The phrase is:

אָתֵה הֲוָה וְעַד־עַתִּיק יוֹמַיָּא

The word in question, as far as I can tell, is: אָתֵה

Other translations, of course, say something like "he came to the Ancient of Days," which is a simpler way to convey the point.

Does the fact that the verse concludes with the idea that the son of Man is "presented" (ESV) to the Ancient of Days convey the connotation that the son of Man "gains access?"

NWT: “I kept watching in the visions of the night, and look! with the clouds of the heavens, someone like a son of man+ was coming; and he gained access to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him up close before that One.

ESV: “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.

  • There is none. This is another of the numerous examples of theological translation - adjusting the sense to the JW their position.
    – Dottard
    Dec 29, 2023 at 3:17

1 Answer 1


There are two words together that are important to the question, אָתֵה הֲוָה, literally "Coming he came" -- though those aren't what is being translated as "gained access"; that would be מְטָ֔ה , another verb meaning "he came".

I spent five minutes trying to make the Hebrew come out anything like what the NWT has, and it can kind of be done: מְטָ֔ה can mean "he attained", but then the verb wants an object, and there isn't one there. A crude translation could help here; winging it I get "Coming he came, and to the Ancient of Days he reached; and before him they brought him near". That phrase "he reached" is the verb just mentioned, and that's what they're probably working from, but there's a big problem with their translation: "gained access" implies some sort of barriers to be overcome, whether physical or ceremonial or whatever, and that's just invented out of the blue -- it's actually contrary to the sense of the passage with its "Coming he came" and then the different verb; that presents this Son of Man figure as coming steadily, perhaps relentlessly right up to the Ancient of Days, at which point "they" present him to the Ancient of Days. It's almost majestic imagery, which is reasonable since this is poetry.

Specifically to the question, the NWT is notorious for twisting and bending the text to make it fit some doctrinal idea they're clinging to; sometimes there is a basis in the text, but in this case there isn't.


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