Re: Deut 32:8 LXX

Date: Mon Aug 23 1999 - 23:32:21 EDT

In a message dated 8/23/99 12:39:43 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

<< Both Rahlfs and BHS (apparatus) show the LXX reading AGGELWN QEOU in
 Deut 32:8. My question is, where did Shanks get his reading? The
 apparatus in Rahlfs is not very extensive. If someone has access to a
 critical edition of Deut LXX could you look it up and see if there is
 any support for Shanks' reading?
 Clay >>

Dear Clay:

The Gottingen volume for Deuteronomy has hUIWN QEOU in Deut. 32:8. You
mentioned Shank's reference to one "tiny scrap" from Cave 4 that supports
this reading, but actually there are two fragments from Qumran Cave 4, 4QDtq
and 4QDtj, which support this reading.

As for which reading is correct, I believe Paul Sanders (The Provenance of
Deuteronomy 32 [OTS 37; Leiden: Brill, 1996], 157) provides credible
reasoning for accepting the Gottingen's reading. He highlights M. Lana's
observation that the reading of MT in Deuteronomy 32:8b "does not make good
sense. In the Hebrew Bible the expression bny ysr'l ['sons of Israel'] always
designates the people of Israel. The expression does not refer to a fixed
number (mspr ['number,' as used in De 32:8b]) of sons of Jacob."

That the expression "sons of God" does indeed refer to lesser divine beings
can be seen by considering the arguments and historical analyses contained in
the following sources: Marvin Hope, Job (AB 15; New York: Doubleday, 1965);
L. Koehler and W. Baumgartner, Lexicon in Veteris Testimenti Libros (Leiden:
Brill, 1985), 134 (who define bny 'elhm as "[individual] divine beings,
gods"); Gerald Cooke, "The Sons of (the) God(s)," ZAW 76 (1964), 36; E.
Theodore Mullen, Jr., The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew
Literature, ed. Frank Moore Cross, Jr. (HSM 24; n.p.: Scholars Press, 1986
[1980]), 236 (see especially pages 116-120, 175-244, 274-277); and H. W. F.
Gesenius, Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, trans. A. E. Cowley (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1910), 418, sec. 128, V, who writes:

"There is another use of ben ['son'] or bny ['sons'] to denote membership in
a guild or society (or of a tribe, and any definite class). Thus bny 'lhm
['sons of God'] bny ha- 'lhm ['sons of (the) God'] Gn 6:2, 4, Jb 1:6, 2:1,
38:7 . . . properly means not sons of god(s), but beings of the class of

That is why Jehovah is regularly referred to in the OT as "the God of gods"
(De 10:17; Ps 136:2; Da 11:36).

Best Regards,

Greg Stafford

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