Article: Bible Babel in Proverbs by Will Kinney

From Textus Receptus

Jump to: navigation, search


More examples of Bible Babel in Proverbs

More Bible Babel in the Book of Proverbs



Proverbs 13:7 "There is that MAKETH HIMSELF RICH, yet hath nothing: there is that MAKETH HIMSELF POOR, yet hath great riches."


So read the Bishops' Bible, the Geneva Bible, the Revised Version 1881, the American Standard Version 1901, Young's, KJV 21, and the NKJV. The Spanish Reina Valera also reads this way - "Hay quienes se hacen ricos, y no tienen nada: Y hay quienes se hacen pobres, y tienen muchas riquezas."


This Proverb is a perfect tie in to Proverbs 11:24 which says: "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty."


The idea in the New Testament is found in the example of Christ who "though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, they ye through his poverty might be rich." 2 Cor. 8:9.


As Adam Clarke expresses it - "There is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches. "As poor," said St. Paul, "yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things." The former is the rich poor man; the latter is the poor rich man."


However versions like the NASB, RSV, ESV, Holman and NIV read: "One man PRETENDS TO BE rich, yet has nothing; another PRETENDS TO BE poor, yet has great wealth." Regardless of how one might think the Hebrew text should be translated, you have to admit there is a big difference in the meaning here.


Proverbs 13:13 - KJB - "Whoso despiseth THE WORD SHALL BE DESTROYED: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded."

So read the Geneva Bible, Bishops' bible, RV, ASV, Youngs, the NKJV, RSV, NRSV, and the 2001 ESV - "Whoever despises THE WORD BRINGS DESTRUCTION ON HIMSELF, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded."


However in the NASB we read: - "The one who despises the word WILL BE IN DEBT TO IT, But the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded."


NIV - "He who scorns INSTRUCTION WILL PAY FOR IT, but he who respects a command is rewarded."


Proverbs 13:23 KJB - "Much food is in THE TILLAGE of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment."


The word "tillage" is not at all archaic and it means plowed land that is cultivated for the growing of crops. It is land that produces food.


So read translations like the Revised Version 1881, American Standard Version 1901, the 1917 and 1936 Jewish translations, Douay, Darby, Young, and the KJV 21st Century.


John Gill comments: Much food is in the tillage of the poor…?The poor are generally employed in tilling land; from whose labours in ploughing and sowing much food arises to men, bread to the eater, and seed to the sower: or a poor farmer, that has but a small farm, a few acres of land, to till; yet through his diligence and industry, with the blessing of God upon it, he gets a comfortable livelihood for himself and family; much food, or a sufficiency of it for the present year, and seed to sow land again the following year; but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment."


The Judaica Press Tanach has: "An abundance of food is the result of the plowing of the poor, and some perish because of lack of propriety."


Even the NIV, NRSV are OK here in the first part with: "A poor man's field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away." The Holman is OK too, reading: "The field of the poor yields abundant food".


The Message is unrecognizable with: "Banks foreclose on the farms of the poor, or else the poor lose their shirts to crooked lawyers."


However the NKJV, along with the NASB, ESV reads: "Much food is in THE FALLOW GROUND of the poor, And for lack of justice there is waste."


You might ask, What is wrong with this? Well, "fallow ground" is a field that has been plowed and then LEFT UNSEEDED. NOTHING is planted and, of course, nothing in the way of food grows there. It is the opposite of "tillage", in which we DO have food.


The TNIV has now changed even the meaning in the previous NIV and now reads: "An UNPLOWED FIELD produces food for the poor, but injustice sweeps it away."


Hebrew words have different meanings in different contexts, and it is obvious that not all "scholars" see this verse in the same way. In any case, it should be obvious that the NKJV does not carry the same meaning as found in the KJB and many others.


Proverbs 14:32 "The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath HOPE IN HIS DEATH."


Implied in this verse is the hope the righteous have in the resurrection from the dead. This is also the reading of the Geneva Bible, the Revised Version, the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, the Spanish Reina Valera and the Douay version.


The NKJV, RSV, NASB, and NIV change it a bit with: "but the righteous has A REFUGE in his death", BUT the RSV and the NRSV say: "but the righteous FINDS REFUGE IN HIS INTEGRITY." Then in a footnote, they tell us that the reading of "in his integrity" comes from the Greek and Syriac, but that the Hebrew texts read "in his death".


Proverbs 14:33 "Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but THAT WHICH IS IN THE MIDST OF FOOLS IS MADE KNOWN."


