Jerusalem's people are a gladness.This sentence is excerpted and slightly revised from Is. 65:18 which is worded, in full, as:
But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness.Only 82 of 350 respondents (23.4%) indicated that they considered the test sentence to be proper English.
The test sentence is odd English, perhaps even ungrammatical. In 20th or 21st century English one would never, as far as I know, refer to anything being a "gladness," let alone a group of people being a "gladness." Instead, a group of people can be a "delight" or a "joy." They can "bring us joy." "Delight" and "joy" collocate properly with a reference to people in the English lexicon. "Gladness" does not do so for a majority of English speakers, at least not a majority of the English speakers who visit this blog and chose to take the ESV wording poll.
The RSV, of which the ESV is a revision, has better quality English in its parallel sentence of Is. 65:18 (see other version wordings below). The amount of poor English which I and others have found in the ESV is especially baffling given the following statement on the ESV website:
more than sixty of the world’s leading Bible scholars pored over every word and phrase to achieve the unique accuracy, excellence, and beauty of the ESV BibleBetter quality English wordings, excerpted and revised to parallel the test sentence, are:
Jerusalem's people are a joy. (KJV; essentially literal)The NASB is the only other English version that uses the word "gladness" in Is. 65:18 and its syntactic and lexical usage in the NASB is different from that of the ESV:
Jerusalem's people are a joy. (ASV; literal; source text for RSV)
Jerusalem's people are a joy. (RSV; essentially literal, source text for ESV)
Jerusalem's people are a source of happiness. (NET Bible; essentially literal)
Jerusalem's people are a delight. (HCSB; essentially literal)
Jerusalem's people are a delight (NRSV; essentially literal)
Jerusalem's people are a joy. (NIV, TNIV; moderately literal)
Jerusalem's people are a source of joy. (NLT; dynamic equivalent)
For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicingI look forward to a revised ESV with better quality English. And I will be glad to note improved wordings in the ESV. I am always glad when revision leads to better Bibles.
And her people for gladness.
Categories: ESV, literary quality