lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)

The previous post completes my blogging of what I found the more interesting differences between the Masoretic text of the Torah and the Samaritan version. So, in summary, can we now answer the question of which version, viewed dispassionately, and not from the usual Jewish bias, is the more original and authoritative?

The answer is: neither version, really. The differences between the two cannot be considered en masse; broken down into their individual differences we see sometimes the Samaritan text (and often the other ancient versions—the Septuagint, for example—appear to be in the right and the Masoretic Text wrong; in other places the Masoretic Text is clearly in the right and the Samaritan text corrupted. In many places the Masoretic Text resolves difficulties in the Masoretic Text; possibly the presence of such difficulties is an indication of the text's true provenance (or incorporation of multiple sources)—or possibly the difficulties are an indication that of corruption in the Masoretic Text itself.

One thing which is worth bearing in mind is that the text the Samaritans use appears to have originally been Jewish: a text ancestral to it has been found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls. On top of this a variety of Samaritanisations have been layered, such as changing Deuteronomy to make Mt Gerizim, rather than an implicit Jerusalem, God's chosen place. However this Samaritanisational layer is thin; the text's deeper history is either Jewish or shared Samaritan/Jewish. Which itself raises interesting questions, considering how at loggerheads the Jews and Samaritans had already been by the point of divergence of the texts in the second (?) century BCE: the final split between the Jews and Samaritans was, according to both people's accounts, centuries earlier.

The preceding posts constitute as I say only what I found the most interesting differences between the two texts of the Torah; for each of these differences there are many more in the text, most of which are trivial unless, like Rabbi Akiva, you consider every single letter in the Torah of significance. Nevertheless, some of the other differences are interesting too. If (ha ha) you have been reading along the whole time and would like to pursue this subject further yourself, the text I have been using is The Samaritan Torah: Jewish and Samaritan Versions Compared by Mark Shoulson; you can get it on Amazon for $56 or £37, or on Lulu.com for £32.39. (Hmm, that's odd; I got it in paperback from Lulu for £24.76 (+ £3 P&P), but I can't see the paperback version now.) At any rate, Lulu do frequent promotions offering considerable discounts (which is probably how I purchased it); if you'd like to get a copy I recommend you sign up to Lulu and wait until an discount offer comes along.

Alternatively, since I started this project, the noted PR guru for the Samaritan community Benyamim Tsedaka has brought out his own comparative text, complete with annotations, and all in English, not Hebrew. Obviously his version comes with more authoritative knowledge, but from what I hear of it (I haven't read it myself), the English in it is a little strange.

‫חֲזַק חֲזַק וְנִתְחֲזֵּק!‬

[Samaritan Torah] Samaritan Torah notes         Jewish learning notes index


lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
Deuteronomy 33:2 דברים לג ב
He said: The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir to them. He shone forth from Mount Paran, and He came with myriads of the holy; from His right hand (an) אשדת for them. וַיֹּאמַר ה׳ מִסִּינַי בָּא וְזָרַח מִשֵּׂעִיר לָמוֹ הוֹפִיעַ מֵהַר פָּארָן וְאָתָה מֵרִבְבֹת קֹדֶשׁ מִימִינוֹ אשדת לָמוֹ׃

I have left the word אשדת untranslated here. The קְרִי here is to read it as two words, אֵשׁ דָּת, traditionally translated "a fiery law" (the literal translation is "a fire of law"); however, this is definitely not the original reading, as דָּת ("law") is a Persian loanword (and, incidentally, cognate to English "do"), and anachronistic in Deuteronomy, written before there were any Persians around in Israel.

As previously pointed out by [livejournal.com profile] curious_reader, in the BBC series The Bible's Buried Secrets, Francesca Stavrakopoulou pushes the idea that this word actually originally read not אשדת but אשרה (or אשרתו) and the line "He said: The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir to them. He shone forth from Mount Paran, and He came with myriads of the holy; from His right hand [went] his Ashera" (a Canaanite goddess).

Dr Stavrakopoulou seems desperate here to find evidence of a "censored" consort of Y*hw*h here. Certainly, she's stretching the Hebrew to breaking point to do so: it requires the change or addition of two letters, and results in poor grammar: לָמוֹ means "for/to them", or "their"; "his" would be "לוֹ".

But there's no need to go so far in search of a meaning; if you ignore the anachronistic קְרִי and the vowels of the text, there's a perfectly valid meaning right there in the כְּתִיב, although it's a rare enough word that most people won't know it: It's אַשֵׁדֹּת "outpourings" (i.e. mountain streams). Whilst blogging פַּרְשַׁת חֻקַת, I noticed and pointed out the almost identical word אֶשֶׁד (differing only in gender and gender ending); this was why. When I encountered this word in an Orthodox context, I was sufficiently distracted by the kerfuffle over the אֵשׁ דָּת reading that I failed to notice this translation at all, but to my surprise, it is right there in the Hertz commmentary (though not, IIRC, the JPS 1917 translation or the KJV it's based on).

So, given all the above, what do you think the reading will be in the Samaritan Text, אשדת (streams), אש דת (a fiery law) or אשרה (Ashera)?

And the answer, you will not hopefully by now be surprised to learn, is אשדת "streams".

Deuteronomy 33:12 דברים לג יב
Of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. לְבִנְיָמִן אָמַר יְדִיד ה׳ יִשְׁכֹּן לָבֶטַח עָלָיו חֹפֵף עָלָיו כָּל־הַיּוֹם וּבֵין כְּתֵפָיו שָׁכֵן׃
In the Samaritan text, this reads:
לְבִנְיָמִן אָמַר יד יד ה׳ יִשְׁכֹּן לָבֶטַח [word missing] חֹפֵף עָלָיו כָּל־הַיּוֹם וּבֵין כְּתֵפָיו שָׁכֵן׃
This change is difficult to translate; it could be "A hand, a hand of the Lord for security", or "the power, the power of the Lord". Either way, the lack of the first עָלָיו makes it read clumsily. I don't understand what's meant.
Deuteronomy 33:25 דברים לג כה
Your shoes shall be iron and brass; and as your days, so shall your strength be. בַּרְזֶל וּנְחֹשֶׁת מִנְעָלֶךָ וּכְיָמֶיךָ דָּבְאֶךָ׃
For דָּבְאֶךָ the Samaritan text reads רביך, changing the meaning to "As your days, so shall your numbers be."
Deuteronomy 34:1-33:3 דברים לד א-לד יב
And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the hinder, And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. וַיַּעַל מֹשֶׁה מֵעַרְבֹת מוֹאָב אֶל־הַר נְבוֹ רֹאשׁ הַפִּסְגָּה אֲשֶׁר עַל־פְּנֵי יְרֵחוֹ וַיַּרְאֵהוּ ה׳ אֶת־כָּל־הָאָרֶץ אֶת־הַגִּלְעָד עַד־דָּן׃ וְאֵת כָּל־נַפְתָּלִי וְאֶת־אֶרֶץ אֶפְרַיִם וּמְנַשֶּׁה וְאֵת כָּל־אֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה עַד הַיָּם הָאַחֲרוֹן׃ וְאֶת־הַנֶּגֶב וְאֶת־הַכִּכָּר בִּקְעַת יְרֵחוֹ עִיר הַתְּמָרִים עַד־צֹעַר׃
In place of everything from "of Gilead" to the end of this passage, the Samaritan text substitutes the description of the land given to Abraham (Gen. 15:18) (similar to the description in Deut. 1:7) מִנְּהַר מִצְרַיִם עַד־הַנָּהָר הַגָּדֹל נְהַר־פְּרָת "from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates", followed by three words from the MT of this verse: וְעַד הַיָּם הָאַחֲרוֹן "unto the hinder sea".

