Does the Watchtower favor interpretation over translation, especially in the case of Exodus 15:3?

by Poppy520 9 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Poppy520

    Exodus 15:3, "The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name." KJV, ESV, ASV.

    Exodus 15:3, "Jehovah is a powerful warrior. Jehovah is his name." NWT as well as many others including NIV.

    Exodus 15:3, "The LORD is a man of war, the LORD [is] his name." Interlinear.

    I found that, the literal translation is indeed, "man of war" as the word used for "man" here is "’îš" which literally means, "man/male/human" not only according to online resources but as well as a Jewish brother who speaks Hebrew as his native tongue.

    So, this being said, the literal translation is indeed "man of war" and not "warrior" - this is a fact. Although a "man of war" is indeed a "warrior", translating this phrase to "warrior" would be an interpretation because of what the original text says which could be considered altering scripture or being untrue to the original Hebrew. It cannot be argued that this is not an interpretation, it is clearly one.

    If YHWH/Jehovah is called a "man of war", this could either be literal or a dangerous metaphor which could be taken as literal if the doctrine of the Trinity is false, which poses a problem if Christ is not seen as a Third Part. If Christ is seen as a Deity, then this verse harmonizes in favor of the Trinity in saying that "YHWH is a *man* of war", which the majority (that I am not favoring as neither true or untrue) argue that Jesus was fully human and fully God.

    Is it fair to interpret "man of war" as "warrior" or is that being untrue to the original Hebrew? Because many arguments for the Trinity lie fully in interpretation and speculation, for whether it is has legitimate scriptural basis or not.

    If some translations of the Bible are relying on interpretation (not just the NWT), does that pose a problem for other places of the Bible that have been translated in favor of interpretation? I am not attempting to favor NKJV or KJV but am favoring the literal, interlinear scripts - the original Hebrew.

    **I am not arguing one way or the other, in favor of either but simply looking for different viewpoints**

  • Earnest

    It's correct that the literal translation is "man of war", and it's interesting that the 1984 NWT, which is a more literal translation reads:

    Jehovah is a manly person of war. Jehovah is his name.

    However, the purpose of translation is to convey the meaning of the original language and not necessarily have a word-for-word literal translation. In fact, that will often be confusing especially when the original is not intended in a literal sense.

    The suggestion that the Israelites in the time of Moses thought of Jehovah as a god-man is repudiated by the context of chapter 15, and even trinitarians would reject that description of .

    The sense of the verse is captured by GNT, NIV, NASB, NET, NRSV which all translate it as The LORD is a warrior. Possibly the NWT captures the more subtle sense in translating it as Jehovah is a powerful warrior.

  • scratchme1010
    Does the Watchtower favor interpretation over translation, especially in the case of Exodus 15:3?

    Yes, especially in the case of anything that is to their advantage, including Exodus 15:3 (whatever that says).

  • venus
    I agree with Earnest fully. In some language sweet liver is used in place of sweet heart/darling. Hence a wise translator would try to convey the thought rather than its literal word. You seem to favor the doctrine of trinity hence want Ex 15:3 to be “man of warrior”. But even this would only add to the problem. If Jesus was part of Trinity, it would mean wherever he goes, the other two inseparable parts too were with him. Thus God came down and got crucified himself on the cross instead of manly arranging the crucifixion of Satan the Devil the first sinner. Moreover, story of God the Father putting his son to death, or employing people to do it (for that is the plain language of the story) cannot be told by a parent to a child; and to tell him that it was done to make mankind happier and better is making the story still worse- as if mankind could be improved by the example of murder; and to tell him that all this is a mystery is only making an excuse for the incredibility of it.
  • nowwhat?

    But I thought Jehovah hates violence?!

  • smiddy3

    LOL nowwhat , his word the Bible clearly shows Jehovah is obsessed with Blood human or animal he`s not fussy he just doesn`t seem to get enough of it to satisfy him.

    Apparently he is about to slaughter another 8 Billion + people in the near future ,is he going to spare the animals this time around ?

  • smiddy3

    Getting back to topic the WT/JW has always favored interpretation over translation.Just look at the KI translation of The Christian Greek Scriptures where they add the name Jehovah where it does not exist in their own KI .translation of the New Testament.

    The simple fact is ALL religions favor interpretation over what is written in Scripture that is why we have over 40,000 different sects all claiming to be Christian religions.

    Edit to add :The New testament /Christian Greek scriptures has over 30 scriptures specifically naming Jesus who Christians are to be witnesses of/for or about

    Their is not one scripture in the New Testament /Christian Greek Scriptures that states Christians are to be witnesses of Jehovah ,not one.

    The name Jehovah does not appear in the Christian Greek Scriptures

    The Tetragrammaton does not appear in the Christian Greek scriptures

    Jesus Christ 30+ Jehovah God 0

    It`s an interpretation by JW`s/GB over Translation.

  • Earnest

    There is an old Italian complaint, Traduttore traditore - "A translator is a traitor". The reason is that a literal word-for-word translation does not convey the sense of the original language, and if you attempt to convey the sense of the language there is a degree of subjectivity as you can only interpret what you believe the original writer was intending to convey.

    smiddy3 : Just look at the KI translation of The Christian Greek Scriptures where they add the name Jehovah where it does not exist in their own KI .translation of the New Testament.

    If you do look at the Kingdom Interlinear Translation (KIT) you will note that in the Foreword there is a section on Restoring the Divine Name, Jehovah and in the Appendix there is an article on The Carry-Over of the Divine Name Into the Greek Scriptures (With Twelve Supporting [LXX] Fragments. There they lay out very clearly their rationale for using Jehovah in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The most you can say regarding the use of God's name is that there are no extant manuscripts or papyri that contain it. Whether or not it was in the original writings is open to conjecture but it would be worth reading the book The Earliest Non-Mystical Jewish Use of Iao by Frank Shaw (which was recently discussed in a thread by slimboyfat) before reaching any conclusions.

    One text which definitely does refer to God's name is Acts 15:14-18

    Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written [Amos 9:11,12 LXX]:

    After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the rest of mankind may seek [Jehovah], even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says [Jehovah], who does these things - things known from long ago.

  • Finkelstein

    What religion doesn't uphold interpretation over and above translation ?

  • fulltimestudent

    'man of war' or 'warrior,'

    A nit-picking difference, indicating an amateur approach to translation.

    As you will note on this list of versions from biblehub at:

    Most translations choose either of those words, with one standout, which is Young's Literal Trabslation who opts for - "Jehovah is a man of battle."

    Its good that you're interested in translation, but you should take a course (scholarly, of course) in biblical studies, and forget citing nonsense differences.


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