Friday, February 06, 2009

Reading through the second half of Galatians, verse 29 brought everyone up short:
But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now.
What persecution? Ishmael and Isaac got along famously.

I was the only one to raise an objection, a vague memory from the Genesis study last year of the confrontation that precipitated the second kicking out of Hagar and Ishmael by Sarah.1
"There was some sort of rivalry," I stammered.
No one knew anything about it.
"They were 'playing,'" everyone else said.

So today I got around to picking up a Bible and going to Genesis.

21:9 reads like this:
"Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking."
This is the NASB. The NIV has the same. The ESV footnotes the verse. The NAB has "playing." Same with N/RSV. And the JPS, with Sarna's commentary saying this:
One rabbinic interpretation of the Hebrew metsahek has Ishmael ridiculing the fuss made of Isaac and asserting his own claim to first-born status ...
Anyway, I understand now the source of my confusion, as the NIV was used exclusively in the Genesis study last year.

But now I wonder whether this is an attempt by evangelical translators to harmonize Genesis to Galatians.

1 Later in that same chapter of Genesis.

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