Matt. 18:10: translating biblical non sequiturs
Don't be against these children! I am really telling you, their angels are in heaven, they are always with my heavenly Father there.How does that translation sound to you? Does it seem accurate? Feel free to check the translation with any resources you wish.
The translation seems accurate to me, in that it says what the underlying Greek text says. (N.B. If you are concerned that the translation makes explicit who the little ones are, something which is clear in the context, this is permissible translation, according to the principles we follow as translation consultants. And if you are concerned that the translation says nothing about the "face" of Jesus' father in heaven, we should point out that face is a Semitic figure of speech, a synecdoche, which represents all of a person. The speakers of this tribal language do not have the synecdoche of face representing a person, so the translation has the figurative meaning of the synecdoche, which is permissible translation according to the principles we consultants follow as we check. These two issues are not in focus in this blog post. Please keep reading to get to the issue which is.)
Now, think for awhile about the two sentences in this verse. Feel free to look them up in the Greek or in any English translation. Feel free to examine any amount of their context. Does anything strike you as odd about these two sentences, in any translation?
If nothing does yet, consider this: What does Jesus give as the reason why people should "not look down on one of these little ones" (NIV)?
Does that reason make sense to you, in this context? Don't answer yes until you have thought about it for awhile.
If the reason given, as we have recorded by Matthew, doesn't make sense as a reason for not looking down on the little ones, do you think Jesus intended it to make sense to his audience? And if you think he did, what do you think is a translator's responsibility, if any, to enable their audience to understand the reason why people should "not look down on one of these little ones"?