The skies count the armament of the mighty one, and the work of his hands tell of the sheet. (Psalm 19:2, RMT)
I was recently asked why I didn't capitalize the phrase "mighty one" in Psalm 19:2. Let me explain.
The Hebrew word behind the phrase “mighty one” is אל (el). This word is used 245 times in the Bible, including the following.
…and he was the priest of the most high mighty one. (Genesis 14:18)
Who is like you among the mighty ones?... (Exodus 15:11)
…and there is no might in my hand. (Deut. 28:32)
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains… (Psalm 36:6)
…the mighty cedars with its branches (Psalm 80:10)
…who among the sons of the mighty ones is like YHWH? (Psalm 89:6)
Being heated with the mighty ones under every green tree… (Isaiah 57:5)
I will give it into the hand of a mighty one of the nations… (Ezekiel 31:11)
If I, as the translator, decide that the "mighty one" in a verse is God and wrote it as "Mighty One," but decided that it was not God in another verse and wrote it as "mighty one," then I am interpreting the text based on my own personal interpretation. This, in my opinion, is unacceptable.
Rather than giving you my opinion, such as what most translations do, I would prefer to just translate the Hebrew "literally," and let you decide for yourself if the word El is referring to God or someone or something else.
Similarly, some expect to see the words "he" and "him" capitalized when referring to God, but then again, if I did, I would be interjecting my own personal bias into the translation. Let me provide an example of what I am talking about. Look at these two different translations of Genesis 14:20.
And blessed be God the Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And He gave him a tenth of all.
And blessed be God the Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave Him a tenth of all.
The way that this verse is written, it is unclear who the "he" and "him" are referring to. Based on the context, the possibilities are Abraham, Melchizedek or God. If I believe the "he" is Abraham and the "him" is God and translated it as "he gave Him," then I am interpreting the text for you.
Instead, I would prefer to leave it as "he gave him," and let you decide who the "he" and "him" are.
Getting back to Psalm 19:2, I think most of us would agree that this is God, but in other places where this word exists, do you want me to interpret it for you, or would you prefer I allow you to interpret it for yourself?
What are your thoughts?