The Latest Translation Of The Bible -- By: Henry M. Whitney

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 062:246 (Apr 1905)
Article: The Latest Translation Of The Bible
Author: Henry M. Whitney


The Latest Translation Of The Bible1

Henry M. Whitney

We should like to test the versions of the present day, whether professing to be modern or not, by a few points that we have not heretofore brought out.

1. The first is in Isa. 53:9: “He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death.” In this verse “the wicked” is plural, meaning “wicked ones,” but “the rich” is singular, meaning “a rich person.” It was once right to use “the rich,” “the poor,” and the like, of a single person, but the usage has long been dead. In this case there is also the offense of confusing the distinction of number. The English Revision keeps the obsolete and misleading form that we have quoted; the American Revision and the Episcopal “Marginal” Bible very properly change” the rich “to “a rich man.”

Amos 2:14–16 affords suggestion in this connection: (A. R.) “Flight shall perish from the swift [this is a singular, but no one would know it]; and the strong shall not strengthen his force; neither shall the mighty deliver himself [these

two are not so bad, because the pronouns fix the number]; he that is swift of foot; and he that is courageous … [these two show how ‘the rich,’ ‘the swift,’ ‘the strong,’ ‘the mighty,’ might have been handled, so as to be unmistakably in the singular number].”

2. With what feeling did the hierarchy (“the Jews,” in John’s diction) persecute Christ? The principal word for it is φθόνος, which used to be rendered “envy”; as in Mark 15:10: Pilate “knew that for envy they had delivered him up”: “envy” is the leading sense for φθόνος in the lexicons; all the texts of the “English Hexapla” have “envy” in some spelling. But was it envy in the case of Christ? We do not see anything for which they could have envied him, except his hold upon the people, and for that feeling “jealousy” is the proper word.2 They were terribly jealous of Christ, and they were afraid of him as well; they carried their jealousy and their fear, quite according to the laws of human nature, to resentment, hostility, hatred, malice, spite. But envy, as we now understand the word, must have had with them at the most a very subordinate place. This is one of those cases where the context must determine the sense.

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