bible translation

Word Woche 9.25.14

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Continuing on the tradition until October, here’s a little more Amos 5 for some fun 😀

Amos 5:13-15
13) Therefore the one acting prudently in time  will keep silent because it is an evil time.
14) Seek good and not evil in order that you may live and may the LORD God of Hosts be with you as you have said.
15) Hate evil and Love good! Establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the LORD God of Hosts will show favor to the remanent of Joseph.

Second Call to Reconciliation (v13-15)
The second reconciliation section begins with a verse that appears very out of context.  It begins by ending the previous second of accusations (v11-12) but unlike verses 14 & 15 that contain imperatives and 2nd person plural verbs, its main verb is in a participial form.  It also changes from plural to singular subjects-possibly directing the cursing towards a singular person or to the idea that the nation of Israel as one unit is committing these sins. In verse 14 דרש “seek” is used when seeking out objects such as justice, implying in Amos’ prophetic message seeking for others’ well-being but at the same time possibly holding the other meaning “to seek” in reference to seeking God. “Seeking is a privilege and responsibility of belonging to the covenant community.” (1)  Finally, verses 14 & 15 encourage again the same as verse 4 & 6 – Seek God so that you may live.

A new addition to this section is the change of using YHWH or LORD God to Yahweh, God of Hosts.  Not only does it reflect God’s coming judgment upon Israel but it also has a military context in connection with verse 3.  “In texts where God calls judgement upon Israel, often through the use of foreign armies, they remain God’s hosts in the service of a divine objective.” (2)  The focuses is shifting to the unavoidable death of Israel through God’s might armies. (3)

1. Willem A. Van Gemeren, gen ed., The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, vol.1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1997) 994-995
2. Willem A. Van Gemeren, gen ed., The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, vol.4 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1997) 1297
3. This is why the New Living Translation of the Bible refers to “God’s Mighty Armies” when translating from YHWH, God of Hosts.

Old vs New

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Part of this growing “healthy holistic life change” I’m preparing for is spiritual preparedness. What this incorporates for me is beginning my goal of translating the entire bible. Grant I’m sure I will only continue translating it again and again…I just want to make a valiant effort somewhere on a book I love so much.

As decided how and when and where to start, I thought I would go over a topic of debate…Old vs New Testament. This is more of a collection of thoughts about the topic…enjoy!


point one: terminology
I have always had an issue with the terms “old” and “new.” If we were strictly talking age, I get it. But we’re not. The terms old and new can refer to the old and new covenant. To me, this places little emphasis on the larger portion if the Bible because someone decided just because it’s newer makes it more important. Let’s just call them what they are: the Pentatuech, prophets and wisdom literature; gospels, Paul’s letters, the epistles and revelation. They are all books, all equally bound together as the bible that even as a while has changed over the years. There…no confusion. No bias..sort of. For purposes of this blog I will call the old and new to eliminate confusion.

point two: As a Christian, Why do I care?
A lot of people who are Christian why we even care about the Old Testament if Jesus brought the new. Here’s why–because Jesus thought it was important. A Christian’s perspective of God, his workings through the nation of Israel up and through Jesus’ life are laid out in the Old Testament. Genesis explains who God is, what He did, how humans reacted, and he beginnings of God trying to call us back. Exodus is the story of one small nation, of their escape and travels with their God who desired to show the world His beautiful blessings and His Power. I could go on and on.

Secondly, Jesus cared. It’s true! Look at Jesus throughout the gospels and you will see a man who cared deeply about he scriptures. He quotes them frequently, especially prophets like Isaiah. And his life, crucifixion and death are all wrapped up in imagery and explanations of God’s New Kingdom as told from the…(you guessed it) Old Testament.

Point three: but it’s too old
Some people say that the Old Testament lacks connection to current world. That there is no reason to read it since it talks about issues, problems and culture from the Ancient World. Well… I can tell you with great confidence that there is lying, stealing, greed, rape, murder, family feuds, chaos, and thousands of other stories… And I wasn’t even talking about the New testament. 😊 it is terribly surprising how many stories reflect much of our cultures today, just in a different context. And if there isn’t an example, chances are the feelings and frustrations have an example all heir own.

There you have it
I know I have other quirks and questions about this topic, but I don’t want to upset or bore too many people.
What do you think? What does the Old and New Testsements means to you?

Word of the Week 9.18

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So back when i upgraded this blog, I started a little language section called “Word Woche” or “Word of the Week” My goal was to look at interesting words in other languages and provide some definition. Only problem: not everyone knows every language 🙂
(wait, I know that)

So as a result, I decided to change my thoughts on Word Woche. Instead of being translations of words, I am going to set this up as a mini-translation of Bible verses with some minor thoughts by yours truly. Now–this also goes along with my new mantra about translating the Bible and healthy living for next year. It gives me a place to dump my thoughts in the hopes it motivate someone.


So…. until the week of October 1st, here is a little teaser from one of my papers from the class on Amos 5:8-10. The following is my own personal translation (paper completed 6/2014)

8 He who made Pleiades and Orion — he who changed deep darkness to morning and darkened day to night. The one who called to the waters of the sea and poured them onto the face of the earth–YHWH is His Name! 9It is he who flashes devastation upon the strong so that violence comes upon the fortress. 10They hate him who judges fairly and they abhor he who speaks blamelessly.

… and commentary:
Yahweh’s Power and Authority (8-10)
Verses 8-10 present the description of Yahweh almost in contrast to the previous verses about Israel’s failed worship. Unlike Israel-who will die based on their idol worship, Yahweh is presented as the Almighty Creator and sustainer Power of Life. The imagery focuses on creation images, walking through day and night, stars (Orion and Pleiades), through the creation of land and water and eventually destructions over those who are not just and fair (a reference back to v7). It is very consistent with hymn language and the structure leading up to “YHWH is His Name! is at the center of the descriptions.(1) There is also a dispute over whether verse 9 was even originally part of the oracle as most of the references to God are in a cosmic sense, not in a violent, destructive nature.(2) Despite this fact, many of the translations have this verse and it appears to reinforce ideas already found present in Amos’ message.
The references to the “fortress” and the “gate” are to the economic and judicial structure of the town. Both of these fixtures were the location of the town meetings and politics. So to present hating justice and righteous in the place of where justice and righteousness are administered is a drastic contrast to the purpose the gate and fortress served in the community. “Therefore to hate the advocate of right and abhor those who speak ‘the whole truth’ is tantamount to personal opposition to the essence of the system.”(3) Again, Israel is being accused of practices religious traditions in opposition to God’s law and covenant.

1. Andersen & Freedman, Amos: A new translation and introduction with commentary, 486-7

2. Ibid., 241

3. Mays, Amos: A Commentary, 93

Andersen, Francis I. & Freedman, David N. Amos: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. (Anchor Bible 24A, New York: Doubleday, 1989)

Mays, James L. Amos: A Commentary (Philadelphia, The Westminster Press, 1969)