Paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll

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11QpaleoLev (Paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll)
1039-1 for screen.jpg
The Paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll. Courtesy of The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library; IAA, photo: Shai Halevi
11QpaleoLev - Qumran Cave 11.jpg
Materialtanned leather
Size100.5 cm. x 10.9 cm.
WritingPaleo-Hebrew characters
Createdcirca 2nd–1st-century BCE
Present locationIAA

Paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll, known also as 11QpaleoLev, is an ancient text preserved in one of the Qumran group of caves, and which provides a rare glimpse of the script used formerly by the nation of Israel in writing Torah scrolls during its pre-exilic history.[1] The fragmentary remains of the Torah scroll is written in the Paleo-Hebrew script and was found stashed-away in a cave at Qumran, showing a portion of Leviticus. The scroll is thought to have been penned by the scribe between the late 2nd-century BCE to early 1st-century BCE, while others place its writing in the 1st-century CE.[2]

The Paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll, although many centuries more recent than the well-known earlier ancient paleo-Hebrew epigraphic materials, such as the Royal Steward inscription from Siloam, Jerusalem (eighth century BCE), now in the Museum of the Ancient Orient, Istanbul,[3] and the Phoenician inscription on the sarcophagus of King Eshmun-Azar at Sidon, dating to the fifth-fourth century BCE,[4] the Lachish ostraca (ca. 6th-century BCE), the Gezer calendar (ca. 950–918 BCE), and the paleo-Hebrew sacerdotal blessing discovered in 1979 near the St Andrew's Church in Jerusalem, is of no less importance to palaeography[5][6] - even though the manuscript is fragmentary and only partially preserved on leather parchment.

Today, the paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll (11QpaleoLev) is housed at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), but is not on public display.


The discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947 brought in its wake a flurry of epigraphic discoveries in the Qumran region. The paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll was one of the last of these discoveries, discovered in a cave in January of 1956 by local Bedouins of the Taʿamireh clan, where it had been stashed along with other manuscripts in what is now known as "Qumran Cave 11," about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of Khirbet Qumran. The entrance to the cave had been sealed-off with fallen debris and large boulders, while part of the cave's roof had also collapsed, keeping the cave inaccessible for many centuries.[7] The cache of manuscripts found in cave no. 11 yielded, among other manuscripts, the Great Psalms Scroll (11QPs), the Temple Scroll (11QT) (being the longest of the Dead Sea Scrolls), and the paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll. The Leviticus scroll was obtained by the Rockefeller Museum (formerly the Palestine Archaeological Museum) in May of 1956 where it was kept in the museum's scrollery, and there remained largely untouched for 12 years, until it could be examined by researchers. When the museum came under the administration of the Israeli government after the Six-Day War in 1967, the museum assigned the Leviticus scroll to D.N. Freedman for study and publication, who published the first report on the manuscript in 1974. Today, the 11QpaleoLev is held by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

The scroll was first photographed in 1956 by the Palestine Archaeological Museum (PAM), and again in 1970 under the auspices of the IAA, when infra-red photographs were made of the manuscript.[8] Between 1956 and 1970 the scroll had suffered, losing at several places tiny fragments from the edges. Thus, the 1956 photographs preserve a better stage of the scroll and show readings which were lost in 1970.[8]

One fragment belonging to the 11QpaleoLev but not with the IAA is Fragment L (formerly, 11Q1), purchased by Georges Roux of France from the antiquities dealer Khalil Eskander Shaheen (Kando) of Bethlehem in 1967, showing Leviticus 21:7–12 / 22:21–27.[9] Similar paleo-Hebrew fragments exist for the Books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, discovered in Qumran Cave 4.[10]

Qumran Cave 11 Entrance

Historical background

The paleo-Hebrew script used is similar to the script still preserved today by the Samaritans, in the Samaritan Pentateuch, which itself is thought to be a direct descendant of the paleo-Hebrew alphabet (known in other circles as the Phoenician alphabet).[11]

The Leviticus scroll is of primary importance in helping secular and religious scholars better understand the textual development of the Hebrew Bible[12] and can shed light on the Hebrew Pentateuch's Urtext.

