Textual Issue (sample)

1 Sam 1:24, 'three bulls' v. 'a three-year-old bull'

Synopsis

A rendering similar to 'with a three-year-old bull' (based on 4QSama, Septuagint, and Peshitta) is preferred to MT's 'with three bulls.' 4QSama (in part) with LXX and Syr (in particular) reflect בפר משלש 'with a three-year-old calf/bull,' which is preferred to MT בפרים שלשה 'with three calves/bulls,' the result of reading mem as the plural suffix of פר rather than the derivational prefix of שלש. As commentator P. Kyle McCarter explains, the mem has been "grouped with the wrong word" in MT (1 Samuel, 56-57). The HOTTP Committee also recommended בפר משלש 'with a three-year-old bull.' NASB, NIV, NLT and some other modern translations likewise render בפר משלש 'with a three-year-old bull' on the weight of 4QSama, LXX, and Syr.
Grp Source Reading Retroversion Gloss V TRV Variant Classes Comments
a MT בְּפָרִ֤ים שְׁלֹשָׁה֙ - with three bulls - - פַּר 'bullock, bull, or steer'; may or may not be indicative of animal's relative age (cf. HALOT)
a Targ בְתוֹרִין תְלָתָא בפרים שלשה with three bullocks NV -
a Vulg in vitulis tribus בפרים שלשה with three bullocks NV - vitulus 'calf'
b 4QSam\a בפר בן ]בקר משלש [with a bull ca]lf three-years-old V TRV Word division in addition to the difference of word division there is a partially reconstructed plus, בן בקר, in 4QSama. 'Bullock' is also reconstructed but the word division variant itself is explicitly indicated by the extant משלש .
b LXX ἐν μόσχῳ τριετίζοντι בפר משלש with a three-year-old bullock V TRV Word division μόσχος 'calf, young bull' so possible gloss 'with a three-year-old calf'
b Syr ܒܬܘܪܐ ܬܘܠܬܐ בפר משלש with a three-year-old bullock V TRV Word division *add morph. info for Syr. Driver (1913, 20) is particularly clear, even giving the pointed Hebrew Vorlage, the equivalent of 'with a three-year-old bull.

TRV = a translatable variant / variation, a difference from MT that is distinguishable in translation.