This is the reading of the KJB, NKJV, RV, ASV, New Life Bible, the Amplified Bible, and Darby. If wisdom is in the heart of him that understands, then the contrasting idea is that foolishness is made known from fools.


Jamieson, Faussett and Brown simply comment: "fools blazon their folly", while John Gill notes: "but that which is in the midst of fools is made known ..."instead of getting the character of wise and prudent men, obtain that of fools; ...without any manner of judgment or discretion, or regard to persons, places, and seasons, vainly thrust out their knowledge, and so proclaim their folly."


However many modern versions give conflicting and opposite meanings to this verse. The RSV and the NRSV say: "Wisdom abides in the mind of a man of understanding, but IT IS NOT KNOWN in the heart of fools."


Even the badly paraphrased The Message of 2002 says: "Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart-- fools never even get to say hello."


But wait! The NASB, NIV, ESV and Holman read: "Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding, But in the hearts of fools IT IS MADE KNOWN." This reading teaches that wisdom IS made known to the foolish - The exact opposite! Notice that the NASB completely changed from the old ASV, and the ESV changed from the previous RSV.


Proverbs 17:7 "EXCELLENT SPEECH becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince."


The meaning is obvious. It is completely out of place and incongruous that a fool would use "excellent speech", as it would be for a prince to lie. "Excellent speech" or its equivalent is the reading of the KJB, NKJV, RV, ASV, NASB, ESV, RSV, Darby, and the Spanish Reina Valera.


However the NIV says: "ARROGANT LIPS are unsuited to a fool - how much worse lying lips to a ruler! " Is it not rather true that "Arrogant lips" is exactly what we would expect from a fool?


The Holman Standard tells us: "EXCESSIVE SPEECH is not appropriate on a fool's lips; how much worse are lies for a ruler." Again, "excessive speech" is exactly what we expect from a fool, but not "excellent speech" as the KJB and many others have it.


Proverbs 18:1 King James Bible - "Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom. "


This is the same reading as found in Webster's 1833, the KJV 21st Century Version and the Third Millenium Bible.


Bishops' Bible 1568 - "Who so hath an earnest desire [to wysdome] he will sequester him selfe to seeke it, and occupie him selfe in all stedfastnesse & sounde doctrine."


The Geneva Bible 1599 - "For the desire thereof hee will separate himselfe to seeke it, and occupie himselfe in all wisdome."


Young's translation - "For an object of desire he who is separated doth seek, With all wisdom he intermeddleth."


John Gill recognizes various understandings of the meaning of this verse. Regarding the positive and good sense as found in the King James Bible, Bishops', Geneva, Third Millenium Bible and a few others, He says: "... to be understood in a good sense, of one that has a real and hearty desire after sound wisdom and knowledge, and seeks in the use of all proper means to attain it; and in order to which he separates himself from the world and the business of it, and retires to his study, and gives up himself to reading, meditation, and prayer; or goes abroad in search of it, as Aben Ezra."


Adam Clarke sides with the King James reading, saying: "The Hebrew: lethaavah yebakkesh niphrad, bechol tushiyah yithgalla. The nearest translation to the words is perhaps the following: "He who is separated shall seek the desired thing, (i.e., the object of his desire,) and shall intermeddle (mingle himself) with all realities or all essential knowledge." He finds that he can make little progress in the investigation of Divine and natural things, if he have much to do with secular or trifling matters: he therefore separates himself as well from unprofitable pursuits as from frivolous company, and then enters into the spirit of his pursuit; is not satisfied with superficial observances, but examines the substance and essence, as far as possible, of those things which have been the objects of his desire. This appears to me the best meaning: the reader may judge for himself. "


Matthew Henry says regarding the King James reading: "Our translation seems to take it as an excitement to diligence in the pursuit of wisdom. If we would get knowledge or grace, we must desire it, as that which we need and which will be of great advantage to us, 1 Corinthians 12:31. We must separate ourselves from all those things which would divert us from or retard us in the pursuit, retire out of the noise of this world's vanities, and then seek and intermeddle with all the means and instructions of wisdom, be willing to take pains and try all the methods of improving ourselves, be acquainted with a variety of opinions, that we may prove all things and hold fast that which is good."


However, the NKJV completely changes the meaning as found in the King James Bible. The NKJV reads much like the RSV, NASB, and NIV. It says: "A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment."


The NIV has: "An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment. "


18:24 "A man that hath friends MUST SHEW HIMSELF FRIENDLY: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."


