Tuesday

How Softie Got Lost in Translation

The Aramaic word m'khab-le was translated as ma-la-koi in the Greek NT. Ma-la-koi (plural) is translated as effeminate in the (KJV) and as homosexuals in the (Gideons Bible). Elsewhere in the New Testament, malakos (singular) is translated as “soft” (Mt. 11:8 [2x] & Lk. 7:25 [1x]), as in “soft” clothing. Most likely, the Greek translator meant for the word malakoi to mean people that are “licentious,” “loose,” “wanting in self-control,” “unrestrained,” and / or effeminate.  Those meanings would match how that word was translated in the Latin Vulgate as molles (plural). The Hebrew New Testament translation by The Bible Society in Israel (copyright 1991) agreed more with the prior meanings, and interpreted malakoi to mean “workers of desire.” Malakos (singular) also means: “delicate,” “gentle,” “weak,” and “cowardly.” 
      Apparently the Greek language doesn’t have a word that means “corrupt ones.” Though it does have the verb phtheiro “to corrupt” or its composite spelling diaphtheiro “to corrupt thoroughly.” The above verb spellings were conjugated and used in the Greek Old Testament when the Hebrew text has the word “corrupt” in the text.  It would have been better for the Greek translator to have made up a new Greek word meaning “corrupt ones” from either of those verb roots. Otherwise to have translated the Aramaic word m’khab-le as anomon “lawless ones.” The root word anomos “lawless” also being one of the translations for the word “corrupt” in the Hebrew Bible. At Isaiah 1:4, the Hebrew text calls Israel “corrupt children,” while the Greek translation of that verse calls Israel “lawless children.”   
      Defining malakoi to mean people who are “lacking in self control” or “unrestrained” doesn’t match the Aramaic word, meaning “the corrupt ones.” Someone doesn’t need to be corrupt to be “voluptuous” or “indulgent.” I understand “corrupt ones” to mean “those tainted with evil,” or “perverted ones.” Additionally, malakoi can also mean “effeminate ones.”   
       This Greek translator shouldn’t have translated this Aramaic word by using a misleading Greek word. His interpretation was so misleading that Christian believers have interpreted malakoi to mean “effeminate ones” (i.e. the passive partners in homosexual intercourse), while the following word, arsenokoitai, has been interpreted as “homosexuals who take the active role.” Thus I believe the translator was deceptive in his translation. He found a context that talked about certain people who wouldn’t enter God’s Kingdom; so he decided to not translate the correct meaning for the Aramaic word. He wanted to make sure his bias and hatred for gay people were put into the Bible to deceive others and give them justification to discriminate against them. This same thing happened when the Hebrew word Qede-shim was translated as “effeminate” (Latin) or sodomites (KJV). Qedeshim means “pagan ministers and/or male prostitutes.” Qedeshim was a good candidate for the Church to translate biasly as “effeminates or sodomites” because then they could use those scriptures to discriminate against gay people.

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