Matthew 1:7

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This item has been selected by Peter Kirby as a "Featured Smackdown". You are heartily encouraged to debate the claims made on both sides.

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and Solomon begat Rehoboam; and Rehoboam begat Abijah; and Abijah begat Asa; (ASV)

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Pro

To my honored Teacher Rabbi Maimonides as I lay (what's left of) your Tormentor at your feet.


Generally, the oldest extant Greek manuscripts such as the Sinaitic and Vatican codices have the Greek equivalent of the English "Asaph" instead of "Asa" who according to the Tanakh should be in this location. The NASB has a footnote for Matthew 1:7 indicating that the Greek word was the equivalent of the English "Asaph". "Asaph" was a famous Psalmist so "Matthew" appears to have either confused him with King Asa or again simply copied an existing error in the Greek.

Now let's test drive a special option Peter Kirby has installed here, the HTML Bible by verse:

Stephens 1550 Textus Receptus -
σολομων δε εγεννησεν τον ροβοαμ ροβοαμ δε εγεννησεν τον αβια αβια δε εγεννησεν τον ασα

Scrivener 1894 Textus Receptus -
σολομων δε εγεννησεν τον ροβοαμ ροβοαμ δε εγεννησεν τον αβια αβια δε εγεννησεν τον ασα

Byzantine Majority -
σολομων δε εγεννησεν τον ροβοαμ ροβοαμ δε εγεννησεν τον αβια αβια δε εγεννησεν τον ασα

Alexandrian -
σολομων δε εγεννησεν τον ροβοαμ ροβοαμ δε εγεννησεν τον αβια αβια δε εγεννησεν τον ασαφ

Hort and Westcott -
σολομων δε εγεννησεν τον ροβοαμ ροβοαμ δε εγεννησεν τον αβια αβια δε εγεννησεν τον ασαφ


JW: "Asa"/"Asaph" is the last word of the sentence. Note that TR has "Asa" and WH has "Asaph". Raymond Brown, The International Critical Commentary and UBS confirm "Asaph" as likely original. From A TEXTUAL COMMENTARY ON THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT by Bruce M. Metzger:

"1.7"8 ????, ???? {B} It is clear that the name "Asaph" is the earliest form of text preserved in the manuscripts, for the agreement of Alexandrian (? B) and other witnesses (f 1 f 13 700 1071) with Eastern versions (cop arm eth geo) and representatives of the Western text (Old Latin mss and D in Luke [D is lacking for this part of Matthew]) makes a strong combination.

Furthermore, the tendency of scribes, observing that the name of the psalmist Asaph (cf. the titles of Pss 50 and 73 to 83) was confused with that of Asa the king of Judah (1 Kgs 15.9 ff.), would have been to correct the error, thus accounting for the prevalence of "Asa" in the later Ecclesiastical text and its inclusion in the Textus Receptus. [1 footnote needed]

Although most scholars are impressed by the overwhelming weight of textual evidence supporting "Asaph", Lagrange demurs and in his commentary prints "Asa" as the text of Matthew. He declares (p. 5) that "literary criticism is not able to admit that the author, who could not have drawn up this list without consulting the Old Testament, would have taken the name of a psalmist in place of a king of Judah. It is necessary, therefore, to suppose that "Asaph" is a very ancient [scribal] error."

Since, however, the evangelist may have derived material for the genealogy, not from the Old Testament directly, but from subsequent genealogical lists, in which the erroneous spelling occurred, the Committee saw no reason to adopt what appears to be a scribal emendation in the text of Matthew."

On a related note Origen's Hexapla from the early third century may have been an important source of correction for this type of name error for later Greek manuscripts as you wouldn't need to know Hebrew here to observe that Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotian all used "Asa" instead of "Asaph" for the genealogy in the Jewish Bible. Pity that the Hebrew column of the Hexapla found a final resting spot on the same shelf as the original KJV. Would have Saved us all a lot of time.

Now let's look at the Hebrew Genealogy for "Asa":

1 Chronicles 3:10

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt25a03.htm

" ?  ?????-????????, ?????????; ???????? ????? ????? ?????, ??????????? ??????. 10 And Solomon's son was Rehoboam; Abijah his son, Asa his son, Jehoshaphat his son; "

" ????? " (Asa) is the 4th Hebrew word from the left.