Agreeing with the King James Bible word for word or in sense are Coverdale 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Barker's Bible 1615, the Italian Diodati, Young's, Las Sagradas Escrituras 1569, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909, 1960, 1995, The New Life Version 1995, NKJV 1982, the Third Millenium Bible 1998 and the Modern Greek Bible.


The Spanish reads: "El hombre que tiene amigos ha de mostrarse amigo; Y amigo hay más unido que un hermano." (The man who has friends must show himself friendly). Likewise the 1991 New Italian Diodati reads like the KJB with: "L'uomo che ha molti amici deve pure mostrarsi amico"


John Gill comments: A man that hath friends must show himself friendly…"Friendship ought to be mutual and reciprocal, as between David and Jonathan; a man that receives friendship ought to return it, or otherwise he is guilty of great ingratitude."


Adam Clarke writes: A man that hath friends must show himself friendly "Love begets love; and love requires love as its recompense. If a man do not maintain a friendly carriage, he cannot expect to retain his friends. Friendship is a good plant; but it requires cultivation to make it grow."


Here the NKJV reads as does the KJB but it has a footnote that supports the ridiculous reading of the NIV, NASB and Darby. The NIV and NASB say "A man of many companions MAY COME TO RUIN, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. " (NIV). The NKJV, being in partnership to destroy faith in the words of God, includes a footnote "Or MAY COME TO RUIN". You see, some of the same "scholars" who worked on the NIV also participated in the NKJV.


The 2005 TNIV doesn't even agree with the previous NIV. It now reads: "One who has UNRELIABLE FRIENDS SOON comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."


The Holman Standard 2003 is very similar with: "A man with many friends may be harmed."


The Message has: "FRIENDS COME AND GO, but a true friend sticks by you like family."


The Judaica Press Tanach 2001 - "A MAN ACQUIRES FRIENDS WITH WHOM TO ASSOCIATE, and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."


Douay-Rheims version reads: "A MAN AMIABLE IN SOCIETY, shall be more friendly than a brother."


Jerusalem Bible 1968 - "There are friends who lead one to ruin, others are closer than a brother.


RSV 1952 - "THERE ARE FRIENDS WHO PRETEND TO BE FRIENDS, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."


NRSV 1989 - "Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin."


ESV 2001 - "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."


Good News Translation 1992 - "SOME FRIENDSHIPS DO NOT LAST, but some friends are more loyal than brothers."


Easy to Read Version 2001 - "SOME FRIENDS ARE FUN TO BE WITH. But a close friend can be even better than a brother."


Lamsa's 1936 translation - "THERE ARE FRIENDS WHO ARE MERELY FRIENDS; and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."


The so called Greek Septuagint shows its usual confusion by omitting Proverbs 18:23 and 24, and also omitting 19:1, 2 and 3. By the way, instead of Proverbs 18:22 reading: "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth the favor of the LORD." (KJB and an host of others), the LXX actually says: "He that PUTS AWAY A GOOD WIFE PUTS AWAY A GOOD THING, AND HE THAT KEEPS AN ADULTERESS IS FOOLISH AND UNGODLY." Yeah..., that's pretty close, isn't it?


New English Bible 1970 - "SOME COMPANIONS ARE GOOD ONLY FOR IDLE TALK, but a friend may stick closer than a brother."


As our scholarly friend James White writes: "By comparing various Bible versions we get a better idea of what God said."


Proverbs 19:18 - "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and LET NOT THY SOUL SPARE FOR HIS CRYING."


The NKJV has: "DO NOT SET YOUR HEART ON HIS DESTRUCTION." The NASB says: "do not desire his death", while the NIV says: "do not be a willing party to his death."


The New KJV then footnotes "Literally to put to death. A Hebrew tradition reads "his crying".


However there is ample reason for meaning found in the King James Bible "and let not thy soul spare for his crying". Hebrew words often have a multitude of radically different meanings according to the context. For instance, the word "soul" (which by the way is omitted in the NASB, NIV). This Hebrew word is Nephesh # 5315, and versions like the NASB, NIV have variously rendered this same word as "soul, life, death, body, corpse, throat, appetite, number, neck, and thirst." Obviously there is a wide range of different meanings to these English words.


The word rendered as "crying" in the King James Bible and other translations is normally translated as "to die, to kill, or a dead body", but if the Hebrew phrase were literally translated it could come out something like "let not your soul spare to kill him" and this would be the opposite of what is intended in the Proverb.


