« הקודםהמשך »
should, on the authority of all the old manuscripts, read, "To them that are beloved by God the Father;" and in 1 Pet. iii. 8, instead of the injunction “ Be courteous,” we should read “ Be humble.”
There are, of course, many disputed readings, as to the correctness of one or other of which no argument need here be entered into, but the fact that some readings are disputed is, I venture to think, one good reason for a revision, on which a body of competent men could, no doubt, conclude from the best evidences which of the readings should be adopted, and could, if necessary, give the other readings in a foot or marginal note.
We ought to give many thanks to the Jews for the admirable zeal they have shown in the preservation of that part of the Bible which we call the “Old Testament,” but even in this portion of the Authorized Version there are numerous defects which should be remedied, and numerous mistranslations which must be corrected. One thing also strikes a reader of the Hebrew portion of the Scriptures, viz., the rejection by our translators of the old poetic form in wbich a large portion of them was originally written, by which much of the beauty and force of the original has been lost, an instance of which will be presently supplied. In Gen. iv. 8 are these words :
:-“And Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him."
Notwithstanding that the verse reads tolerably well, there is evidently an omission, because nothing has been said in this chapter to lead to the conclusion that Cain and Abel were in a field. The Septuagint version, compiled some hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, happily enables us to supply this omission. But hesides this omission there is a mistranslation, for the Hebrew word here translated “ talked ” is, as we are assured by competent autho. rities, used some thousands of times in the Old Testament, and in every other instance is properly rendered "said.”. Taking, then, the materials supplied by the Greek version, which coincides with that known as the Samaritan version, and using the word " said," we have the complete verse thus, “And Cain said to Abel his brother, Let us go into the field; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”
The chronology, in many instances, requires revising : many of the books require rearranging and re-chaptering, if the phrase may be used, in order to rescue them from their present confused state.
By correcting the mistranslations in our version of both Testaments, we should certainly deprive infidelity of some of the weapons with which, through the errors in our translation, it now attacks what it imagines to be the immorality of the principles in. culcated. A few instances of this kind will suffice, but it should be stated that mistranslations of this kind abound. In some places the proper translation entirely alters the sense ; e.g., our version has " ask
translated a Hebrew word by the English word “borrow," which latter word, of course, conveys an obligation to repay. But when we come to look at the original we find that it means simply to
demand,” which implies no such obligation. The very great error in Exodus xxxiv. 33 is, I believe, well known, and universally admitted. In our version we have, " And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face :" the correct rendering being, "And when Moses had done speaking, &c.” The context itself shows that this latter is the correct version.
The most poetical and sublime of all the books of the Old Testa. ment is perhaps the Book of Job, and this book, which demands the most correct rendering, is perhaps the worst handled and the most unintelligible of all the books of the Bible, from the simple fact of the numerous errors in its translation, and its want of arrangement. Will any kind friend, who espouses the opposite side of this question, inform me, without reference to the original, what is meant by this passage in chap. xxxvi. 33-"The noise thereof showeth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.” It certainly is not English, and is quite beyond the comprehension of even the most subtle theologian. Again, “ Fair weather cometh out of the north ; with God is terrible majesty." Is there any
and what connection between the latter clause of this sentence and the former ?
I now give an extract from a recent article on this subject, and will contrast with the translation there quoted that which is given in the Authorized Version, leaving the reader to judge which is the better and more easily understood.
“The whole concluding part of Elihu's speech is indeed grievously bungled in our version. There is completely hidden from an ordinary reader the fact that it contains, probably, the earliest description of a thunderstorm to be found in all literature. As he speaks Elihu perceives those clouds gathering, from the depths of which the voice of Jehovah is soon to be heard ; and in that portion of his speech which extends from chap. xxxvi. 29 to chap. xxxvii. 5, he expresses the feelings which that spectacle excited within him, as follows:
Who again can understand the outspreading of the clouds,
of the sea.
He directeth it under the whole heaven,
He doeth wonders which we cannot comprehend.' “And now the Almighty draws nearer and nearer in that dark pavilion, lighted up from time to time with the most brilliant flashes, about to interpose and put an end to the long discussion. As the solemn scene fixes their gaze on the heavens, as the dark cloud, on the bosom of which the lightning plays, is seen to gather over them, as the living fire leaps forth from the heart of that terrible canopy, and the roar of the thunder almost instantaneously afterwards shakes the solid ground, a deep awe falls upon all the spectators, and Elihu concludes with these abrupt, confused, agitated, but all the more suggestive words :-
And now men cannot look at the splendour which is in the clouds,
He regardeth not any that are wise in heart." The Authorized Version mars this sublime poetry by rendering it in the following unintelligible form (chap. xxxvi. 29 to chap xxxvii. 5, both inclusive) :
* 29. Also, can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of His tabernacle ?
“ 30. Behold, He spreadeth His light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea.
“31. For by them judgeth He the people ; He giveth meat in abundance. "“32. With clouds He covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt.
“ 33. The noise thereof showeth concerning it, the cattle also concerning “1. At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.
