I have a Bible question?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by I Am Blessed 24, Mar 12, 2003.

  1. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    First, let me make it clear that...

    1. I do not doubt the Bible.

    2. I am a preferred KJV, but please don't turn this into a thread about Bible versions.

    3. This is a verse where the meaning was never quite clear to me.

    4. If I knew how to interpret this verse; I wouldn't have asked.

    "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.."
    Genesis 1:28a

    QUESTION:

    REplenish? I always thought that 'RE' meant to do over or do again. God was talking to Adam and Eve so how could they REplenish the earth when it had not been plenished to begin with? :confused:

    Blessings,
    Sue
     
  2. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    The word used there is "male" (as in mah-leh [emphasis on "leh" pronounced as a long a sound). It means to fill. "Replenish" is an unfortunate translation for modern society.

    "Fill the earth" is a much clearer and more accurate translation.
     
  3. Pastor_Bob

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    The word "replenish" is the Hebrew word male'. It literally means, "to fill, or to be full of."

    The same word is found in the following verses:
    Gen 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
    Gen 21:19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
    Gen 24:16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

    It is translated "replenish" in the verse you mentioned and also in Gen. 9:1
    Gen 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

    Of course your question would allow for Genesis 9:1 to be translated as such because the earth was filled prior to this event.

    The simplest answer is that an acceptable definition of the word "replenish" is "to fill," or "to stock up."

    replenish-verb, transitive
    1. To fill or make complete again; add a new stock or supply to.

    The ASV has "replenish."
    The NKJV has "fill."
    The RSV has "fill."

    BTW, there is no such word as "plenish(ed)."
     
  4. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    Pastor Bob; I am a good speller so that must have been a typo. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I used to have a son who proofed for me, but he moved away. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Thank you for the detailed answer. I knew replenish meant to fill; but the word, used in that context, just threw me. :confused:

    I knew I could find my answer here! [​IMG]

    Blessings,
    Sue
     
  5. Helen

    Helen
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    Sue, the word translated 'replenish' there is, in the Hebrew, male. (Pronounced more like 'maw-lay' than 'male'!) It is used 313 times in the Bible. It is a primary root meaning 'to fill', or in the intransitive, 'to be full of.' It has both literal and figurative applications, including 'accomplish, confirm, overflow, furnish, gather, satisfy, fulfill.'

    The first time it is used in the Bible is in Genesis 1:22 when the animals of the oceans are commanded to be fruitful and multiply and fill the oceans, or seas. "Fill" is the word used by the KJV tranlators in this verse.

    In Genesis 1:28, which is the verse you are asking about, the same word is used, with the same meaning. Why the KJV translators chose 'replenish' rather than 'fill' (which is the word many other translators used), is not known. The confusion it has engendered has been enormous.

    Genesis 6:11 and 13 uses the same word when we learn the earth was FILLED with violence. In Genesis 9:1 the word is used when God commands Noah and family to be fruitful and multiply and 'male' the earth. Either 'fill' or 'replenish' can work there, given the context.

    But here are some other times it is used:

    Genesis 21:19 -- And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad a drink.

    Genesis 24:16 -- And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher and came up.

    Genesis 42:25 -- Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them.

    Genesis 44:1 -- And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth.

    Genesis 50:3 -- And forty days were fulfilled for him... (It is because of the use of the word 'male' here that the NIV states that he mourned for a FULL forty days.)

    Those are all the times in Genesis I can find the word used. It is only in the verse you are asking about and in 9:1 where the KJV translators chose to use "replenish" instead of 'fill'.

    Please note, however, God's use of the word in Jeremiah 23:24 --
    "Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares the Lord.
    "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the Lord."

    I don't want to get into some kind of debate about translations either. In the studies my husband and I have done, we have found that ALL translations necessarily take the understanding of the translators and that determines their choice of words they use. And understandings differ with time and many other things. This is why context can be so important. There are a few areas where the KJV seems to miss the mark. There are areas where the New American Standard and the New King James miss the mark. There are areas where the NIV misses the mark. We have been fascinated to see these differences and the cultural norms and understandings they encompass.

    That certainly doesn't mean we have it all right, word for word, either! That is NOT what I am trying to say! What I am saying is that while God's Word was certainly inerrant in the originals, the very act of translation requires some interpretation of meaning, and that is really, really difficult.

    So perhaps the most important thing is to read, whichever version you prefer, in context -- large sections at a time -- so that you can see the way in which the word is used. That often helps clear up confusions. A good concordance or two is also a real help here. To check the response to your question, I used the Strongs Concordance, the NIV Concordance, and the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Harris, Archer, and Waltke).

    edit: the others answered while I was working on this -- I'm sorry for the repetition, but two or more witnesses?? :D
     
  6. rlvaughn

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    Sue, I think this is not a translational issue, but more of a need to fully understand the English word "replenish." According to Merriam Webster:
    According to the dictionary, replenish can mean "to fill" as well as "to fill again."
     
  7. Daniel David

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    Some people use that passage to teach the idea of a preadamic race. I think it is best to use a version that is good for today. If you did not use a KJV, such a question would never exist.
     
