Holman. Christian. Standard Bible. Page 2. Genesis. 11 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty. "This text edition of the HCSB has been optimized for easy reading on Download the free Kindle version of the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Free PDF: “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. Holman Christian Standard Bible®. The Bible is God's revelation to man. It is the only book that gives us accurate information about God, man's need, and God's.
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Introduction to the HCSB Study Bible. The Christian religion rests fundamentally on the belief that God has chosen to reveal Himself to a human race that is. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) is a trusted, original translation of God's Word. A team of more than scholars from 17 denominations pursued. Produced by Holman Bible Publishers. – originally published. – revised. Websites: perpemethico.gq – background perpemethico.gq – full text.
In the case of significant differences among Hebrew manuscripts of the OT or among Greek manuscripts of the NT, the translators followed what they believed to be the original reading, and then cited the alternative s in footnotes. There are a few portions of the NT that the translation team and most biblical scholars today believe were not part of the original text. However, these texts were retained and indicated in large square brackets because of their undeniable antiquity and their value for tradition and the history of NT interpretation in the church.
It is marketed in Christian publications as an apologetics Bible and has a version specifically for the Microsoft Xbox called Bible Navigator X. The most significant change was the expanded use of the covenant name of God, known as the tetragrammaton , transliterated as "Yahweh," rather than translated as " LORD.
The edition of CSB returned to the traditional practice in English Bible versions, rendering the tetragrammaton with a title rather than a proper name, thus removing all appearances of the personal name of God- Yahweh. Now Adonai Hebrew for Lord and the tetragrammaton are both translated by the same English word. This was a major reversal of the translation committee direction over the previous decade, of highlighting God's personal name in Scripture.
Text of the 'Introduction' also at BibleGateway. He is Sufficient. How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked NLT: Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked TEV: It is not a common English expression and is, therefore, likely to at least slow down comprehension of the text and increase the processing effort required of the reader. While this is an admirable goal, carrying it out consistently is quite a challenge. This is why the second edition of the HCSB ceased the practice of using corner brackets for added words, which had been part of the first edition.
Brill, That is similar to following their advice but not the same. So the NIV has used a phrase that is functionally similar to the Hebrew phrase but not equivalent.
Preserving Grammatical Forms.
Another issue is in order before moving to a more focused discussion of dynamic or functional equivalence. They also prefer whenever possible to preserve the grammatical forms in the original. The ideal is that a verb be translated by a verb, a noun by a noun, a third person by a third person, an active verb by an active verb, a singular by a singular, and so forth.
An example of preserving the form is how various translations compare to an interlinear rendering of 1Jn 3: And everyone who has this hope [fixed] on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure, just as Christ is pure. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. As he is pure, everyone who has grasped this hope makes himself pure. Was John speaking of having hope in Christ, or of having hope based on Christ? It also changes the sense of having hope to grasping, that is, understanding hope.
The message consists of both the linguistic form and the ideational content, but it would be a serious mistake to distinguish categorically between external form and internal meaning, for the form itself so frequently carries significant meaning, especially in terms of emphasis, focus, impact, and appeal.
Thomas Nelson, , Several translations render it literally, creating a rather remarkable picture. Moses sent them, a thousand from each tribe, to the war, and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war with them, and the holy vessels and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand. Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, who took with him articles from the sanctuary and the trumpets for signaling. They carried along the holy objects of the sanctuary and the trumpets for sounding the charge.
But the idiom probably meant that Phineas was responsible for them. Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest, who took charge of the sacred objects and the trumpets for giving signals. They went with Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest, in whose care were the holy objects and signal trumpets. Other versions have concluded that such an idiom would See also Gn In Gn Two chapters later In fact, even formal equivalence translations often do not render idioms literally.
A similar example is found in 1Pt 1: Idioms can be rendered literally if they make good sense in English. If not, they can be rendered by the closest English equivalent, in which case the literal is sometimes given in a note. But the formal equivalence translations tend to tolerate idioms that sound unnatural in English. Another characteristic of literal translation is the effort to maintain consistency in the rendering of individual words and phrases.
One such man was Nicodemus. The TEV translation, however, does not place a high value on maintaining such verbal connections. There was no need for anyone to tell him about them, because he himself knew what was in their hearts. There was a Jewish leader named Nicodemus, who belonged to the party of the Pharisees.
He did not need human testimony about them, for he knew what was in them. Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council.
A Theological Commentary trans. Eerdmans, , He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. Yet the English Bible reader may still miss the connection. The NLT does something similar but collapses the clauses in 2: No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like.
There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. Consistency in formal equivalence also involves translating words and phrases consistently throughout the Old or New Testament, if the contexts are similar.
Chart 2. I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty [tohu wabohu]. I looked to the heavens, and their light was gone. The phrase tohu wabohu only occurs in one other place in the Old Testament, in Gn 1: It seems that a translation can and should translate the phrase the same in both passages. Recognizing connections between passages, following a train of thought, and observing emphasis are often easier in the original text.
Consistency in translation, whenever possible, helps to provide the same ability to the English reader. Use of Notes. One last characteristic of translations that tend toward formal equivalence is that they rely heavily on translation notes for several purposes: This device saves the addition of over repetitive translation notes which the ESV has many of. The latter rhetorical devices can occasionally be rendered in English, but not often.
For example, the word play in Gn 2: Panic, pit, and trap await you who dwell on the earth. Whoever flees at the sound of panic will fall into a pit, and whoever escapes from the pit will be caught in a trap Is The three words in Hebrew are pachad, pachat, and pach. Most translations do not have a matching alliteration in these verses.
The ESV, for example, renders Is So an essentially literal translation generally prefers literal renderings or as close to literal as possible if they are considered to make sense in English.
Optimal equivalence may be distinguished from formal equivalence in that rather than possible, it strives for equivalents that are natural see the next section and chapter four on English style. Someone might object that accuracy should be the priority, not just one of the factors.
And I would not disagree. However, can an account of a crime that gets all the facts straight, but is incomprehensible, be accurate? I argue that accuracy depends not only on getting the meaning right, but also on packaging it so that the reader can receive it. Striving for accuracy without also striving for ease of comprehension is like shooting at a bullseye with invisible arrows.
Some argue that Bible translation should allow readers to get as close as possible to the texts in the original languages, and that if the Bible text is hard to understand, it causes the reader to stop and ponder. From the beginning, Christianity was a translated faith. Jesus apparently spoke mainly in Aramaic, but almost all we have of his words are in Greek—the common Greek understood by the most people. There are enough difficult passages in the Bible see 2Pt 3: Eerdmans, ], Stine, Let the Words Be Written: The Lasting Influence of Eugene A.
Nida Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, , 14— What Bible Translators Do 59 surface of Scripture, that men might be forced to look below the surface. It must especially fit the receptor language in grammar and word choice. Baker,  , x my italics. Nida, Toward a Science of Translating: Brill, , — Furthermore, in many cases in the Old Testament we know that the effect was quite negative.
See also Eugene A. Nida and Charles R. See Translation and Relevance: Cognition and Context Oxford: Basil Blackwell, , 10— What Bible Translators Do 61 references to time and measure see further chapter nine on issues in the New Testament. What Is Optimal Equivalence? But it differs from functional equivalence by also treating as desireable the essential characteristics of formal equivalence. The priority for optimal equivalence is communication, which includes truth and comprehension.
The message of the text and its purpose must come through. For example, Am 5: This rhetorical device is widely used in the Old Testament and found as well in the New Testament. Its name is derived from the Greek letter chi, which has the form of an X. Do not go to Beersheba to worship. Do not try to find me at Bethel—Bethel will come to nothing. Do not go to Gilgal—her people are doomed to exile. This translation reads very well, but the HCSB reads well and retains the chiastic structure. That is optimal equivalence.
Another example is from Hab 2: Yahweh here is addressing Babylon the Chaldeans: You also—drink, and expose your uncircumcision! For some reason, even the NASB fails to capture the emphatic repetition: Now you yourself drink and expose your [own] nakedness.
You will be sated with contempt instead of glory. Drink, you yourself, and stagger! What Bible Translators Do 63 around to you, and shame will come upon your glory! You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed!
