I'm preparing a talk for tomorrow in church, and had picked the topic of life after death.
While reading Talmage's Jesus the Christ, I saw a reference to a scripture which, he says, looks forward to the time when Jesus preached the Gospel among the spirits of the deceased between his crucifixion and his resurrection:
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.
—Isaiah 24:21, 22, King James Version
However, when I checked my German Einheitsübersetzung, which we commonly use in Church here, it turned out not to support this interpretation very well, since it had
…und nach einer langen Zeit wird er sie strafen ("and after a long time he will punish them").
That made me wonder whether the applicability of the English was an artefact of the word choice, since "visit" is sometimes used in connection with punishment (e.g. "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation"), so I had a look in a couple of other translations.
The New World Translation would also support the interpretation "Jesus will visit the spirits of the wicked and teach them" with its phrasing
and after an abundance of days they will be given attention, while the German Luther translation uses
und nach langer Zeit wieder heimgesucht werden ("heimsuchen" is roughly "afflict, visit [with punishment]"). The World English Bible, on the other hand, has
and after many days shall they be visited, as the KJV does.
I tried going to the Septuagint, but am not sure what to make of
δια πολλών γενεών επισκοπή έσται αυτών, which seems to mean something along the lines of "throughout many generations, they shall be watched over", i.e. a fairly different meaning than the English and German Bibles I've consulted. I wonder what the Hebrew says.
I've had this problem before, when someone has brought up a Bible verse to prove a point, and the equivalent in another translation doesn't support that, and it's sometimes hard to know whether the point-prover's Bible is badly translated in that area, or mine, or whether both are correct, or what. Also interesting when someone, to prove a point, uses a different Bible translation than for the remainder of their talk.
So, have to see. I shall probably leave out that one, then.