Isaiah 40:26

GregStffrd at GregStffrd at
Mon Jun 11 13:17:22 EDT 2001

In a message dated 06/11/2001 12:00:49 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
alanf00 at writes:

<< According to "Analytical Key to the Old Testament" (Vol. 4, 
 p. 123) this is a correct translation. According to various 
 Hebrew lexicons I've checked, the original Hebrew root word 
 used here for "might" (" 'own "; Strong's Concordance entry 
 202) can mean "might, power, strength, vigor, ability, faculty, 
 force, virile and genital power, manhood, wealth".
 In the more than thirty English translations I've checked, in Isaiah 
 40:26 the word is translated as "might, power, strength, vigor, 
 Only one translation I've come across varies from the above: 
 "The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures" produced 
 by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. In this translation 
 Isaiah 40:26 reads: "Due to the abundance of DYNAMIC 
 ENERGY, he also being vigorous in power
" Here, " 'own " is 
 translated as "dynamic energy".

The word in question is a form of 'ON. It essentially means "strength" or 
"power," either in relation to reproductive strength (as in Genesis 49:3) or 
raw power (as in Job 18:7 [man]; 40:16 [behemoth]). In Job 40:16 NWT also 
translates 'ON as "dynamic energy," where it seems to clearly relate to the 
force produced by behemoth's "muscles" (We'ONO BiSHRyRey). This is in 
contrast to (or possibly a way of restating) what is said just previously, 
namely, the "strength [CHoKHO] in his loins."

Since NWT realizes that God is the one in view in Isa. 40:26, the "force" or 
"power" the NWT translation committee perceives is that which belongs to a 
nonphysical entity whose "power" is described in relation to the existence of 
the planetary heavens. Because the exact nature of this force or power is not 
articulated,  the Watchtower Society interprets such "power" in relation to 
Einstein's equation. Thus, it is not a matter of the Bible containing 
explicit, articulated scientific statements but of scientific statements 
being used to explain Bible statements that are not as articulate as the 
scientific statement. 

The only problem I see with respect to the use of this text by the Watchtower 
Society is in relation to God's creation of the planetary heavens. This text 
does not seem to be speaking about the creation of such heavens, but of their 
preservation. The first part of the text asks who has created these things, 
and responds by noting that the one who did create them is the one who calls 
them forth by number and name. THEN it says that due to his 'ON and 'aMyTS 
not one of them is "missing" or "lacking." I do not see where 'ON is used in 
this text concerning God's creative act(s). Apparently the Watchtower Society 
means to say that this same "power" was at God's disposal to create: 
"Whatever means God used to create the universe, he clearly has the energy 
and the power needed to do so" (per your quote of Awake! June 22, 1999, p. 6).

Greg Stafford

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