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into English is attempted, it is frequently quite impossible to convey, to the English reader, the full signification of the Original, without employing more words than the Original contains. When therefore our Translators distinguished particular words in the manner already described, they did not intend to indicate any deviation from the meaning of the Original—any diminution of its force; but rather to point out a difference of idiom. Their first object undoubtedly was to express in intelligible English what they believed to be the full signification of a sentence; and their next object appears to have been, to point out such words as had been required, in addition to those of the Original, for the complete development of the meaning... The foregoing observations may, for the present, be sufficient to afford some general notions of the intentions of our Translators, in this by no means unimportant matter.
Although the principle above explained, respecting words and phrases in Italics, was undoubtedly adopted by our Translators, we can scarcely expect that it should never have been departed from, in the actual printing of so large a work as the Bible, at so early a period. It was, indeed, departed from in many cases; and attempts have subsequently been made to carry the principle more completely into effect, by applying it to various words which appeared, in the text of 1611, in the ordinary character. With what success this has been done, will in part be ascertained from an examination of the instances to which the attention of the Sub-Committee was directed, and on which they founded their Report.
TEXTS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT,
Examined by the Sub-Committee.
Gen. i. 9, 10. “ Let the dry land appear : and it was
And God called the dry land, Earth.” The objection here is that, in the modern editions of the Bible, the word “ land” is printed in Italics, the same word being printed, in the text of 1611, in the ordinary character.
The Hebrew word translated “dry land” is derived from a root signifying “to be dry;" and itself signifies “ the dry.” The adjective is applied by Ezekiel (xxxvii. 4) as an epithet to the bones of the dead: “O ye dry bones, hear ye the word of the LORD.” The precise meaning of an abstract term of this kind must be determined by the context. In this way, the Hebrews constantly used their adjectives alone, as we use substantives connected with adjectives; the substantives actually referred to being decided by the circumstances of the case. In the passage under consideration, the meaning is clear: “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry [land] appear. “ Land” indeed is, in point of fact supplied ; there being no corresponding term in the Hebrew. The Hebrew word is, in the Septuagint, rendered by ý Enpa, and in the Vulgate by arida ; which words are, in their respective languages, used in very nearly the same manner as the Hebrew word corresponding to them...On the whole, it appears to me that when “ land” is marked by Italics in the modern editions, they are formed on the general rule which the Translators seem to have prescribed to themselves. In illustration of this point, 2 Kings ii. 21 may be cited : “ There shall not be from thence any more death, or barren land."
Gen. i. 27. “God created man in his own image." In this place, "own" is in Italics, without the sanction of the text of 1611.
In the preceding verse we read : “ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness :"_where the word 66 own” does not appear.
Now in verse 27, the
pronominal suffix is precisely analogous to those employed in verse 26; and thus we naturally expect the same mode of 'expression. Moreover the Hebrew Language does not contain any word equivalent to the word “own :" when therefore, in translating from the Hebrew, this word is introduced for the sake of precision, the Translators' rule requires that it should be in Italics.
The only thing to be lamented is that the same alteration should not have been applied in the case of Gen. v. 3.
GEN. v. 24. “And he was not, for God took him.”
The word “ was” has no corresponding term in the Original ; and in consequence it has been printed in Italics, in the modern editions. The principle on which this has been here done is sufficiently recognized by the text of 1611 in other passages.
of him that hath seen me, shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not. Job vii. 8;—“For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” Ps. xxxvii. 10;—“As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more.” Prov. X. 25;
“Our fathers have sinned, and are not. Lam. v. 7.
GEN. vi. 4. An error is here pointed out, which, it is acknowledged, has been corrected; and so far as my experience goes, errors have always been corrected when pointed out.
GEN. vi. 16. “Lower, second and third stories."
“ Stories” in Italics is perfectly correct; there being no word corresponding to it in the Original. In Ezek. xlii. 3
(according to the text of 1611) we read: “Over against the pavement which was for the utter court, was gallery against gallery, in three stories.” And so again in verse 6; the word being supplied, as required to express the full meaning. We have here an illustration of that use of the adjective, which was mentioned under Gen. i. 9, 10.
GEN. xx. 17. “ And they bare children.”
Although the text of 1611 does not here give “ children" in Italics, yet in other places it sanctions the change that has been made. “ Adam lived an hundred years, and begat a son.” Gen. v. 3 ;- 266 The sons of God came in unto the daughters of men; and they bare children to them.” Gen. vi. 4.
See also Gen. x. 21; Gen. xliv. 27; Eccles. vi. 3.
GEN. xxxix. 1. “Bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites."... It seems that, for “hands," we ought to read “ hand.” This, I suppose, may be an error of the press. It is observable, however, that the Septuagint has ék χειρων. .
Exod. xii. 36. “So that they lent unto them such things as they required.
Here again the Italics in our modern Bibles are objected to. There is no doubt but that, constrained by the necessity of the case, the Egyptians let the Israelites have whatever they asked for; and all this is implied, I believe, in the original Hebrew term. This however cannot be expressed in English, without more words than appear in the Hebrew The words “such things as they required” have no corresponding words in the Hebrew (however strongly they may be implied); and therefore according to the Translators' rule they ought to be in Italics. It appears to me that the following instance, from the text of 1611 (and many others might be cited), is somewhat of a similar character : “ That they profane not my holy Name, in those things which they hallow unto me." Lev. xxii. 2.
Levit. iv. 13, 22, 27. “They have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD, concerning things which should not be done." (Three cases.)
The words in Italics were unquestionably supplied by the Translators, for the purpose of giving what they believed to be the full meaning of the Hebrew. The passage may be literally rendered—“ They have done one (out) of all the commandments of Jehovah, which should not be done:” that is, “have done some one thing which Jehovah has commanded them not to do." Schmid's translation is this : “Fecerunt unum ex omnibus præceptis Jehovæ, quæ non fieri debent.” In these instances, therefore, the Italics are very properly employed...Cases of this kind are of common occurrence in the text of 1611.
DEUT. xxix. 29. “ The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us.'
The complaint here is, that “things” in the former part of the verse, and “things which are” in the latter, should be in Italics. This passage affords a good illustration of the elliptic brevity of the Hebrew. In the original, we have, in fact—“ The secret [things]—unto the LORD our God: but the revealed_unto us.
The sertiment so expressed was, no doubt, perfectly intelligible to the Israelites; but the generality of English readers would require it to be brought out more fully. Let us see how this is done. First, the Hebrew adjective, “the secret” is too abstract for the English idiom; and so it is converted into “the secret things" —which, when fully explained, it really means. Then, , there is no verb to connect “the secret [things]” with “unto the Lord our God;” and accordingly “belong," the verb manifestly implied, is introduced. We now have the first part of the verse complete: “ The secret things belong unto the LORD our God:” and if the second part had been literally translated—“but the revealed_unto us,” the ellipsis, suggested by the former part, might perhaps have been