Questions From Readers
● Why does the New World Translation at Judges 16:28, different from other translations, read: “Lord Jehovah, remember me, please, and strengthen me, please, just this once, O God, and let me avenge myself upon the Philistines with vengeance for one of my two eyes.”—E. B., United States.
The footnote of the New World Translation shows that the Septuagint and Vulgate versions read differently, as though Samson prayed for one avenging for his two eyes. This is the thought expressed in Roman Catholic and the King James versions. However, the translation “let me avenge myself upon the Philistines with vengeance for one of my two eyes” is the literal rendering of the original Hebrew and is the rendering adopted by such modern versions as the Revised Standard and Moffatt’s. Even the American Standard has this rendering in a footnote. And says the footnote of Rotherham’s Emphasised Bible: “P.B. [Polychrome Bible] (Moore): “avenge myself . . . for one of my two eyes.”
Samson’s thought is that even the damage he could cause to the Philistines by pulling down the temple of Dagon upon the heads of Dagon’s worshipers would not fully compensate for the loss of both of his eyes, but for only one of them, relatively speaking As the footnote on this verse in the Soncino books of the Bible says: “The text is capable of more effective rendering: ‘the vengeance of one of my two eyes.’ He feels that the vengeance which he contemplates taking will be only partial, but is all he can accomplish in the circumstances.”
● Genesis 19:8 tells that Lot’s daughters had not had intercourse with any man, yet Genesis 19:14 speaks of Lot’s sons-in-law, hence the husbands of his daughters. I am sure there must be a reasonable explanation. Could you harmonize these verses in your Questions from Readers?—C. M., United States.
Genesis 19:8 quotes Lot as saying: “I have two daughters who have never had intercourse with a man.” Genesis 19:14 tells: “Hence Lot went on out and began to speak to his sons-in-law who had taken his daughters . . . But in the eyes of his sons-in-law he seemed like a man who was joking.” Apparently the two men spoken of as Lot’s sons-in-law were only his prospective sons-in-law, and therefore only betrothed but not married to Lot’s daughters. This is in harmony with the fact that Lot’s daughters were still in their father’s house. Had they actually been married they doubtless would have been living in the houses of their husbands, for in ancient times the bridegroom took his bride from her father’s house to his own.
In line with the foregoing is the explanation appearing in the footnote of the New World Translation at Genesis 19:14. It shows that the reference to Lot’s sons-in-law “who had taken” his daughters could also be rendered “who were intending to take” them, because the Hebrew verb here is in the participial or verbal adjective form. This would underscore the fact that these two men were prospectively, not actually, sons-in-law, engaged to Lot’s daughters but not as yet married to them.