googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: My Translation of Matthew 2

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My Translation of Matthew 2

I'd love to blog more often but there are only so many hours in the day. Things like sleeping, eating, and time spent at work are pretty much unavailable for other pursuits. Of course, even my “free time” must be divided among many things and blogging is only a small part of a busy schedule. Another thing I like to invest my time in is translating.

I've thought about making a blog where I post my translations along with comments but another blog is just one more demand on my time which means less time available for anything else. Still, I have made these translations so why not share them?

I know Christmas has just passed but here is my translation of Matthew, Chapter 2. You might call it the RKB Version. :) One thing very different about Greek than English is how in the Greek sentences frequently begin with conjunctions (particularly καὶ and δὲ). I'm torn on how to best render these. I've translated them both here but may revise my translation in the future. I'm thinking about only translating καὶ at the beginning of a sentence as “and” and either omitting δὲ or, when appropriate, only translating it as “now.” I have to think a little more on the matter.

One thing in particular that may be different about my translation than many others is that I try to always pay special attention to the adjectival or adverbial nature of participles. Matthew used participles heavily and many translations change them to simple verbs. For example, καλέσας (kalesas) in v. 7 is a participle which most literally means, "calling."  In the aorist tense, it should be translated as, “when he called” or “after he called.” However, the NIV translates it as “He called.”

Readers are invited to ask questions or offer their critiques.

Matthew Chapter 2

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi journeyed from the east to Jerusalem saying, “Where is the one who is born the King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east and we came to worship him.” And when King Herod heard, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he gathered together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired from them where the Christ would be born. Then they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judah, for so it has been written by the prophet:

'And you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by no means the least among the princes of Judah. For from you will go forth one who will shepherd my people, Israel.'”

Then when Herod secretly called the magi, he inquired from them the time of the appearance of the star, and when he sent them to Bethlehem, he said, “As you go, diligently search out the child. And when you find him, send a message to me so that when I come, I also will worship him.” And when they had heard this from the king, they went out. And behold, the star which they saw in the east went before them, going on until it stood above where the child was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding joy. And when they came into the house, they saw the child with Mary, his mother, and falling down, they worshiped him and opened their treasures, presenting to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their country by another way.

And when they departed from them, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph saying, “When you rise up, take the child and his mother and flee into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to seek out the child in order to kill him.” And when he rose up, he took the child and his mother by night and journeyed unto Egypt, and he was there until the death of Herod, so that the word spoken by the Lord through prophet should be fulfilled which says,

"Out of Egypt I called my son."

Then, when Herod saw that he was betrayed by the magi, he was exceedingly angry, and sending forth, he put to death all the children in Bethlehem and all its borders from two years and under, according to the time he had inquired from the magi. Then the word spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled which says,

A voice was heard in Rama, weeping and great lamenting. Rachel was weeping for her children, and she did not want to be comforted because they were not.”

Now when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt saying, “When you rise, take the child and his mother and go into the land of Israel, for the ones seeking life of the child have died.” And when he rose, he took the child and his mother and entered into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaos ruled in Judea instead of his father, Herod, he was afraid to go there. But being warned in a dream, he entered into the region of Galilee, and when he had come, he dwelt in the city which is called Nazareth, so that the word spoken by the prophets should be fulfilled that he will be called a Nazarene.


Steven J. said...

I do not know nearly enough Greek to critique your translation or offer suggestions. I was wondering why you did it; are you just practicing your translation skills, and picking a season-suitable passage (note that Eastern Orthodox Christmas isn't until January 6)? Or do you find current translations inadequate in some way, so that you essayed to offer a better one?

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

Some translations are better than others but I'm OK with most. The only mainstream translations I completely disregard are The Message and the New World Translation; actually, I'm not sure if I would even call the latter, “mainstream.”

I translate for a couple of reasons: I find it somewhat meditative when I read in Greek. It also gives me a new perspective on what are sometimes very familiar passages. Finally, I'm still learning Greek and translating the books of writers like John and Matthew help me when I tackle more difficult books like those by Paul and Luke.

I'm never completely satisfied with my translations and am constantly tweaking them. I had translated this passage a while back. I chose it because of the season. I removed the verse numbers to make it a little more readable on a blog but I just noticed a typo so I'll have to correct that.

Thanks for visiting. God bless!!