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Monday, March 15, 2010

Leupold Genesis part 28 verses 1-2 together

Before we examine v. 2 by itself it is necessary to see how v. 1-3 stand related to one another. There would be no occasion for giving attention to this matter if the familiar English versions (King James or A. R. V.) and the German are followed, for these very correctly indicate that the sequence of clauses is as natural as it can be. But two translations, diverging from the familiar form, have thrust themselves to the forefront, leaning for support on eminent Hebrew scholars. As representative of the one may count what Meek submits (The Old Testament, An American Translation): "When God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth being a desolate waste, with darkness covering the abyss and the spirit of God hovering over the waters, then God said: `Let there be light.'" This translation makes v. 2 a parenthesis, or it would practically have it set off by dashes and makes of v. i the protasis and of v. 3 the apodosis. The second makes v. 1 protasis and v. 2 apodosis, thus: "When God created the heavens and the earth, then the earth was, etc. ... and God said, etc." (Raschi et al.). A third might be listed here, although it has been disposed of above. It is that which makes v. 1 the heading and then proceeds with v. 2 and 3 as follows: Now as the earth lay there, a waste and empty mass--and darkness, etc. --then God said, etc., (Procksch). The last mentioned having been refuted, we shall dispose of the details involved in the first two as we examine v. 2 and v. 3 more fully. For a summary refutation let the following points be noted, Grammatically such translations as Meek and Raschi offer are possible but in this case highly improbable. The Hebrew does co-ordinate clauses where we prefer subordination. Longer sentences of involved structure are found also in (Ge 5:1) and (Nu 5:12-15; Jos 3:14-16) and in many other instances. But a chapter marked throughout by very simple sentence structure would never begin with so complicated a structure as any of the ones noted above. Besides, against the first combination it must be noticed that the first word of v. 2 could hardly be ha'arets but would have to be wattehi, in spite of occasional exceptions noted here and there for emphasis' sake. Wellhausen's dictum in regard to this modern translation is worthy of being preserved; he called it a "desperately insipid construction" (verzweifelt geschmacklose Construction).

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