There was a comment to our previous post, asking for more critique of the NKJV. So I'll evaluate a passage in the NKJV today. Here is Matt. 2:13-23, which tells how Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, to spare Jesus' life from Herod who wanted to kill him:
13 ¶ Now when they had departed, behold,
"behold" is not used in current English as the translation equivalent of the underlying Greek attention-getting form, idou
. Instead, current translation equivalents could be "Pay attention!" and "Note this!" In some dialects of English, "Listen up!" could be used.
an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word;
More natural English would be "until I tell you" (NASB, NIV, TNIV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT, NCV, GW, NET, ESV, HCSB). In current English we don't talk about "bringing" someone "word."
for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him."
14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night
"during the night" (NIV, TNIV, TEV, NCV, NET, HCSB) or "that night" (CEV, NLT, GW) sound more natural to me than "by night."
and departed for Egypt,
15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called My Son."
16 ¶ Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry;
"exceedingly" strikes my ears as dated. Today I think we would more often simply say "very."
and he sent forth and put to death
"sent forth and ..." does not sound right to me. I have blogged on this Hebraism previously. Apparently it works for some speakers of English. The following sound like good English to me:
gave orders to kill (NIV, TNIV, TEV)
gave orders to massacre (HCSB)
gave orders for his men to kill (CEV)
gave an order to kill (NCV)
sent men to kill (NET)
sent soldiers to kill (NLT, GW)
Translating the Hebraism literally creates unnatural English.
all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more."
19 ¶ But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20 saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead."
21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee.
23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, "He shall be called a Nazarene."
What other translation issues do you spot in this passage, as worded in the NKJV?