I have completed a new translation of the Psalms of the Bible - where I looked at not only the Hebrew Masoretic, but also three other ancient translations: the Septuagint, the Vulgate (Latin) and the Peshitta (Aramaic). Of these, the Septuagint translation is the most ancient, and at least for the Psalms I have found it to be the most valuable. What got me started on this? As explained in Is the Masoretic Text of the Bible the Most Reliable?, Psalm 145 is an acrostic Psalm where each line begins with a Hebrew letter. But in the Masoretic text, the line which should begin with the letter N is missing (after verse 145:13). This concerned me, because Jesus was very specific the smallest portions of scripture down to each letter was important:
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matt. 5:18)
And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. (Luke 16:17)
So I began to translate the Psalms, not beginning from scratch, but combining the research of others, according to the following principles (as explained in The Mistranslations of the Bible:
1. Base translation on KJV to be familiar to readers. Try to retain the meaning to the common reader.
2. Update KJV translation to modern English for readability.
3. Base OT translation on Masoretic, Septuagint, Vulgate, Peshitta and Dead Sea Scrolls, with Masoretic given priority. Note important variants in italics.
4. Fix mistranslations. If Masoretic is overruled, note in italics.
5. Improve translation with more equivalent words, if apparent.
6. Improve translation consistency if apparent, regarding context.
7. Document the mistranslations for the reader (noted with a link).
The seventh rule is important: so many times, the average reader of the Bible is faced with a dilemma: which translation is most correct? Before I went through this exercise, I tried to come up with a good recommendation in The Best Bible Translation in English?. The bad news in this: in every single Psalm, I could find a mistranslation in every modern version of the Bible. Most are minor, many are translation inconsistencies, but it adds up. This took a while because I did not just do it for the Psalms, but also kept notes on word changes when the same word was used in other areas of the Bible.
A CLAIRVOYANT DREAM CONCERNING THE TRANSLATION
Here is the odd thing that happened when I began this: someone I know who tends to have clairvoyant dreams had a dream about the work I was doing, without any knowledge that I had decided the Psalms. This person saw an open white book, discussing spiritual topics, but on top of this book was a blue spider. The spider was killed, and then cleansed with kitchen cleaning agents, but it left navy blue ink on the white book.
In dreams, a spider with its poison represents a falsehood. This surprised me, as I was marking mistranslations in the Bible, and marking them with navy blue hyperlinks. Here is a screenshot of the tool I was using:
The advantage of the translation is that one can check on the work to compare with other translations: if I corrected a mistranslation of a word in KJV, or improved on translation consistency, it was noted with a hyperlink, which is shown in blue. Other notes can be seen when one clicks on any plus sign [+] for the line.
THE RESTORED POETIC STRUCTURE OF THE PSALMS
Another point to note about this translation: the poetic structure of each line of the Psalms has been restored. In the Hebrew text all letters were just written together, and at a much later date verses were added for reference without regard to the poetic structure. In ancient Hebrew poetry they used parallelism, where the second line would repeat the previous line, or say the same idea in a different manner. Some modern Bibles have started to restore this structure but none of them do it completely. In the above, related lines are indented in the same manner, and subsequent sections with the same indent will often repeat a former section. The verse numbers of the Bible have been shifted to the right in order to show this. In many of the Psalms sections are 4 or 8 lines, but other patterns are used.
Emanuel Swedenborg had an interesting insight concerning some of this parallelism. When one takes a look at the parallel lines, often one line will talk about love, and the following line will refer to truth. Or another way to say it, one line will reference the will, the other line one thoughts. Love and truth must unite to make one: love is female, truth is male, and both ever desire to become united to become one. Thus the repetition, and this explains the meaning of the following verse:
Seek ye out of the book of Jehovah, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them. (Isa. 34:16)
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