Your sons or your Builder? (Is 62:5)

Tony Larsson tony.larsson at
Sat Jul 6 11:05:50 EDT 2002

Dear scholars,

I have a question on Is 62:5, which reads in the NIV:

As a young man marries a maiden,
so will your sons* marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.

This reading agrees with most of the older translations (KJV as well as
the older translations to Swedish, my mother tongue), and is also the
one that LXX has chosen, vocalising BNYK as BFNFYIK: (banayikh).

However, the newest Swedish translation, Bibel 2000, translates this as
"your Builder will marry you", a reading that is given in a footnote to
the NIV as well as in the BHS apparatus (BONYK or BON"K), as the Lord is
called the Builder of Jerusalem in Ps 147:2. 

The latter reading seems to be a better match both for the parallellism
(as God is definitely the one that marries Zion in the second
half-verse) and for the overall theology, with God as bridegroom and His
people as the bride throughout the rest of the OT and NT, with the
possible exception of the wedding Psalm 45:

Your sons will take the place of your fathers;
you will make them princes throughout the land.
(Ps 45:17)

So much for the background, now for the questions:

* Does anyone have any comments on which reading of BNYK is preferable
  or probable, sons or Builder? Which did Isiah (and the Holy Spirit) 
  have in mind when writing the text?

* Any thought about what motivations the scribes had for vocalising BNYK
  as "sons"?

* Does the Builder reading require a majestic plural with the yodh, or
  the yodh part of the lamed-he verb stem in the singular participle?

It will be most interesting to hear your views on this matter.

In Christ,

Tony Larsson

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