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Julia E. Smith Translation 1876



38:1In those days Hezekiah was sick to death. And Isaiah son of Amos, the prophet, will come in to him, and say to him, Thus said Jehovah, Command to thy house, for thou diest, and shalt not live.
38:2And Hezekiah will turn his face to the wall and pray to Jehovah.
38:3And he will say, O Jehovah, remember now how I went before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and I did the good in thine eyes: And Hezekiah will weep a great weeping.
38:4And the word of Jehovah will be to Isaiah, saying,
38:5Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus said Jehovah, the God of David thy father, I heard thy prayer; and I saw thy tears: behold, I will add to thy days fifteen years.
38:6And I will deliver thee and this city from the hand of the king of Assur: and I covered over this city.
38:7And this to thee the sign from Jehovah that Jehovah will do this word which he spake:
38:8Behold me turning back the shadow of the steps which will go down in the steps of Ahaz in the sun, backward ten steps. And the sun will turn back ten steps in the steps which it will go down.
38:9The writing to Hezekiah king of Judah in his being sick, and he will live from his sickness:
38:10I said in the quiet of my days, I shall go to the gates of hades: I was missed the remainder of my years.
38:11I said, I shall not see Jah Jah, in the land of the living: I shall no more behold man with the inhabitants of the place of rest.
38:12Mine age removed, and was carried away from me as a shepherd's tent: I rolled together as a weaver my life: from the thread he will cut me off: from the day even to the night thou wilt finish me.
38:13I set till the morning, as the lion thus will he break all my bones: from the day even to the night thou wilt finish me.
38:14As the twittering swallow so shall I chirp: I shall murmur as the dove: mine eyes languished for height: O Jehovah, oppression is to me; be surety for me.
38:15What shall I speak? and he said to me, and he did: I shall go slowly all my years upon the bitterness of my soul.
38:16O Jehovah, upon these they shall live, and for all of these the life of my spirit: and thou wilt heal me and cause me to live.
38:17Behold, for peace bitterness, to me bitterness: and thou didst cleave to my soul from the pit of destruction: and thou didst cast all my sin behind my back
38:18For not hades shall praise thee, death celebrate: they going down to the pit shall not hope for thy truth.
38:19The living; the living, he shall praise thee, as from me this day the father to the sons shall make known for thy truth.
38:20Jehovah to save me; and striking my stringed instruments all the days of our life for the house of Jehovah.
38:21And Isaiah will say, They shall lift up round cakes of figs, and rub over the burning sore, and he shall live.
38:22And Hezekiah will say, What the sign that I shall go up to the house of Jehovah?
Julia Smith and her sister

Julia E. Smith Translation 1876

The Julia Evelina Smith Parker Translation is considered the first complete translation of the Bible into English by a woman. The Bible was titled The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments; Translated Literally from the Original Tongues, and was published in 1876.

Julia Smith, of Glastonbury, Connecticut had a working knowledge of Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Her father had been a Congregationalist minister before he became a lawyer. Having read the Bible in its original languages, she set about creating her own translation, which she completed in 1855, after a number of drafts. The work is a strictly literal rendering, always translating a Greek or Hebrew word with the same word wherever possible. Smith accomplished this work on her own in the span of eight years (1847 to 1855). She had sought out no help in the venture, even writing, "I do not see that anybody can know more about it than I do." Smith's insistence on complete literalness, plus an effort to translate each original word with the same English word, combined with an odd notion of Hebrew tenses (often translating the Hebrew imperfect tense with the English future) results in a translation that is mechanical and often nonsensical. However, such a translation if overly literal might be valuable to consult in checking the meaning of some individual verse. One notable feature of this translation was the prominent use of the Divine Name, Jehovah, throughout the Old Testament of this Bible version.

In 1876, at 84 years of age some 21 years after completing her work, she finally sought publication. The publication costs ($4,000) were personally funded by Julia and her sister Abby Smith. The 1,000 copies printed were offered for $2.50 each, but her household auction in 1884 sold about 50 remaining copies.

The translation fell into obscurity as it was for the most part too literal and lacked any flow. For example, Jer. 22:23 was given as follows: "Thou dwelling in Lebanon, building as nest in the cedars, how being compassionated in pangs coming to thee the pain as in her bringing forth." However, the translation was the only Contemporary English translation out of the original languages available to English readers until the publication of The British Revised Version in 1881-1894.(The New testament was published in 1881, the Old in 1884, and the Apocrypha in 1894.) This makes it an invaluable Bible for its period.