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Understanding Numbers 11:25

Numbers 11:25 (KJV):

And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that [was] upon him, and gave [it] unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, [that], when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.

The Hebrew text states ולא יספו, which literally translates into English as, "...and they did not [prophesy] again." The word "prophesy" must be supplied according to the immediate context from the preceding phrase.

Here is Gesenius' excerpt on the verb yasaf:

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See Kal (3)(c), at the end, before the paragraph "Note." Gesenius writes:

Num. 11:25, "...and when the Spirit came upon them, they prophesied, but (from that day) never any more," as is well rendered by the LXX and Syr[iac].

The LXX has καὶ οὐκέτι προσέθεντο which translated as "and they no longer continued [to prophesy]." See LSJ on προσέθεντο, sec. III (5).

Is there any grammatical and linguistic justification for the translation of the KJV?

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marked as duplicate by H3br3wHamm3r81, Jack Douglas Dec 17 '12 at 8:54

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I don't see any support in the text for this translation, but the variation is much older than KJV. According to Rashi the targum renders this "and did not cease". (Relatedly, in Gen 38:26 the targum doesn't but another source does, leading to a rather different understanding of Yehudah and Tamar.) I am not fluent in Aramaic and can't evaluate the targum independently of Rashi.

I assume that translations that render it "and did not cease" do so because the targum does, though I would hope such translations would be consistent across all places the phrase appears.

Please note: This answer was written for a neutral, academic audience and is not intended to be interpreted in the context of a religious belief or doctrine.

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Seems this is a duplicate so I voted to close it. My apology for missing the duplication beforehand. Thank you for the answer though, @Monica Cellio. –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Dec 17 '12 at 1:12
Oh whoops. And I'd previously commented there, but I didn't remember it either. –  Gone Quiet Dec 17 '12 at 1:21

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