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Ch. xxiii. 6. “ And this is his name whereby he shall be called the Lord our Righteousness.” Although this is a text to which great importance has been attached by many, as being supposed to imply the doctrine of “ imputed righteousness, it would be uncandid to ignore the fact that the Hebrew will not fairly bear this translation. The words in the original strictly mean, “And this is his name which Jehovah shall call him, our Righteousness;" or, perhaps, still more literally, “ This is the name which they shall call Jehovah, our Righteous One.” The first of these translations is nearly that of Ďr. Blayney, and agrees with the Septuagint. The second is in accordance with the Vulgate. The first English Bible (MS.), instead of “ the Lord our Righteousness," had “ Our rigtwise Lord ;" Coverdale's Bible," the Lord our rightuous Maker;" Matthew's and Taverner's editions of this Bible, the same; Cranmer's Bible introduced the present translation, which corresponds also with the Genevan and Bishops' Bibles. But, as it has been well observed by an eminent critic, “ No doctrine so important as that which has been supposed to be contained in this passage, should be made to rest on an interpretation so dubious and unsupported, as this text."
Ch. xxiv. 2. “And the other basket had very naughty figs.” The words here marked in italics, though retained from all the older versions of the English Bible, have so trivial and childish a sound that there can be no question as to the propriety of their being altered.
The subjects of this book are for the most part exceedingly mystical, and the phraseology is proportionately obscure in many parts. The Church of England has selected only nine chapters out of forty-eight to be read in her daily service-a proof that its topics were considered as much less edifying, for the most part, than that of the preceding prophets. Professor de Rossi's testimony may afford some idea of the difficulties of this book in the original, for he observes, that“ there is so much inconsistency and variation among the manuscripts, especially in the suffixed pronouns, that he was weary of the labour of collation, and could more truly say of the whole book than Norzius did of one passage of Zachariah, “ my soul was perplexed with them, I turned away my face from them.”” Archbishop Newcome has removed some of the difficulties of this book, and a more complete and judicious collation of MSS., aided by the labours of Dr. Davidson, may yet do much
EZEKIEL AND DANIEL.
for the improvement of the English text. But upon the whole we have noted fewer passages for correction in this than in either of the former books, and these of less import
The following, which occur in the few additional lessons of the Church selected for Sunday reading (which do not appear to us, however, to be the best that might have been chosen for the purpose) we must notice in a very summary manner.
Ch. xiii. 18. “ Kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls.” Ch. xiv. 4. “Stumbling block of his iniquity.”
. Ch.xviii. 25. “Neither hath come near to a menstruous woman. Ch. xx. 25. “ Statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live,” instead of“ statutes that were not profitable, and ordinances conducive to life.” Ch. xx. 28. “The provocation of their offering,” for “their provoking offering.” ver. 47. “ The flaming flame,” for the violent flame, or raging flame, literally flame of fame, the Hebrew superlative.
On this book also we find it unecessary to detain our readers with more than few
observations. Ch. iii. 6. “ A burning fiery furnace,” for “a heated furnace of fire." Ch. iii. 21. “Their coats, their hosen, and their hats.”
. Words more expressive of oriental costume should be employed in conformity with all the modern usages of translation. Ch. iii. 25. “ Like the Son of God,” for “ a son of the
, Gods.” The present translation makes the king say what he did not intend, i. e. according to the meaning usually affixed to the expression “ the Son of God” in the Holy Scriptures.
Ch. v. 25. Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.” A discrepancy exists between this and the verses following, and which ought to be corrected, as it is undoubtedly the result of some oversight, for the Septuagint and Vulgate read simply, “ Mene, Tekel, Peres," as Daniel himself expounds it. Upharsin is merely the word Peres, with the conjunction i prefixed and the plural termination added. But in our present version it reads as if it were quite a different word. Ch. ix. 24–27. This prophecy of the "seventy weeks," .
, as it is called, will need many emendations, whenever the present translation is revised, No less than thirty various readings in the Hebrew MSS. have been collected by Kennicott and De Rossi, and many of them of great importance.
It will be sufficient to refer to the amendments which have been proposed by Dr. Blayney, Faber, Houbigant, and others, on this passage ; which must be regarded as one of the most remarkable prophecies of the Old Testament, but upon which it is impossible for the interpreters of prophecy to argue with any effect or advantage, until the precise meaning is more accurately given in some newly authorised version.
THE MINOR PROPHETS.
These books are so confessedly obscure and difficult in many passages, that it cannot be a matter of wonder to find many passages requiring correction, as they now stand in our Bible. Since the last revision of it, the learned bishops Pococke, Newcome, and Horsley, as well as other continental writers, have devoted much labour to clearing away the difficulties of the original: and those who should now undertake the work of improving the present English text would have a comparatively easy task. We must content ourselves, however, with a very small selection of passages in illustration of existing defects, having already exceeded the proposed limits of our sketch of examples from the Old Testament.