[Samaritan Torah] Samaritan Torah notes         Jewish learning notes index


lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)

This sedra contains Moses' farewell poem, and has a large number of divergences betwen the Samaritan text and the Masoretic.

Deuteronomy 32:10 דברים לב י
[God] found [Jacob] in a desert land, and in the waste, a howling wilderness; He compassed him about, He cared for him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. יִמְצָאֵהוּ בְּאֶרֶץ מִדְבָּר          וּבְתֹהוּ יְלֵל יְשִׁמֹן
יְסֹבְבֶנְהוּ יְבוֹנְנֵהוּ          יִצְּרֶנְהוּ כְּאִישׁוֹן עֵינוֹ׃
With the change of a few letters, the Samaritan text completely changes the meaning of the first half of this:
[God] strengthened [Jacob] in the land of the desert, and with praises He fattened him; He compassed him about and He cared for him, and He kept him as the apple of his eye. יאמצהו בְּאֶרֶץ הַמִּדְבָּר      ובתהללות ישמנהו
יְסֹבְבֶנְהוּ וַיְבֹנְנֵהוּ          וַיִצְּרֶנְהוּ כְּאִישֹׁן עֵינוֹ׃
Deuteronomy 32:13 דברים לב יג
He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the fruitage of the field; He made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; יַרְכִּבֵהוּ עַל־בָּמֳותֵי אָרֶץ       וַיֹּאכַל תְּנוּבֹת שָׂדָי
וַיֵּנִקֵהוּ דְבַשׁ מִסֶּלַע       וְשֶׁמֶן מֵחַלְמִישׁ צוּר׃
In place of תְּנוּבֹת "fruitage of", the Samaritan text contains תְּנוּפֹת "wavings of", which is odd. I've a vague feeling I've seen this substitution elsewhere in the text, but I'm not going in search of it now! Though the change ב to פ also occurs below in v.24.
Deuteronomy 32:18 דברים לב יח
Of the Rock that begot you you were unmindful, and you forgot God that bore you. צוּר יְלָדְךָ תֶּשִׁי          וַתִּשְׁכַּח אֵל מְחֹלְלֶךָ׃
The Samaritan text has the curious change, if I've understood it aright:
You carried the Rock that begot you, and you forgot God that praised you. צוּר יְלָדְךָ תשא          וַתִּשְׁכַּח אֵל מהללך׃
The Samaritan text is decidedly wrong in the latter change, as it breaks the parallelism.
Deuteronomy 32:24 דברים לב כד
The wastings of hunger, and the devouring of the fiery bolt, and bitter destruction; and the teeth of beasts will I send upon them, with the venom of crawling things of the dust. מְזֵי רָעָב וּלְחֻמֵי רֶשֶׁף
וְקֶטֶב מְרִירִי          וְשֶׁן־בְּהֵמֹת אֲשַׁלַּח־בָּם
עִם־חֲמַת זֹחֲלֵי עָפָר׃
The changes in the Samaritan text including moving a word across the phrase divide at a line break:
Deuteronomy 32:24 דברים לב כד
The wasting of hunger of his nourishment, a plague of ?pluckings of bitter things; and the teeth of beasts will I send upon them, with the venom of crawling things of the dust. מַזֶה רָעָב לְחֻמוֹ
רֶשֶׁף קטף מְרָרִים          וְשֶׁן־בְּהֵמֹת אֲשַׁלַּח־בָּם
עִם־חֲמַת זֹחֲלֵי עָפָר׃
Deuteronomy 32:28 דברים לב כח
For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them. כִּי־גוֹי אֹבַד עֵצוֹת הֵמָּה
וְאֵין בָּהֶם תְּבוּנָה׃
The Samaritan text runs עֵצוֹת הֵמָּה into one word, עצותם; I think this changes the meaning to "For a nation has destroyed their counsel, neither is there any understanding in them."
Deuteronomy 32:30 דברים לב ל
How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up? אֵיכָה יִרְדֹּף אֶחָד אֶלֶף
וּשְׁנַיִם יָנִיסוּ רְבָבָה          אִם־לֹא כִּי־צוּרָם מְכָרָם
וַה׳ הִסְגִּירָם׃
The Samaritan text reads אחר in place of אחד—the very misreading (as far as consonants are concerned) the last letter of the Shema is traditionally emphasised to avoid—changing the meaning to "How should he chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand, [etc]?" The Samaritan text is clearly in the wrong here, both because there's no "he" antecedent (the previous verse was about a "they"), and because the parallelism is broken.
Deuteronomy 32:34 דברים לב לד
Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures? הֲלֹא־הוּא כָּמֻס עִמָּדִי
חָתוּם בְּאוֹצְרֹתָי׃

The Samaritan text reads כנוס for כמס; surprisingly, this doesn't change the meaning much: "Is this not collect with me [etc]."

The following verse reads:
To me belongs vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. לִי נָקָם וְשִׁלֵּם
לְעֵת תָּמוּט רַגְלָם          כִּי קָרוֹב יוֹם אֵידָם
וְחָשׁ עֲתִדֹת לָמוֹ׃
The Samaritan text begins with לְיוֹם ("for the day of") rather than לִי ("to me belongs"); this makes no less sense than the Masoretic reading.

[Samaritan Torah] Samaritan Torah notes         Jewish learning notes index


lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
Deuteronomy 30:20 דברים ל כ
That you may love the Lord your God, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may cleave unto him: for he is your life, and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. לְאַהֲבָה אֶת־ה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקֹלוֹ וּלְדָבְקָה־בוֹ כִּי הוּא חַיֶּיךָ וְאֹרֶךְ יָמֶיךָ לָשֶׁבֶת עַל־הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע ה׳ לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לָתֵת לָהֶם׃
The Samaritan text strengthens, perhaps, the impact upon the intended audience by concluding "to give you".

[Samaritan Torah] Samaritan Torah notes         Jewish learning notes index


lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
Deuteronomy 27:4 דברים כז ד-כז ד
When you have passed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster. וְהָיָה בְּעָבְרְכֶם אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּן תָּקִימוּ אֶת־הָאֲבָנִים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם בְּהַר עֵיבָל וְשַׂדְתָּ אוֹתָם בַּשִּׂיד׃
As in the duplicate passage introduced in the Samaritan text into פַּרְשַׁת וָאֶתְחַנַּן (q.v.), the Samaritan text here reads not הַר עֵיבָל "Mt Ebal" but הַרְגְרִיזִים "MountGerizim" (all one word).
Deuteronomy 28:49 דברים כח מט
The Lord shall bring a nation against you from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle* flies; a nation whose tongue you shall not understand; יִשָּׂא ה׳ עָלֶיךָ גּוֹי מֵרָחֹק מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ כַּאֲשֶׁר יִדְאֶה הַנָּשֶׁר גּוֹי אֲשֶׁר לֹא־תִשְׁמַע לְשֹׁנוֹ׃

* Or "vulture".

