Daniel's Prophecy, 605 BCE or 624 BCE?

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    M Narkissos posted Thu, 19 May 2005 22:56:00 GMT(5/19/2005)

    Post 2872 of 9516
    Joined 9/27/2003
    In passing, my learned friend the Right Honourable Rodney Leslie Shearman VDM, highly respected Elder and Hebrew scholar who was tutored in Hebrew by the late Atara Hasofer Ph.D has examined critically all the linguistic material on these posts, the Lexica and the Grammar.

    Let me try to translate:

    Scholar's JW friend, who has notions of Hebrew although not at any academic level, upholds the NWT.

    Big deal.

    More surprising (and commendable) is the fact that this JW elder has not turned scholar in for associating with apostates on the internet.

    Unless scholar is not a baptised JW or approved associate.

    Jenni is quite wrong in excluding the fact that le can have a locative sense in Jeremiah 29:10. The lexicon has examples of such use even though these are very rare.

    If they are very rare they should be easy to quote.

    Remember, it should be (1) a static locative, (2) susceptible of free use, i.e. not limited to a different stereotyped expression (e.g. le-petach).

    Even if the general possibility of a static locative for le- should be retained (and I am still waiting for convincing evidence of that), it would still be necessary to show that this sense suits Jeremiah 29:10 better than the non-locative use apparent in all its other occurrences with ml' + time period.

    hillary_step posted Thu, 19 May 2005 23:53:00 GMT(5/19/2005)

    Post 5199 of 7304
    Joined 4/13/2001

    Narkissos,

    I am still not clear on what Scholar was actually suggesting regarding Shearman in that paragraph. He falls short of actually declaring that Shearman agrees with the NWT and his own stance, despite him being the brilliant, upstanding, polished elder that he is.

    Perhaps Shearman could come to the Board, as he has purpotedly read all the material on this thread, and give us his reasons for disagreeing with Jenni. We have seen the wagging tail, perhaps it is time that the dog introduced himself.

    Unless scholar is not a baptised JW or approved associate.

    They call 'approved associates', 'unbaptized publishers' these days. Nothing like a label to prove that you are really alive.

    Kind regards - HS

    Alleymom posted Fri, 20 May 2005 01:20:00 GMT(5/20/2005)

    Post 435 of 933
    Joined 10/19/2001
    No doubt that you would have noticed how Lundbom's interpretation of the seventy years differs from your view and that of the Jonsson hypothesis.

    Ummm, no. You have misunderstood and misrepresented my view of the seventy years in Jer. 29:10. I have been meaning to go back and look for the message where you did so, so I could copy what you said and post a correction. As I recall, you seem to assume that I believe the 70 years started with the captivity of the exiles who are being addressed in the letter sent in Jeremiah 29. That is not correct.

    I agree with Lundbom and other scholars that the 70 years in this passage are seventy years FOR Babylon. I thought I had made that very plain in the course of the many discussions we have had on this topic.

    I don't mean to be unkind, Neil, but you really don't know what you are talking about with all this stuff you are bringing up about the infinitive. Have you taken the time yet to verify that mel'oth is EXACTLY the same in Lev. 25:30 and Jer. 29:10? In one post you admitted that you had goofed, but then you still sounded somewhat uncertain and said you had not consulted a parsing guide.

    It seems as if your approach to this is essentially fideistic. You are apparently (or at least publicly) so convinced of the supposed "brilliance" of the NWT that you seem to think you can work backwards from the NWT English translation and discern grammatical forms and nuances of syntax in the Hebrew, even though you do not know Hebrew. This is simply not possible. Language study does not work that way, as you should know from your university studies. Trying to work backwards from the English to discern meaning in theHebrew is the reason you have posted some huge errors.

    Leolaia put a lot of effort into posting some extremely detailed responses, most of which you have ignored. In particular, you have not responded to the messages in which she and Narkissos pointed out your errors where you were assuming that various verses had the preposition lamed, when they didn't have it at all. You made these mistakes because you were trying to use the NWT as a guide to the underlying Hebrew morphology.

    (Leolaia and Narkissos, if you are reading this, I would just like to add an extra thanks for all the substantive and detailed responses you have posted in these two threads.)

    In all seriousness, why don't you take an introductory Biblical Hebrew course? Of all the courses I took for my BA in religion many years ago, I have had the most satisfaction and lifetime benefits from my Biblical Hebrew and Koine Greek classes. What is it that the rabbis say about reading the Torah in translation? Don't they say it is akin to kissing your bride through a veil?

    Marjorie

    Alleymom posted Fri, 20 May 2005 01:23:00 GMT(5/20/2005)

    Post 436 of 933
    Joined 10/19/2001
    Narkissos:

    Even if the general possibility of a static locative for le- should be retained (and I am still waiting for convincing evidence of that), it would still be necessary to show that this sense suits Jeremiah 29:10 better than the non-locative use apparent in all its other occurrences with ml' + time period.

    Exactly.

    scholar posted Fri, 20 May 2005 21:06:00 GMT(5/20/2005)

    Post 557 of 2032
    Joined 1/7/2001

    Alleymom

    Well what is your year for the beginning of the seventy years? You have implied by your recent postings that the seventy yeras began at the time of the first exile but in fact that time was the first time in writing to the first exiles that Jeremiah prophesied that the exiles in Babylon wouls remain there for seventy years.

    My learned friend and I are in agreement with the NWT and he has found examples listed by Gesenius in his famous Lexicon which illustrates a locative meaning for 'le'. I will post these examples shortly. Such examples suit the context much better than any non-locative preposition such as 'for', for the simple reason that the seventy years are not Babylon's but plainly Jewish.

    Yes, it would be nice to do a course in Biblical Hebrew as my learned friend has done but the NWT really makes such an endeavour a luxury that I can ill afford at this time. Afterall, is not the NWT a very literal translation of Hebrew and Greek and is highly praised for its scholarship.

    I think the very fact that it is I that has brought to the attention to all including my learned friend Shearman that the NWT has translated the infinitive differently so any linguistic discussion based upon a the common rendering may well be compromised. So, I think I am on top of the subject, meloth is exactly the same as Leviticus 25:30 and Jeremiah 29:10 as to its form but is translated differently. Agree?

    Narkissos and Leolaia have simply presented a linguistic opinion based on their use of the syntax, they have not sourced and rule of grammar to support their exegesis of the syntax. My learned friend has read these post and warns that Hebrew syntax is very loose and not that important because Hebrew is not a technical language as Greek is which does require precise rules of grammar. In short, Hebrew is a fluidic language IMHO.

    scholar JW

    AlanF posted Fri, 20 May 2005 23:41:00 GMT(5/20/2005)

    Post 3989 of 4650
    Joined 3/7/2001

    I recently wrote to Carl Jonsson about his correspondence with the noted scholar and Hebraist, Professor Ernst Jenni, as he referenced in the 4th edition of The Gentile Times Reconsidered, pages 378-9. With his permission, herewith is Jonsson's reply to me in full, except that I've deleted items of a personal nature.

    *=====*=====*=====*=====*=====*=====*=====*

    Hi again,

    I noticed that the file with my correspondence with Ernst Jenni was not the best one. I'm sending a better one below, that may be easier for you to use. Below his answer in German I have added my English translation. I have also added some information on the qualifications of this scholar.

    . . .

