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In this week’s reading, the opening verses to the book of Exodus say the following, וְאֵ֗לֶּה שְׁמוֹת֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל הַבָּאִ֖ים מִצְרָ֑יְמָה אֵ֣ת יַעֲקֹ֔ב אִ֥ישׁ וּבֵית֖וֹ בָּֽאוּ׃ These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each coming with his household: 2 רְאוּבֵ֣ן שִׁמְע֔וֹן לֵוִ֖י וִיהוּדָֽה׃ Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; 3 יִשָּׂשכָ֥ר זְבוּלֻ֖ן וּבְנְיָמִֽן׃ Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; 4 דָּ֥ן וְנַפְתָּלִ֖י גָּ֥ד וְאָשֵֽׁר׃ Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5 וַֽיְהִ֗י כָּל־נֶ֛פֶשׁ יֹצְאֵ֥י יֶֽרֶךְ־יַעֲקֹ֖ב שִׁבְעִ֣ים נָ֑פֶשׁ וְיוֹסֵ֖ף הָיָ֥ה בְמִצְרָֽיִם׃ The total number of persons that were of Jacob’s issue came to seventy, Joseph being already in Egypt. 6 וַיָּ֤מָת יוֹסֵף֙ וְכָל־אֶחָ֔יו וְכֹ֖ל הַדּ֥וֹר הַהֽוּא׃ Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation. 7 וּבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל פָּר֧וּ וַֽיִּשְׁרְצ֛וּ וַיִּרְבּ֥וּ וַיַּֽעַצְמ֖וּ בִּמְאֹ֣ד מְאֹ֑ד וַתִּמָּלֵ֥א הָאָ֖רֶץ אֹתָֽם׃ (פ) But the Israelites were fertile and prolific; they multiplied and increased very greatly, so that the land was filled with them. 8 וַיָּ֥קָם מֶֽלֶךְ־חָדָ֖שׁ עַל־מִצְרָ֑יִם אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־יָדַ֖ע אֶת־יוֹסֵֽף׃ A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph. Reading through these Scriptures, we are told the total number of persons entering into Egypt were 70 persons. Taking this into consideration, we read in the book of Acts 7:14 which states that “Joseph sent word and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all.” This seems to contradict what we read in Bereshit / Genesis 46:27, Shemot / Exodus 1:5, and Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:22, which all say it was 70 persons. I have run into anti-missionaries who say this is why the NT is not to be trusted and Yeshua is not the Messiah. The question is, what accounts for this difference between the Apostolic Writings and the Masoretic text? The difference is found in the Septuagint, a Jewish translation from the third century B.C., made for diaspora Jews in Egypt whose language was Greek and who no longer understood Hebrew. Later, the early Christian Church adopted the Septuagint as divinely inspired and this version became the basis of the Latin translation known as the Vulgate. The conclusion is Stephen was quoting from the Septuagint when speaking to the Sanhedrin in Acts chapter 7. Was the Septuagint however read in the synagogues of the first century? Based on some NT references (not shown), the synagogue service included the Hebrew Scriptures. However, the Jews did use the Septuagint for studying the scriptures outside the Synagogue services. For the Jewish people whose first language was Greek (such as in Alexandria and people like Stephen in the New Testament), the Greek text was most likely their principle Bible…

 

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