[b-hebrew] And Samuel turned back after Saul: the meaning of 1 Samuel 15:31

James Read J.Read-2 at sms.ed.ac.uk
Tue Jul 28 14:40:00 EDT 2009

You yourself provided his agenda when you opened this thread. Alter  
evidently has a problem with Samuel being with Saul at the moment in  
question. There are many inadequacies of the NWT but one thing I like  
about it is its literalness which helps those who don't know Hebrew  
see at a glance what the original Hebrew says literally:

So Samuel returned behind Saul, and Saul proceeded to prostrate  
himself to Jehovah.

Quite literally Samuel returned behind/after Saul. Alter's reasons for  
his translation are quite clearly not linguistically based. They are  
theologically based.

I don't know if you read Greek but here it is in the Greek translation:

??? ????????? ??????? ????? ?????

opiso is quite literally behind. The Greek translations of old are in  
agreement with the Hebrew.

For completeness here is the Vulgate translation:

reversus ergo Samuhel secutus est Saulem

The Latin has secutus (sense of following).

So, you see, there is a very long and ancient tradition of this  
understanding. It is not something which merely appeared in English  
renditions. Karl has already explained why the Hebrew commands such a  
translation. Alter, whoever he is, has not provided any other  
linguistic argument other than the use of his reputation (which I know  
nothing of).

All in all, the linguistic evidence is strongly stacked against  
Alter's commentary and his comments have all the signs of a  
theologically based objection which introduces bias to his translation.

Beware of idolatry. It is possible to idolise men as well as statues.

James Christian

Quoting Jay Frank <jif95 at mac.com>:

> James,
> You write: "Karl has given you the linguistic arguments."
> Yes, and I am grateful.
> Having written regarding Professor Alter: "I have to admit I don't   
> know who he is either." you then write: "I strongly suspect that    
> Alter has theological reasons for his interpretation."
> I strongly suspect that you have qualitatively insufficient warrant   
> to make such a claim, nor do I see what possible theological   
> reason(s) might serve as an agenda underling his translation.
> With regards,
> Jay
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