There is a short prophecy appended to the book of Jeremiah in Ethiopic Bible which August Dillmann translates:  A Prophecy of Jeremiah. And Jeremiah spake thus unto Pashur: But ye all your days fight against the truth, with your fathers and your sons that shall come after you. And they shall commit a sin more damnable than you: they shall sell him who hath no price, and shall hurt him who will heal pain, and shall condemn him who will forgive sin, and shall take thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom the children of Israel shall sell, and shall give that money for (into) the potter’s field. As the Lord commanded me, so I speak. And therefore shall there come upon them judgment and destruction for ever, and upon their sons after them, because in their judgment they have shed innocent blood.”  Did Jews omit this clear prophecy of Jesus from their books?


I did a fair amount of looking around, and had some difficulty finding material about the Ethiopic addition to Jeremiah.  This pseudepigraphal (ie falsely attributed) work appears to have never been in Hebrew or even Aramaic or Greek.  The only ancient manuscripts are in the Ethiopic language.  It was never accepted by the Jews at all, nor was it ever translated into Hebrew or Aramaic, as they would have no reason to do this!  Neither was it accepted by any other Christian group other than the Ethiopian Coptic Church.  The best I can tell, this text was written well AFTER the time of Christ.  Therefore, it certainly was not a prophecy about Christ at all.
A possible reason that this particular passage was written is that in Matthew 27:9-10, the writer of Matthew says that what happened with Judas was a fulfillment of what is written in Jeremiah.  Now, it is true, that there is a prophecy in Jeremiah which is a possible reference to how Judas died, but the more clear passage, by far, is in Zechariah 11.  I speculate (and this is my speculation. Bear this in mind) is that a good hearted but also misguided Ethiopian Christian saw the possible “problem” with Matthew’s statement and decided to “fix” the problem by adding a problem-fixing “prophecy” to Jeremiah.  This was a really bad idea!  It was deceitful.   His attempt to “improve” the Old Testament in order to fix an apparent (but not real) contradiction in Matthew is far worse than the supposed mistake in Matthew (which is not a mistake!).
My answer is a solid and definite no.  No, neither the Jews, nor the Christians omitted this passage found in the Ethiopic Bibles.  I can imagine the possibility that Jews might just possibly be motivated to corrupt their own Scripture to undermine a prophecy in the New Testament.  This is not a completely irrational proposal.   However, the evidence says that it was not the Jews who changed the Old Testament to undermine a biblical prophecy.  No, it was well-meaning but very misguided Christian believers who tried to corrupt the Old Testament to make Matthew more believable.  Humans are not capable of improving on the inspired Word of God!
John Oakes

Comments are closed.