I wanted to give a brief overview of the important differences between Masoretic Text and Samaritan Pentateuch. It is not by all means complete.
Please download files here to compare the texts in the entirety.
This is just most significant ones. Some other differences are listed on Wikipedia as well. Most differences appear to be minor/orthographic in nature. However, here are some very significant ones that most of you are not aware of:
- Addition in Genesis 4:8 that explains the passage.
- Different numbers of years in genealogies. I.e Genesis 5. Here is a nice table for comparison.
- In Exodus 12:40 it says "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel and of their fathers which they had dwelt in the land of Canaan and in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years." This explains why there are Hebrews(Jews) in the land of Canaan right now. It means that not all Hebrews were in Egypt at the time of Exodus.
- The famous 11th commandment after Exodus 20:17. Here is the text.
- In Exodus 23:19 Samaritan Pentateuch contains the following passage after the prohibition: [כי עשה זאת כזבח שכח ועברה היא לאלהי יעקב] which roughly translates "that one doing this as sacrifice forgets and enrages God of Jacob".
- Different location of the description of Altar of Incense. In SP it is located in Exodus 26 while in MT in Exodus 30. SP reading is probably original one because MT reading seem to be out of place.
- In Numbers 4:14 Samaritan Pentateuch contains the following passage: [ולקחו בגד ארגמן וכסו את הכיור ואת כנו ונתנו אתם אל מכסה עור תחש ונתנו על המוט] which roughly translates "And they will take a purple covering and cover the laver and his foot, and they cover it in Tachash skins, and they put it upon a bar."
- Normalization of the text, particularly when listing nations of Canaan. I.e Exodus 34:11 or Deut 20:17. I absolutely support normalization and I think it was the original reading.
- Samaritan Hebrew is the original alphabet and script. There are only 22 letters in the original Hebrew alphabet. There are no final forms in the Samaritan Torah.