Thursday, December 03, 2009

What Does the Verse Really Say? - 1st Sunday Advent.

Catchy title, eh? Hopefully if the good Father sees it he won’t sue me. Anyway…

This past Sunday, the First in Advent, had the following reading in the Ordinary Form Mass: (Jeremiah 33:14-16)

The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: "The LORD our justice."

I heard that at the Saturday evening vigil Mass and thought it was strange. Then I read it in the pew during the homily and realized it was probably talking about Jerusalem or something else, but certainly not Jesus.

After my traditional Mass on Sunday morning a friend of mine came up to me and said “I almost called you because I was so irritated when I read the Novus Ordo Old Testament reading at Mass this morning. It says ‘her’…well I changed it to him!”

I asked him “You read during the Novus Ordo, this morning…?” (I was grinning.) People double dip…all the time.

Then I looked it up in the Douay-Rheims on my iPhone and confirmed for him it says:

Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform the good word that I have spoken to the house of Israel, and to the house of Juda. 15 In those days, and at that time, I will make the bud of justice to spring forth unto David, and he shall do judgment and justice in the earth. In those days shall Juda be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell securely: and this is the name that they shall call him, The Lord our just one.

So obviously something is going on here. But there is no reason to freak out. I told him I would look it up and see what was going on but that “her” seemed to refer to Jerusalem. Well I was a little off, I think.

The NAB footnote says:

1 [14-26] This is the longest continuous passage in the Book of Jeremiah that is lacking in the Greek. It appears to be the postexilic composition of an inspired writer who used parts of the prophecies of Jeremiah-often, however, in a sense different from the prophet's. The prediction of an eternal Davidic dynasty (Jeremiah 33:14-17) to fulfill the prophecy of Nathan (2 Sam 7:11-16), and of a perpetual priesthood and sacrifice (Jeremiah 33:18), was not to be realized in the restoration of the Jewish nation. It finds its fulfillment only in Jesus of Nazareth, who combined with his messianic Davidic kingship an eternal priesthood; cf Hebrews 6:20; 7:24-25.

There is no mention of the difference. But hey at least it casts doubt on whether it should be in the Bible or not. No NAB footnote would be complete without that right? … Ok, that was unnecessary. I actually have been finding them mostly useful of late. This one included.

Anyway, I looked at every commentary I had in book form and none had the answer…except my Haydock bible, which is filled with manuscript tidbits and deals extensively with Historical Critical issues from a faith perspective. Mind you, it is 150 years old and most of the issues you hear about today are included in the original text. Something to ponder…nothing new under the sun?

Here is what Haydock says:

Ver. 16. Him. (Septuagint, Chaldean, &c.) The Hebrew has "her" Jerusalem, or the Church, which receives all its beauty from Christ. (Calmet) --- See chap. xxiii. 5., where all read him. (Haydock)

So there you go! It is due to the fact that the NAB and Vulgate use different manuscripts. The didn’t just change it for the Novus Ordo. It makes sense the Douay would say “Him”. One interpreted the verse to be Him as in Christ, the other Her as in the Church.

Christ and his Body, the Church are united. So let’s not fret too much about this one.


Moonshadow said...

You have me wondering just how late was I getting to mass last Sunday morning because I don't remember this reading ...

How do you reconcile what the NAB says about the Greek lacking this verse and Fr. Haydock referencing the Septuagint in his note? BLB doesn't show the verse in the Septuagint either. (It doesn't really matter.)

For things like this, I turn to the JPS translation because the translators haven't a New Testament with which to harmonize. And it reads "she," as in Jerusalem and, I agree with you, the Church. A note in the JPS Study Bible says, "a new name reflects a changed status of the place." Yup, I buy that.

Good post.

Matt said...

Before I looked in the Haydock, I saw the NAB note. So when I posted it the same question you have was in my mind.

The only thing I can think of is that he is using the Him from Jer 23:5 which similar and uses Him.

But I also looked this up in the NIV, which has a footnote that says "or Him". So I wonder which manuscript they were using for Jeremiah...because it certainly wasn't the Vulgate and its not in the Greek or the Hebrew. But I am unsure as to what Fr. Haydock means by "Chaldean"...perhaps the Peshita?

You are much more schooled on all this than me. Any ideas you have would be helpful! This is a lot of fun for me.

At any rate, I used the same line of thought as here on the blog with my coffee-hour gang about the Church and Christ and his body being one. So either works. Also, "it" technically works too.

Christian said...

Starting to wonder why I haven't made you blog part of my daily visitation. Thanks Matt!

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton