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Genesis xxxix. 12. “ And got him out."
“ Abode in his breaches." 1 Kings xiii. 13. “ Saddle me the ass: so they saddled him the ass.”
1 Kings xxi. 21. “ Him that pisseth against the wall." (According to Parkhurst, the literal Hebrew is a periphrasis for a male.)
2 Kings v. 3. « For he would recover him of his leprosy."
2 Kingsʻix. 13. “ Then they hasted, and took every man his garment."
2 Kings X. 5. « The bringers up of the children.”
Psalm xxi. 3. “For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness.”
Psalm lxxxviii, 13. In the morning shall my prayer prevent thee."
Psalm xxxi. 8. « Thou hast set my foot in a large room."
Psalm cxi. 2. « Sought out of all them that have pleasure therein."
Psalm cxi. 10. “A good understanding have all they that do his commandments."
Isaiah xxvi. 11. «Their envy at the people.”
Ezekiel xviii. 6. « Neither hath come near to a menstruous woman."
Daniel iii. 21. « Their hosen."
Daniel vi. 4. “Sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom.”
Habakkuk ii. 16. “Let thy foreskin be uncovered, and shameful spewing shall be upon thy glory."
6 Thereof, wherewith, therewith, go to, waxed, of a surety, even (for evening), which when used for who, needs be, belly, wot, befell unto him, mess, gat up, minish (for diminish), peradventure, potsherd, leasing, listeth, holpen, naughty, every whit, seemeth him good, whore, whoredom, whoremonger, somewhat, pate, aforetime, usward, garner, backbite, back, slide.”
Passages that are Obscure, Ambiguous, or Unintelligible. Gen. xlix. 6. « And in their self-will they digged down a wall."
Exodus iii. 19. “ And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.” (Except by a mighty hand. See v. 20.)
1 Sam. xii. 2. « My sons are with you.” (In your power.)
1 Kings xxi. 25, 26. These two verses are obscure from the verb being in the preterperfect tense.
1 Kings xxii. 19. " And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord.” (Who said ? the antecedent ought to be designated.)
2 Kings xix. 35. " And when they arose in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses." (Who were ?)
Ps. lxxxviii. 5. 6 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave,
whom thou rememberest no more." Ps. cx. 3. “ In the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning, thou hast the dew of thy youth.”
Ps. cxxvii. 3. “ It is in vain for you to rise up early in the morning, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows, for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” (See Horne on these three last examples.)
Isaiah xxxviii. From verse 9 to the end, Lowth shows to be so obscure, as to be almost unintelligible.
Isaiah liii. 8. “ He was taken from prison, and from judgment.” (Obscure, because we cannot reconcile the prophecy with the fact. Christ was not committed to prison. Lowth reads, “ by an oppressive judgment he was taken off.”)
Isaiah lxiv. 5. " Behold, thou art wroth, for we have sinned ; in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.” (In what? in whom? Asks Lowth, who pronounces this passage also, in the common version, to be quite unintelligible.)
Isaiah lxv. 20. « An infant of days.” (Lowth reads, “a short-lived infant.”)
Ezekiel xiii. 18. o Woe to the women that sew pillows to all arm-holes, and make kerchiefs upon every statue, to hunt souls.”
Ezekiel xx. 26. “ All that openeth the womb."
Examples of erroneous Translation, where the old Translators had
not the means, which we now have, of arriving at the sense of the Original, inasmuch as the East, and its manners and customs, are better known to us. Gen. xliv. 5. « Is not this it, (the cup,) in which my
Lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth ?" (Was Joseph then a diviner, or astrologer ? The original signifies, maketh trial, namely, whether the liquor contained in it was poisonous, or not. Oriental travellers say, that cups are still used in the East, which it is supposed will break, or lose their lustre, if certain deleterious ingredients be mixed in them.)
1 Sam. iv. 18. “ And it came to pass, that he (Eli) fell from off the seat backwards, and his neck brake.” (The Hebrew chasa, is here very imperfectly expressed by the English word seat, which has a vague signification. Eli's high office, and the accident which happened in consequence of his falling down backwards, both denote that he was sitting upon something elevated, like a throne, or chair of state. A similar error occurs in Isaiah lii. 2, which is thus rendered, “ Arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem.” Lowth has translated the passage correctly, Ascend thy lofty seat, and adds the following observations. “ The common manner of sitting in the eastern countries, is upon the ground or floor, with the legs crossed. The people of better condition have the floors of their chambers or divans covered with carpets for this purpose : and round the chamber are broad couches raised a little above the floor, spread with mattresses handsomely covered, which are called sofas. When sitting is spoken of as a posture of more than ordinary state, it is quite of a different kind, and means sitting on high, on a chair of state, or throne, for which a footstool was necessary, both in order that a person might raise himself up to its and for supporting the legs when placed in it.”)