The ONLY time the King James Bible refers to the crying of tears in the Hebrew Old Testament is here in this proverb. All other times the word "to cry, or to cry out" means to call out or to shout; not to shed tears.


I think the King James and other Bible translators saw this passage as being figurative rather than literal, as when we say the kid got spanked and "cried bloodly murder". Other commentators and translators agree with this view.


Agreeing with the reading of "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for HIS CRYING" are the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company, New York, translation, the Bishops' Bible, Webster's 1833, the New Life Version, the KJV 21st Century Version, and the Third Millenium Bible.


The Bishops' Bible 1568 - "Chasten thy sonne whyle there is hope: and let not thy soule spare for his crying."


Geneva Bible 1599 - "Chasten thy sonne while there is hope, and let not thy soule spare for his murmuring."


The Holy Scriptures 1936 "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."


New Life Version 1969 "Punish your son if he needs it while there is hope, and do not worry about his crying."


John Gill comments: "and let not thy soul spare for his crying...the noise he makes, the tears he sheds, the entreaties he uses to keep off the rod; let not a foolish pity and tenderness prevail to lay it aside on that account the consequence of which may be bad to parent and child;....Gersom interprets the word of "crying", as we do."


Likewise Adam Clarke agrees with the King James reading. He says: " Let not thy soul spare for his crying. This is a hard precept for a parent. Nothing affects the heart of a parent so much as a child's cries and tears. But it is better that the child may be caused to cry, when the correction may be healthful to his soul, than that the parent should cry afterwards, when the child is grown to man's estate, and his evil habits are sealed for life."


Even Daniel Wallace notes: "The traditional rendering was “and let not your soul spare for his crying.” This involved a different reading than “causing his death” (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 206-7).


Proverbs 21:4 "the PLOWING of the wicked is sin"


In the King James Bible we read: "An high look, and a proud heart, AND THE PLOWING of the wicked is sin."


The saying "the plowing of the wicked is sin", does not mean that the simple act of plowing a field is in itself sinful, but rather, as John Gill notes: "to plough; it only denotes that all the civil actions of a wicked man, one being put for all, are attended with sin; he sins in all he does."


John Wesley likewise comments: "The plowing - Even their civil or natural actions, which in themselves are lawful, are made sinful as they are managed by ungodly men, without any regard to the glory of God, which ought to be the end of all our actions."


"The PLOWING of the wicked is sin" is the reading found in the Bishops' Bible 1568, the King James Bible, Webster's 1833, Green's Modern KJV 1998, the NKJV 1982, the 1998 Complete Jewish Bible, the KJV 21st Century version, and the Third Millenium Bible.


The Jewish Publication Society 1917 translation reads: "the TILLAGE of the wicked is sin", as do Young's, and the Catholic New American Bible (St. Joseph) 1970.


However such versions as the NASB, NIV, RSV, AV, ASV, ESV, the Catholic Douay 1950, and the Holman Standard all read something like: "Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the LAMP of the wicked are sin." (NIV).

The New English Bible of 1970 simply omits the word altogether saying: "Haughty looks and a proud heart - these mark a wicked man."


The 2002 The Message also omits the Hebrew word, and is similar with: "Arrogance and pride--distinguishing marks in the wicked--are just plain sin."


The Contemporary English Version 1995 has: "Evil people are proud and arrogant, but sin is the only crop they produce."


J.P. Green also seems to be confused, or at least wishy-washy. In his interlinear translation of 1980 he goes with "LAMP", but in his 1998 Modern KJV translation he goes back to "THE PLOWING of the wicked is sin."


Surprisingly, even Daniel Wallace's NET bible version leans toward the reading found in the King James Bible. His NET version says: " Haughty eyes and a proud heart— THE AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT of the wicked is sin."


Wallace then has some footnotes of interest when he notes: " Heb “the tillage [rn], nir] of the wicked is sin.” ... Some (NASB, NIV, NRSV) have followed the LXX and Tg. Prov 21:4 to read “lamp” instead (rn}, ner)"


The Holman Standard also changes the text and reads: "The LAMP that guides the wicked - haughty eyes and an arrogant heart- is sin." Then the Holmand footnotes: "Some Hebrew manuscripts and ancient versions read 'tillage'." The 2001 ESV also reads "lamp" in their text, but then footnote "or plowing".


Proverbs 22:20-21 "Have not I written to thee EXCELLENT THINGS in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of THE WORDS OF TRUTH; that thou mightest answer THE WORDS OF TRUTH to them that send unto thee."


