The Old Testament -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 083:330 (Apr 1926)
Article: The Old Testament
Author: Anonymous


The Old Testament

A New Translation

James Moffatt, D.D., Litt., M.A. (Oxon.)

By Parke P. Flournoy

This translation of the Old Testament is “new,” and remarkable also, in many respects. It is a work displaying the marvellous energy, ingenuity, and learning of the translator.

Dr. Moffatt was the Jowett Lecturer, London, 1907, Yates Professor of Greek and New Testament Exegesis, Mansfield College, Oxford, 1911–15, and has been Professor of Church History in U. F. College, Glasgow, since 1915, and Editor of The Expositor since the death of its renowned founder W. R. Nicoll.

No one is likely to read this version without interest, and a desire to see what will come next, for it has remarkable peculiarities. With some of these, the public has already been made familiar, seeing Jehovah named The Eternal, Noah’s Ark, a “barge,” covenant, a “compact,” etc., etc.

With these, and other features of the work, I do not propose to deal, but wish to draw attention to Dr. Moffatt’s treatment of one passage, which has been, for ages past, considered of great importance, and is of unspeakable comfort to millions. This passage is Isaiah 52:13–53: all generally spoken of as “the 53rd chapter of Isaiah.”

The peculiarity here is the insertion of “Israel” after the word “servant” in verse 13 of the 52nd chapter, and the 2nd verse of the 53rd, making the former to read: “Behold my Servant Israel yet shall rise, he shall be raised on high”; and the latter, “Why, Israel of old grew like a sapling, etc.” Dr. Moffatt goes through the 53rd chapter, taking the liberty of transposing verses, as well as translating them.

The effect of the insertion of the word “Israel” in these two verses just named, is to make the whole passage

(which has been precious to Christians of all times and countries; and has given Isaiah the appellation “the evangelical prophet” of the Old Testament), a prophecy, not of Christ, but of Israel, as the Saviour, promised in God’s word, from Genesis to Malachi. The redemptive sufferings and death of our Lord are the foundation of Christian faith and hope of salvation from sin and ruin. “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently . . . searching what or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory which should follow . . . which things the angels desire to look into.”

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