In the King James translation of the Bible, in the fourth chapter of Genesis, which tells the story of Cain and Abel, Jehovah says to Cain: "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him."

In the New American Standard Bible translation of the Bible, in the same verse, Jehovah says: "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and do thou rule over him."

These two translations differ in only one way: thou shalt vs. do thou. The original Hebrew word that gives rise to these two translation is timshel or timshol. There has been some controversy in rendering this word into translation. When it is written alone, it is pronounced timshol, with the accent on the last syllable, and a long 'o'. But in this passage of the Bible, the word is connected to the word that follows, as often occurs in Hebrew, and so it loses its accent. So, instead of a long “o” the vowel is reduced, and the word is most correctly pronounced timsh’l, which we usually choose to render as timshel. The form of the word used in the Torah is the second person imperfect, which refers to an act that has not yet occured. There are several possible translation for this word, including "thou will rule" and "thou can", but in this instance it is almost always rendered as "thou mayest."

The King James translation "thou shalt" can be interpreted as a promise that humankind will one day triumph over sin, while the American Standard translation "do thou" reads as an order to triumph over sin. But if timshel is translated as "thou mayest" the choice is left to each individual. You may triumph over sin and evil, or you may not.

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