Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Scripture Can Sometimes Be Unclear - Example From Isaiah 35

Isaiah 35:1-10 (King James Version)
King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain

Isaiah 35
1The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.
2It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.
3Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
4Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
5Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
7And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
8And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
9No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
10And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.


I enjoy reading the book of Isaiah. However, this passage creates a bit of trouble for me. It is the flow of poetry and picturesque symbolisms which are supposed to give rise to imagery and hence create an understanding.

Back Ground Information


Do you see what I mean? I do not go about speaking to people like that. I understand that publishers like as many descriptive words as possible for the avid reader’s cerebral stimulation; But, what about the rest of us? Should we not be able to read this?

Well, I think this poetic language is part of the problem. The King James Version of 1611 was deliberately written as a masterful piece of literary work. King James commissioned this work to be done with the cooperative effort of translators and poets to work a musical sounding poetry into the Holy Scripture.

Eventually a need for more readable text was considered and many attempts have been made to accommodate this ‘need’. However, translations still have their faults in attempting to transmit style and sacrifice accuracy.


Understanding some of the Symbolism


Amazingly, we finish reading Isaiah 35 and we do understand the message.
The concern is for the fear of death and uncertainty of what the after life would entail. The message is that this uncertainty and fear will be taken away.

I said “amazingly” because we read the very first verse and it does not say what it should in English. ( I am no expert, by the way) I have some tools that reveal a more appropriate translation.

The King James says, “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose”.

My understanding of this verse is that it should say something like this:
"Their speech and shall no longer be of fear but praise (or, shall no longer be silenced, but of celebration) for they shall turn and be reborn as the bud of a rose.
(I am not an expert. However, having done the translation, I see the potential for a statement as such in verse one.)



One of the translations of ‘wilderness’, found in verse 1, is ‘Midbar’, from James Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (Strong’s) #4057. Midbar is – speech (including its organs)!

A phrase from verse one that we can translate is “Solitary Place”. Strong’s #6723 Tsiyah – is to ‘parch’. So we take the phrase, “Solitary Place” and plug in “parch” with the idea that organs may be involved.

These two words: “wilderness” (speech, including organs, such as the tongue) and “solitary place” (parch) create the idea of fear and the inability to speak. The rest of verse one is simple enough; “this has the idea of fear turning to happiness”. It is the end of this verse and verse 10 that tells us what the problem is in the beginning of the verse; ‘fear’. And ‘fear’ will be turned to happiness.
What is there to be afraid of?

See the second part of verse one.

“Desert” is from Strong’s #6160; Aruba. Arubah from Strong’s #6150 ‘arab’ – be darkened (as in toward evening).

“Rejoice” from Strong’s #1523 is giyl or guwl – to spin round (under the influence of any violent emotion). I.e. usually rejoice, or (cringing) fear: -be glad…etc.

And

“blossom” #6524 Parach is to break forth as a bud.

Their fear is of the coming of death by analogy of “dusk- near darkness”. Rejoice is to turn from their fear in a quick-eager, emotional reception of something else. We know what the something else is. Or should we say, we know the something else is the Messiah. And you know what? The scripture says in I Peter 3:18-20 that Jesus ministered to those souls whom had passed on before His coming. An answer to those whom Isaiah spoke for in Isaiah 35:1-10

1 Pet 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
1 Pet 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
1 Pet 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

12 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

I am still recovering, but have made a short post. I read the article. The King James is one of many good translations that we need to study and of course we look at the Hebrew and Greek with the help of translators.

I know that the 1 Peter passage you noted has a few interpretations which could easily take up a PhD dissertation.

Russ:)

jeleasure said...

Thanks Russ,
Good to hear you are recovering.

I'm glad we agree that we sometimes need to have the aid of Greek and Hebrew translators.

The King James is not one of my favorites. However, I use it as well.

Tamela's Place said...

Rejoice is to turn from their fear in a quick-eager, emotional reception of something else. We know what the something else is. Or should we say, we know the something else is the Messiah.

I love this part of your post. It says it all... I think we all have been in that place. But when we turn our eyes back to the Messiah He has a way of bringing His refreshing happiness into our lives once again. We can only experience a taste of it now. But there is coming that day when we will experience His Joy unspeakable and full of glory!

jeleasure said...

Tamela,
Thanks for the comment.
I followed your link over to a real cool blog, belonging to a Pastor. I attempted to leave a comment. Don't know if it stuck. Sometimes that happens.

Tamela's Place said...

My understanding of this verse is that it should say something like this:
"Their speech and shall no longer be of fear but praise (or, shall no longer be silenced, but of celebration) for they shall turn and be reborn as the bud of a rose.
(I am not an expert. However, having done the translation, I see the potential for a statement as such in verse one.)

“Rejoice” from Strong’s #1523 is giyl or guwl – to spin round (under the influence of any violent emotion). I.e. usually rejoice, or (cringing) fear: -be glad…etc.

I can't be real sure but i don't recall seeing this before? i might be way off though. I am usually drawn to scriptures and words that talk about rejoicing. I have lived on the scripture that the Joy of the Lord is my strength. Any scripture that has to do with rejoicing in and because of the Lord because of His Love for us and the good stuff that we are going to behold someday causes me to rejoice. Was that it or not? i am keeping my fingers crossed.

Jon Clayton said...

Jim, yes the comment stuck. I am on the east coast. It takes time to catch up. I posted a reply comment. I will also e-mail you. Thanks!

jeleasure said...

Tamela,
Yes! You did realize that part of the translation was not there the first time you read it. Very good. This gives me an idea for a new blogger game. Maybe.
I wish I had realized it was not there the first time I read it after publishing. Is there medication for this type of behavior? I need to get some.
It is interesting that Russ has not come back with a response, yet. He is usually right on top of things. He will have to do a hundred pushups. Honor system, of course.

jeleasure said...

Thanks Jon,
I appreciate your having left a comment. It is a way for me to link back to your site without saving your site in my computer.

thekingpin68 said...

Hello, Jim.

I see you added some clarification concerning your personal understanding.

I have been very busy today driving my Mom to another part of the Lower Mainland to see a surgeon, fixing up her computer and answering blog comments.

Cheers,

Russ:)

Tamela's Place said...

Ah ha! So i did spy it.. yeah! That was fun! I think that would be a really cool thing to do on the blog. It gets you to really look and tune in to what is be written! Thanks for the challenge! I like a challenge especially if it's a fun one!

Vicki said...

I love the King James Version because it is the first interpretation of scriptures that I read well into my teens and beyond. Also, when I was a child, most public prayers were said in old English, elegant in nature.

This Isaiah passage is a favorite, not just of mine, but of many.

jeleasure said...

Russ,
Yeah. How do you like that?
I'm supposed to be writing about scripture sometimes seeming unclear. And wada ya think I did?
I was unclear.