But soon it will be your turn to be disgraced. Come, drink and be exposed! Now you will be disgraced instead of praised. The LORD will make you drunk, and when others see you naked, you will lose their respect. Returning to Chart 2. An optimal equivalence translation is interested in the broader context. The translation of a word or phrase in a particular passage is subject to several constraints: As Chart 2.
What the author said and why he said it must be communicated as completely and effectively as possible. A formal equivalence translation aims to keep as close to the source language as possible and to transfer the maximum degree of content and intent. The result is often some degree of obscurity, or at least a high degree of processing effort by the reader. A functional equivalence translation aims primarily at a high degree of naturalness in each translated passage.
Venuti London: Routledge, , What Bible Translators Do 65 of transference while at the same time maintaining a high level of naturalness. Straining toward naturalness without forfeiting the strongest commitment to transference is essential. Some follow British as opposed to American English. Some use a very formal style, some a very colloquial style, and many land somewhere in between.
This chapter gives some guidelines on where some of the translations fall with respect to English style. A very important guide toward this goal is Bryan A. Genesis Sentences Ending with Prepositions Another example of naturalness is the occasional use of prepositions at the end of a sentence, which in the minds of some is an absolute taboo.
But Garner explains, 2 There is at least one in every Bible book, with the highest number in John , 1 Samuel , Matthew , Luke , and Proverbs Consider- ing the size of the books, the highest frequency is in Jonah English Style 69 The spurious rule about not ending sentences with prepositions is a remnant of Latin grammar, in which a preposition was the one word that a writer could not end a sentence with.
That principle is sound, of course, but not to the extent of meriting lockstep adherence. An example is Gn Unfortunately some of these words often serve as adverbs instead of prepositions, so the statistics are only comparative rather than precise.
For the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah, the plant He delighted in. Others must be either a explained or b converted to equivalent idioms or c deconstructed into their non-idiomatic equivalents.
English Style 71 In the case of b or c , a formal or optimal equivalence translation will often have a note attached giving a literal translation. Matthew Most versions that deconstruct the idiom, however, have no note at all. The NASB lists some cross-references that help the reader understand, but that requires more work than some readers will be willing to do. The TEV helps with an expanded translation: The idiom in Ps 1: Archaisms Another means to achieve naturalness is to avoid archaisms.
One such word is shall. In traditional grammar, the simple future called for shall only in the first person. In modern English, shall is usually encountered only in questions requesting permission or agreement e.
Otherwise, according to Garner, shall is rarely used in American English. Nor is used much less frequently than it was at one time. Now it is almost solely confined to the use following neither.
English Style 73 generally better than nor. For example, Gn Grammatically it is an objective relative pronoun and is used as either the object of a verb or the object of a preposition. But especially in questions, it is rapidly being replaced by who. In 2Sm 3: In all these cases the HCSB uses on. Other archaic words found in the new NIV are alas, astir, bosom, naught, toil, rend, slew, unmindful, vaunt, spurn, and supplication.
Archaic word order is another factor that affects naturalness. The word order in the KJV of Mt 5: Another case of unnatural word order is found in the ESV of Jn May they be one as We are one. This well-known KJV rendering from Mt 1: When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.
The NIV is an improvement. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
This paper contains many other examples of archaisms. But in a world that is often called post-Christian, they make the Bible sound foreign, strange, and inaccessible.
They also interfere with comprehension. At least since Luther, the goal of Bible translators has been to produce a vernacular translation, that is, one in the common language of the day. Therefore, such projects typically and wisely avoid archaisms.
Consistency As discussed and illustrated in chapter 2, both formal and optimal equivalence translations have consistency as a goal. That is, the attempt is made to render words and phrases the same way whenever they are used in the same way in similar contexts. An advantage of consistency is that it enables Bible students and readers to make connections from one passage to another—making these connections the same way a native reader would have, which is presumably what the Holy Spirit intended.
For example, when Jos 7: This is a common way that they showed honor in the ANE. But then the reader would not notice that Goliath, who defied God all his life, did the very same thing as he died: Consistency must be limited by two things, however.
First, in English, as opposed to Hebrew especially, it is not considered good style to repeat words or word roots. It is better style to vary the vocabulary. In less literal translations, however, English style and individual context tend to outrank consistency, resulting in a greater variety of renderings of a single word. For example, the Greek word dechomai is rendered in a variety of ways. Chart 3. For example, Mt But in essentially the same context in Mt Arndt, F.
