Most scholars agree that Judges 6:7–10, outlined in blue on this page from the Leningrad Codex (below right), is an editorial insertion into an earlier version of the biblical text. As one can see from the spacing in the Leningrad Codex, even the Masoretes set these verses off from the rest of the passage (see the first sidebar in “Keep Each Tradition Separate”, which shows the same passage as it appears in a modern scholarly version based on the MT).

According to Hendel, the Dead Sea Scroll fragment 4QJudga (below left) represents an earlier moment in the transmission of the text. Lacking the inserted verses altogether, the text on the fragment (highlighted in yellow) goes immediately from Judges 6:6, on one line, to Judges 6:11, on the next. For purposes of comparison, the end of verse 6 and verse 11 are also highlighted in yellow on the folio from the Leningrad Codex. For Hendel, this demonstrates graphically how the later insertion interrupts the flow of the more original version, which, as Hendel points out, follows a familiar narrative pattern found throughout the Book of Judges: transgression and retribution followed by forgiveness and deliverance.

Like the other variants reviewed in this article, the difference between the MT and 4QJudga highlights the painstaking work done by scholars in their attempt to reconstruct the early history of the biblical text. For Ronald Hendel, these variants (and many others like them) also highlight the need for an eclectic edition of the Hebrew Bible, based on the best readings available from ancient sources.


ûalm abyw] hwhy [la lar]y ynb wq[zyw
[hrp[b ra hlah tjt byw hwhy
yrz[ybah awyl

The Israe[lites] cried out [to] Yahweh. [An angel of Yahweh came and sat beneath the oak in Oprah], which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite.


jlyw ÷ydm twda l[ hwhy la lary ynb wq[z yk yhyw hwhy la lary ynb wq[zyw
ytyl[h ykna lary yhla hwhy rma hk µhl rmayw lary ynb la aybn ya hwhy
µkyxjl lk dymw µyrxm dym µkta lxaw µydb[ tybm µkta ayxaw µyrxmm µkta
waryt al µkyhla hwhy yna µkl hrmaw µxra ta µkl hntaw µkynpm µtwa rgaw
byw hwhy ûalm abyw ylwqb µt[m aly µxrab µybwy µta ra yrmah yhla ta
yrz[h yba awyl ra hrp[b ra hlah tjt

The Israelites cried out to Yahweh. When the Israelites cried out to Yahweh on account of Midian, Yahweh sent a prophet to the Israelites who said to them, “Thus says Yahweh, God of Israel: It was I who brought you up out of Egypt and freed you from the house of bondage. I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all your oppressors. I drove them out before you and gave you their land. And I said to you, ‘I am Yahweh, your God. Do not worship the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you did not heed my voice.” An angel of Yahweh came and sat beneath the oak in Oprah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite.