Friday, January 13, 2017

Misogyny in Translation of Proverbs 12:4

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband... A literal translation is: A strong woman is a crown to her lord... [1]



[1] This verse is rife with misogyny in all translations, beginning with the mistranslation of the Hebrew word, chayil, which means a force, usually of valor, strength, and might, but could be a force of wealth. This force is somehow transformed into “virtuous” for no textual reason other than it was unthinkable to translators (both ancient and modern) that a woman can be a force of strength. The Hebrew word, chayil, Strong’s reference H2428, is only translated as virtuous three times in the authorized version, and each time it is deliberately mistranslated about women. Other versions attribute her with excellence and [moral] worth, but these still fall short of chayil. Another feature of this verse, is than in virtually all translations women become wives and lords (ba`al) become husbands. What is wrong with the simple translation of “A woman of strength is a crown to her lord?” In the Bible, there are maidservants as well as menservants, so her lord, in this case, may or may not be her husband. 

Jocelyn Andersen is best known for her book, Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence. For more information about her work, visit her website at www.JocelynAndersen.com 

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