In an interesting ד/ר substitution, the Samaritan text reads not יִדְאֶה but יִרְאֶה "as far as the eagle sees". Which do you think might be the original reading here?

Deuteronomy 28:53 דברים כח נג
And you shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters, which the Lord your God has given you, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith your enemies shall distress you: וְאָכַלְתָּ פְרִי־בִטְנְךָ בְּשַׂר בָּנֶיךָ וּבְנֹתֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר נָתַן־לְךָ ה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּמָצוֹר וּבְמָצוֹק אֲשֶׁר־יָצִיק לְךָ אֹיְבֶךָ׃

The words "the Lord your God" are missing in the Samaritan text (the verb may be passive to compensate). I'm not sure what the significance of this is.

[Samaritan Torah] Samaritan Torah notes         Jewish learning notes index


lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
Deuteronomy 22:5 דברים כב ה
Men's clothing shall not be found on a woman; neither shall a man wear women's clothes: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord your God. לֹא־יִהְיֶה כְלִי־גֶבֶר עַל־אִשָּׁה וְלֹא־יִלְבַּשׁ גֶּבֶר שִׂמְלַת אִשָּׁה כִּי תוֹעֲבַת ה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ כָּל־עֹשֵׂה אֵלֶּה׃
In place of תוֹעֲבַת "abomination", the Samaritan text reads הועבת. Whilst this is obviously from the same root, I do not know what the difference signifies. Deut. 23:5:
Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when you came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. עַל־דְּבַר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־קִדְּמוּ אֶתְכֶם בַּלֶּחֶם וּבַמַּיִם בַּדֶּרֶךְ בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם וַאֲשֶׁר שָׂכַר עָלֶיךָ אֶת־בִּלְעָם בֶּן־בְּעוֹר מִפְּתוֹר אֲרַם נַהֲרַיִם לְקַלְלֶךָּ׃
For reasons I cannot fathom (as it does not match with the text in Numbers), the Samaritan text here reads not מִפְּתוֹר "from Pethor", but פְּתוֹרָה "to Pethor".
Deuteronomy 23:17 דברים כג יז-כג יז
There shall be no cult prostitute from among the daughters of Israel, nor a male cult prostitute of the sons of Israel. לֹא־תִהְיֶה קְדֵשָׁה מִבְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא־יִהְיֶה קָדֵשׁ מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
In place of תִהְיֶה/יִהְיֶה "there shall be", the Samaritan texts read תחיה/יחיה, which could read תִחְיֶה/יִחְיֶה "A cult prostitute shall not live amongst...", or, in language evocative of the prohibition on witches in Ex. 22:17, תְחַיֶּה/יְחַיֶּה "You shall not suffer a culture prostitute to live amongst..." (Obviously, Samaritan tradition will record which reading they go for, but I am not privy to that information, as the Samaritan text I have lacks vowels (since the Samaritans do not use vowel marks of the same meaning as the Jews', the could not be substituted into the text the same way the Samaritan letter forms are replaced by the Assyrian-derived letter forms the Jews use).)
Deuteronomy 24:8 דברים כד ח-כד ח
Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that you observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so you shall observe to do. הִשָּׁמֶר בְּנֶגַע־הַצָּרַעַת לִשְׁמֹר מְאֹד וְלַעֲשׂוֹת כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר־יוֹרוּ אֶתְכֶם הַכֹּהֲנִים הַלְוִיִּם כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִם תִּשְׁמְרוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת׃

The Samaritan text here has התודה after כְּכֹל "all". I think this here means "the thanksgiving offering", which is odd, because the relevant passage in Numbers 14 talks about a guilt offering, and a sin offering, and a burnt offering, but not a thanksgiving offering.

Deuteronomy 25:11 דברים כה יא-כה יא
When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draws near to deliver her husband out of the hand of the man beating him, and puts forth her hand, and takes him by the private parts; you shall cut off her [concavity], your eye shall not pity her. כִּי־יִנָּצוּ אֲנָשִׁים יַחְדָּו אִישׁ וְאָחִיו וְקָרְבָה אֵשֶׁת הָאֶחָד לְהַצִּיל אֶת־אִישָׁהּ מִיַּד מַכֵּהוּ וְשָׁלְחָה יָדָהּ וְהֶחֱזִיקָה בִּמְבֻשָׁיו׃ וְקַצֹּתָה אֶת־כַּפָּהּ לֹא תָחוֹס עֵינֶךָ׃
The word I've rendered here, literally, as "concavity" is normally rendered "hand"; however an article I found in an academic journal that I found in my flat when I first moved in (!) argues that a correct translation would actually be "you shall shave her pubic hair". Anyhow, if that makes you squirm a bit, the Samaritan text is also prudish: instead of "private parts", it substitutes בִּבְשׂרָוֹ "his flesh".

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lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
Deuteronomy 19:15 דברים יט טו
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sins: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. לֹא־יָקוּם עֵד אֶחָד בְּאִישׁ לְכָל־עָוֹן וּלְכָל־חַטָּאת בְּכָל־חֵטְא אֲשֶׁר יֶחֱטָא עַל־פִּי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים אוֹ עַל־פִּי שְׁלֹשָׁה־עֵדִים יָקוּם דָּבָר׃
The use of חַטָּאת for "sin" is unusual; the word normally means "sin-offering". The Samaritan text here substitutes the usual word, חֵטא.
Deuteronomy 20:17 דברים כ יז
But you shall utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord your God has commanded you: כִּי־הַחֲרֵם תַּחֲרִימֵם הַחִתִּי וְהָאֱמֹרִי הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַפְּרִזִּי הַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוְּךָ ה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃
Readers familiar with the nations of pre-Israelite Canaan will notice that the Girgashites are missing from this list. The Samaritan text restores them, along with rearranging the order.

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lethargic_man: (linguistics geekery)

The Samaritan text resolves (mostly slight) inconsistencies between the list of kosher and non-kosher animals in Lev. 11 and Deut. 13 in favour of Leviticus. In both cases there's one bird name changed: דוּכִיפַת becomes דגיפת. (I have no idea whether this makes any change to the meaning; the word in the Samaritan text is not in my dictionary.)

