Men in number? 1 Chronicles 16 & Psalm 105

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by franklinmonroe, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    The words of Scripture below are portion of a psalm David seems to have assigned Asaph to write. Other parts of this psalm in 1 Chronicles also match verses very well in the Book of Psalms.

    These two passages below are from the KJV and begin with precisely the same English words in the first verse shown and also end with exactly the same English words in the last two verses displayed. 1 Chronicles 16:14-22 (above) and Pslam 105:7-15 (below) with differences shown in Blue --
    He [is] the LORD our God; his judgments [are] in all the earth.
    He [is] the LORD our God: his judgments [are] in all the earth.

    Be ye mindful always of his covenant; ------- the word [which] he commanded to a thousand generations;
    He hath remembered -- his covenant for ever, the word [which] he commanded to a thousand generations.

    [Even of the covenant] which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac;
    Which [covenant] ----------- he made with Abraham, and -- his oath unto Isaac;

    And hath confirmed the same - to Jacob for a law, [and] to Israel [for] an everlasting covenant,
    And ---- confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, [and] to Israel [for] an everlasting covenant:

    Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance;
    Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:

    When - ye were -but -- few,------------------- even a few, and strangers in it.
    When they were [but] a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.

    And [when] they went from --- nation to nation, and from [one] kingdom to another people;
    ---- When -they went from one nation to another, -- from [one] kingdom to another people;

    He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes,
    He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;

    [Saying], Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
    [Saying], Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

    I have compared the Hebrew of both passages to the best of my ability and resources. Distinctions substantiated by the Hebrew text are shown above in Black. It seems that the Hebrew is exactly the same in both books at the first pair of verses compared above.

    There is only one letter dissimilar in the Hebrew for the second set of verses: this one letter accounts for the the difference of "ye" and "he". Yet, there are 8 unlike words in the two KJV translations because of it. Even if "ye" and "he" excuses wholly peculiar constructions, it seems the addition of "for ever" in Psalms 105:8 is not justified by the Hebrew.

    There were no detectable variations in the Hebrew text between the next set of verses (1 Chronicles 16:16/Psalm 105:9). Yet, in the KJV translation there are three noticable differences: the addition of "even of the" before "covenant" in the brackets (denoting that these words are unsupported by Hebrew words); the placement of "which" before "covenant" in Psalms and after "covenant" in 1 Chronicles; and the inserted "of" in 1 Chronicles.

    Again, there were no detectible differences in the Hebrew text between the next set of compared verses. But notice the "hath" in 1 Chronicles that is absent in Psalms 105; and also "to" rather than "unto".

    There is one additional word in Psalms 105:11 that is not present in 1 Chronicles 16:18, but it seems that it is not necessary to translate it into English.

    I noticed one additional Hebrew letter in 1 Chronicles 16:19 when compared with Psalm 105:12, affecting the pronoun ("ye/they"). But what should we think of the many other discrepancies? Why did the king's revisers bracket their discretionary word "[but]" in Psalms but allow the appearance of "but" as translated from a Hebrew word in 1 Chronicles? Where did the words "men in number" come from? The Hebrew word for "number" is present in both books. Are "men in" the translators' stylistic words? But they are not in brackets! Are they translated from Hebrew words? If so, where? What text? Why should they not also be placed into 1 Chronicles?

    The first "And" of 1 Chronicles 16:20 has no underlying original language word, but the second "and" actually is present in the Hebrew text. There seems to be no translational reason to construct the Hebrew "from nation to nation" in one place and "from one nation to another" in the other place. Why is "[when]" in brackets in 1 Chronicles but not so indicated in Psalm 105?

    In each book there are different words in the Hebrew for "man", but since they are virtually synonymous it becomes undetected in English transaltion.

    The last set of two verses exhibit a one letter variation in Hebrew concerning the words for "prophet" which is not relevant in the final outcome.

    In summary there are about six differences in the Hebrew between the two passages; only three words should impact the English translation. Yet, the KJV exhibits 31 different words, and 2 obvious cases of inconsistant brackets (plus at least 7 differences of puncuation).
     
    #1 franklinmonroe, Oct 16, 2009
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  2. franklinmonroe

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    Correction: it appears that the first "And" does indeed have Hebrew support (and is present in both passages). It should be used in an English translation; so, why wasn't it in the Psalm 105 translation?
     
    #2 franklinmonroe, Oct 16, 2009
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  3. franklinmonroe

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    Another correction? Well, the words "for ever" in Psalms 105:8 perhaps are justified by the underlying Hebrew text. The phrase "for ever" could be seen as being parallel with "always" in 1 Chronicles 16:15. However, this diversity is not required. In my opinion, the same words in the same context should always translate out the same way. I recall KJV readers complaining that when 'modern' versions change certain words that some precious cross-referencing can be lost; to which I ask: Shouldn't we be able to cross-reference these words which are the same in the original language?

    In addition, I will point out the tense of the Hebrew verb is different in the two books, which supports a little variance. Something like "be mindful" (Imperative) or something like "hath remembered" (Perfect) is acceptable, but it is not required that they be so completely different from one another. These two verses could be much more alike. For example, constructions like this are more consistent --
    Ye shall always remember --his covenant; ...
    He hath always remembered his covenant; ...

