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Author Topic: "And Prevail When Thou Art Judged"  (Read 1332 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: November 02, 2008, 10:55:50 PM »

In Ps. 50 in Orthodox literature (Jordanville prayer book, Psalter According to the Seventy, etc.) we find the words: "Against thee only have I sinned and done this evil before Thee, that Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and prevail when Thou art judged." (v. 4)  The KJV and other Bibles translate it differently (Ps. 51:4), saying something like: "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest."

Is this difference the result of the Orthodox sources using the Septuagint, while the KJV and other Bible translations are following the Hebrew? Also, is there any difference in meaning for the Orthodox version, or do they both essentially say that God is the one doing the judging?
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2008, 11:27:49 PM »

The Septuagint has:
"και  νικησης εν τω κρινεσθαι σε"
Note the word I have put in bold "κρινεσθαι"
I would transliterate this passage as:
"and overcome in the going to court/judgement of you"
And this would be consistent with the KJV translation of the word "κρινεσθαι" which also occurs in the New Testament in 1Corintians 6:1 which reads:
"τολμα τις υμων πραγμα εχων προς τον ετερον κρινεσθαι επι των αδικων και ουχι επι των αγιων"
and is translated in the KJV as:
"Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?"
So "κρινεσθαι" refers to someone being the subject of judgement, rather than the one judging.

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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2008, 08:32:03 AM »

In Ps. 50 in Orthodox literature (Jordanville prayer book, Psalter According to the Seventy, etc.) we find the words: "Against thee only have I sinned and done this evil before Thee, that Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and prevail when Thou art judged." (v. 4)  The KJV and other Bibles translate it differently (Ps. 51:4), saying something like: "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest."

Is this difference the result of the Orthodox sources using the Septuagint, while the KJV and other Bible translations are following the Hebrew? Also, is there any difference in meaning for the Orthodox version, or do they both essentially say that God is the one doing the judging?

Interesting. I honestly had not read Ps. 50 in the Orthodox Study Bible until today. I will have to give this some thought. Thank you for bringing it to our attention!

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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2008, 12:47:27 PM »

In Coptic literature, it's written "when thou art judged."  And there is a difference in meaning.  People do in fact judge God in this world. "God allows evil! how can there be a just God in the midst of all this calamity? If a loving God exists, the world would be a better place! Life is not fair, it's all God's fault!"  But in the end, as all things fall into place under God's will, He prevails, and any seemingly valid judgments against Him are brought to naught.

Perhaps, it's best if it's understand as God is being "tested".  While God cannot be judged or tested, it is done anyway, and He will always prevail.
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2008, 01:10:50 PM »

In the Ukrainian translation by Metropolitan Illarion (prof. Ivan Ohienko), Ps. 50 in this place reads, 6 Тобі, одному Тобі я згрішив, і перед очима Твоїми лукаве вчинив, тому справедливий Ти будеш у мові Своїй, бездоганний у суді Своїм ("I have sinned against You and You alone, and in front of Your eyes I have been untruthful, so in Your word (or speech) You will be just, and impeccable You will be in Your judgment"). See http://www.ukrlc.org/bible/old/Poetik/Psalms.htm
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2008, 11:46:58 AM »

In Ps. 50 in Orthodox literature (Jordanville prayer book, Psalter According to the Seventy, etc.) we find the words: "Against thee only have I sinned and done this evil before Thee, that Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and prevail when Thou art judged." (v. 4)  The KJV and other Bibles translate it differently (Ps. 51:4), saying something like: "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest."


The Contos translation of the Psalms says, It is You alone I have offended I have done what is evil in your sight. Wherefore You are justified in your charges and triumphant in your judgment.

Now I don't comprehend Greek, though I can read it phonetically (for the most part) and do pick up on some common phrases and such, but I cannot say exactly what the Greek is saying here, but what you posted is really the only thing I have against HTM's translations, is that the most literal and "accurate" translation isn't necessarily always the "best", because ",that Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and prevail when Thou art judged" simply doesn't make sense to me, an American Native English speaker.

In fact I'm glad you asked this question, because I've never understood that phrase until reading some of the other replies here today....but should I have to go "look up" something in a Greek lexicon when I come across a translation such as this, which to my English speaking mindset simply doesn't make sense? I mean, I'm using English for a reason....if every time some bizarre phrasing or archaic word pops up I have to go "look up what it says in greek" to me that defeats the whole purpose of using English to begin with.


I'm not bashing HTM's stuff, because I really do think they have the best translations out there, generally speaking....I use their prayerbook at home, and use Fr. Ephraim's musical setting in Byzantine notation at the cantors stand, so it's great work....but ocassionally, particular in the Psalms, I come across stuff like that phrase and it just doesn't work for me.

 Now that I know what it means and the context of the Greek, then yeah I think I'll have a better understanding, but for "praying" the Psalms at home, I prefer what I'm used to, the Contos translation which we use in all our service books at Church, and while it might be a looser translation, it appears to be getting the point the Greek is making, and bringing to a native English speaker like me. And of course the KJV/NKJV which most of us are at least fairly familiar with. (can anyone really "pray" the 23 Psalm in anything but KJV? I sure can't. Study is one thing, prayer is something else.

Anyways, great topic which I'm glad you brought up, as you weren't the only one who thought that "God being judged" sounded a little weird. Smiley





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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2011, 11:04:58 PM »

I know it's an old thread but I wanted to point out that "prevail when thou art judged" is St. Paul's reading of the psalm in Romans 3:4 which indicates his reliance on the Septuagint.
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Tags: Psalm 50 (51) Bible Scripture Septuagint Old Testament Psalms 
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