Grp Ref Pages Ref. Argument Ref. Conclusion CTP Comments
1 BHS Q בקר משלש ולחם […, G ἐν μόσχῳ τριετίζοντι καὶ ἄρτοις cf L93.94, S btwr˒ twlt˒ information: Q & G with OL and Syr agree (allowing for some differences) against MT OL 93,94 could be added to CTP textual evidence
2 HPR Vol. 2, 148 Factor 12 scribal error; certainty B decision: בפר משלש, transl. 'with a three-year-old bull
2 BHK 406 l c G בפר משלש decision: בפר משלש , as in LXX
2 McCarter, 1 Samuel 56-57 In MT, the m has been "grouped with the wrong word." LXX and Syr reflect בפר משלש; whereas 4QSama is [similar but] expansive (cf. Lev 4:3; etc.). decision: בפר משלש since MT "shows a simple corruption"
2 Driver, Notes on Samuel 20 "…(cf. Gen 15:9): no doubt correctly, for (1) the order בפרים שלשה is very unusual [footnote indicates that it is, however, possible]: (2) only one פר is spoken of in v. 25. The change is really only one in the grouping of letters…." [continues to point out that the yod of the plural and the final mem are later orthography (eg. Siloam Inscription: החצבמ = pl.), argues further that LXX Vorlage often reflects earlier orthography than MT]. decision: LXX and Syr "no doubt" reflect the correct text. Driver gives the Vorlage of LXX and Syr with vowel points: בְּפַר מְשֻׁלָּשׁ .
3 Keil & Delitzsch Vol. 2, 380 'The bull' in v. 25 seems to contrast with 'three bulls' in v. 24. The definite article of 'the bull' (present in Hebrew) can be viewed as unproblematic since the audience would have known that only one bull would be sacrificed. The others represent other offerings. decision?: MT can be read and understood as it is. It is not clear that this represents a textual decision, per se, as there is no mention of LXX or other textual evidence. Thus we mark it as 'decision?' Still MT is (at least indirectly) supported.
Grp Trans. Eng. Rend. [or Gloss] [Other Lang. Rend.] Marginal Note Other Note C TC Comments
n KJV And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young. NC -
n LSR And she took him up with her, when she had weaned him, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and she brought him unto the house of the Lord at Shiloh; although the child was yet young. NC -
n RV And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of meal, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young. The Sept. and Syriac have 'a bullock of three years old' NC -
n ASV And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of meal, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of Jehovah in Shiloh: and the child was young. NC -
n JPS And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of meal, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh; and the child was young. NC -
o JM Then, after waaning him, she took him with her, along with a three-year-old bullock, a bushel of flour, and a bottle of wine; she entered the house of the Eternal at Shilo, accompanied by the boy. C TC
o AT And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull and about five pecks of flour and a skin of wine; and she came to the house of the LORD in Shiloh, accompanied by the child. "Three-year-old," so LXX and Syr.; Heb. "three bulls" contrary to context and corrupted by a wrong word division. C TC-n
o RSV And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull,[b] an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine; and she brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh; and the child was young. b Gk Syr: Heb three bulls C TC-n
o JB When she had weaned him, she took him up with her together with a three-year old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the temple of Yahweh at Shiloh; and the child was with them. C TC
o NEB and when she had weaned him, she took him up with her. She took also a bull three years old, an ephah of meal, and a flagon of wine, and she brought him, child as he was, into the house of the LORD at Shiloh. a bull … old: so Sept.; Heb. three bulls. בפר משלש > בפרים שלשה with Sept. C TC-n
o NAB Once he was weaned, she brought him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and presented him at the temple of the LORD in Shiloh. (gemalattu) bepar meshullash; cf 4QSam\a, LXX C TC-n
o NASB Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh, although the child was young. C TC
o TEV After she had weaned him, she took him to Shiloh, taking along a three-year-old bull, a bushel of flour, and a leather bag full of wine. She took Samuel, young as he was, to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. Some ancient translations a three-year-old bull; Hebrew three bulls. C TC-n
o NIV After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint and Syriac; Masoretic Text with three bulls C TC-n
n NKJV Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh. And the child was young. Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, and Syriac read [a three-year-old bull]. NC -
n NJPS When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a jar of wine. And though the boy was still very young, she brought him to the House of the LORD at Shiloh. Septuagint and 4QSam\a read a three-year-old bull (cf. Gen. 15.9) and bread. NC -
o NJB When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, as well as a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and took him into the temple of Yahweh at Shiloh; the child was very young. 'a three-year-old bull' Gk, Syr.; 'three bulls' Hebr.; but see v. 25. C TC-n
o NRSV When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh; and the child was young. Q Ms Gk Syr: MT three bulls C TC-n
o REB When she had weaned him, she took him up with her. She took also a bull three years old, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him, child as he was, into the house of the LORD at Shiloh. a bull ... old: so Gk; Heb. three bulls. C TC-n
o CEV 24-25 When it was the time of year to go to Shiloh again, Hannah and Elkanah took Samuel to the LORD's house. They brought along a three-year-old bull,[j] a twenty-pound sack of flour, and a clay jar full of wine. Hannah and Elkanah offered the bull as a sacrifice, then brought the little boy to Eli. j 1.24,25 a three-year-old bull: The Dead Sea Scrolls and two ancient translations; the Standard Hebrew Text "three bulls." C TC-n
o NLT When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine. As in Dead Sea Scrolls, Greek and Syriac versions; Masoretic Text reads three bulls. C TC-n
o ESV And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. And the child was young. Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Syriac; Masoretic Text three bulls C TC-n
n NET Once she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with three bulls, an ephah of flour, and a container of wine. She brought him to the LORD's house at Shiloh, even though he was young. NC -
o TNIV After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint and Syriac; Masoretic Text with three bulls C TC-n
o ISV Then, when she had weaned him, she brought him up with her to Shiloh, along with a three-year-old bull,[26] a half-bushel of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh, and the boy was young. 26 1:24 So LXX and DSS; The meaning of MT is uncertain. C TC-n

Description

Where MT has בְּפָרִ֤ים שְׁלֹשָׁה֙ ‘with three bulls’ the scroll reads בפר בן ]בקר משלש] ‘[with a bull ca]lf three years old.’ The partially reconstructed plus בן בקר ‘calf’ is unique to the scroll, and none of the ETs reflect this longer reading, which McCarter refers to as expansive (1980, 56-57). Several English translations reflect the same text as the scroll in בפר … ]… משלש] ‘[with] a three-year-old [bull],’ a text also reflected by LXX and Syr. In its essence, the variant in focus involves a difference of word division. Without matres lectionis (which came into use in later orthography) and without word breaks (which can be unclear in manuscripts, even if present) we have the series בפרמשלש (final forms of specific letters also developed relatively late, so an original final mem should not be presumed). In MT the mem is the last letter of the first word (בפרמ שלש, hence בְּפָרִ֤ים שְׁלֹשָׁה֙ 'with three bulls'), while in the scroll (cf. LXX and Syr) the mem is the first letter of the second word (בפר משלש 'with a three-year-old bull', where משלש is a Pual ptc.).

