Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sunday Knox for 4th Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 7:10-14

The Lord sent, besides, this message to Achaz, Ask the Lord thy God to give thee a sign, in the depths beneath thee, or in the height above thee.  But Achaz said, Nay, I will not ask for a sign; I will not put the Lord to the test.  Why then, said Isaias, listen to me, you that are of David’s race. Cannot you be content with trying the patience of men? Must you try my God’s patience too? Sign you ask none, but sign the Lord will give you. Maid shall be with child, and shall bear a son,[3] that shall be called Emmanuel. 

Knox Notes:
[3] Literally, the verse begins ‘Therefore the Lord, he will give you a sign’. ‘Maid shall be with child’; cf. Mt. 1.23. The Hebrew text, but not the Greek, would admit ‘a maid’ instead of ‘the maid’. In the Hebrew text, the word used should perhaps be translated ‘maid’ rather than ‘virgin’, since it refers rather to a time than to a state of life; but in view of the event, we cannot doubt that this prophecy looks forward to the Virgin Birth. No very successful attempt has been made to explain its relevance to contemporary happenings.

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying: 
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; 
let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people, 
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: 
the virgin* shall conceive, and bear a son, 
and shall name him Emmanuel.

*The original NAB OT, which is the basis of the current lectionary, goes with “virgin,” while the NABRE follows the Hebrew and translates it “young woman.”


hoshie said...

Msgr. Knox's rendering of Isa 7:14 is most unique seeing this one of the most disputed verses in the OT (if not the Bible). The word "maid" makes me think that an employee at the local Motel 6 is about to give birth!

Timothy said...

Yeah, I think that is the first thought many today will have concerning the word 'maid' but it actually means primarily:
a. An unmarried girl or woman.
b. A virgin.

Timothy said...

I think Knox is trying to use a term that does justice to both the Greek and Hebrew words.

Eric Barczak said...

I think maid works pretty good, although I would have preferred 'maiden' as is used in the Jerusalem Bible as being the best overall and wouldn't sound like the Motel 6 cleaning staff hoshie envisions.

Either way, much more poetic sounding than a lot of other translations.

hoshie said...

Eric: The major translations are pretty much well spilt on virgin vs. young woman. Here's the breakdown:

young woman: NJB, NABRE, NRSV-CE, RSV-CE, GNB

virgin: NAB, Douay-Rheims, RSV-2CE, CCB, Message, CPDV, NLT, Living Bible

The Knox translation and the JB are the only ones that differ.

Tim: I wonder why the NABRE replaced virgin with young woman. I'm surprised this wasn't noticed by someone before it was printed.

As for me, I can understand both sides of the debate. God bless everyone!