four centuries of the king james version: the funny bits

Unless you’ve been hiding away you’re probably aware that the King James Version of the Bible is now 400 years old. People everywhere are making comment on this fact and offering observations and well-considered thoughts. In many respects it is remarkable how well the translation has stood the test of time, but it does nonetheless show its age. One manifestation of its age lies in portions within the text which, to the contemporary reader, don’t quite sound quite as they perhaps ought to have.

Here are a couple of examples:

Acts 5:1-6

1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. 5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

That’s right. Some theologians like to say that God gave us free will, he did not make us mindless automata, but here’s evidence to the contrary: Ananias was a wind-up man!

Ezek 43:11

And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.

As far as I can tell, that’s the verse with the greatest abundance of thereofs of any in the entire KJV.

One thought on “four centuries of the king james version: the funny bits

  1. And a new one from this morning, 1Sam 5:9:

    And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.

    Modern translations use “tumours” or something similar in place of “emerods.” According to David Toshio Tsumura (The First book of Samuel p. 208), most modern commentators understand the reference to be the bubonic plague!

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