Welcome to the seventh in a series of posts comparing the Jerusalem Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible and the Revised New Jerusalem Bible for one of the readings at each Sunday’s Mass. At Jim’s suggestion, I’ve also included the English Standard Version (ESV) for comparison. I do not have a copy of the ESV-CE from ATC Publishers, so this is from the 2016 edition of the ESV published in the United States. For today, the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, I’ve chosen the first reading (from the prophet Habakkuk).

Sunday, October 6th, 2019 — 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
First Reading: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4

Jerusalem Bible

How long, Yahweh, am I to cry for help
while you will not listen;
to cry ‘Oppression!’ in your ear
and you will not save?

Why do you set injustice before me,
why do you look on where there is tyranny?
Outrage and violence, this is all I see,
all is contention, and discord flourishes.

Then Yahweh answered and said,
‘Write the vision down,
inscribe it on tablets
to be easily read,
since this vision is for its own time only:
eager for its own fulfillment, it does not deceive;
if it comes slowly, wait,
for come it will, without fail.

‘See how he flags, he whose soul is not at rights,
but the upright man will live by his faithfulness.’

New Jerusalem Bible

How long, Yahweh, am I to cry for help
while you will not listen;
to cry, ‘Violence!’ in your ear
while you will not save?

Why do you make me see wrong-doing,
why do you countenance oppression?
Plundering and violence confront me,
contention and discord flourish.

Then Yahweh answered me and said,
‘Write the vision down,
inscribe it on tablets
to be easily read.
For the vision is for its appointed time,
it hastens towards its end and it will not lie;
although it may take some time, wait for it,
for come it certainly will before too long.

‘You see, anyone whose heart is not upright will succumb,
but the upright will live through faithfulness.’

Revised New Jerusalem Bible

How long, O LORD, am I to cry for help
while you will not listen;
to cry, ‘Violence!’ to you
though you will not save?

Why do you show me wrong-doing,
make me see evil?
Plundering and violence confront me,
contention and discord flourish.

Then the LORD answered me saying,
‘Write the vision down,
inscribe it on tablets so that a runner may read it.
For the vision is for its appointed time,
it hastens towards its end and it will not lie;
although it may take some time, wait for it,
for come it certainly will and will not delay.
See the proud whose heart is not righteous!
But the righteous shall live in faith.’

English Standard Version

O LORD, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not hear?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.

And the LORD answered me:

“Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.

“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
but the righteous shall live by his faith.

New American Bible Revised Edition

How long, O Lord, must I cry for help
and you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
and you do not intervene?
Why do you let me see iniquity?
why do you simply gaze at evil?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife and discord.

Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write down the vision;
Make it plain upon tablets,
so that the one who reads it may run.
For the vision is a witness for the appointed time,
a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint.
If it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.
See, the rash have no integrity;
but the just one who is righteous because of faith shall live.

5 thoughts on “The Jerusalem Bible Family and the NABRE: Comparing Translations (27th Sunday in OT)”

  1. In unrelated news, I just read that the Baylor Annotated Study Bible doesn’t have any notes at all for the apocrypha. What a disgrace.

  2. This first reading is a tough one and requires a homily to be understood. My guess is that only a small percentage of homilists chose this reading to speak on. This reading; which is taken out of context is a little like playing Jeopardy; as we have the answer; however, we do not have the question. The question is found in 1:12-17. Which is probably best summarized in 1:13 “Your eyes are too pure to look upon wickedness, and the sight of evil you cannot endure. Why, then do you gaze on the faithless in silence while the wicked devour those more just than themselves?”

    Now, after reading Chapter 1, we r we can understand that the first Mass reading is an answer to a recurring question in the prophetic books in which, in my words, the prophets ask: “Why does evil prevail and at times does harm to the faithful? “The answer is in Habakkuk 2:4 which I summarize as “Be patient! You cannot question God’s timing! You must live right and be patient and have faith (or trust) that God will make it right.”

    In terms of all the translations I think they are fine. However, I noticed something that appeared odd to me. That is; the use of quotes (‘) is not consistent. First, there seems to be no directive that if you open a quote, that quote has no requirement to be closed. In our conventional use of quotes we have a rule that if you have a left quote you must have a right quote. Apparently, not a general rule in Bible translation. Further, the quote placement is not consistent.

    In the samples above, you will note that the NABRE has no quotes. If you were to look up the NRSV you would also see that it has no quotes. Perhaps this approach is “more correct” as the original Hebrew had no quotes. However, I would be careful about “more correct,” because if you carry it a step further you could say “a better translation would have no punctuation as the original Hebrew had no punctuation.” That translation would be a disaster.

  3. You raised an interesting point about the quotation marks, Jim. I remember learning in school that if a quote extends for multiple paragraphs, a new paragraph can begin with a quotation mark to remind the reader that it is still a direct quote. It looks like that’s the rule the ESV translators were following. I’m still puzzled by the complete lack of quotes in the NABRE whenever God speaks.

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