Deuteronomy 16:4 דברים טז ד
And there shall be no leavened bread seen with you in all your border seven days; neither shall anything of the meat which you sacrificed on the evening of the first day, remain until the morning. וְלֹא־יֵרָאֶה לְךָ שְׂאֹר בְּכָל־גְּבֻלְךָ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְלֹא־יָלִין מִן־הַבָּשָׂר אֲשֶׁר תִּזְבַּח בָּעֶרֶב בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן לַבֹּקֶר׃
In the Samaritan text this reads:
And there shall be no leavened bread seen with you in all your border seven days; neither shall anything of the meat which you sacrificed on the afternoon of the first day, remain until the morning. וְלֹא־יֵרָאֶה לְךָ שְׂאֹר בְּכָל־גְּבוּלְךָ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְלֹא־יָלִין מִן־הַבָּשָׂר אֲשֶׁר תִּזְבַּח בֵּין הָעֲרְבַּיִם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן לַבֹּקֶר׃
Deut. 16:8:
Six days you shall eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord your God: you shall do no work therein. שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֹּאכַל מַצּוֹת וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי עֲצֶרֶת לַה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה מְלָאכָה׃

In the Samaritan text the seventh day is described, like in Ex. 13:6, as a חַג "festival", rather than עֲצֶרֶת "solemn assembly", to the Lord. However, the Samaritan text, strangely, resolves the discrepancy of days (six, rather than seven), in favour of the Deuteronomic text in Exodus. I wonder how long Samaritans actually go without חָמֵץ on Pesach. I can't easily consult my Encyclopaedia Judaica until the power adapter for coronium turns up; however, Wikipedia says, in a "[citation needed]" entry, that "the Karaite and Samaritan Passovers are each one day long, followed by the six day Festival of Unleavened Bread" (the two seem originally to have been distinct, in the Torah account) which would make it the same length after all.

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lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
Deuteronomy 9:9 דברים ט ט
When I had ascended the mountain to receive the tablets of stone—the tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with you—then I lived atop the mountain forty days and nights, neither eating food nor drinking water. בַּעֲלֹתִי הָהָרָה לָקַחַת לוּחֹת הָאֲבָנִים לוּחֹת הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר־כָּרַת ה׳ עִמָּכֶם וָאֵשֵׁב בָּהָר אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם וְאַרְבָּעִים לַיְלָה לֶחֶם לֹא אָכַלְתִּי וּמַיִם לֹא שָׁתִיתִי׃
The Samaritan text unusually eliminates the Tetragrammaton from this verse:
Deuteronomy 9:9 דברים ט ט
When I had ascended the mountain to receive the tablets of stone—the tablets of the covenant which He is proclaiming with you—then I lived atop the mountain forty days and nights, neither eating food nor drinking water. בַּעֲלֹתִי הָהָרָה לָקַחַת לוּחֹת הָאֲבָנִים לוּחֹת הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר־כָּרַת יחוה עִמָּכֶם וָאֵשֵׁב בָּהָר אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם וְאַרְבָּעִים לַיְלָה לֶחֶם לֹא אָכַלְתִּי וּמַיִם לֹא שָׁתִיתִי׃
Deut. 10:6–7 reads:
And the Israelites travelled from the Wells of the Ya`akanaites to Mosera. There Aaron died, and there was buried, Eleazar his son ministering in the priest's office in his stead. From there they journeyed to Gudgod; and from Gudgod to Yotvatha, a land of yoghurt streams of water. וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל נָסְעוּ מִבְּאֵרֹת בְּנֵי־יַעֲקָן מוֹסֵרָה שָׁם מֵת אַהֲרֹן וַיִּקָּבֵר שָׁם וַיְכַהֵן אֶלְעָזָר בְּנוֹ תַּחְתָּיו׃ מִשָּׁם נָסְעוּ הַגֻּדְגֹּדָה וּמִן־הַגֻּדְגֹּדָה יָטְבָתָה אֶרֶץ נַחֲלֵי מָיִם׃
However, this does not at all agree with Num. 33:31–38:
They travelled from Moseroth, and camp in Benei Ya`akan; travelled from Benei Ya`akan, and camped at Ḥor Haggidgad; travelled from Ḥor Haggidgad, and camped in Yotbathah; travelled from Yotbathah, and camped at `Evronah; travelled from `Evronah, and camped at `Ẹsion Gāver; travelled from `Ẹsion Gāver, and camped in the wilderness of ̣Sin, which is Qadesh. They travelled from Qadesh, and pitched at mount Hor, on the edge of the land of Edom. Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the commandment of the Lord, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. וַיִּסְעוּ מִמֹּסֵרוֹת וַיַּחֲנוּ בִּבְנֵי יַעֲקָן׃ וַיִּסְעוּ מִבְּנֵי יַעֲקָן וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּחֹר הַגִּדְגָּד׃ וַיִּסְעוּ מֵחֹר הַגִּדְגָּד וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּיָטְבָתָה׃ וַיִּסְעוּ מִיָּטְבָתָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּעַבְרֹנָה׃ וַיִּסְעוּ מֵעַבְרֹנָה וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּעֶצְיֹן גָּבֶר׃ וַיִּסְעוּ מֵעֶצְיֹן גָּבֶר וַיַּחֲנוּ בְמִדְבַּר־צִן הִוא קָדֵשׁ׃ וַיִּסְעוּ מִקָּדֵשׁ וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּהֹר הָהָר בִּקְצֵה אֶרֶץ אֱדוֹם׃ וַיַּעַל אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן אֶל־הֹר הָהָר עַל־פִּי ה׳ וַיָּמָת שָׁם בִּשְׁנַת הָאַרְבָּעִים לְצֵאת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַחֲמִישִׁי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ׃

The Samaritan text resolves the contradiction in favour of Numbers, in terms of the order of camps, number of camps, and place of death of Aaron.

Deut. 11:13–14, familiar from the second paragraph of the Shema, reads:
It shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That I will give the rain of your land in its due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayst gather in thy corn, thy wine, and thine oil. וְהָיָה אִם־שָׁמֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶל־מִצְוֹתַי אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם לְאַהֲבָה אֶת־ה׳ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וּלְעָבְדוֹ בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶם וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁכֶם׃ וְנָתַתִּי מְטַר־אַרְצְכֶם בְּעִתּוֹ יוֹרֶה וּמַלְקוֹשׁ וְאָסַפְתָּ דְגָנֶךָ וְתִירֹשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ׃
The Samaritan text resolves the shift of person of the speaker from Moses to God, and moves the shift of the addressee from plural to singular one reference later in the sentence:
It shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That He will give the rain of thy land in its due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayst gather in thy corn, thy wine, and thine oil. וְהָיָה אִם־שָׁמֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶל־מִצְוֹתַי אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם לְאַהֲבָה אֶת־ה׳ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וּלְעָבְדוֹ בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶם וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁכֶם׃ וְנָתַן מְטַר־אַרְצְךָ בְּעִתּוֹ יוֹרֶא וּמַלְקוֹשׁ וְאָסַפְתָּ דְגינֶךָ תִירֹשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ׃

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lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)

In the MT, Deut. 5:5 reads:

I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to tell you the word of the Lord: for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not ascend the mountain; saying: אָנֹכִי עֹמֵד בֵּין־ה׳ וּבֵינֵיכֶם בָּעֵת הַהִוא לְהַגִּיד לָכֶם אֶת־דְּבַר ה׳ כִּי יְרֵאתֶם מִפְּנֵי הָאֵשׁ וְלֹא־עֲלִיתֶם בָּהָר לֵאמֹר׃

The first word, אָנֹכִי "I" reads ראנכי in the Samaritan text. I don't know whether this is a transcription error in my Samaritan chumash or what, but it's strange.

