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https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/8372/why-does-the-net-bible-use-heavenly-assembly-when-translating-benei-israel?noredirect=1#comment17576_8372

Majority of the answer in the duplicated question claim that the word translator used happen because they have deeper understanding of how hebrew language really works. For translating elohim as God instead of gods, that may make sense. After all, it's followed by singular words and all. Something they know better than I am.

This question effectively ask how does those so called "deeper understanding" of hebrew language translate bene el as heavenly assembly. Their own footnotes say that the original must be bene el (or bene israel). How in the earth bene el becomes heavenly assembly. Does bene means assembly? What? What's their consideration?

First it says that the question is duplicate. I think it's pretty obvious that the question is NOT duplicate.

The question is motivated by the same motives. I want to know whether the atheists are correct all along. That the bible is actually a polytheistic book and that translators use dishonest mean to hide polytheistic aspect. Obviously that kind of topic does require many different questions.

However, the question does ask a point that the original question doesn't answer. It asks whether word choices translator used come from deeper understanding of hebrew or desire to deceive readers on what the bible really says.

Most answers on the target question lead to the former. To know which one is true would seem to require another question.

The question ask why NET bible uses heavenly assembly in their translation.

There are 2 textual variants for that so called heavenly assembly.

There is Bene El, Bene Israel. Masoretic uses Bene Israel and most bible translation says it means sons of Israel. Other websites say it should be translated as sons of God.

So possible translations are either sons of God or sons of Israel. How in the earth Bene El/Bene Israel becomes "heavenly assembly" it doesn't make sense at all.

I think it's a very legitimate question.

One way that it makes sense is if somebody is inserting theology into translation. But that would be extremely dishonest exactly as atheists claim. Well, may be I am wrong. May be there are legitimate reasons why Bene El gets translated into heavenly assembly.

I asked this question and the question is closed because it's duplicate. How in the earth the question is duplicate. It asks totally different thing.

The duplicate question ask whether there is a literal bible translation. This one ask for why a specific translation translate a verse in a specific way. How in the earth it is duplicate.

As a normal ex christian person, I felt I am being LIED too and DECEIVED all this year. When I tried to find the truth, I am just shoved of for totally irrelevant reason like this.

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  • Are you suggesting folk on this site have been responsible for deceiving you or just that we are at fault for 'shoving' you away when you ask legitimate questions? Feb 21 '14 at 15:56
  • 4
    With that particular question, the footnote on the very resource you linked to actually contained an answer. That's the problem: you don't do any research of your own before posting questions - and you clearly have never read even introductory material about the Bible. Make no mistake about it, we're building a site for experts. Interested amateurs are welcome, but you are expected to learn the prerequisites of a field before contributing to some extent.
    – Dan
    Feb 21 '14 at 16:30
  • Be sure to also read the following: Minimal Research Effort in Questions About the Original Languages (i.e. if you don't know the language, keep your assumptions to a minimum, something you have not done), What Makes Us Different From Other Sites That Study the Bible? (i.e. We are interested in questions about Biblical texts and the process of translating and interpreting them, not absolute truth(s). We want to know how things are and have been—what they should be is your concern).
    – Dan
    Feb 21 '14 at 16:35
  • I am suggesting that bible translators must have been deceiving EVERYONE. The footnote does not explain why it chooses heavenly assembly as translation. In fact, the footnote admit that the original is undoubtly bene el, which mean sons of God.
    – user4951
    Feb 22 '14 at 5:31
  • Yes I am accusing you of shoving me for asking legitimate non duplicate question. I am also accusing bible translators to be deceptive and bias (which you seem to agree). That being said it may be a misunderstanding. I added explanation on second paragraph why this unique question address issues not answered in your target questions.
    – user4951
    Feb 22 '14 at 7:21
  • Do you mean 'legitimate' by the standards of the site or by some other standard? Feb 22 '14 at 10:32
  • In what way asking whether bene El can be translated into heavenly assembly illegitimate? I explained that the issue is not addressed on the other question.
    – user4951
    Feb 23 '14 at 6:22
  • The footnote does explain their translation choice and even offers an article/work that further defends their translation choice. If you don't understand the footnote that is another issue altogether, but start by at least reading the source given in the footnote before asking here. I.e. do some initial research.
    – Dan
    Feb 23 '14 at 6:59
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The question is motivated by the same motives. I want to know whether the atheists are correct all along. That the bible is actually a polytheistic book and that translators use dishonest mean to hide polytheistic aspect. Obviously that kind of topic does require many different questions

