Article: Amos 4:4 Three years; 1 Sam. 5:9 emerods by Will Kinney

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Amos 4:4 After Three Years or Three Days?

I have read James White's book, The King James Only Controversy, three or four times and have found many inconsistencies, lies and hypocrisy on his part.

Regarding Amos 4:4 Mr. White writes on page 232: "At times the KJV attempts to get around difficulties, so to speak. For example, at Amos 4:4 the KJV renders the Hebrew phrase "three days" as "three years", ostensibly so that the pasage would remain in accordance with Jewish law, which required the gathering of certain of the tithes each three years. Interestingly enough, the NIV also chose to translate the "three days" as "three years", probably for the same reason. While it may be possible that both the KJV and the NIV are correct in their understanding of this passage, the point should be made that neither is strictly translating the text. Both are engaging in a certain amount of interpretation at this point. Given the tremendously strong language that has been used by KJV Only advocates against such translations as the NIV for doing that very thing, we see here another example where the KJV itself makes the KJV Only position self-contradictory and inconsistent."

Mr. White now works for the NASB committee, so his bias is towards this particular version. However, let's look at the provable facts.

First of all not only does the KJB say "bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after THREE YEARS" but so do the NIV, as pointed out by Mr.White, the TNIV (Today's New International Version 2005), and the Spanish Reina Valera of 1579 and 1909, the Bishop's Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Youngs "literal" translation, Websters 1833 translation, the Calvin Bible 1855, Noyes Translation 1869, the Word of Yah translation 1993, the Third Millenium Bible 1998, New International Reader's Version 1998, the English Jubilee Bible 2000 , Green's Modern KJV, the Modern Greek Version, and the 21st Century KJV 1994. The NKJV and the NASB say every three DAYS instead of three "years".

Now it is interesting that a man who works for the NASB translation committee, as Mr. James White does, would accuse the KJB of not being as literal as the NASB. The much vaunted NASB is overall far less literal than the King James Bible and the NASBs keep on changing both their underlying Hebrew and Greek texts as well as the English text ever few years. Want proof? Here it is, and lots of it.

The KJB does give the correct meaning of every three years because this corresponds to what is clearly taught in Deuteronomy 14:28 "At the end of three YEARS thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates".

When we look up what the Hebrew word is we find that it is yohm. This word is usually translated as "day", but not by any means is it always so translated. We find that the KJB has translated this word 15 times as "year". Now if the NASB is more literal than the KJB, why then did the NASB translators themselves render this same Hebrew word yohm as "years" not just 15 times as the KJB, but 29 times as "years" or "yearly" - almost twice as often? The NIV likewise has it as "years" some 25 times and 65 times they have not translated it at all.

Some examples of where the NASB and KJB have yohm as years are Exodus 13:10 when speaking of the yearly Passover: "Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from YEAR TO YEAR." (yohm to yohm)

In Numbers 9:22 the children of Israel journeyed when the cloud was taken up "whether it were two days (yohm) or a month, or a year" (yohm).

In 1 Samuel 2:19 speaking of Samuel: "Morover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from YEAR TO YEAR" (yohm to yohm); see also 1:3, 21; 20:6; and 2 Samuel 14:26 speaking of Absalom: "And when he polled his head,(for it was at every YEAR'S end that he polled it) he weighed the hair of his head..." and in 2 Cronicles 21:19 speaking of the wicked king Jehoram whom the LORD smote in his bowels with an incurable disease: "And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two YEARS, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness".

Not only has the "more literal" NASB translated the word yohm as years almost twice as often as the KJB, but it also has "literally" translated this same Hebrew word as: "afternoon, age, always, battle, birthday, Chronicles, continually, course of time, daylight, each, entire, eternity, evening, ever, fate, first, forever, full, life, long, now, older, once, period, perpetually, present, recently, reigns, ripe age, short-lived, so long, some time, survived, time, usual, very old, when, while, whole and yesterday" How is that for being more literal than the KJB?!

In the New Testament the NASB has also three times rendered the Greek word hemera, or day, as YEAR. See Luke 1:7,18 and 2:36.

