Thursday, February 15, 2018

Isaiah 19

How much reading into the text should a reader or translator do?
KJV has for verse 4: a cruel lord; and a fierce king.
JB has a hard master, a cruel king...,
NIV has essentially what KJV is (though not always).
LXX: κυρίων σκληρῶν // καὶ βασιλεῖς σκληροὶ
NETS: cruel lords and cruel kings,
Vulgate: dominorum crudelium et rex fortis.

You can see where this is coming from. The cruel is traditional. Has it been just accepted or is it justified?

This text is אֲדֹנִ֣ים קָשֶׁ֑ה (pause) וּמֶ֤לֶךְ עַז֙
Certainly four separate stems in the Hebrew. lords or masters and kings or monarchs or sovereigns - just fine choices. But what are the adjectives? Funny, I haven't used cruel, so I could use it for its nasty twisting effect on the mouth and ear, but this is not the character of Yahweh, who thwarts and undermines the way of the wicked but has no pleasure in their destruction. No. It is human beings who take pleasure in destruction. (Such energy should be put to good uses!)

For קשׁה I have hardened or intransigent. It is the word for a bow also (as in bow and arrow). None of these requires the connotation of cruelty. Even if these were champion archers, they need not be cruel.

For עזז I have strength. Also no implication of cruelty.
Fierce is חרה, also burning (used metaphorically for with anger).

So verse 4 does not appear to be about cruelty or fierceness, but about thwarting and undermining evil and establishing firm rule. 

Of course I must subject myself to the same criticism. My avoidance of certain words (soul, punishment, repent, loving-kindness) is open to question. My choices of synonym in some  places also. I am forced sometimes to recover a synonym because a new word appears that I need it for and I must then chose which has the right tone for all its uses. I had used shrivel in 15 or so places. Now it is gone from those places because I must use it for a new stem that I had not yet come across.

All these moves are subject to criticism of course - but let the job be done and then let the critiques pour in. For then the data will speak for itself or not as the case may be.

Verse 10 is baffling. Just compare a few translations. They are not close to each other. KJV has some moonshine about "sluices and ponds for fish"! Fish is a rendering of נפשׁ (nephesh). Someone was having a joke here.

NIV is a lot better - "all the wage-earners will be sick at heart". At least someone tried to read the text. But it is still a guess. The word אגמי is something to do with pools and bulrushes, not sick. But I gave in too. As did JB - "all the workmen dejected".

The ending of this passage is lovely.