    Carl

    Here is my correspondence with Ernst Jenni:

    THE HEBREW PREPOSITION l e AT JEREMIAH 29:10:

    E.mail sent to Professor Emeritus Ernst Jenni in Basel on September 30, 2003:

    Dear Professor Jenni,

    I have been studying Biblical Hebrew for a few years and have recently bought a copy of your extensive and most valuable work, Die hebräischen Präpositionen. Band 3: Die Präposition Lamed (2000). I notice that you reject the local meaning as the basic sense of le (pp. 134-135). This is a most interesting conclusion in view of some statements in a recently published book I have been reading. The book, which is written by a lecturer in Semitic languages at the University of Oslo, Mr. Rolf Furuli, is actually a work on Biblical chronology: Persian Chronology and the Length of the Babylonian Exile of the Jews (Oslo: R. Furuli A/S, 2003). It is in connection with his discussion of the 70 years at Jeremiah 29:10 that the meaning of the preposition le in lebâbel becomes important for his chronology. Mr. Furuli argues that the 70 years here refer to 70 years of desolation of Judah, and that the common rendering "for Babylon", therefore, has to be rejected in favour of "in Babylon" or "at Babylon". He says on page 86:

    "But what about the meaning of the Hebrew preposition le? Can it really be used in the local sense 'at'? It certainly can, and The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew lists about 30 examples of this meaning, one of which is Numbers 11:10, 'each man at (le) the entrance of his tent'. So, in each case when le is used, it is the context that must decide its meaning. For example, in Jeremiah 51:2 the phrase lebâbel means 'to Babylon', because the preceding verb is 'to send'. But lirûshâlâm [the letters li at the beginning of the word is a contraction of le+yod] in Jeremiah 3:17 in the clause, 'all the nations will gather in Jerusalem' has the local meaning 'in Jerusalem', and the same is true with the phrase lîhûdâ in Jeremiah 40:11 in the clause, 'the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah'."

    My question is: Would you agree with his use of these examples for allowing lebâbel at Jer. 29:10 to be translated "in Babylon" or "at Babylon" ["seventy years at Babylon"]? Is this really a likely translation? Is it even a possible one?

    In support of his translation, Furuli also refers to the renderings in some of the old versions of the Hebrew Bible. He says:

    "Looking at the versions, both the Targum Jonathan and the Peshitta use the preposition le, which in both cases have about the same meaning as the Hebrew counterpart. However, the Septuagint has the dative form babylôni, the most natural meaning being 'at Babylon', and the Ge'ez version has westä babilon, which means 'in Babylon' or 'within Babylon'. The Latin Vulgate has in Babylone, the most natural meaning being 'in Babylon' or 'at Babylon' or 'within Babylon'. So the local meaning is the one extant in these versions."

    As far as the Septuagint is concerned, it seems to me that Furuli is wrong in claiming that the most natural meaning of babylôni is "at Babylon". Wouldn't the dative here (without being preceded by en) mean "for Babylon" or "to Babylon"? As for the other versions quoted, they seem to give an interpretation of the text rather than a literal translation.

    I would appreciate very much your comments on the above.

    Sincerely,

    Carl Olof Jonsson

    Box XXXXX

    S-400 20 Göteborg

    Sweden

    e.mail address:

    XXXXX

    Phone and fax number: XXXXX

    Answer received from Professor Ernst Jenni on October 1, 2003:

    Sehr geehrter Herr Jonsson,

    Da ich kürzlich schon eine Anfrage aus Deutschland betr. Jer 29,10 erhalten habe (ebenfalls im Zusammenhang mit einer Theorie der Zeugen Jehovas), kann ich Ihnen relativ rasch antworten.

    Meine Behandlung der Stelle findet sich im Lamed-Buch S.109 (Rubrik 4363). Die Übersetzung ist in allen modernen Kommentaren und Übersetzungen "für Babel" (Babel als Weltmacht, nicht Stadt oder Land); sie ergibt sich sowohl von der Sprache als auch vom Kontext.

    Bei der 'lokalen Bedeutung' ist zu unterscheiden zwischen wo? ("in, bei") und wohin? (lokal terminativ "zu, nach"). Die Grundbedeutung von l ist "in bezug auf" und kann mit einer folgenden Orstbestimmung nur in gewissen adverbiellen Wendungen lokal oder lokal-terminativ verstanden werden (z.B. Num 11,10 [Clines, DCH IV, 481b] "am Eingang", vgl. Lamed S.256.260, Rubrik 8151). Jer 51,2 ist l ein Dativ der Person ("und sende Babel [als personifizierter Weltmacht] Worfler, die es worfeln und sein Land [das Land dieser Babylonier] ausräumen" ((Lamed S.84f.94). Zu Jer 3,17 "nach Jerusalem" (lokal terminativ) alles Nötige in Lamed S.256.270 und ZAH 1,1988, 107-111.

    Zu den Versionen: Die LXX hat mit babylôni eindeutig einen Dativ ("für Babylon"). Nur die Vulgata hat allerdings in Babylone "in Babylon", danach die King James Version "at Babylon" und so wahrscheinlich auch die New World Translation.

    Ich hoffe, Ihnen mit diesen Informationen gedient zu haben und verbleibe mit freundlichen Grüssen

    E. Jenni.

    ---

    Prof. Dr. Ernst Jenni
    XXXXX

    CH-4054 Basel (Schweiz)
    Tel. XXXX

    ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

    [Communication E. Jenni - C. O. Jonsson, dated 1 October, 2003:]

    Dear Mr. Jonsson,

    As I recently have received an inquiry from Germany concerning Jer 29,10 (likewise in connection with a theory of Jehovah?s Witnesses), I can answer you relatively quickly.

    My treatment of this passage is found in the Lamed-book p. 109 (heading 4363). The rendering in all modern commentaries and translations is "for Babel" (Babel as world power, not city or land); this is clear from the language as well as also from the context.

    By the "local meaning" a distinction is to be made between where? ("in, at") and where to? (local directional "to, towards"). The basic meaning of l is "with reference to", and with a following local specification it can be understood as local or local-directional only in certain adverbial expressions (e.g., Num. 11,10 [Clines DCH IV, 481b] "at the entrance", cf. Lamed pp. 256, 260, heading 8151). At Jer. 51,2 l is a personal dative ("and send to Babel [as personified world power] winnowers, who will winnow it and empty its land" (Lamed pp. 84f., 94). On Jer. 3,17 "to Jerusalem" (local directional), everything necessary is in Lamed pp. 256, 270 and ZAH 1, 1988, 107-111.

    On the translations: LXX has with babylôni unambiguously a dative ("for Babylon"). Only Vulgata has, to be sure, in Babylone, "in Babylon", thus King James Version "at Babylon", and so probably also the New World Translaton. I hope to have served you with these informations and remain,

    with kind regards,

    E. Jenni.

    ---

    Prof. Dr. Ernst Jenni
    XXXXX
    CH-4054 Basel (Schweiz)
    Tel. XXXX

    Who is Professor Emeritus Ernst Jenni?

    In 1958 Ernst Jenni succeeded the renowned Semitist and Hebraist Professor Walter Baumgartner as Professor of the faculty of theology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, a position he held until his retirement in 1997. With Professor Claus Westermann Professor Jenni is editor of the indispensible and incomparable reference work, Theologisches Handwörterbuch zum Alten Testament (Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament). He also serves on the editorial committee of the Theologische Zeitschrift. And he is a leading ? if not the leading ? expert on the Hebrew prepositions, having so far written three works in the series Die hebräischen Prepositionen: Band 1: Die Präposition Beth (1992), 400 pages; Band 2: Die Präposition Kaph (1994), 196 pages; and Band 3: Die Präposition Lamed (2000), 350 pages.

    .

    AlanF posted Sat, 21 May 2005 03:48:00 GMT(5/21/2005)

    Post 3990 of 4650
    Joined 3/7/2001

    This post proves, using only the Bible and Watchtower literature, that the New World Translation's rendering of Jeremiah 29:10 is wrong.

