This chart is an example of how the text of one book of the Bible, Exodus, developed. From a now-lost, sixth-century B.C. archetype, three textual families evolved—a Babylonian text, a Palestinian text, then, branching off from the latter, an Egyptian text. The Babylonian text ultimately developed into the Masoretic text. The Palestinian text family, a fragment of which was found in cave 4 at QumraÆn, developed came into the Samaritan Recension. The Egyptian text developed into the Greek Septuagint.

A similar development occurred in the text of the Book of Samuel. As with Exodus, a fragment of the Palestinian text of Samuel was found in cave 4 at QumraÆn. Since the Samaritan Recension contains only the Hexateuch (the Pentateuch plus the Book of Joshua), the text of Samuel was not preserved in the Samaritan Recension. Otherwise the development of the text of Samuel followed the same outline as Exodus.