Thursday, May 31, 2012
Why Does the New World Translation Bible Use the Words, "Time Indefinite" Where Other Bibles Read, "Forever"?
Other Bible translations are inaccurate when they translate the Hebrew word 'Oh lam (or "Owlam"; "Olam") as "forever."
Many lexicons and dictionaries will show that the explicit meaning of 'Oh lam is of an unknown length of time and not forever. It can be used of something that is to last forever but in itself the word can only imply eternity.
Jehovah's Witnesses accept the meaning of the word as given in standard Hebrew Lexicons. Here is what their reference work "Insight on the Scriptures" states:
"The Hebrew word 'oh lam carries the thought of indefinite or uncertain time. Lexicographer Gesenius defines it as meaning "hidden time, i.e. obscure and long, of which the beginning or end is uncertain or indefinite." (A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the OT, translated by E. Robinson, 1836, p. 746) Accordingly, expressions such as "time indefinite" (Ps. 25:6), "indefinitely lasting" (Hab. 3:6), "of old" (Gen. 6:4), "a long time ago," "of long ago" (Jos. 24:2; Pr. 22:28; 23:10), and "long-lasting" (Ec. 12:5) appropriately convey the thought of the original-language term. The word 'oh lam is at times associated with that which is everlasting...However, the Hebrew expression 'oh lam does not in itself mean "forever." It often refers to things that have an end, but the period of such things' existence can be said to be ‘to time indefinite' because the time of their end is not then specified." - it-2 pp. 1102-1103
The context and other parallel texts must be referred to in order to determine whether the sense of 'Oh lam is to be understood as eternity or just an indefinitely long period of time in any specific occurrence.
For more, see:
Time Indefinite - Links to Information (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)
TIME INDEFINITE (Insight-2 pp. 1102-1103; Watchtower Online Library)