A Body You Have Clothed Me With
James Scott Trimm
One passage in which the “New Testament” is said to quote the Greek Septuagint is in Hebrews 10:5-6:
5 Concerning therefore His coming into the world it is said, Sacrifice and offering You do not desire, but a body, You have prepared for Me.
6 Burnt offering and sin offering, You do not ask for.
7 Then it said, Behold I come. For in the roll of the book it is written of Me. I will do Your will, Elohi,
(Heb. 10:5-7 HRV)
This passage is quoting from Psalms were we read in the Masoretic Text:
7 (40:6) Sacrifice and meal-offering You have no delight in: ears you have cut for me; burnt-offering and sin-offering have You not required.
8 (40:7) Then said I, Behold, I am come in the roll of the book, it is written of me.
(Psalm 40:7-8 (6-7) HRV)
Where the Masoretic Text has “ears you have cut for me” the Greek Septuagint has “a body you have clothed me with”. The Munster Hebrew text of Hebrews has “a body you have prepared for me” and the Aramaic Peshitta has “a body you have clothed me with” where they quote this passage in Heb. 10:5.
Is Hebrews quoting the Greek Septuagint, or is it quoting a (now lost) first century Hebrew text which agreed with the Septuagint in this verse?
Support for this idea comes from a surprising place indeed, the Zohar. In the Zohar we read:
THIS is the Book of the generations of Adam. In the day that Alhim created man, in the likeness of Alhim made he him.” (Gen. v., 1.) Said Rabbi Isaac: “The Holy One showed Adam the forms and features of his descendants that should appear in the world after him, and of the sages and kings who should rule over Israel. He also made known to him, that the life and reign of David would be of short duration. Then said Adam to the Holy One, ‘let seventy years of my earthly existence be taken and granted to the life of David.’ This request was granted, otherwise Adam’s life would have attained to a thousand years. This was the reason that David said: ‘For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work; I will triumph in the work of thine hands (Ps. xcii., 5), for thou hast filled me with joy in prolonging the days of my life. ‘It was thy own act and wish,’ said the Holy One, ‘when thou wast incarnated as Adam, the work of my hands and not of flesh and blood.’ Amongst the wise men and sages that should appear on the earth, Adam rejoiced greatly on beholding the form of Rabbi Akiba who would become distinguished by his great knowledge of the secret doctrine. On seeing, however, as in a vision, his martyrdom and cruel death, Adam became exceedingly sad and said: ‘Thine eyes beheld me ere I was clothed in a body and all things are written in thy book; each day hath its events that shall come to pass, are therein to be found.’ Observe that the book of the generations of Adam was that which the Holy One through the angel Rosiel, guardian of the great mysteries and secret doctrine, gave unto Adam whilst yet in the garden of Eden.
(Zohar 1:55a-55b as translated in The Sepher Ha-Zohar or the Book of Light; By Nurho de Manhar; p. 234-235; 1900-14)
Here the Zohar is also clearly alluding to Psalm 40:7-8 (6-7)… but with a reading that also agrees with the Septuagint against the Masoretic Text. Is the author of the Zohar quoting the Septuagint? Is he seeking to support the reading of the book of Hebrews against the Masoretic Text? Or is it possible that the ancient author of the Zohar was also holding a Hebrew text of Psalm 49:7-8 (6-7) that agreed with the Septuagint. This one passages supports both the Hebrew/Aramaic origin of Hebrews as well as the ancient origin of the text of the Zohar.
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