Ps. lx. 10. « Over Edom will I cast out my shoe.” (Towards Edom will I stretch out (or throw) my sandal. When Orientals take off their sandals, they either throw them into some obscure corner, or stretch out their feet to a slave, and bid him do it. See Harmer and Merrick.)
Proverbs xxi. 8. “ The way of man is froward and strange ; but as for the pure, his work is right.” (Parkhurst has thus amended this passage. 79 Vasar, occurs not as a verb in Hebrew, nor is it found as a root in the common lexicons. Schultens however, in his manuscript Origines Hebraicæ, places it as a root, and observes that the verb, in Arabic, signifies to be laden, carry a burthen, and metaphorically to be wicked, or, as it were, laden with crimes. My author further remarks, that Solomon has used, 79 vix aish vasar, in a most elegant (though in the common interpretation a most obscure) passage, Prov. xxi. 8, for a man laden with guilt and crimes : and that when it is said, “ the way of a man laden with crimes, is unsteady, or continually varying, there is a most beautiful allusion to a beast who is so overburthened, that he cannot keep in the straight road, but is continually tottering, and staggering, now to the right hand, now to the left.)
Ecclesiastes x. 11. Surely the serpent will bite without énchantments.” (Surely the serpent will bite unless he be charmed; literally, in default of incantations : this is in allusion to the practice of taming serpents, and rendering them harmless and docile. It was certainly mentioned by ancient writers; but modern travellers have entered more into the detail of an art, which is now very common in the East. The translators seem to have rendered the passage almost literally, without understanding it.)
Isaiah vii. 15. “ Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” (Lowth reads, “ WHEN he shall know, &c.” and thus explains the verse,
" A clear and coherent sense is given to the passage, by giving another sense to the particle 5, which never occurred to me till I saw it in Harmer's Observations, p. 299, Vol. I. See how coherent the words of the prophet run, and with how natural a connexion one clause follows another by properly rendering this one particle. • Behold, this Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel : butter and honey shall he eat, when he shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before this child shall know to refuse evil, and to choose good, the land shall be desolate, by whose two kings thou art oppressed.' Thus v. 16 subjoins a plain reason why the child should eat butter and honey, the food of plentiful times, when he came to a distinguishing age, because before that time the country of the two kings, who now distressed Judea, should be desolated, and so Judea should recover that plenty, which attends peace. Harmer has clearly shown that these articles of food are delicacies in the East, and such as denote a state of plenty."
Isaiah liii. 8. « Who shall declare his generation” (Lowth has it, « And his manner of life who would declare? Who would attest his innocence and character ?” This learned expositor adds: My friend, Dr. Kennicott, has communicated to me the following passages from the Mishna,' and Gemara'
' Our translators might certainly have had access to the Mishna, and Gemară of Babylon ; but they had not the works of such men as Lowth and Kennicott to consult.
of Babylon, as leading to a satisfactory explanation of this difficult passage. It is said in the former, that before any one was punished for a capital crime, proclamation was made before the prisoner, by the public cryer, in these words, “ Quicunque noverit aliquid de ejus innocentia, veniat, et doceat de eo.'
In selecting these examples of the defectiveness of the common version, I have confined myself within a circumscribed space, and have studied rather to diminish, than to swell the number of them : many more having occurred to me, than those to which I have given insertion. I make this remark to anticipate the objections of such as may be inclined to say-What, then, are we to revise the authorised version, or to reject it, for the few faults which you have been able to point out ? I am not one of those who take pleasure in exposing the “ nakedness of the land," and have therefore proceeded no farther than was necessary. In addition to the examples under the last head, passages might have been adduced, which, from having occupied the exclusive attention of commentators, since the translation was completed, are more capable of illustration now, than they were two hundred years back ; but they would have led me into too long a discussion.
My concluding argument in favor of a revision shall be borrowed from King James's translators, who, when they found themselves exposed to obloquy for attempting to mend what had previously received the seal of the Church's
authority and approbation, thus defended themselves.
“ Many men's mouths have been open a good while, (and yet are not stopped) with speeches about the translation so long in hand, or rather perusals of translations made before, and ask, what may be the reason, what the necessity of the employment ? Hath the Church been deceived, say they, all this while ? hath her sweet bread been mingled with leaven, her silver with dross, her wine with water, her milk with lime? We hoped that we had been in the right way, that we had had the oracles of God delivered unto us, and that though all the world had cause to be offended, and to complain, yet we had none! We will answer them briefly, with St. Hierome: “ Damnamus Veteres ? Minime, sed post priorum studia in domo Domini, quod possumus, laboramus.” That is, Do re condemn the ancient? In no case; but after the endeavours of them that were before us, we too take the best pains we can in the house of God.--How many books of profane learning have been gone over and over again by the same translators, and by others ? Now if this cost be bestowed upon the gourd, which affordeth us a little shade, and which to-day florisheth, but to-morrow is cut down ; what may we bestow, nay, what ought we not to bestow on the vine, the fruit whereof maketh glad the conscience of men, and