This is the twelfth article of the series: “The Foreigner woman in Bible versus Quran”

In the previous articles, we have seen that from the Language point of view, the “foreign” woman is the alien or the exotic or the outsider woman.  However, the Bible has another notion. 

As confirmed by the Bible, the “foreign” woman is the non-Israelite woman or the non-Jewish woman.

As a result, any non-Israelite or any non-Jewish woman is a “foreign” woman.

This indicates that the women in the Bible are but one of two categories; they are either Legitimate (genuine) or Foreign (strange).

In the present article, we will analyze and discuss the translation of one verse that talks about the “strange women” in 18 different versions of the Bible.  Although this issue needs some patience and watchfulness; however, it deserves studying to prove how incorrectly the translators of some Biblical versions did their Job in reference to the original Hebrew Scripture.

Very simply, the verse, Ezra 10:2, says “…we had betrayed our God and we have taken strange women of the peoples of the land…”  This is the unembroidered translation of the original Hebrew verse

Herein, we will talk about the translation of the above 12 words.

These 12 words make up a very simple and easy phrase that is composed of four parts ” we had betrayed our God + we have taken + strange women + of the peoples of the land”.

Now, let us see how do 18 Biblical versions translate the above 12 words of the verse?

 

(1) How do 18 Biblical versions translate we had betrayed our God?

We betrayed our God in one version (The Message).

We have been unfaithful to our God (in seven versions).

We have trespassed against our God (in five versions).

We have broken faith with our God (in one version).

We have acted unfaithfully toward our God (in one version).

We haven’t been faithful to our God (in one version).

We have disobeyed God (in one version).

We have broken faith and dealt treacherously against our God (in one version).

 

(2) How do 18 Biblical versions translate we have taken?

Only four out of 18 Biblical versions translate we have taken correctly; while 13 versions translate we have taken to we have married or by marrying (in six and seven versions respectively). One version translates it to “we settle”. Literally, “we have taken” is quite different from “we have married”.

 

(3) How do the 18 Biblical versions translate strange women?

In Hebrew, the word pronounced as “No-kh-re-yoat” is the plural of the English word “stranger”.  Also, the word pronounced as “Za-roat” is the plural of the English word “Foreign”.  Both “No-kh-re-yoat” and “Za-roat” are used in the Hebrew version when talking about the strange women and the foreign women respectively.

The Hebrew verse of Ezra 10:2 used “No-kh-re-yoat” women, i.e. strange women. However, only two Biblical versions out of 18 Biblical versions translate it correctly.

In two Biblical versions, strange women are translated to pagan women!

Strange women is translated in the other 14 versions as foreign women (in Nine versions), foreign wives (in three versions) or “just” women (in two versions) etc.

I wonder why the translators of 15 Biblical versions could not translate such a simple word.

 

(4) How do the 18 Biblical versions translate the peoples of the land?

The peoples of the land in nine versions
The peoples around us in four versions
The nations that are around us, the surrounding peoples and the people around here in one version each.
However, the strangest translation was in two Biblical versions that translate it to “pagan women of the land”.  According to the original Hebrew verse, “pagan women” is not the Word of God.
In addition, Contemporary English Version does not translate it!

 

Upon Comparing King James Version with New King James Version and 21st Century King James Version, you find that “strange wives ” in King James Version became ” pagan wives ” in New King James Version and “foreign wives” in 21st Century King James Version. 

However, when comparing the American Standard Version with the New American Standard Bible, you find no changes between the two versions; they both used the term “foreign women”.

 

Conclusion:

1) The 18 Biblical versions studied could not translate 12 simple Hebrew words correctly.

2) In two Biblical versions (New King James Version and New Living Translation), “strange” women are translated to “pagan” women.

In Language, Pagan is an irreligious, uncultured, uncivilized or hedonistic person. Also, pagan is an unconverted individual of a people that do not acknowledge the God of the Bible.  Of course there is a very big difference between strange and Pagan!

Herein, we have two questions for the translators of New King James Version and New Living Translation:

Are strange women Pagan? Are all the non-Jewish women Pagan?
Is not your translation hurts the non-Jewish women?

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About this issue in the Quran:

 

In the whole Quran, the term “strange woman” is not mentioned therein; all women are equal in respect to their rights and responsibilities regardless of race, color, location etc.

 

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Verse Ezra 10:2 in 18 different versions of the Bible

 

New Living Translation (NLT)…We have been unfaithful to our God, for we have married these pagan women of the land.

 

New King James Version (NKJV)…“We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land.

 

New International Version (NIV) …We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us.

 

New American Standard Bible (NASB) …We have been unfaithful to our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land.

 

Amplified Bible (AMP) …We have broken faith and dealt treacherously against our God and have married foreign women of the peoples of the land.

 

English Standard Version (ESV) …We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land.

 

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

…we have disobeyed God by marrying these foreign women.

 

American Standard Version (ASV) …We have trespassed against our God, and have married foreign women of the peoples of the land.

 

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) …We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the surrounding peoples.

 

Today’s New International Version (TNIV)…We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us.

 

New International Version – UK (NIVUK)…We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us.

 

The Message (MSG)…We betrayed our God by marrying foreign wives from the people around here.

 

21st Century King James Version (KJ21)…”We have trespassed against our God, and have taken foreign wives of the people of the land.

 

Darby Translation (DARBY)…We have acted unfaithfully toward our God, and have taken foreign wives of the peoples of the land.

 

Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)…We have trespassed against our God, and we settle strange women of the peoples of the land.

 

King James Version (KJV)…We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land.

 

New Century Version (NCV)…”We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying women from the peoples around us.

 

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)…”We haven’t been faithful to our God. We’ve gotten married to women from the nations that are around us.

 

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Back to my question to the smart and interested reader:

Are the Scholars honest when they claim that the Quran quoted from the Bible?

Professor Dr. Ibrahim Khalil, Prof. of Clinical and Chemical Pathology, Head (ex-) of Clinical Microbiology and Infection Control Unit, Ain-Shams University. Cairo, Egypt President of the Egyptian Society of Inventors, Honorary President of SPIC-Egypt (The Society of Practitioners of Infection Control – Egypt), Co-Chief Editor of the Egyptian Journal of Lab. Medicine Member of the Egyptian union of Writers, Published 5 Books and some 60 Medical Articles, Supervisors for 79 PhD theses and111 Master Degree theses.

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