Now the Hebrew Narrative:

1 Kings 15:8

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt09a15.htm

" ?  ???????????? ???????? ???-????????, ????????????? ????? ??????? ??????; ??????????? ????? ?????, ??????????. {?} 8 And Abijam slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David; and Asa his son reigned in his stead. "

" ????? " (Asa) is the 3rd Hebrew word from the left.

We can see in the Masoretic text here that "Asa" is spelled consistently. Reading the related Narrative shows that "Asa" was a relatively important King.

Now let's search the Hebrew for "Asaph" by Genealogy:

1 Chronicles 6

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt25a06.htm

" ??  ???????? ?????, ??????? ???-????????--????? ????-????????????, ????-????????. 24 And his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand; even Asaph the son of Berechiah, the son of Shimea; "

" ????? " (Asaph) is the fifth Hebrew word from the left and differs from "Asa" with the last letter being " ? " instead of " ? ".

Now by Narrative:

1 Chronicles 16

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt25a16.htm

" ?  ????? ???????, ???????????? ?????????; ???????? ?????????????? ????????? ???????????? ?????????? ??????????? ??????? ????? ?????????, ???????? ???????? ?????????????, ???????, ??????????????? ??????????. 5 Asaph the chief, and second to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, with psalteries and with harps; and Asaph with cymbals, sounding aloud; "

" ????? " (Asaph) is the first Hebrew word on the right.

We can see in the Masoretic text here that "Asaph" is spelled consistently. Reading the related Narrative shows that "Asaph" was also a relatively important person.

Now let's look at the Greek Genealogy for "Asa":

1 Chronicles 3:10

http://www.zhubert.com/bible?book=1%20Chronicles&chapter=3&verse=10

1 Chronicles "3:10 ???? ??????? ?????? ???? ???? ????? ??? ???? ????? ??????? ???? ?????"

"???" (Asa) is in the middle. Note that the LXX has the correct name here per the Hebrew Bible.

Now the Greek Narrative:

1 Kings 15:8

http://www.zhubert.com/bible

"15:8 ??? ???????? ????? ???? ??? ??????? ????? ?? ?? ??????? ??? ??????? ???? ??? ???????? ??? ???????? ???? ??? ??????? ????? ?? ????? ????? ??? ????????? ??? ???? ????? ??? ?????"

Again, the correct word "???" (Asa) 5th word from the end.

Now let's search the Greek for "Asaph" by Genealogy:

1 Chronicles 9

http://www.zhubert.com/bible?book=1%20Chronicles&chapter=9&verse=15

"1 Chronicles 9:15 ??? ???????? ??? ???? ??? ????? ??? ????????? ???? ???? ???? ????? ???? ????"

"????" (Asaph) is where it's supposed to be as the last word.

Now let's search the Greek for "Asaph" by Narrative:

1 Chronicles 16

http://www.zhubert.com/bible?book=1%20Chronicles&chapter=16&verse=5

"5 ???? ? ????????? ??? ?????????? ???? ???????? ???? ????????? ???? ????????? ????? ??? ??????? ??? ??????? ??? ???? ?? ???????? ??????? ??? ???????? ??? ???? ?? ????????? ????????"

Again, "????" (Asaph) is where it's supposed to be as the first word.

And now, the meaning of the names:

http://www.ccel.org/bible_names/bible_names.html#A

"Asa, physician; cure"

"Asaph, who gathers together"

Quite the difference.

One more thing. The usual Christian Apology is that ancient documents show variation in the Greek spelling of "Asa's" name so "Matthew's" use of "Asaph" is just a variation and not a mistake. As near as I can tell most of these "ancient documents" are still hiding in a cave somewhere with the WMDs waiting to be discovered. Josephus though, does use a variation himself:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0145:book=8:section=290

"[290] Ho de t"n Hierosolum"n basileus Asanos" (??????).

"Asanos" instead of "Asa". However, "Asanos" is still not "Asaph" and the LXX "Matthew's" readers would have been referring to still had "Asa". Maybe the Christians changed Joshepus here to support "Matthew". Just kidding!


So in Summary, the evidence that "Matthew's" apparent use of "Asaph" at 1:7 is an Error, ranked by weight of evidence is:

1) According to the Masoretic text "Asa" was the correct name for the genealogy "Matthew" was trying to present and the textual evidence above indicates that "Matthew's" "Asaph" was likely original.

2) The detailed narrative from the Jewish Bible also confirms "Asa" as correct.

