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

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Jan 22 11:18:06 EST 2008


Here is the same text as set forth in my previous post, which I believe was 
the original version of Genesis 46: 8-27.  I have now added my comments (mostly 
numerical comments) in brackets.
 
[Leah’s group of 33]
“8 And these are the names of the children of Israel, who came into Egypt, 
Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob's first-born. 9 And the sons of Reuben: 
Hanoch, and Pallu, and Hezron, and Carmi. 10 And the sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and 
Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman. 
11 And the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 And the sons of 
Judah: Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Perez, and Zerah; but Er and Onan died in the 
land of Canaan. And the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. 13 And the sons 
of Issachar: Tola, and Puvah, and Iob, and Shimron. 14 And the sons of 
Zebulun: Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel. 15 These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore 
unto Jacob in Paddan-aram, with his daughter Dinah; all the souls of his sons 
and his daughters were thirty and three.”
 
[Leah’s group of 33 consists of:  (i)  Jacob;  (ii) the 6 sons that Leah 
bore;  (iii) 23 grandsons of Jacob by Leah’s 6 blood sons;  (iv)  2 
great-grandsons of Jacob by Judah/Perez;  and (v) Jacob’s daughter Dinah.  1 + 6 + 23 + 2 + 
1 = 33.]
 
[Number of Jacob’s grandsons in Leah’s group:  23.]
 
[Zilpah’s group of 16]
“16 And the sons of Gad: Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and 
Arodi, and Areli. 17 And the sons of Asher: Imnah, and Ishvah, and Ishvi, and 
Beriah, and Serah their sister; and the sons of Beriah: Heber, and Malchiel. 18 
These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she 
bore unto Jacob, even sixteen souls.” 
 
[Zilpah’s group of 16 consists of:  (i) Zilpah’s 2 blood sons;  (ii) 11 
grandsons of Jacob by Zilpah’s blood sons;  (iii) 1 granddaughter of Jacob by 
Asher/Beriah;  and (iv) 2 great-grandsons of Jacob by Asher/Beria.  2 + 11 + 1 + 2 
= 16.]
 
[Number of Jacob’s grandsons in Zilpah’s group:  11.]
 
[Rachel’s group of 19]
“19 The sons of Rachel Jacob's wife: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 And unto Joseph 
in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath the daughter 
of Poti-phera priest of On bore unto him.  And there were sons born to 
Manasseh, which the Syrian concubine bore to him, …Machir [and] Galaad.  And the 
sons of Ephraim, the brother of Manasseh:   Sutalaam, and Taam.  And the sons of 
Sutalaam:  Edom.  21 And the sons of Benjamin: Bela, and Becher, and Ashbel, 
Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard. 22 These are the 
sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob;  all the souls were [nineteen].” 
 
[Rachel’s group of 19, which is where most all the various controversies are, 
consists of:  (i) Jacob’s 2 blood sons, Joseph and Benjamin;  (ii) Jacob’s 2 
adopted sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, who are treated as being Jacob’s sons for 
all purposes, and not as being Jacob’s grandsons;  (iii)  the 4 sons of Jacob’
s adopted sons Manasseh and Ephraim (per the Septuagint names at Genesis 46: 
20, and as confirmed at Genesis 50: 23;  Manasseh is treated as having two 
sons, instead of (per the Septuagint version of Genesis 46: 20) one son and one 
grandson);  such four sons of Jacob’s adopted sons Manasseh and Ephraim are 
Jacob’s grandsons;  (iv) Ephraim’s 1 grandson, per the Septuagint (who is a 
great-grandson of Jacob);  and (v)  Jacob’s 10 grandsons by Benjamin (including 
Huppim, who is left out of the Septuagint;  note that I follow the Masoretic 
text in seeing most listed descendants as being sons of Jacob’s sons, not 
grandsons of Jacob’s sons).  2 + 2 + 4 + 1 + 10 = 19.
 
[Note who is not counted in this group of Rachel’s 19 descendants.  First and 
foremost, not counted in this group of 19 people are Joseph’s 2 younger sons 
(who are grandsons of Jacob).  The existence of these 2 younger sons of Joseph 
is shown mathematically by Genesis 46: 27 from the Septuagint below, and is 
confirmed textually by Genesis 48: 6.  Also not included are Joseph’s Egyptian 
wife and Joseph’s Egyptian priestly father-in-law, each of whose names 
appears, but who are not descendants of Jacob.]
 
