Yesterday, we discussed the expression, ‘kol d’mama dake,’ which means ‘a sound of thin silence’ and showed that ‘sound’ in the Bible can be visible. We pointed out the inaccurate translation of the word ‘sounds’ to ‘thundering’ due to the excessive liberty the Bible translators allowed themselves, assuming that they knew better than what the Hebrew says and placed their assumption as the word in the Bible. Translation distortions are very painful to anyone who loves the Bible and wants to rely on it as the true source of the Word of God. Unfortunately, there are a few inaccuracies in every single page of the Bible! These imprecise occurrences range from innocent, small mistakes due to a lack of sufficient mastery of Hebrew, to cultural and perceptual limitations, and ending up with non-innocent, value-embedded departures from the Hebrew word. Out of deep love to my fellow English-speaking Bible followers, I experience nothing short of sadness every time I come across these distortions. People have the right (and obligation) to follow the Bible to-the-word so that our spirits can faithfully connect to each word with its full, complete meaning and intent.
In the verse we quoted yesterday, we pointed at a non-innocent departure from the Hebrew text. There is no doubt that the translators knew the basic word ‘sounds,’ yet took the liberty to translate it as ‘thundering,’ although there is a different valid Hebrew word for thundering − ‘re•a•mim.’ Perhaps a small distortion that some of you will deem as forgivable. However, there is another distortion in the same verse that relates to today’s word: ‘la•pi•dim. ‘La•pi•dim’ is the plural form of ‘la•pid,’ as written at the top of this page.
Here is the verse again:
“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the sound of the shofar, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they were shaken, and stood far away”
The new distortion lies in the word ‘lightnings,’ whereas the Hebrew text in this verse mentions ‘torches.’ Here again, there is a valid biblical Hebrew word for lightning – ‘be•ra•kim.’ See an example where both lightning and torches are used in the same sentence:
“The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall jostle one against another in the squares; they seem like torches, they dart like lightning”
The word ‘la•pid’ or ‘la•pi•dim’ appears 10 times in the Old Testament and each time, except for in this verse, it is translated correctly as torch. In this verse, the anonymous translator decided to set the stage according to his perception (probably based on a description in the previous chapter: Exodus 20:18). We contend that no distortion is acceptable when it comes to the Bible, under any circumstances, otherwise we’ll be exposed to an ever-increasing margin of error that may take us away from the Word.