ESV on Jeremiah 3:7, 19b

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Pastork, Oct 9, 2002.

  1. Pastork

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    I have been doing my daily Bible reading in the ESV this year and was rather disappointed at the translation of these two verses. Compare them with the NKJV translation (which I find preferable in these instances):

    Jer. 3:7

    ESV = "And I thought, 'After she has done all this she will return to me,' but she did not return..."

    NKJV = "And I said, after she had done all these things, 'Return to Me.' But she did not return...."

    Jer. 3:19b

    ESV = "And I thought you would call me, My Father, and would not turn from following me."

    NKJV = "And I said: 'You shall call Me, "My Father," and not turn away from Me.' "

    I would be interested in hearing from any of you on this issue. Which translation do you prefer? Do you think God really intended to say that He thought something would happen, but then turned out to be wrong? Doesn't the ESV seem to be saying this? Any thoughts?

    Pastork

    [ October 09, 2002, 10:20 PM: Message edited by: Pastork ]
     
  2. eric_b

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    You may have a good point there... NASB agrees with the ESV translation, but according to my NASB concordance the hebrew word that was translated into "thought" in those two verses (amar, Strongs #559) means "to utter, say" and is translated to "said" 2,766 times, "say" 601 times, "saying" 862 times, "says" 594 times, "spoke" 77 times... and translates it as "think", "thinking", or "thought" a total of only 20 times. I'd be interested in hearing the rational behind translating it differently in these cases.

    Eric

    [ October 09, 2002, 11:32 PM: Message edited by: eric_b ]
     
  3. rsr

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    The NET has the same reading as the ESV in the first verse, without a footnote. If the NET doesn't have a footnote, there must be nothing to add.

    As to the second:

    ":I thought you would call me, 'Father'16
    and would not stop being loyal to me."

    [ October 10, 2002, 12:33 AM: Message edited by: rsr ]
     
  4. RaptureReady

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    I believe the KJV to be my final authority and it says, "said" in both instances. Therefore, the ESV is a corrupt translation leading a Christian the wrong way.
     
  5. Pastor Larry

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    I think the context is the key here. If you begin your reading at v. 7, you see that these verses are a form of indirect discourse. 'mr is used for thinking in different cases and it should not seem strange to see it here. The "said" of v. 1 is part of the YHWH's speech to Jeremiah, relating his thoughts about the return of Israel. It would be like saying, "I said to myself" or "I thought." Here are some similar places that substantiate this: Gn 20:11 26:9 Nu 24:11 Ru 4:4 1 S 20:26 2 S 5:6 12:22 2 K 5:11

    Although I have not looked at all these cases, my suspicion is that the context is what leads us to that translation. We must remember that words have meaning only in a context--their relationship to other words. Therefore in translating, the semantic domain of a word is only a starting point. The context narrows it to the proper translation, in this case, "Thought."

    [ October 10, 2002, 08:50 AM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  6. eric_b

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    It's the original autograph of Scripture that is the final authority, not one particular translation. If you trust a particular translation as the final authority, you introduce the possibility of following human error in translation. If you look at the dedication that the KJV translators wrote, they make no claim of having produced the final authority or only legitimate translation of Scripture; those claims weren't made for another 200 years. If the KJV translators were producing the final authority of the perfect version of Scripture, wouldn't they have realized it and mentioned it in the dedication?

    Eric

    [ October 10, 2002, 10:10 AM: Message edited by: eric_b ]
     
  7. Pastor_Bob

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    I believe the KJV is a descendant of Providentially preserved, reliable, unified extant manuscripts. As such, I can say that it is my final authority for all matters of faith and practice.

    HomeBound, for the sake of being less caustic, I always state my opinions as simply that, my opinions. It is not a compromise to say, "In my opinion, the ESV is a corrupt translation..." Often times it is not what we say, but how we say it that conveys the loudest message.

    BTW, I agree with Pastor Larry's conclusions of this passage.

