Deuterocanonical Books (Part 1)
There is good reason to believe that the eight so called Deuterocanical books are inspired. The books I am referring to are Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, Yeshua the son of Sira (Greek pronunciation: Jesus Ben Sirach), Wisdom, Judith, Tobit, and 1st & 2nd Maccabees. These books were accepted as inspired by both the Aramaic and Greek speaking Jews. Also, content in some of these books are either referenced or in agreement by undisputed Scripture. Some of them contain prophecy fulfillment.
What I don’t believe are inspired are the additions to Esther and Daniel. Though it is true that both the Aramaic and Greek translations of the Old Testament contain these additional words, it should be noted that these canons and translations are not perfect. Cultural forces probably influenced these additions to be added to the books of Esther and Daniel.
The above stated additions are not in the original text of either Esther or Daniel. For Esther, the Aramaic translation has a commentary on the additional parts and states that they are not in the original Hebrew text but are in the common (or universal) codex and are also written down in the language of the Greeks. There is no commentary for the additions to Daniel, but they are probably forgeries. Biblical stories appear to be in chronological order. However, a younger Daniel in the additional story about Susana appears at the end of the Book of Daniel (i.e. chapter 13 out of the 14 chapters); breaking the chronological cycle. The additions appear to be just put in with the original text to give more details about the prior chapters. These additions can’t be joined together into a single work (or book). There are no connecting words leading to the next events in the following story.
Reasons to believe in the Deuterocanical Books:
The books of Tobit and Judith contain history about the nation of Media. Additionally, the books of 1st and 2nd Maccabees contain history about the Greek nation and its later kingdoms. I would think this information would be in the Bible because these nations are talked about in prophecy:
“…suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power. And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand. Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land” (Daniel 8:5-9 NKJV). The male goat represents Greece and the notable horn represents Alexander the Great, Greece’s first king (Dan. 8:21, 1 Macc. 6:2). Greece defeated the Media-Persia nation which is represented as the ram. Later, Alexander drank himself to death and died of a fever at the age of thirty-two, and hence the large horn of the male goat was broken. The four notable horns that came up afterwards refer to his four generals: Antiochus (1 Macc. 1:10), Ptolemy (1 Macc. 1:18), Lysimachus (2 Macc. 4:39) and Cassander. From the horn that represented Antiochus who ruled Syria came a little horn. This little horn was Antiochus IV Epiphanes (1 Macc. 1:10), who persecuted the Jews in the Glorious Land from about 171-165 B.C. He ruled from 175-164 B.C. His brother Seleucus IV Philopator (187-175 B.C.), however, came to the throne before him (2 Macc. 4:7).
(Daniel 8:20-22 NKJV) confirms some of the above interpretations. Here, the goat represents both Greece and its king.: “The ram which you saw, having the two horns – they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the male goat is the kingdom (king) of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.” (Dan. 8:20-22 NKJV). The four kingdoms were Macedonia, Asia, Syria and Egypt.
"Wisdom of Solomon" (Greek Name) or "The Book of Great Wisdom" (Aramaic Name):
This book contains a Messianic prophecy that is fulfilled in Yeshua the Anointed (i.e. Jesus Christ) at Wisdom 2:12-20.
"Let us hinder
(or prohibit, prevent, detain)
the righteous one, because he is not pleasant
(or kind, gentle)
to us; for he stands against our deeds, and reproaches us for transgressions of the law and reminds
against us our bold
(foolish deeds, offences)
. And He supposes to have the knowledge of God and says concerning himself, I am the Son of God. He has become a Reprover of our thoughts. It is grievous to us and also
to see him
[it is grievous, hard]
, because his manner of life is not like others, and his ways are different. We are reckoned by him as unclean things. And he departs afar
from our ways as
from uncleanness. And He blesses the destiny of the righteous ones and boasts that God is his Father. Let us see if his words are true; let us test him by putting him to death
(Lit. at his departure, death)
. For if the righteous one is the Son of God, He
saving him from the hands of those who rise up against him. We shall interrogate him with disgrace
(or dishonor, revilement, insult)
and torture that we shall know the diligence of his humility. And we will examine
if there is no evil in him. Let us plan
for him a disgraceful death. For an inquiry of his words shall be upon him." (Peshitta)
I underlined the word the in the translation where the Greek Text has the following word indefinite. The Greek text says "a child of the Lord" (verse 13) and "a son of God" (verse 18). The Aramaic text uses the word "son" twice and it is most likely definite by how it is written. But since there isn't a verb in those statements, where an indefinite noun would be placed before it instead of after it, it's possible "son" is indefinite, though less likely. Additionally, the Greek text of verse 22 could make this verse refer to any righteous person instead of a particular Righteous One. However, the Aramaic text says something significantly different and hence the Messianic prophecy is maintained.