Isaiah 19 Fn Min Max Syll
מַשָּׂ֖א מִצְרָ֑יִם
הִנֵּ֨ה יְהוָ֜ה רֹכֵ֨ב עַל־עָ֥ב קַל֙ וּבָ֣א מִצְרַ֔יִם וְנָע֞וּ אֱלִילֵ֤י מִצְרַ֙יִם֙ מִפָּנָ֔יו וּלְבַ֥ב מִצְרַ֖יִם יִמַּ֥ס בְּקִרְבּֽוֹ
1 A load about Egypt.
Behold Yahweh rides upon a thick cloud, fleet, and will come to Egypt, and will totter the good for nothings of Egypt before his face, and the heart of Egypt will melt within it.
3e 4C 5
33
וְסִכְסַכְתִּ֤י מִצְרַ֙יִם֙ בְּמִצְרַ֔יִם וְנִלְחֲמ֥וּ אִישׁ־בְּאָחִ֖יו וְאִ֣ישׁ בְּרֵעֵ֑הוּ
עִ֣יר בְּעִ֔יר מַמְלָכָ֖ה בְּמַמְלָכָֽה
2 And I will overshadow Egypt in Egypt, and they will fight each his kin, and each his associate,
city against city, kingdom against kingdom.
3e 4C 23
10
וְנָבְקָ֤ה רֽוּחַ־מִצְרַ֙יִם֙ בְּקִרְבּ֔וֹ וַעֲצָת֖וֹ אֲבַלֵּ֑עַ
וְדָרְשׁ֤וּ אֶל־הָֽאֱלִילִים֙ וְאֶל־הָ֣אִטִּ֔ים וְאֶל־הָאֹב֖וֹת וְאֶל־הַיִּדְּעֹנִֽים
3 And the spirit of Egypt will fail within it and its counsel I will swallow up,
and they will search out to the good for nothings, and to the sweet-tempered, and to the necromancers, and to the wizards.
3e 4C 18
24
וְסִכַּרְתִּי֙ אֶת־מִצְרַ֔יִם בְּיַ֖ד אֲדֹנִ֣ים קָשֶׁ֑ה
וּמֶ֤לֶךְ עַז֙ יִמְשָׁל־בָּ֔ם נְאֻ֥ם הָאָד֖וֹן יְהוָ֥ה צְבָאֽוֹת
4 And I will stop Egypt by the hand of hardened lords,
and a strong king will govern them, an oracle of the Lord Yahweh of hosts.
3e 4C 14
17
וְנִשְּׁתוּ־מַ֖יִם מֵֽהַיָּ֑ם
וְנָהָ֖ר יֶחֱרַ֥ב וְיָבֵֽשׁ
5 And water will ebb from the sea,
and river will be drained and dry up.
3e 4A 7
9
וְהֶאֶזְנִ֣יחוּ נְהָר֔וֹת דָּלֲל֥וּ וְחָרְב֖וּ יְאֹרֵ֣י מָצ֑וֹר
קָנֶ֥ה וָס֖וּף קָמֵֽלוּ
6 And rivers brought low will be foul, and the canals of lower Egypt will be drained.
Calamus and reed will fester.
3e 4B 19
7
עָר֥וֹת עַל־יְא֖וֹר עַל־פִּ֣י יְא֑וֹר
וְכֹל֙ מִזְרַ֣ע יְא֔וֹר יִיבַ֥שׁ נִדַּ֖ף וְאֵינֶֽנּוּ
7 The bare chaff upon the Nile at the mouth of the Nile,
and everything sown by the Nile will be dried up, wind-blown, and be no more.
3e 4B 9
14
וְאָנוּ֙ הַדַּיָּגִ֔ים וְאָ֣בְל֔וּ כָּל־מַשְׁלִיכֵ֥י בַיְא֖וֹר חַכָּ֑ה
וּפֹרְשֵׂ֥י מִכְמֹ֛רֶת עַל־פְּנֵי־מַ֖יִם אֻמְלָֽלוּ
8 And the fishers will moan and all who cast a fishhook into the Nile will lament,
and those who spread a dragnet over the face of water will be enfeebled.
3d 4B 18
13
וּבֹ֛שׁוּ עֹבְדֵ֥י פִשְׁתִּ֖ים שְׂרִיק֑וֹת
וְאֹרְגִ֖ים חוֹרָֽי
9 And they will be ashamed, the servants of flax, a noble vine,
and the weavers of cream-white cotton.
3d 4A 10
5
וְהָי֥וּ שָׁתֹתֶ֖יהָ מְדֻכָּאִ֑ים
כָּל־עֹ֥שֵׂי שֶׂ֖כֶר אַגְמֵי־נָֽפֶשׁ
10 And its fundamentals will be crushed,
all making a wage, disconsolate.
3e 4A 11
8
אַךְ־אֱוִלִים֙ שָׂ֣רֵי צֹ֔עַן חַכְמֵי֙ יֹעֲצֵ֣י פַרְעֹ֔ה עֵצָ֖ה נִבְעָרָ֑ה
אֵ֚יךְ תֹּאמְר֣וּ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֔ה בֶּן־חֲכָמִ֥ים אֲנִ֖י בֶּן־מַלְכֵי־קֶֽדֶם
11 Surely the nobles of Zoan are foolish, the shrewd of the counselors of Pharaoh counsel brutish.
How do you say to Pharaoh, Child of the wise I am, a child of the kings of antiquity?
3e 4C 20
16
אַיָּם֙ אֵפ֣וֹא חֲכָמֶ֔יךָ וְיַגִּ֥ידוּ נָ֖א לָ֑ךְ
וְיֵ֣דְע֔וּ מַה־יָּעַ֛ץ יְהוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת עַל־מִצְרָֽיִם
12 Where are they? here? your shrewd? So let them tell you now,
and let them know what Yahweh of hosts has counseled concerning Egypt.
3d 4B 14
15
נֽוֹאֲלוּ֙ שָׂ֣רֵי צֹ֔עַן נִשְּׁא֖וּ שָׂ֣רֵי נֹ֑ף
הִתְע֥וּ אֶת־מִצְרַ֖יִם פִּנַּ֥ת שְׁבָטֶֽיהָ
13 In their dotage are the nobles of Zoan. Lured away are the nobles of Noph.
The preferred of their sceptres have made Egypt wander.
3e 4B 12
11
יְהוָ֛ה מָסַ֥ךְ בְּקִרְבָּ֖הּ ר֣וּחַ עִוְעִ֑ים
וְהִתְע֤וּ אֶת־מִצְרַ֙יִם֙ בְּכָֽל־מַעֲשֵׂ֔הוּ כְּהִתָּע֥וֹת שִׁכּ֖וֹר בְּקִיאֽוֹ
14 Yahweh has mixed within them a perverse spirit.
They have made Egypt wander with all their deeds, as a drunkard wanders in its vomit.
3d 4C 11
21
וְלֹֽא־יִהְיֶ֥ה לְמִצְרַ֖יִם מַֽעֲשֶׂ֑ה
אֲשֶׁ֧ר יַעֲשֶׂ֛ה רֹ֥אשׁ וְזָנָ֖ב כִּפָּ֥ה וְאַגְמֽוֹן
15 And there will not be for the Egyptians a deed,