Although secular linguistic experts agree that the Ashurit script (i.e. the modern square Jewish Hebrew alphabet) evolved from the earlier Paleo-Hebrew script via the Aramaic alphabet — their secular consensus view is based on palaeographic evidentiary discoveries, the timelines and assigned eras of those discoveries, and the slowly evolving letter/character morphologies as they offshoot from earlier scripts— the question remains undecided among Jewish religious sages as to whether or not the discovery of the 11QpaleoLev scroll has implications on what the original script of the first Torah was.

Among some Jewish religious sages, the find of 11QpaleoLev would corroborate one rabbinic view that the Torah was originally written in the paleo-Hebrew script,[13] which is one view found in Talmudic commentary. According to another rabbinic view in the 5th-century CE Babylonian Talmud, conversely, the find of 11QpaleoLev is inconsequential since they regard the Torah to have been given by Moses already in the "Assyrian script" (Ktav Ashuri, also known as “Ashurit”- the current modern printed Hebrew script), but then later changed to the paleo-Hebrew script, and, once again, returned to the Ashurit script during the time of Ezra the Scribe in the 5th century BCE.[14] This latter view, however, is incongruous with secular linguistic findings. Nevertheless, the matter remains undecided and in dispute among Jewish religious sages, with some holding the opinion that the Torah was originally inscribed in the Old Hebrew (Paleo-Hebrew) script,[15] while others that it was not.

What is generally acknowledged by all Jewish religious sages[16] is that Ezra the Scribe in the 5th century BCE was the first to enact that the scroll of the Law be written in the Assyrian alphabet (Ashurit) - the modern Hebrew script, rather than in the Old Hebrew (Paleo-Hebrew) script used formerly, and permitted that the Book of Daniel be composed in the Aramaic language with Ashurit characters.[17] The switch from the ancient paleo-Hebrew script to the Ashurit script (modern Hebrew script), which happened after Israel's return from the Babylonian exile, officially did away with the ancient characters,[16] but preserved the language intact, as the paleo-Hebrew letters were replaced, letter by letter, with their exact Ashurit equivalent, and where the newer characters represented the same phonetic sounds used in the Old Hebrew script. Both old and new systems consisted of 22 corresponding characters with (at that time) the same Semitic sound values.

The Hebrew sages of the 1st-century CE augmented the use of the modern Hebrew script over that of the former script, declaring that sanctity only applied to those texts transcribed in the Ashurit (modern Hebrew) script, effectively doing away with the Old Hebrew (paleo-Hebrew) writing system.[18]


The paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll consists of fifteen fragments and one scroll of seven columns, measuring 100.5 centimetres (39.6 in) in length. The scroll is thought to have been originally part of a larger Torah scroll made-up of individual sheets of parchment that were sewn together.[19] The surviving scroll, showing portions of the Book of Leviticus, shows only the bottom portion of two sheets of parchment (ca. one-fifth of its original height), now measuring 10.9 centimetres (4.3 in) in height. The two sheets of parchment are shown sewn together; one containing three columns, and the other four columns, for a total of seven extant columns.[19] The paleo-Hebrew script is written upon horizontal ruled lines, indented in the parchment by a semi-sharp instrument, from which the scribe "hangs" his letters. The rule lines were made mechanically and have a distinctive lighter shade of brown, and are intersected with indented vertical lines at the ends of the margins.[20]

The parchment consists of light to dark brown, tanned leather, with the ancient Hebrew writing inscribed on the grain-side of the leather,[19] being the side where the hair once grew, and which side is usually darker than the flesh side of the leather. The leather, upon examination, is thought to belong to a small domesticated animal; either a kid of the goats or young sheep. The pattern of the grain surface in the leather resembles that of a kid, rather than a sheep.[19] The lettering of the scroll is written in lampblack ink.[21] Individual words are divided by dots.

