NWT translation to Jehovah in OT

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leaving_quietly
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NWT translation to Jehovah in OT

#1 Post by leaving_quietly » 10 months ago

I was listening to a sermon online yesterday, and the pastor was discussing Psalm 86 verse-by-verse out of the ESV. He said something interesting, that in this prayer, he didn't do something annoying, by saying God's name every other sentence. He was commenting on how some people will do that and it seems contrived. Then he said, this particular Psalm doesn't have God's name all over the place. It's Lord most of the time. Of course, I had to check the NWT, and it's "O Jehovah" all over that Psalm. So, I'm thinking this pastor is wrong. Then I checked biblehub.com for Psalm 86, and you know what? The pastor is right. The NWT translates Adonay to Jehovah in addition to YHWH. To be clear, Psalm 86:1 has YHWH. Psalm 86:3 has Adonay, though. Should verse 3 also be translated as God's name? I'm thinking no, if it says YHWH, yes, but not Adonai/Adonay, Elohim. It seems clear to me that the Psalmist here was intentionally saying Lord, thus the "restoration" of God's name would be unnecessary.

vs 1: YHWH
vs 3: Adonay
vs 4: Adonay
vs 5: Adonay
vs 6: YHWH
vs 8: Adonay
vs 9: Adonay
vs 11: YHWH
vs 12: Adonay
vs 15: Adonay
vs 17: YHWH

All of these are "Jehovah" in the NWT. Is this a case of overtranslation? Presumption? Or do you think it's appropriate? In all my years, I've never heard anyone complain about translating YHWH as God's name in the OT. But this seems wrong to me. Thoughts?

Bobcat
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Re: NWT translation to Jehovah in OT

#2 Post by Bobcat » 10 months ago

Hi LQ,

Hope you are doing well.

In the Rbi8 (1984 Reference Bible NWT) at each of the verses where you have Adonay it has a footnote referring back to the footnote in verse 3. The footnote reads:
One of 134 scribal changes from YHWH to 'Adho nai'. See App[endix] 1B.

Here is an article on it. This is an old article and I don't know if it was written by a JW. I was hoping to find something not affiliated with the WT because you could never tell if it was just toeing the party line.

This page purports to show all 134 locations of the change.

And here is the Google search results (that I got) where you might find more on the topic.

Hope this is useful. I think the NWT has it right on this.


Bobcat

Note:

The NWT Rbi8 quotes from a reference that explains and lists the 134 sopherim changes of YHWH (Jehovah/Yahweh) to 'Adho nai' (Lord). The quotation and listing are provided below for easy reference:
Gins.Mas, Vol. IV, p. 28, § 115, says: “We have seen that in many of these one hundred and thirty-four instances in which the present received text reads Adonaī in accordance with this Massorah, some of the best MSS. and early editions read the Tetragrammaton, and the question arises how did this variation obtain? The explanation is not far to seek. From time immemorial the Jewish canons decreed that the incommunicable name is to be pronounced Adonaī as if it were written אדני [ʼAdho·naiʹ] instead of יהוה [YHWH]. Nothing was, therefore, more natural for the copyists than to substitute the expression which exhibited the pronunciation for the Tetragrammaton which they were forbidden to pronounce.”

Following is a list of these 134 places, according to Gins.Mas, Vol. I, pp. 25, 26, § 115:

Ge 18:3, 27, 30, 31, 32; 19:18; 20:4; Ex 4:10, 13; 5:22; 15:17; 34:9, 9; Nu 14:17; Jos 7:8; Jg 6:15; 13:8; 1Ki 3:10, 15; 22:6; 2Ki 7:6; 19:23; Ez 10:3; Ne 1:11; 4:14; Job 28:28; Ps 2:4; 16:2; 22:30; 30:8; 35:17, 22, 23; 37:13; 38:9, 15, 22; 39:7; 40:17; 44:23; 51:15; 54:4; 55:9; 57:9; 59:11; 62:12; 66:18; 68:11, 17, 19, 22, 26, 32; 73:20; 77:2, 7; 78:65; 79:12; 86:3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 15; 89:49, 50; 90:1, 17; 110:5; 130:2, 3, 6; Isa 3:17, 18; 4:4; 6:1, 8, 11; 7:14, 20; 8:7; 9:8, 17; 10:12; 11:11; 21:6, 8, 16; 28:2; 29:13; 30:20; 37:24; 38:14, 16; 49:14; La 1:14, 15, 15; 2:1, 2, 5, 7, 18, 19, 20; 3:31, 36, 37, 58; Eze 18:25, 29; 21:9; 33:17, 20; Da 1:2; 9:3, 4, 7, 9, 15, 16, 17, 19, 19, 19; Am 5:16; 7:7, 8; 9:1; Mic 1:2; Zec 9:4; Mal 1:12, 14.

