Since I’m presently working on Isaiah for the series it’s only natural that I’d wind up in Chapter 5 with it’s stunningly beautiful pun
לְמִשְׁפָּט֙ וְהִנֵּ֣ה מִשְׂפָּ֔ח לִצְדָקָ֖ה וְהִנֵּ֥ה צְעָקָֽה׃
God looked for justice (mishpat) but only saw oppression (mispach). God looked for righteousness (tzedakah) and instead he heard an outcry of pain (tz’acha).
This pun is virtually impossible to render in English. The Common English Bible tries, but meets the same resistance as every other rendition has-
God expected justice, but there was bloodshed; righteousness, but there was a cry of distress!
The REB is essentially the same. What this shows, it seems to me, is that the rendition of puns from one language to another is excessively difficult. Perhaps translators, and especially commentators, should indicate the pun in transliteration in a footnote or in their comments so that readers of English can at least have some sense of the beauty and brilliance of the underlying original.
LTJ is a fine scholar and a very nice person. I’ve not seen this volume but if Cliff recommends it, it’s surely worth reading.
I learned today of a new commentary series whose first volumes should be available next year but which folk may want to learn of now so as to keep an eye out for them.
The Evangelical Exegetical Commentary is a brand new, 44-volume commentary series which incorporates the latest critical biblical scholarship and is written from a distinctly evangelical perspective. The EEC is the next standard commentary on the entire Bible for evangelicals. Now, a new generation of pastors, students, and scholars will turn to the EEC for expert commentary from the leading scholars on the Bible.