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

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Jan 23 11:02:42 EST 2008

Oun Kwon:
Here is the Septuagint version of Genesis 46:21:
“And the sons of Benjamin;  Bala, and Bochor, and Asbel.  And the sons of 
 Bala were Gera, and Noeman, and Anchis, and Ros, and Mamphim.  And Gera 
begot Arad.”
1.  Arad is there, being the last name.  The Septuagint treats Arad as being 
a great-grandson of Benjamin, being the son of Benjamin’s grandson Gera, who 
in turn is the son of Benjamin’s son Bala.  However, I myself go with the 
Masoretic text and see all of Benjamin’s listed descendants as being Benjamin’s 
sons.  The confusion here is that the Hebrew word for “sons” can alternatively 
mean “male descendants” or “descendants” (or “son” or “children”, etc.).
2.  Huppim is not on this list in the Septuagint.  Huppim has been left off 
by the editor of the Septuagint.  That was done because otherwise, once one 
added Joseph’s 2 younger sons (based on the reference to 9 total descendants of 
Joseph at Genesis 46: 27 in the Septuagint, with the other 7 descendants, by 
Manasseh and Ephraim, being named in the Septuagint), there would be 76 names, 
even not counting Jacob.  By dropping Huppim, there are now 74 names, including 
Jacob, and 73 names, excluding Jacob.  73 + 2 unnamed younger sons of Joseph 
= 75 Hebrews led by Jacob into Egypt, per the editor of the Septuagint, who in 
my view changed the original bottom line total of 70 to the new total of 75.
In fact, in the original text Jacob led an older group of 15 Hebrews, plus 
all 55 of Jacob’s grandchildren, into Egypt, for a total of 70 Hebrews.  There 
are 75 names in the original text of chapter 46 of Genesis, and the four 
interior subtotals add to 75.  But in my view, the bottom line count of 70 Hebrews 
does not include Jacob’s two listed female descendants or any of Jacob’s 
listed great-grandsons.  In my controversial view of the case, only Jacob’s 
grandsons, not female descendants or great-grandsons, were counted in getting to the 
key number of 70.  Unfortunately, neither the editor of the Masoretic text, 
nor the editor of the Septuagint, realized that, so each such editor changed the 
text in order to “correct” a perceived numerical error.  But in fact there 
was no numerical error in the original.  It’s just that in counting to 70, it’
s 15 + 55 = 70.  That means all 55 of Jacob’s grandsons are included, but no 
listed female descendants or great-grandsons of Jacob should be included in the 
count of 70.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois  

**************Start the year off right.  Easy ways to stay in shape.     

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