Deut. 5:17, part of the Ten Commandments, reads in the MT:
Never desire your fellow's wife, nor covet your fellow's house, his field, or his slave, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is your fellow's. וְלֹא תַחְמֹד אֵשֶׁת רֵעֶךָ וְלֹא תִתְאַוֶּה בֵּית רֵעֶךָ שָׂדֵהוּ וְעַבְדּוֹ וַאֲמָתוֹ שׁוֹרוֹ וַחֲמֹרוֹ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר לְרֵעֶךָ׃
The Samaritan Text resolves the contradiction with the account in Exodus in favour of the Exodus text (unlike the Fourth Commandment, which went the other way):
Never desire your fellow's house, nor desire your fellow's wife, his field, his slave, or his maidservant, his ox, his ass, or any thing that is your fellow's. לֹא תַחְמֹד בֵּית רֵעֶךָ וְלֹא תַחְמֹד אֵשֶׁת רֵעֶךָ שָׂדֵהוּ עַבְדּוֹ וַאֲמָתוֹ שׁוֹרוֹ וַחֲמוֹרוֹ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר לְרֵעֶךָ׃

I have followed the traditional translation for חמד here (though ignored that for רְעֵה, which has nothing to do with living next door, and followed Weingreen's (IIRC) interpretation of לֹא as introducing a permanent prohibition, as opposed to a temporary one introduced with אַל), but should point out that Joel Hoffman argues in And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning that uses elsewhere imply it must have the meaning of actually putting the thought of seizing one's fellow's property into action, not simply desiring it.

The Samaritan text at this point introduces the first half of Deut. 11:29, followed by a modified version of Deut. 27:2 (second half) and 27:4–7 and an extra passage on the end:

When the Lord your God brings you into the land of the Canaanite, which you are coming into to inherit, erect great stones, plaster them with plaster, and write on the stones all the words of this law. Therefore when you have crossed the Jordan, set up these stones, which I command you this day, on Mount Gerizim. There build an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones: lift up no iron tool upon them. Build the altar of the Lord your God using whole stones; and offer burnt offerings on it unto the LORD your God. You shall offer peace offerings, and eat there, and rejoice before the LORD your God, after the way of the sunset in the land of the Canaanite who lives in the Aravah in front of Gilgal by the plains of Moreh, in front of Shechem. וְהָיָה כִּי יְבִיאֲךָ ה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּה בָא־שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ וַהֲקֵמֹתָ לְךָ אֲבָנִים גְּדֹלוֹת וְשַׂדְתָּ אֹתָם בַּשִּׂיד׃ וְכָתַבְתָּ עַל הָאֲבָנִים אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת וְהָיָה בְּעָבְרְכֶם אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּן תָּקִימוּ אֶת־הָאֲבָנִים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם בְּהַרְגְרִיזִים׃ וּבָנִיתָ שָּׁם מִזְבֵּחַ לַה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ מִזְבַּח אֲבָנִים לֹא־תָנִיף עֲלֵיהֶם בַּרְזֶל׃ אֲבָנִים שְׁלֵמוֹת תִּבְנֶה אֶת־מִזְבַּח ה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְהַעֲלִיתָ עָלָיו עֹלוֹת לַה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃ וְזָבַחְתָּ שְׁלָמִים וְאָכַלְתָּ שָּׁם וְשָׂמַחְתָּ לִפְנֵי ה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃ הָהָר הַהוּא בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן אַחֲרֵי דֶרֶךְ מָבוֹא הַשֶׁמֶשׁ בְּאֶרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי הַיֹשֵׁב בְּעַרָבָה מוּל הַגִּלְגַל אֵצֶל אֵלוֹן מוֹרֵא מוּל שְׁכֶם׃
This is pivotal to the Samaritan worldview. In the MT, the place where the altar is to be built is not named; the rest of Deuteronomy refers frequently to the place which God will choose, e.g. Deut. 12:5-7:
You shall seek the place which the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put His name there, for His habitation, and come there: There shall you bring your sacrifices [of various kinds], and your vows, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks. There you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all that you put your hand to, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you. כִּי אִם־אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַר ה׳ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם מִכָּל־שִׁבְטֵיכֶם לָשׂוּם אֶת־שְׁמוֹ שָׁם לְשִׁכְנוֹ תִדְרְשׁוּ וּבָאתָ שָּׁמָּה׃ וַהֲבֵאתֶם שָׁמָּה עֹלֹתֵיכֶם וְזִבְחֵיכֶם וְאֵת מַעְשְׂרֹתֵיכֶם וְאֵת תְּרוּמַת יֶדְכֶם וְנִדְרֵיכֶם וְנִדְבֹתֵיכֶם וּבְכֹרֹת בְּקַרְכֶם וְצֹאנְכֶם׃ וַאֲכַלְתֶּם־שָׁם לִפְנֵי ה׳ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וּשְׂמַחְתֶּם בְּכֹל מִשְׁלַח יֶדְכֶם אַתֶּם וּבָתֵּיכֶם אֲשֶׁר בֵּרַכְךָ ה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃

In the Samaritan text, הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַר ה׳ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, which the Jewish tradition interprets to mean Jerusalem, reads instead in every occurrence הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־בָּחַר ה׳ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, "the place which the Lord your God has chosen", and, as the addendum to the Ten Commandment makes clear, refers, due to the conflating of texts from Deut. 11 and Deut. 27., to Mt Gerizim (spelled, for some reason, as one word). (Note: The Masoretic Text has the facing mountain, Mt Ebal, here instead. It is noteworthy that in the blessings and curses ceremony, the blessings are given on Mt Gerizim and the curses on Mt Ebal. AIUI Mt Ebal, moreover, is bare and lacks the vegetation of Mt Gerizim.) Consequently, it is at Mt Gerizim that the Samaritans, since time immemorial, have been offering their sacrifices, and where their temple once stood (until it was destroyed by the Hasmoneans). Jerusalem means nothing to them, and Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem was founded, according to them, after the split with the Jews.

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lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)

In Deut. 1:8, God says:

See, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord swore unto your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give [to them] and to their descendants after them. רְאֵה נָתַתִּי לִפְנֵיכֶם אֶת־הָאָרֶץ בֹּאוּ וּרְשׁוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע ה׳ לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לָתֵת [לָהֶם] וּלְזַרְעָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם׃
But hang on a tick; isn't it God speaking here? Why is God speaking in the third person? The Documentary Hypothesis offers one explanation; the Samaritan Text resolves the problem by changing the text:
See, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which I swore unto your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them [and] to their descendants after them. רְאוּ נָתַתִּי לִפְנֵיכֶם אֶת־הָאָרֶץ בֹּאוּ וּרְשׁוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעתִּי׳ לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לָתֵת לָהֶם לְזַרְעָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם׃

(The bracketed word לָהָם is missing from the Masoretic Text in my MT/Samaritan text comparison chumash, but not elsewhere; I'm not sure what's going on here.)

