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Click here to read Job 2 on BibleGateway.com

It’s always fun to find out the little quirks in the Bible. There’s nothing like finding a nugget of Scripture like an extra walnut in a brownie. Today we get to look at a fairly familiar passage through a different lens to see what surprising deliciousness appears.

We’re all used to hearing how Job’s wife told him to “Curse God and die.” Lots of preachers will phrase it like it this : “Job lost his wealth, health, and his children, and was left with only a nagging wife.” It’s a fairly decent joke despite the over exposure, but here’s the fun part: it actually doesn’t say that.

The translation is actually closer to “Bless God and die.” The word for “curse” can mean blessing, curse, kneel, or congratulate. No joke. So why do translators change it to “curse”? Seems like a pretty drastic change in interpretation. This is the tricky part about translations. Euphemisms and other word play like puns are especially difficult to decipher, and Job is one of the books of the Bible that’s full of ’em (Jeremiah’s another), so the translators sometimes just have to flip a coin and take their best guess.

IN THE ORIGINAL GREEK…

We lose a lot of the “personality” of the Bible when it has to be translated. Some of the psalms, such as the mighty 119, are acrostic, meaning that each line in successive stanzas start with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. So every line in the first stanza starts with A, all the lines in the second start with B, and so on. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to translate it that way (some have tried, and you’re welcome to give it a whirl).

In any case, the lesson for today is a reminder that, for the most part, we don’t read the Bible as it is, but only as it is through a lens. Sometimes people get the impression that the Bible was written in a “higher” class of English, with Shakespeare and Thee’s and Thou’s. If you prefer to read it that way, that’s all well and good, but in reality they didn’t really speak that way. Shockingly, Jesus probably didn’t speak English at all, but either Aramaic or Koine Greek (scholars take some hard lines one way or another on this one, so we won’t commit ourselves here).

HOMEWORK? SERIOUSLY?

So, your assignment for today is to read the chapter (Job 2, or any of the McCheyne chapters for today) in a version that you normally don’t .  Just follow the link to Bible Gateway at the top of this article; they have lots of versions to try. If you’re a King Jameser, read the Message or New Living Translation. If you like NIV, try ASV or New King James. If you’re feeling really ambitious, try Young’s Literal Translation.

You may be surprised what God shows you through another lens.

One Response to “February 3, 2011 – Job 2”

  1. Janine Zabel Says:

    Interesting how people see somethings the same

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