Wisdom 2:22 (Peshitta) says: "And they didn't know the secret things (counsels, plans, deeds) of God, and neither hoped (or trusted) on the reward (or wage) of the pious one (holy one) and they didn't discern that the souls of the elders [were] unblemished (or faultless, flawless, perfect)."
The “breastplate of righteousness” is also spoken of in the book of Wisdom.
“And he shall put on the breastplate of righteousness; and put on his head the helmet of judgment without falsehood. And he shall take the buckler (round shield) of holiness that he shall not be overcome” (Wis. 5:19-20 Peshitta / Wis. 5:18-19 NAB) [see also Isa. 59:17; Eph. 6:13-17; & 1 Thess. 5:8]
The “gates of Sheol” are referred to in both Wisdom and Matthew:
“Because you have power over death and life; and you are causing to descend to the gates of Sheol, and causing to ascend.” (Wis. 16:13 Peshitta)
“…I will build my church; and the doors
of Sheol shall not shut upon it
(prevail over [subdue] it)
.” (Matt. 16:18 Lamsa)
"And in the days of King Esar-Ḥaddon, when I returned to my house and Ḥannah my wife was restored to me along with Toḅiyah my son; a good dinner was prepared for me on the day of the Festival of Weeks (Pentecost). And I reclined to eat."(Tobit 2:1 DSS). Toḅiyah (i.e. Toviyah) is the son of Tobit and is mentioned in the book of Ezra. (Ezra 2:60) says: "The descendants of Delayah, the descendants of Toviyah, [and] the descendants of Neqoda, six hundred and fifty-two." This is interesting because Ezra mentions many people who are also mentioned in other Scriptures dealing with the Aramaic environment. People such as Jeremiah the prophet, Neḥemiah, Mordecai (Ezra 1:1; 2:2), Ḥaggai, Zecaryah (Ezra 5:1) and Zerubbaḅel are all mentioned. So the book of Tobit seems to fit nicely within the Bible.
"I am Raphael, one of those seven holy angels, those who are ascending and entering before His Holy Glory" (Tobit 12:15 Syro-Hexaplaric / LXX similar). The other Aramaic reading is: “I am Raphael, one of the angels standing before God.” (Tobit 12:15 Peshitta). Raphael is one of the seven spirits before God’s throne (Rev. 1:4). The Book of Enoch*, which has some probability of being canonical or inspired also lists Raphael among the seven main angels. The Angels are Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Saraqael, Gabriel and Remiel (see Enoch 20:1-6).
Note: Most of the original Aramaic book of Tobit has been preserved in the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). That text is different and older than the Peshitta text of Tobit. DSS Tobit has older grammar such as the use of the yodh instead of the nun to express the future tense plus there are different synonym words to relate the same message. Peshitta Tobit, at the end of the book, says that some of its material is a translation from the Septuaginta (LXX) and some of its material is from another version, as remembered. Tobit 12:15 wasn't preserved among the DSS fragments so I quoted from the Peshitta. Peshitta Tobit basically matches the Syro-Hexaplaric text from 1:1 - 7:11. However, the second half of 7:11 to 14:15 from the Syro-Hexaplaric text was replaced with a "so-called" mixed text in the latter half of the Peshitta text of Tobit. The mixed text is presumably some of the now lost Peshitta, some from the Syro-Hexaplaric, and some from later material.