    First, I'll show that three scriptural passages prove beyond any doubt that the 70 years spoken of by Jeremiah ended in 539 B.C. Then I'll show that the Society's claims about the 70 years are inconsistent.

    I'll discuss each point in turn:

    Point 1:

    The text of 2 Kings 25:11, 12, in combination with the undisputed date of 539 B.C. for the fall of the Babylonian empire, proves absolutely that the 70 years spoken of by Jeremiah ended not later than 539 B.C. Concerning these 70 years, the text states (NWT):

    11 'And all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 And it must occur that when seventy years have been fulfilled I shall call to account against the king of Babylon and against that nation,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'their error, even against the land of the Chal·de´ans . . .'

    This verse directly states (taking into account the context of the preceeding verses) that the Jews and surrounding nations would serve the king of Babylon for 70 years. It does not specify where they would serve, or when the seventy years began. However, verse 12 is absolutely clear that when the 70 years were fulfilled, or completed, Jehovah would "call to account" or punish the king of Babylon. That unarguably occurred in 539 B.C. when Cyrus' army conquered Babylon and killed its king Belshazzar.

    Note that the phrase the NWT renders "when . . . have been fulfilled" has the Hebrew form "Qal infinitive construct", which signfies completed action, i.e., the "fulfilling" or "completing" of the 70 years was a done deal. This is exactly the same construct as is found in Jeremiah 29:10, except that the latter has a phrase that can be translated as "by my mouth" or "in accord with", etc. inserted between "when" and "have been fulfilled".

    The Watchtower Society has attempted to explain Jer. 25:12 only once in all of its literature (W79 9/15 pp. 23-4), but its attempt was so ridiculous that it has never been repeated. The claim was that Cyrus was actually the king of Babylon who was "called to account" by releasing the Jews from captivity. How that was a calling to account far worse than having one's kingdom conquered and being killed is not explained.

    Point 2:

    The text of Jeremiah 27:6, 7 shows that only Nebuchadnezzar's line of kings were the kings of Babylon referred to in Jeremiah 25:12. The text reads (NWT):

    6 And now I myself have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and even the wild beasts of the field I have given him to serve him. 7 And all the nations must serve even him and his son and his grandson until the time even of his own land comes, and many nations and great kings must exploit him as a servant.

    Clearly, "the time even of his own land" coming means its conquering by the "many nations and great kings" who "must exploit him as a servant." This is precisely the "calling to account" described in Jer. 25:12, and proves that such punishment must have been visited upon the last king of Nebuchadnezzar's line, Belshazzar.

    The Watchtower Society has never discussed this point.

    Point 3:

    The text of 2 Chronicles 36:20, in combination with the undisputed date of 539 B.C. for the fall of the Babylonian empire, proves absolutely that the 70 years spoken of by Jeremiah ended not later than 539 B.C. Concerning Nebuchadnezzar and the Jews the verse states (NWT):

    Furthermore, he carried off those remaining from the sword captive to Babylon, and they came to be servants to him and his sons until the royalty of Persia began to reign.

    The joint royalty of Medo-Persia began to reign in 539 B.C., when the army of Cyrus the Persian conquered Babylon and installed either Darius the Mede (if you accept the statements in Daniel) or Cyrus the Persian as king. In either case, Cyrus was supreme king from the day of his conquering Babylon, and therefore the Jews were no longer servants to the "king of Babylon" that Jeremiah foretold they would be.

    The Watchtower Society has never discussed this point.

    These three points establish the context for the proper interpretation of Jeremiah 29:10. Because the 70 years spoken of by Jeremiah ended in 539 B.C., and the Jews were still captive for another year or two, the proper translation of Jer. 29:10 is easy to comprehend. In the NASB this reads:

    For thus says the LORD, 'When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.

    With the 70 years ending in 539 B.C., it is obvious that substituting "at Babylon" instead of "for Babylon" results in nonsense.

    Here is how the NWT has it:

    10 For this is what Jehovah has said, ?In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I shall turn my attention to YOU people, and I will establish toward YOU my good word in bringing YOU back to this place.?

    Readers will note that the phrasing is such as to render the proper understanding extremely fuzzy, because using "in accord with", while grammatically allowable, blurs the clear meaning of the Qal infinitive construct "when have been fulfilled". Specifically, the NWT deliberately renders the passage in such a way that the fact that the 70 years were completed, and only after that would Jehovah turn his attention to the Jews, is blurred. This obviously helps JWs not to question the NWT's rendering.

    This completes the proof, using only the Bible and the single Neo-Babylonian date that the Watchtower Society accepts, namely, 539 B.C. for Babylon's fall, that its translation of Jeremiah 29:10 is wrong, and therefore that its entire so-called "Bible chronology" is wrong.

    Now I will prove, using the Watchtower Society's own teachings, that its translation of Jeremiah 29:10 is wrong because these teachings result in internal inconsistencies.

    Since 1944, the Watchtower Society has claimed that the 70 years spoken of by Jeremiah were a time of complete desolation of the land of Judah, and they ran from about October 1, 607 B.C. to about October 1, 537 B.C. (cf. W79 9/15 pp. 23-4). But it has also claimed that these years were a time of captivity of the Jews at Babylon. This is obviously inconsistent, because of the trip time from Judah to Babylon, which the Society admits would be about four months for a caravan of men, women, children and their goods (cf. Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 1, p. 417). Taking account of the exact time of Jerusalem's destruction, about August 1, and the time when the Society says that the land became desolate, about October 1, and when the Jews supposedly arrived back in Judah some 70 years later, about October 1, and the four-month trip time, the time of captivity at Babylon was six to eight months shorter than the time of desolation.

    Logically, then, according to the Society's teaching, if the 70 years were a time of desolation of Judah, then the time in captivity at Babylon was only 69 years and 4-6 months. But if the 70 years were a time of captivity at Babylon, then the period of Judah's desolation must have been 70 years and 6-8 months. There is no way to equate these two periods.

    Since the Watchtower's teachings are clearly internally inconsistent, and it's obvious from reading WTS literature that the Society much prefers the notion that the 70 years were a time of desolation of Judah (cf. "Let Your Kingdom Come" (1981), Appendix to Ch. 14, p. 189), it is obvious that it cannot consistently teach that the time of captivity at Babylon was 70 years. Therefore, by the Society's own internally inconsistent teaching, something must give. Given the Society's preferred teaching that the 70 years were a time of desolation and not captivity at Babylon, the NWT's rendering of Jer. 29:10, namely, using "at Babylon" rather than "for Babylon", is wrong.

    It sometimes amazes me that these astute, spirit-directed men at Bethel can't see such simple points.

    AlanF

    hillary_step posted Sat, 21 May 2005 04:06:00 GMT(5/21/2005)

    Post 5206 of 7304
    Joined 4/13/2001

    AlanF, Leolaia, Narkissos and Alleymom,

    Excellent work! This thread has been very valuable and most interesting to the layman, especially as I believe that Scholar is far more knowledgable about this issue than anybody on the Governing Body.

    I had a feeling that someone was pulling Scholar's strings and it seems that Elder Shearman is the puppet-master in this show. Perhaps he will join his protege and defend his position. As I noted, we have seen the wagging tail, perhaps it is time for the dog to appear.

    It sometimes amazes me that these astute, spirit-directed men at Bethel can't see such simple points.

    My own experiences with members of the GB left me feeling that they actually do not know their Bibles as well as one might expect. They are very politically inclined and that is probably one reason why they sit where they do, but are inclined to silence when presented with something that they have difficulty answering.

    HS

    Alleymom posted Sat, 21 May 2005 05:23:00 GMT(5/21/2005)

    Post 437 of 933
    Joined 10/19/2001
    Well what is your year for the beginning of the seventy years? You have implied by your recent postings that the seventy yeras began at the time of the first exile but in fact that time was the first time in writing to the first exiles that Jeremiah prophesied that the exiles in Babylon wouls remain there for seventy years.

    Neil ---

    No, I haven't implied that; you have erroneously inferred it. As I told you in my message #435, "You have misunderstood and misrepresented my view of the seventy years in Jer. 29:10."

    You have said that the " 70 years" in the letter quoted in Jer. 29:10 refers to a period of exile which will take place "at Babylon" beginning about ten years in the future, when Jerusalem would be destroyed. According to you, the 70 year period has not yet started when the letter is sent to the exiles in Babylon. You see it as something which will start in the future. My point is that the "70 years" have already started at the time when this letter is sent to the exiles who are already in Babylon.

    You ask me, "Well what is your year for the beginning of the seventy years?" Neil, one does not need to know when the 70 years started in order to recognize that they have already started. The promise of the Lord is addressed to the exiles. If you want the 70 years to be a period of "exile" rather than a period of "servitude" then you are stuck with the fact that the exile has already started.

    The NWT says:

    Jer 29:4 " This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said to all the exiled people,
    whom I have caused to go into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon"

    According to the NWT, Jehovah has already caused them to go into exile. It says "whom I HAVE CAUSED to go into exile." It does NOT say "whom I WILL CAUSE to go into exile."

    You have repeatedly said that you consider the NWT to be a brilliant and literal translation. You persist in doing word studies and exegesis based on the nuances you think you discern in the particular phrasing of the NWT translation.

    Why do you disregard the NWT's rendering of Jer. 29:4 which plainly says that Jehovah has already caused them to go into exile? How do you explain the rendering "whom I HAVE caused" when you you interpret the passage to mean "whom I WILL cause"?

    Yes, it would be nice to do a course in Biblical Hebrew as my learned friend has done but the NWT really makes such an endeavour a luxury that I can ill afford at this time. Afterall, is not the NWT a very literal translation of Hebrew and Greek and is highly praised for its scholarship.

    I'm not touching the bit about "highly praised for its scholarship" --- that's an entirely different topic, which has been covered many times on this board.

    But, once again, no matter how literal any translation is, it remains a translation. You simple cannot expect to peer dimly into a translation and examine the nuances of the receptor language's syntax and successfully discern the morphology of the parent language. With no knowledge of the parent language, you can sift the receptor language all day long and be no better off than a pagan sifting the entrails of a sheep in a vain attempt to read the omens.

    I don't think the study of Hebrew and Greek is a "luxury" for scholars; it is an absolute necessity. Laypeople can learn to use scholarly helps and they can also compare many different translations, but no true scholar would attempt exegesis based on a translation.

    I think the very fact that it is I that has brought to the attention to all including my learned friend Shearman that the NWT has translated the infinitive differently so any linguistic discussion based upon a the common rendering may well be compromised. So, I think I am on top of the

    subject, meloth is exactly the same as Leviticus 25:30 and Jeremiah 29:10 as to its form but is translated differently. Agree?

    If you mean that meloth in these two verses MUST be translated differently, then no, no. I emphatically do NOT agree. The forms are identical. They are both Qal infinitve constructs. There is not some "hidden" difference in the Hebrew verbs which the NWT is trying to bring out by varying their rendition.

    You seem to ascribe almost magical powers to the NWT translators, as if every word they wrote must be full of some arcane meaning which can be accurately discerned by those who are willing to diligently compare how identical words are rendered in different verses. This reminds me of the error of the "KJV-only" camp, which seemingly ascribes more inspiration to the translation than to the actual Hebrew and Greek text.

    Also, Narkissos and Leolaia have not based their linguistic discussions on a common RENDERING. They have referred to identical forms in the Hebrew text itself. Their excellent and thorough discussions have been based on the Hebrew, NOT the English.

    Because you are persistently trying to read more into the English rendering than is really there, you have made some egregious errors, particularly when you have made pronouncements about certain verses having the preposition lamed when lamed is not even there.

    How would studying Hebrew be a "luxury"? Would it cost too much? You seem to purchase very expensive scholarly books for your personal study. Can you not afford to purchase some elementary Hebrew grammars or CD's? You should be able to obtain what you need from the library. If you cannot afford the tuition for a university level course, you could probably make arrangements to attend a Hebrew program at your local synagogue. Wouldn't your close friend who knows Hebrew so well be willing to help you get started?

    Marjorie

    Alleymom posted Sat, 21 May 2005 06:59:00 GMT(5/21/2005)

    Post 438 of 933
    Joined 10/19/2001
    Marjorie:

    But, once again, no matter how literal any translation is, it remains a translation. You simple cannot expect to peer dimly into a translation and examine the nuances of the receptor language's syntax and successfully discern the morphology of the parent language.

    Neil ---

    The NWT (and other translations) do not always render a particular Hebrew form or phrase the same way in each verse in which it occurs. You seem to think that because the NWT renders mel'oth differently in Lev. 25:30 and in Jer. 29:10, there must be some subtle difference in meaning in the Hebrew verb in these verses.

    You should consider the fact that in the 13 verses in which mel'oth occurs, the NWT renders it in a variety of ways in order to make for a smooth(er) English translation.

    I am going to list the 13 verses in which mel'oth occurs. Please note that in every one of these verses mel'oth is a qal infinitve construct.

    7 verses have the word mel'oth with no additional conjunction or preposition attached.
    2 verses have the conjunction "waw" affixed to mel'oth.
    3 verses have the preposition "k" affixed to mel'oth.
    1 verse has the preposition "b" affixed to mel'oth.

    Note that the differences in translation occur even within these groups.


    7 verses with mel?oth ? Qal infinitive construct
    NWT renderings: the fulfilling, the completing, has come to the full, come to the full

    Leviticus 8:33 NWT
    And YOU must not go out from the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the day of fulfilling the days of YOUR installation, because it will take seven days to fill YOUR hand with power. Leviticus 12:4 NWT
    For thirty-three days more she will stay in the blood of purification. She should not touch any holy thing, and she should not come into the holy place until the fulfilling of the days of her purification.
    Leviticus 25:30 NWT
    But if it should not be bought back before the complete year has come to the full for him, the house that is in the city that has a wall must also stand in perpetuity as the property of its purchaser during his generations. It should not go out in the Jubilee. Jeremiah 29:10 NWT
    "For this is what Jehovah has said, ?In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I shall turn my attention to YOU people, and I will establish toward YOU my good word in bringing YOU back to this place.? Numbers 6:5 NWT
    "?All the days of the vow of his Naziriteship no razor should pass over his head; until the days that he should be separated to Jehovah come to the full, he should prove holy by letting the locks of the hair of his head grow. Numbers 6:13 NWT
    "?Now this is the law about the Naz´i·rite: On the day that the days of his Naziriteship come to the full, he will be brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting. Daniel 10:3 NWT
    Dainty bread I did not eat, and no flesh or wine entered into my mouth, and in no way did I grease myself until the completing of the three full weeks.


    uvimeloth - Conunction waw attached to Qal infinitive construct

    NWT renderings: and when [ ] are completed, then at the fulfilling, and when [ ] had come to the full

    Lev. 12:6 NASB
    And when the days of her purification are completed, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the doorway of the tent of meeting, a one year old lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering.