This is why I closed it as a duplicate, and I'm very grateful that you've come to meta with this question as it makes things much clearer.

The three very highly upvoted answers to the target question I closed this as a duplicate of, essentially answer all of this kind of question.

In the end, if you aren't going to extend any trust to the translators (and if that's really the case I admit I admire you for it, to a degree), you are going to have to study the original languages1 yourself (which this site is not going to help with much).

One way that it makes sense is if somebody is inserting theology into translation

It's been said somewhere on the site before (if I find the link I'll post it), that all translations include interpretation, and therefore all translations however literal insert theology into the translation process. It'd probably help you if you accepted that!


1 Or you can partially mitigate this by using two (modern) translations of different style side-by-side, for example NIV+NASB.

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  • The answers in your target questions says that the translators have deeper knowledge of hebrew language and that's why they translate elohim (correctly) as God, instead of gods. That answer does not explain why they translate bene el as heavenly assembly. Does bene means assembly? Does el means heaven? What?
    – user4951
    Feb 22 '14 at 7:16
  • No Hebrew word 'means' anything in English exactly. Translators chose what they think is the best phrasing to convey the meaning of the original author. Words in both Hebrew and English have a range of meanings and they overlap: including terms such as 'sons' and 'assembly'. I personally do not think translators actively try to deceive, but of course they can't leave their framework at the door. Be as wise as you can. Feb 22 '14 at 7:45
  • So, why do they translate bene El as heavenly assembly, which is the question by the way. The question, by it self is actually quite innocent. It really ask why bene El becomes heavenly assembly. That's it. Of course, the original language may not be bene el at all but something else that does translate into heavenly assembly. I am making no assumption here.
    – user4951
    Feb 22 '14 at 7:54
  • In particular, is heavenly assembly a reasonable translation for bene el? Actually that's what the question is really about.
    – user4951
    Feb 22 '14 at 9:32
  • Their reasons, right or wrong, are clearly explained in the footnote aren't they? Whether you think it is a good translation or not is up to you, but the problem underpinning all of this is that you do not seem to really understand what translation is. I work for a translation company and what they produce is not comparable with the garbage that comes out of Google Translate, yet by your reckoning you'd think they take liberties with the original and that Google is 'more literal/scientific'. Feb 22 '14 at 10:17
  • No it's not. The footnote says that the correct translation would either be sons of Israel or sons of God. The footnote doesn't explain why it should be heavenly assembly.
    – user4951
    Feb 23 '14 at 6:24
  • The footnote does explain their translation choice and even offers an article/work that further defends their translation choice. If you don't understand the footnote that is another issue altogether, but start by at least reading the source given in the footnote before asking here. I.e. do some initial research.
    – Dan
    Feb 23 '14 at 6:59
  • The footnote claim that some other religions text uses bene el to mean heavenly assembly. It doesn't explain how that works. That is a very weak and strange argument don't you think? I mean what does some ugarithic text of a different religion has to do with the meaning of hebrew phrases in judeo christian bible? It doesn't make sense at all.
    – user4951
    Feb 23 '14 at 7:36
  • I mean if whoever writes the bible want us to read bene el as heavenly assembly, why not just write heavenly assembly (in hebrew) and get done with it. Thousands of years from now we can just tell atheists to shut up.
    – user4951
    Feb 23 '14 at 8:19

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