The top portion of the scroll is irregularly worn away, with no indication that it had been deliberately torn or cut.[21] Letter and line calculations suggest that the scroll's height was roughly four times greater than the extant lower portion, based upon letter and scribal dot counts of columns four to six.[21] The average number of letters per line is forty-seven.[22] Columns 4 to 7 measure 14.9 cm. in width, except for the narrow, final column.[23] Columns 2 and 3 measure 13.6 cm. and 12.0 cm., respectively.[23]

The scroll contains much of Leviticus chapters 22:21–27, 23:22–29, 24:9–14, 25:28–36, 26:17–26, and 27:11–19, with smaller fragments showing portions of chapters 4:24–26, 10:4–7, 11:27–32, 13:3–9, 14:16–21, 18:26–19:3, 20:1–6, et al. Based on a cursory review and comparison of extant texts, the 11QpaleoLev Leviticus scroll is considered by many to be a primary textual witness of the Proto-Masoretic text.[24]


A comparative study made between the Masoretic text (henceforth MT) and the Leviticus scroll shows a tradition of orthography which slightly differed from the MT with respect to plene and defective scripta, the Leviticus scroll generally showing more full spellings than the MT.[25] At some time during the Second Temple period the Sages saw a need to bring conformity to the writing, and therefore established an authoritative text, now known as the MT.[26]

Variant spellings[27]
Source Leviticus scroll Masoretic Text (MT) Transliteration
Lev. 11:31 במותמ במתם (bĕmōtam)
Lev. 13:4 מראיה מראה (marʾehā)
Lev. 13:39 לב]נות לבנת (lĕbānōt)
Lev. 17:2 אלהמ אליהם (ʾălēhem)
Lev. 17:5 זב]היהמ[28] זבחיהם (zibḥêhem)
Lev. 17:5 והביאומ והביאם (wehebîʾūm)
Lev. 13:4 מראיה מראה (marʾehā)
Lev. 18:27, 30 הת(ו)]עבות התועבת (hattôʿēbōt)
Lev. 18:29 התעבות התועבות (hattôʿēbôt)
Lev. 18:29 העשות העשת (hāʿōśōt)
Lev. 19:3 שבתותי שבתתי (šabbĕtōtay)
Lev. 20:4 יעלמו יעלימו (yaʿlimû)
Lev. 21:6 מקריבימ מקריבם (maqrîbīm)
Lev. 21:7; 24:9 קדוש קדש (qādōš)
Lev. 21:10 מאחו מאחיו (mēʾeḥāyw)
Lev. 21:11 נפשות נפשת (napšōt)
Lev. 21:11 יבוא יבא (yābōʾ)
Lev. 22:22 או ילפת או גרב או יבלת או יבלת או גרב או ילפת (reverse order)
Lev. 22:22 תקרבו תקריבו (taqrîbû)
Lev. 22:23 תעשו תעשה (taʿăśû)
Lev. 22:25 משחתימ המ[29] משחתם בהם (mašḥatām behem)
Lev. 23:24, 27 השבעי השביעי (haššĕbîʿî)
Lev. 24:10 והאיש הישראלי ואיש הישראלי (weʾiš hayyiśrĕʾēlî)
Lev. 24:12 ויניחו אתו ויניחהו (wayannîḥû ʾôtō)
Lev. 24:14 הציאו הוצא (hôṣēʾ)
Lev. 25:28 ביובל ביבל (bayyōbēl)
Lev. 25:30 מלאות מלאת (mĕlōʾt)
Lev. 25:30 לו[30] אשר לא (ʾašer lō)
Lev. 25:30 חומה[31] חמה (ḥōmâ)
Lev. 25:30 לצמיתות לצמיתת (laṣṣĕmîtût)
Lev. 25:32 אזתמ[32] אחזתם (ʾaḥuzzatām)
Lev. 25:34 מגש[33] מגרש (migraš)
Lev. 26:5 איב אויב (ʾôyēb)
Lev. 26:18, 21 חטתיכמ[34] חטאתיכם (ḥaṭṭoʾtêkem)
Lev. 26:19 ונתתי שמיכמ ונתתי את שמיכם (omission of the particle et)
Lev. 26:19 כנחה[35] כנחשה (kannĕḥušâ)
Lev. 26:21 תבו תאבו (tōʾbû)
Lev. 26:22 ושלחתי והשלחתי (wĕhîšlaḥtî)
Lev. 26:24 והלכתי עמכמ בחמת ק[ר]י והלכתי אף אני עמכם בקרי (major differences)
Lev. 26:25 והביאתי והבאתי (wĕhēbēʾtî)
Lev. 27:13 יגאלנו יגאלנה (yigʾālennû)
Lev. 27:13 חמישיתו חמישתו (ḥămîšītô)
Lev. 27:14 יקדיש יקדש (yaqdīš)
Lev. 27:15 חמשית חמישית (ḥămîšît)
Lev. 27:18 ה]נתרות] הנותרת (hannôtārōt)

