...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oh, those crazy Biblical-era adolescents

Bible Gateway is a great online tool for checking various Bible translations, although for some reason it doesn't offer the New Revised Standard Version (the most scholarly-approved translation) among its options. When I find something proof-texted on a Christian site, I like to check it on Bible Gateway to see the verses in context.

One Reformed blogger, in anticipation of his upcoming wedding, recently quoted Proverbs 30:18-19:

"There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Yes, four which I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the air,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the midst of the sea,
And the way of a man with a virgin."

I was curious how other translations dealt with the last word. According to my reference Bible, the original Hebrew word is almah, which it says means "girl, young woman, (in certain contexts) virgin." The New International Version translates it as "maiden;" the New King James as "virgin;" Young's Literal Tranlation offers the last phrase as "The way of man in youth," and the New Living Bible as "How a man loves a woman."

For fun, I checked The Message translation (er, paraphrase):

"Three things amaze me,
No, four things I'll never understand—
How an eagle flies so high in the sky,
How a snake glides over a rock,
How a ship navigates the ocean,
Why adolescents act the way they do."

HA! As our crotchety, Scuttle-voiced New Testament professor used to say, you might as well toss that translation in the Willamette River.