For those who know, Masoretic Text and Dead Sea Scrolls are both written in Hebrew.

The Hebrew in the DSS would be called late Biblical Hebrew; the Hebrew in the MT is Tiberian Hebrew (ca. 4th century, A.D.).

There are thousands of textual variants between the DSS and the MT. Some DSS readings are better than MT; some MT readings are better than DSS.

What really is the difference between the two?

We will provide five differences between DSS and MT.

1. Masoretic Text Isaiah adds 7 long additions totaling 15 verses that were not in the earlier 1QIsa-a.
2. 4QSam-a has a 3 1/2 – line paragraph not in Masoretic Text before 1 Sam 12. The New Revised Standard Version Bible includes this paragraph in the text.
3. 4QJer-b has a noticeably shorter edition of Jeremiah than the edition in Masoretic Text.
4. 4QJosh-a has the first altar built in the newly-entered Land immediately after crossing the Jordan, not (like MT) later at Mount Ebal (MT) or Mount Gerizim (SP).
5. 4QpaleoExod-m has more than 10 large additions not in the Masoretic Text, but they are all in the Samaritan Pentateuch, showing that the Judeans and the Samaritans were both using the similar texts.

Even in transliteration, we can notice differences. We will provide a verse from Isaiah 9:5 with Masoretic text and from Isaiah 9:6 of DSS.

This is the Hebrew text of MT (Isaiah 9:5) which we can read as such.


From Right to Left:  Ki-yeled yoolad-lanoo ben nitan-lanoo vathi hamisra al-shichmo vayikra sh’mo Pele Yoetz El Gibor Avi-Ad Sar-Shalom.

Here is Isaiah 9:6 in DSS of the great Isaiah scroll with Transliteration:


We can see differences in transliteration.

In Masoretic Text , this is read as “Vathi” but in DSS, it is “Vatiheyi”.

In MT, we can read “Sar Shalom” but in DSS, it is “Sar HaShalom” with definite article.

In Masoretic Text , this is read as “Hamisra” but in DSS, it is “Hamesurah”.

In Masoretic Text , this is read as “Vayikra” but in DSS, it is “Veqara”. The meaning is virtually the same.

These resources are very important in our studies of the original text of the Old Testament especially its message about worshiping God.