Hosea iv. 2. “ Blood toucheth blood.” A very ambiguous sentence, from its strictly copying the Hebrew idiom ; though, if it had been thought necessary to retain it here, the literal rendering should be “ bloods touch bloods.” Nine readers out of ten would, we think, suppose these words to refer to murder, in the sense that “one murder begets another." ” And so it has been applied by some commentators. But a reference to the Targum of Jonathan may satisfy us that the true meaning applies to incestuous intercourse. Coverdale's Bible had, " one blood guiltiness followeth another.” So Cranmer's and the Bishops'. The present rendering was adopted from the Genevan, and seems to sanction the principle that no sense is better than a good sense, if at all a doubtful one; a principle which would, if carried out, leave a very large number of passages in the New as well as the Old 'l'estament, under the veil of the native idioms of the Bible.
Among all the writings left us of the minor prophets the Song of Habbakuk is to be regarded as the most beautiful and sublime. And it cannot but be matter of regret with many that the Church should not have added to her Sunday readings from this book, which is confined to a solitary chapter. Rivalling, however, as it does, some of the sublime strains of Isaiah, its beauties are somewhat impaired
THE MINOR PROPHETS.
in several sentences. Of this the instances that follow are sufficient evidences.
Ch. iii. 4. “He had horns coming out of his hand,” &c. Rather “rays of light proceeded from his hands, and there (that is, even in the splendour of these) his power was hidden."
Ch. iii. 9. “ Thy bow was made quite naked ;"-" Thy bow was made quite ready for action," i. e. "drawn out of its
. o case.” “According to the oaths of the tribes,” in other words,
. declaring the purport of thy most solemn promises to the tribes of Israel. “ Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers ;” rather, " thou didst divide the streams of the great river of the land;" alluding to the passage of the Jordan.
Ch. iii. 10. * The overflowing of the water passed by.” More properly," the inundating waters swept along.” An allusion to the rising of the waters of the Red Sea to overwhelm the Egyptians. “At the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear.' Better rendered thus, “In the continued light of these * thine arrows went forth. In the splendour of these, the lightning of thy spear.”
Ch. iii. 13. “Thou woundest the head out of the house of the wicked by discovering the foundation unto the neck." A difficult verse, but which may be rendered with more perspicuity thus, “ Thou hast wounded the head even unto the neck, belonging to the house of the wicked, by laying bare the foundation, viz. in the death of the first-born.
Ch. ii. 14. “ Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages.
Instead of this confused sense we may understand the meaning to be, “ Thou didst pierce through, in the midst of his tribes, the head of their warriors (Pharaoh).”
Ch. iii. 16. “My belly trembled," or, “my body," as before explained (see note on Psalm xxxi. 9). “My lips quivered at
9 the voice,"quivered while speaking. “Rottenness entered into my bones," or, “there was no strength left in my bones.” And instead of the present rendering in the remaining clauses of the verse, we should read by a modification of Newcome and Green's versions, “ because I would be at rest before the day of trouble; when the invader shall go up against the people, he will carry them away captive;" alluding to Nebuchad
* i. e. The sun and moon.
Haggai. ii. 7. “And the desire of all nations shall come.” Although this text has usually been understood to refer to the Messiah in person, and to his advent, it is impossible to sustain such an idea in the passage; for in the Hebrew it is evidently nothing more than a parallel text to that in Isaiah lx. 7. So thought Professor Lee, whose opinion as expressed in his college lectures we happen to have recorded in our notes. We cannot, therefore, help regretting that the Hulsean Lecturer for 1846 should, in his admirable volume of sermons, have given additional countenance to a grammatical mistake as to the Hebrew text, when he entitled his volume, “ Christ the Desire of all Nations,” &c. It should be mentioned, however, in justice to the present translation, which reads “ desire” for “ desirable things," that it had the authority of the two older versions, the Genevan and Bishops' Bibles, as well as the Vulgate and the Targum, on its side. But the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions literally follow the exact meaning of the Hebrew text: and as no manuscript sanctions any other reading, and as it is plainly in strict conformity with the context, no biblical scholar could probably now be found who would acquiesce in the validity of this important rendering, “ the Desire of all nations.”
It will be seen from our remarks on this and former passages, that in translating such of them as may have been used to confirm or establish any doctrine, we consider it an indispensable duty to inquire into the correctness of the rendering, without regard to any doctrine, however valuable, with which such passages may seem to stand connected. It is now no time to attempt to prop up
insecure foundations. Happily for us, there is no doctrine or duty in the word of God which rests upon a single verse or two for its support; and therefore to build upon any doubtful passage what relates to our faith or practice, is only to betray the cause of truth into the hands of the sceptic or caviller. We shall have occasion to take these observations with us into that field of investigation which we shortly purpose to pursue through the pages of the New Testament.
the truth upon