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In Psalm 42:4, the NIV translates the phrase כִּי אֶעֱבֹר בַּסָּךְ, אֶדַּדֵּם עַד-בֵּית אֱלֹהִים as

"how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One"

while the ESV translates it

"how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God"

Every other translation that I can find also translates the phrase with either the idea of leading a procession or of going with a group to the house of God, and none of them mention the idea of being under the protection of the Mighty One. I was wondering if anyone could help me understand how the NIV arrived at the phrase "under the protection of the Mighty One".

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  • I am equally mystified.
    – Dottard
    Apr 16 at 21:17
  • @Dottard I see a footnote that says such readings are based on LXX and the Vulgate. Do you see anything in the Greek that supports this? Apr 16 at 22:51
  • @DanFefferman - I do not see anything in the LXX that suggests this either. LXX: "I remembered these things, and poured out my soul in me, for I will go to the place of thy wondrous tabernacle, even to the house of God, with a voice of exultation and thanksgiving and of the sound of those who keep festival."
    – Dottard
    Apr 16 at 23:07
  • I see that the Vulgate says 'tabernaculi admirabilis' ,,,, This could mean "admirable tabernacle" but it could also mean "wonderful shrine/tent." The translators apparently think this is meant to describe the shelter of the God of wonders - in other words the protection of the Mighty God. Seems like a stretch to me, but I don't know Latin well. Apr 17 at 0:40

3 Answers 3

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This is not a definitive answer but the phrase "under the protection of the Mighty One" might be trying to pick up a nuance of what the King James version says:

...for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

Remembering being amongst a multitude that kept holy day, AKA Sabbath, during what appears to be a time of peace could easily be a remembrance of being under the protection of the Mighty One of Jacob.

Since the NIV is a thought for thought translation, this seems feasible and not too much of a stretch.

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NIV is not alone in referring to the "mighty one" instead of God. Several others do so as well.

NABRE - I would cross over to the shrine of the Mighty One, to the house of God.

A footnote explains: "The shrine of the Mighty One: this reading follows the tradition of the Septuagint and the Vulgate."

I tried to decipher the originals. The Latin refers to the tabernaculi admirabilis. Could this mean the "shrine/shelter of the Wonderful (One)?" The tabernacle was essentially a tent (a shelter) and it is sometimes associated with a spiritual shelter elsewhere in the Psalms. Meanwhile, the LORD is a God of Wonders - a Mighty God. Thus "shelter/shrine/protection of the Mighty One" is not entirely farfetched.

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  • please note that some bibles use different numbering systems for the Psalms. For example, 42:5 in NIV is 42:4 in NABRE. Apr 16 at 22:25
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I have the 1987 edition of the NIV, which does not have what your edition says:

"...how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God." Psalm 42:4 NIV 1987 edition

Later editions of the NIV have introduced many changes to the 1987 edition, but it would appear that the later one for this verse is a matter of interpretation, not of what the Hebrew text actually states. Surely that cannot have changed?

Or, perhaps it has. Maybe a rare textual variant has been considered so that editors of later editions felt they could interpret it as "under the protection of the Mighty One"? Unless the editors of new editions explain themselves, we can only wonder what's going on, and why. But it is certainly true that not sticking to a literal translation gives scope for different ideas to be introduced.

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