There are 304,805 Hebrew consonant letters in the first 5 books of the Bible and altogether there are 1,196,824 Hebrew letters in the complete Old Testament.

It is not surprising therefore to know that every now and then the scribes who were copying the text made a spelling mistake in connection with a name.

In the providential oversight of God these minor transcription errors do not affect any doctrine, commandment or promise outlined in the Scriptures. The reason for the copying errors perhaps lies in the fact that in Hebrew there are a number of letters that look very similar. For example:

This means that it doesn’t matter how careful a scribe may be, there is a possibility that over hundreds of years of copying there will be some trivial copyist’s errors.

Here is an example where the Hebrew letter ‘vav’ was shortened into a ‘yod’ giving a different spelling:

Gen 10:23 – Obal

In 1 Chron 1:22 – Ebal



Here is an example where ‘resh’ and ‘dalet’ are confused:

ןpage34image27799552page34image27798976page34image27795328page34image27790144 Gen 36:26 – Hemdan, 1 Chron 1:41 – Amram, Joshua 7:1 – Zabdi, 1 Chron 2:6 – Zimri

On another note, we have Anah described as a Hittite page34image27800320page34image27803008page34image27802432in Gen 26:34, a Horite page34image27792064page34image27801472page34image27801280in Gen 36:20 and a Hivite page34image27794560page34image27801856page34image27791872in Gen 36:2.

How can this be so? There are several possibilities. Firstly, it may be that the term Hittite defines the race, Hivite the tribe, and Horite (a cave-dweller) how he lived in his local environment. Another possible solution is that since the three names differ in the Hebrew by one letter only, the difference may also be due to an error in transcription.

Despite these insignificant spelling differences, our Lord declared the veracity of the Scriptures in this way: “Thy Word” he said, “is truth” (John 17:17). To him “the Scripture could not be broken” (John 10:35). This should be our view too.