Proof: The Hebrew Origin of The Wisdom of Solomon

Proof: The Hebrew Origin of The Wisdom of Solomon
James Scott Trimm

The Wisdom of Solomon is one of the books found in the “Apocrypha”. According to Melito in the second century CE, the Wisdom of Solomon was in his day considered canonical by both Jews and Christians. The Hebrew version of the Wisdom of Solomon is also mentioned by Ramban (1194-1270 CE) in the preface to his commentary on the Torah. He also quotes from the book.

Although many scholars have claimed that this book was originally written in Greek, we can now be certain that the Wisdom of Solomon was originally written in Hebrew and that the original Hebrew survived until at least 1611. The original 1611 edition of the King James Version has a marginal note to the word “pricked” in Wisdom of Solomon 16:11 (yes that it’s the verse, and yes it is an interesting coincidence) which says “Hebr. stung.”

From this we know that the KJV translators had the original Hebrew of this book in their hands. (Likewise they also had the now lost original Hebrew of 1st Esdras which has several of these references to readings of the Hebrew in the margins of the original 1611 edition of the KJV.)

Now the Greek of Wisdom 16:11 has enekentronto “they were pricked” (KJV, Brenton) or “they were bitten” (RSV, NEB) (the NAB has “they were stung”). Now this word can be translated “stung” (as in the NAB) but it can also be translated “pricked” as the KJV translators chose to translate in the main text. The footnote indicates that that original Hebrew does in fact have a word meaning “sting” and not “pricked” here. The KJV footnote would seem to indicate that the original Hebrew word had to have been PARASH (Strong’s 6567) the only Biblical Hebrew word for “sting” (as we see it in Prov. 23:32).

Now the Aramaic Peshitta translator must have misread PARASH (Strong’s 6567) “sting” as PARASH (Strong’s 6566) “to break in pieces”. The Aramaic Peshitta translator thus wrongly translated PATZAIT “split, opened”.

The Aramaic has mistranslated the original Hebrew word, and therefore could not have been translated from the Greek. This means that our Aramaic Peshitta version is an Aramaic translation made directly from the Hebrew. Since these are cognate languages with much vocabulary and grammar in common, the Aramaic translation gives us a much better witness as to the original Hebrew than does the Greek. And were it not for this one marginal note made by the original 1611 KJV translators, we would not have this proof that the Aramaic was translated directly from the Hebrew rather than from the Greek.  Conversely the mistranslation of this word in the Aramaic Peshitta proves the veracity of the KJV marginal note.

Rent is due tomorrow, and my wife has surgery on the 9th! We need your help today!

My wife was originally to have surgery on Wednesday the second. I am sorry to say that surgery has had to be postponed until Feb. 9th. We found out there would be a co-pay for the surgery, of which we were not previously aware. The fact is that the rent is due tomorrow and we do not even know if we will be able to cover that at this point, so we had no choice but to postpone the surgery, whether we liked it or not.

I am telling you all this for two reasons. First of all the rent is due in just two days, and at this point we do not have it. Secondly to highlight just how serious things have become in the last few months financially. Over the summer, the person who had been our largest single contributor for the previous two years, notified us that they would have to drastically reduce their giving. Then just as their donations decreased, another long time contributor stepped up and started giving some large donations. Unfortunately this person has not been able to donate at all in about two months. These donations helped us pay off some bills to lower our monthly budget and even gave us a small safety net for a while. But that safety net has now been completely depleted. So much so that we have had to postpone my wife’s surgery and prioritize the rent (which even then, we still do not have the rent covered yet).

The time is short, and there is much work to be done. This is no time to pull back from the great work in front of us!

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.

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