    Leviticus 12:6 NWT

    Then at the fulfilling of the days of her purification for a son or for a daughter she will bring a young ram in its first year for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering to the entrance of the tent of meeting to the priest. Esther 1:5 NWT And when these days had come to the full , the king held a banquet for seven days for all the people that were found in Shu´shan the castle, for the great as well as the small, in the courtyard of the garden of the king?s palace.


    kimel?oth -- Preposition k + Qal infinitive construct

    2 Kings 4:6 NWT
    And it came about that

    as soon as the vessels were full she went on to say to her son: "Do bring still another vessel near to me." But he said to her: "There is no other vessel." At that the oil stopped. Jeremiah 25:12 NWT "?And it must occur that when seventy years have been fulfilled I shall call to account against the king of Babylon and against that nation,? is the utterance of Jehovah, ?their error, even against the land of the Chal·de´ans, and I will make it desolate wastes to time indefinite.

    Ezekiel 5:2 NWT

    A third you will burn in the very fire in the midst of the city as soon

    as the days of the siege have come to the full. And you must take another third. You will strike [it] with the sword all around her, and the [last] third you will scatter to the wind, and I shall draw out a sword itself after them.


    bimel?oth -- preposition beth attached to Qal infinitive construct

    Job 20:22 NWT

    While his plenty is at its peak he will be feeling anxious;
    All the power of misfortune itself will come against him.


    Alleymom posted Sat, 21 May 2005 07:27:00 GMT(5/21/2005)

    Post 439 of 933
    Joined 10/19/2001
    Marjorie:

    But, once again, no matter how literal any translation is, it remains a translation. You simple cannot expect to peer dimly into a translation and examine the nuances of the receptor language's syntax and successfully discern the morphology of the parent language.

    Neil ---

    The NWT (and other translations) do not always render a particular Hebrew form or phrase the same way in each verse in which it occurs. You seem to think that because the NWT renders mel'oth differently in Lev. 25:30 and in Jer. 29:10, there must be some subtle difference in meaning in the Hebrew verb in these verses.

    You should consider the fact that in the 13 verses in which mel'oth occurs, the NWT renders it in a variety of ways.

    I am going to list the 13 verses in which mel'oth occurs. Please note that in every one of these verses mel'oth is a qal infinitve construct.

    7 verses have the word mel'oth with no additional conjunction or preposition attached.
    2 verses have the conjunction "waw" affixed to mel'oth.
    3 verses have the preposition "k" affixed to mel'oth.
    1 verse has the preposition "b" affixed to mel'oth.

    Note that the differences in translation occur even within these groups. In the first group, for instance, compare Dan. 10:3 "the completing of the three full weeks" and Lev. 12:4 "the fulfilling of the days of her purification."


    7 verses with mel'oth --- Qal infinitive construct
    NWT renderings:
    --- of fulfilling
    ---
    the fulfilling
    --- has come to the full
    --- come to the full
    --- the completing

    Leviticus 8:33 NWT
    And YOU must not go out from the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the day of fulfilling the days of YOUR installation, because it will take seven days to fill YOUR hand with power. Leviticus 12:4 NWT
    For thirty-three days more she will stay in the blood of purification. She should not touch any holy thing, and she should not come into the holy place until the fulfilling of the days of her purification.
    Leviticus 25:30 NWT
    But if it should not be bought back before the complete year has come to the full for him, the house that is in the city that has a wall must also stand in perpetuity as the property of its purchaser during his generations. It should not go out in the Jubilee. Jeremiah 29:10 NWT
    For this is what Jehovah has said, "In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I shall turn my attention to YOU people, and I will establish toward YOU my good word in bringing YOU back to this place." Numbers 6:5 NWT
    All the days of the vow of his Naziriteship no razor should pass over his head; until the days that he should be separated to Jehovah come to the full, he should prove holy by letting the locks of the hair of his head grow. Numbers 6:13 NWT
    "Now this is the law about the Naz´i·rite: On the day that the days of his Naziriteship come to the full, he will be brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting. Daniel 10:3 NWT
    Dainty bread I did not eat, and no flesh or wine entered into my mouth, and in no way did I grease myself until the completing of the three full weeks.


    uvimel'oth - Conunction waw attached to Qal infinitive construct

    NWT renderings:
    --- then at the fulfilling
    --- and when [ ] had come to the full

    Leviticus 12:6 NWT

    Then at the fulfilling of the days of her purification for a son or for a daughter she will bring a young ram in its first year for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering to the entrance of the tent of meeting to the priest. Esther 1:5 NWT And when these days had come to the full , the king held a banquet for seven days for all the people that were found in Shu´shan the castle, for the great as well as the small, in the courtyard of the garden of the king's palace.


    kimel'oth -- Preposition k + Qal infinitive construct

    NWT renderings:
    --- as soon as [ ] were full
    --- that when [seventy years] have been fulfilled
    --- as soon as [the days of the siege] have come to the full

    2 Kings 4:6 NWT
    And it came about that

    as soon as the vessels were full she went on to say to her son: "Do bring still another vessel near to me." But he said to her: "There is no other vessel." At that the oil stopped. Jeremiah 25:12 NWT " 'And it must occur that when seventy years have been fulfilled I shall call to account against the king of Babylon and against that nation,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'their error, even against the land of the Chal·de´ans, and I will make it desolate wastes to time indefinite.'

    Ezekiel 5:2 NWT

    A third you will burn in the very fire in the midst of the city as soon

    as the days of the siege have come to the full. And you must take another third. You will strike [it] with the sword all around her, and the [last] third you will scatter to the wind, and I shall draw out a sword itself after them.


    bimel'oth -- preposition beth attached to Qal infinitive construct

    NWT rendering:
    while [his plenty] is at its peak

    Job 20:22 NWT

    While his plenty is at its peak he will be feeling anxious;
    All the power of misfortune itself will come against him.


    Marjorie

    M Narkissos posted Sat, 21 May 2005 09:15:00 GMT(5/21/2005)

    Post 2874 of 9516
    Joined 9/27/2003

    Excellent posts Alleymom & AlanF.

    The WT doctrine is the type of construction that can be shattered from many many angles.

    I already pointed out some of the fallacies in Furuli's philological argument

    But what about the meaning of the Hebrew preposition le? Can it really be used in the local sense 'at'? It certainly can, and The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew lists about 30 examples of this meaning, one of which is Numbers 11:10, 'each man at (le) the entrance of his tent'. So, in each case when le is used, it is the context that must decide its meaning. For example, in Jeremiah 51:2 the phrase lebâbel means 'to Babylon', because the preceding verb is 'to send'. But lirûshâlâm [the letters li at the beginning of the word is a contraction of le+yod] in Jeremiah 3:17 in the clause, 'all the nations will gather in Jerusalem' has the local meaning 'in Jerusalem', and the same is true with the phrase lîhûdâ in Jeremiah 40:11 in the clause, 'the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah'

    on the sibling thread: http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/10/90425/1524343/post.ashx#1524343

    Leolaia posted Sat, 21 May 2005 09:59:00 GMT(5/21/2005)

    Post 4148 of 16234
    Joined 9/1/2002

    AlanF....Thank you very much for taking the trouble to post Jonsson's original inquiry to Jenni. And, in view of pseudo-scholar's idle speculation that Jonsson had biased Jenni against JWs in his inquiry, it is of note that Jonsson did not make any mention of JWs in his letter, only to Rolf Furuli who is identified as "a lecturer in Semitic languages at the University of Oslo".

    Narkissos and Leolaia have simply presented a linguistic opinion based on their use of the syntax, they have not sourced and rule of grammar to support their exegesis of the syntax. My learned friend has read these post and warns that Hebrew syntax is very loose and not that important because Hebrew is not a technical language as Greek is which does require precise rules of grammar. In short, Hebrew is a fluidic language IMHO.

    pseudo-scholar....Do you not see the contradiction in your above statement? You require an absolute "rule of grammar" and yet you claim that Hebrew requires no "precise rule" to begin with. All languages have rules and are rule-governed, but languages (yes even Greek!) have syntactic variability as well which is what you refer to as "fluidity". Almost every rule is violable, which is why I said it can never be proven that a rule applies 100% of the time. But that doesn't mean that it's anything goes, and you can willy-nilly translate any way you want because nothing prevents the rendering 100%. As I noted before in post #4275, this assumes a completely inappropriate burden of proof: "The job of the linguist or philologist is to determine the most probable sense of a given word or phrase, not to insist on the least probable sense if the most probable one cannot be established with 100% certainty". That is why Jenni's work is a descriptive grammar, documenting the known patterns of constructions in Hebrew that comprise the given word's usage. His patterns are very robust, with statistical signficance I would predict if they are tested via an algorithm, and thus we should pay attention to what constructions or syntactic patterns fit with Jeremiah 29:10 because these are going to constitute the most probable sense that should be rendered in the text. All the same evidence Alleymom, Narkissos, and I have presented (not the least Jenni himself) also indicates without doubt that the static locative rendering of the NWT is one of the least probable candidates -- one which Jenni with justification rejects.

    My learned friend and I are in agreement with the NWT and he has found examples listed by Gesenius in his famous Lexicon which illustrates a locative meaning for 'le'. I will post these examples shortly.

    Sure, Gesenius lists examples in which le may suggest a static locative (e.g. Numbers 11:10 or one similar to it), and I have gone over these in my post #4282, as well as earlier in this thread, and Narkissos (in #2885) has shown that these belong to recognizable constructions (e.g. the stereotyped l-ptch "at entrance" expression). As I've stated time and again, what matters is whether a static locative "at Babylon" is appropriate for the grammatical context of Jeremiah 29:10. When you cite your examples, please make sure they have at least two of the following properties:

    • They locate a verbal EVENT or TIME PERIOD in a spatial location.
    • The le-phrase is governed by a FULFILL type verb like ml', and especially one that is as a qal infinitive construct.
    • The FULFILL type verb has a TIME PERIOD as its complement.

    I know of no examples that would attest such a pattern. On the other hand, Alleymom, Narkissos, and I have presented many examples that clearly should be rendered as "for, belonging to, with respect to", e.g. with a quasi-possessive, benefactive, and/or dative sense. This is the decisive issue, because this evidence would show whether the NWT rendering is improbable or whether the "FOR Babylon" rendering (which is adopted by almost every modern translation except those influenced by the AV) is most probable.

    Alleymom posted Sat, 21 May 2005 16:48:00 GMT(5/21/2005)

    Post 440 of 933
    Joined 10/19/2001
    Almost every rule is violable, which is why I said it can never be proven that a rule applies 100% of the time. But that doesn't mean that it's anything goes, and you can willy-nilly translate any way you want because nothing prevents the rendering 100%. As I noted before in post #4275 , this assumes a completely inappropriate burden of proof: "The job of the linguist or philologist is to determine the most probable sense of a given word or phrase, not to insist on the least probable sense if the most probable one cannot be established with 100% certainty".

    That is why Jenni's work is a descriptive grammar, documenting the known patterns of constructions in Hebrew that comprise the given word's usage.

    Leolaia ---

    Another excellent post. Scholar is apparently searching (in vain) for a prescriptive grammar which would clearly rule out the possibility of "at" or "in" Babylon.

    On the other hand, Alleymom, Narkissos, and I have presented many examples that clearly should be rendered as "for, belonging to, with respect to", e.g. with a quasi-possessive, benefactive, and/or dative sense. This is the decisive issue, because this evidence would show whether the NWT rendering is improbable or whether the "FOR Babylon" rendering (which is adopted by almost every modern translation except those influenced by the AV) is most probable.

    I thought that was worth highlighting.

    Neil wants to disregard the primary evidence of the thousands of dated cuneiform tablets which establish the chronology of the 6th century BCE and hang everything on the WTS's translation of one Hebrew preposition. Their translation of this preposition is not supported by modern scholars (Neil has acknowledged this). By accepting the NWT translation of this preposition, he disregards the fact that this interpretation requires that the letter from Jeremiah is being addressed to the exiles-of-the-future, not to the exiles who are already there (and he also disregards the NWT rendition of 29:4, "I HAVE caused," not "I WILL cause.") Finally, he disregards the implications of all the other scriptures which have been cited by Alan so many times.

    Marjorie

    AlanF posted Sat, 21 May 2005 20:16:00 GMT(5/21/2005)

    Post 3991 of 4650
    Joined 3/7/2001

    Carl Jonsson sent the following material to me for posting on this board. The material below that was originally in French was translated and sent to Jonsson by a scholar in France. I want to point out that this material proves that the "scholarship" exhibited by the JW apologist Rolf Furuli in his book Persian Chronology and the Length of the Babylonian Exile of the Jews (self-published, 2003) is atrociously poor.

    Jonsson's email, posted with permission:

    The statements I quoted in my letter to Professor Jenni from Furuli's book contained a claim that "The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew lists about 30 examples" where le is used in the local sense. It is interesting, therefore, to read what a Hebraist in France, Professor Émile Nicole, says about the examples given in this dictionary in an answer to a question about le published in a French journal for Hebraists. He finds only one example of these "about 30" where le might have a local sense, namely, Numbers 20:24, "you were rebellious at [le] the waters of Meribah." But even here this sense is questionable, and he quotes a French Bible translation that gives the alternative rendering, "respecting [le] the waters of Meriba". I checked how NWT renders this verse, and remarkably, it, too, has "respecting the waters of Meriba"!

    I'm enclosing below an English translation of the question with the full answer by Professor Nicole. It is also interesting to notice his remark that "the usual conclusion" is that the 70 years at Jer. 29:10 refer to "the hegemonic period of the Neo-Babylonian Empire." This is contrary to "Scholar's" claim that this understanding of the text is rare. Unfortunately, Nicole, in his last sentence, quotes a translation of Dan. 9:2 that is not quite literal and may easily be misunderstood as applying the 70 years to the ruined state of Jerusalem. (In GTR4, p. 219, I have commented on some similar renderings.) From his comments, however, it is quite obvious that this is not how Nicole understands the 70 years.

    JEREMIAH 29:10: ANSWER TO A QUESTION

    Translated from the Bulletin du Club des Hébraîsants, Vol. 16 (1999), No. 2:

    MAIL FROM OUR READERS

    Question:

    In Jeremiah 29:10 the Jehovah's Witnesses in their New World Translation give the expression l e babel a locative meaning: "at Babylon". Could you get me a copy of one or several appropriate commentaries, or could you give me an explanation of one or several members of the [Association pour la Lecture de la Bible Hébraîque] team?

    Answer:

    The commentaries that I consulted do not mention the Jehovah's Witnesses translation. All of them understand the le as introducing an attributive complement: "When 70 years will have been accomplished for Babylon." The question they discuss is the one of calculating the period. The fall of Babylon having happened in 539 B.C., two different dates are proposed for the beginning of the 70 years, either the fall of Nineveh in 612 (which makes an interval of 73 years) or the accession to the throne of Nebuchadnezzar in 605 (= 66 years). The usual conclusion is that 70 must be understood as a round number corresponding to the hegemonic period of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.

    The translation "for Babylon" is the most natural one. It corresponds with one of the most common uses of the preposition le and goes well with the sentence as a whole.

    The translation "at Babylon" is not very natural, but is it possible?

    The spatial meaning of the preposition is well supported, but it often corresponds to a movement (e.g., "to go to Babylon"). It is the preposition be that usually indicates the place where we are ("living in Babylon").

    It is true that [the Grammaire de l'hébreu biblique by Paul] Joüon (§ 133d) presents the uses of the preposition in this way: "le means to. Often it expresses the direction (but in a less precise manner than 'el); and often, too, there is neither direction nor movement." The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (Vol. IV, 1998) indicates the two meanings: direction (to, towards, meaning no. 2) and place (in, near, meaning no. 4). This seems to authorize the translation "in Babylon" (place where we are). Nevertheless, when we examine the quite long list of examples furnished by the DCH for this use, we see that there is often movement (e.g.: Gen 32:2, "Jacob went on his way"; Gen 49:26, "that the blessings come on Joseph?s head"), or that the locative use of le is related to 'al, next to (e.g.: 2Ki 11:11, "the runners ... stayed ... next to the altar ..."). The only example quoted where there is neither movement nor proximity is the first mentioned, Num 20:24, "you were rebellious at the waters of Meribah", but it is also possible to understand the preposition le as does the [French translation by the] Rabbinat Français: "respecting the waters of Meriba".

    Thus the possibility of rendering the le as does the New World Translation remains insufficiently founded or justified.

    The hottest issue in this debate is that the difference in translation limits what is at stake. The end of the hegemony of Babylon (70 years for Babylon) corresponds to the return of the exiles to Jerusalem, as Jeremiah 29:10 explicitly states and as Daniel understands it when he speaks of "70 years for the ruins of Jerusalem" (Dan 9:2).

    Émile Nicole

    [The French Hebrew scholar Émile Nicole is Professor of the Old Testament at the Faculté Libre de Théologie Evangelique de Vaux-sur-Seine.]

    M Narkissos posted Sat, 21 May 2005 21:22:00 GMT(5/21/2005)

    Post 2875 of 9516
    Joined 9/27/2003

    (Btw Emile Nicole was my OT exegesis professor over 15 years ago...)

    I just read Jenni's article « Jer 3, 17 ,,nach Jerusalem" : ein Aramaismus » (ZAH 1/1 1988). Although it doesn't touch on Jeremiah 29:10 (which is not even suspect of being a directional locative to him, not to mention a static locative) it does make a number of interesting points which have some indirect bearing on the subject being discussed. I will try to summarise some of them:

    First Jenni notes that l-yrwshlm, which is absent from the LXX of Jeremiah 3:17 as I pointed out earlier, is generally recognised as a still later gloss into a late text. As a secondary complement to the verb qwh II niphal it is to be understood as a directional locative: the place [in]to which something is gathered, e.g. Genesis 1:9, "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into ('el) one place"; Jeremiah 3:17a, "all nations shall gather to it ('eleyha).

    However, even this directional locative does not reflect the classical use of the preposition le, as most lexica don't make clear enough. To express such directional locatives ancient Hebrew rather uses the ending -ah (he locale) or the prepositions 'el or 'ad. On the other hand, le- does not function as an independent locative, but as a part of idiomatic adverbial expressions, generally within a bipolar structure, e.g. Jeremiah 7,24, "backward and not forward," Deuteronomy 28:13 "upward and not downward," Isaiah 47:1 "earthward," 51:6 "heavenward". To the same structure belong such fixed expressions as ledarko / limqomo (going on his way / coming back to his place, 1 Samuel 26:25). The similar uses of le with "house," "tent," "place," "land," "inheritance," "city" reflect a similar underlying polarity (i.e. home vs. elsewhere), otherwise an explicit locative such as 'el is used (e.g. 1 Samuel 29:4, "so that he may return to ('el) the place that you have assigned to him").

    As a consequence, le- in ancient Hebrew is never by itself locative. It indicates a more generic relation, which only looks like a locative as a result of the expression it is a part of.

    But the use of the preposition le- completely changes in later works (Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles) and becomes an independent directional (still not static) locative. This is apparent, for instance, from the way the older min / 'el (from / to) in 1 Kings 9:24 ("from the city of David to her own house") becomes min / le- in the rewriting of 2 Chronicles 8:11. Very probably this new Hebrew usage, which coexists with older directional locative prepositions, results from the influence of Aramaic (e.g. Ezra 4:12,23; 5:8,12,14; 6:5; 7.13). The late gloss l-yrwshlm in Jeremiah 3:17 clearly belongs to this later Hebrew usage.

    AlanF posted Sat, 21 May 2005 22:23:00 GMT(5/21/2005)

    Post 3992 of 4650
    Joined 3/7/2001

    I want to summarize scholar pretendus' main arguments about the proper rendering of "le-babel" in Jeremiah 29:10 up to this point, and then show why they are wrong. He claims that the New World Translation's rendering of "le-babel" as "at Babylon" is not only correct, but is the only possibility, for these reasons:

    A. Various lexicons show that translating "le" as "at" is allowable.

    B. The context of Jeremiah 29:10 shows that the 70 years are implied to be a period with respect to the Jews in exile in Babylon, not a period with respect to Babylonian supremacy.

    C. The fact that the Watchtower Society assigns definite start and end dates to the 70 years means something.

    D. The fact that the Watchtower Society claims that it has a definite and complete "Bible chronology" for the Jewish period means something.

    Against these claims we have the following:

    1. The fact that a rendering is allowable does not make it correct. Context and general usage determines that.

    2. All modern scholars who have been asked to give an opinion on the proper rendering of "le" in Jer. 29:10 have replied that "for Babylon" is the correct rendering, and that "at Babylon" is quite improbable.

    3. Modern independent English bible translations are almost unanimous in rendering the passage as "for Babylon" or something similar. The only exceptions I'm aware of are the Harkavy Bible (1916), the Spurrell Old Testament (1885), George Lamsa's translation from the Syriac Peshitta, and the New World Translation -- all of which were done by individuals rather than teams of scholars. Old translations like the King James Version and the Latin Vulgate are, well, the products of old and probably outmoded scholarship.

    4. All modern Bible commentators who have commented on the proper rendering of Jeremiah 29:10 agree that "for Babylon" is correct.

    5. The fact that a rendering is allowable grammatically does not mean it is allowable contextually, either in a local context or an overall context.

    6. As I have shown in my post above, the overall context of the biblical mention of the 70 years shows unequivocally that this time period ended in 539 B.C. -- one to two years before the Jews' exile ended or they returned to Palestine. Therefore the phrase "le-babel" in Jer. 29:10 cannot refer to the ending of an exile or captivity of the Jews at Babylon, or a desolation of the land of Judah ending a year or two after 539 B.C.

    7. The mere assignment of start and end dates to a time period is meaningless if solid evidence against such dates is deliberately ignored. The Watchtower Society ignores all such evidence.

    8. A mere claim to have a complete chronology of the Jews in the biblical period is meaningless if solid evidence against such dates is deliberately ignored. The Watchtower Society ignores all such evidence. Furthermore, a complete chronology of the Jews is irrelevant to the question of our time period of interest here: the Neo-Babylonian period, which lasted from 626 to 539 B.C. and is only marginally concerned with the Jews.

    Further discussion:

    It is easy to settle on an interpretation and then derive all sorts of corollaries from it. That does not mean that the interpretation or the corollaries are correct. That is especially so when the interpreter ignores all evidence against his interpretion.

