Home » Hebrew Yay! » Judges 3.7 Translation. . .

Judges 3.7 Translation. . .


וַיַּעֲשׂוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־הָרַע בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה וַיִּשְׁכְּחוּ אֶת־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וַיַּעַבְדוּ אֶת־הַבְּעָלִים וְאֶת־הָאֲשֵׁרוֹת׃

Judges 3.7

Various Translations:

ESV: “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.”

JPS: “The Israelites did what was offensive to the Lord; they ignored the Lord their God and worshiped the Baalim and the Asheroth.”

NASB: “The sons of Israel did  what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.”

NAB: “Because the Israelites had offended the LORD by forgetting the LORD, their God, and serving the Baals and the Asherahs,”


Original: “And the sons of Israel did the evil in the eyes of Yahweh and they forgot Yahweh their god and they served the Baals and the Asherahs.”

Revised: “Now[1] the children of Israel did the wrong thing[2] in the eyes[3] of Yahweh[4].  For[5] they ignored[6] Yahweh their god but[7] they served Baal[8] and Astarte[9].”

Hebrew Notes:

וַיַּעֲשׂוּ – Qc15 – עָשָׂה – And they did
בְנֵי־ – בֵּן – sons of

יִשְׂרָאֵל – Yiśrā’ēl – Israel

אֶת־ – DDO

הָרַע – רעע -the evil, badness, bad

בְּעֵינֵי – עִין – in eyes of

יְהוָה – YHWH – Yahweh, or the Lord

וַיִּשְׁכְּחוּ – Qc15 – שָׁכַח – and they forgot

אֶת־ – DDO

יְהוָה – YHWH – Yahweh, or the Lord

אֱלֹהֵיהֶם – ʾelōhîm – god – their god

וַיַּעַבְדוּ – Qc15 – עָבַד – work, serve, worship – and they served

אֶת־ – DDO

הַבְּעָלִים – Ba‘al – the Ba‘als

וְאֶת־ – and DDO

הָאֲשֵׁרוֹת׃ – ʾǎšē∙rā -the Asherahs

Revised Translation Notes:

[1] I am playing around with the וs in this translations, note of the above translations JPS and NASB cut it off (cf. most modern translations such NET, TNIV, etc.) while the ESV leaves in it basic translation “and,” the NAB uses “because,” and the NKJV as “so.” For this I’m assuming the ו the start of a new narrative portion (Othniel’s Deliverance) hence my “Now the children of….” although I’m tempted to assume that it is connected to the rest of chapter three and go with “While the children of…” (van der Merwe p. 166 or section 21.2 2 i)

[2] Wrong thing: Following Schneider p. 30, “the Hebrew construction is the definite article followed by the nominal form of “bad,” hence, “the bad thing.”  The specific object which is “bad” is never defined. … Translations such as, “evil,” impose modern interpretations onto the text which this author is attempting to avoid.” I’ve chosen wrong as a synonym for bad just because in my opinion that read better.

[3] Again following Schneider p.31 “The problem with these translations [“Sight of the Lord” (KJV and RSV)] is that they obscure the ironic force of how the actions of the Israelites differ from, and are the same as, comments in the following chapters  that, “every man did what was right in his own eyes,” … The Israelites were judging good and bad in their own eyes rather than by the standards set by their deity” or Block p. 123 “Accordingly the present author adds “in the eyes of the Lord,” a reference to the divine Redeemer who, having rescued Israel from slavery and entered into covenant relationship with them, established Israel’s definitions of right and wrong.”

[4] Block points out that this phrase is “borrowed from Deuteronomy,” cf. Deut 4.25; 9.18; 17.2; etc. thus it connects the works as well as the “preamble [found] in (2:1-23) and the narratives that follow.” see p.123

[5] Again another ו here ESV, JPS cut it out (cf. NET,TNIV, NJB, etc.) NASB keeps it as “and,” NAB has “by forgetting” and also NRSV has “Forgetting” also, but not “by.” The previous part of chapter three has indeed named what the wrong thing is, but here I think again the author is stressing (in differing words what it is) The people have done this “wrong thing for they have ignored” their god Yahweh.

[6] Ignored: cf. NJPS, Boiling p. 80 points out that “forgot. Far stronger than mere absent-mindedness, as indicated by the specification immediately following.” Or Block p. 151 “However, the verbal links with 2:11–13, which speaks of forsaking (ʿāzab) Yahweh demand a more intentional and active interpretation. Here, as frequently elsewhere, šāka denotes “to disregard, not to take into account.” Instead of taking note/ account of Yahweh, they served (ʿābad) the Baals and the Asherahs.”

[7] Just more ו fun, admitingly all the other translations that I’ve seen have “and,” yet I feel like this ו could be contrast, which I think then works well.  The wrong thing or the evil of the people is that they’ve ignored or forgotten Yahweh but the people have not forgotten others gods and are even serving them namely Baal and Astarte.  (van der Merwe p. 166 or section 21.2 1 ii b)

[8] Following Boiling p. 74 “The alternation in the Hebrew between ʾt bʿlym in 11 and lbʿl in 13 (the same verb in both, ʿbd) reflects the survival of two linguistic features well known from Ugarit. The ending of bʿlym may be explained as enclitic; the prefix of lbʿl may be taken as emphatic use of the particle lamed, frequent in Hebrew as in Ugaritic.” He also records in his 2.11 note that “The latter [Astarte] appears as a plural in Hebrew, not to be taken numerically as she is the one who in herself sums up the variations of her identity in numerous forms and places.”

[9] In 2.13 “וְלָעַשְׁתָּרוֹת” or in 10.6 it is “הָעַשְׁתָּרוֹת” instead of as here “הָאֲשֵׁרוֹת” BDB notes that “the goddess Ju 3:7 (prob. error for עַשְׁתָּרֹת  Vulgate)” note the LXX has “the she-Baalim and the sacred grove” – NETS which also records that “Lastly, mention should be made of the bizarre translation of בעל/בעלים as “she-Baal/she-Baalim” at four points in LXX A: 2.13; 3.7; 10.6, 10.  Whether this arose through simple error (2.13 and 10.6 also refer to “the [female] Astartes”) or as part of an inconsistently applied policy of denigration of Baal, it is impossible at this distance to decide.”



  1. Yayness this is fun and beautiful! Lets talk soon and write more on our stories!

  2. […] For Translations notes on previous verses please refer to these links: Judges 3.7, Judges 3.8, Judges 3.9, and Judges 3.10, As with the current verse comments are appreciated on the […]

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