In the last article The Sacred Name, Part 4 - Jesus and Jehovah, I talked about the transliteration of names from one language to another and some of the pitfalls. Today I will be talking more about translations.
As I said last time when transliterating names the general rule is to create a word that gives an approximation of the original sound of the name. Titles however were usually translated into the meaning of the word in the new language. For example from Hebrew to English: adon = lord, elohim = god, melekh = king, etc.
There are several Hebrew words that are properly translated to “lord” from the Hebrew. The most popular is Adon, the root of Adonai. Adon means “a ruler”. Another word which is very recognizable is Baal which also means “a ruler”. Which brings us to the conundrum.
In the Bible the word Baal is usually translated as a descriptive word about the subject. Examples: B’oolat Baal = she is ruled over by a lord = she is married. Baal hachalomot = lord of dreams = dreamer. Baal’ei chitzim = lord of arrows = archer.
There are times when Baal is used as a part of a name of a city or a name and is transliterated. Baal Chanan = Baal-hanan (mens lord of grace). Baal Tz’phon = Baal-zephon (means lord of winter), Baal Zevuv = Baal-zebub (lord of flies), Baal Gad = Baal-gad (lord of fortune), etc.
One of the differentiations in Hebrew of names and regular nouns is that a name will not be found with “the” in front of it. In Hebrew this is the “ha” sound. When “the” is found in front of a word it should be translated rather than transliterated as a name.
This is where one of the greatest errors of translations of the Bible lie in my opinion. Not only did they hide the great name of our Creator “Yahweh” and replace it with the generic title “the LORD”, but the inverse is true of the false gods as well. Instead of translating the words (titles) they transliterated and turned them into names.
For example, the name “Satan” is not found in the Bible as a name. It is a word that is found as ha-satan more often than satan. Satan is a word that means “an adversary” and is translated that way for all but one occurrence and where it was definitely not talking about the devil. Ha-satan means “the adversary” and is speaking of the devil but should have been translated as “the adversary”.
This example is also found in the word Baal. It too is not the name of a being in the Bible. Where you have the name “Baal” in the Bible it appears in the Hebrew as ha-baal, meaning that it should have been translated as “the lord”, not transliterated as “Baal”. This is also true of the word ha-ashtaroth meaning “the totem poles” of false gods.
Putting these rules back in place gives us passages like the following...
And they (the children of Israel) forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
- KJV translation of Judges 2:13
They forsook Yahweh and served “the lord” and the totem poles.
Now on the same night the LORD said to him, "Take your father's bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it;
- NASB translation of Judges 6:25
Now on the same night Yahweh said to him (Gideon), “Take your father’s young bull and a second bull seven years old, and tear down the altar of “the lord” which belongs to your father, and cut down the totem pole that is beside it;
- Judges 6:25
Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
- KJV translation of 1 Kings 18:22
Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left as a prophet of Yahweh, while “the lord’s" prophets are 450 men.
- 1 Kings 18:22
Using this technique to translate really highlights the flip-flop method of hiding the Creator’s name and giving names to false gods. I find this very concerning considering the Word says...
"Now concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard; and do not mention the name of other gods, nor let [them] be heard from your mouth.
- Exodus 23:13 (NASB)
I believe that the 1 Kings passage really brings this to life when restored. I will share a few more important parts of the story below to highlight this.
"Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of YAHWEH, and the god who answers by fire, He is God." And all the people said, "That is a good idea."
- 1 Kings 18:24
Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it, and they called on the name of “the lord” from morning until noon, saying, “‘the lord’ answer us!" But there was no voice and no one answered. And they limped about the altar which they had made. ...
- 1 Kings 18:26
(Both occurrences are ha-baal. I believe this could also read "the lord will answer us” or “the lord is answering us”.)
Then Elijah approached all the people and said, "How long are you going to struggle with the two choices? If Yahweh is God, follow Him; but if “the lord”, follow him." But the people did not answer him [so much as] a word.
- 1 Kings 18:21
In light of this information, I find the following verses particularly interesting, especially verse 27.
I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall [this] be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? [they are] prophets of the deceitfulness of their own heart;
Which intend to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell one another,
as their fathers have forgotten my name because of "the lord".
- Jeremiah 23:25-27
The translators chose to use "the LORD" in place of the name of Yahweh (יהוה) and created names in the place of titles of false gods. I am not sure exactly what people are supposed to do with this information. I share it not as a condemnation of anyone but simply an exposure of (what seems to be) a dishonest method of translation and to show the importance of the usage and revelation of the name of “Yahweh” in the Scriptures.
Thank you for reading, and my Yahweh bless you abundantly.
Link to the previous articles of this series:
The Sacred Name, Part 1 - Name Replacement
The Sacred Name, Part 2 - Name in Vain
The Sacred Name, Part 3 - Non-Usage Punishment
The Sacred Name, Part 4 - Jesus and Jehovah
(The images are public domain from pixabay.com.)