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Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Between two opinions

My Bible reading today included the account of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in I Kings 18. I noticed that in the ESV, Elijah asks the people why they are "limping" between two opinions (verse 21), versus "halting" (KJV) or "wavering" (NIV). I believe I understand why this was the selected translation for the word (which, apparently, according to Strong's, can mean any of the three, and also "hopping" or "dancing")... the same word is used in verse 26 to describe what the prophets of Baal were doing around their altar. The KJV and the NIV do not bring this parallel out, and the ESV translators have followed the rendering from the RSV. But I have to wonder... is it really the best translation? Maybe "hopping" or "jumping" or "dancing"? All of those words would have been OK in verse 21 ("dancing" would have been especially vivid in English, assuming that is a fairly accurate usage of the Hebrew word).

I suppose it depends on exactly what kind of dance the prophets of Baal were doing. It could easily be, I suppose, that they were doing a limping kind of dance. Or maybe they jumped around until they sprained an ankle. :)

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