Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Very Naughty Eight Year Old

I am currently working through 1 Esdras in Codex Vaticanus (more on the text of 1 Esdras some other time). One amusing textual variant caught my eye:

In 1 Esdr. 1.41 reads in 'B': "and his son Ioakeim [= Joachin in English versions] reigned in his place; for when he was appointed king he was eight years old (eton ekto)". Yet 'A' puts his age at "eighteen years old" (eton deka ekto). This is all the more interesting because the next verse in 1 Esdr. 1.42 states: " Now he reigned for three months and ten days in Jerusalem; and he did what was evil before the Lord."

I know that A is obviously correct with its reading of "eighteen," but an eight year old ruling a kingdom and doing evil before the Lord does have a certain ring of plausibility to it if you've ever been at an eight year old's birthday party with his or her friends.


  1. Why is A 'obviously correct'?

  2. Is the title a clever way of highlighting how easy it is for copyists to make errors?

  3. I tried looking this up in Bagster's LXX, and found that it is versed as 1:43 (following the KJV). The English text has "eighteen", but the Greek has HN ETWN OKTW.

    This follows the Hebrew vorlage of 2 Chron 26:9, versus that of 2 Kings 24:8. Alex. has 'eighteen' both places.

    Anyone have the Vulgate reading?

  4. Oops, 36:9
    octo annorum erat Ioachin cum regnare

    and 2 Kings 24:8
    decem et octo annorum erat Ioiachin cum regnare

    1 Esdras 1:43
    et regnavit Ioachim filius ipsius pro eo; cum autem constitutus esset, erat annorum octo.

    In all cases, 1 Esdras copies the reading of 2 Chronicles. A clear case of dependence!

  5. Peter: In a 1928 Yale Dissertation Tedesche showed that A is usually a better to B on 1 Esdras. Hanhart questions him on his method and some details, but basically agrees in the end.

    Daniel: The issue of what 1 Esdras is drawn from is THE question in 1 Esdras research. I think it stems from an Aramaic Vorlage that included 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah.