Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Power of The Word

I have been thinking a lot about דִבֶּר 'dabar' (davar), Hebrew for 'word' lately for a variety of reasons. One is that it is given an inexplicably prominent place in John's gospel, "In the beginning was the word..." I was fascinated to read this post by Talmida at Lesser of Two Weevils.

I am excited to expand my acquaintance with current Bibile translations to include the The Judaica Press Complete Tanach with Rashi, which I have recently heard mentioned as the 'Tanach'. Follow this explanation and see how much more literal and, at the same time, true to the original meaning it is.

This passage resonated so powerfully with me I want to shout it out! The verb diber means, to speak. The noun form, davar, means word, thing, affair. If you look in a modern Hebrew New Testament, the Gospel of John tells us that "in the beginning was davar". There's a reason for that.

The most common English translations have a similar spin on this verse of 2 Kings:

And the LORD said not that he would blot out the name of Israel (KJV)
But the LORD had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel (NRSV)
And the Lord did not say that he would blot out the name of Israel (D-R)

But check out the Judaica Press version:

And the Lord did not speak to eradicate the name of Israel (JPCT)

That's different! And more faithful to the original, in my opinion.

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