At our weekly Bible Fellowship a while back, the Lord told me to read a passage from Isaiah for our leader who is moving away the next month. The purpose was to give encouragement and honor to the family as they left all their freinds behind and start a new life a thousand miles away.
I read the passage from the bible I had with me and it is one that is thought highly of by many scholars, yet as I read it everybody went, “Huh?” It did not agree with any of their versions of the text. So when I got home, I prayed and I researched the verse form several translations. And I found that only the ESV, my new bible, read the verse in the context that I read. All other versions clearly stated something totally different and now I must find a Hebrew reader to convey to me what is right and what is wrong. Are there any out there who can help me?
Let me give you the text as the ESV has put it; “And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray,” Isaiah 35:8 This sounds like the prophet is saying that fools will walk the road of Holiness and not stray from it but even in the footnote at the bottom of the page, it says, “or, if they are fools,they shall not wander on it.” The word “astray” is a very poor choice and gives a false impression as well as being out of place in this context. At least that is how I, a simple man reads it.
Because of the wording chosen by the translators, readers are left in confusion. This is why it is so important that we research and confirm scriptures at every turn. If I had not been questioning the way the verse was translated, I would have felt that the poor choice of words were the best ones instead of the other way around. The best translation I found was from the NLT; “And a main road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-hearted people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there.” and to the point, if we continue to walk in the ways of the foolish, living sinful lives, we cannot walk in the Highway of Holiness. If we don’t walk in the ways of the LORD, we are not traveling on the path of righteousness not traveling with Christ. We can not travel on two paths at the same time. We must choose, God’s way or the way of the lost.
I would like to say more on the subject of Isaiah 8:3-10, but I have not prepared myself with much prayer and study. To the family who are moving it was a message of hope and of endurance. They are going to a new area and will continue with a new Bible Fellowship in their new home. This passage was to let them know that God has gone before them and has prepared a place for them. Because they walk in righteousness and because they are devout in their understanding of the message of God for their lives, He will stand with them. I only hope that we can continue with the Bible Fellowship here. Colleen and I are struggling with the concept that we are to lead it. At the present time, we are not confident in that charge. I would take on the endeavor, but it may not be in God’s will. We await for a new leader, one who is strong in the Spirit and who others will hear the word with clear and focused ears and eyes.
Meanwhile, I advise each of you to test the scriptures and the ones who present the Word so that you not be deceived, even by accident, as to the true meanings of God’s Testimonies. If those who have studied the Word, the languages and the histories of the Jews can make errors, who am I to think that I have a lock on the Word? It is only by the Grace of God, and the Love of His Word, that I have any voice at all. I like to think that I understand His ways but it is made clear to me that much of what I write is only an opinion and I need never be locked into a belief or understanding that someone else may find to be in error. I just express my own understanding and hope to Glory it is right with God. Let those who are truly wise in the ways of the Lord judge me and let Christ Jesus have mercy on my thinking. I want only to serve His Grace of Forgiveness and the Mercy of His Salvation. As the Word tells us, do not lean on our own understanding but the Truth of the Spirit.
p.s. Further research has shown that there are two versions of this text from older manuscripts. One does state that even the simple-minded can travel the road and not wander from it and the other reads that the foolish (e.i. wicked) cant travel on the Highway. It seems that even the ancients could not agree on the text but mainly it has to do with a lack of articles, multi word usage and phrasing that conflict with one use or another. In a new book I received for Christmas, I discovered that the Hebrew word for compassion root meaning is the same for bowel and for womb. It is now wonder that we have so many translations of the Word of God that seem to conflict with each other.