Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Comparing Pslam 81:13-16 in KJV and NIV

Psalm 81:13-16 New International Version (NIV)

13 “If my people would only listen to me,
    if Israel would only follow my ways,14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies

    and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
    and their punishment would last forever.
 16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
    with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”  
  

Psalm 81:13-16 King James Version (KJV)

13 Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!  
14 I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.
15 The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured forever.
16 He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.  

First let's look at the NIV version. The statement really begins in verse 13 and ends at 16 

The Lord is speaking through the prophet or psalmist Asaph. The Lord laments "if only my people had listened and walked in my ways. The NIV gets the first part of this message well enough in 13 and 14 but then they take a step sideways in vs 15. 
"Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
    and their punishment would last forever."
As verse 15 now reads in the NIV, it becomes a proof text or a support text for the Roman Catholic doctrine of everlasting punishment,meaning perpetual torture in hell-fire. This was and still is a popular belief among protestants and Catholics since the middle ages. 
There's also a substantial number of protestant denominations and groups who reject this doctrine. For instance, the 7th Day Adventists, some Baptist groups and Jehovah Witnesses.
These groups believe instead in the doctrine of annihilation, the final destruction of unrepentant mortal souls. 
We cannot nor do we wish to resolve this particular but significant doctrinal dispute. The concern here rather is that of scriptural authority and how playing loose with the text in the end doesn't support doctrines but rather undermines the authority of holy scripture itself. 
When changes in the fundamental meaning of scriptural statements are made without even so much as documenting the new interpretation proposed, most readers will be assuming scriptural authority when they are actually relying upon some modern translators novel opinion. This does not resolve disputes. It only perpetuates them. 
In this case, the KJV translators, by being more literal have captured the sense of the Hebrew much better. They read the text as saying, in essence, if Israel had obeyed the Lord, their enemies would have been subdued and would have submitted themselves.
The last half of verse 15 adds, "and their time would have endured forever".   This refers not to Israel's enemies, but to Israelites and this thought is continued in verse 16. The text here is describing the success and the everlasting status the Israelites would have received had they been loyal. 
By changing the word, "time" or "season" into punishment, the enduring and everlasting reward for the Israelites has now been turned into everlasting punishment for enemies. 
The NIV gives almost an opposite meaning than the original Hebrew and what the KJV translators understood. In order to disconnect verse 16 from this last part of 15, they also change the "person" or "address" in verse 16 which is clearly discussing blessings, not curses. 
While the KJV translation can certainly be updated and improved, imposing a doctrinal opinion on a text that knows nothing about the issue has the NIV translators into commentators.
In harmony with the KJV, we could render the passage as follows: "Oh that my people had listened to ME  and Israel had walked in my ways: I would have subdued their enemies and turned my hand against their adversaries."  (adversaries in Hebrew is tsars- "despots"
And in verse 15  "the haters of the Lord would have submitted themselves to Israel and Israel's time would have endured forever. The Lord would have fed them with the finest of wheat : I would have satisfied you with honey from the Rock" 
This is a modern paraphrase without loosing the meaning. 
In summary, once again the KJV translators with more knowledge of Hebrew, more reverence for the original  text and less presumption regarding  doctrine have preserved the meaning with a superior translation. They have taken an unused root and misread the Hebrew word, "oeth"   The primary meaning of the Hebrew word  "oeth'  (names of letters are ayin - tav) is time, a season meaning a time period. It corresponds to the Greek word, "kairos" and refers to a length of time or a beginning or an end of a time period. It's typically rendered with prepositional prefixes as "at this time" or "in that time" or "from that time"  or idiomatically as "in season".   One plural form would end in "m" meaning, "times"  and this is the plural form found in Pslam 81:15b.

The KJV translators understood it correctly, whereas the NIV translators have mistaken it for the niphal form of another verb which can mean "consumed." Probably on the basis of a similar usage in Isaiah 9:18 but this is a very "ify" hypothetical reconstruction which is unnecessary.  