The Rbi8 appendix on this point also says:
We restored the original reading in 133 places and rendered it as “Jehovah.” The only exception is Ps 68:26, where BHK and BHS already have the Tetragrammaton.— See Ps 68:26 ftn, “Jehovah.”

According to Gins.Int, pp. 368, 369, in some instances the Jewish Sopherim substituted ʼElo·himʹ for the Tetragrammaton. The NWT also restores the Tetragrammaton in those eight places. Here they are: Ps 14:1, 2, 5; 53:1, 2, 4, 5, 6.

Thus, the total number of restorations of the Tetragrammaton from these scribal changes in the NWT is 141.

leaving_quietly
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Re: NWT translation to Jehovah in OT

#3 Post by leaving_quietly » 10 months ago

Thanks for that, Bobcat. I didn't look at the NWT84 or footnotes. I had forgotten about those changes by the Sopherim.

AmosAu3
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Re: NWT translation to Jehovah in OT

#4 Post by AmosAu3 » 10 months ago

Hi LQ,

That was a good pickup. I've done a preliminary check in the KJV with Strongs and I agree with you at this point. What I noticed was that when "Lord" was translated it was Adonay (H136). When it was translated, "LORD" (H3068).

I'll try to check this in some other reference works that I have in hard copy.

Regards, Amos.

Bobcat
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Re: NWT translation to Jehovah in OT

#5 Post by Bobcat » 10 months ago

I added a note to the bottom of my post above (below the username) (here). It is informational and so that we have this cataloged on this site for ease of reference.


Bobcat

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menrov
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Re: NWT translation to Jehovah in OT

#6 Post by menrov » 10 months ago

You can have a look here: https://studybible.info/YLT/Psalms%2086
Young also has a literal translation and many cases the OT look very much like the NWT 84 edition. Check NWT
https://www.jw.org/en/library/bible/bi1 ... psalms/86/

YLT uses Lord and God and Jehovah. whereas NWT in most cases use Jehovah.

For more info on H136 (BDB125), see: https://studybible.info/BDB/BDB125

Bobcat
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Re: NWT translation to Jehovah in OT

#7 Post by Bobcat » 10 months ago

Incidentally, you can use this website to compare the NWT with any other Bible (or any Bible with any other, for that matter).

I wish the PhP software had a way to make an interactive post. But if you look at the URL in the link you can get an idea how to make a clickable link that compares any passage with any two translations. And you can switch languages also, although, I don't yet know what all languages are supported.

Here is another use: Compare one verse in a translation with multiple other translations. For example, here is Ps 86:5 in the NWT with several other translations for comparison. Just look at the URL to see how it was done.

There might be other possibilities too. I haven't yet had a chance to look over the whole site.


Bobcat

leaving_quietly
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Re: NWT translation to Jehovah in OT

#8 Post by leaving_quietly » 10 months ago

This was quite a rabbit hole, researching the Sopherim. I feel like I only touched the tip of the iceberg with this one, especially when I got down to arguments around Psalm 110 verses 1 and 5. (The argument goes: YHWH tells the Lord to sit at his right hand in verse 1, but in verse 5, YHWH is at the Lord's right hand, so who is at whose right hand? Therefore, according to the argument, there are two YHWH's based on each being at each other's right hand, therefore Jesus = Jehovah. A second claim is that when Jesus quoted this verse, the Greek used was Kurios, so he said, 'How is it David calls him kurios when he says, "The kurios said to my kurios: sit at my right hand...' As the claim goes, Jesus was saying kurios was, in reality, YHWH, in all three instances. These two claims are a whole different discussion, but they off-tracked me for a bit.)

I'm wondering why they didn't change ALL of the YHWH references in Psalm 86. Clearly some were left. I also found a Hebrews KJV based on the Massoretic text with the tetragrammaton here. I'd love to find a manuscript or fragment online that pre-dates the Massorah, but so far, I'm not finding any that doesn't cost a ton of money. My gut tells me YHWH was actually there in the most ancient texts and were later changed. I doubt for the reason of "extreme reverence" for the divine name, though. Quite possibly to make it more readable. I guess that doesn't matter, though, does it?

