130.     The SEPTUAGINT GREEK version of the Old Testament is the most important of all the versions. It is also the most ancient. Tradition says it was the work of seventy-two Jewish scholars, and its name means "seventy." Made at Alexandria, about 285 B. C., certainly more was known about Hebrew then than at any time since. The version was much in favor among the Jews until the Christians used its translation of the prophecies to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, when it fell under Jewish displeasure. Nearly every quotation from the Old Testament to be found in the New, is an exact reproduction of the Septuagint reading. This accounts for N. T. quotations not seeming always accurate. Dean Stanley says: "If there ever was a translation which, by means of its importance, rose to a level with the original, it was this. It is, not the original Hebrew, but the Septuagint, which is the Bible of the evangelists and the apostles of the first century, and of the Christian Church for the first age of its existence. . . . Whatever may be the value of the Hebrew text itself, or its value in the present Jewish Church, or the present Church of Western Europe, the Septuagint was the text sanctioned probably by our Lord Himself, certainly by the apostles." The Pentateuch of the Septuagint is especially esteemed for its accuracy. This version renders teshuqa into the Greek word apostrophe in both passages in Genesis: and epistrophe in Canticles. The former word, apostrophe, is familiar to us all: it means "turning away," and the latter, "turning to." The teaching is, that Eve is turning away from God to her husband, and, as a consequence of that deflection, Adam will rule over her.

131.     Next in order of excellence is the SYRIAC PESHITTO of the second, or perhaps first, century after Christ. This version gives the same sense, rendering, "thou shalt turn," (Genesis 3:16); "will turn" (Genesis 4:7), and "turning" for the third passage. We have only the Pentateuch in the SAMARITAN version. It translates both the passages in Genesis, "turning." The OLD LATIN version gives "turning" in all three places. We have a COPTIC (Sahidic), of not great value, which gives the same rendering for the first and third passage; and the more valued BOHAIRIC COPTIC which so renders the passage in the first two. These two copies are not complete Bibles, but fragments. The AETHIOPIC version of about 500 A. D. renders all three passages by words signifying "turning." In fact, as regards the third passage, all the ancient versions without any exceptions whatever, give no other sense but "turning" for teshuqa.[4]

132.     Now as to some variations in the rendering of the passages in Genesis: The Talmud, as we have shown, sets forth the teaching that God pronounced "Ten Curses" upon Eve; but the Talmud is not a translation of the Scriptures, but a compilation of the traditions of the Jews. The fifth, sixth and the ninth of these "curses" supply the sense "lust" for the Hebrew word teshuqa, together with the teaching that woman must center her "desire" upon her husband alone; his "desire" could wander away to other women. From this immoral teaching the English rendering has its sole original authority, so far as we have been able to trace, after very much research. After the Septuagint came into disfavor with the Jews, AQUILA, a proselyte to Judaism, in close touch with Jewish scholars of the second century after Christ, made a Greek translation of the Hebrew, to offset the errors, as was claimed, of the Septuagint. His translation does not exist, so far as known. But Origen compiled a work called the Hexapla, in which he gave the variations between the Septuagint and Aquila's renderings. According to the Hexapla, Aquila has rendered this word "coalition," or "alliance"—a not unnatural sense, since Eve is represented as turning from God to form an alliance with her husband. Origen gives information also in his Hexapla of two other Greek versions made shortly after Aquila's, both of them, likewise, under the influence of Judaism. Of these, SYMMACHUS follows Aquila in Genesis 3:16, according to some authorities, but other manuscripts use another Greek word here, namely, horme, "impulse," and there is strong testimony that this latter word was employed by Symmachus in Genesis 4:7. But as to the passage in Canticles, we have no light beyond the inference that since Origen called attention to no variations at this point, these Greek translations agreed with the Septuagint. We have not yet mentioned the third Greek translation: All we know of THEODOTION'S renderings is, that he used "turning" in Genesis 4:7.

133.     Jerome's LATIN VULGATE was made about 382 A. D. He went to Palestine and studied Hebrew under Jewish rabbis. He renders the first passage, "Thou shalt be under the power of a husband, and he will rule over thee." The first phrase is mere guesswork; it is no translation of the original words. The second passage reads, "his appetite,"—whatever that may mean in a relation between brothers. The third passage reads, 'his turning." The ARABIC is of most uncertain date; probably not earlier than the tenth century. It renders the word teshuqa in the three places, respectively, "direction," "moderation" and "turning."

134.     A TARGUM is not a translation, but a paraphrase,—the Synagogue explanation of the sense of Scripture. The TARGUM of ONKELOS, or Chaldee Paraphrase, was published at Babylon, and therefore would, conform quite closely to the traditions embodied in the Babylonian Talmud which teaches the "ten curses of Eve." This Targum—the most reliable one—relates only to the Pentateuch. It renders, "lust" in the first passage, and "turning" in the second. A very unreliable Targum, accredited wrongly to "Joseph the Blind," of about the eleventh century, renders "lust" in the third passage.

135.     Wiener says: "The coincidences of truth are infinite. In other words, the true hypothesis explains all difficulties." Let us apply this scientific test to our claim that teshuqa means "turning:" 

Aquila and Symmachus assume that Eve "turns" to make an alliance with her husband; hence, they translate "alliance." Or, according to other readings, Symmachus assumes that the "turning" is rather, as yet, an impulse, than an act,—he translates "impulse." (This Greek word for "impulse" does not necessarily imply a sensual impulse. It is used in Acts 14:5, and translated "assault," and in James 3:4,—not rendered in the A., but the R.V.reads: "whither the impulse of the steersman willeth.") The Arabic reasons, "If Eve is about to turn away from God, it must be in some direction;" so it renders, "direction." Jerome plainly shows he does not know what teshuqa means, but since the latter part of the phrase refers to the man's part,—"he will rule over thee,"—he concludes that the beginning of the passage must refer to woman's position, and renders, "Thou shalt be under the power of a husband."

136.     Likewise, the sense "turning" reconciles the three passages one with another, whereas the sense "desire" puts them in utter conflict. Eve is "turning" from God, and He warns her that if she does this, she will fall under the dominion of Adam. Abel is "turning" toward Cain, in all the confidence of a younger and unsuspecting brother. God warns Cain prophetically that this confiding approach of his brother will be a temptation to slay him in his defenselessness. The third passage is a joyful boast of the bridegroom's favor and attention, "He is turning to me."

137.     Prof. H. G. Mitchell of Boston University, in his book, The World Before Abraham," has well represented the general sense of the phrase translated, "thy desire shall be to thy husband." He says, "This interpretation, however, is not altogether satisfactory. The word here used is found only in two other places in the O. T., Genesis 4:7 and Canticles 7:10. In the former of these two passages, if it means anything, it must mean mere inclination, or something equally removed from sensuality: and in the latter, where a man is the subject, it has the force of affection, devotion. There is therefore ground for the opinion that the author in this passage intended to make Jehovah say that the very tenderness of the woman for the husband would [eventually] enable him to make and keep her his inferior.



[4] [Later Note:] We may count here also the ARMENIAN versions, I think, of the fifth century which affords the sense "circuit" for all three passages,—see Chart with Lesson 19.


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