The 11QpaleoLev scroll is unique in that where the MT requires reading לו in Leviticus 25:30 as the ḳeri (קרי), although the text is written לא as the actual ketiv (כתיב) in the MT, the paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll shows the original reading and is written plainly as לו, without the necessity of changing its reading.[36] This suggests that the Masoretes who transmitted the readings for words had access to an early orthographic tradition.[37]

Another unique feature of the paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll is that it shows an ancient scribal practice of aligning all words in the columns in a natural progressive order, without the necessity of stretching words as is typically practised by scribes in the Ashurit script (modern Hebrew script) to justify the end of the line at the left margin. To avoid a long word extending beyond the column, the scribe simply broke-off the word, writing one or several letters of that word at the end of one line, and the remaining letters of the same word at the beginning of the next line (e.g. the Tetragrammaton in Lev. 24:9, the word ישראל in Lev. 24:10, the word אל in Lev. 24:11 - all in column no. 3; the word ארצכם in Lev. 26:19 in column no. 5, et al.)

In column no. 4 of the 11QpaleoLev scroll (the second line from the bottom) it shows no section break for Leviticus 25:35 (Hebrew: וכי ימוך אחיך ומטה ידו עמך‎),[38] although in most MT readings the place is marked by a section break (Closed Section).[39] This anomaly can be attributed to the fact that some of the Geonim were in dispute over whether or not the reading in Leviticus 25:35 was to be marked by a section break; some including there a section break and others omitting a section break, as disclosed by the medieval scribe Menahem Meiri in his Kiryat Sefer.[40]

Partial translation of scroll

In the following nine lines, a translation of the paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll is rendered as follows:[41]

Lev. 23:22-29 (contained in the second column). Words written here in brackets are based on the scrolls reconstruction, as they are missing in the original manuscript.
  1. (22)[…edges of your field, or] gather [the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger; I the LO]RD [am]
  2. your God.
  3. (23)The LORD spoke to Moses saying: (24)Speak to the Israelite people thus: In the seventh month
  4. on the first day of the month, you shall observe complete rest, a sacred occasion commemorated with load blasts.
  5. (25)You shall not work at your occupations; and you shall bring an offering by fire to the LORD.
  6. (26)The LORD spoke to Moses saying: (27)Mark, the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day
  7. of Atonement. It shall be a sacred occasion for you: you shall practice self-denial, and you shall bring an offering
  8. by fire to the LORD; (28)you shall do no work throughout that day. For
  9. [it is a Day of Atonement on which] expiation is made on your behalf [before the LO]RD your God. (29)Indeed, any person who...

