The Burden and the Yoke to Be Removed
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Translating from an ancient language on ancient manuscripts to a modern language can create difficulties. Not having the word separation and the punctuation of today's written communication adds to the difficulties. This essay gives one example where the problems of transferring an ancient message to the modern idiom are manifested.

The passage is Isaiah 10: 27, in which there is a prophecy of the taking into captivity of the children of Israel by the Assyrians and of their eventual release. It would be well to read a few verses before it and a few verses after it to set the passage into its context.

Eighteen versions are listed here. As you read each translation, note the reason for the removal or the destruction of the yoke. Try to fit this into the context of the verse. You will note that some versions omit this part of the verse. Following this list is a breakdown of the ways in which this ending is translated. Comments conclude the study.


Versions Compared

 

AB Amplified Bible NBV New Berkeley Version
DHB Darby Holy Bible NCV New Century Version
HBME The Holy Bible in Modern English NIV New International Version
KJV King James Version NJB New Jerusalem Bible
KTC Knox Translation NJPS New JPS Version
LB Living Bible NKJ New King James Version
LBP Lamsa Bible NRS New Revised Standard Version
LXX Septuagint TEV Today's English Version
MNT Moffatt New Translation YLR Young's Literal Translation, Revised Edition


Isaiah 10: 27
AB And it shall be in that day that the burden of the Assyrian shall depart from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck. The yoke shall be destroyed because of fatness [which prevents it from longer going around the neck]. [Deut. 32:15]
DHB And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] his burden shall be shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck; and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing....
Footnote: Lit. 'oil.'
HBME And on that day his load shall be rolled off your shoulder,
And his yoke from your neck, and the yoke chafe be healed.
KJV And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.
KTC And with that, thy shoulder will be eased of the burden, the yoke will fall from thy neck, yoke that has gone rotten for want of oil.
Footnote: Literally 'from the face of oil.' If the text is sound, it seems necessary to interpret the phrase as meaning 'away from,' 'deprived of' oil, not in its usual sense, 'as the result of.'
LB On that day God will end the bondage of his people. He will break the slave-yoke off their necks, and destroy it as decreed.
Footnote: Literally, "because of ointment." Some see here a reference to the Messiah, the Anointed One.
LBP And it shall come to pass in that day that his burden shall be taken away from off your shoulder and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed from your neck because of your strength.
LXX And it shall come to pass in that day, that his yoke shall be taken away from thy shoulder, and his fear from thee, and the yoke shall be destroyed from off your shoulders.
MNT Then from your shoulders shall Assyria's load be shifted,
      and from your neck his yoke shall then be lifted.
Assyria is on the march from Rimmon, ... .
NBV In that day his burden shall be lifted from your shoulder and his yoke from your neck; the yoke shall be broken off because of ointment.
Footnote: Divine anointing and calling.
NCV Then the troubles that Assyria puts on you
      will be removed,
and the load they make you carry
      will be taken away.
NIV In that day their burden shall be lifted from your shoulders,
      their yoke from your neck;
the yoke will be broken
      because you have grown so fat.
NJB When that day comes,
his burden will fall from your shoulder,
and his yoke from your neck,
and the yoke will be destroyed . . .
NJPS And in that day,
His burden shall drop from your back,
And his yoke from your neck;
The yoke shall be destroyed because of fatness.
NKJ It shall come to pass in that day
That his burden will be taken away from your shoulder,
And his yoke from your neck,
And the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.
NRS On that day his burden will be removed from your shoulder, and his yoke will be destroyed from your neck.
He has gone up from Rimmon, ... .
Footnote: Heb. and his yoke from your neck, and a yoke will be destroyed because of fatness.
TEV When that time comes, I will free you from the power of Assyria, and their yoke will no longer be a burden on thy shoulders.
Footnote: Hebrew has three additional words, the meaning of which is unclear.
YLR And it shall come to pass, in that day,
Turned is his burden from off thy shoulder,
And his yoke from off thy neck,
And destroyed hath been the yoke, because of Prosperity.


Breakdown

 

Reasons for the removal or the destruction of the yoke and the number of versions using them:

(One listed under oil also includes the word anointing.)


Comments

 

Twelve versions examined have omitted the ending of this verse. Possibly the translators could not translate it, or it was not in the texts or manuscripts which they used. One of these versions uses three dots, indicating a problem with translation. One admits such a problem. One includes a relationship between anointing and the Messiah.

At the beginning of the Lamsa Translation, whose background is the Aramaic of the Peshitta Text, is a list of Aramaic words. These appear in pairs in three forms: Aramaic script, Aramaic in Romanized letters, and the equivalent English words. Each pair has a distinct resemblance. The translator of this version shows how easily that an error can be made with these similar words. In this example, the word moshkha means bull, while the word mishkha means oil. Presumably in the Lamsa Translation, there is a relationsahip between bull and strength.

Which one of the translations quoted above is correct? It is difficult to make an objective decision. If the translators were inspired by Yahweh (the Heavenly Father) when they were doing their work, they would have selected a word with the proper connotation. Possibly one is correct. It is generally accepted that the original writers were inspired thus. However, in numerous cases, of which this is only one, something has been altered over the centuries. This points to the value in checking various versions when studying, as well as for seeking guidance from heaven for understanding.