The Other Extreme on Explanation in Translation

Yesterday I complained a bit about the explanation that The Voice provides to readers, informing them that since Bathsheba had just completed purification after her period, Uriah couldn’t be the father of the child.

Today I was reading the same passage in the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), and there we get the opposite. In verse 4 it reads, “… purifying herself from her uncleannes.” This would be easy for a modern reader to miss. It’s implied from the context. Why would the writer mention this unless it had something to do with the story? But it requires a little bit of background knowledge. How many Christian readers know that ritual cleansing was required following a woman’s period?

A more balanced translation is provided by the NET: “… purifying herself from her menstrual uncleanness.” In addition, as they usually do, the NET provides an informative note. I find such notes less obtrusive. One can read the story as is, or one can take the detour as one prefers.


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