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Translation of Texts
in JOB, TITUS, ACTS
Includes in order:
Items: 5, 47, 36
5) NEXT we come to Job . This is undoubtedly a fascinating case, but it would show also that the AV and indeed the NKJV are by no means all comprehensive in their perfections, excellent as they are in different ways. They do not absolve all men for all time from the need with chaste care to research and consider the translations.
In this case, Keil and Delitzsch bring out an important aspect of a coherent and strong translation which is not disjointed or lacking in argumentative flow, for the patriarch. It is a matter of the wicked being "spared in the day of calamity," as they render it. This gives something of the sense of the verb, in the context.
Both the AV and the NKJV put for verse 30, something similar, each to the other. In the former case:
"That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction ?
They shall be brought forth to the day of wrath."
"For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom;
They shall be brought out on the day of wrath."
Unlike these, the English Revised Version at least allows for the sense of it, namely that the simplistic concept of those who attack Job, in view of his calamities, assuming him wicked, is denied by a broader knowledge of what happens in the earth. Evil people escape, reserved to judgment, and are led on the way, none daring to challenge them (Job 21:31). :
"That the wicked man is reserved
to the day of calamity,
That they are led forth to the day of wrath."
While this is not as clear as it might be, in the RV, it is not alien from the thrust. As to the wicked person, the text proceeds to illustrate his escapes, saying,
"Who condemns his way to his face ?
And who repays him for what he has done ?"
THEREFORE, Job indicates, they cannot comfort him with their urbane, superficial words! Hidden, obscured, the text indicates, the wicked person is kept till calamity comes (so don't pretend I am wicked, the line is, because I was NOT kept, for see now innocently vulnerable I am!). Indeed they are led to the brink at the end, as if on schedule, relatively secure to meet their end, exposed at last. So don't try that one on me! he snarls.
The thrust is his being kept in obscurity, darkness, tended, to the time when the day appointed for judgment comes. That is in the singular, for an envisaged wicked man, looking at a life which seems to Job not uncommon, as if he were peeping at such a one, to see his stout-looking performance, deceptive though he deems it, so unlike his own! Indeed, turning to the plural, he indicates that this type of person is LED to the day of wrath. The primary meaning is to LEAD, as when God led the children of Israel.
Thus the RV, different in tenor from the AV, and NKJV renderings, captures better the thought. This one, like the Berkeley Version, which is stronger yet here, allows for the point at issue, for the stated argument of Job, which the other translations merely interrupt, tending to disperse the thrust of thought, rather as if the new data to be gained by questioning travellers were merely that the wicked get what is coming to them,
How insistently is the irony pursued: from travellers Job reinforces his view of the deliverance of unjust men, their escapes from calamities, all solicitous, even the physical grave appealing in its presentation. It is not a direct and simple matter, in living, of do this and get that: God is far deeper than this. Often evil men are given their bait, and allowed for quite a time, the inducements of their folly. They provide, Job urges, a contrast rather than a confirmation with himself, innocent as he deems himself to be!
Time may swallow up the realities in superficialities; but in the end, truth will come out, and justice with it. God will see to that (Job 9:1-13; 28). Superficial condemnation of the just in the meantime, is contemptible. Brute fish may be allowed quite
Unlike these the NIV has, in what now needs a fuller context, from 29:
"Have you never questioned those who travel ?
Have you paid no regard to their accounts -
that the evil man is spared from the day of calamity,
that he is delivered from the day of wrath?"
Lines 2-3, diverse in the NIV, here parallel the AV, and NKJV renderings. However, they also bear out the stated argument of Job, which the other translations merely interrupt, dispersing the thrust of thought, as if the new data to be gained by questioning travellers were merely that the wicked got what was coming to them, that those who asked for it would certainly reap, as if to fortify Job’s opponents, by noting the calamity-wickedness affair the focus, short-circuiting the entire argument! It is vitally important, not for salvation, but for growth in the beauties of the truth, feeding on His faithful word, to understand, and no hero-worshipping of any one translation is the best path to that. Down the ages, the Lord has indeed done wonders, but his teams are not to be limited to pet players, however grand their normative performances. Not thus is the kingdom of heaven. Sportsmen, businessmen and translators all have their place; none is inordinate!
