Was Gen 15:6 mistranslated?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Excaliburton, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. Excaliburton

    Excaliburton New Member

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    I have consulted a number of Hebrew linguists and have been told this verse could just as equally be translated as "And Abram believed, and he (Abram) imputed righteousness to God" instead of "And Abram believed, and He (God) imputed righteousness to him (Abram)".
     
  2. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    What does the Tanakh say?
     
  3. Excaliburton

    Excaliburton New Member

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    As you know, the Tanakh is written in Hebrew with no punctuation marks or spaces between words, and the text in the Hebrew can be equally translated to read in the manner I have suggested. . . that Abram imputed righteousness to God for making the promises in verse 4. . . rather than the traditionally accepted translation in which God is imputing righteousness to Abram because Abram believed God would fulfill those promises.

    BTW, it was not uncommon for prophets and patriarchs to praise God for His righteousness. David did so many times in his Psalms.
     
  4. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    "...as you know..." That's right. As I know. And I don't depend on linguists to tell me what is or isn't, but theologians who have opinions, from which I draw my own conclusions, just as you apparently have drawn your own. My opinion, is based on thousands of years of acceptance of scripture as interpreted. Yours may be based on something else more modern. Which is fine.

    That doesn't make the whole of Judeac/Christianity suspect...

    my thoughts

    v/r

    Q



    I happen to disagree with yours.
     
  5. Excaliburton

    Excaliburton New Member

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    Mainstream theologians do not reject the simple fact that the underlying Hebrew (from which the English text is rendered) does not contain spaces or puctuation marks and is therefore liable to different translations.

    To get an idea of what I am saying just look at all of the translator notes over at http://www.bible.org/netbible/index.htm

    For example:

    Habakkuk 2:4 Look, the one whose desires are not upright will faint from exhaustion,12
    but the person of integrity13 will live14 because of his faithfulness.15

    12tn The meaning of this line is unclear, primarily because of the uncertainty surrounding the second word, עֲפְּלָה (’apÿlah). Some read this as an otherwise unattested verb עָפַל (’afal, “swell”) from which are derived nouns meaning “mound” and “hemorrhoid.” This “swelling” is then understood in an abstract sense, “swell with pride.” This would yield a translation, “As for the proud, his desires are not right within him” (cf. NASB “as for the proud one”; NIV “he is puffed up”; NRSV “Look at the proud!”). A multitude of other interpretations of this line, many of which involve emendations of the problematic form, may be found in the commentaries and periodical literature. The present translation assumes an emendation to a Pual form of the verb עָלַף (’alaf, “be faint, exhausted”). (See its use in the Pual in Isa 51:20, and in the Hitpael in Amos 8:13 and Jonah 4:8.) In the antithetical parallelism of the verse, it corresponds to חָיָה (khayah, “live”). The phrase לֹא יָשְׁרָה נַפְשׁוֹ בּוֹ (lo yoshrah nafsho bo), literally, “not upright his desire within him,” is taken as a substantival clause that contrasts with צַדִּיק (tsadiq, “the righteous one”) and serves as the subject of the preceding verb. Here נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) is understood in the sense of “desire” (see BDB 660-61 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ for a list of passages where the word carries this sense).
    <A name=213>13tn Or “righteous.” The oppressed individuals mentioned in 1:4 are probably in view here.
    <A name=214>14tn Or “will be preserved.” In the immediate context this probably refers to physical preservation through both the present oppression and the coming judgment (see Hab 3:16-19).
    <A name=215>15tn Or “loyalty”; or “integrity.” The Hebrew word אֱמוּנָה (’emunah) has traditionally been translated “faith,” but the term nowhere else refers to “belief” as such. When used of human character and conduct it carries the notion of “honesty, integrity, reliability, faithfulness.” The antecedent of the suffix has been understood in different ways. It could refer to God’s faithfulness, but in this case one would expect a first person suffix (the original form of the LXX has “my faithfulness” here). Others understand the “vision” to be the antecedent. In this case the reliability of the prophecy is in view. For a statement of this view, see J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 111-12. The present translation assumes that the preceding word “[the person of] integrity” is the antecedent. In this case the Lord is assuring Habakkuk that those who are truly innocent will be preserved through the coming oppression and judgment by their godly lifestyle, for God ultimately rewards this type of conduct. In contrast to these innocent people, those with impure desires (epitomized by the greedy Babylonians; see v. 5) will not be able to withstand God’s judgment (v. 4a).
    _____________________________

    Excaliburton ending comment:
    And the fact that Scripture can be translated from the original Greek or Hebrew in more than one way does not erode the entire basis of Judeo-Christianity but just shows the English translations are not written in stone.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2006
  6. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    a little too deep into the weeds for most folk, and not condusive to the concept at hand...

    But then you really don't care, now do you...
     
  7. Excaliburton

    Excaliburton New Member

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    It is not too deep in the woods for any serious Bible student or beginning scholar, and I do care, and that's why I took the time to post it, and it is directly relevant to the issue of the translation of the Hebrew text of the Bible.

    Suggesting that I do not care is abusive. I have devoted much of the last 5 years intensely studying the Bible.
     
  8. kenod

    kenod "to live is Christ"

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    You are in good company!

