Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Isaiah 64:6-8 in various translations

So my friend posted to Facebook: "Isaiah 64:6-8"
I was curious so I highlighted it, right clicked and selected search in Google.
I selected the first link which gave me the King James translation:
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away . 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. 8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter ; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Well, the page also offered me the opportunity to change translations, so I switched to Douay-Rheims:
6 And we are all become as one unclean, and all our justices as the rag of a menstruous woman: and we have all fallen as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 There is none that calleth upon thy name: that riseth up, and taketh hold of thee: thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast crushed us in the hand of our iniquity. 8 And now, O Lord, thou art our father, and we are clay: and thou art our maker, and we all are the works of thy hands. 
I added the emphasis, but that phrase definitely caught my attention and made me wonder if King James was just too polite to phrase it that way. So I tried New American Standard:
6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment ; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities. 8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter ; And all of us are the work of Your hand.
English Standard Version:
6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. 8 But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
and Revised Standard Version:
6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 There is no one that calls upon thy name, that bestirs himself to take hold of thee; for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast delivered us into the hand of our iniquities. 8 Yet, O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; we are all the work of thy hand.
What does this show (other than I have too much time)? Translations can definitely make a difference in our understanding of Sacred Scriptures.


May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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5 comments:

kkollwitz said...

The English word "filthy" in the KJV translates the Hebrew עִדָּה "iddah," which refers to the menstrual cycle.

Barbara Schoeneberger said...

I will add that menstruation means the woman is not fruitful at that time. Of ourselves we cannot be fruitful, but only with His grace.

Athanasius contra mundum said...

Barbara, that's definitely a thought wouldn't have occurred to me. It has given some food for thought. Thanks

kathleenbasi.com said...

I wonder if the Douay-Rheims is the only one that's calls it according to the original, or if it's the only one that has a hangup about women. Although according to kkollwitz it looks like option A is the winner. :/

kkollwitz said...

The D-R tends to stay closer to the original Hebrew and Greek than the KJV in my opinion. In fact some words we regard as common, such as tunic and rational, were brought into English via the D-R, and scoffed at by the KJV translators as being unduly learned.