What Kind of Blessing Is That?

Articles Leave a Comment

In some cases a more informed understanding of the original setting of the Gospels can be communicated easily in a translation. A good translation will reflect that fuller, culturally appropriate understanding.

מְתֻרְגְּמָן Meturgeman is Hebrew for translator. The articles in this series illustrate how a knowledge of the Gospels’ Semitic background can provide a deeper understanding of Jesus’ words and influence the translation process.

And Simeon blessed them [the parents of Jesus] and said to Mary his mother, “Behold this child is destined for a falling and rising of many in Israel for a sign which is refused and a sword will go through your soul so that the thoughts of many will be revealed. (Luke 2:34-35)

A translator faces several puzzles in the first verse of this passage. What kind of blessing did Simeon give? Was the direct speech addressed only to Mary and unrelated to the blessing? If the quotation is part of the blessing, what kind of blessing is it?

We continually need to refine our understanding of Gospel passages by viewing them together with what is known of their original cultural setting. In some cases a more informed understanding can be communicated easily in a translation, and a good translation will reflect that fuller, culturally appropriate understanding. We will look at two examples of this: a simple one in Luke 2:28-32, and a more difficult one in Luke 2:34-35.

Premium Members
If you are not a Premium Member, please consider becoming one starting at $10/month (paid monthly) or only $5/month (paid annually):

One Time Purchase Rather Than Membership
Rather than a membership, you may also purchase access to this entire page for $1.99 USD. (If you do not have an account select "Register & Purchase.")

Login & Purchase

Leave a Reply

  • Randall Buth

    Randall Buth

    Randall Buth is director of the Biblical Language Center and a lecturer at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Home for Bible Translators. He is a member of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research. Buth received his doctorate in…
    [Read more about author]

  • Online Hebrew Course

    Do you want to learn Hebrew? Check out our online Hebrew course Aleph-Bet: Hebrew Reading and Writing for Christians in 17 Easy Lessons.