Evaluation

While it is possible to read MT's 'three bulls,' a contextual difficulty is created in v. 25, where 'the bull' (definite and singular) is sacrificed. What became of the other two? On textual grounds, the best explanation of all extant forms would begin with בפר משלש as original, to which בן בקר was added (thus the scroll's בפר בן בקר משלש), and which was read as בפרם שלש (change of word division) and filled out orthographically in MT בפרים שלשה. The Vorlage of LXX (cf. Syr) thus seems to reflect the best reading.

Common Text

בְּפַר מְשֻׁלָּשׁ (Pp בְּ ncmsa פַּר; vpPmsa שׁלשׁ) 'with a three-year-old bull'
Textual Evidence
4QSama Cross, Frank M., Jr., Donald W. Parry, Richard J. Saley, and Eugene Ulrich. 2005. Qumran Cave 4.XII: 1 and 2 Samuel, DJD XVII. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Ulrich, Eugene, ed. 2010. The Biblical Qumran Scrolls: Transcriptions and Textual Variants. Vetus Testamentum, Supplements, 134. Leiden: Brill.

LXX Rahlfs, A., ed. 1935. Septuaginta, id est Vetus Testamentum graece iuxta LXX interpretes. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.

Septuaginta, Vetus Testamentum graecum auctoritate academiae scientiarum gottingensis editum. 1931-. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

MT Freedman, David Noel, ed. 1998. The Leningrad Codex: A Facsimile Edition. Grand Rapids / Leiden: Eerdmans / Brill.

Syr Jenner, K. D., and Arie van der Kooij, eds. 1966-. The Old Testament in Syriac according to the Peshitta Version. Leiden: Brill.
Targ The Aramaic Targums according to Cohen, Menachem, ed. 1992-. Mikra'ot Gedolot 'Haketer'. Ramat-Gan: Bar Ilan University (as reproduced in the database of the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon Project) with variants from Sperber, Alexander, ed. 1959-73. The Bible in Aramaic: Based on Old Manuscripts and Printed Texts. 4 in 5 vols. Leiden: Brill.
Vulg Weber, R., ed. 1994. Biblia Sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem. 4th ed. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
Published Evaluations
BHK Kittel, R., and P. Kahle, eds. 1937/62. Biblia Hebraica. 3/7 ed. Stuttgart: Württembergische Bibelanstalt.
BHS Elliger, K., and W. Rudolph, eds. 1967/77, 1983. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
Driver, Notes on Samuel Driver, S. R. 1913. Notes on the Hebrew Text and the Topography of the Books of Samuel; with an Introduction on Hebrew Palaeography and the Ancient Versions and Facsimiles of Inscriptions and Maps. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
HPR Barthélemy, Dominique, et al. 1979-1980. Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project / Compte rendu préliminaire et provisoire sur le travail d'analyse textuelle de l'Ancien Testament hébreu. 5 vols. New York, N.Y.: United Bible Societies.
Keil & Delitzsch Keil, C. F. and F. Delitzsch. 1866-91. Commentary on the Old Testament. 10 vols. Peabody, Mass. (repr. 2006): Hendrickson Publishers.
McCarter, 1 Samuel McCarter, P. Kyle, Jr. 1980. 1 Samuel: A New Translation with Introduction, Notes and Commentary. The Anchor Bible, 8. New York, N.Y.: Doubleday.
Modern Translations
KJV 1611 The Authorized Version / King James Version (London)
LSR 1853 The Twenty-Four Books of the Holy Scriptures, trans. by Isaac Leeser (New York)
RV 1885 The Revised Version (Oxford / Cambridge)
ASV 1901 American Standard Version (Nashville)
JPS 1917 The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text (Philadelphia / New York)
JM 1924 A New Translation of the Bible, trans. by James Moffatt (London / New York)
AT 1931 An American Translation (Chicago)
RSV 1952 Revised Standard Version (London / Glasgow)
JB 1966 The Jerusalem Bible (London)
NEB 1970 The New English Bible (Oxford / Cambridge)
NAB 1970 The New American Bible (New York / London)
NASB 1971 New American Standard Bible (Carol Stream)
TEV 1976 Good News Bible / Today's English Version (New York)
NIV 1978 New International Version (Grand Rapids)
NKJV 1982 The New King James Version (Nashville)
NJB 1985 The New Jerusalem Bible (London)
NJPS 1985 Tanakh, The New JPS Translation (Philadelphia)
REB 1989 The Revised English Bible (Oxford / Cambridge)
NRSV 1989 New Revised Standard Version (New York / Oxford)
CEV 1995 Contemporary English Version (New York)
NLT 1996 New Living Translation (Wheaton)
ESV 2001 English Standard Version (Wheaton)
NET 2004 New English Translation (Richardson)
TNIV 2005 Today's New International Version (Colorado Springs)
ISV 2009 International Standard Version (Paramount CA)