Septuagint 250 BC: Goshen of Arabia
- The Septuagint (LXX) was translated in Alexandria, Egypt
around 250 BC.
- Referencing the time of Abraham to Jacob, the Septuagint
LXX, translates Gen 45:10; 46:34 as, "Goshen of Arabia". This is
used as proof that in 250 BC, well before Paul's time of writing Gal 4:25,
that everything east of the Nile, including the wilderness of Egypt (Sinai
Peninsula) was considered Arabia. It is suggested that the Septuagint
merely reflected the geographical understanding of the time.
- "You shall settle in the land of Goshen [of Arabia],
and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s
children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you
have." (Genesis 45:10)
- "you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of
livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our ancestors’—in
order that you may settle in the land of Goshen [of Arabia], because all
shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians.”" (Genesis 46:34)
- Considering many of the geographers of the time, like Herodotus:
484 BC, had no concept of the Sinai Peninsula or the Gulf of Aqaba,
the translators copied this error from their contemporary geographers. The
Holy Spirit did not make this mistake, and the works, "of
Arabia" are not in the original Hebrew text.
- No one actually believes that the Holy Spirit had the
phrase "Goshen of Arabia" in the original. We all understand it
was a textual gloss of the worse kind: Adding to the word of God something
that is factually untrue. The Septuagint translators added the words,
"of Arabia" because the maps of Herodotus, Hecataeus, Hesiod and
Hecataeus that they had before them were wrong.
- We couldn't find an English Bible that adds the words,
"of Arabia" proving that modern translators reject it.
- The Massoretic Hebrew text of the Old Testament (1000 AD)
does not add the words "of Arabia".
- The Romans renamed the Sinai Peninsula "Arabia"
only after 106 AD.
- "The degree of correspondence between the Septuagint
and the Hebrew Masoretic text varies greatly. In Genesis, the
correspondence is usually very close. In Job, not so close. There are many
places where the Septuagint departs from the Hebrew far more dramatically
than in Gen. 45:10 & 46:34. And in fact, some scholars argue that in
some instances where the Masoretic text and the Septuagint differ, the
Septuagint rather than the Masoretic text preserves the original meaning.
Seemingly not put off by the discrepancies in meaning between the Hebrew
text and the Septuagint, the New Testament writers quoted from the
Septuagint freely." (Jeff Smelser, NTGreek.net)
- "Region of Egypt which the Israelites inhabited
during their sojourn in that country. It is described as situated on the
eastern frontier of Lower Egypt (Gen. xlvi. 28, 29; Ex. xiii. 17; I Chron.
vii. 21), forming an outpost of it (Gen. xlvi. 34); apparently not at all
(or scantily) inhabited by Egyptians (ib.), but, in the estimation
of shepherds, evidently "the best of the land" (ib.
xlvii. 6,11), since Pharaoh's cattle grazed there (6). According to verse
11 "the land of Rameses" is synonymous
with "the land of Goshen." "Goshen" alone
(without the addition "land of") is used only in xlvi. 28, 29.
In these two verses it may designate a city, as the LXX. understands it,
which here renders "Goshen" by "Heroonpolis," adding
in verse 28 to "unto Goshen" the words "into the land of
Ramesses"; in xlv. 10 the LXX. transliterates
"Gesem of Arabia." This name "Arabia" means, in
Egyptian usage, either, generally, all land east of the Nile or, as a
special district, the "nome Arabia," the 20th of Lower Egypt.
Heroonpolis or Heropolis (according to the excavations of Naville, modern
Tell al-Mas-Khua) was, however, the capital of the 8th or Heroopolitan
nome, east of the Arabian. Nevertheless, the name
"Arabia" seems to be used by the LXX. in the special sense, for
in the reign of Ptolemy II. the Greek administration seems to have treated
the neighboring 8th and 20th nomes as one district (comp. the
"Revenue Laws of Ptolemy Philadelphus," ed. Grenfell, 1896, p.
l.). Later, the two districts seem to have been
separated again (comp., e.g., Ptolemy,
"Geographia," iv. 5, 53)." (Jewish Encyclopedia, Goshen)
- It is clear that the Septuagint translators were wrong when
they called Goshen "of Arabia" at the time of Abraham
- This error was due to the fact that ancient geographers
of the time did not even understand the Gulf of Aqaba existed.
- Had they knew their geography better, they never would
have called this section of land Arabia. The locals living their knew is
was not Arabia.
- The Holy Spirit did not allow Paul to make the same
mistakes as the some of the Geographers of his day.
- The Septuagint (LXX) was translated in Alexandria, Egypt
around 250 BC and we know from Herodotus
that several towns deep in the Nile Delta of Egypt near the great Pyramids
were called "Towns of Arabia".
knew full well that Arabia proper was nowhere near Egypt. His
comments that lead some to put "Arabia in Egypt" are rather
simple to explain:
- "Arabian cities" in the Nile Delta are merely
Arab immigrants who formed a majority population in a city inside Egypt.
There is a "China Town" in ever major city, but we all know
where China is not.
The references to the "Arabian Sea" and the
"Arabian Mountains" does not mean Arabia inside Egypt, west of
the Red Sea or even close by. These references simply mean the Egyptian
mountain range flanged entire length the Arabian Sea which separated
Egypt from the territory of Arabia proper.
- Herodotus calls Pithon in the Eastern Nile Delta beside
Goshen, AN ARABIAN TOWN!
- "Arabian town of Patumus [Pithom, Tell
el-Maskhuta, near Goshen]" (Herodotus, History 2.158.2)
- This is helpful in understanding why the Translators of
the LXX, who performed their translation work IN EGYPT would say Goshen
was of Arabia.
- When those bent on keeping Mt. Sinai out of Saudi Arabia
quote ancient historians who say Hebrew Goshen in Egypt was in fact
Arabia, you wonder why the Israelites ever left?
- It simply trashes the Bible story like putting Kadesh
Barnea inside the promised land at Qudeirat.
By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or
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