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Manner of Translation.
In Ps. ii. 4, the word “heaven” is substituted for the heavens in our common version, as a translation of the Hebrew word one. This substitution is of small consequence in itself ; but we think that, in strictness, the same change should have been made in all cases where the original is the same; as, for example, in Ps. viii. 1, or 3.
In Ps. X. 16, xxi. 4, and cxlviii. 5, 7, the Hebrew expression wiv is translated “for ever,” instead of for ever and ever, as in our common version. We think for ever and ever more exactly denotes the force of the original. But the difference is of small account. Consistency in rendering the original does not seem to us, however, of small account. Hence we regret to find that in many other places the same Hebrew words are translated“ for ever and ever.); e. g. Ps. xlv. 6, 17; xlviii. 14 ; lii. 8; cxi. 8; cxix. 44 ; cxlv. 1, 2.
In Ps. vii. 5, the Hebrew word is translated “pursue,” instead of persecute, as in our common version.
But in the first verse of the same Psalm the word is translated “persecute.” In the following places, Ps. xxxv. 6; lxxi. 11'; lxxxiii. 15, it is translated pursue ”; in the following, Ps. Ixix. 26; cxix. 84, 86, and 161, it is translated “per
There is special want of uniformity in the translation of the Hebrew word oria, plural of ris. In Ps. ij. 1, it is rendered “ heathen," as in our common version ; but in verse 8 of the same Psalm, and Ps. ix. 5, 15, 17, 19, it is translated “nations,” though our common version has it heathen in all these places except Ps. ix. 17. In Ps. x. 16, Dr. Noyes translates it “Gentiles," instead of heathen, as in the old version. He translates it“ kingdoms” in Ps. xviii. 34 (1st ed. “nations"), and nations" in Ps. xvii. 49; xxxii. 10; xliv. 2, 11, 14 ; xlvi. 6, 10; xlvii. 8; lix. 5, 8; lxxviii. 55; Ixxix. 1, 6, 10; lxxx. 8; xciv. 10; xcvi. 10; xcviii. 2; cii. 15; in all which passages the usual version has heathen. In Ps. cvi. 35, Dr. Noyes translates the word “heathen," while in verses 41 and 47 of the same Psalm, he translates its nations." In Ps. cx. 6, he translates it “nations”; in cxi. 6, 6 heathen”; in cxv. 2, cxxvi. 2, and cxlix. 7, “nations,” though it is rendered heathen in King James's version.
The only other Hebrew word which we propose to consider particularly in this connection is simp, or, as it is sometimes written, 5 This occurs in the Psalms, we be
lieve, fifteen times. In seven of these cases, viz. Ps. ix. 17 ; xvi. 10; xviii. 5 ; lv. 15 ; lxxxvi. 13 ; cxvi. 3 ; cxxxix. 8, our common version renders it hell; in the other eight, viz. Ps. vi. 5; xxx. 3 ; xxxi. 17; xlix. 14, 15 ; lxxxviii. 3; lxxxix. 48 ; cxli. 7, it is rendered grave. In the first edition of Dr. Noyes's version, the word was rendered “grave” twelve times out of the fifteen. The three exceptions to this rendering were Ps. ix. 17; lv. 15 ; cxxxix. 8; in which passages the word was rendered “ Hades." In the second edition, however, this word is discarded, and the new word 66 underworld” is substituted. In all but one of the passages where Sixx occurs, it is translated “underworld " in the second edition. In Ps. xxxi. 17, the old rendering, grave, remains. As there is no peculiar reason why this rendering is preferable in the passage thus singled out from the rest, one is prompted to suppose that the word
grave was left here by an oversight.* Whatever rendering is adopted, the merit of consistency is desirable.
It must be admitted that the word grare fails to express the full import of Sier. The word hell is a still more exceptionable rendering ; at least, if it be taken in the sense which Christians ascribe to it. The Hebrew term has
precisely the same import as "Aions among the Greeks, or Orcus among the Romans. It denotes, as is observed by Dr. Campbell, the state of the dead in general, without regard to their character or to their condition, either of happiness or misery.” The word 'Aidns occurs eleven times in the New Testament, and in every instance except one is translated hell ; in that one, grave.
It is not of so much
consequence which of these various words, grave, hell, Hades, Orcus, or underworld, is employed to express the Hebrew term, as it is that its meaning should be explained and apprehended, and that its employment should be invariable. The term " underworld ” has a singular aspect to an English reader. It comes from the German Unterwelt. We think the expression lower world would have served at least as good a purpose ; and it would have been free from the great singularity of the German term. We should prefer the word Sheol itself (in the text as well as in comments ; see Notes,
* There is another case in which the word grave occurs in the common version of the Psalms, and in that of Dr. Noyes, viz. Ps. Ixxxviii. 11; but here the original word is R.
Ps. vi. 5, p. 284 of Noyes) to most of the words by which it has been translated. The question, whether or not the Hebrews believed in the immortality of the soul, which Dr. Noyes answers negatively, would furnish occasion for interesting investigation ; but in the present article we must forego the topic, and also that of the Messianic character ascribed to some of the Psalms.
We will briefly add two or three criticisms of minor consequence. One relates to the use of the pronouns my and mine. In King James's version the form mine is employed before a word beginning with a vowel. But the form is quite frequently changed by Dr. Noyes. For example, in Ps. xxv. 2, he prints “my enemies" instead of mine ; in verse 11, “ my iniquity” for mine ; in verse 18, “my affliction for mine. But we observe that the principle is not uniformly applied. Thus, in Ps. xviii. 39, we find a my adversaries,'' but in verse 48, “ mine adversaries.”
We observe a frequent change of tenses from the common reading, when no reason for the change is perceptible. As an example, take Ps. xviii. 25 – 28, where several cases occur in which the future tense of King James's version is altered to the present, without benefit to the sense, and in express opposition to the future tense of the original.
Lasıly, the somewhat useful practice, adopted in our common version, of printing in Italics words supplied in addition to the Hebrew, so as to distinguish them from the express phraseology of the original, is neglected in the version of Dr. Noyes. Instances must of course be numerous; by way of specimen we will refer to Ps. xix. 13, word sins ; xxxv. 23, awake; xxxvii. 10, be found ; xxxvii. 23, good; xxxix. 6, riches.
In examining the work of Dr. Noyes we have used a freedom with which we trust that he would wish his labors should be reviewed by us, or by any one who is ready to acknowledge his title to the gratitude of the public for the attempt he has made to present a more suitable translation of the Hebrew Scriptures to those English readers who are (and to those who are not, if such there be familiar with King James's version. We commend his work to the attention of the public. We duly honor the spirit with which he has long and diligently endeavoured to elucidate these precious relics of Hebrew literature. If he has failed to accomplish all that is desirable, allowance should be made
on account of the difficulty of the undertaking. For what he has actually effected he should receive our thanks, without a word of unkind disparagement, which we certainly should be among the last to employ in regard to one who presents high claims to respectful consideration from every lover of sacred learning
Art. V. – STUDY OF ORNITHOLOGY..
The purpose of this work is sufficiently indicated by its title. It is not a record of the results of original investigations, but a work for young students in this department of natural history. It appears to be well adapted to its object. The author has collected the most interesting and valuable facts in ornithological history; his descriptions are concise, clear, and picturesque; the volume is, to an unusual de gree with works of this description, well provided with plates ; and all condensed into a small compass. Besides this, it has an admirable Preface, well written and full of excellent suggestions as to the best mode of teaching natural history, the importance of the study, the mutual relations of the different departments of science, and the vital connections by which all are bound to religion.
It is easy to understand the enthusiasm of ornithologists. The subjects of their study are found among the grandest and most beautiful scenes of nature. They pursue their investigations, not bending over the desk or stifled by the fumes of a laboratory, but beneath the open heavens, along the sea, by the side of watercourses, through the valleys, over the hills. Their studies are prosecuted wherever the bird makes its home.
The facts to be observed are infinitely diversified and curious. Even as regards that which first strikes the attention, the singing of birds, few persons are aware of the surprising variety and harmony of their notes. Listen where you will in the country, and you immediately perceive that the air is full
* Elementary Course of Natural History, being an Introduction to Zoology: intended for the College and the Parlour. Elements of Ornithology. By CHARLES BROOKS. Boston: J. Munroe & Co. 1847. 12mo. pp. 324.
Singing of Birds.
of voices, and — a fact which more loudly than human words proclaims the goodness of Providence - that the sounds you hear are all those of enjoyment. As we pause for a few minutes where we are now seated, the faint murmur of insects spreading their tiny wings makes us conscious of the general silence. A robin has paused for a moment on a dead branch to sing a snatch of music, and is now gone. From the neighbouring wood comes the pewit's note and the brown thrasher's song. Not long since, as it rose out of a neighbouring hollow in whose cool recesses the thick foliage makes a perpetual twilight, we caught the voice of the wood-thrush, now languid in the midday's heat, but which towards the close of day causes the woods to resound with strains shrill and musical as if the faint clash of distant cymbals were blended with the flute. On a fence some twenty rods in front a quail serenades its partner, who is doubtless seated on its nest just beyond. Sparrows, twittering as they fly, are fitting back and forth. "A crow may be heard in the distance, warning its comrades against some intruding foot. Above our window, in a corner of the piazza, is a swallow's nest, which for some days past we have been watching. It has been the scene of events which would fill us with wonder, were it not (what is most wonderful of all) that they are so common. First, on a sunshiny morning, just returned from their winter wanderings, appeared the parent birds and carefully arranged the nest. Then five eggs appeared, followed by the tedious process of incubation. Then the children discovered five little birds pushing their heads over the protecting rim of the nest, while the older birds, unwearied, from morn till night have been darting back and forth, collecting out of the air food for their young.
But this is little compared with what nature sent forth to meet us as we rode last evening through the woods. In the alders by the pond, the fretful note of the catbird alternated with that rich song which might make it deserve the name of the New England mocking-bird. From the willow darted, in short and interrupted flights, still singing as it flew, the yellow-bird. On a branch which overhung a stream a kingfisher sat, its sharp, imperative voice heard as far as itself could be seen. Startled from its covert, a woodcock rose for a moment, and, flying in a right line, - thus giving the fowler an opportunity for his unerring aim, – plunged for refuge into the rich vegetation of the meadow. 'A flock of