that they may do, head or tail, palm branch or pool.
3c 4A 10
14
בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא יִֽהְיֶ֥ה מִצְרַ֖יִם כַּנָּשִׁ֑ים
וְחָרַ֣ד ׀ וּפָחַ֗ד מִפְּנֵי֙ תְּנוּפַת֙ יַד־יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֔וֹת אֲשֶׁר־ה֖וּא מֵנִ֥יף עָלָֽיו
16 In that day Egypt will be like women,
apprehensive and in dread in the face of the elevation of the hand of Yahweh of hosts, that he will elevate over them.
3e 4B 11
24
וְ֠הָיְתָה אַדְמַ֨ת יְהוּדָ֤ה לְמִצְרַ֙יִם֙ לְחָגָּ֔א כֹּל֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יַזְכִּ֥יר אֹתָ֛הּ אֵלָ֖יו יִפְחָ֑ד
מִפְּנֵ֗י עֲצַת֙ יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֔וֹת אֲשֶׁר־ה֖וּא יוֹעֵ֥ץ עָלָֽיו
17 ~ And the ground of Judah will be to the Egyptians for giddiness. All that remember her to them will be in dread,
before the face of the counsel of Yahweh of hosts that he advises against them.
3d 4C 25
16
בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֡וּא יִהְיוּ֩ חָמֵ֨שׁ עָרִ֜ים בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֗יִם מְדַבְּרוֹת֙ שְׂפַ֣ת כְּנַ֔עַן וְנִשְׁבָּע֖וֹת לַיהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת
עִ֣יר הַהֶ֔רֶס יֵאָמֵ֖ר לְאֶחָֽת
18 In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will be speaking the language of Canaan, and making oaths to Yahweh of hosts.
The city of the overthrown, it will be said of one.
3e 4B 32
10
בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא יִֽהְיֶ֤ה מִזְבֵּ֙חַ֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה בְּת֖וֹךְ אֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם
וּמַצֵּבָ֥ה אֵֽצֶל־גְּבוּלָ֖הּ לַֽיהוָֽה
19 In day that there will be an altar to Yahweh in the midst of the land of Egypt,
and a monument next to their border to Yahweh.
3e 4C 18
11
וְהָיָ֨ה לְא֥וֹת וּלְעֵ֛ד לַֽיהוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם
כִּֽי־יִצְעֲק֤וּ אֶל־יְהוָה֙ מִפְּנֵ֣י לֹֽחֲצִ֔ים וְיִשְׁלַ֥ח לָהֶ֛ם מוֹשִׁ֥יעַ וָרָ֖ב וְהִצִּילָֽם
20 And it will be for a sign and for a witness to Yahweh of hosts in the land of Egypt.
For they will cry out to Yahweh before those who restrict them, and he will send to them a saviour and overlord, and he will deliver them.
3d 4C 18
26
וְנוֹדַ֤ע יְהוָה֙ לְמִצְרַ֔יִם וְיָדְע֥וּ מִצְרַ֛יִם אֶת־יְהוָ֖ה בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֑וּא
וְעָֽבְדוּ֙ זֶ֣בַח וּמִנְחָ֔ה וְנָדְרוּ־נֵ֥דֶר לַֽיהוָ֖ה וְשִׁלֵּֽמוּ
21 And Yahweh will be known to the Egyptians and Egypt will know Yahweh in that day,
and will serve in offering and gift, and will vow a vow to Yahweh, and will be made whole.
3d 4C 20
18
וְנָגַ֧ף יְהוָ֛ה אֶת־מִצְרַ֖יִם נָגֹ֣ף וְרָפ֑וֹא
וְשָׁ֙בוּ֙ עַד־יְהוָ֔ה וְנֶעְתַּ֥ר לָהֶ֖ם וּרְפָאָֽם
22 And Yahweh will plague Egypt, plague, and heal,
and they will turn to Yahweh, and he will be petitioned of them, and will heal them.
3c 4B 13
14
בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא תִּהְיֶ֨ה מְסִלָּ֤ה מִמִּצְרַ֙יִם֙ אַשּׁ֔וּרָה וּבָֽא־אַשּׁ֥וּר בְּמִצְרַ֖יִם וּמִצְרַ֣יִם בְּאַשּׁ֑וּר
וְעָבְד֥וּ מִצְרַ֖יִם אֶת־אַשּֽׁוּר
23 In that day will be a highway from Egypt to Ashur, and Ashur will come into Egypt and Egypt into Ashur,
and Egypt will serve Ashur.
3e 4C 28
8
בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא יִהְיֶ֤ה יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ שְׁלִ֣ישִׁיָּ֔ה לְמִצְרַ֖יִם וּלְאַשּׁ֑וּר
בְּרָכָ֖ה בְּקֶ֥רֶב הָאָֽרֶץ
24 In that day Israel will be a third to the Egyptians and to Ashur,
a blessing within the earth.
3e 4C 19
9
אֲשֶׁ֧ר בֵּרֲכ֛וֹ יְהוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת לֵאמֹ֑ר
בָּר֨וּךְ עַמִּ֜י מִצְרַ֗יִם וּמַעֲשֵׂ֤ה יָדַי֙ אַשּׁ֔וּר וְנַחֲלָתִ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
25 Whom Yahweh of hosts has blessed, saying,
Blessed be my people, Egypt, and what my hands have made, Ashur, and my inheritance, Israel.
3c 4C 12
22