The study of itymology and the origins of words is an interesting ongoing study but tentative theories of various scholars should not be introduced into the translation. Especially when there are likely ulterior motives at play.  

Sunday, May 12, 2019

NIV problems with Numbers 5: 21,27 (and the issue of abortion )


NIV problems with Numbers 5: 21,27 (and the issue of abortion ) 

The word womb in Modern translations (NIV as example)

Numbers 5:21 King James Version (KJV)

21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The Lord make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell;

Numbers 5:27 New King James Version (NKJV)

27 When he has made her drink the water, then it shall be, if she has defiled herself and behaved unfaithfully toward her husband, that the water that brings a curse will enter her and become bitter, and her belly will swell, her thigh will rot, and the woman will become a curse among her people.

Numbers 5:21 New International Version (NIV)

21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse[a] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell.

Numbers 5:27 New International Version (NIV)

27 If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse.
CLARIFICATION
  • Hebrew generic word for thigh or leg of flank is YARUK  
  • The male version of this is YARKA
  • The female version of this is YEREKAH
  • This is in Numbers 5:21,27  (as a curse, part of test for adultery)
  • Just as important , here re the two words for "womb" 
  • One is BETHEN and that is usually used for animals and here is the reason why: when you are cutting up an animal, the womb is like a little nut and it just so happens that a pistachio nut is almost the same word, a BOTHEN. It's similar to the word for womb. The plural is BETHONIM (so it can be used for nuts OR womb) 
  • The other word for womb is REKHEM and that is the formal word for womb of matrix . It comes from the idea of compassion or nurturing (the side meaning) 
  • It just so happens, those two words for womb used in the Old Testament never appear in Numbers 5 so the word is not there. 
  • However, if you turn to the NIV , and you look at Numbers 5:21,27 , they have inserted womb and miscarriage twice but it's not in the Hebrew 

The KJV renders it literally and correctly:  The thigh shall shrivel  


The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) also renders it correctly:
21 at this point the priest must make the woman take the oath with the sworn curse, and he is to say to her—‘May the Lord make you into an object of your people’s cursing and swearing when He makes your thigh[a] shrivel and your belly swell.[b]

Numbers 5:27 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

27 “When he makes her drink the water, if she has defiled herself and been unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings a curse will enter her and cause bitter suffering; her belly will swell, and her thigh will shrivel. She will become a curse among her people.

The context is in reference to the issue of adultery and/or jealousy. Holman Christian Standard Bible translates it this way :

The Jealousy Ritual

11 The Lord spoke to Moses: 12 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: If any man’s wife goes astray, is unfaithful to him, 13 and sleeps with another,[a] but it is concealed from her husband, and she is undetected, even though she has defiled herself, since there is no witness against her, and she wasn’t caught in the act; 14 and if a feeling of jealousy comes over the husband and he becomes jealous because of his wife who has defiled herself—or if a feeling of jealousy comes over him and he becomes jealous of her though she has not defiled herself— 15 then the man is to bring his wife to the priest. He is also to bring an offering for her of two quarts[b] of barley flour. He is not to pour oil over it or put frankincense on it because it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering for remembrance that brings sin to mind.
16 “The priest is to bring her forward and have her stand before the Lord. 17 Then the priest is to take holy water in a clay bowl, and take some of the dust from the tabernacle floor and put it in the water. 18 After the priest has the woman stand before the Lord, he is to let down her hair[c] and place in her hands the grain offering for remembrance, which is the grain offering of jealousy. The priest is to hold the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 The priest will require the woman to take an oath and will say to her, ‘If no man has slept with you, if you have not gone astray and become defiled while under your husband’s authority, be unaffected by this bitter water that brings a curse. 20 But if you have gone astray while under your husband’s authority, if you have defiled yourself and a man other than your husband has slept with you’— 21 at this point the priest must make the woman take the oath with the sworn curse, and he is to say to her—‘May the Lord make you into an object of your people’s cursing and swearing when He makes your thigh[d] shrivel and your belly swell.[e22 May this water that brings a curse enter your stomach, causing your belly to swell and your thigh to shrivel.’
And the woman must reply, ‘Amen, Amen.’
23 “Then the priest is to write these curses on a scroll and wash them off into the bitter water. 24 He will require the woman to drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and it will enter her and cause bitter suffering. 25 The priest is to take the grain offering of jealousy from the woman’s hand, wave the offering before the Lord, and bring it to the altar. 26 The priest is to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial portion and burn it on the altar. Then he will require the woman to drink the water.
27 “When he makes her drink the water, if she has defiled herself and been unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings a curse will enter her and cause bitter suffering; her belly will swell, and her thigh will shrivel. She will become a curse among her people.

