Question:

Dear minister,

"... there will be two in one bed ..." The Greek does not have 'men'

"Two will be grinding ..." No 'women' in the Greek text either.

"Two will be in the field ..." Again, no 'men.'

The words 'men' and 'women' have been added by Catholic and later Anglican translators because it was what the priests and bishops (catholic of course) taught in their Latin Vulgate. Find a Bible with the added words in italics and check.

That also goes for generations in Exodus 20:5! What would be the point for God to 'punish' or 'visit' the iniquity of the dead and buried sinner on the great-grandchildren? Or do we make God say idle words, when He said we will be judged for them?

?at??ae?? [You understand?]


Answer:

Every language in the world has its own grammar for expressing meaning. These do not map one-to-one between languages and sometimes using a one-to-one mapping will cause misunderstandings.

"I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left" (Luke 17:34-36).

In the Greek, the words translated as "one" and "other" have gender attached to them. In English we don't have word endings that signify whether we are talking about males or females; thus, the translators added "men" and "women" to the translation so that the full meaning of the Greek text is clearer in English. These words are marked in some translations, such as the New American Standard Bible, but the function they serve is not idle.

What I don't understand is why you think it is important to obscure the gender from the Greek text when translating it into English.

"You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me" (Exodus 20:5).

Literally the last phrase in Hebrew says, "punishing the iniquity of fathers on the children on the third even on the fourth to those who hate me." In English saying "to the third and fourth" without a noun leaves the English speaker asking "To the third or fourth what?", even it is perfectly clear to a Hebrew speaker. Notice that you, being an English speaker, misunderstand the phrase when you try to leave "generations" out. You decided God was saying to the third and fourth child. I guess the second and fifth children were lucky.

That "generation" is intended is seen clearly in "keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation" (Exodus 34:7). Here again, "generation" does not appear in the text, but the phrase before, "upon the children and the children's children to the third and fourth," makes it very clear that the discussion is by generation and not number of children. Once again, the additional word is necessary for clarity in English, even though its absence was not necessary in Hebrew to get the meaning across. Clarity is not idle speech. Did you notice that Exodus 34:7 directly contradicts your contention?

By the way, if you would like an explanation of this phrase, see: Can you explain what it means that the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generations?