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First Samuel 1:28, final clause

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  • First Samuel 1:28, final clause

    Not a biggie, just sort of interesting, as it touches on several concepts.

    I follow Marg Mowczko on Facebook. Monday she posted that she'd been asked about 1 Sam. 1:28 -- In the final clause, is it "he," "she," or "they" that are doing the worshiping; if "he," who is the "he"; and is "worshiping" even happening?

    Most translations (e.g. NET, NIV2011, HCSB, KJV, NASB2020, ESV2011) have "he" and "worshiped."

    NRSV has "she" and omits anything about "worship." ("She left him there for the LORD.") HCSB (and CSB) cite the DSS as alternatively supporting "she" with "worshiped."

    CEB, ISV, NKJV, and Amp have "they" with "worshiped." The latter two surprise me, since, respectively, the "regular" KJV has "he," and the other Lockman product, the NASB has "he." (NET note and HCSB notes have "they" as an alternative supported by a few ancient and medieval mss.)

    Marg notes: Most commentators regard "he" to be Samuel, but some, like Keil and Delitzch and the "Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges" view "he" as Elkanah; in the latter case, they explicitly link it to Elkanah being the "head of the household."

    It's interesting on one level because theological presuppositions affect who "he" is believed to be. I wonder about the extent to which they also determine which mss. have the supposed "correct" reading (of he, she, they).

    It's also an interesting challenge for those for whom "inerrancy" is a big deal. Which translation reflects the "inerrant" original?
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  • #2
    I think you answered your own question, it's a textual variant, and we may not be able to pick the right one every time, but that is not a problem for inerrancy. I tend to think Samuel is meant here, since he is the focus in the previous verses ("for this child I prayed"), and I don't think theological presuppositions prevail in that opinion.

    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)


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