    James 2:23 (NIV)
    And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God's friend.

    Roman 4:3 (NIV)
    What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”




     
  9. Excaliburton

    Excaliburton New Member

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    Yes, this is because James, like Paul, was also quoting this verse from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) rather than the Hebrew Bible, and notice they do not match up with the Hebrew OT

    Gen 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
    When you examine the original Hebrew text, this verse can also equally be read as:

    Gen 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to Him for righteousness.
    Thus Abram believed (in the promises) of the LORD, and he (Abram) counted it to Him (GOD) for righteousness.

    Recall also the promises were given to Abram because he obeyed God and not because he believed in God.

    Gen 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
    Gen 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
    This clearly and emphatically contradicts Paul's claim that the promises were given not by the Law but by faith:

    Rom 4:13 ¶ For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, [was] not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
    And isn't it curious there are no marginal cross references between Rom 4:13 and Gen 26:5? I guess the Bible publishers are embarrassed by the clear link and the clear contradiction!
     
  10. kenod

    kenod "to live is Christ"

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    The literal words of the Bible are open to interpretation - that's why we need a knowledge of the principles of Scripture to understand correctly. The story of the entire Bible is summed up in one word: redemption. Get that, and you will get the rest!

    Whether you agree with Paul or not, his writing and his achievements are not those of a fool. To consider that he was guilty of the "contradictions" you see, does little to recommend your knowledge of his work.


    Here is another Scriptural principle: if you believe God, you obey God.
    John 14:15
    If you love me, keep my commandments.

     
  11. Excaliburton

    Excaliburton New Member

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    You have not responded to the issues I have raised, but have diverted onto another path.

    But I am happy to hear that you quote our Lord Jesus, in John 14:15, when He said to keep His commandments, the commandments of His Father, and irrespective of Paul, not one jot or tittle of the Law or the Prophets will be abolished until all their prophecies are fulfilled or until heaven and earth pass away.

    Thus every jot and tittle of the Law remains, and it will continue when the day the New Covenant finally arrives as per Jer 31:31-34
     
  12. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Then, it is your prerogative to choose to try and keep every jot and tittle of that Law. But it is also an individual's right to choose, by faith, to allow those jots and tittles be interpreted through the Holy Spirit...the Spirit of the Law, so to speak.

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  13. BlaznFattyz

    BlaznFattyz Active Member

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    Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

    Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

    Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

    Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

    "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:5-6).

    Abraham is a story of faith. He loved the lord, obeyed him, had faith in him and because of that he pleased the lord; therefore he was blessed.
     
  14. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Well since you have reported me, to me, as being abusive, you have my full attention.

    You bring up issues, and others here (including me), disagree with your conclusions. You bowl right over our opinions, and proceed to "correct" and "lecture" us on our apparent ignorance...what would you call that? Loving reflection, or rebuking the bumbling bumpkins, who don't know their Bible from a post it pad?

    I am pleased that you have taken time to study the Bible intensely for the past five years. So have I, and Kenod, and Thomas, and many others here, for even longer...so you see, there are no ignorant people here. And my friend, no one cares for the implication of such. That, is abusive, sir.

    This is a discussion board, not a Lecture hall.

    v/r

    Q
     
  15. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    And he put faith in Jehovah; and he proceeded to count it to him as righteousness Genesis 15;6 NWT
    "Put faith." This is the first mention of exercising faith, and properly so, because Ro 4:11 pronounces Abraham "the father of all those having faith while in uncircumcision."

    (Romans 4:13) For it was not through law that Abraham or his seed had the promise that he should be heir of a world, but it was through the righteousness by faith.

    (Romans 4:22) Hence "it was counted to him as righteousness."


    (Galatians 3:6) Just as Abraham "put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness."
     
  16. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Since this in an exercise in "Comparative studies", that is where I'm moving the thread to.

    v/r

    Q
     
  17. Excaliburton

    Excaliburton New Member

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    It seems this Christian discussion of Genesis has been sent to the attic. Fortunately, this topic is being discussed in many other circles other than here. In the last days, knowledge shall be greatly increased.
     
  18. Excaliburton

    Excaliburton New Member

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    OK, but does the OT ever say that Abraham was motivated by faith or by fear?

    Gen 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me.

    Hebrews chapter 11 gives a whole list of famous biblical personalities and claims they were motivated by faith, but there is no confirmation of this in the OT nor are there marginal references that verify Hebrews 11 in the OT.
     
  19. Excaliburton

    Excaliburton New Member

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    If you can find a verse to prove that Jesus said we were allowed to pick and choose what laws we would obey, please share it with us. The Talmud had been used by the Jewish Pharisees to find excuses not to obey the Torah, and Jesus was not shy about mentioning it:

    Mar 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
     
  20. Excaliburton

    Excaliburton New Member

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    Simply offering a different viewpoint does not necessarily imply a pedantic attitude but rather an opportunity for further discussion.

    If you feel I have not responded to your points, please specify.

    But it seems you have been entirely unresponsive to my point in which I showed the blatant contradiction between Gen 26:5 and Romans 4:13. That is an issue that cannot be ignored forever. But if you have an answer, I would like to hear it.
     

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