Sunday, January 08, 2017

Who will escape?


Joel 2:31 presents “the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.” Who will escape it? The following verse (Joel 2:32) answers: “And everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, just as Jehovah has said, The survivors whom Jehovah calls.”

The Greek Septuagint (LXX) presents the last part with a different twist. It states: “Those telling good news; those evangelizing [from εὐαγγελιζόμενοι, euaggelizomenoi] whom [Jehovah] calls.”

Why this change? Why are the survivors evangelizers? For the answer we must look at the Hebrew text:

והיה כל אשר־יקרא בשם יהוה ימלט כי בהר־ציון ובירושלם תהיה פליטה כאשר אמר יהוה ובשרידים אשר יהוה קרא׃

The underlined word is ubassridim, “among the survivors or remnant (שרידים, sridim).” Now, to go from that word to euaggelizomenoi, evangelizers, can be accomplished through the following easy modification: if the initial “b” in ubassridim was taken as the initial letter of the word basar, “to preach, tell good news,” (instead of the particle “b” meaning “in” or “among”) along with confusing the similar “r” and “d” (ר and ד), then one Hebrew word was transformed into another similar Hebrew word, which was then translated into the LXX. As the late Solomon Landers[1] once said:
The similarity between “b.sr(idim)” [“among the survivors”] and “bsr(iyim)” [“evangelizers”] in an unpointed, paleo-Hebrew text—such as the LXX translators would have had—is striking.
But were the LXX translators that far off in their modification? As it harmonizes with the Great Commission that Jesus later gave in Matthew 28:19, 20 and described in Matthew 24:14, they were not off the mark. Ironically, while it was ultimately a mistranslation, it did harmonize with later divine revelation.

Thus, in closing, who will escape the Day of Jehovah? The evangelizers appointed by Jehovah.


Footnotes:
[1] Solomon Landers (1942-2013) was a very scholarly Jehovah’s Witness who also maintained an excellent collection of blogs on the Coptic translation of the scriptures.

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