Those King James Bible critics who mention how the NASB is more literal than the KJB, would be wise to refrain from mentioning the good Doctor White's example of Amos 4:4 as being an instance of such "getting around the difficulties, so to speak".

Bible Commentators who agree with the King James Bible reading of "after THREE YEARS"

John Calvin translates Amos 4:4 in the following manner, and then comments on the verse.

Amos 4:4. Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years:

Amos 4: 4. Ita in Bethel et scelerate agite, in Gilgal adjicite scelerate agendum, et adducite mane sacrificia vestra, ad tres dies (hoc est, tertio anno) decimas vestras; - (translation- after three days, that is, three years)

Then Calvin comments: After three years,(* Editor’s footnote) that is, in the third year, “bring also your tenths”; for thus it was commanded, as we read in Deuteronomy 14:28. Though, then, the Israelites worshipped God apparently in the strictest manner, yet Amos declares that the whole was vain and of no worth, yea, abominable before God, and that the more they wearied themselves, the more they kindled the wrath of God against themselves.

  • Editor of Calvin’s commentaries footnote: Literally, “on the third of days, but days here are evidently for years. “I cannot doubt,” says Dr. Henderson, “but that the Prophet has in view the enactment recorded in Deuteronomy 14:29, 26:12 , days, mean here, as in Leviticus 25:29, Judges 17:10, the fullest complement of days, i.e., a year.” — Editor.

Adam Clarke commenting on Amos 4:4 - “continue to support your present vicious priesthood by the regular triennial tithes which should have been employed in my service.” (For those who may not know what triennial means, it means THREE YEARS.)

John Gill commenting on Amos 4:4 - “your tithes after three years;

the third year after the sabbatical year was the year of tithing; and after the tithe of the increase of the fruits of the earth, there was "maaser sheni", the second tithe, the same with "maaser ani", the poor's tithe, which was given to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless; and the widow, to eat with them, (Deuteronomy 14:22-28) (26:12) ; and this they are sarcastically bid to observe in their idolatrous way. It is, in the Hebrew text, "after three days"; and so the Targum, “your tithes in three days; days being put for years, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe. It may be rendered, "after three years of days", three complete years.”

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown comment: “after three years--every third year; literally, "after three (years of) days" (that is, the fullest complement of days, or a year); "after three full years."

John Wesley comments: “Three years - God had Deuteronomy 14:28, commanded every third year that all the tithe of that year should be brought, and laid up in a publick store-house.”

Notes from the Internet Forums

After having posted this information at the Fighting Fundamentalist Forum, and man who prides himself on his knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, a seminarian named Barry Pendley, who himself does not believe there is now nor ever was a complete, inspired and 100% true Bible in any language but thinks God has "preserved" His words out there somewhere in all those partial "original language manuscripts" posted this response:

Reading through the Hebrew text, this prepositional phrase appears as "every third day." This is the way I take it because it flows with the irony of the text. Amos is creating the irony by telling them to take their traditional third year sacrifices and just do them every third day.
With that said, it is true that a case could be made, exegetically, to translate this "every third year." This would be a rare usage, yet there are at least two reasons why it is possible...*
1) The closest Hebrew parallel, grammatically, is found in 1 Samuel 2:19 and is translated there as "from year to year."
2) BDB notes a rare usage when the "Lamed" is added to the word, the meaning of "day" can denote the "close of a period."
I am of the opinion that the passage makes best sense with the normal usage of the Hebrew word "day."

To whom I responded: Well, thank you so very much for your personal opinion, professor. All those other bible translators must be wrong and apparently lacked your deep insight into things. Maybe you should write your own bible version and finally come up with one that you happen to think is infallible.

I'm sure it would sell like hotcakes. You'd be famous world wide and would make a truck load of money. Any possibility I could get an autographed copy from you? I'd be so proud to have it in my personal library. [Smile]

Will Kinney

Will Kinney

Another example of James White's hypocrisy

In the ninth chapter, which is titled "Problems in the KJV", on page 231 Mr. White states: "Jack Lewis notes that the KJV is also well known for the large variety of ways in which it will translate the same word. Now certainly there are many times when one will wish to use synonyms to translate particular terms, and context is vitally important indetermining the actual meaning of a word, but the KJV goes beyond the bounds a number of times. For example, the Hebrew term for "word" or "thing" is rendered by EIGHTY FOUR different English words in the KJV!