[Number of Jacob’s grandsons in Rachel’s group, but this time including 
Joseph’s 2 younger sons who will be referenced mathematically below:  16.]
 
[Bilhah’s group of 7]
“23 And the sons of Dan: Hushim. 24 And the sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel, and 
Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem. 25 These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave 
unto Rachel his daughter, and these she bore unto Jacob; all the souls were 
seven.”
 
[Bilhah’s group of 7 consists of (i) Bilhah’s 2 blood sons, and (ii) 5 
grandsons of Jacob by Bilhah’s blood sons.  2 + 5 = 7.]
 
[Number of Jacob’s grandsons in Bilhah’s group:  5.]
 
[Total number of Jacob’s grandsons, including Joseph’s 2 unborn sons:  23 + 
11 + 16 + 5 = 55.]
 
“26 All the souls belonging to Jacob that came into Egypt, that came out of 
his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were threescore and six 
[that is, 66]. 27 And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in the land of 
Egypt, were nine souls[.  A]ll the souls of the house of Jacob, that came into 
Egypt, were threescore and ten [that is, 70].”
 
[As to the number 66, which appears in both the Masoretic text and the 
Septuagint, from the 75 names in the original text, subtract Jacob, subtract Joseph, 
and subtract the 7 named descendants of Joseph (that is, Manasseh, Ephraim, 
and their 5 named descendants).  75 – 1 – 1 – 7 = 66.  Thus the number of 
people treated as coming with Jacob into Egypt, excluding Jacob himself, and 
excluding Joseph and Joseph’s family who were already in Egypt, is 66.  On my 
controversial theory of the case, the number 66 is computed on a different basis 
than the bottom line number 70.  The number 66 is based on the names set forth 
in chapter 46 of Genesis, and includes people such as Dinah, one named 
granddaughter of Jacob, and named great-grandsons of Jacob.  But the number 70, by 
contrast, rigorously excludes everyone except Jacob, Jacob’s 14 sons (including 
his two adopted sons), and Jacob’s 55 grandsons.]
 
[The number 9 in the Septuagint confirms that Joseph had exactly 2 younger 
sons, who were born after Jacob came to Egypt.  Rachel’s group above lists 7 
descendants of Joseph in the Septuagint, namely Manasseh, Ephraim, 2 sons of 
Manasseh, 2 sons of Ephraim, and 1 grandson of Ephraim.  The 2 “missing” 
descendants of Joseph then must be Joseph’s 2 younger sons, referenced here 
mathematically, and referenced textually at Genesis 48: 3.]
 
[The text does not tell us to add 66 and 9.  But those two numbers in two 
successive sentences do suggest the number 75.  In fact, there are 75 total names 
in this part of chapter 46 of Genesis, corresponding exactly to the four 
interior subtotals, as follows:  Leah’s 33 + Zilpah’s 16 + Rachel’s 19 (excluding 
Joseph’s unnamed two younger sons, but including Huppim and the 5 descendants 
of Manasseh and Ephraim named in the Septuagint) + Bilhah’s 7 = 75.  The 
number 75 is significant, because it ties into the fact that Abraham was stated 
age 75 “years”, in 6-month “years”, at the beginning of the Patriarchal 
narratives when Abraham left Harran on the way to Hebron.
 
All the numbers now work perfectly.  Good 33 for Leah.  Awkward 19 for 
Rachel.  A total of 75 names.  And most importantly, an older group of 15 people 
(Jacob, his 12 blood sons, and his 2 adopted sons), plus 55 grandsons = 70 
Hebrews that Jacob is treated as leading into Egypt in chapter 46 of Genesis.  These 
two groups, one of 15 people, and the other of 55 people, neatly correspond 
to  Joseph’s two ages in Egypt, which are ages 15 and 55, and which add up to 
70, the “Egyptian” number.  
 
All of the numbers, and the entire text of Genesis 46: 8-27, now make perfect 
sense, for the first time in 2,500 years.
 
In a later post, we can examine how and why the editor of the Masoretic text 
tried to “correct” this math, and how and why the editor of the Septuagint 
tried, in a different way, to “correct” this math.  But in my view, the text 
and math set forth above are the original version of this portion of the 
Patriarchal narratives. 
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois




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