Job’s point is that prolonged patience must work while parodies of justice flourish. While it is true that unrepentant miscreants await the balances, Job’s concern here is the interim! It is this after all which is his affair! HE is caught in it! Accordingly, consultations with travellers are not to do nothing to detach the prying eyes of his censorious friends from his suffering frame, but to evoke the data which will confirm Job’s contention that the friends ignore! This he speedily proceeds to point out, after making his foray concerning travellers’ reports: the ignorant words of his friends are thus nonsense, beside the point, a simplistic substitute of carping judgment instead of facing the issue in point.
To be sure, the NIV in the book of Job appears a translation almost inspired. It has such sensitive awareness of aspects and moods, such clear expression of the same, and achieves such a sense of logical comportment that one feels almost as if present while the original speakers spoke. That is not a generic commendation of the NIV; it is merely to note this finding in the case of this particular Old Testament Book. On the other hand, the negative consideration regarding the New Testament is similar with it and so many other modern translations, in terms of the Greek text, as discussed earlier. This feature however stands out here in the Job translation.
Now Delitzsch seems to improve even this marvel of translator’s skill still further in one relatively minor, but still telling point; but that we leave till later.
The POINT in this passage is this: Job is hurt by the endless chastisement of the unruly tongues of his tormentors - or friends as they are called - who seem all but inveterate in their insistence that God is punishing Job for his sins. Now of course it is easy to be confused, and these friends are not lacking in this facility. Since we are ALL sinners, ALL imperfect, then ALL could well be chastened for imperfections. In that sense, to question a chastening can be arrogance and more.
However there is a further question, always relevant. Is THIS PARTICULAR CASE a chastisement
at all ? Or is it rather a test of endurance ? OR, as is explicit in the case of the book of Job from the early chapters, is it even PERHAPS a trial to glorify God, a way of showing the integrity of love FOR HIM on the part of the sinner ? You remember how the knights of old might seek to show their love to the beloved. It does matter. The tests may not have been adequate; but the concept is there. In this case, the devil was wishing to cast aspersion on the reality of love in the
(Job 1:9, 2:4-5), and to advance cynical propositions concerning the motivations of the saints AS SUCH. kingdomof God AT ALL
God gave him liberty to make a test. The result has abundantly glorified God ever since. In this respect, Job was a type of Christ: he could NOT bear anyone’s sins, and did NOT come through to perfection, but the integrity of his cause is vindicated, for it was NOT because of selected sins per se that he was being tested. That was not the ground at all. It was for a grand and (to him, but not to use who read the interpretation in the record of this event) inscrutable purpose of the Almighty, that he was enduring suffering in this case.
In his endurance and vision (Job 19), he glorified God. Every Christmas countless thousands if not millions hear the recital:
- "I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES … IN THE LATTER DAY HE WILL STAND UPON THE EARTH …I MYSELF WILL SEE HIM WITH MY OWN EYES."
At once, and once and for all, the situation is removed from the superficial snare of considering pain-pleasure, or vanity-fulfilment or any other natural equation or desideratum. It is a question of personal reality and love, of God and eternity, and meaning and roles for God. It is a REDEEMER who is to do the necessary work to bring one to haven and to heaven itself. It is not performance based as the ultimate criterion at all!
In their shallowness, the friends tended to highlight once and for all the worldly minded simplistic assumptions of personal material prosperity, prestige fulfilment or the like, as a sign-post or at least signal of divine approval. In fact, the wicked can for a time thrust around their tongues, indeed these little members as the Psalmist notes, can stride through the earth while their deceptive riches and devious ways disadorn the earth.
Now at the point in the discourse to which in Ch.21 we are directed, Job is removing this paraphernalia of adverse assumptions about his conduct, as the ground of his adversity. He is stating that the wicked DO have prosperity (contrary, for example, to the assertions of his friend in -29). It is NOT a simple, be good be rich, proposition, or be good be obviously in a superior position this world, as far as health and wealth, power or thrust is concerned. GOD, he says, is deep: "Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since He judges even the highest ?" . This he declares with perspicuous justice, since at that very time he was in the midst of such pangs and troubles as were an utter vexation and trial to his spirit.
