Page:The ancient interpretation of Leviticus XVIII. 18 - Marriage with a deceased wife's sister is lawful.djvu/53

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textual translation of our Authorized Version is the only correct translation of the Hebrew words, but try to get rid of the inference in another way. Thus, Patrick, in his Commentary, says:— "These words, therefore, in her lifetime, are to be referred, not to the first words, Neither shall thou take, but to the next, to vex her, as long as she lives." This is adopted by Professor Bush, who says:— "In her life. This is, as intimated above, during the period of her life as long—as she lives. The next verse affords a phraseology strikingly equivalent: 'Thou shalt not approach unto a woman as long as she is set apart,' &c. This is expressed in Hebrew by the single word (Symbol missingHebrew characters), benidathin her separation, i.e., during the continuance of her state of separation."

According to this interpretation, verse 18 ought to stand thus: "A woman to her sister thou shalt not take to vex her in her lifetime, to uncover her nakedness." This interpretation must be rejected, first, because of its extreme novelty, it is younger still than that of Junius and Tremellius; 2dly, because it is opposed to the judgment of the overwhelming majority of commentators, ancient and modern, whichever side they take in this controversy; 3dly, because it tampers with the sacred text. It is, in fact, a confession, that if the Hebrew words are to be taken as they stand in the Hebrew Bible, they give an inconvenient sense, and, as that sense must be got rid of somehow or other, the interpreter must even reject the order in which the inspired writer placed them; 4thly, the transposition is useless. The obnoxious inference still remains, as Professor Bush himself proves, by referring to verse 19. He compares the words, "in her life-time," to the words, "in her separation." But the latter words not only admit, but require the inference, that when the cause of separation ceases, the prohibition ceases, and "approach" is lawful. By parity of reasoning, the