A further complication in interpretation comes from differences between the Hebrew (MT) and Greek (LXX) versions of the text of Jeremiah. Reversing the usual relationship of the MT to LXX, the Hebrew text of Jeremiah is significantly longer than the Greek. It adds titles and epithets to names, makes explicit pronouns left implicit in the Greek, and adds more complex expansions (Janzen 1973: 127). In addition, the arrangement of the two texts differs significantly. The MT places the Oracles Against the Nations near the end (chs. 46–51 ), whereas the LXX locates them in the centre ( 25:14–31:44 ) and arranges them differently. Soderlund (1985 ) presents a clear discussion of theories to explain the differences between the two texts.
Four fragments of the text of Jeremiah were found among the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran: from cave 4, 4Q Jera, 4Q Jerb, 4Q Jerc and from cave 2, 2Q Jer. One of these fragments (4Q Jerb) points to a shorter Hebrew text that may have been the basis (Vorlage) for the LXX translation. Janzen (1973 ) (see also Cross 1964 and Tov 1976 ) argues that the LXX is both an older and a superior text to the MT. This view is challenged, however, by Soderlund (1985: 193–248), and Bogaert (1981 ). It may be argued that the LXX and MT must represent two separate recensions, arising in different circumstances to meet different communal needs. At the very least, the differences between the versions show that the text received complex and lively scribal attention, and this is testimony to the significance accorded to the Jeremiah tradition (Carroll 1986: 50–5; McKane 1986: pp. xv–xli). This commentary treats the MT as a version of Jeremiah with its own literary and theological integrity.