"Have not I written unto thee EXCELLENT THINGS" is the reading found in the Revised Version 1881, the American Standard Version of 1901, the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, and the 1998 Complete Jewish Bible, the NKJV 1982, the NASB 1972-1995, Darby 1870, the Amplified bible 1987, Green's MKJV 1998, Third Millenium Bible, the 1997 Biblia de las Américas, and the Italian Diodati - “cose eccellenti”, the Portuguese Almeida - “excelentes coisas “, and even the 2000 Portuguese NIV called O Livro, put out by the International Bible Society - “coisas excelentes.”


Such versions as the Geneva bible, the Spanish Reina Valera and Youngs render this as: Have not I written to thee THREE THINGS...?. The Catholic versions are all over the board. The Douay says "THREE MANNER OF WAYSt"; while the St. Joseph New American Bible has "Have not I written to you "The Thirty"?, and the Jerusalem Bible has "to you the THIRTY CHAPTERS?"


Lamsa’s 1936 version differs from them all saying: “Behold, THIS IS THE THIRD TIME that I have written them to you”, but it does have “the words of truth” twice, as does the KJB and the Hebrew texts.


On the other hand, the RSV, NIV, ESV, and Holman Standard tell us: "Have I not written to you THIRTY SAYINGS...?".


The second part of these two verses is all confused and messed up in some of the modern versions as well. The King James Bible as well as the Hebrew text itself repeats the same phrase “the words of truth”, that thou mightest answer “the words of truth” to them that send unto thee.”


Agreeing with the KJB in translating both phrases as “the words of truth” are the Geneva Bible, the Jewish translations of Jewish Publication Society 1917, the Hebrew Publishing Company 1936 translation, the Complete Jewish Bible, the Judaica Press Tanach, the RV, ASV, Darby, the NKJV 1982, Green’s literal 2000, the French Martin 1744, Louis Segond 1910 and the 1996 Ostervald - “paroles de vérité”, Italian Diodati -”palavras de verdade”, the Portuguese Almeida -”palavras de verdade”, and the Spanish Reina Valera 1960, 1995 - “las palabras de verdad”.


However instead of the definite and authoritative“the words of truth” many modern versions weaken, dilute, downgrade and obscure the meaning of this phrase. Instead of “the words of truth” we now have “reliable and sound answers”, “correctly answer” and“ a dependable report”.


The NIV says: “Have I not written THIRTY SAYINGS for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching you TRUE AND RELIABLE WORDS, so that you can give SOUND ANSWERS to him who sent you? “


The NASB also weakens and downgrades the “words of truth” to this: “Have I not written to you EXCELLENT THINGS of counsels and knowledge, To make you know the certainty of the words of truth That you may CORRECTLY ANSWER him who sent you?”


The Holman Standard has: “Haven't I written for you THIRTY SAYINGS about counsel and knowledge, in order to teach you true and reliable words, so that you may give A DEPENDABLE REPORT to those who sent you?”


As is often the case, the scholars disagree with each other on how this passage should be translated. John Gill notes different ways some render the passage, but sides with the King James Bible reading. He says: "Have not I written to thee excellent things…In the Scriptures. Some render it, "three things" and think that Solomon refers to the three divisions of the Scriptures among the Jews, the law, the prophets, and holy writings; so Jarchi; but some of those writings then were not: or to the three books written by him; the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs... But it is best, with Kimchi, Gersom, and Ben Melech, to render it, "excellent things", as we do."


Proverbs 27:15-16 The principal problems with these verses is found in verse 16; but to give the context we will include them both.


"A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, AND THE OINTMENT OF HIS RIGHT HAND, WHICH BEWRAYETH ITSELF."


Perhaps the first thing we should do is look at the meaning of that old and now archaic word "bewray". The word is found four times in the King James Bible and it simply means "to reveal, to disclose, or betray (in the sense of revealing itself)". Any good modern dictionary contains this word and tells you its meaning.


Webster's online dictionary 1913 says: "To expose; to reveal; to disclose; to betray. [Obs. or Archaic]


The murder being once done, he is in less fear, and in more hope that the deed shall not be bewrayed or known. Robynson (More's Utopia. )


Thy speech bewrayeth thee. Matt. xxvi. 73.


The meaning as found in the King James Bible, and several other translations, is quite simple. Just as you cannot hide or conceal the wind or the smell of the ointment on your hands, so too you cannot hide a loud and contentious woman.


