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Art. II. The Book of Job; translated from the Hebrew, by the late Miss Elizabeth Smith : With a Preface and Annotations, &c.
(Continued from p. 672.) : HAVING in our last number entered into the general
merits, and demerits of the version before us, in regard to idiomatic style, and grammatical precision, it remains for us to offer a few specimens of the more remarkable changes from the bible-version which the fair writer proposes;
and to take a brief survey of the editor's subjoined notes · in support or disapprobation of such variations. .
We cannot avoid noticing, before we proceed farther, one observation of Dr. Randolph's, which appears to have been hazarded far too hastily. Through the whole course of her remarks and alterations, she never alludes to, and I am confident, never saw any other version but (than) that of our bible.' (Pref. p. xiii.) On what this confidence is founded we know not; but if it simply refer to her never alluding to any authority she has copied, he might as well have said that she had never seen Mr. Parkburst's lexicon : for although nearly half (perhaps more than half) the proposed alterations are derived verbatim from this volume, there is no note of allusion in any place. We believe she was in possession of Stock's version from various synonymous renderings; as Ch. xxxi, 40.
And instead of barley, aconite: which in a note she explains to be ' nightshade.' Dr. Stock's version is,
* And instead of barley, the nightshade. . So Ch. xxx. 29, instead of owls as in the bible version, Dr, Stock has “ daughters of screeching ;” and in a subjoined note 66 a common epithet for ostriches." Miss Smith has
daughters of lamentation;' and, in a subjoined note daughters of lamentation,—the ostrich.'--So again in Ch. xxxiv. 27. Stock,_" What was straight I have crookened ;” Miss Smith, - I have made crooked the straight.' See also the subsequent note on Ch. ix. 9.
Again : Ch. xli. 22. In our common version," and sorrow is turned into joy before him ;” in Miss Smith's,
And fainting dances before him. Upon which we have the following note by the editor.
This is a singular expression to denote the terror his ap.. proach inspires. Fainting, or faintress, by a bold personification, is supposed to exult at the power, the presence of
the crocodile enables her to exert over the strength of man. As soon as men see him they immediately faint.'
We agree with the learned editor that the above is a singular expression;' so singular, that it appears to us alinost impossible that any two interpreters, unacquainted with each other, could have employed it to express the meaning of the original. Yet in Dr. Stock the passage is rendered thus:
And before hin DANCETH SWOONING.' Upon which Dr. Stock gives us the following note: “The ' faintness occasioned by fear is here personified, and repre'sented as marching with exultation before the monster.'
Dr. Stock is the only translator who had hitherto rendered the term pon danceth ; a bold, and somewhat doubtful sense ; and he is nearly the only one who had rendered 1987 “ swooning or faintness.” Schultens for this last has anxietas; the Syriac and Arabic versions timor; Pagninus dolor ; St. Jerom egestas ; Junius and Tremellius, and Piscator, mæror ; the Alexandrian version anwRELO ( destruction ;) that of Aquila exaopesce (famine). The Spanish translator Luis de Leon follows chiefly the Alesandrine copy, and gives us
Y ante sus faces va Asolamiento,
And DESTRUCTION goeth before his face. We have quoted these different senses to show, with Dr. Randolph himself, that the phrase, “ fainting,” or “ swooning, danceth” is indeed a singular expression, and by do means obvious to a translator; and to indicate the source from which, as it appears to us, Miss Smith must have derived it.
We do not, however, say that such coincidences are full proofs, though they might be multiplied to a very considerable number ; but they at least render it highly probable, especially considering that Dr. Stock had at this time but just translated this very work, that his version was a theme of very general conversation, and that the comprehensive mind of Miss Smith was athirst for information of every kind.
But though we cannot speak with full decision upon this subject, in regard to Dr. Stock's translation, we submit to our readers that we may do so with respect to both Scott's and Grey's : while if Miss Smith were at all acquainted with Scott, she must necessarily have been so with Schuliens, Michaelis, Heath, and almost every respectable annotator and translator anterior to himself, in consequence of his copying their observations. In Miss Smith Ch. xxxviii. 14. we have the following line.
• It is changed as clay by the scal.' Vol. VII.
In Scott it runs thus :
" It (the earth) is changed as clay by the seal.” . This peculiar reading requires' some explanation. And hence in Miss Smith, we find the following note. It is changed. In the dark, it was as clay without impression : the light shewing all the objects, the earth seems as if newly stamped by a seal.'-In Mr. Scott the same note occurs un. der the following form : " During the darkness of the night • the earth is a perfect blank : in which state it resembles the
clay that has no impression. But the morning light failing upon the earth, innumerable objects make their appearance • upon it: it is then changed, like clay which has received
the stamp of the seal. Thus I understand this elegant si. mile.'-We have not room to detail other passages of equal resemblance; but the reader, who is in possession of both works, may compare Ch. vii. 6. with the note to each; Ch. xxiv. 16. with the note to each; Ch. xxvii. 18. with the note to each, and various others as he proceeds.