Gingrich, and F. Quotations In the HCSB and almost all English translations, simple quotations are enclosed in double quotation marks, and quotes within quotes are enclosed in single quotation marks: Most translations, however, use quotation marks in these cases, even if they indent the entire quote.
The traditional American punctuation style for multiple embedded quotations that is, quotations of quotations of quotations is to begin the first quotation with double quotation marks, begin the next internal quotation with a single quotation mark, then alternate the double and single quotation marks for as many levels of embedded quotations as necessary.
The Old Testament provides a number of interesting examples of multiple layers of embedded quotations.
For example, a prophet will quote the Lord, who in turn quotes Himself or someone else. As many as four or five layers of embedded quotations may occur in this kind of prophetic passage. Since it is rare to find even a triple 13 The KJV uses no quotation marks. The REB encloses simple quotes in sin- gle quotation marks, and quotes within quotes are enclosed in double quotation marks, according to British style.
English Style 79 layer of quotations in a modern book or article, most recent Bible translations have dropped the use of layers of alternating quotation marks for multiple embedded quotations. Since the KJV and many of its successors used no quotation marks at all, no single precedent has been set for punctuating multiple embedded quotations in Bible translations.
The HCSB has adopted a style that allows no more than three layers of quotation marks in this kind of passage. Especially in the Prophetic books simple quotes of divine speech are often not enclosed in quotation marks. For example, in Jr 1: The word of the Lord came to me: I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations. The result is a cleaner text but one in which the speakers and their words are clearly marked.
The KJV, which does not capitalize divine pronouns reads, And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Such a verse is very confusing because of the difficulty determining the antecedents of the pronouns.
The HCSB is much clearer: I also said: I will never break My covenant with you. You are not to make a covenant with the people who are living in this land, and you are to tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed Me. What is this you have done? Psalm 2: So the pronouns referring to the Messianic King are capitalized: Ask of Me, and I will make the nations Your inheritance and the ends of the earth Your possession.
Some Bible students may disagree with some of the interpretations reflected by these capitalized pronouns. Some may feel that we should leave the identification of pronouns to the reader. English Style 81 nouns. Yet we think that the Bible reader should be given every interpretative advantage in his or her efforts to comprehend and apply the Scriptures.
We also think that translation involves the responsibility to arrive at the most reasonable interpretation of the text see chapter 2 and to render that interpretation as clearly as possible. When the identification of a divine pronoun is unclear, we have chosen the most reasonable view for the text and have reflected the alternative in a textual note. While acknowledging the strong disagreement, Garner points out that only one method is iron clad in avoiding unnecessary ambiguities: Thus a, b, and c rather than a, b and c.
The problems arise with elements containing two or more items, as a and b, c and d, e and f, and g and h. The last two elements are muddled if the comma is omitted. They render Ex 1: Such matters of English style are intended to make the translation as engaging, helpful, clear, and reader-friendly as possible. The less time the reader must spend in comprehending the text, the more time may be spent in applying it.
In the latter case, the language change from the RSV was noticed and criticized by feminists who were not satisfied with the extent of inclusive language. Since then, the release of any edition of the English Bible is met with scrutiny on this issue.
Carson, The Inclusive Language Debate: For a defense of moderate inclusive language in Bible transla- tion, see Mark L. Strauss, Distorting Scripture? IVP, For an argument against inclusive language, see Vern S.
Poythress and Wayne A. This would include such expressions and terms as the man in the street, stone-age man, chairman, salesman, and fisherman. A similar problem is the use of feminine role terms that are made by adding a suffix to a base word traditionally understood to refer to a male: Harper and Row, , 57— Inclusive Language in Bible Translation 85 Feminism and Linguistic Engineering There is no doubt that with respect to such issues the English language has changed considerably in the last 40 years.
Those changes, however, have not occurred naturally but have resulted from attention given to language by the feminist movement beginning in the s. Several books document and applaud the work of feminists to reform language to make it less sexist or androcentric. Often they also developed strategies and proposals to eliminate gender bias in language. Longman, , xii. See also D. Cameron, Verbal Hygiene London: Routledge, See also R. Cambridge University Press, , Journalists, editors, presenters and others working in the mass media both print and electronic form another major target group, as do bureaucrats, educators especially school teachers and legislative bodies.