John Gill comments: "and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself: or "will call" or "calls", and says, in effect, Here am I; for the smell of it, which cannot be hid when held in a man's hand, betrays it;... the more it diffuses its savour, and is known to be where it is; and so all attempts to stop the mouth of a brawling woman does but cause her to brawl the louder."


Adam Clarke comments: "You can no more conceal such a woman's conduct, than you can the smell of the aromatic oil with which your hand has been anointed."


Agreeing with the reading or meaning found in the King James Bible are Wycliffe 1395, the Bishops' Bible of 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Young's "literal" translation, the ASV footnote, the Jewish Publication Society 1917 translation, the 1998 Complete Jewish Bible, Webster's 1833, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible 1902, the KJV 21, and the Third Millenium Bible.


The 1998 Complete Jewish Bible says: "whoever can restrain her can restrain the wind or keep perfume on his hand from making itself known."


Young's 'literal' translation - "Whoso is hiding her hath hidden the wind, And the ointment of his right hand calleth out."


The Bishops' Bible 1568 - "He that stilleth her, stilleth the winde, and stoppeth the smell of the oyntment in his hande."


The Geneva Bible - "He that hideth her, hideth the winde, & she is as ye oyle in his right hand, that vttereth it selfe."


Rotherham's 1902 Emphasized Bible is similar to the KJB - "He that hideth her, hideth the wind, and, perfume, his right hand may proclaim."


HOWEVER, such versions as the NKJV, NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, and Holman all change the meaning as found in the King James Bible. These versions all read basically the same with the NKJV telling us: "A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike; Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, AND GRASPS OIL WITH HIS RIGHT HAND."


Several of the versions tell us in a footnote that the Hebrew is obscure, but it really isn't. The word translated as "bewrayeth itself" in the King James Bible is the Hebrew word #7121 qara. It is variously translated, not only in the KJB but also in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, as "to call, to cry out, to give, to proclaim, to shout, to scream, to make a proclmation, to read, to invite, or to announce."


Only ONE TIME have the NASB, NIV and NKJV translated this Hebrew word as "to grasp". It doesn't mean "to grasp", but rather the idea is that the oil on the right hand announces, calls out or proclaims itself by its fragrance. The King James Bible reading is the correct one, and the NKJV, NIV, RSV, NASB missed the point.


Other translations give totally different meanings to the verse.


The Bible in Basic English 1961 has: "He who keeps secret the secret of his friend, WILL GET HIMSELF A NAME FOR GOOD FAITH."


The 1970 St. Joseph New American Bible - "He who keeps her stores up a stormwind; HE CANNOT TELL NORTH FROM SOUTH."


Peterson's ridiculous 2002 paraphrase The Message says: "A nagging spouse is like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet; You can't turn it off, and you can't get away from it. YOUR FACE MIRRORS YOUR HEART."


This is just one of many examples of where we either hold on to the sometimes "archaic" but accurate King James Bible (bewrayeth), or we abandon it for a more modern speech version that is inaccurate (grasp). I'll stick with the old but tried and true King James Bible.


Proverbs 29:10 “The bloodthirsty hate the upright: BUT THE JUST SEEK HIS SOUL.”


Agreeing word for word or in sense with the King James Bible are Wycliffe, Coverdale, Bishops’s Bible, the Geneva Bible, the RV, ASV, NKJV, Darby, Douay, Green, Youngs, Holman, and the KJV 21st Century. There is a contrast between the bloodthirsty who hates the upright, and the just man who seeks the benefit of his soul.


NASB - “Men of bloodshed hate the blameless, But the UPRIGHT ARE ***CONCERNED FOR HIS LIFE.” Footnote: Literally “seek his soul”


NIV - “Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity AND SEEK TO KILL THE UPRIGHT.”


The RSV, NRSV and ESV are basically like the NIV, which teaches the exact opposite of the KJB, RV, ASV, NASB and NKJV. They also read: “The bloodthirsty hate the blameless, and THEY SEEK THE LIFE OF THE UPRIGHT.”


Holman Standard - “Bloodthirsty men hate an honest person, BUT THE UPRIGHT CARE ABOUT HIM.”


The Message - “Murderers hate honest people; MORAL FOLKS ENCOURAGE THEM.”


NKJV - “The bloodthirsty hate the blameless, BUT THE UPRIGHT SEEK HIS WELL-BEING.” ** Footnote: Literally soul.


Proverbs 29:21 "He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child SHALL HAVE HIM BECOME HIS SON at the length."


