Re: Isaiah 45:19 (also Isaiah 7:14 in Mt 1:23)

From: Larry Swain (
Date: Sun Sep 06 1998 - 11:32:07 EDT

On Sat, 5 Sep 1998, Benjamin Raymond wrote:

> Speaking of LXX variants, I came across something last night in Matthew's
> quotation from Isaiah 7:14 which puzzles me. The author is apparently
> quoting the LXX, but uses KALESOUSIN rather than KALESEIS. My NA27 text
> shows -SEIS appearing only in D (pauci), Bohairic MSS, Origen, and Eusebius.
> Now where did Matthew get the 3rd plural reading? The author uses -SEIS in
> 1:21, so why not in 1:23? Luke's reference is a less reliant on the LXX,
> but the author uses -SEIS in Luke 1:31 just the same. I'm not much good
> with Hebrew at this point, but my Logos BHS has tagged WeQaRa'T as 3rd
> singular (hope my transliteration of that is clear enough). There is,
> however, a variant reading WQR' in my 1983 BHS if someone can help with the
> person and number on it.
> Now I highly doubt that Matthew had an early draft of the Computensian
> Polyglot in front of him. Anyone have an idea where the 3rd plural reading
> in Matthew 1:23 originated? Or even a later source for the Complutensis?

There are three possibilities.

1) This is a textual variant to which Matthew is the only surviving
witness. Possible but of course uoltimately unprovable. But it is a
possibility that must be entertained here.

2) "Scribal" error, although not quite in the way I think you mean. The
author of Matthew could simply have gotten the ending wrong-we see this in
a lot of writings and quotations-close but not quite exact.

3) The possibility that Matthew changed the ending to underscore his
theological point. Although I think the "they" is more likely those whose
sins are forgiven in the preceeding verses rather than a more general

Larry Swain

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