God Didn't Say That

Bible Translations and Mistranslations

More On Parallel Passages

On Thursday, I posted about the English translations of near-parellel passages in Mark and Matthew. It got me thinking about Chronicles, which frequently quotes other books such as Kings. II Chronicles 6:1-5, for example, seems to be an update (grammatically and in terms of spelling) of I Kings 8:12-16.

In particular, I Kings 8:15 and II Chronicles 6:4 are identical in Hebrew except in spelling and that the former has yado (“his hand”) where the latter has yadav (“his hands”) — and this, too, may originally have been a matter of spelling.

Still, in most translations the English (for identical Hebrew!) doesn’t match, even in the “word by word” translations.

Do you think this is a problem?

Comparison of Translations
(Differences are marked with italics, except for the KJV which is too different for that to be practical.)

I Kings 8:15 II Chronicles 6:4
KJV And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it, saying, And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying,
NIV Then he said: “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his own hand has fulfilled what he promised with his own mouth to my father David. For he said, Then he said: “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his hands has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to my father David. For he said,
NRSV He said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his hand* has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to my father David, saying, And he said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his hand* has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to my father David, saying,
NAB He said to them: “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his own mouth made a promise to my father David and by his hand has brought it to fulfillment. It was he who said, He said: “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his own mouth made a promise to my father David and by his own hands brought it to fulfillment. He said:
NLT “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who has kept the promise he made to my father, David. “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who has kept the promise he made to my father, David. For he told my father,

(*) The English is the same but the Hebrew is different.

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September 6, 2009 - Posted by | Bible versions, translation practice, translation theory | , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. I think it is a problem. If the Hebrew was ‘copied’ the translation should also ‘copy’. Possibly the very same words might change ‘meaning’ over time – but the same might be true in English. So if I alluded in a play to Shakespeare today – even if my meaning were different, I must copy exactly or my allusion and the play will be lost.

    Comment by Bob MacDonald | September 7, 2009 | Reply

  2. The one thing that’s problematic with Christian translations is, quotes back to “the scriptures of the day” from apostolic writings (New Testament), could reference the Hebrew or the Gk. If my brain is recalling correctly, I think there’s a few places where Paul goes back and forth in both.

    My personal pet peeve, Christian publishers that market their translation as a “word by word”, is a marketing gimmick.

    Comment by A.Admin | September 21, 2009 | Reply

  3. […] note content changes as we go along, but I’m given to understand (via Dr. Joel Hoffman of God Didn’t Say That) that there are quite a few grammatical differences between the two accounts, suggesting that the […]

    Pingback by » 2 Chronicles 5-7: Consecrating the Temple Carpe Scriptura | October 26, 2015 | Reply


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