Ashes, headwear, or bandages?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by franklinmonroe, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    Could some one explain to me how some translators arrive at "ashes" for the Hebrew 'apher (Strong's #0666, meaning 'covering' or 'bandages') in this passage. These are the only two occurences of this word in the OT. 1 Kings 20:38-41 (KJV) --
    So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face.
    And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver.
    And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So [shall] thy judgment [be]; thyself hast decided [it].
    And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he [was] of the prophets. ​
    A sampling of other translations (of verse 38 only) --
    Then the prophet departed, and waited for the king, by the way,––and disguised himself with his turban over his eyes. (Rotherham)

    And the prophet then went, and placed himself before the king on the way, and disguised himself with a bandage over his eyes. (Leeser)

    And the prophet went and stood before the king of Israel by the way, and bound his eyes with a bandage. (Brenton)

    So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with his headband over his eyes (JPS)

    Therfor the prophete yede, and mette the kyng in the weie; and he chaungide his mouth and iyen, by sprynging of dust (Wycliffe)

    So the Prophet departed, & wayted for the King by the way, & disguised himselfe with ashes vpon his face. (Geneva)

    Then wente the prophet, and stepte vnto the kynge by the waye syde, and altered his face with asshes (Coverdale)

    So the prophete went foorth, & wayted for the king by the way, and put him selfe out of knowledge with ashes whiche he layed vpon his face (Bishops)

    And the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with a sash over his eyes. (Darby)

    Then the prophet went and stood by the road waiting for the king. He disguised himself with his headband down over his eyes. (NIV)​
    Also, could some one explain to me how some translators arrive at "faces" for the Hebrew `ayin (Strong's #5869, meaning 'eyes' or 'fountain') in this verse. This word is rendered in the AV 887 times: "eye" 495, "sight" 216, "seem" 19, "colour" 12, "fountain" 11, "well" 11, "face" 10, and over 70 more different English words.
     
    #1 franklinmonroe, Jul 23, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2008
  2. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    No takers, eh?
     
  3. Jerome

    Jerome
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    With that number, no wonder it's a problem:laugh:

    Strongs #0666 'apher
    Word Origin: from the same as #0665 'epher, "ashes"
     
  4. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    Thanks, Jerome. I also have seen a note in a lexicon at 'apher stating "Root Word (Etymology) from the same as H665 (in the sense of covering)." Have some translators simply misread the Hebrew; or are the majority of Hebrew manuscripts obscured at this place?

    Does "ashes" even make much sense in this context?
     
  5. Deacon

    Deacon
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    Both Hebrew words, eye and ash, have the same consonants, aleph-pey-resh.

    BHS apparatus notes a variant;
    the Syriac version of Aquila has “ash”.

    The Hebrew word for eye is associated with face (Ge 18:2; Nu 14:14):
    If the first word in question was translated as ashes then translating the second word as eyes would make little sense.

    My guess, since the Hebrew word is used only twice (both times in this text) I’d say that early in the history of English translations there was a bit of confusion regarding the meaning of the word.

    Rob
     
    #5 Deacon, Jul 26, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2008
  6. robycop3

    robycop3
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    "Ashes" doesn't make much sense in the context, since someone with ashes on his face would draw more, not less, attention, & someone would be bound to have recognized the man. However, headbands, etc. were common headwear in that time/place.
     
  7. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    "Bandages" makes sense in the context since in the preceding verse he was injured --
    Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded [him]. (1 Kings 20:37, KJV)​
     

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