[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53:8

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Sun Dec 12 00:45:29 EST 2004


The original Greek New Testament doesn't have a term corrosponding to the modern English "sin" as well. The knee jerk reaction that all referrences to hAMARTIA mean "sin" makes for a few interesting translations and misunderstandings.

Concerning rebellion, in Hebrew we had MR) meaning to be defiant, MRH with a very similar understanding of open defiance in the sense of resistance or opposition to authority, MRD has more of the idea of declaring independence, often as in the cases of vassal nations, simply refusing to pay further tribute, while P$( has the concept of armed sedition or revolt against the authority. There is some grey area or overlap in meaning between MRD and P$( in that sometimes the act of MRD, preparations for an armed conflict or actual armed conflict ensues, and in P$( the actual armed sedition has elements of declaring independence.

You have a point that in the noun usage, it could be translated as "wrong" though in the spiritual sense, I see it as symbolic of an individual making war against God, a sort of shaking one's fist in God's face. True, I"m reading it in the light of Romans 1:18 - 3:31, not in the modern sense. As in "sin" above, I don't see a generic concept of "wrong" in Tanakh, rather specific wrongs are mentioned by name.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>

> Karl,
> I agree that Biblical Hebrew does not have a word that is exactly equivalent
> to the Modern English "sin". I don't think that the biblical writers had a
> concept that was exactly equivalent to the Christian concept of "sin". Nor
> did they have a concept that was exactly equivalent to the modern one of
> "crime". So obviously, we must translate as best as we can. Your
> explanations for x+) is well-known. (wn is less clear. But to assume that
> all cases of p$( mean rebel does not work. There is a perfectly common word
> for "rebel" - MRD. The use of "pa$a( b..." for "rebel against" is in itself
> a figure of speach - the overlord assumes that he rules by "right", and so
> the rebel is committing a "wrong" by rebelling. Maybe it would be better to
> translate p$( as "wrong" rather than "crime".
> Yigal
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