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Mark Roberts | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Jan 24 2019 10:05 AM

I hope this is in the correct forum.  Can someone help me w/the translator's decisions in Lev 23:27?  The NASB95 has, speaking of the day of atonement, "humble yourselves" while the ESV says "afflict yourselves."  The term has a wide variety of meanings, as indicated in a Bible Word Study.  And while they aren't hugely different there is some difference there.  The question is, "Why?"  Why does one translation go with humble and the other afflicted?  Not saying one is right and the other wrong, just want to know the why.  Would appreciate help in this direction.  Thanks.

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Elaine shearer | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jul 12 2019 10:59 AM

If you damage someone’s car, you must atone or pay for those damages. The day of atonement was for the Jew to acknowledge his sin and and to be cleansed or atoned through the sprinkling of the blood. Now, today that atonement was through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection over death. Notice two goats were used which only one was sacrificed and the other lived. This represents Jesus as He died and paid the price or atoned for our sins but today, He now lives. I have said all this to explain the condition one comes to this day and why the translator can use both the word afflict and others use humble. In attitude, they both mean the same thing. It is not natural for our fallen man to humble himself because of pride. Therefore, to humble oneself is to afflict one’s flesh and bow before our Lord. We are born with a fallen nature. Pride controls man in his decisions, actions and his ways. When we became Christians,  pride does not  miraculously disappear but through our trials and our knees bent Jesus burns away the wood, hay and stubble which is the fallen nature. But, we must humble or afflict our flesh to bow before the potter’s hand.  

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jul 12 2019 1:13 PM

Whenever a lemma has very few examples, or a wide range of meanings (here), it becomes a guessing game, looking at context, earlier translations, similar languages (at the time), etc.

Presuming one nails down a likely meaning, the next problem is to find a good equivalent word (hopefully). And quite often, a translator will simply stick with an older choice, for familiarity (afflict is a much older choice).

This example is all 3. I suspect the original meaning was technical, and over time floated around food-denial, attitude, etc. But the choices are guesswork. I always like to look at other languages within a few centuries of the hebrew ... LXX and later Peshitta and aramaic.


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Beloved | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jul 12 2019 1:39 PM

Mark Roberts:
Can someone help me w/the translator's decisions in Lev 23:27

Whenever I have a question regarding a translation decision I turn to the UBS Handbooks. Here the comment for your verse is reproduced:

Afflict yourselves: literally, “afflict your souls,” but the meaning is “fast” (“refuse to eat”) or “practice self-denial.” See 16:29. The Living Bible translates this expression by “saddened by their sin” in this verse, “spend the day in repentance and sorrow” in verse 29, and “humble your souls and be filled with remorse.” Each of these is somewhat off the mark of self-denial or fasting and should be avoided in translation.

 Péter-Contesse, R., & Ellington, J. (1992). A handbook on Leviticus (pp. 352–353). New York: United Bible Societies.

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

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