“ 2. Hear attentively the noise of His voice, and the sound that goeth out of His mouth.
“3. He directeth it under the whole heaven, and His lightning unto the ends of the earth.
« 4. After it a voice roareth : He thundereth with the voice of His excellency; and He will not stay them when His voice is heard.
“5. God thundereth marvellously with His voice ; great things doeth He, which we cannot comprehend."
In the New Testament we find numerous similar instances of mistranslation which require immediate correction ; e.g., Acts_ iii.
19, is thus rendered in our version, “ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of re. freshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;" the correct translation of the original being that given by Dean Alford, “Repent ye therefore, and turn you, that your sins may be blotted out, that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Thus it will be seen that an entirely different sense is thrown over the whole of this passage. In 1 Thess. v. 22. there is the following somewhat equivocal passage : " Abstain from all appearance of evil.” By a close adherence to the original we have instead, “ Abstain from every kind of evil." In 1 Tim. vi. 5 we read "supposing that gain is godliness," instead of which we should have "supposing that godliness is gain." The effect of the misplacement of only one word will be seen by a reference to Heb. xii. 1, where we have, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great à cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight,” &c., instead of which it should read, "Wherefore, seeing that we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also run,” &c. Thus a considerable change is wrought by the proper placing of the word "also, I
pass over numerous instances where our rendering is inadequate to convey the force and meaning of the original, and notice only one or two passages as specimens; e. g., Acts xvii. 22—" Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' Hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious." This passage should be rendered, “ I perceive that in all things ye are very religious." In Phil. ii. 6, speaking of Christ, the apostle says, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.". The scholars of the present day translate this * did not deem it a thing to grasp at,” or a “thing to be clung to,” or “a prize to be seized on, to be equal with God.”.
The translations of many parts are manifestly absurd, but a proper rendering of the originals would make their sense complete, e. g., "Nothing worthy of death was done unto him," in Luke xxii. 15, should be " nothing worthy of death was done by him." In John iii . occurs the question put to Nicodemus, “ Art thou a teacher of
” the correct rendering of which, as acknowledged by all Greek scholars, including Erasmus, should be, “ Art thou the teacher of Israel?”
More serious errors, however, occur through the mistranslation or non-translation of the Greek article ; and upon this point I quote Archbishop Trench “On the Authorized Version of the New Testament,” who, after having pointed out the “serious doctrinal misunderstandings ” which our version renders possible, in Romans v. 15, 17, proceeds to quote Bentley's criticism on the Authorized
as follows: "This will enable us to clear up another place of much greater consequence, Rom. V., where, after the apostle had said, ver. 12, that by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon
all men, for that all have sinned,' in the redition of this sentence, ver. 15, he says, 'for if through the offence of one many be dead' (so our translators), much more the grace of God by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.' Now who would not wish that they had kept the articles in the version which they saw in the original ? 'If through the offence of the one (that is, Adam) the many have died, much more the grace of God by the one man hath abounded unto the many.' By this accurate version some hurtful mistakes about partial redemption and absolute reprobation had been happily prevented. Our English readers had then seen, what several of the Fathers saw and testified, that the many in an antithesis to the one, are equivalent to all in ver. 12, and comprehend the whole multitude, the entire species of mankind, exclusive only of the one. So, again, verses 18 and 19 of the same chapter, our translators have repeated the like mistake, where, when the apostle had said, “That as the offence of one was upon all men to condem. nation, so the righteousness of one was upon all men to justification ; for,' adds he, 'as by one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one the many shall be made righteous. By this version the reader is admonished and guided to remark that the many in ver. 19 are the same as all, in the 18th. But our translators, when they render it many were made sinners, many were made righteous,' what do they less than lead and draw their un wary readers into error ?"
In Matt. xiii. 34, our version gives us “ All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables ; and without a parable spake He not unto them." This last clause is obviously erroneous, as numerous instances may be
found in which Christ did speak to the people without parables. The fault, however, is in the translation, and not in the original, which gives us, "without a parable was He not in the habit of speaking unto them.” One other example of a similar kind we find in Luke v. 6, where our version says, “ And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes : and their net brake.” Instead of this last word, a correct translation would give us, “ their net was at the point of breaking."
There is still another, and not by any means the least urgent, reason for revision. The English in which our version now stands is the English of three hundred years ago, and this fact alone renders many parts almost, if not quite, unintelligible. If any one should object, that so long as it is English the rest is unimportant, I ask, should the inspired Scriptures be laid open to the reading and understanding of all, high and low, or should they be obscured by this cloud of antique English ? Whose writings are the more attractive to the ordinary mind, those of Longfellow or of Chaucer ? And the same principle may be justly applied to an ancient and modern rendering of the Bible. As it has been very aptly said,
“ The sole point to be considered is how the style of the Authorized Version affects those who are familiar only with the English of the present day. And we have no hesitation in saying that, in very many passages, it is to such persons very obscure, if not altogether unintelligible. Nor, considering the length of time which has elapsed since our version was formed, is it possible that the case should be otherwise. Who would expect any humble