Very well: Job is arguing that despite this fact of God’s wholly divine competence and final determination, it is NEVERTHELESS true that the wicked can flourish for a time, and (by implication) the righteous may not match their worldly show!
He proceeds in vv.22-33, to give his case to the effect that this concept of prosperity and sanctity, as a sort of indissoluble duet, is nonsense! In fact in v. 34 he expressly confronts them with his summary:
- "so how can you console me with your nonsense ?
Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood ?"
IN MAKING THIS ARGUMENT, and in process of reaching this rebuttal by way of conclusion, Job is making several points. Amongst them are these. In 21:7ff., the position put is this: The wicked live on with abundance of zest, with flowing children flourishing, homes safe, cattle unblighted, dancing and prosperity, even when, in amazing effrontery, they tell their Maker: "Leave us alone!" (21:7-14). We don’t want You, they declaim!
"Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him!" they mockingly spout, to the airs.
Pray to You ! Why? We have enough! For them, it is as if this world were their beginning and end, and God was lost in forgetfulness for their express benefit. This of course God hates (Malachi , Psalm 50) and will judge in His own patient depth and eloquence.
Thus in Isaiah 37:21ff., we find the case where the ruthless oppressor, Sennacherib, having served his evil purpose (Isaiah 37:26-28), and taken his place in the tartan of history, and then having expressly challenged God, meets a turn of the wheel of no uncertain vigour!. THAT timing, however, is for God, and many-faceted are His plans and purposes, as the book of history declaims the folly of pride and the arrogance of pretension with God. Meanwhile there is much to be found in the realm of evil prosperity.
This life is not a test for the advancement of simpletons; nor is it a pleasure-pain job that makes history what it is! In the midst, then, of his own personal affliction, Job is rebutting the adversaries in their unqualified attentions to his discouragement in handing out interim judgments on his assumed evil deeds.
How often, Job pursues the point () is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out ? That is in the whole line of rebuttal, summarised as we noted in v.34. Have you never questioned travellers, he continues (v. 29), for they will tell you! The evil man may indeed be found, contrary to your imputations, he tells his friends, spared in the day of calamity (Delitzsch does a marvellous piece of research here, to show such usages of the verb here, from other Biblical instances) . Yes he may be found delivered in the day of wrath! Who, Job demands, tells the man of prospering power, his sin to his face! (many fear to do so for the sake of penalty at the hand of evil injustice, or intrigue). How often he is carried to his grave, and even there, "the clods of the valley shall be sweet to him" (AV).
It is here that Delitzsch makes an improvement even on the NIV - in this case - excellent rendering here. After all, if the valley is sweet to the DEAD, there is clearly some sort of imagery. He quite grammatically, translates vv. 32:
§"And he is brought to the grave,
And over the tomb he still keepeth watch.
The clods of the valley are sweet to him …"
The concept is that it is as if, well placed in perhaps some eminent part (as one sees so often in cemeteries), he is envisaged as looking (in terms of the worldly image, of course, that he held before his death, and many still hold) with pleasure over the well-tended area of interment, with a good view to the listless eye, were it to open. Thus is he thought of, as contentedly maintaining his eminence to the (worldly) end!
In the AV and the NKJV, the entire force of the thrust of Job’s answer is muddied here, for some of the renderings interrupt or even arrest the flow of his argument, as indicated in kind, in his summary of it in verse 34. Such an instance was the verse rendering which they gave, as cited as the outset of this section, and allied to this, verse 30, is verse 32.
Titus 2:13ff. has already been a focus for some little attention in Stepping Out for Christ 10. Let us use and extend this for our present purpose.
So great is the infinite affinity of God the Father and His word, that we even read in Titus 2:13-14 of this great expression: We are, says Paul and oh so rightly!
§"looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous of good works."
