[b-hebrew] 1 Kings 8:27 - how much less this house that I have builded (interrogative)

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Dec 25 09:08:03 EST 2010


On Fri, Dec 24, 2010 at 11:39 PM, schmuel <schmuel at nyc.rr.com> wrote:

> Hi Folks,
> Karl,
>> Why look at translations?
> Steven
> When learned men do superb translations, they may be using a different text
> or seeing the text differently.…

You missed my point. There are two main things I have against translations:
1) language differences, where an exact translation is not possible, or for
stylistic reasons is not practical, and 2) the translators are human, prone
to error. Going beyond those two, I find it usually best to tackle on a case
by case basis.

>  1 Kings 8:27 (KJB)
>> But will God indeed dwell on the earth?
>> behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee;
>> how much less this house that I have builded?
>> We have a double interrogative in the AV.
> Karl,
>  I don't see the double interrogative in Hebrew. This is a phrase that has
>> no exact equivalent in English, which the translators of the AV decided
>> would make best sense if translated as an interrogative. As far as I can
>> tell, it is not an interrogative in Hebrew.
> Steven
> Karl, thanks.
> "it is not an interrogative " - it is unclear if you are talking about the
> second interrogative above only, or both.  Most everybody translates the
> first phrase as an interrogative.
> In the Hebrew, the first interrogative is clearly interrogative. The second
runs into problem #1 above, namely the differences between Biblical Hebrew
and English makes is difficult to translate this sentence exactly, and for
stylistic reasons to change a statement to an interrogative that preserves
the idea of the sentence. This is not to fault the translators, rather to
recognize the linguistic difficulties of making a good translation that
preserves the ideas of the text while being stylistically accurate and
readable in the target language.

Karl W. Randolph.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list