Just then a woman who had been suffering from chronic bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel of his garment.I note that the HCSB also translates Greek kraspedon here as "tassel" rather than "hem":
Just then, a woman who had suffered from bleeding for 12 years approached from behind and touched the tassel on His robeThe NET Bible translates with the words "edge of his cloak" but footnotes "edge", explaining:
The edge of his cloak refers to the kraspedon, the blue tassel on the garment that symbolized a Jewish man’s obedience to the law (cf. Num 15:37-41). The woman thus touched the very part of Jesus’ clothing that indicated his ritual purity.The ESV retains "edge" from the RSV and footnotes the word, pointing us to Numbers 15:38,39 and Deut. 22:12 which specifically refer to the "tassels" on the corners of garments. Well done! This is accuracy, guiding us to understand precisely what the woman wanted to touch.
The NASB translated with the words "the fringe of His cloak" and footnotes "fringe", saying:
I.e. tassel fringe with a blue cordThe REB (Revised English Bible) also footnotes "edge" saying it could also be rendered as "tassel."
I have found similar insights into the Jewish background of the gospels from the writings of the Jerusalem School, a group of Christian and Jewish scholars working together to help us understand the Jewish foundations of the gospels more accurately. And when we understand more accurately we can produce better Bibles.
I was glad to read in an interview with ESV translator, Paul House, that the ESV team made some of its revisions of the RSV based on "new scholarship coming out all the time that helps us understand the background of words and the meaning of words in their context." Those insights have made the ESV better. And better is better! (I couldn't pass that one up! Who wants to explain the humor here to our friends across the Atlantic or Pacific?)
Categories: ESV, ISV, NET Bible, NASB, REB, Bible translation