This is the reading or meaning found in such versions as the Geneva Bible, the Revised Version, American Standard Version, Youngs, Darby, the NASB, NKJV, the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, Hebrew Names Version, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909, Italian Diodati, and the Third Millenium Bible.


Commentators are all over the board on what this verse means, and some admit they have no idea. As I understand it, it basically means that when one treats his servant as if he were a son, in the end the servant will love him as a son does his father, rather than serving from the merely mechanical obedience of a servant to his master. God deals with us in this way, so that we are no longer just His "servants" but also His sons and His friends.


By the way, that "archaic expression" - "he that DELICATELY BRINGETH UP" is also found in the Geneva, the RV, ASV, Darby, Youngs, and the Jewish translations of 1917 and 1936.


The RSV, NRSV and ESV are interesting. The 1952 RSV and the 2001 ESV both read: "Whoever pampers his servant from childhood will in the end find him HIS HEIR."


However the NRSV of 1989 reads: "A slave pampered from childhood WILL COME TO A BAD END." (Not quite the same, is it?)


But wait!. Now the NIV tells us: "If a man pampers his servant from youth, HE WILL BRING GRIEF in the end." BUT the brand new TNIV now says: "A servant pampered from youth WILL TURN OUT TO BE INSOLENT." The latest TNIV is very similar to the Holman Standard which also says: "A slave pampered from his youth WILL BECOME ARROGANT later on. "


"America's greatest Textual Scholar" Daniel Wallace's NET version reads: "If someone pampers his servant from youth, HE WILL BE A WEAKLING in the end."


Finally we have Peterson's 2002 The Message, which is totally unrecognizable with: "IF YOU LET PEOPLE TREAT YOU LIKE A DOORMAT, YOU'LL BE QUITE FORGOTTEN IN THE END."


Proverbs 30:1-2 "The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: THE MAN SPAKE UNTO ITHIEL, EVEN UNTO ITHIEL AND UCAL, surely I am more bruthish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man."


The words "the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal" are found in the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936 and 1998. This is also the reading of the Geneva Bible, the RV, ASV, Darby, Spanish Reina Valera, the Catholic Jerusalem and New Jerusalem versions, THE RSV, NKJV, NASB, NIV and the Holman Standard.


HOWEVER, even though the RSV of 1952 reads the same as the King James Bible, the NIV, NASB and the 2003 Holman Standard, the brand new ESV (English Standard Version of 2001) actually says: "The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle. THE MAN DECLARES, I AM WEARY, O GOD; I AM WEARY, O GOD, AND WORN OUT. Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man." (Not quite the same meaning, is it?)


Though the NIV reads the same as the KJB, the brand new revision of the old NIV - the 2005 TNIV (Today's New International Version) now says: "The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh - an inspired utterance. This man's utterance to Ithiel: I AM WEARY, GOD, BUT I CAN PREVAIL. Surely I am only a brute, not a man; I do not have human understanding."


Not only does the new TNIV differ from the old NIV, BUT also from the ESV. The "I am worn out" of the ESV is not the same thing as the TNIV's "but I can prevail", is it?


Likewise the Catholic versions are all messed up. The newer Jerusalem Bible and the New Jerusalem Version both agree with the reading found in the King James Bible, but the 1950 Douay version reads: "The word of THE GATHERER the son of THE VOMITER. The vision which the man spoke WITH WHOM GOD IS, AND WHO BEING STRENGTHENED BY GOD, ABIDING WITH HIM, said: I am the most foolish of men, and the wisdom OF MEN is not with me."


But wait! There's more. Now Peterson's Paraphrase of 2003,called The Message, has come out and it says: "THE SKEPTIC SWORE, "THERE IS NO GOD! NO GOD! - I CAN DO ANYTHING I WANT! I'm more animal than human; so-called human intelligence escapes me." Hey, not to worry - It's all the same "message", right?


In closing, let's compare some of the verses in Proverbs 30, in the modern versions, to see if they contradict each other. In verse 3 we read, "I neither learned wisdom, NOR have the knowledge of the holy." The RV, ASV, Spanish, NIV, NKJV agree with the KJB.


However the NASB of 1972 says "I have not learned wisdom, BUT I have knowledge of the Holy One." - the exact opposite. Then in 1977 and again in1995, the NAS changed again to read like the KJB and others. It now reads: "Neither have I learned wisdom, NOR Do I have the knowledge of the Holy One."


