The Jewish Virtual Library states:
The Torah texts that we read today are believed by some to be the same as those given to Moses and the people of Israel by God. It is believed by scholars that the word of God and history of the Jewish people was imprinted on the minds of the Israelites at Mount Sinai. Over the years as tradition was orally passed on and eventually written down, many disparities of the Torah emerged as countless scribes wrote numerous scrolls....The Masoretes attempted to attain consistency through established rules of articulating the words and correcting spelling and reading. The Torah scroll was written, using only the consonants and no vowels or accents. Therefore, the Masoretes created a system of chanting symbols and vowel placement, so future generations would understand the proper pronunciation. The Masoretes made all spelling changes or changes to the text in the margins, because they refused to alter the original text.As for changing the meaning of an idea by the using different vowels, this is evidenced in the word for fat, which is translated milk. In the Hebrew the word used could mean either milk or fat—but definitely not milk fat. Thus:
- You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. (Exodus 23:19)
Interpreters have to determine whether God was telling them not to cook a kid in its mother's fat because both would die at the same time and neither would be capable to breed again. Or that they were not to boil a newborn kid in its mother’s milk for some other reason. The first idea of killing the mother to cook the kid in its fat seems so illogical, most interpreters and translators consider this ridiculous, so God could not have meant this. Therefore there must have been some foreign belief associated with boiling a newborn kid in its mother's milk that had some occult significance, which had to be prohibited. Some even see the possibility that not boiling the newborn in milk had something to do with ensuring that they were not consuming the blood of the kid.
However, in the context, fat seems to make the most sense. Yet those who translate this into English, prefer milk to fat, because they do not understand the concept of the firstborn and trusting in the Lord God.
From what the Jewish Virtual Library states, and from what has happened in respect to the translation of fat into milk, when it comes to accepting the veracity of the Scriptures, what we can say is that there appears to have been some discrepancies in the transcriptions and translations over time. This can be put down to scribal error. This can also be put down to incorrectly interpreting the vowels.
Naturally this creates a sense of doubt concerning the reliability of the Scriptures. However, the book of Isaiah that was discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls helps us. To quote one archaeological authority:
In many ways, the scroll affects the Christian faith and our understanding of the Bible.
The Great Isaiah Scroll contains more than 25% of all the biblical text among the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is almost completely preserved. Virtually every part of all 66 chapters of Isaiah are found in the Great Isaiah Scroll.The fact the book of Isaiah is extant, and concurs with the Masorete text, strengthens the validity of scribal accuracy as they transcribed sacred texts. For as the Apostle Paul stated concerning the Tanakh:
- And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)
The Accuracy Of The Bible Is Indisputable Yet People Regrettably Dismiss Its Truth