I’ve set Jeremiah 31:32 as it reads in the Hebrew Bible compared to how it reads in the Septuagint (LXX). There is a striking difference in the way they read. The Hebrew reading is on the left and the LXX reading is on the right.
|It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. (NIV)||It will not be like the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, because they did not abide in my covenant, and I was unconcerned for them, quoth the Lord,(A New English Translation of the Septuagint).
The reading of the LXX is followed by the writer of the book of Hebrews (8:9). How do we explain this? George Guthrie says “It seems that the translator of the LXX reads bʿl as gʿl.” In other words the LXX is wrong since it misread the original Hebrew. But it is entirely possible that the translator of the LXX was following different Hebrew manuscripts than those which became the basis for the Masoretic text. Timothy Law offers an alternative explanation than that of Guthrie:
“The later editors of the Hebrew Bible considered the suggestion that God was ‘unconcerned’ for disobedient Israel out of sync with the faithfulness that writers of other scriptural texts claimed was characteristic of God. They changed this startling phrase in the text to reinforce God’s faithfulness, having him say ‘though I was their husband,’ which means ‘though I remained faithful to them in spite of their disobedience.’ (When God Spoke Greek, 52)
Law’s book has really renewed in me the importance of the LXX. It is significant to understand that “the writers of the New Testament used almost exclusively the Greek Septuagint” (85) and “the Septuagint and especially the Dead Sea Scrolls offer proof that the Hebrew Bible was not fixed before the second century CE and, perhaps more surprisingly, that many readers and users of the scriptural texts before then were not bothered about it.” (79) But also Law points out that though we speak of the “Septuagint” it was “not a singular entity.” (86) Because of this “the New Testament authors, finding the ‘original text’—a modern, often apologetically motivated concern—was not a priority.” (86)