    [ October 10, 2002, 10:29 AM: Message edited by: Pastor Bob 63 ]
     
  8. Japheth

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    We have an example of the"originals" here in Jeremiah chapter 36; the Lord commanded Jeremiah to write down the "Words" he spoke to him. They did not like what they heard, so Jehudi "revised" the roll with his penknife and threw it in the fire until it was gone. These folks HAD the originals in their hands. Jehoiakim did not like what the Lord told Jeremiah to write in the roll;in verse 31 the Lord said he will PUNISH HIM(Jehoiakim) and his seed.This is a fine example of how people will alter the word of God (Origen, W&H,Nestle ect...) even IF they have the originals!!!!

    [ October 10, 2002, 10:35 AM: Message edited by: Japheth ]
     
  9. eric_b

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    I could be wrong, but I don't think W&H burned any manuscripts in their research...

    Eric
     
  10. Japheth

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    QUOTE]I could be wrong, but I don't think W&H burned any manuscripts in their research...

    Eric[/QB][/QUOTE]
    No,but they used their "penknife" to OMIT verses & parts of verses in their Texts...

    [ October 10, 2002, 10:52 AM: Message edited by: Japheth ]
     
  11. eric_b

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    No,but they used their "penknife" to OMIT verses & parts of verses in their Texts...[/QB]</font>[/QUOTE]Well, when you have multiple manuscripts that say different things, all of which are copies of the originals, you have to disregard what some of the manuscripts say in favor of others. W&H's did things like look at the writings of the early church fathers to see what version they quoted when they quoted from verses that have some variation among modern manuscripts. It's interesting to note that King James has some readings that appear in literally no surviving manuscript. An example I'm aware of is Rev 22:19:

    Rev 22:19 (KJV) And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

    KJV renders "book of life" where every surviving manuscript with this verse says "tree of life". "tree of life" seems to be a more natural continuation of that passage, because a few verses up it says:

    Rev 22:14 (KJV) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    W&H chose to follow the reading which had support in the manuscripts over one that had no support. I don't believe a penknife was used to implement this decision.

    Eric

    [ October 10, 2002, 11:04 AM: Message edited by: eric_b ]
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    I don't mean to get pedantic here but this thread has a title. It is ESV on Jeremiah 3:7, 19b. IMO, if your comments do not address Jeremiah 3:7 and 19b, then stay out of it. Every thread does not need to turn into the same thing.

    For my part, I have decided for the most part to ignore such statement as Homebound, Japheth, and other make. They are simply so far off base, they are not worth responding to on most occasions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the fallacies of equating the textual criticism of Erasmus to the present day with the actions of Jehudi. Just remember, Things that are different are not the same. Since these things are different, they are not the same. Let's move on. Start your own thread if you want to discuss something else. Let's stay on topic and leave the rhetoric aside.
     
  13. Pastork

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    Pastor Larry,

    I do not doubt that amar may have the sense of 'to think' in some contexts, although I think that 'to say' would be the primary meaning of the word. Given this, I would be interested in precisely what in the context convinces you that "thought" is a better translation of amar in Jer.3:7, 19. I am aware of nothing in either the context or the Hebrew grammar which necessarily makes this meaning more likely than "I said".

    There is also the difference between the NKJV and the ESV on whether or not to translate shub ("return") as a command as the NKJV choses to do. It seems to me that if one sees God as recalling a previous command (such as in Isa. 44:22, e.g.), then he would also see "I said" as better translation of amar in vs.7. Any thoughts?

    Pastork
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    “To say” is certainly the primary meaning. It is used at times (though not here) with “leb” (heart) in the sense of “to say to oneself” – hence, to think. As for the immediate context, YHWH is recounting to Jeremiah the prophet the events of faithless Israel, how she left and prostituted herself.

    The form of “shub” is interesting. This is a qal imperfect third feminine singular. For some reason, the NKJV and KJV translated it as an imperative, something that would have a different form. There is no textual variant that I know of so I cannot understand why the NKJV would have translated the imperfect third feminine singular (she will return) as a imperative (return). I would be interested if someone can find a reason for it. It does not seem to make sense. The verb (tashub) seems to clearly be an imperfect and thus, YHWH is not addressing Israel or anyone else but rather himself. Therefore, “thought” seems to be the right connotation.

