The Masoretic version of Deuteronomy 32:8 (outlined in blue, below right) may reflect a scribal alteration made for theological reasons. If so, Hendel believes that critical editions of the Hebrew Bible should substitute the more original reading offered by the Dead Sea Scroll fragment 4QDeutj.

The discrepancy is clear. Highlighted in yellow on both documents below are the final Hebrew words of Deuteronomy 32:8. While the Qumran fragment (like the Septuagint) reads “Sons of God,” the MT reads “sons of Israel.” Hendel asserts that the Qumran reading has polytheistic overtones that later scribes found unacceptable. As a result, those scribes probably modified the verse to bring it more into line with Israel’s monotheistic faith.


µyhwla ynb [rpsml]

[according to the number] of the Sons of God


lary ynb rpsml

according to the number of the sons of Israel