In the wilderness, voice or path?

In the wilderness, voice or path?

Postby Gabriel » Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:30 pm

Today's [2nd Sunday of Advent] describes John as fulfilling the prophesy of Isaiah:
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Matthew 3:3
Clearly the voice is crying in wilderness.

However the Isaiah prophecy:
A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. ...
Isaiah 40:3
clearly calls for the way to be prepared in the wilderness.

As I recall the original Isaiah [and all the Hebrew Scriptures] had no punctuation. I wonder why the translator created the difference in meanings. I think that both are correct. John was preaching in the wilderness, and Jesus started His ministry with 40 days in the wilderness.
Joe Kelley

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Gabriel
 
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Re: In the wilderness, voice or path?

Postby inthegobi » Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:42 pm

Joe,

To the narrow question and without a commentary, I'd say it is partly for your reason: the Hebrew Isiah has ambiguous Hebrew (one commentary noted that), but the Greek/Aramaic of the Gospel made a decision, and that, the English translator honored. The OT English translator may well have been a different man, and made his own decision. (Trivia: Tolkien was tapped for the Jerusalem Bible, and tinkered with Job and Esther I think, but never ended up making a direct contribution.)

My opinion: the old 'King James' way is best, with the voice crying out in the wilderness 'Prepare', not a voice crying out 'In the wilderness, prepare'. The first way emphasizes that the Baptist is right out there in the wilderness, and so perfectly familiar with how wasted and deserted it is. The other way, he might well be a distant hypocrite, 'phoning it in' from the comfort of Baptist Tower in New Y - no, wait.

But it turns out the ambiguity doesn't matter in substance. According to several commentaries I glanced at, Ancient Eastern rulers had people go before them into waste or deserted places to prepare them for his easy passage. Roads would especially need clearing, even remaking. The herald then was also the overseer of these projects, that's why he's crying out. People would be uh, honored to do the work. ('Tax time!') Or suffer the consequences: recall John the Baptist also yells out the Bad News for those who won't join in the preparations.

So either way: there is a man in the wilderness (not comfortably back in the city), crying out to do something about that wilderness (instead of leaving it as deserted and wild).

Now that you bring it up, the wilderness as one's self or soul seems obvious. Thanks, Joe :)

C Kirk
inthegobi
 
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Re: In the wilderness, voice or path?

Postby Gabriel » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:06 pm

Thanks Kirk - Joe
Joe Kelley

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Gabriel
 
Posts: 1389
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:42 pm


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