Feminist Agenda and the Bible Its Nature and Significance Some believe the principles driving inclusive language should also operate in the language we use for God. According to J. Cooper, 11 Pauwels, Women Changing Language, It seems that many of the studies Dr. Cooper, Our Father in Heaven: Christian Faith and Inclusive Language for God.
Grand Rapids: Much of the following material is de- rived from Cooper. God-Talk in Worship: A Male Re- sponse to Feminist Theology.
Crossroad, , 4. The organization began this work in One of the main goals of the group was to eliminate sexist language. So Mt Rather it must critically evaluate them as patriarchal articulations.
The litmus test for invoking Scripture as the Word of God must be whether or not biblical texts and traditions seek to end relations of domination and exploitation. Throckburton, ed. The Gospels and the Letters of Paul: Mollenkott, The Divine Feminine: Crossroad, , Also see Mt Beacon, , x, xiii.
Inclusive Language in Bible Translation 89 Hebrew and Greek, we must translate it from the Patriarchalism that resulted from the curse. It is the distinctive term addressed by Jesus himself to God. We may not surrender the names Father and Son.
WCC, , Kimel Grand Rapids: For example, see chart 4. Chart 4.
InterVarsity, ], Inclusive Language in Bible Translation 91 Inclusive Language in the Bible The following are some specific examples that illustrate the serious effects of inclusive language and the value of proper translation.
Ezekiel He does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing. Such a person is righteous; he will certainly live. He will live because of the righteousness he has practiced. None of the righteous acts he did will be remembered. He will die because of the treachery he has engaged in and the sin he has committed. Ezekiel 18 is especially significant theologically, as it deals with personal responsibility for sin, though our interest is in how various translations handle the masculine nouns and pronouns in two sections of the chapter.
Verses 5—18 present three cases: Two objections are raised in v. The answer to the first objection includes two more cases that illustrate individual responsibility: The NIV waits until v. This is confusing to someone who does not use such a grammatical novelty, and it removes the clear masculine singular 28 One loss of a masculine occurs in v.
However, the principles enunciated apply universally, irrespective of gender. The CEV, on the other hand, changes all the nouns and pronouns in vv.
I enjoy seeing them turn from their sins and live. All their good deeds will be forgotten, and they will be put to death because of their sins. Luke If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. In vv. And the NLT uses second person: Then Jesus describes the situation by using an individual example: Eerdmans, , 1: Of course it does.
But we should not confuse application with translation. This is because, at least by the third-century BC Greek translation the Septuagint of the Hebrew Bible, the divine name had ceased to be pronounced.
The Lord is a warrior; Yahweh is His name Ex Then you will say to Pharaoh: This is what Yahweh says: Israel is My firstborn son Ex 4: I am Yahweh; I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt Ex As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh Jos Then the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They abandoned Yahweh and did not worship Him Jdg Examples of the latter are Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands Dt 7: Yahweh, the God of heaven, the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps His gracious covenant with those who love Him and keep His commands.
Neh 1: Interestingly, John David K. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation. Many meanings of the divine name have been argued: Fretheim explains, The force of the name is not simply that God is or that God is present, but that God will be faithfully God for them in the history that is to follow see vv. The use of the same verbal form in 3: God will be God with and for this people at all times and places; the formula suggests a divine faithfulness to self.
Israel need not be concerned about divine arbitrariness or capriciousness. God can be counted on to be who God is. Israel understands its history from this name and this name from its history.
This means that there are stakes in this for God; God now has to live up to the name given. But according to D. Admittedly, other Ghanaian translations handle the matter differently. Willem A. Zonder- van, Eerdmans, , 5: We have archaeological evidence for this from the Lachish Letters.
As a result, the current edition of the HCSB uses it about times. Furthermore, the substitution of the vowels of Adonai for those of Yahweh is a tradition whose origin postdates the Old Testament. A relationship without a name inevitably means some distance; naming the name is necessary for closeness. Naming makes true communication and encounter possible. Naming entails availability. By giving the name, God becomes accessible. God and people can now meet 8 L. Koehler, W. Baumgartner, and M.
