Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gen. 8:21 - "Jehovah began to smell a restful odor"

A book which examines most twentieth century English versions of the Bible: So Many Versions? (SMV), by trinitarian Bible scholars Dr. S. Kubo and Dr. W. Albrecht provides a page and a half of what it calls "peculiar translations" (pp. 108-109) by the NWT. Many of these "peculiar translations" are comparable to translations found in more popular Bibles of Christendom. But these comparable renderings are not criticized at all in SMV's critique of them.

One of these "peculiar translations" is of Gen. 8:21:

Gen. 8:21 - "Jehovah began to smell a restful odor" vs. RSV's "the Lord smelled the pleasing odor." [Also notice the disgraceful "pollution" of God's name in this scripture by the RSV (and most other translations) at this verse.]

The OT Hebrew word translated here as `odor' is reach (ray'- ack). Nelson's Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament explains this word: "Most frequently reach is used of the `odor' of a sacrifice being offered to God. The sacrifice, or the essence of the thing it represents, ascends to God as a placating `odor.'" - p. 352, Thomas Nelson Publ., 1980.

More important, however, is the Hebrew word nichoach which RSV translates in this verse as `pleasing' (and KJV as `sweet'). The New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, tells us nichoach literally means "quieting, soothing, tranquilizing." - 1981 ed., #5207, p. 1561.

The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon also tells us nichoach means "soothing, tranquilizing odour of sacrifice" - p. 629, #5207, Hendrickson Publishing, 1979.

And Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Abingdon Press, tells us this same OT word literally means `restful'! - "Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary" section, #5207; p. 78.

This explains why the NASB (which SMV praises so highly for its great accuracy) translates this verse (Gen. 8:21): "...smelled the soothing aroma." - Compare NEB, REB, AT, NKJV, LVB, and Moffatt translations also.

Again we see the NWT's literally accurate translation being derided by SMV because it does not follow the tradition of the KJV (or RSV).

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