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Genesis 3 -- some interesting differences

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Barry and Helen Setterfield, Jan 18, 2004.

  1. Barry and Helen Setterfield

    Dec 28, 2002
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    In examining the Alexandrian Septuagint -- the translation made by Hebrew scholars themselves from the paleo- (or ancient) Hebrew to classical Greek over two hundred years before Christ, we were quite surprised to see some of the differences between what we think some of the verses mean today and what the Hebrew scholars themselves thought they meant. Here, as in chapter 1, going verse by verse to show the changes and mention the difference in meaning may well be the easiest way to approach this.

    1. The KJV says the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field; the NIV that the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals -- but the LXX states the serpent was more crafty than any of the brutes on the earth. That is an interesting slight change in comparison.

    The second part of the first verse has another difference which makes the meaning much more profound. The KJV states "Yea, hath God said...?" when the serpent is talking to Eve. The NIV puts it as "Did God really say...?" But the LXX has something different: "Wherefore did God say....?" In other words, they did not see the serpent as questioning whether or not God said something, but WHY He said it.

    This is extremely like what we see today in a modern form. Those who question the Bible's clear meanings don't ask if the particular words are there but rather "What do they REALLY mean?" and "Why would God have said that?" The first part of the only temptation ever needed for man remains -- questioning God's Word, the meaning and the reason behind it. The implication today is that of course we know MUCH better with all our science and such!

    As a side note here, why would Eve have listened to this serpent? The answer, we think, may be found in Ezekiel 28, where the prophet Ezekiel is a mouthpiece for God, and he is speaking to Satan through the King of Tyre.

    You were in Eden, the garden of God;
    ...You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.

    There is a possiblity that Eve was listening to someone she knew and trusted. This would explain the deception. It is much easier for someone you trust to deceive you than for a stranger to do so.

    Finishing up verse 1, the LXX says Satan asked Eve why God had said they must not eat from EVERY tree in the garden. This makes a lot more sense out of Eve's answer in verse 2.

    Verses 2-5 are essentially the same in all versions.

    Verse 6: Whereas the KJV and NIV both indicate the fruit was desirable for becoming wise/gaining wisdom, the LXX states, rather, that the fruit was 'beautiful to contemplate.' This is a different meaning.

    Verse 7 -- no differences.

    Verse 8 -- What the man and his wife hear is not the "sound" of the Lord, but the "voice" of the Lord. This is also what the KJV states, the NIV using "sound." The KJV says they hid from the presence of the Lord; the NIV states they hid from the Lord God; and the LXX says they hid from the face of the Lord God.

    Verse 9 -- the word 'man' is actually Adam. Here again the KJV is correct while the NIV states, simply, 'man.'

    Verse 10 -- essentially the same in all three

    Verse 11 -- watch this one! Both the KJV and the NIV separate God's words into two sentences, but the LXX does not, and the meaning has a bit of a change as a result. Here is the LXX:
    And God said, "Who told you that you were naked, unless you have eaten from the tree...."

    That 'unless' indicates immediately that God knew exactly what had happened. He does not really have to ask them about it. The question then becomes not an inquiry, but a rhetorical question instead. The clear meaning, implied in the modern translations but quite clear in the LXX is that God was very clear on what had happened and really didn't need to ask at all.

    Verse 12 -- no differences

    Verse 13 -- God does not ask the woman what she has done, but, rather, WHY she has done it in the LXX.

    Verse 14 -- the curse on the serpent, in the LXX is that he will go 'on your breast and belly', a much clearer description than what we have in our modern versions.

    verse 15 -- in the LXX reads, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman,
    between your seed and her seed,
    he shall watch against your head and you will watch against his heel.

    The word translated 'watch against' is the same, and translated in the KJV as 'bruise' and in the NIV as two different things: "He will crush your head and you will strike his heel."

    "Watch against" may have been an idiomatic phrase and this is something we need to check into.

    Verse 16 -- how many arguments have been started because we have read that Eve's pains in childbearing should be increased, making it seem as though she might have already had children! Here is what the ancient text says:

    "I will greating mulitiply your pains and your groanings;
    with pain you will bring forth children.
    Your turning will be to your husband
    and he will rule over you.

    The idea of submission to the husband is definitely there, but missing is any idea that Eve may have already had children!

    Verse 17 -- again we have some differences in meaning:

    And to Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and eaten of the tree concerning which I charged thee of it only not to eat -- of that thous hast eaten, cursed the ground in they labours, in pain shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.

    Please note the "only" -- it puts emphasis on the fact that everything else had been allowable to them.

    Verse 19 -- no major differences

    Verse 20 -- an interesting bit of information not available in our English translations:

    And Adam called the name of his wife Life, because she was the mother of all living. In Greek, this translates into Zoe. So it wasn't Adam and Eve actually! It was Adam and Zoe! Or Adam and Life.

    The last passage in Genesis 3 is quoted here completely from the LXX. Those who know this passage from their own modern translations may enjoy noting the differences:

    And God said, Behold, Adam is become as one of us, to know good and evil, and now lest at any time he stretch forth his hand, and take of the tree of life and eat, and [so] he shall live forever --So the Lord God sent him forth out of the garden of Delight to cultivate the ground out of which he was taken. And he cast out Adam and caused him to dwell over against the garden of Delight, and stationed the cherubs and the fiery sword that turns about to keep the way of the tree of life..
  2. David Mark

    David Mark New Member

    Jul 11, 2003
    Likes Received:
    I remember when my parents used to instruct me.

    Their words were clear, but when I doubted their intentions or thought that they did not have my best interest at heart, I stumbled and began to disrespect them. I would go behind their backs to do the things I wanted to do, knowing full well that I was instructed differently.

    I thought I knew more than they did. I thought they were old and not hip to what was going on.

    I can perceive my Heavenly Father that way too, if I am not careful. If he gives a commandment and I think in my heart that it is designed to take something "good" away from me, then I am deceived.

    For his commandments are not grievous.