The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Book of Judith 16:17, Greek translation to English

I didn’t know what category to put this in. The translation of the following Greek text relates to an “Argument against Evangelical Universalism” based on non Christian Jewish writings prior to, or at the time of, Christ c.30 AD.

Would anyone like to attempt a translation of the following into English:

17 οὐαὶ ἔθνεσιν ἐπανισταμένοις τῷ γένει μου· Κύριος παντοκράτωρ ἐκδικήσει αὐτοὺς ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως δοῦναι πῦρ καὶ σκώληκας εἰς σάρκας αὐτῶν, καὶ κλαύσονται ἐν αἰσθήσει ἕως αἰῶνος.

The same page renders it:

17 Woe to the nations that rise up against my kindred! the Lord Almighty will take vengeance of them in the day of judgment, in putting fire and worms in their flesh; and they shall feel them, and weep for ever.

And the JE has:

The Lord, the Almighty, will punish them on the Day of Judgment by putting fire and worms into their flesh, so that they cry out with pain unto all eternity" (Judith xvi. 17)

I’m especially interested in the last two words - ἕως αἰῶνος - which seem to mean “until age”, if rendered literally, as per: and

Which may imply rather a limited duration, “until” a certain time, age or eon, as opposed to “all eternity” or “for ever”.

“Jesus is with us until the end of the age (ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος).” In Mt.28:20 ἕως…αἰῶνος is usually rendered “to/unto/until…age”.

“This tale of a heroic Jewish maiden who saves her people from an enemy general
called holofernes might come from 150-25 BC though the date is disputed. At the
end of the story the heroin, Judith, leads Israel in a great song of victory over their
former oppressor. Her closing words warn: “Woe to the nations that rise up against
my race. The Lord Almighty will take vengeance against them in the day of judgment,
to put fire and worms in their flesh; and they will weep and feel their pain forever”
(Judith 16:17). The fire and worms probably come from Isaiah 66:24, but now the
transition Sirach hinted at is fully brought to pass. This language is unmistakable. It
describes the traditionalist hell. In all the Old Testament’s inspired pictures of the
wicked, historical, poetic, or prophetical, we have not encountered this scene even
once. We have not found this clear picture of unending conscious torment in the
apocryphal material until now. This passage in Judith marks its first unequivocal
appearance in our literature.160”

Yes “εως” definitely means “until” and “αιωνος” is the genitive form of “αιων” which means “an age.” Therefore “αιωνος” means “of an age,” and is used in the words of our Lord “Lo I am with you until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

“Until the end of the age” is the translation of “εως της συντελειας του αιωνος.”
“του” is the genitive form of the article, which we translate as “of the.”

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Thank you, Paidon, for your insights into the Greek text.

Would you, then, consider the JE rendering of ἕως αἰῶνος as “unto all eternity” (Judith 16:17) to be incorrect, or a nonliteral or idiomatic translation?

Most translations seem to have it as “for ever” at:

However ἕως αἰῶνος is rendered “unto the eon” in 2 Samuel 22:51, LXX, of this version:

Likewise with 1 Chronicles 15:2, Jeremiah 7:7 & Psalm 49:19, LXX:

2 Then said David, No one is to lift the ark of God except the Levites for [chose them the LORD] to lift the ark of the LORD, and to officiate to him unto the eon.

7 then i will settle you in your place, in the land which i gave to your fathers, from the eon and unto the eon.

19 He shall enter into the generation of his fathers; unto the eon he shall not see light.

The words ἕως αἰῶνος also occur elsewhere in the LXX, & in 1 Clement as follows:

σοὶ δώσω αὐτὴν καὶ τῷ σπέρματί σου ἕως αἰῶνος : to you I shall give it and to the see[d] of you until the ages.”

I consider it to be an incorrect translation. Also “unto the eon” is an older English form of “until the age.”
The adjective form “αιωνιος” is often translated as “eternal” but that’s not what it means. It would be rather clumsy to render it “agey” and so I suggest “lasting” as a translation. Although “αιωνιος” can be applied to that which is eternal, it does not mean “eternal.”

The Greek word for “eternal” is “αιδιος.” This word is found in Romans 1:20 where it used for God’s “eternal power and deity.”

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A related thread re ancient Jewish writings about postmortem destinies is:

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