Is Samuel the same as "Samuel"?

by never a jw 9 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • never a jw
    never a jw

    In the NWT 1 of Samuel 28:12-20, the proper name Samuel appears 5 times enclosed by quotation marks. I don't think "Samuel" (instead of Samuel without any quotation marks)appears again in any other part of the new world translation, or anywhere in any other Bible. About 18 years ago I noticed this problem of translation in the NWT, and decided to bring it up to a special study conducted by the visiting circuit overseer with me as the student. I suggested to him that I doubted that the original languages of the scriptures allowed for that type of use of quotation marks in the translated word, which alter, even reverse the meaning of the word enclosed by the quotation marks. "Samuel", instead of Samuel (no quotation marks) actually indicated that the apparition was not really Samuel. The C.O. was stumped and tried to explain the subtle, but significant mistranslation by saying that "the brothers are trying the best they can to convey God's message".

    In bible is valid to add quotation marks to set off exact spoken or written language, but it is dishonest to reverse the original meaning of the author by enclosing a word with quotation marks as the NWT does in 1 Samuel 28:12-20. It seems that the WTS wants to cover its butt regarding the doctrine of The dead ceases to exist, is gone, finito, by corrupting the scripture.

    Any comments???

  • mP

    You might want to check out JOb 38:32 where they refuse to translate the text, leaving in lots of Hebrew words that the avg person of course has no understanidn goff.

  • Bobcat

    IMO, this ("Samuel") epitimizes the Societies unwillingness to allow anyone else to think. The quotation marks are meant to make you recognize that the real Samuel wasn't the one speaking. A point of comparison is "other" inserted into Colossians 1:15. "All" (Greek pas) can mean "all other," "all sorts of" (1 Tim 2:4), "all kinds," or just "all" as in "every." IMO, inserting such extras, whether technically correct or not, has the long term effect of suppressing the readers ability to reason on the context.

    The fact is, there are a number of possible interpretations presented by Bible commentators. So, the fact that the Society doesn't think it was actually Samuel is not unique. Actually, the Society thinks it was a demon (or demons) impersonating Samuel. (Personally, I think they are correct in saying it wasn't Samuel, but incorrect in saying it was demonic.)

    But all that interpretation aside, the NAC commentary on the books of Samuel makes this statement: "First, the plain statement of the Hebrew text is that she did in fact see Samuel." (p.267) In other words, there is nothing in the Hebrew text (like quotation marks or any other device) that gives any indication that it wasn't Samuel himself. Thus, the quotation marks in the NWT for Samuel are a WT insertion. The context, which starts at verse 3, does make it plain that Samuel had died some time back and that Saul understood God's Law regarding mediums and spiritists.

  • King Solomon
    King Solomon

    Quotes in a translation where the original language that doesn't contain quotes? Yeah, no possibility of monkey business there....

    How about the biggie: the use of the name 'Jehovah' (YHWH) throughout the NWT in the NT, when the originals don't even use the Hebrew pentagram (YHWH)?

    Hmmmm, ever wonder why an outfit named JWs would want to improperly introduce use of the name, Jehovah?

  • Londo111

    What is funny is that "Samuel" gives a prophecy that comes true. Why would a demon give a true prophecy to Saul?

    It's funny the CO says, "the brothers are doing the best they can." They probably are. The problem is that adherants have to treat it as though the message was infalliable. It's one thing to say, "This is what I believe the text is saying, but I've been wrong before. I don't know it all." Quite another to say, "This is what the text is saying, I am God's mouthpiece, and if you voice anything different, your friends and family will be taken from you."

  • jgnat

    I can't find the quote online, but this reminds me of a conversation between Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. Tolkien was explaining that for the ancients, there was no metaphor. God was not like the wind, God was wind. (At this point, a breeze tickled the back of Lewis's neck). The line between imaginary and tangible was blurred. You can see how nature was a most magical place before science sharpened its sword.

    Therefore, "Samuel" would not be in quotes. It was Samuel.

  • mP

    What im about to say has no historical basis or proof but my observations of other superstituous show that the Jews were the same as their neighbours. Everybody back consulted professions to read entrails and other similar nonsense. Naturally the professional wanted a free meal, while the patron wanted to know the future. Part of the show, is to make stuff up and say the somebody is talking to them. I cant but help the same scam is shown here in the scripture being presented. To spice up the story, the prophecy of the demon is added. After adding so much bullshit, it cant hurt to add a bit more. Perhaps looking back in hindsight, its always easy to twist some message into fact at a later stage, people find prophecies in Nostradamus in the same way all the time. its always after, never befor eof course.

  • transhuman68

    I'm not really sure about this, but I Samuel is in the Jewish part of the Bible, and the belief at that time was that the dead went to Hades, which was some kind of shadowy underworld, so maybe it seemed normal that someone like Samuel could be brought to life and conversed with... (Don't quote me on this, lol!) It's sorta complex, but the Bible is a grab-bag of different beliefs that modified over time...

  • slimboyfat

    I think even Rolf Furuli criticised the NWT on this point.

  • Bobcat


    Part of the show, is to make stuff up and say the somebody is talking to them. I cant but help the same scam is shown here in the scripture being presented.

    One of the interesting aspects of the account: The woman seems truly surprised/horrified when she actually sees "Samuel." More than one commentary makes mention of this. For example, Unger's Commentary on the OT: "The medium's terrified conduct at the appearance of a real spirit of a deceased person constitutes a complete scriptural disclosure of the fraudulency of all spiritistic mediumship."

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