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Good Eye and Bad Eye (Matt. 6:22-23)

Shalom Chaverim,

This is again, the first opportunity I have had to blog about this project in a while. In an update I sent out in March, I wrote:

The work of the Scripture Restoration Project is an awesome responsibility, and not one that I take lightly. I suspect that YHWH called me to this work because I am a rationalist. My natural inclination is to stick to the manuscript evidence. However, YHWH has been showing me, in this work of Scripture Restoration, that my job in restoration, is at times going to involve being open to His guidance as I exercise discernment in restoring the original Hebrew, when the original word has not survived in the manuscript evidence.

Once again I have encountered this problem in Matthew 6:22-23 where the KJV reads:

22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
(Matthew 6:22-23 KJV)

Here we are dealing with a Hebrew idiomatic expression found in Proverbs, whereby having a “good eye” means to be generous, and having a “bad eye” or “evil eye” means to be stingy or greedy.

For example in Proverbs 22:9:

9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
(Proverbs 22:9 KJV)

Where the KJV has here “bountiful eye” the original Hebrew is טֹֽוב־עַ֭יִן literally “good eye”.

The translators of the Greek Septuagint understood this idiomatic expression, rendering it in Greek with Ο ελεων πτωχον “he that has pity for the poor”

Elsewhere we read in Proverbs:

6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:
(Prov. 23:6 KJV)

22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
(Prov. 28:22 KJV)

In both cases the Hebrew for “evil eye” is רַ֣ע עָ֑יִן “evil eye” or “bad eye”

We also see this expression used in the Talmud:

R. Jose son of R. Hanina said:
The Torah was given only to Moses and his seed,
for it is written, write thee these words and Hew thee:
just as the chips are thine so is the writing thine.
But Moses in his generosity gave it to Israel,
and concerning him it is said,
He that hath a bountiful [good] eye shall be blessed, etc
(b.Ned. 38a)

R. Joshua b. Levi also said:
We give the cup of blessing for the recital of the Grace
after meals only to one who is of a generous disposition,
as it is said: He that hath a bountiful [good] eye shall be
blessed, for he giveth of his bread to the poor –
read not yeborak [‘shall be blessed’]
but yebarek [shall say the Benediction].
(b.Sotah 38b)

However in Matthew 6:22 Greek word for “single” is ἁπλοῦς, “to be clear or focused”. The Greek translator of Matthew, unlike the Septuagint translator, did not understand this Hebrew idiom, and wrongly believed that “good eye” was indicating clear vision. (Unless the poor translation occurred in Aramaic, and then carried into the Greek).

The DuTillet Hebrew has here ואם עינך תהינה תמימות “if your eye is sound/perfect” (Munster has תמה “astonished” in place of תמימות)

Shem Tob has אם עיניך לנוכח “If your eyes look straight ahead”

The Aramaic Old Syriac has אן עינך תהוא פשיטא “if your eye is simple” and the Peshitta has אן עינך הכיל תהוא פשיטא “if your eye therefore is simple”

The Aramaic word פשיטא means “simple, clear, single, straightforward”

The original Hebrew was certainly אם עינך תהינה תוב “if your eye is good”

The original Hebrew word תוב “good” must have been misread by a scribe as תום “perfect” which is a rare and virtually unused root. Munster “corrected” this scribal error to תמה “astonished” and the DuTillet text “corrects” תום to its more appropriate form תמים putting it in the feminine plural תמימות .

The Aramaic translator then rendered תום or תמימות with the sense of “complete” using פשיםא which the Greek translator took as meaning “clear” and rendered with ἁπλοῦς

While the original Hebrew reading is not found in any of our Hebrew or Aramaic witnesses, we can deduce that the original word here was “good” תוב and that a scribe misread this as תום leading to all of our variant surviving Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek readings.

As much as I want to rely solely on manuscript evidence, YHWH is showing me that is not always possible, even with Hebrew Matthew, and that is the very reason that this project is needed!

Just a few days ago, our largest supporter informed us that their business has been doing poorly and that they would have to substantially cut back their support. We have barely been keeping the bills paid as it is, and we have to find a way to bring in more donations to make up for this loss. If you can step up to the plate and donate, please consider doing so!

We ended last week just under the wire, with just $2.70 left in the account! Monday evening our phone bill will be pending in our account (and we do not have it). By Thursday I must pick up a prescription for my wife that is $227 (our cost) and we need to start now on gathering the rent that will be due soon.

I want to thank all of you supporting this work. I literally could not do it without you!

This work takes hours of my time. As many of you know, my wife is very ill, and I spend most of my time at home as her caretaker. I work at a desk less than six feet from her bed. So I am in a position to dedicate many hours to this important work that I have been directed to do.

But I also realize that it is not the activity of James Trimm alone who is responsible to do this work, it is all of us together who are charged with the responsibility of accomplishing this work. I very much look on the efforts of this restoration work as a cooperative one with each one of you. We are all joint heirs with Messiah and should always be about our Father’s business. I am honored to be able to be partnered with truth seekers as this restoration of Scripture moves forward in fulfillment of prophecy.

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Nazarene Judaism
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Hurst, TX 76053

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