Isaiah 15:2 a proper name or not

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Logos1560, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    In the 1611 KJV and in the pre-1611 English Bibles of which the KJV was a revision, there is variation about the translation of a Hebrew word at Isaiah 15:2. Some of them treat it as a proper name, and some don't. Which is the better or more accurate rendering of the Hebrew?

    Isaiah 15:2
    to Baith (1535 Coverdale's Bible, 1537 Matthew's Bible
    to the idol's house (1540 Great Bible, 1568 Bishops' Bible
    to the temple (1560 Geneva Bible)
    to Bajith (1611 KJV)
     
  2. Deacon

    Deacon
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    A common literal translation of the Hebrew, ha-bayit would be “the house” or in this context, “the temple”.

    The ESV presents a very literal translation.

    He has gone up to the temple, and to Dibon,
    to the high places to weep;

    Isaiah 15:2a ESV
    [as also NAS, NKJV]

    It’s interesting that the textual note here in the AV of Isaiah 15:2 says to compare it with Jeremiah 48:13

    He is gone up to Bajith*, and to Dibon, the high places, to weep:
    Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba:
    On all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off.

    Isaiah 15:2 AV 1873
    *Comp. Jer 48.13

    And Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh,
    As the house
    [bayit] of Israel was ashamed of Beth-el [(mi)-bayit-el = house of El] their confidence.
    Jeremiah 48:13 AV 1873


    “Bayit” is sometimes is used in conjunction with other words and becomes a place name or proper noun.
    The note connects the word to its second use in Jeremiah 48:13, which is a place-name [or the proper noun], ‘Bethel’.

    In defense of the AV, there are many name places mentioned in this section, they left the word untranslated thinking it was another city/place.
    [To date no city of this name has ever been found or even mentioned in other ancient documents.]

    Some older commentaries:

    ...has gone up to Bajith (or rather to the house or temple of Chemosh),
    Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, Is 15:1. [date 1706]

    Bajith - Which signifies an house. It is supposed to be some eminent house or temple of their idols.
    John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible [date 1754-1765]

    Bajith—rather, “to the temple” [MAURER];
    Jamieson, Fausset, Fausset et al., A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments, Is 15:1. [date 1871]

    *****************************
    Following the Syriac and Targum, the RSV reads “the daughter of Dibon has gone up” [compare Jeremiah 48:18].
    http://www.studylight.org/desk/?l=e...=Isaiah%2015:2&new=1&sr=1&nb=isa&ng=15&ncc=15

    The daughter of Dibon has gone up to the high places to weep;
    Isaiah 15:2a RSV

    The NRSV follows the Septuagint here (which the Vulgate also follows).

    Dibon has gone up to the temple,
    to the high places to weep;

    Isaiah 15:2a NRSV

    Grieve for yourselves, for Lebedon will perish!
    Where your alter is, there you will go up to weep:

    Isaiah 15:2a NETS [LXX]

    I personally think the New English Translation [NET] version communicates the meaning the best.

    They went up to the temple,
    the people of Dibon went up to the high places to lament.
    Because of what happened to Nebo and Medeba, Moab wails.
    Every head is shaved bare,
    every beard is trimmed off.

    Isaiah 15:2 NET

    Rob
     
  3. Jerome

    Jerome
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    Matthew Poole, Annotations:
    2 He is gone up to Bajith(f), and to Dibon(g)
    (f) Which signifies an house. It is supposed to be the Name of a Place so called from some eminent House or Temple of their Idols which was in it. It is called more fully Beth-baal-meon, that is, The house of Baals habitation, Ios. 13. 17.
    (g) Another City of Moab, as is manifest from Ier. 48. 18, 22. where also was their other eminent High places. To these two Places they used to resort in case of great Difficulties and Troubles.
     
  4. Deacon

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    To get back to your original question:
    “Which is the better or more accurate rendering of the Hebrew?”

    It’s not a simple passage, a literal translation doesn’t really make sense.

    The problem isn’t with the word Hebrew word, “bayit”, but in the word
    that follows, "ve-dibon", “and (to) Dibon”.
    It’s that simple word, “and” that causes the trouble.
    Why is it there?!

    Think it through, its as if the verse compares apples to oranges.
    Going to the temple (a pagan temple, not the one in Jerusalem) AND to Dibon.

    The translators of the AV recognized this and worked with what they had.
    Some of the more modern English versions I mentioned above deal with the problem by seeking help from other ancient translations.

    I’d be curious to know what the Great Isaiah Scroll of Qumran reads.
    My guess is it reads the same as our Masoretic Text; although the NET Bible does note a variant spelling of Dibon in verse 9 that is corrected from the MT (from Dimon to Dibon in the DDS).

    Rob
     
  5. Deacon

    Deacon
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    This has been a hot thread, lots of interaction :tongue3:

    I searched a few commentaries.

    The Book of Isaiah [Google Books Link] New International Commentary on the Old Testament, by John N. Oswald (1975)

    A relatively long discussion here (that I've snipped) ...

    Commentary on Isaiah: Translated and Explained : An Abridgment of the Authors Critical Commentary on Isaiah [Google Books Link] By Joseph Addison Alexander. p 313, 314 (1992)

    Rob
     

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