3) The LXX also has "Asa" for the genealogy and narrative which is further evidence that the Greek "???" was the correct name here.

4) "Asa" and "Asaph" are two different names in the original Hebrew used to refer to different people in the Jewish Bible. This time both refer to relatively important people. Asa, the good king and Asaph, chief Psalmist of David.

5) There is no evidence in the Jewish Bible that "Asa" and "Asaph" were anything other than two distinct names.

6) Subsequent Christian copyists gradually changed the name from "Asaph" to "Asa" implying they recognized that "Asaph" was an error.

7) A one letter difference is a big difference in the compact and small word Biblical Hebrew.

8) There are many more examples of "Matthew's" problems with names in the genealogy.

9) Origen confesses to us that in his time the Greek manuscripts were filled with errors regarding Hebrew names. This would have been well before any extant manuscripts.

10) The meaning of "Asa" and "Asaph" in Hebrew is different.

11) In 13:35 "Matthew" quotes a Psalm of Asaph (78) indicating the use of "Asaph" may have been intentional.

12) Messianic Apologist Schmuel confesses to us that if "Asaph" is original then 1:7 is in error.


The evidence that "Matthew's" use of "Asaph" at 1:7 is not an Error, ranked by weight of evidence is:

1) It's possible that "Matthew" originally wrote "Asa".

2) "Asa" and "Asaph" differ by one letter in the Hebrew and Greek so it's possible they could refer to the same person.

3) Josephus has a variant spelling of "Asa" so it's possible that variant spellings at the time were an acceptable convention.


In my opinion, the weight of the Evidence above is that "Asa" is the correct name at this point in the genealogy and "Matthew's" use of a different name ("Asaph") is an Error. Let me also point out something for the benefit of Fundamentalists here. If you want to believe that "Asa" and "Asaph" referred to the same person then "Matthew's" use of "Asa" would still have been a better choice and therefore, the existing genealogy by "Matthew" is not "perfect".


Joseph

Update --JoeWallack 09:45, 11 Jun 2006 (CDT)

Con

Issues of errancy: Textus Receptus vs. other manuscripts

There is a huge irony trying to claim this as a smackdown error against the New Testament, since it is only based upon a corruption that is not in the historic New Testaments (Greek Received Text, Tyndale, Geneva, Luther, King James Bible, etc) but only in the modern eclectic alexandrian texts, which only became an issue by the dubious Westcott & Hort work, and are defended by nobody anywhere as inerrant.

This, btw, is a very frequent modus operandi of errantists, to attack the corruptions in the alexandrian text that are in the 'modern versions'. For them it is like an easy duckshoot. This is not the place to go into the whole history of the alexandrian text, suffice to say they are rife with geographical, historical, grammatical, logical and internal consistency blunders. One simple example is that a demoniac/swine incident is placed at Gerash (Jerash), 30 miles deep into Jordan, with no relationship whatsoever to the Sea of Galilee,

Even worse, Peter Kirby is well aware of this distinction, from my own discussions with him on other issues, especially Mark 1:2 !

Here are two excerpts from articles from those who defend the historic Bible, simply agreeing that this is a modern version blunder, and to demonstrate that this is a well-known modern version corruption.

These men actually defend God's Word as inspired and preserved. And Thomas Strouse goes into some of the contradictory idiosyncrasies of one modern version errant translation.

http://www.christianmissionconnection.org/A_BIBLICAL_CREDIBILITY_CRISIS_word.pdf http://floydjones.org/which.pdf - Which Version is the Bible

A BIBLICAL CREDIBILITY CRISIS - Wilbur Pickering Moreover, the “minority text” has introduced some unequivocal errors which make the doctrine of inerrancy indefensible. For example, Matthew 1:7 and 1:10 list Asaph and Amos, two non-existent kings, in Christ’s genealogy whereas the Traditional Text correctly reads “Asa” and “Amon”.

http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/shouldfundamentalists-nasv.html Dr. Thomas Strouse Matthew 1:7-8; 10 However, Aleph and B, the two major manuscripts behind the Critical Text, read Asaph for Asa and Amos for Amon, respectively. Although Asaph the psalmist and Amos the prophet were godly men, they have no place in the royal genealogy of Christ. (more on url site, truncated to be sure to be in 'fair use')

24.193.219.212 04:18, 13 Nov 2005 (CST) Steven Avery Queens, NY schmuel@nyc.rr.com

Avery: Response 1

"11) Messianic Apologist Schmuel confesses to us that if "Asaph" is original than 1:7 is in error."