The arrangement of the lines does not necessarily follow the arrangements used by modern scribes when copying from their Tikkun Soferim, a thing which does invalidate a Torah scroll. However, the use of section breaks follows closely the traditions bequeathed by the Masoretes, so that the Open section (Hebrew: פרשה פתוחה‎) in line no. 3 (Lev. 23:23) starts at the beginning of the margin, after the previous verse ended on the previous line, followed by a very long vacant space (vacat) extending to the left margin, showing that it is an Open Section, whereas line no. 6 (Lev. 23:26) is an anomaly of sorts, insofar that the MT makes it a Closed Section (Hebrew: פרשה סתומה‎), which should start in the middle of the column, with an intermediate space between it and the previous verse,[42] but in the paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll the section here starts at the beginning of the right margin, with the previous verse ending in the previous line and followed by a short vacant space extending to the left margin (which space is equivalent to that of about 14 letters).[43]

Likewise, in column no. three, the verse Lev. 24:10 is made a Closed Section in the MT, but in the paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll the section break starts at the beginning of the right margin, preceded by a line where the previous verse ends close to the start of the line, and a solitary paleo-Hebrew letter waw is written in the middle of that long-extended space, a tradition which is no longer recognised today. In Leviticus 20:1–6 (Fragment J), the Open Section is preceded by a vacant space, in the middle of which the Hebrew character waw is written to also signify the first letter in the word וידבר in the new section.[44] In these places and others, the solitary waw is characteristically used in open spaces between paragraphs when the new paragraph should have begun with that letter.[45] The use of a solitary waw in the middle of the section break is consistent with the practice found in paleo-Hebrew biblical manuscripts discovered in Qumran cave no. 4, showing fragments from the Book of Exodus, tentatively dated 100–25 BCE.[46]

Paleo-Hebrew scroll vs. the parent text of the Septuagint

From this one surviving relic of Israel's distant past, it can be shown that the unknown vorlage, or parent text, used to produce the Greek Septuagint (LXX) was similar to the text of the Paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll in some places, such as in Lev. 26:24, where it adds the words beḥamat ḳerī = "in rage of froward behaviour" – the words "in rage" not appearing in the MT. In yet other places (Lev. 25:31 and Lev. 23:23–24), the Paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll follows more closely the MT than does the Septuagint.