Mr. Grey's edition of the original text, is reduced, as we have already had occasion to observe, to measured lines upon the principles of Bishop Hare, and accompanied with a Latin version occasionally original, but in the main expressly and avowedly copied from A. Schultens. There is a very considerable peculiarity in the distribution of the Hebrew text according to Mr. Grey. We know so little of the poetical rhythmus of the original, as to render it highly doubtful whether many passages in the Hebrew scriptures ought to be regarded as prose or poetry. Many critics, and ‘amongst these the excellent Bishop of Killala, are convinced that not the psalms and the prophecies only, but . the historical parts also, commonly supposed to be written (in prose, are in fact composed in verse, with no other
difference from the rest, but that they want the ornaments and bolder features of poetry* : And with this view of the subject he has equally reduced every part of the book of Job (in his translation of this poem) to metrical stanzas. Mr. Grey, on the contrary, conceived that there are certain parts of this book which are merely historical and introductory to the rest, and which have not the least pretensions to a metrical arrangement; as for instance the first two chapters--the opening of chapter xxxii. which introduces the speech of Elihu—and the close of chapter xlii. from ver. 6. The most extraordinary part of this opinion is that which contemplates the first two chapters as not
* Book of Isaiah. Pref. vii.
poetical: for independently of the rhythm itself, upon which it is in vain to dispute, they have unspeakably more claim to the character of poetry than any other part of the book. They open the work in the grandest and sublimest style imaginable: they introduce us into another scene of things: they put us into possession of what, in a poem founded on mere fancy, would be denominated its mythology or machinery : they represent the Almighty as seated on his throne, and summoning, at two distinct intervals before him, the ministers of his providence, the good and evil spirits that are allowed or specially com.. missioned to fulfil his purposes; and as demanding an account of the manner in which they have executed their trust. It is in vain to seek for a poem that commences with so much boldness and sublimity : and to maintain that this is not poetry, and that the mere routine of the speeches that ensue, incomparable as they are, is poetry, is in our opinion to subvert the order of things, and to confound prose and poetry in one undistinguishable chaos.
Now it is difficult to conceive, that any one mind could be so constituted as to take such a view of the work before us: but it is as an unit to an incalculable series that two should be found of the same opinion, unless the second should have had an opportunity of being influenced by the first. What conclusion, then, must our readers draw when we inform them, not only that Miss Smith has completely coincided with this view of Mr. Grey, but that she has run, in parallel lines, with him throughout the whole work: that she has in every part, rendered as prose, what he has rendered as prose, and as verse what he has rendered as verse. . It is useless, after this, to enter into local resemblances; it is impossible not to invert the incautious assertion of her too partial friend, and to affirm that we are confident' she has seen other versions than that of the bible;' and we have no doubt that had her active and valuable life been spared till she had finished the work before us, she would have openly admitted the different aids to which she has been indebted.
One of the most extraordinary variations from the common reading occurs Ch. i. 6. wbich in our common version runs thus; " now there was a day when THE SONS OF GOD came to present theniselves before the Lord ;" but which in Miss Smith is written · And the day was and THE SONS, OF PERDITION came to SET THEMSELVES AGAINST Jehovah;' that is, as explained in a note on Ch. ii. 1, where the same passage is repeated, they set themselves as pillars-in
rebellious, hostile manner. Yet this version Dr. Randolph, in his notės, approves and justifies.
• This (he says) is a bold variation from the generally admitted sense of the Hebrew phrase ; but I am convinced, after the most mature consideration, that the conception of the passage is no less just, than it is original. It certainly is defensible upon the strongest ground, though not frecisely upon that which the translator has chosen. Io her opinion, that the article a appears no where else, prefixed in regimine, except in the 6th chapter of Genesis, Miss Smith is not quite correct This usage of it is not un. common, and particularly in 1 Samuelix. 10, we find DiDnVox the man of Gob. It might, however, have been fairly urged, that except in these two passages, the article is no where applied in regimine to these specific words; and that universally, bs is the expression used to denote Tia Oiã sons of God, those, whom the New Testament calls born of God, begotten again by his word, and resembling their heavenly Father in their dispositions and actions. The emphatic o prefixed, gives therefore great weight to her interpretation, and more especially from its being expressly
לאלהי חחאלהים .used to contrast the false gods with the great JEHovAH
1970 O give thanks unto the God of all gods : Psalm cxxx. 2. The sense then will be, the sops of perdition, (viz.) those who from their idolatrous apostacy, were deserving of, or liable to perdition, came to set themselves against JEHOVAH. And surely nothing can be more dramatically beautiful, than the placing Satan at the head of these his apostate followers ; not to mention, that the subsequent questions, hast thou considered my servant Job? whom thou hast not been able to seduce from my service, becomes more peculiarly apposite.' pp. 147, 148.
It is sufficient to observe, we presume, in opposition to the dramatic beauty pointed out in this reading, that so far from any endeavour to take the throne of God by storm, ' in a rebellious hostile manner--at the head of his apostate followers'-Satan, like every other summoned spirit before the throne, appeared there expressly to account for his conduct, and to receive and obey the subsequent commands of the SUPREME JUDGE. At the same time, nothing can be more monstrous than to derive Sinsen, in the present instance, from abo « to be faint, languid, diseased, or disaffected" instead of from abx in the usual way ; and hence to form an imaginary substantive answering to pere dition, which after all it could not fairly import. We are the more astonished that Dr. Randolph, who is alive to the
error upon which the purposed change is founded, should still 'have adopted the change itself. He voluntarily proves this to be an error by two passages of an opposite kind, but supposes that not more than these two exist. These two are as good as a dozen, but we could furnish him with a dozen others if it were necessary. . Ch. i. 11. We have already remarked upon the gross in"consistency of rendering 772 in V. 5. bless, and here and in