0

Can the Hebrew בָּנָ֔יו In Ex 40:12 be translated as "children"--which includes males and females? For example, In the KJV בָּנָ֔יו is found 238 times and yet often it is translated as "children" (see Gn 18:19;37:3; Lv 25:41,54; Dt 1:36;17:20;28:54-55; 32:5;33:9; Josh 24:4; 1 Sam 30:22; 2 Sam 12:3; 2 Kings 8:19; Is 14:21; Jer 30:20; Hosea 9:13; Ps 89:31; 109:9-10; Job 5:4;17:5;20:10;21:19;27:14; Pro 14:26; 20:7; Esther 5:11; 2 Chr 11:23; 2 Chr 28:3;33:6). Would the justification for a gender-exclusive translation of "sons" be based on the traditional Christian theology that priesthood pertains solely to males? Or what other factors can determine when to translate בָּנָ֔יו "sons" vs "children"? If context determines the translation, then justifiably בָּנָ֔יו could include females because the context of Ex 40:12 includes the area of the tabernacle where women did worship.

2
  • "His-Sons" : Banav ( בָּנָ֔יו ) is masculine. - In Exodus 40:[12] "And you shall bring Aaron and his sons near the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and you shall bathe them in water." ( וְהִקְרַבְתָּ֤ אֶת־אַֽהֲרֹן֙ וְאֶת־בָּנָ֔יו אֶל־פֶּ֖תַח אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד וְרָֽחַצְתָּ֥ אֹתָ֖ם בַּמָּֽיִם ) – חִידָה Feb 5 at 11:14
  • In context to Exodus 40:29-31, Banav ( בָּנָ֔יו ) still only refers to "His-Sons". – חִידָה Feb 5 at 11:28
2

While the context of the priesthood in the Torah supports translating בָּנָ֔יו (construct plural with pronominal suffix) as sons, the plural בָּנִ֖ים can be translated children. However, it is clearer when written as Gen. 5:4, בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת, sons and daughters. Gen. 31:28 has לְבָנַ֖י וְלִבְנֹתָ֑י, in which the context means grandsons/grandchildren and daughters/granddaughters, because none of Laban's sons were in the group. In Gen. 3:16 בָנִ֑ים means children because pain in child birth isn't limited to sons. Exodus 21:5; 22:23 are more examples.

While Paul wrote in Greek, he was educated as a Rabbi, and he often used ὑμεῖς, sons, to mean both men and women. The obvious example is Gal. 3:26-29:

for in Christ Jesus you are all sons [ὑμεῖς] of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Gal. 3:26–29, ESV)

Thus, the context determines if בָּנִ֖ים includes daughters. Contextually translations don't translate בָּנָ֔יו as children (which could include daughters), but grammar doesn't prevent a translation as children. Because such a meaning would have been so counter culture at that time, one would expect a separate designation for daughters as in Gen. 5:4 if that were the meaning. Note: Deut. 12:12, 18; 16:11, 14 uses וּבִנְךָ֣ וּבִתֶּךָ֮, and your son and your daughter.

1
  • To summarize your response then, contextually you see no justification for translating בָּנָ֔יו as children (which could include daughters) but grammatically there is nothing preventing a "children" translation? – Mike Harris Feb 5 at 7:06
1

"His-Sons" : Banav ( בָּנָ֔יו ) is masculine. If we read "His-Daughters" ( בנתיו / בנותיו ) there would be a tav after the nun to distinguish them as feminine.

Exodus / Bereishit 40:12

[12] "And you shall bring Aaron and his sons near the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and you shall bathe them in water." ( וְהִקְרַבְתָּ֤ אֶת־אַֽהֲרֹן֙ וְאֶת־בָּנָ֔יו אֶל־פֶּ֖תַח אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד וְרָֽחַצְתָּ֥ אֹתָ֖ם בַּמָּֽיִם )

  • In context to Exodus 40:29-31, Banav ( בָּנָ֔יו ) still only refers to "His-Sons".

Distinguish Son = Ben ( בֵּֽן ) from Daughter = Bat ( בַּ֑ת ) :

Children ( Sons ) = Banim ( בָנִ֔ים ) in Genesis 30:1 is the absolute plural form of the Son = Ben ( בֵּֽן ) singular form used in Genesis 30:5. - We later see the first person possessive 'yod' added as a suffix to My-Son = Beni ( בְּנִ֑י ) in Genesis 30:16.

Daughter = Bat ( בַּ֑ת ) in Genesis 30:21 is the singular form of the plural Daughters = Banot (בָּנוֹת) found earlier in Genesis 30:13.

[ See the full text of Genesis 30 : https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8225/jewish/Chapter-30.htm ]

Finally we read His-Sons = Banav (בָּנָ֔יו) in Genesis 30:35 which is the plural form of His-Son = Beno ( בְּנ֑וֹ ) the singular form found in Genesis 22:3.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.