[b-hebrew] Standard translations appear oddly inaccurate - Help needed please?

Chris and Nel wattswestmaas at eircom.net
Fri Nov 17 15:37:32 EST 2006


Dear Members,

ISAIAH 49:4

".....I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in 
vain..... (KJV)

'.....I have laboured to no purpose I have spent my strength in vain and for 
nothing....(NIV)

Leaving the variety of shades of meaning of the various words aside, My 
objection is specifically with the positioning of the word "strength" in the 
English translations.

The hebrew words: 'LeToHu VeHeVel' --  there is a merekhah under the TaV and 
a tifha under the HeH of the following word, As I understand it the merekhah 
binds the following word which carries a tifha and this tifha is 
disjunctive.  Furthermore the next word: 'CoCHi' carries a munah to bind it 
with the next word.

Yet moreso is this: As I read the hebrew I am dividing the sentence quite 
poetically and naturally in this manner:

----VeANi AMaRTi ---LeRiK YaGaRTi----LeToHu VHeVeL----CoCHi CiLeTi----

To Summarise, WHY then can we not translate: 'LeToHu VeHeVel' as a seperate 
clause such as being an interpolation by the author in a moment of breathing 
out, sighing out some extra clarifying personal feelings, like a pause after 
the preceding verb, just as if one was to say in English:

"...I have laboured exhaustively...(and for what)?... (He sighs)but for 
emptiness and futile things, (aah) my strength is all but ended"

and then translate up to the atnah as: My strength is at an end, or my 
strength is consumed" or whatever?  I do not see that "MY STRENGTH:  has 
anything to do with the preceding two hebrew words.  The author is 
summarising everything just gone before by saying that my strength is at an 
end.  I see no justification for binding 'My Strngth' to 'LeToHu VHeVeL'

Your comments would really be appreciated, I am sharing with you my personal 
difficulty at trying to understand why the orthodox translations have done 
what appears to me to be slightly innaccurate.

Best Regards
Chris Watts
Ireland. 




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