Thursday, 23 March 2023

A question of translation

Micah was the lesson for evensong. I am hanging by a thread or two to the churches. My serious moment is every month or so, I read the lessons. The translation of this verse is varied. See this list of translations (mostly verging on explanation rather than translation).

Raw data: כִּימֵ֥י צֵאתְךָ֖ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם // אַרְאֶ֖נּוּ נִפְלָאֽוֹת

SimHebrew: cimi xatç marx mxriim, // aranu nplaot

What is/was intended by that word after the atnah? Is it aranu, imperfect with a third person singular suffix, I will show him? Or is it a misprint, and should it be an imperative hranu, with a first person plural suffix, after the form of the Psalms 85:8? הַרְאֵנוּ?

It's not much of a change. But it is quite often that a change of focus or point of view or speaker happens in the Hebrew - in all books - without warning. My feeling is that this is a text that should not be smoothed over as if the truth of the Bible has to be internally coherent. When we make a text conform to what we think it should be, we are simply imposing our own limited sense of reason on both our history and our theology. Not much of a good idea.

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