See also


  1. Siegel, Jonathan P. (1979), p. 28, who writes that prior to the destruction of the First Temple, "the paleo-Hebrew script was the only alphabet used by the Israelites."
  2. Problems with dating have much to do with the fact that the paleo-Hebrew script continued in use, both in Judea and in Samaria, long after Israel's return from the Babylonian captivity. This is evidenced by the find of Hasmonean coins and coins of the First and Second Jewish Revolts bearing paleo-Hebrew insignia. According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem 1971, vol. 2, s.v. Alphabet, Hebrew, pp. 683–685), the Hasmoneans are said to have "struck coins with legends of a known writing which survived," and that the paleo-Hebrew writing was "preserved mainly as a biblical book hand by a coterie of erudite scribes, presumably of the Zadokite priesthood."
  3. Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 2. Jerusalem 1971, s.v. Alphabet, Hebrew (p. 679, figure 6)
  4. Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 2. Jerusalem 1971, s.v. Alphabet, Hebrew (p. 679, figure 4)
  5. Freedman, D.N., ed. (1992), p. 96
  6. Mathews (1987), p. 49. Quote: "...a small conservative circle of Jewish scribes preserved the old characters in an attempt to mimic the Hebrew letters of the preexile age (prior to 586 BCE). A comparison of the paleo-Hebrew characters of the Leviticus Scroll with their seventh-century proto-types reveals that the characters evolved over time; the changes, however, are not substantive" (End Quote).
  7. de Vaux, Roland (1973), p. 57
  8. 8.0 8.1 Tigchelaar, Eibert J.C. (1997), p. 325
  9. Freedman, D.N.; Mathews, K.A. (1985), pp. IX (Preface); 2
  10. See, for example, 4Q11, 4Q12, and 4Q22, described in Fitzmyer, J. (2008), pp. 30–34.
  11. Kaltner (2002), p. 94
  12. Mathews, K.A. (1986), p. 171
  13. Based on a late 13th-century commentary on the Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 21b), written by Menahem Meiri, entitled Beit HaBechirah, et al.
  14. Babylonian Talmud (Megillah 2b; Shabbat 104a; Zevahim 62a; Sanhedrin 22a)
  15. Jerusalem Talmud (Megillah 10a)
  16. 16.0 16.1 Citing the Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 2, Jerusalem 1971, s.v. Alphabet, Hebrew, pp. 688–689: "The Jewish Script. The talmudic tradition (Sanh. 21b) ascribes the adoption of the Aramaic ("Assyrian") script to Ezra, who brought it from the Babylonian captivity. However Aramaic arrived in Judea also through the Babylonian and mainly through the Persian administrations. At any rate it became the colloquial language, at first of the educated classes and then of wider circles. It seems likely that in the Persian period the Aramaic script was used for writing Aramaic texts only, but the earliest Hebrew manuscripts found in Qumran are fragments of Exodus and Samuel, probably written in the second half of the third century B.C.E. in the Proto-Jewish script, which displays the earliest Jewish national development of the Official Aramaic script. From this period on the Paleo-Hebrew script was restricted to Hebrew texts, but the Jewish script was used both for Hebrew and Aramaic." END QUOTE. This view is repeated by Menahem Kasher in his Torah Sheleimah', vol. 29 - The Script of the Torah and its Characters -- The Torah in Ivri and Ashuri Scripts (Jerusalem 1978), p. 1 (Template:OCLC).
  17. Jerusalem Talmud (Megillah 10a)
  18. Danby, H., ed. (1933), p. 784, s.v. Yadayim 4:5-6, note 6)
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Freedman, D.N.; Mathews, K.A. (1985), p. 3
  20. Freedman, D.N.; Mathews, K.A. (1985), p. 5 (note 14)
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Freedman, D.N.; Mathews, K.A. (1985), p. 4
  22. Freedman, D.N.; Mathews, K.A. (1985), p. 4 (note 11)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Freedman, D.N.; Mathews, K.A. (1985), pp. 5, 8
  24. Freedman, D.N.; Mathews, K.A. (1985), p. 78; Ulrich, E.; et al. (eds.) (2016), p. 110
  25. Freedman, D.N.; Mathews, K.A. (1985), pp. 80–81
  26. Shapiro, Marc B. (1993), pp. 199 (bottom)–200; Siegel, Jonathan P. (1984), p. 210 in PhD dissertation of 1971. Cf. Babylonian Talmud (Ketubbot 106a); Tractate Soferim 6:4 (cf. Jerusalem Talmud, Ta'anit 4:2 [20b]), where R. Shimon b. Lakish said: "Three books [of the Law] were found in the court of the Temple: a book of the Law wherein was written the word מעונה, another book wherein was written זאטוטי, and another book wherein was written the word היא. In one book they found written מעון, but in two books it was written מעונה אלהי קדם (Deut. 33), and they upheld the variant reading where two were concurrent, and cancelled the one that differed. In one book they found written וישלח אל זאטוטי בני ישראל, while in two other books they found written וישלח את נערי בני ישראל (Exo. 24), and they upheld the version of the two books [which agreed], and cancelled the reading of the one that differed. In one book it was written אחד עשר הוא (Gen. 32:23), but in two other books they found written אחד עשר היא, and upheld [the reading variant of] the two [books], and cancelled the one [that differed]."