 The translators interpreted the Law incorrectly for various reasons 

1. The NIV translators presumed the woman is pregnant and this is not the case - the Law is much more general - It is not a LAW just for pregnancy 
2. The NIV translators seem to be rendering it miscarriage and womb to indicate that a child is terminated, thus "aborted" as if it is an act of God but God would not do this. God is against abortion
3. The NIV translators renders a word "miscarriage and womb"  to indicate the text refers to a pregnant woman but nothing in the text says she is pregnant 
4. The NIV translators rendering it this way, gives the idea that a pregnancy should be punished but pregnancy is "proof"  that she is innocent, not guilty of anything
5. The NIV translators give a euphemism in the text but there is NO need for a euphemism. The word "womb" is in the Old Testament many times with no problems so the writers of Law would use the word "womb" if they meant, "womb" They would have no need for euphemism. 
6.  The NIV translators used a word that is not even in Hebrew. There is no Hebrew word for miscarriage. The fruit departs from her",  means the baby died but not because  it was aborted by GOD as an act of punishment. 

For further reading on this issue in context of abortion see:


Exodus 21:22-25 King James Version (KJV)

22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.



OTHER TRANSLATIONS

Numbers 5:21 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

21 —let the priest make the woman take the oath of the curse and say to the woman—“the Lord make you an execration and an oath among your people, when the Lord makes your uterus drop, your womb discharge;

Numbers 5:27 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

27 When he has made her drink the water, then, if she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain, and her womb shall discharge, her uterus drop, and the woman shall become an execration among her people.

Numbers 5:21-22 The Message (MSG)

16-22 “The priest then is to take her and have her stand in the presence of God. He is to take some holy water in a pottery jar and put some dust from the floor of The Dwelling in the water. After the priest has her stand in the presence of God he is to uncover her hair and place the exposure-offering in her hands, the Grain-Offering for jealousy, while he holds the bitter water that delivers a curse. Then the priest will put the woman under oath and say, ‘If no man has slept with you and you have not had an adulterous affair and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that delivers a curse not harm you. But if you have had an affair while married to your husband and have defiled yourself by sleeping with a man other than your husband’—here the priest puts the woman under this curse—‘may God cause your people to curse and revile you when he makes your womb shrivel and your belly swell. Let this water that delivers a curse enter your body so that your belly swells and your womb shrivels.’“Then the woman shall say, ‘Amen. Amen.’

Numbers 5:21 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

21 then the cohen is to make the woman swear with an oath that includes a curse; the cohen will say to the woman, “. . .may Adonai make you an object of cursing and condemnation among your people by making your private parts shrivel and your abdomen swell up!

Numbers 5:27 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

27 When he has made her drink the water, then, if she is unclean and has been unfaithful to her husband, the water that causes the curse will enter her and become bitter, so that her abdomen swells and her private parts shrivel up; and the woman will become an object of cursing among her people.

Numbers 5:21 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

21 at this point the priest must make the woman take the oath with the sworn curse, and he is to say to her—‘May the Lord make you into an object of your people’s cursing and swearing when He makes your thigh[a] shrivel and your belly swell.[b]

Numbers 5:27 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

27 “When he makes her drink the water, if she has defiled herself and been unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings a curse will enter her and cause bitter suffering; her belly will swell, and her thigh will shrivel. She will become a curse among her people.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018