In Prov. 30:11 we read, "There is A GENERATION that curseth THEIR father, and doth not bless their mother." It refers to a whole generation of people. "a generation" is the reading of the RV, ASV, NKJV, Young's, Darby, Holman, and the Jewish translations of 1917 and 1936. However the NASB has, "There is A KIND OF MAN who curses HIS father", and the NIV, "There are THOSE WHO curse their father. . ." The Hebrew word is generation, as even the ESV footnote tells us.


In verse 17 "the young EAGLES shall eat it". "Eagles" is the reading of the RV, ASV, NKJV, NASB and Youngs, while the RSV, ESV, NIV and Holman have "VULTURES".


Proverbs 30:26 "The CONIES are but a feeble folk" Conies are a kind of rabbit; it is not an archaic word. CONIES is the reading found in Coverdale, Bishops's Bible, the Geneva Bible, the RV, ASV, NIV, Spanish Reina Valera, Bible in Basic English, the Complete Jewish Bible 1998, and Youngs. But the NKJV has "rock badgers" while the NASB of 1972 has "badgers" then in 1995 the NASB once again changed this to now read "THE SHEPHARIM". This along with verse 3 are just two of many examples where the great NASB doesn't even agree with itself from one edition to the next. Though the NIV has "coneys", now the new Today's NIV has come out and it, along with the Holman Standard, changes this to "HYRAXES". But the 2004 The Message says these are "MARMOTS".


In verse 28 "the SPIDER taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces" is the same in the KJB, NKJV, Coverdale, Bishops's Bible, the Geneva, the 1917 Jewish Publication Society version,1936 Hebrew Pub. Com. version, and 1998 Complete Jewish Bible, Youngs and 1994 KJV 21st Century version. The recent Jewish translation called the Judaica Press Tanach also reads: " The SPIDER grasps with [her] hands, and she is in a king's palaces." Also reading "spider" are the French Martin 1744, Luther's German of 1545 and the 1912 German Luther version, and the Spanish Reina Valera 1909, 1960 and 1995 versions.


But the spider becomes a LIZARD in the RSV, NASB, NIV, and Holman Standard. Even Daniel Wallace notes in his NET bible version: "Older English versions, agreeing with Targum. Prov 30:28, translated this term as “spider.” But modern commentators FOLLOWING THE GREEK AND LATIN VERSIONS have “lizard.”


Finally in Proverbs 30:31 we read of four things that are comely in going "A GREYHOUND; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up."


The reading of "a greyhound" is found in the Bishops' Bible, the Geneva Bible, the KJB, NKJV, the RV, the ASV, the 1917, 1936, and the 1998 Jewish translations, Rotherham's 1902 Emphasized Bible, the Hebrew Names Version, the Spanish Reina Valera of 1909, and the Updated Bible Version of 2004.


However the RSV of 1952 was the first major version to change "a greyhound" into THE STRUTTING COCK, and this is also found in the NASB. The NIV, NRSV, ESV and Holman read this as "the struting rooster". Now biology is not my strong point, but I'm pretty sure a struting cock is not the same thing as a greyhound. So where did the reading of "the strutting rooster" come from? Well, the RSV footnote tells us. If you look at the RSV or the NRSV footnotes they both tell us that "the strutting cock" comes from the Greek Septuagint and the Syriac, but that "the Hebrew is obscure". In other words, this rendering comes from other versions but not from the Hebrew itself. But if we look carefully at the alleged Greek Septuagint version there is more there than just "the strutting cock". The LXX actually reads: "A cock walking in proudly among the hens". So why didn't the RSV, NASB and NIV completely follow the LXX here and add the whole enchilada? Who knows? The Holman footnote tells us it may be rendered as "a greyhound", and the ESV tells us it could either be A MAGPIE or a greyhound!


But wait. The Darby version says it's "A HORSE GIRT IN THE LOINS", and the Bible in Basic English says it's A WAR HORSE". Let's see..."a greyhound, a strutting cock, a magpie and a war horse"...Yep, no change in meaning, it's all the same to me :-)


As can be seen from this one chapter of the Bible, the finest modern day scholars do not agree with each other, and come up with totally different renderings for the same word.


Not all of them can equally express the mind of God. If I take the modern position, I can pick and choose which rendering I personally like, go back and forth among the versions and become my own final authority for what the word of God says. That is where the "Whateverists" or the "originals only" crowd are.


I, by God's grace, believe His complete inspired words are only found preserved in the King James Bible. On this issue, I part company with the modern version proponents.


Will Kinney


External Link

Personal tools