There is a LOT of my Christian history that I do not know. How about you?
Sometimes I don’t understand all I know. I’ve been reading Jeremiah in the Masoretic Old Testament (it’s what most of us have in our bibles) and the Septuagint (it’s what the other side of the world has in theirs). The verses have run pretty much the same so far except for 5:10. Here is 5:10 from both versions:
Septuagint (LXX)- “Go upon her outer fortifications [Jerusalem] and tear them down, but do not ruin them completely. Leave the support foundations, for they belong to the Lord.”
Masoretic- “Go through her vineyards and ravage them, but do not destroy them completely. Strip off her branches, for these people do not belong to the LORD.”
The Septuagint, translated by 70 Jewish scholars in ~300 B.C, and the Masoretic, translated over 300 years from ~700 A.D. to 1054 A.D, had the same CIT (Central Idea of the Text), which was that a remnant would be left in order for Israel to start over. That’s hardly good news to the people of that day! I do believe that God had a hand in their protection during the Diaspora (their Dispersion into Babylon), but at the same time, we need to remember that the prophecy does not drive its fulfillment, but merely states what has been foreseen or foretold. Some of the survivors repented and followed the LORD. They were led back to Jerusalem after 70 years in captivity.
What I find interesting is that the Masoretic version has a much harsher tone than its sister text. “Strip off her branches, for these people do not belong to the LORD,” sounds very much like Paul in Romans 11:19-20, “You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.” Even then, Paul refers to a remnant of the people of Israel in verse 23, “And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.”
What conclusion can we draw from Jeremiah? The people’s unwillingness to follow the Lord caused their downfall (4:18, 5:3, 19, 23). May we not have the same attitude toward God. How so? By being unwilling to open up our minds and hearts to what the Spirit is saying to His churches (Revelation 2:7, 11,17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22). The word, “churches,” is plural because we need each other.
Abba, I learned about the Septuagint from a brother from another denomination. Thank You for enriching my life with a facet I didn’t even know existed in Your multi-faceted diamond of truth! It makes me wonder what else I don’t know… Show me, O Lord, and lead me into Your truth. “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). Amen.