Another term, "to turn back" is rendered in one particular grammatical form by SIXTY different English words! Those who have attempted to follow the usage of a particular Hebrew or Greek term through the AV know how difficult such a task can be, and the inconsistency of the KJV in translating terms only makes the job that much harder." End of quote.

Most people who read this in Mr. White's book would think something like: "Oh, that nasty KJV. What a lousy translation it is and how unscholarly. Why would anybody want to use that?"

Most people would never take the time to verify if there is any validity to what Mr. White says here; they would just accept his statements as facts. The word for "word" or "thing" is # 1697 Dabar. I only counted 78 different meanings found in the KJB, but I'll give Mr. White the benefit of the doubt and let him have his 84.

James White now works for the New American Standard Bible organization. He knows both Hebrew and Greek and professes to be an expert in textual matters. He either didn't check the validity of the claims of Jack Lewis, or he is deliberately misrepresenting the facts to bolster his attacks on God's preserved words in the King James Bible. In either case, his hypocricy is inexcusable.

A simple look at the complete NASB concordance shows that the NASB has translated this single word Dabar in at least NINETY THREE very different ways while the NIV has over 200 different English meanings for this single Hebrew word.

Among the 94 different English words the NASB uses to translate this single Hebrew word are: account, act, advice, affair, agreement, amount, annals, answer, anything, asked, because, business, case, cause, charge, Chronicles, claims, commandment, compliments, concerned, conclusion, conditions, conduct, conferred, consultation, conversation, counsel, custom, dealings, decree, deed, defect, desires, dispute, doings, duty, edict, eloquent, event, fulfillment, harm, idea, instructed, manner, matter, message, nothing, oath, obligations, one, order, parts, pertains, plan, plot, portion, promise, proposal, proven, purpose, question, ration, reason, records, regard, reports, request, required, rule, said, same thing, saying, so much, some, something, songs, speaks, speech,talk, task, theme, thing, this, thoughts, threats, thus, told, trouble, verdict, way, what, whatever, word and work.

As I said, the NIV has over twice this amount of different meanings - well over 200 - as compared to the KJB's 84.

The second word mentioned by Mr. White is "to turn back" and it is # 7725 Shub, and in this case Mr. White is correct in that the KJB does translate it some 60 different ways. However what James forgot to mention is that his favorite NASB has translated this same single Hebrew word at least 104 different ways! while the NIV again has over 200 different meanings!

What makes this whole section in White's book all the more ridiculous and hypocritical, is that Jack Lewis (the man Mr. White quoted in his book) is one of the translators of the NIV, which is far more "guilty" of the very thing he criticizes the KJB of doing! This is the type of scholarship men like James White employ to discredit the truth of the King James Bible.

Will Kinney

1 Samuel 5:9 - "and he smote the men of the city...they had EMERODS IN THEIR SECRET PARTS." King James Bible

NKJV - "He struck the men of the city...and TUMORS BROKE OUT ON THEM." Footnote: Probably bubonic plague.

The word emerods is a slightly archaic spelling of the more modern word hemorrhoids, however it may surprise you how many Bible translations still use the word "emerods". One thing for sure, they were not "tumors associated with the bubonic plague".

As usual, the "scholars" are all over the board with this one, each offering his own opinion as though it were the absolute truth. Let's look at some of the differing opinions and Bible versions regarding this single verse.

The Coffman commentary says: "What was this disease? There is little doubt that it was anything other than an epidemic of the bubonic plague, the black death that wiped out a major fraction of the human race in the mid-14th century."

"Little doubt" huh? Well, many others disagree with this man's opinion.

In typical fashion, Daniel Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary plays around with the text and comes up with something "new". His NET version reads: "He struck all the people of that city with sores." Here Wallace simply omits the Hebrew words "both small and great" and goes with neither emerods, hemorrhoids, or tumors. Instead he chose "sores", which are none of the above. I have sometimes had sores on various parts of my body, but they were quite different from tumors or hemorrhoids.

David Guzik's commentary remarks: "Older commentators often describe them as hemorrhoids, and newer commentators often describe them as signs of the bubonic plague. Either way, they were bad. "According to the Rabbins, swellings on the anus." (Keil and Delitszch)."

Smith's Bible Dictionary says: "Emerods - (1 Samuel 5:6,9, 12; 6:4,5,11) Probably hemorrhiodal tumors or bleeding piles, are intended."

Adam Clarke comments: "Smote them with emerods. The word apholim, from aphal, to be elevated, probably means the disease called the bleeding piles, which appears to have been accompanied with dysentery, bloody flux, and ulcerated anus.

The Vulgate says, Et percussit in secretiori parte natium; "And he smote them in the more secret parts of their posteriors." To this the psalmist is supposed to refer, Psalm 78:66, He smote all his enemies in the HINDER PARTS; he put them to a perpetual reproach. Some copies of the Septuagint have "in their posteriors." The Syriac is the same. The Arabic enlarges: "He smote them in their posteriors, so that they were affected with a dysenteria." I suppose them to have been affected with enlargements of the haemorrhoidal veins, from which there came frequent discharges of blood."

John Gill says: "and they had emerods in their secret parts; and so had the men of Ashdod; and the design of this expression is, not to point at the place where they were, which it is well known they are always in those parts, but the different nature of them; the emerods or piles of the men of Ashdod were more outward, these more inward, and so more painful, and not so easy to come at, and more difficult of cure."

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown concur: "smote them with emerods--bleeding piles, hemorrhoids (Psalm 78:66), in a very aggravated form."

Matthew Henry says: "it is expressly said (1 Samuel 5:12) that those who were smitten with the emerods were the men that died not by the other destruction, which probably was the pestilence."

John Wesley comments: "Hidden parts - In the inwards of their hinder parts: which is the worst kind of emerods, as all physicians acknowledge, both because its pains are far more sharp than the other; and because the malady is more out of the reach of remedies."

Various Bible Versions

The NASB is an interesting case. Up until 1972 the NASB used to read HEMORROIDS, but then in 1977 and again in 1995 they changed this to "TUMORS". Other versions that have "tumors" are the NKJV, NIV, RSV, ESV, the Catholic New Jerusalem, and the Holman Standard.

The Bible translations that actually read "EMERODS in their secret parts" are the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Webster's 1833 translation, the Jewish Publication Society's 1917 translation, Young's 'literal' version, and the Douay version 1950.

Those that read HEMORROIDS are the NASB 1972, Darby, Green's 1998 Modern King James Version, the Catholic 1970 New American Bible, the KJV 21st Century version 1994, and the Third Millenium Bible of 1998.

The recent Jewish translation called the Judaica Press Tanach reads: "And it was, after they had brought it around, that the hand of the Lord was upon the city (with) a great panic, and He smote the people of the city, both young and old, and HEMORRHOIDS broke out in THEIR HIDDEN PARTS."

The French Louis Segond version agrees with the KJB saying: "une éruption d'hémorroïdes."

The 1991 Italian Nuova Diodati also agrees with the KJB reading: "che grandi con un'epidemia di emorroidi."

And the Spanish Reina Valera & Cipriano of 1602 and 1909 agree with the meaning found in the King James Bible (though later RV revisions have now changed this to "tumores") - "é hirió los hombres de aquella ciudad desde el chico hasta el grande, que se llenaron de hemorroides."

This single example serves as an illustration of what goes on literally hundreds of times throughout the pages of what passes today as "the Bible".

Today's Christian scholars do not believe that any Bible in any language (including the Hebrew or "the" Greek) is the inspired, complete and inerrant words of God. Each one considers himself to be an expert, and they ALL disagree with each other hundreds of times as to what the correct texts are and how they should be translated. Each one has become his own final authority, and (in their view) apparently God has failed to keep His promises to preserve His words in "the book of the LORD".

"Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail..." Isaiah 34:16.

Will Kinney

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