LOL.. 'confesses to us' ?????  :-) Au contraire.

a) J'Accuse the alexandrian modern versions of being corrupt, full of errors, omissions, corruptions, from geographical impossibilities to grammatical abominations to logical contradictions to various other types of blunders, ironically the errors themselves generally based on minimal textual evidence.

b) J'Accuse the methodologies of 'modern scientific textual criticism" of guaranteeing the creation of a corrupt text full of these blunders and errors, by gerry-rigging ascriptural theories of anti-inspiration for their false agenda, and then falsely pretending that their fabricated and clearly bankrupt text created is somehow closer to the 'original autographs'.

c) J'Accuse modern liberal textual theories of desparately trying to bypass the true Bible New Testament, most especially the Textus Receptus and the King James Bible, because of the Authority, the full and final authority, inherent in the Word of God.

d) J'Accuse the enemies of the Gospel, who themselves have the strangest and most humorous theories of the creation and propagation of the NT text, of utilizing simply for convenience the false theories of a-b-c, for their agenda, their purposes of fighting the Word of God. They are aware that by putting forth a phoney facade of textual criticism, they can fight against what they can affectionately call the Duckshoot Text rather than against the inspired and preserved Word of God.

24.193.219.212 09:26, 17 Nov 2005 (CST) Steven Avery Queens, NY schmuel@nyc.rr.com

Response to Con

It is possible that there is more than one person with the name Asa, or Asaph.


Tis not clear whose response this is above. To be clear that might be the response of a textual liberal trying to salvage his modern version duckshoot text.

However I will use this space to note one entry from Joe that appears to be deliberately confusing, since it is amazingly an attack on the accurate, unerrant New Testament text !

JW "Pity that the Hebrew column of the Hexapla found a final resting spot on the same shelf as the original KJV. Would have Saved us all a lot of time."

The King James Bible does in fact match the Hebrew Bible here perfectly, so this is a very strange comment.

In line with this, perhaps the time would be saved if supposed 'errors' were not brought forth ('smackdown' status, no less) that simply are not errors in the historic Bibles, the only Bibles that are defended as truly inerrant (in their tangible, 'hold-in-your-hands' state).

Or at least they should have a clear disclaimer at top - "This argument does not apply to the historic Bibles based on the Received Text, such as the King James Bible, Geneva, Tyndale, Luther (German), etc"

24.193.219.212 06:00, 8 Dec 2005 (CST)Shalom, Steven Avery schmuel@nyc.rr.com

Beating up KJV Only folks is hardly a bragging right

Anyone can do that...it's rather easy, in fact, since their own arguments against the "liberal" translations often work equally well against their own position.

As to the allegation of error, there are two points that can be contested:

  1. The facticity of the typographical error.
  2. The distinction between typographical error and errors of content.

The facticity of the typographical error

It is admitted above that the LXX has various spellings for the name Asa, therefore it is possible that Matthew used one of these variations (or perhaps one that was popular at the time he wrote), and that this is not a typographical error.

The reading ????? (Asaf), a variant spelling on ???? (Asa), is found in the earliest and most widespread witnesses (Ì1vid ? B C [Dluc] Ë1,13 700 pc it co). Although Asaph was a psalmist and Asa was a king, it is doubtful that the author mistook one for the other since other ancient documents have variant spellings on the king’s name (such as “Asab,” “Asanos,” and “Asaph”). Thus the spelling ????? that is almost surely found in the original of Matt 1:7-8 has been translated as “Asa” in keeping with the more common spelling of the king’s name. (NET Bible note on Matt. 1:7)

In other words, there is no proof for a necessary error here — there is an alternate explanation that doesn't require accepting the allegation of typographical error.

The distinction between typographical error and errors of content

Even granting a typographical error, this does not challenge the doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy. The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, a standard formal expression of the doctrine, states:

We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, &c (Art. 13)

A typographical error on the spelling of a name does not imply anything about the truthfulness of the content. Asa certainly is the correct person, as your review of the Hebrew geneologies shows.

Thus on two counts the charge of errancy can be disputed: a typographical error is not necessary to explain the variant spelling, and even granting a typographical error, it would not effect the doctrine of inerrancy. Pretty far from a "smackdown" — more like a "love tap" if anything!