The Greek has: the great God and Saviour of us. It is not the great God and the Saviour: it is one identity, with only one introductory 'the'.
This is obvious enough when you realise that in Titus 2:10 we find written, "God our Saviour", which in turn is not surprising, since Isaiah 43:10 tells us that besides GOD there IS NO SAVIOUR. Whatever is the saviour in this highest, most eminent, final way is God; and of course this is precisely what Jesus Christ was called from the first (Luke 2:11, 2:30,38). Redeemer, Saviour from sin, the Christ is of necessity God, who acknowledges no other Saviour. Hence that it is God, even the great God and our Saviour who is to appear, is merely a reflection of all these things. It is HIS WORD which acts, and delivers the salvation in His own name, which naturally is above every name (Philippians 2:9-11), AND does so, with the result that all whether in heaven or on earth should bow to Him, the Christ, confessing Him as Lord to the glory of God the Father.
This is the specific data on His return, result, reality.
Now that is as it must be. What is true is real, and reality will show what it is. Lies, and liars are but the ephemeral production of that glorious invention, freedom, when it is abused. The former perish and the latter have their own more instructive mode of divorce from the platform of the present! Thus, when Peter admonishes the rulers, priests and elders, inflamed in their infamy, he spoke what is, and what is to be shown with more than logic, as it now is: with Lordship. For as he declaimed it, so it will be:
- "This is 'the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' Nor is there salvation in any other name; for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" - Acts -12.
There is no more important fact in the universe to which ANY ONE in our race may apply the mind, address the heart, than this!
Look at again in Titus 2:13ff., therefore. For what are we waiting, among all this political flotsam and jetsam, this abominable and appalling generation of death, and degeneration of the race in war of mind and soul and spirit and flesh, notion and nation ! It is the due end. And that: "the glorious appearing of the great God, even our Saviour, Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all lawlessness". And as to this LOOKING, ANTICIPATING, EXPECTATION of which Paul here speaks ? It is one which results from one fact, this - "the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared to all men" (). So much has it appeared that the dating system of the world has been altered to acknowledge it. It is not a private party. Millions of books have doubtless been written on it, of broadcast made about it, and some of the most inventive of scientists have been entirely assured of it.
Here the NKJV is most clear. The AV is ambiguous, where this is not needed: "Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ".
Our 21st case if one of wide interest, because of its implications. In this illustration, both the AV and the NKJV rather astonishingly, and rarely indeed as a combination, fail to provide a satisfactory translation. It is found in Acts 13:19-20. "And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment. After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet."
The NASV, duly covering Egypt, 400 years, and the Exodus (13:17-18), proceeds:
§"And when He had destroyed seven nations
in the land of Canaan,
He distributed their land as an inheritance -
all of which took about four hundred and fifty years.
And after these things He gave them judges
until Samuel the prophet."
The Berkeley version translates similarly.
The time noted for Israel’s period in Egypt was 400 years (Genesis 15:13), the wilderness 40, and a little time was needed from Egypt to the failure to enter the land, as in Numbers 14, while Joshua, who began his military entry at a late age, proceeded for a small number of years to the allocation of the tribal lands, as seen late in the book of Joshua, and anticipated in Numbers 33:54. This fits both grammatically, as we shall see, covering all the data both aptly and well, and historically as an approximation, which it statedly is.
The Majority Greek text has, literally: "And having destroyed seven nations in the
, He distributed their land to them as inheritance. And after these things, in about four hundred and fifty years, He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet." landof Canaan
Two major points at once obtrude. FIRST, the phrase "after these things" is FOLLOWED AT ONCE by the dative case reference to time, which would be construed as TIME WITHIN WHICH.
Unlike this, the time references in vv. 18,21 are in the accusative case, and would indicate duration of time. In those cases, one sees the time of action stretching out as it is lived; in the dative example, however, it is posing the time within which the action in view had happened. That is the difference.
That time within which the action described in some detail, occurred: 450 years. The action ? what preceded, here summarised. The sense: after these things, themselves occupying a period of around 450 years.