In Deut. 1:28, Moses reports that the spies complained:

Where shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged us, saying, "The people is greater and taller than us; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen Anakites there." אָנָה אֲנַחְנוּ עֹלִים אַחֵינוּ הֵמַסּוּ אֶת־לְבָבֵנוּ לֵאמֹר עַם גָּדוֹל וָרָם מִמֶּנּוּ עָרִים גְּדֹלֹת וּבְצוּרֹת בַּשָּׁמָיִם וְגַם־בְּנֵי עֲנָקִים רָאִינוּ שָׁם׃
The Samaritan text has an interesting single-letter change:
Where shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged us, saying, "The people is greater and more numerous than us; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen Anakites there." אָנָה אֲנַחְנוּ עֹלִים וְאַחֵינוּ המיסו אֶת־לְבָבֵנוּ לֵאמֹר עַם גָּדוֹל וָרֹב מִמֶּנּוּ וְעָרִים גְּדֹלוֹת וּבְצֻרֹת בַּשָּׁמָיִם וְגַם־בְּנֵי עֲנָקִים רָאִינוּ שָׁם׃
Deut. 1:38:
But Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go there: encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן־נוּן הָעֹמֵד לְפָנֶיךָ הוּא יָבֹא שָׁמָּה אֹתוֹ חַזֵּק כִּי־הוּא יַנְחִלֶנָּה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
The word translated "encourage him" in the KJV literally means "be strong". In the Samaritan text, it's not an imperative but first person indicative imperfect of the hiph`il:
But Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go there: I shall make him strong, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן־נוּן הָעֹמֵד לְפָנֶיךָ הוּא יָבֹא שָׁמָּה אֹתוֹ אַחֲזִיק כִּי־הוּא יַנְחִלֶנָּה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
The following verse continues:
Moreover your little ones, who you said would be a prey, and your children, who in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it. וְטַפְּכֶם אֲשֶׁר אֲמַרְתֶּם לָבַז יִהְיֶה וּבְנֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָדְעוּ הַיּוֹם טוֹב וָרָע הֵמָּה יָבֹאוּ שָׁמָּה וְלָהֶם אֶתְּנֶנָּה וְהֵם יִירָשׁוּהָ׃
The words "who in that day had no knowledge between good and evil" are missing in the Samaritan text; maybe because it acknowledges that the generation condemned to die in the wilderness was of age twenty years and upward, and teenagers do not exactly have no knowledge of good and bad.

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lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)

Num. 30 deals with how vows taken by a woman can be annulled by her husband or father provided he does so immediately; verse 15 reads, "But if her husband stays altogether silent at her from that day henceforth; then he establishes all her vows or bonds on her: he confirms them, because he stayed silent at her on the day he heard them." The text then goes on to say:

But if he shall at all make them void after he has heard them; then he must bear her iniquity. וְאִם־הָפֵר יָפֵר אֹתָם אַחֲרֵי שָׁמְעוֹ וְנָשָׂא אֶת־עֲוֹנָהּ׃
The Samaritan text, however, switches the blame, as seems just:
But if he shall at all make them void after he has heard them; then he must bear his iniquity. וְאִם־הָפֵר יפיר אֹתָם אַחֲרֵי שָׁמְעוֹ וְנָשָׂא אֶת־עֲוֹנוֹ׃

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lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
Numbers 26:10 במדבר כו י-כו י
The earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah; when that company died, in the fire consuming two hundred and fifty men, they became a sign. וַתִּפְתַּח הָאָרֶץ אֶת־פִּיהָ וַתִּבְלַע אֹתָם וְאֶת־קֹרַח בְּמוֹת הָעֵדָה בַּאֲכֹל הָאֵשׁ אֵת חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתַיִם אִישׁ וַיִּהְיוּ לְנֵס׃
The word translated "sign" in the KJV, נֵס, means "miracle". The Samaritan text has it slightly differently:
The earth opened its mouth, and the earth swallowed them up; when that company died, in the fire consuming Korah and two hundred and fifty men, they disappeared. וַתִּפְתַּח הָאָרֶץ אֶת־פִּיהָ וַתִּבְלַע אֹתָם הָאָרֶץ בְּמוֹת הָעֵדָה בַּאֲכֹל הָאֵשׁ אֵת קֹרַח וְאֶת־חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתַיִם אִישׁ וַיִּהְיוּ לְנוּס׃
The use of וַיִּהְיוּ here is unusual. It may be an indication the Masoretic Text preserves the original reading and the Samaritan text a corrupt one.

On to the investiture of Joshua (Num 27:18):

The Lord said to Moses, Take you Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand upon him. וַיֹּאמֶר ה׳ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה קַח־לְךָ אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן־נוּן אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־רוּחַ בּוֹ וְסָמַכְתָּ אֶת־יָדְךָ עָלָיו׃
The Samaritan text is more impressed with Joshua's characteristic:
The Lord said to Moses, Take you Joshua the son of Nun, the man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand upon him. וַיֹּאמֶר ה׳ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה קַח־לְךָ אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן־נוּן הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־רוּחַ בּוֹ וְסָמַכְתָּ אֶת־יָדְךָ עָלָיו׃

The Samaritan text also inserts Deut. 3:21-22 ("I commanded Joshua at that time: 'Your eyes have seen all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings: so shall the Lord do to all the kingdoms where you pass. Do not fear them, for the Lord your God he shall fight for you.'") into the end of his investiture, after v. 23.

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lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
Balaam came from 'the river of the land of the children of his people' )

So, where is Balaam from? "The river of the land of the children of his people" doesn't really tell us anything! According to tradition, Balaam came from Mesopotamia, and indeed there is a Pitru in northern Syria, with which Pethor has been identified (TH as an allophone of ת is a phenomenon restricted to the Canaanite languages, hence lacking in Akkadian/Assyrian, and -u is a nominative ending, which had been lost by the time of Biblical Hebrew).

However, the Samaritan Torah, by adding a single letter (ן) completely changes the picture:

[Balak] sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the Ammonites, to call him, saying, "Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt, and lo, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me." וַיִּשְׁלַח מַלְאָכִים אֶל־בִּלְעָם בֶּן־בְּעֹר פְּתֹרָה אֲשֶׁר עַל־הַנָּהָר אֶרֶץ בְּנֵי־עַמוֹן לִקְרֹא־לוֹ לֵאמֹר הֵן עַם יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם והִנֵּה כִסָּה אֶת־עֵין הָאָרֶץ וְהוּא יֹשֵׁב מִמּוּלִי׃

This makes more sense: Balak was king of Moab; it's much more likely he'd send to Ammon, the neighbouring kingdom, to find someone to curse the Israelites, than all the way to Pitru, 350 miles away:

View map )

Into this fray, however, comes one more fascinating piece of evidence. It turns out that there's extra-Biblical evidence of Balaam: the Deir `Alla inscription, discovered in 1967 in Jordan, and dated to ca. 840–760 BCE:

[photo]

Here's the translation of it on Wikipedia:

Read more... )

Deir `Alla is in Gilead; it's about ten miles away from the Ammon border on the above map (and over three hundred from Pitru). One more piece of evidence in favour of Balaam coming from Ammon, not from northern Mesopotamia.