4.253.64.77 07:47, 3 Apr 2006 (CDT)

Neutral

TR v. Other Manuscripts: Joseph Wallack

JW: Shalom Schmuel, you've been ...expected. I'm perfectly willing to consider the Textual Analysis issue. No one should stop their evidence at Appeal To Authority. Can you transform the above into an Argument? In other words, list your Key Points, consider opposing Points and analyze how both make your conclusion the more likely one. Right now, the main Assertions I see above are:

1)"which only became an issue by the dubious Westcott & Hort work"

2)"the alexandrian text, suffice to say they are rife with geographical, historical, grammatical, logical and internal consistency blunders."

3)"Thomas Strouse goes into some of the contradictory idiosyncrasies of one modern version errant translation."

Right now you don't have a complete Argument, you just have a few Assertions which you claim support your Conclusion. I know you don't play the Apologist Game of intentionally refusing to do anything other than refer to Apologist arguments and then primarily claiming that your opponent doesn't understand the Apologist Argument you refer to (in order to distract).

Please try and present a more complete Argument even if that means cutting and pasting someone else's. Thanks.

Joseph

TR v. Other Manuscripts: Steven Avery

Sure

1) The only New Testament defended as inerrant is the historic Bible, the Received Text, and most especially the majestic English translation, the King James Bible, always the point of comparision for the lessers.

2) This is the true scriptures.

3) In the historic Bible, there is no error with Asa. All TR Bibles (Tyndale, Geneva, KJB, Luther, others and modern TR vresions) have no error here.

4) The same point answers a few dozen of your most significant attempts to find an error in the New Testament. And you are welcome to cut-and-paste this 1-2-3-4 (or link to this page) to answer those dozens of claims of error.

That should do :-)

Additional note to (2). There is little point or sense in debating what is the true scriptures with one like yourself that believes the New Testament is simply a bunch of junque and confusions and deceptions and errors. You of course will embrace any argument that creates an errant text, (since an errant text is your goal and hope and dream) such as the W&H textual position (e.g through overuse of lectio difficilior).

And basically every modern version user will agree with you that they have an errant text, full of errors, anyway (they like to call them 'scribal errors', although their problems are far deeper than that). The whole inerrancy discussion then becomes a waste of time, since they agree with you out of the box.

Your idea that my defending the true Bible is an "Appeal to Authority" is, in an ironic sense, 100% right. The King James Bible remains today the 'Final Authority' (see William Grady book).

24.193.219.212 17:29, 14 Nov 2005 (CST) Shalom, Steven Avery

Avery: Response 2

Joe "I'm perfectly willing to consider the Textual Analysis issue"

What you, Joe W, will 'consider' is essentially irrelevant. The issue is integrity on the wiki.

We know your desire is always to fabricate an error in the NT text, so you will argue, ironically, that, the true (original) text is the false (errant) text. Those who accept the Authority of the Bible and defend its inerrancy in the historic text, really do not care a whit what an unbeliever with an agenda will 'consider'.

Now this wiki entry should, for honesty, have a large disclaimer -

This claimed 'smackdown' error in Matthew 1:7 does not relate at all to the historic English Bible (the King James Bible or any Reformation Bibles, English, German, Spanish, or other languages).

In addition, in smaller letters, but also clear and on top-

Please note that this claimed error has not been shown at all to be in any of the following-

 a) Vast majority of Greek manuscripts, (which have Asa), or the
 b) Latin Vulgate and its English translation, the Douay-Rheims, or the
 c) Old Latin manuscripts, or the
 d) Aramaic Peshitta. 
 e) Early church writers, Greek, Latin or Aramaic 

With two such disclaimers, bold and clear in the introduction, the wiki would then gain some errancy integrity.

24.193.219.212 11:07, 17 Nov 2005 (CST)

Wiki Integrity Notice

Integrity of this Wiki is monitored and maintained by the Administration, and as such the rule regarding integrity is stated as "Dual point of view is maintained." While Mr. Avery is to be commended for his concern for the integrity of this wiki, it might be best to note that your interpretation of "integrity" may or may not agree with the Wiki Administrators.

Thank you,

--JustinEiler 14:05, 17 Nov 2005 (CST)


Spelling

ABIJAH

Matthew:  ????

1 Chr. 3.10:  ????

Josephus:  ????? O?????


--JoeWallack 11:16, 10 Jun 2006 (CDT)

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