"... Behold, the LORD comes with ten thousands of the saints, that He shall execute judgment upon all, and to reprove all the souls (everyone) who did wickedness on account of all of those deeds, and on account of all of those harsh words which wicked sinners have spoken." (Jude 1:14-15 Crawford Aramaic Text). Yehudah (Jude) quotes from (Enoch 1:9-10) in paraphrase. We know Jude quotes 1st Enoch instead of 1st Enoch quoting Jude because the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls proves Aramaic 1st Enoch existed before the New Testament was written. Part of verse nine "... ten thousands of his saints ..." survived decay in manuscript [4Q204 (4QEn ar) 4QEnoch ar]. 1st Enoch 1:9-10 is also found in Greek 1st Enoch and Ethiopic 1st Enoch. Since Jude quotes from 1st Enoch, the book of Enoch may be inspired and part of Scripture.
It's my belief that 1st Enoch was originally written in Aramaic. This can be seen by the Aramaic names of the fallen angels and what they teach (1 Enoch 8:3). Barq-el (lightning of God) taught the omens (divinations) of the lightnings (bar-qin). Cow-ich-wel (star of God) taught the omens of the stars (cow-ich-win). Shim-shi-el (sun of God) taught the omens of the sun (shmish). Say-ri-el (moon of God) taught the omens of the moon (sayr); and so forth. It's clear that the Greek transliterations of the angel names came from Aramaic Enoch and not from a Hebrew Enoch. Ethiopic 1st Enoch is a translation from Greek 1st Enoch. Also, the Qumran Community had religious writings (the Dead Sea Scrolls) in their original language; of either Hebrew or Aramaic. Since all the manuscripts of 1st Enoch were found in the Aramaic language, we should view this book as being originally written in Aramaic. In other words, if 1st Enoch was originally written in Hebrew or Ethiopic, then they would have 1st Enoch manuscripts in one of those languages. Ge'ez, the dialect of Ethiopic Enoch, is also a late 5th century B.C. script. That script doesn't date all the way back to Enoch. However, the Aramaic grammar and script of 1st Enoch does.
Note: Sun is pronounced "shim-sha" and moon is pronounced "say-ra" in the Peshitta Old Testament; which was translated from the Hebrew text much later. Again, 1st Enoch has older Aramaic grammar (spelling of words, conjugation, and plural endings) than the Aramaic found in the books of Ezra, Daniel and Jeremiah.
Approximately ten and a half designated manuscripts of the book of Enoch have been found at Qumran (see The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition Volume 1 by Florentino Garcia Martinez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar). The other one and a half manuscripts contain pseudepigraphal text ascribed to Enoch (i.e. "Astrological Enoch" and "The Book of the Giants"). Some of those manuscripts are made up of three or more fragments; and hence some would give a different number for the amount of manuscripts / fragments found for 1st Enoch and the Pseudepigrapha.
The Book of Enoch has been divided into five sections (or books) by modern scholars. Chapters 37 -71 (The Book of the Similitudes), which contain one of the titles of Jesus (i.e. son of man), are missing among the manuscripts. Those chapters are also not found in Greek 1st Enoch, which ends with chapter 32. Some have speculated that a (so-called) Christian added those verses to 1st Enoch and hence those chapters are additions to 1st Enoch. That's one theory (opinion), but it isn't known for sure. Both Aramaic and Greek 1st Enoch have lost text and some of the letters of Aramaic Enoch couldn't be deciphered due to the natural deterioration of time. So the missing text could be just that, lost text. Additionally, many fragments containing a lot of the text for the later chapters (76-79, 82, 86, 88-89, 91-94, and 104-107) of Aramaic Enoch have been found. Greek 1st Enoch can't be shown to contain those chapters but Aramaic 1st Enoch surely had those chapters. So Ethiopic Enoch could be a very good witness to the full content of Aramaic 1st Enoch. Ethiopic 1st Enoch ends with fourteen verses in chapter 108. This suggests Aramaic 1st Enoch was just as long because Ethiopic Enoch ends just fourteen verses later. And hence that text is now lost from the Aramaic text.
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