We spoke yesterday about the strange absence of the word ‘please’ from mostb English Bible translations and mainly from the translations of the New Testament. We also spoke about the irregular translation of the word please, ‘na’.
The gnostic theology attempted to separate between God the father and the Son. It order to sever the connection between believers and their Jewish roots it attempted to portray the Father as harsh and merciless. It was the wisdom of the early fathers of the church that declined this theology but some damage has been done so that traces of this notion still echo until this very day in some Christian circles. That notion of lack of mercy on part of the Father, in contrast to His compassionate Son has seemingly affected the translations of both the Old and the New Testaments from Hebrew into other languages, including English. Perhaps this is one reason that influences the omission of the word ‘please’ from God’s words, whereas it appears hundreds of times in the Hebrew text. The strange thing is that ‘please’ is dramatically missing from the New Testament as well.
One of the most powerful examples of the lack of ‘please’ in the English texts that portrays God in a different light than the same verse in Hebrew is Genesis 22:2. The English translation says: ‘And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you’. The way this is written, may sound quite harsh in light of Abraham’s age and the many promises God made regarding his heir. One may wonder where is a hint of mercy here, where asking Abraham to do what he is asked to do is preceded only with the words ‘Take now your son’…?
The merciful heart of God is revealed in the Hebrew text when God says rather: ‘Please take your son’. This ‘please’ makes a whole lot of difference, because it demonstrates compassion. It has a soothing effect while asking someone to do something very difficult. Coming from God, it it almost like laying a soothing hand on Abraham shoulder while asking him to sacrifice his son. It’s a manifestation of a merciful appeal verses a seemingly harsh looking demand, as it is depicted in the English text.