best greek and hebrew commentary

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Posts 112
Ole Madsen | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Jul 19 2015 4:51 AM

what commentaries are the best? I have run into a problem, kjv says judges for elohim in exo 22.8, where my main translation, danish, says God, hope some one can help me with the commentary


Posts 3629
Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 19 2015 5:38 AM

I am not sure that for this kind of question a commentary is actually the best tool. Lexical resources would tell you that God or gods are not the only possible translations for elohim. A theological lexicon can be particularly helpful for this (NIDOTTE, TWOT). A good lexicon would mention it but usually a theological lexicon has more explanation of usage. 

This being said, if you do want to check commentaries, WBC include translation notes and NIGTC for the NT does also. The Net Bible has translation notes here and then and they can be useful as well for this kind of questions.

Last, I would suggest using the Bible Word Study tool in Logos. Type h:elohim or right-click on the word in the Bible you use, find the lemma and from there run the BWS. This will give access to your lexical resources and show you translation rings that illustrate different translations for elohim.

Posts 71
Brian Huddleston | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 19 2015 5:47 AM

I found a few commentaries that addressed this in Ex. 21.6

Keil & Delitzsch says that it is the place of judgment given in the name of God.

Durham in Word Biblical Commentary gives several citations from the 1930's onward that explain why "judges" is not used in several recent translations.

Osborn & Hatton in the UBS Handbook state that the context drives the meaning and offer "the place of worship" or "the local sanctuary" as alternatives.

I noticed Francis commented while I was typing this out, all are very good suggestions.  Theological lexicons are a great resource to check.

Wylie, TX

Posts 112
Ole Madsen | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 19 2015 5:50 AM

thanks for your help

Posts 634
Frank Sauer | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 19 2015 6:14 AM

I find the UBS Handbooks to be of help in these instances also. Here's an excerpt for the verse you have in question, hopefully it covers your question.


If the thief is not found uses ’im again for If, meaning that this is still a part of the law of verse 7. The owner of the house is exactly what the text says, but this refers to “the man who was keeping the valuables” (22:8 TEV) of verse 7. The implication is that they were stolen from his house.
Shall come near to God is literally “and he will be brought near to the ’elohim.” The “and” (we-) marks the main clause of this casuistic law. The translation of haha’elohimrs; elohim (“the ’elohim”) here presents a problem, for the word itself has a plural form. This can mean that he “must appear before the judges,” as some translations interpret it (KJV, NASB, 22:8 NIV, CEV), and this seems more likely in the light of verse 9. (See the comment there.) 22:8 NRSV still translates “before God” but acknowledges in a footnote that it can also be translated “before the judges.” 22:8 TEV’s “the place of worship” is also possible. (See the comment at 21:6.) Durham’s “the Presence of God” suggests a similar interpretation.
To show whether or not is literally “if not,” with the idea of to show added. Some translate “to determine” (22:8 NRSV, NIV), “to declare” (NJB), or “for it to be ascertained” (REB). He has put his hand to his neighbor’s goods means, as 22:8 TEV puts it, that he has “stolen the other one’s property.” The word here for goods is different from the word used in verse 7, but it means the same thing.
It is not clear just how the person’s guilt or innocence was to be determined, but TEV interprets this as “there he must take an oath.” NAB also has “to swear.” This probably means that the person had to swear before God, in the presence of God’s representatives (judges), that he was innocent. In some languages this may be expressed as “make a strong statement before God [or, with God as a witness] that.…” (see verse 11 on “an oath by the Lord.”) Some scholars believe, however, that the expression, “drawing near to God,” has cultic implications that the people expected God himself to determine whether the person was guilty or not. This may have been made known through the priests or even the judges in some form of ritual or by drawing lots. CEV’s translation of haha’elohim as “some judges” suggests that judges were involved: “some judges will decide if you are the guilty one.”
Alternative translation models for this verse are:

• But if they do not find the thief, they must bring the person who was keeping the valuables to the place of worship. There he must make a strong statement, with God as his witness, that he has not stolen his neighbor’s valuables.
• But if they do not catch the thief, they must take the person who was keeping the valuables before the judges, and the judges will decide whether he stole his neighbor’s valuables or not.

Posts 1226
HJ. van der Wal | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 20 2015 4:18 AM


The Net Bible has translation notes here and then and they can be useful as well for this kind of questions.

I find the Net Bible notes very useful for quick reference (especially on my phone). They are formatted as a commentary and will show up in the Passage Guide.

I also searched the Scandinavian Bibles in my library for any "hidden" notes. I didn't find anything in Danish, but the Norwegian 78/85 translation has the following notes on Ex 21:6 and Ps 45:6 (7) (the quotes are from the Bokmål version):

21,6 fram for Gud til helligdommen, eller til dommerne som er innsatt av Gud.
en syl gjennom øret symbolsk handling, tegn på varig lydighet.
21,6 18,15f; 22,8f; 5 Mos 1,17

45,7 Gud Det hebr. ord som brukes om kongen her (og ellers ikke i GT), er også unntaksvis brukt om Moses (2 Mos 4,16; 7,1), om den som feller dom (2 Mos 21,6; 22,8f) og om Davids hus (Sak 12,8). Sml. Jes 9,6 om Messias.

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