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Julia E. Smith Translation 1876



17:1And Jehovah will speak to Moses, saying,
17:2Speak to the sons of Israel, and take from them a rod, a rod according to the house of the father, from all the chiefs according to the house of their fathers, twelve rods: thou shalt write each his name upon his rod.
17:3And Aaron's name shalt thou write upon the rod of Levi: for one rod is for the head of the house of their fathers.
17:4And place them in the tent of appointment before the testimony, where I will pass over to you there.
17:5And it was the man whom I shall desire him, his rod shall be fruitful: and I caused to cease from me the murmurings of the sons of Israel which they are murmuring against you.
17:6And Moses will speak to the sons of Israel, and all their chiefs will give to him a rod for one chief, a rod for one chief, according to the house of their fathers, twelve rods: and Aaron's rod in the midst of their rods.
17:7And Moses will place the rods before Jehovah in the tent of testimony.
17:8And it shall be on the morrow, and Moses will go into the tent of testimony; and behold, Aaron's rod was fruitful for the house of Levi, and the blossom will come forth and the flower will flourish and will show almonds.
17:9And Moses will bring forth all the rods from before Jehovah to all the sons of Israel: and they shall see and shall take each his rod.
17:10And Jehovah will say to Moses, Turn back Aaron's rod before the testimony, for preservation, for a sign for the sons of contradiction; and thou shalt finish their murmurings from me, and they shall not die.
17:11And Moses will do: as Jehovah commanded him, so did he.
17:12And the sons of Israel will speak to Moses, saying, Behold, we expired, we perished, we all perished.
17:13All coming near, coming near the dwelling of Jehovah, and dying, shall die: shall we die to breathe out life?
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.