The reason for not putting it with what FOLLOWS is simply the change of case. It is not wise to ignore grammatical change of case in a varied series of references to time. It is as if for a doctor there were a change in inflammation, and one simply ignored it, or for a mechanic, a change in engine noise, and one was listless about it.
What then do we find here ? The judges would be conceived as living it, as stretching forth like the case of the wilderness 40 years, and Saul, bearing rule over the same period of time! As to the 400, there is certainly, in simple grammatical terms, an option, to take it as summarising what had been said or anticipating what was about to be said. However this would be to miss the significant and indeed conspicuous case change for time reference.
We are rather having a change of speech to cover a change in aspect. Otherwise why write at all, if data are ignored! No more is it as in v.18 a duration happening as it were before our eyes, 40 years; for now a time slot is carved out in review, a survey note on time elapsed, before the action proceeds to more things graphically before the eyes, another 40 years coming in v. 21, exactly as in the wilderness case in v. 18: both duration of time.
As to the grammatical evidence, in terms of case change, then, in v. 19 on the one hand and 18,11 on the other: this is survey; that is living. The former has it transpiring, the latter sees it elapsed. The NASV gives attention more aptly to ALL the evidence and thus is here preferable.
The other reason is this: it was NOT about 450 years from the distribution of land by allotment for inheritance purposes, to Samuel. If he were born about 1050 B.C., having been young as a prophet, and we allow the normal 30 years before maturity for spiritual service, then we have about 1020 B.C. If the Exodus was at 1445 ( Archer op.cit.), then the date in view would be a little after 1400, say 1380. But from 1380 to 1020 is not about 450 years.
Further, if it took Joshua more than 20 years to the distribution, then the disparity would be greater. It is much less near if the Exodus were, contrary to detailed evidence, at some imaginary later time! In this, the early date of the Exodus*1 is confirmed; one underscored in Archer "Bible Difficulties" in such decisive manner (pp. 191ff.). That in turn is indicated clearly in I Kings 6:1, as in Judges 11:26, this making a third affirmation. In biblical terms, it is one more harmony, from different quarters in it. It is of course confirmed here in Acts 13.
What is the length of time, then, from the exaltation in Egypt through the 400 or so years there, and the 40 in the wilderness to Joshua's distribution ? It would be 440 plus perhaps 20, or about 450.
Even if we leave the field of approximation in which the text is in fact moving in Acts 13, then the figure still relates. Then, from the day of the exaltation of the Israelites in Egypt, till the end of their residence there would be 430 years, less such time as it took them to reach that exalted state, which might have come no later than the days of Jacob, as we read of the flourishing situation in Genesis 47:27-31 some 17 years).
Whether the round figure of 400 years, therefore as in Genesis 15:13, be used, with 40 years for the wandering in the desert, and a relatively short additive for Joshua to reach the point of land distribution, so making about 450; or instead, it be taken as 430 plus 40 or 470 with some extra for Joshua to reach the events of Joshua , with something omitted from the 430 for the exaltation of Israel, to be reached a the starting point: both come to much the same.
It is in round terms to be considered as about 450 years. The use of the 400 as in Genesis 15, plus the 40 in the wilderness, in terms of KNOWN approximation, in a field statedly one of approximation, however, would seem the most likely meaning. Stephen appears to use precisely the same approximation in Acts 7:6, in confirmation, just as Genesis 15 is in anticipation.
450 is just what one would expect on such a basis.
A further detail of interest is Joshua's precise invasion time for reaching the distribution of lands as in Joshua 13ff..
Thus, if he were 40 when made Commander in the assault on Ai, and made a close to Moses as suggested in Exodus 32:17 at the time of the golden calf episode, then it follows he would be 80 at the time for the entry into the Promised Land, so that if the main distribution took till he was 100 before death at 110, we would have 430 plus 40 plus perhaps 20 making 490, minus time for flourishing and exaltation in Egypt as the point of departure.
It is all approximate; but it seems for that very reason to take the 400 year base as in Genesis 15, because of its fame in terms of approximation for that period, with the 40 and the 20 or so for Joshua to reach the point described in the text. At 460 this gives a relevant approximation of 450.
That would appear an almost elementary fact, for one versed at all in what would be for Paul, national history, religiously significant. In lecturer style, he is expanding and compressing, giving action and then time slotting it. Again, there would not seem any ready way of explaining away the case change, unless there is precisely that difference.
Now let us reflect. The majority text, of which the textus receptus made use in important selections of this family in the AV, is beautifully conveying to us the fact. It is showing itself reliable. Certainly, one could as in the NASV expand with italicised words; but that is only to bring out the sense of what is in the Greek data.
God has not left Himself without a most clear witness; BUT that is not at all the same thing as saying this: that the AV is THE standard, the ONLY translation to be used, that it is so honoured of God that it must be the criterion.
Great as that translation is, and normatively reliable, it does not reach to that grand height all by itself! Here once more it slips. Alas, it even - with the NKJV, puts the time of '450 years' after the words "He gave them judges" ,so displacing the word order in the Greek text. This makes the ordinary reader STILL MORE confused, for it then appears that that is a closed case. In fact, the time reference comes before that topic is mentioned, and the rest of the point is as above.
Now this sort of thing in the AV is a rarity, for it has a care and alertness hard to match, despite its imperfections, elsewhere: the main problem being clarity; but that is something which does occur in the AV, at times, partly because of the passage of time and change of language. .
Similarly, as with all translations, there are books or areas where the special expertise of someone is most helpful and a feeling for, a flair comes to light as in the NIV in Job. It is unwise to ignore this. It is unwise also to idolatrise anyone or any thing; to make a monument and authority, a PILLAR as Paul put it, of anyone, or any creation. ONLY GOD, ONLY THE LORD, ONLY HIS WORD is that. It is simply a failure, if one should do otherwise; be it to honour someone or something, most cordially, it is still an error, and how well I John guards against it. Indeed, let us remember that the AV is the PRODUCT of people, and you must look NOT to them but to the Lord.
Now someone may say, It is not idolatry to prefer a version; and of course, this is so. What is idolatry is to have such reverential feelings toward anyone or anything not the Lord, with whatever good intention or even in one sense, admirable loyalty, that one dispenses with the full breadth of what the Lord is doing. That is why it is quite unscriptural as noted in Repent or Perish 1, End-note 1, to have this ism-itis, the inflammation of the 'ism', this tendency to set some one theologian as one's real parent, the name by which we are called. Paul condemns it explicitly, expressly in I Cor. 3.
It is FORBIDDEN. How long does it take for people to realise that just as the RC horror of cordially disobeying Christ (Matthew 23:8-10) in calling people 'father' is not the ONLY way to fall. In that sense, of spiritual supervisor and master or authority, it is for CHRIST ONLY. It is not only by EVERY word which proceeds out of the mouth of God which one is to live (Matthew 4:4), but by no other AT THAT LEVEL! NOTHING may add even a jot! Suggestions may abound, authority however is vested not elsewhere, and its administration is not another name for its supervision with complexes and cords, chains and additives, stringencies and requirements, provided courtesy of some kind party - again, however well-intentioned such may be!
What then ? The AV is fine, but not final in all things. Its eminent and justly famed serviceability is indeed a useful barrier to some of the subtle intrigues in the area of the Greek text, which so many for so long have seemingly so supinely accepted. That however is no excuse for idolatrising it, or treating it in such a way as to contravene Biblical restrictions for our liberty and our walk in love in the Lord; for the simple fact is this, that as soon as you set up these human instruments (i.e. work of a particular set of translators to the exclusion of all others, or the same in a particular theologian) , you are limiting the liberty of the word of God, and that inhibits the love which abides in His word: it is polluting your inheritance, in the very desire to preserve it pure.
How one praises the Lord to have put the things before us in this external evidential way, letting the testimony of His due care and wonderful control of things appear in this also, the preservation of the thrust and meaning of His text to achieve the fulfilment of His promises.
See also on Exodus date, Downfall from Defamation ... Ch. 4, and from this, Ch. 15 of Biblical Blessings.