brocine at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 15 17:04:22 EST 2000
Dear Bill, The translations you mention do indeed seem to
part from the MT. They seem to side with the LXX, which
adds TON ENOCHON, "the guilty."
> All of these translations add the words "the guilty" and
IMHO turn this
> verse into "double-speak":
> Am I correct in my reading of this verse that it asserts:
> * God forgives freely
> * But He doesn't always entirely suspend the consequences
I think the JPS translations would confirm your thoughts:
"The LORD! slow to anger and abounding in kindness;
forgiving iniquity and transgression; yet not remitting all
punishment..." I like the JPS translations as well as Dr.
Levine's except for their choice of the word *forgive.* To
me, *forgive* means to freed from a debt. To be only
partially freed is to be only partially forgiven and, in a
sense, not forgiven at all. If the Lord is not going to
remit all punishment, it seems contradictory to say the
sinners are forgiven. I also do not think that the verse
asserts the Lord suspends the consequences, like letting the
natural process of sowing and reaping simply take its
course. It says He does not utterly cleanse; on the other
hand, He rewards the iniquity of the fathers on the sons.
According to the verse, He's active.
As I said, I would rather avoid translating the Heb nose'
"forgiving" because of the context. I would choose
"bearing," i.e. "bearing iniquity and rebellion" or "bearing
with iniquity and rebellion." This means that God is
actually *not* forgiving at all yet abounds in qualities
that enable Him to put up with man's sin: tolerance,
kindness, and grace. I think this thought accords also with
traditional Christian doctrine about the differences in the
covenants, old and new; the old offering the appeasement of
God but not freedom from sin; the new offering something
more, utter freedom from sin and its penalty, i.e.
forgiveness. The old is to be a schoolmaster that guides
its students out of frustration to the new. This is not a
list for the discussion of theology, so I hesitate to
mention old versus new covenant doctrine. Nevertheless, I
do mention it because we *may* suspect a case when theology
influenced translation in the sense that the translations
you mention do not follow the MT that asserts God does not
forgive. Translators may have squirmed when having to write
that God does not forgive. The funny thing is, they are
mostly Christian translations that have not simply followed
the MT *while it is consistent with Christian doctrine*.
They sort of lost a chance, maybe. What do you think?
Let me qualify what I have said. I was not on any of the
translation committees. I do not know why many chose to
follow the LXX rather than the MT. I realize that they may
have had more textual reasons for following the LXX than
meet my eye.
B. M. Rocine
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206
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