Thanks for those links, Bobcat.

Bobcat
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Re: NWT translation to Jehovah in OT

#9 Post by Bobcat » 10 months ago

Hi LQ,

Seeing the chiastic or symmetrical structure of Psalm 110 puts the pieces in their proper order. Where "A" and "A^" parallel each other. And "B" and "B^" parallel each other:

A. (Speech Introduction + Divine Oracle) YHWH inaugurates his chosen one as KING (Ps 110:1)

. . . B. (Psalmic Prophecy) YHWH will extend his King’s rule and prepare his people for battle (Ps 110:2-3)

A^ (Speech Introduction + Divine Oracle) YHWH inaugurates his chosen one as PRIEST (Ps 110:4)

. . . B^ (Psalmic Prophecy) YHWH will defeat the King’s enemies and revive him with victory (Ps 110:5-7)

Verses 2-3 have the king getting ready and going into battle. In the parallel, verses 5-7 have the victory. Drinking from the brook and raising the head in verse 7 appear to be related to the victorious return of the king. One reference says that drinking from the brook may be an allusion to Jdg 7:6, only in reverse from Gideon. Gideon is told the 300 men who drank without getting on their knees would be the ones who help bring him victory. But the king/priest in Ps 110:7 drinks following his victory.

Besides offering the above literary structure, this expose' of Psalm 110 says some favor a more traditional chiastic structure to the psalm:
A. Yahweh installs the king (Ps 110:1)

. . . B. He is sent out to conquer (Ps 110:2)

. . . . . . C. The day of power (Ps 110:3)

. . . . . . . . . D. Yahweh swears an oath (Ps 110:4)

. . . . . . C^ Yahweh's day of wrath (Ps 110:5)

. . . B^ He goes out to conquer (Ps 110:6)

A^ Yahweh installs the king (Ps 110:7)

In this view, if I understood the explanation correctly, The "He" of "He will lift up the head" is Yahweh exalting his Messiah. In the first one above "He" in Ps 110:7b is understood to be the Messiah raising his head in victory. As it explains, the Psalm does have a number of ambiguous points in it that could be interpreted in different ways.

For reference, places where Ps 110 is quoted or referred to in the NT:
Quotes: Mt 22:43-45; Ac 2:33-36; Heb 1:13

Allusions: Mt 26:63-64; Mk 16:19; Ac 5:30-31; 7:55-56; Rom 8:34; 1Co 15:24-25; Eph 1:20, 22; 2:6; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3b; 8:1b; 10:12-13; 12:2; 1Pe 3:21-22; Rev 3:21

This page also lists a number of other "imagery allusions" to Psalm 110.

Just as an aside, Melchizedek was not like the Levitical priests. He was a king-priest. (Heb 7:1-3; Ps 110:4) The writer of Hebrews points out that Jesus became a priest like Melchizedek. (Heb 7:15-16) So if Jesus became a high priest after being raised and glorified (Heb 5:9-10) that would argue that he also became a king at that time too. (Compare with this post) Otherwise, Jesus would only have been a priest like the Levitical priests from 33 CE until 1914 CE (using WT chronology/theology).


Bobcat

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menrov
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Re: NWT translation to Jehovah in OT

#10 Post by menrov » 10 months ago

Peculiar translations on Psalm 110:1
Wycliffe(i) 1 The `title of the hundrid and tenthe salm. Alleluya. Lord, Y schal knouleche to thee in al myn herte; in the counsel and congregacioun of iust men.
LXX2012(i) 1 (111) Alleluia. I will give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart, in the council of the upright, and [in] the congregation.

This one is also interesting:
ECB(i) 1 A Psalm: By David. An oracle of Yah Veh to my Adonay; Settle at my right until I set your enemies the stool of your feet.

Psalm 110:5
LXX2012(i) 5 He has given food to them that fear him: he will remember his covenant for ever.
Wycliffe(i) 5 he hath youe meete to men dredynge hym. He schal be myndeful of his testament in to the world;

ECB(i) 5 Adonay at your right struck sovereigns in the day of his wrath:

OK, 2 translation have something completely different. ECB is rather clear as in my view it says that to David, his lord is Adonay, different from Yah Veh. In this translation, Adonay is not equal to Yah Veh and Adonay is the lord to David, NOT Yah Veh. In other words, David would be worshiping Adonay, not Yah Veh.

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