The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: S

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"Seed" in RSV

Those who regularly use the RSV should take careful note of Gen 13:15: "For all the land which you (Abraham) see I will give to you and your descendants (AV "seed") forever."

On this point the RSV is not even internally consistent, since its translation of Gal 3:16 rightly states that this promise was to Abraham and his "offspring", singular, "referring to one... which is Christ."

Both "seed" and "offspring" appropriately translate the Hebrew original "zera" which is itself ambiguous as to number. But the RSV's interpretive translation, "descendants", is in direct violation of Paul's later exposition, and therefore clearly wrong. Only translators totally ignorant of the significance of the Abrahamic promises could make such a blunder.

The same erroneous translation occurs in the RSV [and the NIV] of Gen 22:17,18: "And your descendants (AV "seed") shall possess the gate of their (AV "his") enemies. And by your descendants (AV "seed") shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves."

This, despite the fact that the NT repeatedly interprets this promise as fulfilled in Christ, who destroys his great enemy death by gaining possession over its "gate", the grave (1Co 15:26,55,56; Rev 1:18; 20:6)!
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