On Wikipedia, I read that the texts from Exodus in the Dead Sea scrolls contain some differences from the canonical version. However, I couldn't find them online. Can someone give me a few examples?

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it appears to be a request for references. Aug 20 '15 at 3:57
  • There are several questions on this topic in the "Biblical hermeneutics" room. Perhaps you would like to have a look there.
    – fdb
    Aug 20 '15 at 7:34

Asking for references is off topic.

There are substantial differences in ancient manuscripts and modern received texts of the Pentateuch. It is not a question of one or two "passages". There are different competing readings throughout all the books and they are extensive. I have examined photostatic fragments of some of the scrolls and minor differences from the received text are present in virtually every stanza.

In most cases the differences are just spelling and grammar variants, but in some cases the meaning may be different in some way. The questions of differences in readings can be quite problematic for the non-specialist. Politically there is self-censorship and few scholars are willing to publish readings that vary from the accepted meanings. The problem is complex because in many cases spellings can be exact but the meaning is different according to vowel pronunciations which may or may not be present as diacritics.

As just one example of this, a complete and intact text of the Book of Enoch was discovered at Qumran and in addition there is a very old Greek papyrus fragment of Enoch (Oxyrhynchus 2069), yet no published work dares to provide readings from these manuscripts.

An easy way to get a sense for the differences is to read the Samaritan Pentateuch which is published in English and is closer to the Qumran texts than the Masoretic text. As just one example from the Ten Commandments, Exodus 34:20,

Samaritan Text:

You shall redeem the blood of all your first-born sons.

Masoretic Text (and Septuagint):

You shall redeem all your first-born sons. [The word ADM (blood) is missing]

Originally, the blood was the sacrificial commodity, being drained from the body of the person or animal being sacrificed. In the Masoretic text, the word "blood" was deleted to try to hide this fact, but in the Samaritan text the word was never removed.

  • 6
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, and -1. ADM does not mean "blood," but "human." And even if we were to suppose that here it means "blood," it would be wrongly placed; the Samaritan text has וכל בכור אדם, while to mean "the blood of the firstborn" it would have to be וכל (א)דם בכור. If that's your idea of "scholarship" as it relates to the Samaritan text, I shudder to think what kind of "scholarship" you would bring to the readings of the Qumran texts.
    – user438
    Aug 19 '15 at 21:15
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    @RenéG You can see from the comment above the problem. Anyone who deviates from accepted readings gets immediately attacked and censored. The comment from "user438" is just a small taste of what anyone who tries to publish such readings will endure. (Concerning the comment itself, ADM means "blood"; although the word is sometimes used as a metaphor for a human being or a man, in this context it has its more fundamental meaning, which is simply blood. If the meaning had innocently been "man" (which makes no sense), the editors of the Masoretic text would not have felt compelled to delete it.) Aug 19 '15 at 21:48
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    @user438 is right. Tyler does not know Hebrew and is not qualified to comment on this sort of thing.
    – fdb
    Aug 19 '15 at 23:27
  • 2
    I am not talking about academic qualifications. I am talking about linguistic competence.
    – fdb
    Aug 20 '15 at 7:33
  • 3
    Funny how those same "editors of the Masoretic text" had no problem leaving in the word ADM in Exodus 13:13, then. (If anything, more likely the Samaritan text added it in 34:20 for parallelism.) And no, ADM does not, as you claim, "mean blood" and is only "sometimes used as a metaphor for a human being or a man." Should Genesis 1:26 then be translated, "Let us make blood in our image"? Or 2:5, "and there was no blood to work the ground"? You're probably confusing it with the word DM. I've often wondered why you get downvoted so much, and now I see why; it's called invincible ignorance.
    – user438
    Aug 20 '15 at 16:58

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