    Whether YHWH thought it or said it, I don’t think is that important, unless you take the “tashub” (return) as an imperative rather than an imperfect.

    I have never looked at this passage until it was brought up here. All the MVs are in agreement so far as I know and only the KJV and the NKJV follow something that doesn't seem to have any support. As I say, I would be very interested if anyone has any information as to why the NKJV translated it as they did.

    [ October 11, 2002, 08:55 AM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  15. Pastork

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    Pastor Larry,

    In answer to your question as to why the KJV and the NKJV translated the Qal Imperfect 3fs &gt; shub in Jer.3:7 as a command, the only reason I can give is that they they took it to be what grammarians refer to as an 'injunctive' use of the imperfect (i.e., it has the force of a command). This is a use of the imperfect commonly recognized by Hebrew grammarians (see, e.g., Jouon's grammar, Par. 113m, Ronald Williams' Hebrew Syntax, Par. 173, and Waltke & O'connor's Biblical Hebrew Syntax, p.509-510). This would take God's statement as a recollection to them of a previous command which they disobeyed. This accords very well with the context, which chastises Israel for her constant backsliding and renews the call to repentance, as well as with the historical fact that God had previously issued the command to "return" to Him through prophets such as Isaiah. Not to mention that it avoids translating the text in a way that would seem to be inconsistent with the overall teaching of the Bible on the nature of God. Do we really think that the rest of Scripture tries to picture God for us as One who can hold mistaken beliefs about the future? That He thought something would happen and turned out to be wrong? Perhaps I could better understand why the ESV translators chose to render it as they did if there were no other way to render it, but that is not the case.

    I remain dissappointed with the ESV rendering of this passage.

    Pastork

    P.S. I took the references to the Hebrew grammars from some old notes of mine on the passage in question and did not look them up to check them, but they should be correct.

    [ October 11, 2002, 04:07 PM: Message edited by: Pastork ]
     
  16. Pastork

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    I thought I would add that I have often seen Jer.3:7,19 cited by free-will theists/'openness' theologians to support their misguided notion that God cannot foreknow human decisions. Of course, I have yet to read one of them who actually bothers to submit the passage to any detailed exegesis. This is one of the unfortunate side effects of translating the text the way the ESV does in the first place. This makes the ESV translation all the more disappointing to me.

    Pastork
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    I have a note jotted in my copy of Waltke and Oconnor that a "non-perfective of injunction" is usually with an imperative in the context. This passage does not have that. Additionally, the vast majority of Hebrew scholars appear to agree with the ESV and every major conservative translation takes it that way.

    As for the nature of God, that is a non-issue based on the other biblical passages such as the one I am preaching this morning, Gen 11, where it says that "God came down to see what they were building." Does this imply that God's knowledge was limited? Of course not. It rather teaches that God was taking an interest in the affairs of men. It is an anthropomorphism. This, IMO, is no real reason to abandon the passage as it stands in most of the MVs. The open theists, as you say, are not interested in solid exegesis anyway so with or without this passage they will believe what they do.
     
  18. Pastork

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    Pastor Larry,

    Your points are all well taken, but I still prefer the KJV/NKJV translation. However, I would not cease to recommend the NASB or ESV, e.g., over the issue because I agree with so many of your points. We are not so far very far apart. If you wish to discuss it further, I would be willing to go deeper into some of the points you bring up, but I sense that we will just end up right back where we are, and I will still think that the ESV is an excellent translation overall.

    Pastork
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    Pastork,

    I can certainly see your side of it. However, I believe the MVs have the better rendering. I am just not convinced that the imperative understanding is the best way to understand the Hebrew. Further discussion might be interesting but would probably get us back to the same point as you have said. However, I have enjoyed the exchange.

    Larry
     

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