  8. rlvaughn

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    This is absolutely ridiculous. If you don't study the meaning of words, you won't know what they mean. When you find a version that somebody can't find something in it that they misunderstand, please let me know!
     
  9. Helen

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    I think, because I often quote the NIV, that it's pretty obvious I'm not a KJ only person -- but with that said, we have found that some of the phrases and words are translated there more accurately than some of our modern versions! This Barry and I have found in the realm of science -- and I have no doubts but that this occurs other places, too. On the other hand, there are words translated in the KJ that are really not the best to use or which have changed enough meaning through time (such as the one being discussed here) that they cause confusion.

    I totally agree with RL that looking up the words and checking the contexts or just asking questions the way Sue did here is the best thing any serious student of Scripture can do. Having a parallel Bible to refer to at home is a quick way to see where some passages are translated differently, and that can get a person going on some fascinating word studies.
     
  10. Daniel David

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    rlvaughn, I was not arguing the merits of the KJV by itself. You will find several KJVO sites that teach the preadamic race by using that one passage and saying that other versions fail to teach that crucial doctrine. That was my point.
     
  11. rlvaughn

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    Thanks for the explanation. Sorry that I overreacted. I know of some non-KJV people who also teach a pre-adamic race, so it doesn't just come from a misunderstanding of the word "replenish."

    But back to the original question: this is not a translation issue. Simply looking up the word "replenish" in a good dictionary will show that it means "fill" and that meaning is not even archaic - "replenish" still means "fill" in 2003. The problem in this case is not with the translation, but with us simply assuming, based on the prefix, that "re" adds the idea of being done "again." To say that the Hebrew word means "fill" and then complain that the KJV using a word that means "fill" is an unfortunate translation seems to be just looking for a reason to complain about the KJV.
     
  12. Helen

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    I don't think it is that simple. Sue had an honest question, and it is one I have seen asked a number of times. "Replenish" in normal use today (and very few people look up words they feel comfortable using) refers to filling again, not simply filling.

    I don't think your post is meant to accuse Sue of some kind of ulterior motive, but that is what it sounded like. I think she was asking an honest question about something that confused her. Where better to ask it than here? There is no reason to cast aspersions on her motives.
     
  13. rlvaughn

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    There is no casting aspersions on Sue's motives. I think she explained her motives well in her original question. Hopefully the answer I gave will help her. What else I said is related to the comments of others. Sue said that she prefers the KJV and there is no reason for anyone to make her think that somehow she is getting an "unfortunate translation" because she hasn't changed to a modern version - especially when no evidence was even given of an attempt to understand the English word "replenish." Yes, replenish may be used today by people more often to mean "fill again," rather than simply filling. That doesn't change the fact that the word also means "filling." As for assuming what words mean, we are all guilty of that. The only way to understand what words mean is to study them. This thread gives a forum for studying the word "replenish." I believe the information given helps in that regard.
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    I think the confusion engendered shows why "replenish" should be "replaced." :D ... While its dictionary definition includes "to fill," it also has other meanings (which is not unusual). The problem is that the "other meanings" are the ones that are used today. When we say "replenish" in modern language, no one thinks "fill;" everyone thinks "refill."

    Here is where usage has to determine the viability of meaning. We have the same issue in 2 Thess 2 and 1 Thess 4 where words have a dictionary meaning that is never used anymore. Thus, it communicates the wrong thing.
     
  15. TomVols

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    This is a very fair statement. The overwhelming majority of people in the pew will never do a word study in their lives. So they take this at face value. 'Replenish' is an unfortunate translation.
     
  16. rufus

    rufus
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    Let's agree to translate it "fill!"

    Now, don't that feel better?

    rufus [​IMG]
     
  17. rlvaughn

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    So the refusal of people to study is what creates an "unfortunate translation"?
     
  18. Helen

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    So the refusal of people to study is what creates an "unfortunate translation"? </font>[/QUOTE]Any translation or update is done for the sake of the common lay person's understanding. If they misunderstand because of a word that was used, it's time to change the word so that the understanding is correct, not accuse the people of not studying! Lay people, which most of us are, have this tendency to trust that the Bible translators did a good job and got the meaning across correctly!
     
  19. rlvaughn

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    Helen, I didn't accuse the lay people of not studying. Tom can speak for himself. I asked if people not studying is what makes an unfortunate translation. I think in general we CAN trust the translators, and in fact would argue that we can trust both the KJV and versions that use "fill" in their rendering of Genesis 1:28. I am not advocating that we not study languages, but I AM advocating that we stop undermining the people's confidence in the Scriptures by pointing out "unfortunate translations" in a way that could be detrimental. I do believe there are some bad and wacky translations out there, but most of the ones discussed on this Board were probably made by evangelical scholars of much higher standing in the languages than any of us. That doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't question them, but that it should be done in a way that doesn't undermine the confidence people have in the scriptures. Calling things mistranslations that aren't our preferred way of translating sometime is, IMO, doing just that. I think there is a difference between having the opinion that something could have been rendered better another way and out & out calling it a mistranslation.
     

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