Brill, , 2: Yet, because name is not person or identity or character an oft-repeated mistake , there remains an otherness, even a mystery about the one who is named. Why not, then, represent YHWH in English and other languages as a proper name, as we do all other names?
Using His name Yahweh in Bible reading and worship should draw us closer to the God of our salvation and should deepen our enjoyment of Him. Essays in Honor of Robert G. Bratcher, ed. Roger L. Omanson Car- lisle: Paternoster, , But the term is also used of a condition that can afflict fabric, leather, and the wall of a house. According to T. Gramberg, E. Hulse, and J. Andersen,19 modern translations have begun to use the terms leprosy and leprous less frequently. Admittedly, there is often a note qualifying its use.
The NIV note is more precise but raises an important question also applying to the other notes. Bot- terweck et al. Many modern translations like the HCSB do not think so. Here are some alternative translations of Ex 4: Moses put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out again, his hand was white as snow with a severe skin disease. Moses did this, and when he took his hand out, it had a skin disease.
Moses obeyed; and when he took his hand out, it was diseased, covered with white spots, like snow. So he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, his hand was diseased, white as snow.
The major Greek lexicon explains its meaning as a serious skin disease, poss.
Bauer, F. Danker, W. Arndt, and F. University of Chicago Press, , Emphasis added. It is found most frequently in Psalms 36 times , Deuteronomy 22 , Nehemiah 21 , Chronicles 19 , Leviticus 16 , and Proverbs On Psalm 1: When he is seated on his royal throne, he is to write a copy of this instruction for himself on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.
It is to remain with him, and he is to read from it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to observe all the words of this instruction, and to do these statutes. Harris, G. Archer Jr. Waltke, eds. Moody, Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go.
This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. In Ps She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue The term trespass was especially problematic because many consider the terms sin and trespass to be synonymous, and they often occur together.
Here is how some other translations handle it in Lv 5: It is a trespass offering; he has certainly trespassed against the Lord. It is a guilt offering; he has indeed incurred guilt before the Lord. It is a guilt offering; they have been guilty of wrongdoing against the Lord.
This is a guilt offering, for you have been guilty of an offense against the Lord. Ee- rdmans, , —12; John E. Word, ; Mark F. Adding to that the occasional songs of praise in the Historical section and the exalted prose here and there in the New Testament, it is reasonable to conclude that one-third of the Bible is in the form of poetry. Prose is used to convey historical facts and doctrinal truth.
One might say that we see the mind of God in prose. Poetry conveys emotions and ideals. The Holy Spirit of God inspired many people through the ages to express their thoughts and feelings in poetic form. Upon first seeing Eve, Adam expressed delight through poetry Gn 2: Solomon bequeathed his son a collection of pithy maxims Proverbs , explored the futility of mortality Ecclesiastes , and composed a love song Song of Songs.
If prose reveals the mind of God, poetry unveils His heart. It stimulates our imagination, arouses our emotions, feeds our intellects and addresses our wills. Therefore it is important for a translation to bring out as many of the nuances of Hebrew poetry as possible so that the student of Scripture has optimal access to the heart of the divine Author.
Poetic Style Poetry in modern Western culture is not like poetry in the ancient Middle-eastern culture.
Where we have meter and rhyme, the Hebrews had parallelism and chiasm defined below. Where we have sonnets, the Bible features alphabetic acrostics. But modern and ancient poetry share an affinity for symbolic language, concrete images, profound expressions, concise phrases, and creative word choice. There is good evidence that a lamentation used a certain rhythm, but otherwise the existence of meter in Hebrew poetry is debatable.
However, parallelism has long been recognized as the standard methodology of Hebrew poetry. Much of Hebrew poetry exhibits clear parallelism. Long poems consist mostly of several pairs of lines bicola , though tricola and quatrains are also common. The relationship between two lines of poetry has traditionally been described in one of three ways. In synonymous parallelism the second line repeats the thoughts of the first line using synonyms though an element such as the verb of communication of the prophets, whose purpose depends on capturing the at- tention of their listeners and persuading them their message is urgent.
