An individual recently wrote me asking about what they referred to as “erroneous” passages or mistranslations in the Scriptures, namely in the “Brit ha’Chadashah” and more specifically in the Besurah of Mattai.
I list a couple of these here.
Mattai 11:14. The individual also asked if Rabbeinu Yehoshua claimed that Yochanan the Baptizer was Eliyahu ha’Navi (Elijah the Prophet)? and if so, why did Yochanan deny it? (Yochanan 1:21) He referenced Mattai 11:14. Our sages tell us that Yochanan was not Eliyahu ha’Navi in the literal sense; he not only came in the spirit and power of Eliyahu, but that he also had the spirit of Eliyahu ha’Navi within him. With this understanding, one can see the harmony between the words of Rabbeinu Yehoshua and Yochanan the Baptizer.
Mattai 27:9,10. The individual believed that Matthew was wrong when he said, in verse 9, “Prophet Jeremiah.” However, if we look at the Hebrew-Aramaic versions, the name “Jeremiah” is not present in this verse. The Greek versions and the translations from them does in fact use the name “Jeremiah.” Matthew was not wrong, but it would appear that those who made the old Greek translations believed, for some reason, the name “Jeremiah” should be in the text. One Aramaic version of Mattai helps clarify verses 9 and 10 by rendering the Aramaic to English in the following manner:
“Then it was fulfilled that which was spoken by the prophet [[Zechariah]], saying: ‘I took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the precious one, which they of the B’nai Yisrael had agreed upon; and I gave them for the field of the potter, as Mar-Yah directed me.'” (Mattai 27:9, 10)
Other Peshitta Versions or Translations that Agree with the Above…
Eastern Aramaic Peshitta, c. 6th century C.E.
Hebrew translation of Aramaic Peshitta, Aramaic Scriptures Research Society in Israel, 1986.
Spanish Peshitta published by Broadman and Holman, 2006.
George Lamsa English translation.
Aramaic New Covenant, an English translation by Herb Jahn, 1996.
While the Geneva Bible (an English translation of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, published before the King James Version) uses the name “Jeremiah”, the edition published by Tolle Lege Press in 2007 has a footnote that reads: “Seeing this prophecy is read in Zech. 11:12, it cannot be denied, but Jeremiah’s name crept into the text, either through the Printer’s fault, or some other’s ignorance: it may be also that it came out of the margin, by reason of the abbreviation of the letters, the one being iou, and the other zou, which are not much unlike: but in the Syrian [Aramaic] text the Prophet’s name is not set down at all.”
May Elohim El Shaddai bless you,
By Saul ben Michael Katz