Other things in פַּרְשַׁת בָּלָק )

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lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
More of the normal slightly boring stuff ) Numbers 21:14 contains one of the intriguing references within the Bible to other books, no longer extant:
Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the LORD,
Of Wahev in Suf, and in the wadis of Arnon,
And at the stream of the wadis that goes down to the dwelling of Ar, and lies upon the border of Moab.
עַל־כֵּן יֵאָמַר בְּסֵפֶר מִלְחֲמֹת ה׳ אֶת־וָהֵב בְּסוּפָה וְאֶת־הַנְּחָלִים אַרְנוֹן׃ וְאֶשֶׁד הַנְּחָלִים אֲשֶׁר נָטָה לְשֶׁבֶת עָר וְנִשְׁעַן לִגְבוּל מוֹאָב׃
In the Samaritan text, this is slightly different:
Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the LORD, of Wahev in Suf, and in the wadis of Arnon, Which he caused them to inherit, and which goes down to the dwelling of the city, and lies upon the border of Moab. עַל־כֵּן יֵאָמַר בְּסֵפֶר מִלְחֲמֹת ה׳ אֶת־וָהֵב בְּסוּפָה וְאֶת־הַנְּחָלִים אַרְנֹן׃ אֲשֶׁר הִנְחִילָם וְאֲשֶׁר נָטָה לְשֶׁבֶת עִיר וְנִשְׁעַן לִגְבוּל מוֹאָב׃

I have typeset this as prose, not verse, because it lacks the parallelism of the MT. I suspect the MT is in the right here, though, for that reason, and because of the verb number disagreement ("goes" rather than "go"). Take note of the word אֶשֶׁד, though: we'll encounter that again in Deut. 33.

Numbers 21:17-19:
Then Israel sang this song,
Spring up, O well; sing you unto it.
The princes dug the well, the nobles of the people dug it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves.
And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah. And from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth.
אָז יָשִׁיר יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת עֲלִי בְאֵר עֱנוּ־לָהּ׃ בְּאֵר חֲפָרוּהָ שָׂרִים כָּרוּהָ נְדִיבֵי הָעָם בִּמְחֹקֵק בְּמִשְׁעֲנֹתָם וּמִמִּדְבָּר מַתָּנָה׃ וּמִמַּתָּנָה נַחֲלִיאֵל וּמִנַּחֲלִיאֵל בָּמוֹת׃
In the Samaritan text:
Then Israel sang this song,
Spring up, O well; sing you unto it.
The princes dug the well, the nobles of the people dug it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves, a gift from the wilderness.
And from Mattanah to Nahaliel: and from Nahaliel to Bamoth.
אָז יָשִׁיר יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת עֲלִי בְאֵר עֱנוּ־לָהּ׃ בְּאֵר חֲפָרוּהָ שָׂרִים כרואה נְדִיבֵי הָעָם בִּמְחֹקֵק וּבְּמִשְׁעֲנֹתָם מִמִּדְבָּר מַתָּנָה׃ וּמִמַּתָּנָה נַחֲלִיאֵל וּמִנַּחֲלִיאֵל בָּמוֹת׃

I'm uncertain whether the extra א is significant; in Jewish Hebrew כרואה looks like it might mean "like the seer". I've translated מַתָּנָה here as "gift", which seems to make more sense in the middle verse; but it's still a place-name in the last.

The report of the conflict with Siḥon King of Ḥeshbon in Num. 21:21 onwards includes many inserts from the parallel passage in Deut. 2:24 onwards, some of which reconcile diverges between the passages. One of these verses contains the following peculiarity:
[Deut. 2:31] The LORD said to Moses, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before you: begin to possess, that you may inherit his land. [Num. 21:23] ש But Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness: and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel. [במד׳ כא כג] וְלֹא־נָתַן סִיחוֹן אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבֹר בִּגְבֻלוֹ [דבר׳ ב לא] וַיֹּאמֶר ה׳ אֶל מֹשֶׁה רְאֵה הַחִלֹּתִי תֵּת לְפָנֶיךָ אֶת־סִיחֹן וְאֶת־אַרְצוֹ הָחֵל רָשׁ לָרֶשֶׁת אֶת־אַרְצוֹ׃ ש [במד׳ כא כג] וַיֶּאֱסֹף סִיחוֹן אֶת־כָּל־עַמּוֹ וַיֵּצֵא לִקְרַאת יִשְׂרָאֵל הַמִּדְבָּרָה וַיָּבֹא יָחְצָה וַיִּלָּחֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃
I have no idea what the extraneous ש is doing there—or, indeed, whether it's really there and not a typesetting error.

[Samaritan Torah] Samaritan Torah notes         Jewish learning notes index


lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)

Num. 13:16-17, coming immediately after the list of names of the spies, contains the passage in which Hoshea bin Nun is renamed Yehoshua (Joshua), despite already having been referred to as Joshua earlier in the Torah:

Read more... )
In the Samaritan text here, there's no renaming, rather Moses is calling Joshua (who's so-named, not as Hoshea, a few verses beforehand) to give him orders:
Read more... )
Num 13:19:Read more... ) The KJV translates Num. 13:22 as, "They ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron". However, the Hebrew literally reads:
They ascended by the south, and he came to Hebron. וַיַּעֲלוּ בַנֶּגֶב וַיָּבֹא עַד־חֶבְרוֹן
The Midrash picks up on this and says it was just Joshua who went to Hebron, to pay his respects at the Tomb of the Patriarchs. The Samaritan text, however, unromantically corrects the grammar:
They ascended by the south, and they came to Hebron. וַיַּעֲלוּ בַנֶּגֶב וַיָּבֹאוּ עַד־חֶבְרוֹן
When the people quail following the report of the spies, and try and stone Joshua and Caleb, God threatens to disinherit them, and Moses tries to talk God out of it, saying, inter alia (Num. 14:17-18):
Read more... )
The reference is of course to the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy in Exodus 34:6-7, but there are words missing from this version. The Samaritan text restores some of them, and makes the same change as before:
Read more... )
Num. 16:3 reads:
They gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, "You take too much upon yourselves, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you raise yourselves up over the congregation of the Lord?" וַיִּקָּהֲלוּ עַל־מֹשֶׁה וְעַל־אַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֲלֵהֶם רַב־לָכֶם כִּי כָל־הָעֵדָה כֻּלָּם קְדֹשִׁים וּבְתוֹכָם ה׳ וּמַדּוּעַ תִּתְנַשְּׂאוּ עַל־קְהַל ה׳׃
The word for "holy" here is קְדֹשִׁים. In the Samaritan text this reads קדישים; influence of Aramaic, perhaps? (If so, that's definitely a later corruption; the only Aramaic words in the Torah are the two spoken by Laban in Gen. 31:47.)

[Samaritan Torah] Samaritan Torah notes         Jewish learning notes index


lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)

The Samaritan Torah continues its harmonisation of Exodus–Numbers with Deuteronomy by inserting Deuteronomy 1:6-8 after Num. 10:10, only as direct rather than reported speech:

The Lord said to Moses, "You have dwelt long enough in this mount: Turn and journey until you come to the Amorites' hill country, and all its neighbouring places in the Aravah, in the hills, and in the valley, in the ?south, and on the seashore, to the land of the Canaanites, and to the Lebanon, as far as the Great River, the River Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which I swore to your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them and to their descendants after them." וַיְדַבֵּר ה׳ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃ רַב־לָכֶם שֶׁבֶת בָּהָר הַזֶּה׃ פְּנוּ וּסְעוּ לָכֶם וּבֹאוּ הַר הָאֱמֹרִי וְאֶל־כָּל־שְׁכֵנָיו בָּעֲרָבָה בָהָר וּבַשְּׁפֵלָה וּבַנּגף וּבְחוֹף הַיָּם אֶרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַלְּבָנוֹן עַד־הַנָּהָר הַגָּדֹל נְהַר־פְּרָת׃ רְאוּ נָתַתִּי לִפְנֵיכֶם אֶת־הָאָרֶץ בֹּאוּ וּרְשׁוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לָתֵת לָהֶם וּלְזַרְעָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם׃

Similarly Deut 1:20-23 is inserted before Num. 13:1. The interesting thing here is that the former is the passage in Deuteronomy which attributes the desire to send spies through the land to the people, and the latter that in Leviticus which attributes it to Divine command! Evidently the Samaritan Torah is seeking to reconcile the two by turning the latter into Divine sanction on the behaviour which the people have requested and Moses already approved: the insert ends, and the original text from Leviticus with God giving orders starts, after "The matter appeared good to Moses", based on the first half of Deut. 1:23 (but not the second half, in which Moses is already putting the plan into action).

