Suggest a Site
General LDS Information
Basic LDS Beliefs
Music and Arts
LDS Online Stores
Priesthood, Humor, Miscel.
Now accepting banner ads!
RYAN - I know that Joseph Smith was inspired to correct incorrect translations in the Bible. Exodus 7:3 is one of those examples. It says God will harden Pharoah's heart but the JST says Pharoah will harden his own heart. Was this a book found with the Dead Sea Scrolls? If so has anyone looked at this verse?
JOEL - In fact, the translation was corrected systematically by Joseph Smith in all nine occurrences of the hardening of the pharoah's heart ( JST Exodus 4:21; 7:13; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:8, 17). These corrections provide more consistancy with other places where, without correcting the translation, it clearly indicates that on occasion the Pharaoh hardened his own heart (e.g., Exodus 8:32; 9:34) or simply that his heart was hardened without attributing it to any outside source (e.g., Exodus 7:14, 22).
The Hebrew words translated as "harden" in these scriptures are Chazak, Karad, Kashah which can also be translated to mean "firm" or "strong". In the Lord’s firmness with Pharaoh, he indirectly hardened Pharaoh’s heart but it was still the Pharaoh’s own choosing. In the words of Brigham Young and Willard Richards, “He [the Lord] manifested Himself in so many glorious and mighty ways, that Pharaoh could not resist the truth without becoming harder.”[Times and Seasons, vol. 4]
Joseph Smith’s role as the Prophet was to make certain people understood these passages correctly. He apparently made the changes in Exodus to make certain of this.
One interesting alternate word used in some of these scriptures is found in Young's Literal Translation which reads:
"And Jehovah strengtheneth the heart of Pharaoh, and he hath not hearkened unto them, as Jehovah hath spoken unto Moses." (Ex 9:12, also 10:27, 14:8-18 Young's Literal Translation).
Suggesting that God did not really force the Pahroah to be more wicked but rather strengthened his resolve to do what he was inclined to do anyway, thus demonstrating to the children of Israel God's power over Egypt. Other translations use the word "stubborn" in place of "hardened".
President Joseph Fielding Smith said:
"The Lord does not harden the hearts of men, they harden their own hearts." (Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 3)
In support of this James said:
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:12-15.)
Every book of the Old Testament except for Esther, was represented among the Dead Sea scrolls, including a few copies of Exodus. Many contemporary translation committees of the Bible pay special attention to the Dead Sea Scrolls biblical texts and incorporate many new readings into their translations. However, besides the alternate translations I mentioned earlier, I do not know of any other translation nor versions from the Dead Sea scrolls that specifically changes the meaning of the hardening of Pharoah's heart verses the way the JST does; placing responsibility of the hardening directly on to Pharoah instead of God.
Bible scholars in the past have offered many different interpretations to these scriptures to explain why God would seemingly take away one's agency and force them to be evil. Joseph Smith, being a prophet of God, was inspired to know what God really meant to say in these scriptures and ended the confusion through his inspired translation.