Isaiah 40:26

Monty M. Self montyself at
Fri Jun 15 13:17:34 EDT 2001

It has been suggested that the discussion of Is. 40:26 has gone off track.
We have not discussed the term "'own" in great detail.  Discussions about
the NWT are not relevant in determining wither "Dynamic Energy" is a
legitimate translation of the Hebrew word "'own".  BHK and BHS do not give
helpful alternate reading.  The LXX uses a word that is generally translated
glory, power, etc.. . I did not find a cognate in Akk.  Possible there is a
cognate in Ug, but this is not conclusive.  Sorry I did not have time to
look in the targums.  The word in question appears in the Hebrew text at
lest 7 times at Gen 49:3, Deut 21:17, Job 40:16, Psalm 78:51 and 105:36,
Isaiah 40:26-27, Job 18:12.  The first five appear to be related to a
procreative idea while the later two might have developed into a general
idea of "might".  Of course this is just guessing.  Another potential
translation problem arises in that our word occurs in the plural.  One of us
referred the discussion to Waltke by writing  "For example, according to
Biblical Hebrew Syntax_ by Waltke and O'Connor (page 121), "a repeated
series of actions or a habitual behavior can be designated by a plural, and
that term can have an abstract sense." (Sorry I forgot who posted this).
This provided a good answer for the pluralization, but we have other
options.  "WNYM" might on the other hand be the plural of "'awen" meaning
trouble, toil, or labor."  "'WNYM" could be translated as works.  I am
uncomfortable with this translation, but I am presenting it as a
possibility.  I am more inclined to permit the verse to speak for itself.
At the end of Verse 26 we read "greatness of his might, for that he is
strong in power, not one faileth." (Please excuse the use of the KJV, I
selected it as a neutral text)  It is possible that the author of this poem
is constructing a form of the Hebrew superlative.  "'adar" (KJV -- faileth)
occurs at I Samuel 30:19, 2 Samuel 17:22, Isaiah 40:26, and Zep. 3:5.  It
would be better to translate "'adar" as "to be lacking".  Thus, at the end
of verse 26 we have two words that could mean strength or might and a
negation of that type of concept.  With this in mind it is my option that
"WNYM" should be translated as with a generic word for strength.  "Dynamic
Energy" carries extra baggage that is not needed in this poem.  In addition,
the word in question is used again in verse 29.  In verse 29 we have a
chiasm with the use of "WNYM".  In this context it is unlikely that the
author would use a word that carries so much extra baggage.  In the context
of 29, the negation of "WNYM" is used as the opposite to having strength.  I
am interested in reading an extented discussion of possible translation of
"WNYM".  I have listed some more possiblities.  Let us turn this discussion
from comments about the NWT and to the possible translation of this word.

In closing I feel the need to make a response to Greg Stafford.  It is bad
form to accuse a person of inappropriate scholarship and then make
inappropriate scholarly remarks to that person.  It is possible that Dave
Humpal is incorrect about his assessment of the NWT as a whole and it is
even more likely that his assessment of the NWT and its translator only has
indirect influence upon the determination of "Dynamic Energy" being a good
translation of "WYNM", but this is no grounds for implying that he is a poor
Reverend or that he is unobjective.  Please note that Greg Stafford writes
in response to Dave, "Making inaccurate statements, off-base claims, and
misleading people about the translation skills of certain people, is not an
endearing quality. It is certainly not something one would expect from a
Reverend." Earlier Greg wrote, "But that is not the only training available,
and I think if anyone with an objective mind looks critically at the NWT OT,
he/she will find a very high level of scholarship."  I am please that I can
tell the Philosophy professor at my institution that his students can see a
prime example of the classical Aristotelian logical fallacy of NAME CALLING
on my Hebrew list serve.

Unfortunately, this discussion is about Isaiah 40:26.  Being that I am
interested in a discussion about the level of Hebrew scholarship in the NWT,
my next post will be about just that!

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