The Samaritan text also introduces the passage from Deut. 1:27-33, about the people complaining about the spies' report, to the appropriate place in the story, between Num. 13:33 and 14:1; and Deut 1:42 after Num. 14:40; and lots more passages, I can't be bothered to annotate all of them.

[Samaritan Torah] Samaritan Torah notes         Jewish learning notes index


lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)

In the description of the sotah ceremony in Num. 5:18, we read:

The priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and uncover the woman's head, and put the memorial offering in her hands, that being the jealousy offering; and in the priest's hand shall be the bitter water that causes the curse. וְהֶעֱמִיד הַכֹּהֵן אֶת־הָאִשָּׁה לִפְנֵי ה׳ וּפָרַע אֶת־רֹאשׁ הָאִשָּׁה וְנָתַן עַל־כַּפֶּיהָ אֵת מִנְחַת הַזִּכָּרוֹן מִנְחַת קְנָאֹת הִוא וּבְיַד הַכֹּהֵן יִהְיוּ מֵי הַמָּרִים הַמְאָרְרִים׃

In the Samaritan text in place of הַמָּרִים "bitter", it reads המארים. This might be derived from מְאֵרָה, another word for curse, but that would make the phrase a tautology. Another possibility is that it's derived from מָאוֹר and hence means "waters which shed light [on whether the woman is guilty]." Of course, the Samaritans will have a definitive answer, but I don't know what it is.

[Samaritan Torah] Samaritan Torah notes         Jewish learning notes index


lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
Numbers 3:5-3:9 במדבר ג ה-ג ט
The Lord spoke to Moses: "Bring near the tribe of Levi, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister to him. They shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, to perform the service of the tabernacle. They shall keep all the vessels of the Tent of Meeting, and the charge of the children of Israel, to perform the service of the tabernacle. You shall give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given to him out of the Israelites." וַיְדַבֵּר ה׳ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃ הַקְרֵב אֶת־מַטֵּה לֵוִי וְהַעֲמַדְתָּ אֹתוֹ לִפְנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן וְשֵׁרְתוּ אֹתוֹ׃ וְשָׁמְרוּ אֶת־מִשְׁמַרְתּוֹ וְאֶת־מִשְׁמֶרֶת כָּל־הָעֵדָה לִפְנֵי אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לַעֲבֹד אֶת־עֲבֹדַת הַמִּשְׁכָּן׃ וְשָׁמְרוּ אֶת־כָּל־כְּלֵי אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְאֶת־מִשְׁמֶרֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לַעֲבֹד אֶת־עֲבֹדַת הַמִּשְׁכָּן׃ וְנָתַתָּה אֶת־הַלְוִיִּם לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו נְתוּנִם נְתוּנִם הֵמָּה לוֹ מֵאֵת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

The Samaritan text has a small but significant difference: Instead of "they are wholly given to him out of the Israelites", it reads "they are wholly given to Me amongst (לִי מִתּוֹךְ) the Israelites."

[Samaritan Torah] Samaritan Torah notes         Jewish learning notes index


lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)

Lev 21:17 reads:

Leviticus 21:17 ויקרא כא יז
Speak unto Aaron, saying, Any man of your descent with any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread [sc. food] of his God. דַּבֵּר אֶל־אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר אִישׁ מִזַּרְעֲךָ לְדֹרֹתָם אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בוֹ מוּם לֹא יִקְרַב לְהַקְרִיב לֶחֶם אֱלֹהָיו׃

It's well-known that the Hebrew word for to sacrifice, לְהַקְרִיב, has the same root as קָרוֹב, "close". Hence, to sacrifice in Hebrew does not, as in English, have connotations of giving something up; instead its connotations are of drawing close to God.

Joel M. Hoffman disputes this in his book And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning. I suspect he does not deny that the words are etymologically related, but he says people wouldn't be aware of the relationship, and quotes figures to say that most Israelis don't connect the two meanings. (I personally suspect, though, that if you pointed the connection out to Israelis they say "Oh, that makes sense; why didn't I realise that?")

Though I like a lot of what this book says, I think this part is rubbish, and the juxtaposition of לֹא יִקְרַב "let him not draw near" and לְהַקְרִיב "to offer" argues in my favour. This is even more so in the Samaritan text, where the word לְהַקְרִיב is replaced by לְהַגִישׁ, "to bring close".

The following verse reads in the MT:

For whatsoever man that has a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or with a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, כִּי כָל־אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ מוּם לֹא יִקְרָב אִישׁ עִוֵּר אוֹ פִסֵּחַ אוֹ חָרֻם אוֹ שָׂרוּעַ׃

The Samaritan text replaces חָרֻם ("flat-nosed" or "with a pierced nose"), with ערום, which seems to mean "naked", which is odd, as it does not fit in to the rest of the verse.

Leviticus 24:1-24:4 ויקרא כד א-כד ד
The Lord spoke to Moses: "Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto you pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause to burn an eternal lamp. Outside of the curtain of the testimony, in the Tent of Meeting, Aaron shall set it from the evening unto the morning before the Lord continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations: He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the Lord continually." וַיְדַבֵּר ה׳ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃ צַו אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית לַמָּאוֹר לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר תָּמִיד׃ מִחוּץ לְפָרֹכֶת הָעֵדֻת בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד יַעֲרֹךְ אֹתוֹ אַהֲרֹן מֵעֶרֶב עַד־בֹּקֶר לִפְנֵי ה׳ תָּמִיד חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם׃ עַל הַמְּנֹרָה הַטְּהֹרָה יַעֲרֹךְ אֶת־הַנֵּרוֹת לִפְנֵי ה׳ תָּמִיד׃

This passage is the origin of the phrase נֵר תָּמִיד Eternal Lamp, describing the lamp before the Ark in synagogues today which is never allowed to go out, in memory of this light on the Menorah in the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. However, it seems from verse 3 that this light actually only burned in the Tabernacle during the night hours, and this impression is reinforced in the Samaritan text where the last word, תָּמִיד "continually", is replaced with עַד בֹּקֶר "until morning".

This was the last interesting discrepancy between the two texts in the Book of Leviticus; see you in פַּרְשַׁת בְּמִדְבַּר!

[Samaritan Torah] Samaritan Torah notes         Jewish learning notes index


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