An Alternative Translation of Exodus 6:2-3

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winningedge101
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An Alternative Translation of Exodus 6:2-3

Post by winningedge101 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:51 pm

Could Exodus 6:2-3 be translated as: A I am Yahweh.

B And I made myself known to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai.

A’ And My name is Yahweh;

B’ Did I not make Myself known to them?

If so this translation would make more sense in light of Exodus 3:13–15 which implies that Moses will have to give the "code name" Yahweh as Israel's god to be accepted.

iskander
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Re: An Alternative Translation of Exodus 6:2-3

Post by iskander » Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:31 pm

winningedge101 wrote:Could Exodus 6:2-3 be translated as: A I am Yahweh.

B And I made myself known to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai.

A’ And My name is Yahweh;

B’ Did I not make Myself known to them?

If so this translation would make more sense in light of Exodus 3:13–15 which implies that Moses will have to give the "code name" Yahweh as Israel's god to be accepted.
The Chabad website with Rashi's comments is a good place to visit

2.God spoke to Moses, and He said to him, "I am the Lord.
3.I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob with [the name] Almighty God, but [with] My name YHWH, I did not become known to them.
http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo ... rashi=true
3: 13-15
http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo ... rashi=true

John2
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Re: An Alternative Translation of Exodus 6:2-3

Post by John2 » Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:20 pm

Here's something that summarizes this issue well:

https://books.google.com/books?id=l6tKA ... -3&f=false

I haven't visited this issue in a long time, but where I left it off was that this is explained by the Documentary Hypothesis (like in Friedman's "Who Wrote the Bible?"). The idea in a nutshell for those not familiar with it is that Ex. 6:2-3 belongs to the P source and God doesn't reveal himself as YHWH in the P source until then (maybe in E too).

Maybe this is something I should revisit, but I was satisfied with this explanation when I practiced Judaism.
If only I could be less blind, if only I knew what to find.

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winningedge101
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Re: An Alternative Translation of Exodus 6:2-3

Post by winningedge101 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:57 am

So in a honest translation from the Hebrew it implies that Yahweh was not known to the patriarchs who only knew him as El Shaddai? I don't want to harmonize things or have a mission to. I just don't like the documentary hypothesis as it stands today and was wondering if this retranslation would help somehow.

John2
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Re: An Alternative Translation of Exodus 6:2-3

Post by John2 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:15 am

The above book notes on page 56 that a problem for harmonization is that "the Hebrew presents no serious difficulty. This has meant that, although several ingenious retranslations have been offered, there is no unanimity that any particular rendering has pinpointed the matter of grammar, syntax, or vocabulary that has been supposedly misconstrued in the conventional rendering ..."
If only I could be less blind, if only I knew what to find.

iskander
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Re: An Alternative Translation of Exodus 6:2-3

Post by iskander » Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:01 pm

Yehazkel Kaufmann writes:
"However, the bible itself attests indirectly to the fact that Israel's monotheism is postpatriarchal...the name of YHWH was unknown to the patriarchal age , having been disclosed for the first time to Moses at the burning bush"

The Religion of Israel
Yehazkel Kaufmann translated and abridged by Moshe Greenberg
Sefer Ve Sefel Publishing, Jerusalem, 2003
ISBN 9657287022
Page 222

semiopen
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Re: An Alternative Translation of Exodus 6:2-3

Post by semiopen » Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:41 pm

El and Shaddai combined is not found many times in the bible - John Van Seters in The Pentateuch: A Social-Science Commentary, points out that each occurrence of El Shaddai in Genesis is within a doublet.
Then He said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to assign this land to you as a possession."
(Gen 15:7 TNK)
וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אֵלָ֑יו אֲנִ֣י יְהוָ֗ה
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am El Shaddai. Walk in My ways and be blameless.
(Gen 17:1 TNK)

