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5. Closely connected with the foregoing are certain additional alterations which have seemed to be required by regard for pure English idiom.
We are not insensible to the justly lauded beauty and vigor of the style of the Authorized Version, nor do we forget that it has been no part of our task to modernize the diction of the Bible. But we are also aware that the rhetorical force and the antique flavor which we desire to retain do not consist in sporadic instances of uncouth, unidiomatic, or obscure phraseology. While we may freely admit that the English of the Scriptures can, as a whole, hardly be improved, yet it would be extravagant to hold that it cannot be bettered in any of its details. What was once good usage is often such no onger; and we can see no sound reason for retaining such expressions as smell thereto" (Ex. xxx. 38), "forth of " (instead of "forth from "), "inquire at" (1 K. xxii. 5), “a fool's vexation is heavier than them both " (Prov. xxvii. 3), or " when... he be jealous over his wife" (Num. v. 30). These are only a few of the many instances of phraseology which there is the best reason for amending.
A change of a more general kind is the introduction of a greater degree of consistency and propriety in the use of the auxiliaries "will" and "shall." The latter is certainly used to excess in the Authorized Version, especially when connected with verbs denoting an action of the Divine Being; and the two are also often very inconsistently used, as may be observed in such a striking case as Ps. cxxi. 3, 4.
Again, the attempt to translate literally from the original has not infrequently led to Hebraisms which had better be avoided. Many of these have indeed become, as it were, naturalized in our language, and need not be disturbed. But others must be called bad and outlandish. Thus, in Ezek. xx. 17, we read, "mine eye spared them from destroying them," which is a very literal translation of the Hebrew, but very poor English. Scarcely more tolerable is the expression, that they may be to do the service" (Num. viii. 11), which also comes from over-literalness. To the same class belongs the phrase "by the hand of," as used after such expressions as "Jehovah spake" (or, "commanded"), e.g., in Num. xxvii. 23. This is indeed the literal rendering; but the Hebrew really means simply "through" or "by means of," and is in the majority of these instances in the Authorized Version rendered "by," but sometimes "by the hand of." Manifestly the simpler form is every way preferable; and the change, if any is made, should be in this direction, whereas in the English Revision "by" is, in nine cases out of forty-two, changed to "by the hand of." Similarly, "in the land," in Deut. v. 16 and in several other places, has been changed in the English Revision to " upon the land"; but as "land" is here equivalent to " country," "in the land" is clearly the most appropriate. In both these groups of cases we have everywhere adopted the idiomatic English, rather than the slavishly literal, rendering.
6. In introducing certain translations different from those of the English Revised Version, and also not directly or implicitly required by the Appendix, we have been governed by the conviction that, in cases where accuracy and perspicuity clearly required an emendation, we were fully warranted in resorting to it. We have been careful, in making these alterations, to consult the best authorities, and especially the recent carefully revised versions of the German, French, Dutch, Danish, Swed ish, and Norwegian Bibles. Few certainly will object to such alteratio as are found in Deut. xxxii. 14; Judg. v. 20; Is. xxx. 32; xxxv. 8; H
xi. 2; Mic. i. 6. We have also not hesitated to insert "the" before Jordan" and other names of rivers. Likewise, as the English Revisers had with good reason removed the fabulous "unicorn" from the Old Testament, so we have removed the equally fabulous" dragon," as also the " arrowsnake" of the English Revision (Is. xxxiv. 15) -an animal unknown to zoology, the term having obviously been adopted through a too literal translation of the German word "Pfeilschlange."
7. Another particular in which we have to some extent deviated from the requirements of the Appendix relates to our treatment of the references in the margin to the readings of ancient versions. On account of the extreme difficulty of correcting the Hebrew text by means of those versions, we originally decided that it would be better to make no reference to them at all. The case is radically different from that of the New Testament, where the variant readings are mostly found in Greek manuscripts of the New Testament itself. The authorities referred to in the Old Testament are translations from the Hebrew; and though the date of these translations is more ancient than any extant manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, yet there is no means of verifying with certainty the text of these translations; and one can never get beyond plausible conjecture in attempting to correct the Hebrew text by means of them. It is one thing to admit that the Hebrew text is probably corrupt here and there; quite another, to be sure how to rectify it. In the English Revision there are frequent references in the margin to the ancient versions. The most of these seem to us at the best of trivial importance, and have been dropped. A few represent only a different vocalization of the Hebrew. A certain number, however, have to do with variations of some importance and such as may, with considerable probability, be conjectured to represent the original Hebrew. We have therefore retained a little more than one-sixth of the references given in the English Revision, but have been careful to designate which of the ancient versions contain a specified reading, instead of making the vague, and often inaccurate, statement that "some or "many ancient versions present the reading in question.
8. In preparing the headings we have intended, by means of brief but descriptive terms, to enable the reader to see at a glance what the general contents of each page are. Everything that might seem to savor of a questionable exegesis has been carefully avoided.
9. Considerable attention has been paid to the paragraph divisions and to the punctuation. While the English Revisers did well to abandon the older way of making a paragraph of each verse, they often went to the opposite extreme of making the paragraphs excessively long, leaving in some cases whole pages without a break, as, for example, at Gen. xxiv. and Num. xxii.-xxiv. We have revised the paragraph divisions throughout, making them generally shorter, and sometimes altering the place of the division.
In the matter of punctuation, we have aimed to remove many inconsistencies found in previous editions, and also, while retaining the general system adopted by our predecessors, to make the book conform somewhat more nearly to modern usage. One result is a considerable reduction of the number of colons, which are often replaced by semicolons, occasionally by periods or commas. In some cases a change of punctuation has modified the sense; as, e.g., in Gen. ii. 5; xiv. 24; Ezek. xxix. 9, 10. We ave also made much more frequent use of the hyphen than has been in previous editions. In many instances we have recurred to the
punctuation of the Authorized Version, especially where the English Revisers have departed from it out of an undue regard to the pausal accents of the Massoretic text; as, e.g., in Lev. vi. 7; Zech. xi. 16.
Further particulars respecting the points of difference between this edition and the English Revision of 1881-1885 may be learned from the Appendix to the Old Testament, which is published in the first edition of this version of the Bible.
Earnestly hoping that our work may contribute to the better understanding of the Old Testament, we commend it to the considerate judgment of all students of the Sacred Scriptures.
THE NAMES AND ORDER
BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
THE FIRST BOOK OF MOSES,
God's Work of Creation
1 In the beginning God created the earth brought forth grass, herbs
yielding seed after and trees bearing fruit, wherein is the seed thereof, after their kind: and God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
the earth. And the earth was waste and oid; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there he light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day,
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruittrees bearing fruit after their kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth and it was so. 12 And 1 Or, was brooding upon
2 Heb. expanse.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was SO. 16 And God made the two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
20 And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that moveth, wherewith the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind: and God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas,
3 Heb. on the face of the expanse of the heavens.