IVP Academic, , Issues in Poetic and Prophetic Books may be left out. However, the second line is not merely saying the same thing as the first line. There is usually something added or an intensification. For example, consider the two lines of Ps 2: The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord ridicules them. Antithetic parallelism is frequent in Proverbs. The two lines still say essentially the same thing, but the idea is stated positively in one line and negatively in the other.
Proverbs The hope of the righteous is joy, but the expectation of the wicked comes to nothing. However, just as a double negative makes a positive, when you put the whole second line together, it affirms the same axiom that the first line asserts: The third traditional type is synthetic parallelism. The label implies that the second line completes the first line.
However, the lines are in no way synonymous. The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, observing the wicked and the good. Many scholars say that synthetic parallelism is really no parallelism at all. However, a few other labels have been suggested in order to assign more of Hebrew poetry to meaningful categories.
It is a poetic simile. Singing songs to a troubled heart is like taking off clothing on a cold day or like pouring vinegar on soda.
Two things are compared, and one is judged as being preferable: Better a dry crust with peace than a house full of feasting with strife. Pr In this type, each succeeding line repeats part of the previous line but adds something new.
The quatrain in Ps Ascribe to Yahweh, you heavenly beings, ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength. Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due His name; worship Yahweh in the splendor of His holiness. Ecclesiastes 5: A literal translation shows that the word could be associated with either the first line or the second—or both. This type is also known as chiasm, and it merits a separate discussion.
Chiasm In chiasm, words or concepts introduced in a certain order in the first half are mentioned in inverted order in the second half. For example, when I tell the joke about the dog, the cat, and the canary, the three are introduced in that order and their idiosyncrasies are disclosed in the same order. A Hebrew comedian-poet would introduce the characters in one order and reveal their traits in reverse order. One need not look far to find chiasm in the poetry of the Bible.
The first psalm features chiasm in verse 6: For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin. First there is the outcome of something: God will protect someone. Second is a situation: Chart 6. In this case the first and last components are actually identical.
To illustrate the structure, chiastic lines are often indented like an outline. A Let the name of Yahweh be praised B both now and forever.
A translation that purports to be fairly literal and also stylish should ideally preserve the order of parts in a chiastic structure. The translation should also use appropriate synonyms to bring out the structure. However, there are times when retaining the Hebrew word order for the sake of the chiastic structure would result in awkward English.
For example, in Jb Yea, my hope, who doth behold it? Who can see any hope for me? Chiasm can be much more complex. Chiastic structures often emphasize the central piece. In Song of Songs, the central piece is the wedding night 4: Chiasm so permeated Hebrew thought that it was not just used in poetry. In this summarizing paraphrase of Nm B Why did You show me no favor Hb chen?
Knowing that authors with a Semitic background have a penchant for chiasm sometimes helps us to interpret difficult passages. However, if Paul a Jew well versed in Hebrew Scriptures is employing a chiastic structure, he is speaking of love for the saints and faith toward Jesus.
Chiasm is admittedly frequent, but some scholars see a chiasm behind every bush. Fokkelman discerns a five-element chiasm in Gn Alter and F. Kermode, eds. Harvard, , It is a challenge to balance our possible lack of sensitivity to the subtleties of Hebrew poetry on the one hand with an overzealous search for forms on the other hand. Nevertheless, the essentially literal nature of the optimal equivalence theory of translation gives the reader of the Bible in English excellent access to the nuances of the Hebrew original, allowing astute students of Scriptures to decide for themselves.
Alphabetic Acrostic An acrostic is a construction where the first letter of a series of lines can be strung together to make something meaningful. This poem by Edgar Allan Poe is an example: In vain those words from thee or L. Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried To cure his love—was cured of all beside— His folly—pride—and passion—for he died. Issues in Poetic and Prophetic Books the examples of acrostics in the Hebrew Bible, the initial letters form the Hebrew alphabet.
The purpose of this structure could be aestheic or instructional. The first four chapters of Lamentations could have been describing the utter grief experienced over the destruction of Jerusalem—from A to Z as it were. The magnum opus of acrostics, Psalm , with eight verses for each letter of the alphabet, might have been a pedagogical device.