  27. NOTE: Five letters in the Ashurit script (Modern Hebrew script) (כ‎ ,פ‎ ,צ‎ ,נ‎ ,מ‎) have altered forms when they appear at the end of a word (ך‎ ,ף‎ ,ץ‎ ,ן‎ ,ם‎). These changes do not appear in the paleo-Hebrew script, the five letters being written the same - whether at the beginning, middle, or end of a word.
  28. Fragment H
  29. Hophal passive participle of שחת: literally, "they are blemished"; "they are defective", or "they (i.e. the animals) are damaged ones." It can also be read as a plural nominal form of mašḥît: "they are corruptions / corrupt ones." (Freedman, D.N. (1985), p. 41)
  30. The 11QpaleoLev omits the word אשר written before the 3rd person singular present "has" (לו), and writes לו instead of לא. (Freedman, D.N.; Mathews, K.A. (1985), p. 44).
  31. In the paleo-Hebrew scroll, this word appears in the fourth column and is divided between two lines. The ḥet appears at the very end of the second line, and the remaining letters (waw, mem, and he) appear at the start of the third line.
  32. This rendering may have actually been a scribal error (haplography), although D.N. Freedman thinks this to have been an intentional spelling based on the colloquial pronunciation of the word אחוזה.
  33. This rendering may have actually been a scribal error (haplography), although D.N. Freedman thinks this to have been an intentional spelling based on the colloquial pronunciation of the word מגרש.
  34. In these verses, the word חטאת appears in the elided-form, without the quiescent ʾalef, although in Lev. 26:24, the word appears in the usual form, with the quiescent ʾalef.
  35. Freedman, D.N. (1985), p. 46, reckons this as being a scribal error by the copyist, where he inadvertently left out the ḥet.
  36. Ulrich, Eugene, ed. (2010), p. 134
  37. Siegel, Jonathan P. (1984), p. 215 in PhD dissertation of 1971, who wrote: "The system of Massoretic readings known as Kethib-Qere has strong support as a system of actual variant readings which were not fully expunged from Biblical texts when the Massoretes began their work." END QUOTE. Cf. Tractate Soferim 6:5: "In three [places] they write לא, with a lamed - ʾalef, but they read it as lamed - waw (לו), and which [places] are these: (1) אשר לא כרעים ממעל לרגליו (Lev. 11), (2) אשר לא חומה (Lev. 25), (3) אשר לא (יגיד) [יעדה] (Exo. 21)."
  38. Freedman, D.N.; Mathews, K.A. (1985), p. 115; Ulrich, Eugene, ed. (2010), p. 134
  39. The 10th-century Codex Orientales 4445, now at the British Library (The London Codex - Or. 4445), contains a Closed section break in Leviticus 25:35 (q.v. folio 111v), as does the Leningrad Codex and the Damascus Pentateuch, as well as the Vatican library's Urb.ebr.2 (q.v. folio 62r), a 10th-century codex. The text of the Aleppo Codex cannot now be known, although scholars can only assume that Maimonides copied what he knew to be true of the Aleppo Codex, who writes for this section a Closed Section. See Maimonides (1985), p. 403. The apparatus written by the scribe Benaya of Yemen in many of his codices ends with the statement that the present work is "completely according to the arrangement of the book which was in Egypt, which was edited by Ben Asher..." All of these have Leviticus 25:35 as a Closed Section.
  40. Meiri (1881), p. 70, s.v. פרשה ה. There, Meiri writes as follows: “[The verse], וכי ימוך אחיך ומטה ידו until וכי ימוך אחיך ונמכר לך, and which is a Closed Section (Hebrew: setumah), although with regard to this I found a dispute, where there are accurate books showing that there is no section break [here] at all. Likewise, I have found it to be so in a few of the minutiae composed by the Geonim, as well as in a Tikkun (model text) used by a few of the rabbis [where there was no section break]. However, in the Tikkun composed by Maimonides, of blessed memory, and in the book that I hinted at, I have found it to be a Closed Section, and it is upon them that I rely.” END QUOTE
  41. Translation from "Tanakh," p. 192. Philadelphia, 1985
  42. Based on Maimonides' description of a Closed Section in Mishne Torah (Hil. Sefer Torah 8:2). Cf. Jacob ben Asher, Arba'ah Turim (Yoreh De'ah 275:2); Babylonian Talmud (Menahot 32a, Tosafot, s.v. והאידנא).
  43. For a discussion on the scribal method of making Open and Closed sections found in the Qumran manuscripts and their general outlines, see Tov, Emanuel (2004), pp. 145–147
  44. Freedman, D.N.; Mathews, K.A. (1985), p. 48; Ulrich, Eugene, ed. (2010), p. 125
  45. Freedman, D.N.; Mathews, K.A. (1985), p. 48
  46. Skehan, P.W.; et al. (1992), p. 100 (on Exo. 19:23–20:1); p. 116 (on Exo. 28:39–29:5); p. 130 (on Exo. 37:9–16); p. 60 (Table 5), inter alia.


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