by the Septuagint, as we will see in a later 
post.) 
 
7.  Conclusion:  Jacob Leads 70 Hebrews into Egypt, Namely An Older Group of 
15 (Himself and 14 Sons), and a Younger Group of All 55 of His Grandsons
 
For purposes of computing how many Hebrews Jacob is treated as having led 
into Egypt in chapter 46 of Genesis, count all 55 of Jacob’s grandsons, Jacob’s 
14 sons (including Jacob’s 2 adopted sons), and Jacob himself.  (Do not count 
Jacob’s 5 great-grandsons, four of whom are referenced in chapter 46 of 
Genesis in the Masoretic text, and do not count Jacob’s 2 named female descendants, 
who are listed in chapter 46 of Genesis for important informational purposes.  
These people will be discussed in a later post.)
 
Thus the math and the numerical symbolism are perfect.  Jacob led 15 + 55 = 
70 Hebrews into Egypt, per the original version of chapter 46 of Genesis.  We 
have information about all 55 of Jacob’s grandsons.  Jacob’s ages in Egypt are 
15 + 55 = 70, and that’s the same formula for how many Hebrews Jacob is 
treated as leading into Egypt in chapter 46 of Genesis:  15 older Hebrews (Jacob 
and 12 blood sons and 2 adopted sons) + 55 grandsons = 70 Hebrews.
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois




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