Another doublet, this with Jacob -
And the LORD was standing beside him and He said, "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac: the ground on which you are lying I will assign to you and to your offspring.
(Gen 28:13 TNK)
אֲנִ֣י יְהוָ֗ה
And God said to him, "I am El Shaddai. Be fertile and increase; A nation, yea an assembly of nations, Shall descend from you. Kings shall issue from your loins.
(Gen 35:11 TNK)

Then there are two versions of Isaac blessing Jacob -
And he went up and kissed him. And he smelled his clothes and he blessed him, saying, "Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of the fields that the LORD has blessed.
(Gen 27:27 TNK)

בֵּרֲכ֖וֹ יְהוָֽה
May El Shaddai bless you, make you fertile and numerous, so that you become an assembly of peoples.
(Gen 28:3 TNK)

Personally, I thought this was cool -
God spoke to Moses and said to him, "I am the LORD.
(Exo 6:2 TNK)

וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר אֱלֹהִ֖ים

That only comes up two other times in the bible.
God spoke to Noah, saying,
(Gen 8:15 TNK)

וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־נֹ֥חַ לֵאמֹֽר׃


and before the Decalogue -
God spoke all these words, saying:
(Exo 20:1 TNK)

וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֵ֛ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה לֵאמֹֽר׃


Anyway, it's not clear what Shaddai means,
My beloved to me is a bag of myrrh Lodged between my breasts.
(Sol 1:13 TNK)

בֵּ֥ין שָׁדַ֖י

El Shaddai and Shaddai are not necessarily the exact same concept.

I saw an opinion that this is some real ancient shit but I'm not convinced. Exodus 6-3 is written when the three amigos were together, maybe it's from the Babylonian period. It is quite interesting to see those strands exposed.

BDJ
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Re: An Alternative Translation of Exodus 6:2-3

Post by BDJ » Sat Jun 11, 2016 9:05 am

winningedge101 wrote:So in a honest translation from the Hebrew it implies that Yahweh was not known to the patriarchs who only knew him as El Shaddai? I don't want to harmonize things or have a mission to. I just don't like the documentary hypothesis as it stands today and was wondering if this retranslation would help somehow.
Not excactly. Genesis 4:26 says that God was known by name from the days of Enosh (and thus later also by the patriarchs). This apparent contradiction can be well understood using the documentary hypothesis. E & P sources hold that God's name was revealed to Moses, while the J source has God's name revealed to Enosh.

John2
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Re: An Alternative Translation of Exodus 6:2-3

Post by John2 » Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:49 am

Nice observation, BDJ. I didn't recall that. And there it is in black and white.

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/genesis/4-26.htm
If only I could be less blind, if only I knew what to find.

semiopen
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Re: An Alternative Translation of Exodus 6:2-3

Post by semiopen » Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:23 pm

Except Genesis 4 is written by P and just 4:26 is from J (according to Richard Elliott Friedman in The Bible with Sources Revealed. So it's hard to imagine how some guy (or gal) in King David's court or wherever stuck that into something that hadn't been written yet.

The Rabbis take exception to John2's black and white comment as they try to prove that the phrase is about idol worship.

The translation in Bereishis / Genesis - 2 Volume Set: A new translation with a commentary anthologized from talmudic, midrashic, and rabbinic sources (English and Hebrew Edition) - https://www.amazon.com/Bereishis-Genesi ... thologized goes
Then to call in the Name of Hashem became profaned
This comes from discussion of הוּחַ֔ל which means profaned in הוּחַ֔ל לִקְרֹ֖א בְּשֵׁ֥ם יְהוָֽה. Anyway, they give it a nice song and dance, but that's got to be unlikely; especially since both JPS translations don't see it this way. John2's biblehub link says the term is Strong's 2490 http://biblehub.com/hebrew/2490.htm where it is given as pierce, which is usually the starting point of a Christian's wet dream, but we don't have to get into that here.

Van Seters also mentions 4:26 in the book I discussed above but I didn't include it.

וַיִּקְרָ֥א בְשֵׁ֖ם יְהוָֽה also appears in Genesis 12:8 and 13:4, etc.

This is an interesting verse, but I'm not sure where it gets us.

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