    For example, about 1876, the founder of the Watchtower Society settled on the interpretation that the 70 years spoken of by Jeremiah were a time of captivity of the Jews in Babylon. Over the years, his successors expanded on and reinterpreted that idea, and now determine the time period as follows:

    We are willing to be guided primarily by God?s Word rather than by a chronology that is based principally on secular evidence or that disagrees with the Scriptures. It seems evident that the easiest and most direct understanding of the various Biblical statements is that the 70 years began with the complete desolation of Judah after Jerusalem was destroyed. (Jeremiah 25:8-11; 2 Chronicles 36:20-23; Daniel 9:2) Hence, counting back 70 years from when the Jews returned to their homeland in 537 B.C.E., we arrive at 607 B.C.E. for the date when Nebuchadnezzar, in his 18th regnal year, destroyed Jerusalem, removed Zedekiah from the throne and brought to an end the Judean line of kings on a throne in earthly Jerusalem.--Ezekiel 21:19-27. ["Let Your Kingdom Come" (1981) p. 189]

    In other words, they start with 537 B.C. as the date of the return of the Jews to Judah (this date is disputed), then assume that the 70 years were a time of desolation of Judah (ignoring a great deal of contrary biblical evidence, and the fact that their own claims are internally inconsistent), and then simply count back 70 years to derive 607 B.C. as the date of Jerusalem's destruction and the beginning of the desolation of Judah.

    By exactly the same kind of reasoning -- except that this time it is backed up by all scriptural and secular evidence -- we can determine the end date, and a candidate for the start date, of the 70 years. Paraphrasing the Watchtower Society's above exposition:

    We are willing to be guided primarily by God's Word rather than by a chronology that is based principally on sectarian interpretations that disagree with the Scriptures. We use sound secular chronology to further verify the correctness of our views, because when both Scripture and secular evidence agree completely, we can be certain that we are correct. It seems evident that the easiest and most direct understanding of the various Biblical statements is that the 70 years ended with the fall of the Babylonian Empire in 539 B.C. (Jeremiah 25:8-12; 27:6-8; 29:10; 2 Chronicles 36:20-23) Hence, counting back 70 years from Babylon's fall, we arrive at 609 B.C. for the date when Nabopolassar, in his 16th regnal year, captured the city of Haran and put a final end to the Assyrian Empire, thus establishing Babylon's supremacy over all nations in Mesopotamia.

    See how easy that is? But the trick is not in the exposition, but in proving the various parts of it, and proving that they all hang together.

    And this is precisely what scholar pretendus, Rolf Furuli, and various other Watchtower apologists fail to do. They focus on little bits of information that don't seem to fit the overall picture, or that they can force not to fit by bad argumentation based on a sectarian agenda, and try to build a whole new picture from these bits. They fail to realize that by focusing on these little bits and ignoring the big bits, they've lost sight of the big picture. Put another way, they're extremely selective, often to the point of outright dishonesty, about the evidence they will accept.

    Another extremely important point about Watchtower apologists: their religion forbids them to accept evidence contrary to Watchtower teaching. If they do, they will surely be disfellowshipped and shunned by their fellow Jehovah's Witnesses. Furthermore, because of the extreme mind control brought about not only by such threats of punishment, but by their acceptance of the doctrine that Watchtower leaders speak for God, by their definition all evidence contrary to Watchtower views must be wrong because it contradicts God. Thus, there is no way that a JW can accept such evidence, because if he does, he risks losing many years -- even a lifetime -- of family association and his entire circle of JW friends.

    It is this extreme cultishness of Jehovah's Witnesses that results in the wild and ridiculous arguments we see presented here by scholar pretendus and by other JW apologists elsewhere. With them, straw grasping is a fine art.

    AlanF

    Alleymom posted Sun, 22 May 2005 01:24:00 GMT(5/22/2005)

    Post 441 of 933
    Joined 10/19/2001
    I just read Jenni's article « Jer 3, 17 ,,nach Jerusalem" : ein Aramaismus » (ZAH 1/1 1988). Although it doesn't touch on Jeremiah 29:10 (which is not even suspect of being a directional locative to him, not to mention a static locative) it does make a number of interesting points which have some indirect bearing on the subject being discussed. I will try to summarise some of them:

    Narkissos ---

    Many thanks for taking the time to summarize this article for those who do not read German.

    As a consequence, le- in ancient Hebrew is never by itself locative. It indicates a more generic relation, which only looks like a locative as a result of the expression it is a part of.

    But the use of the preposition le- completely changes in later works (Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles) and becomes an independent directional (still not static) locative. This is apparent, for instance, from the way the older min / 'el (from / to) in 1 Kings 9:24 ("from the city of David to her own house") becomes min / le- in the rewriting of 2 Chronicles 8:11. Very probably this new Hebrew usage, which coexists with older directional locative prepositions, results from the influence of Aramaic (e.g. Ezra 4:12,23; 5:8,12,14; 6:5; 7.13).

    This is in complete agreement with the statement of Prof. Emile Nicole which Alan posted. (You should write to Prof. Nicole and tell him about this thread. I am sure he would love to hear from you, Nark!)

    Alan ---

    I very much appreciated having the chance to read Prof. Nicole's comments. Thank you (and COJ) for providing them.

    Prof. Nicole, writing in Bulletin du Club des Hebraisants, Vol. 16 (1999), No.2:

    The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (Vol. IV, 1998) indicates the two meanings:

    direction (to, towards, meaning no. 2)
    and place (in, near, meaning no. 4).
    This seems to authorize the translation "in Babylon" (place where we are).

    Nevertheless, when we examine the quite long list of examples furnished by the DCH for this use,

    we see that there is often movement (e.g.: Gen 32:2, "Jacob went on his way"; Gen 49:26, "that the blessings come on Joseph's head"),

    or that the locative use of le is related to 'al, next to (e.g.: 2Ki 11:11, "the runners ... stayed ... next to the altar ...").

    The only example quoted where there is neither movement nor proximity is the first mentioned, Num 20:24, "you were rebellious at the waters of Meribah",

    but it is also possible to understand the preposition le as does the [French translation by the] Rabbinat Français: "respecting the waters of Meriba".

    Marjorie

    Leolaia posted Sun, 22 May 2005 09:27:00 GMT(5/22/2005)

    Post 4160 of 16234
    Joined 9/1/2002

    Narkissos brings up a very important point about the danger of using lexicons simplistically. They are artificial constructs which systematize data from literature spanning centuries of an evolving language. Think of the Oxford English Dictionary which includes many obsolete words and expressions from Middle English or Elizabethan English which have not been used for a very long time in the language. Linguistic change in the Hebrew language itself can be witnessed by comparing the oldest parts of the OT (e.g. the very archaic Song of Deborah) with the youngest parts (e.g. Daniel). Post-exilic Hebrew is in many respects quite distinctive in terms of its affinity with both Aramaic and the still later Hebrew of the Mishnah; the text of Jeremiah overall, however, falls much closer with the style and language of Deuteronomy. The radically different recensions attested at Qumran and in Greek moreover show that Jeremiah was edited and modified over time, and thus the point that Narkissos makes is quite a pertinent one. See also Narkissos' discussion earlier in this thread on how the genitive function of le developed over time.

    M Simon posted Sun, 22 May 2005 14:41:00 GMT(5/22/2005)

    Post 14703 of 15768
    Joined 3/23/2000
    Narkissos brings up a very important point about the danger of using lexicons simplistically. They are artificial constructs which systematize data from literature spanning centuries of an evolving language. Think of the Oxford English Dictionary which includes many obsolete words and expressions from Middle English or Elizabethan English which have not been used for a very long time in the language. Linguistic change in the Hebrew language itself can be witnessed by comparing the oldest parts of the OT (e.g. the very archaic Song of Deborah) with the youngest parts (e.g. Daniel). Post-exilic Hebrew is in many respects quite distinctive in terms of its affinity with both Aramaic and the still later Hebrew of the Mishnah; the text of Jeremiah overall, however, falls much closer with the style and language of Deuteronomy. The radically different recensions attested at Qumran and in Greek moreover show that Jeremiah was edited and modified over time, and thus the point that Narkissos makes is quite a pertinent one. See also Narkissos' discussion earlier in this thread on how the genitive function of le developed over time.

    Yes, I concur

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