    Be ye ----- for ever mindful of his covenant, ...
    He has been for ever mindful of his covenant, ...
     
    #3 franklinmonroe, Oct 17, 2009
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  4. franklinmonroe

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    The Hebrew word math (Strong's #4962) primarily means 'males'; it is rendered as "men" 14 times in the KJV (of 22 occurrences). Evidently, it can mean 'few men' particularly in prose (but NOT in poetry). Since these verses are part of a psalm it would seem that it should simply be translated as "men". But even if the rendering of "few men" is allowed (as in Psalms 105), why is it not rendered alike in 1 Chronicles 16?

    The second "few" of these verses is the completely different Hebrew word m@'at (Strong's #4592). It essentially means 'little' or 'few'.

    Between the two words meaning "few" there is the Hebrew word micpar (Strong's #4557) which in most contexts would mean 'number' (110 times in the KJV). It is also translated 6 times as "few" by the KJV. This word is present in 1 Chronicles 16:19 but seems to have gone untranslated by the KJV!
     
  5. franklinmonroe

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    I've looked at two different English translations (Brenton, NETS) of the Septuagint and they both have "in number" in 1 Chronicles 16:19; neither had "men" in Psalms 105:12.
     
  6. franklinmonroe

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    The AV1611 was to be a revision of the Bishops' Bible. The king's revisers were only to make changes to the Bishops' text necessitated by comparison with the original languages. The Bishops' Bible has "in number" at 1 Chronicles 16:19 --
    When they were a fewe men in number, and had ben straungers but a litle while in it:
    Evidently, the KJV translators were well aware that the Bishops' rendering was a correct one since the AV1611 had a sidenote at the first occurrence of the word "few" which states: +Heb. men in number. Their sidenote is an admission that they knew the Hebrew had that complete meaning! In fact, this same company of men when translating the very same Hebrew words did put "men in number" into their English text of Psalms 105:12.

    Most English Bibles had "in number" at 1 Chronicles 16:19 prior to 1611 --
    Whanne thei weren fewe in noumbre; litle, and pilgrims therof. (Wycliffe)
    Wha they were yet but small & fewe in nobre, and straungers in the same londe. (Coverdale)
    When you were a small company in number, even but a few, and thereto strangers therein (Matthews [Yes Word])
    When ye were fewe in number, yea, a very fewe, and strangers therein, (Geneva)

    The versions considered the most literal have "number" at this verse --
    When ye were but a few men in number, Yea, very few, and sojourners in it; (ASV)
    When ye are few of number, As a little thing, and sojourners in it. (Young)

    Most (if not all) 'modern' versions have "in number" here (just 5 examples) --
    When you were few in number, Indeed very few, and strangers in it. (NKJV)
    He said this when they were few in number, a tiny group of strangers in Canaan. (NLT)
    When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, (NIV)
    When you were few in number, and of little account, and sojourners in it, (ESV)
    When they were few in number, just a very few, and foreign residents within it, (NET)
     
    #6 franklinmonroe, Oct 19, 2009
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  7. franklinmonroe

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    The AV1611 did not significantly change the rendering of Psalm 105:12 from the Bishops' Bible (including "men") --
    (105:10a) When they were a fewe men in number, and had ben straungers but a litle whyle in it:

    Some English Bibles prior to 1611 had "number" here, but not "men". However, "them" is seen in Coverdale and Matthews --
    (104:12) Whanne thei weren in a litil noumbre; and the comelingis of hem weren ful fewe. (Wycliffe)
    When there was yet but a fewe of them, and they straungers therin. (Coverdale)
    When there was yet but a few them, and the strangers therein. (Matthews [Yes Word])
    Albeit they were fewe in nomber, yea, very fewe, and strangers in the land, (Geneva)

    Very literal versions have "in number"; the ASV does include the word "men" --
    When they were but a few men in number, Yea, very few, and sojourners in it. (ASV)
    In their being few in number, But a few, and sojourners in it. (Young)

    All of these 'modern' translations agree that "in number" should be present in our text; none of these 'modern' versions have "men" --
    When they were few in number, Indeed very few, and strangers in it.(NKJV)
    He said this when they were few in number, a tiny group of strangers in Canaan. (NLT)
    When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, (NIV)
    When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it, (ESV)
    When they were few in number, just a very few, and resident aliens within it, (NET)
    All other versions I saw confirm that "in number" should be translated from out of the Hebrew text. The versions I saw with "men" were mostly ones particpating in the Tyndale-KJV tradition.
     
  8. franklinmonroe

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    The three significant differences (plus a change in verb tense) in the Hebrew text between 1 Chronicles 16:14-22 and Psalm 105:7-15 are clearly visible (Black type) in the Darby translation --

    He, Jehovah, is our God; His judgments are in all the earth.
    He, Jehovah, is our God; his judgments are in all the earth.

    Be ye ever mindful of his covenant, The word which he commanded to a thousand generations, --
    He is ever mindful of his covenant, -- the word which he commanded to a thousand generations, --

    Which he made with Abraham, And of his oath unto Isaac;
    Which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac;

    And he confirmed it unto Jacob for a statute, Unto Israel for an everlasting covenant,
    And he confirmed it unto Jacob for a statute, unto Israel for an everlasting covenant,

    Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, The lot of your inheritance;
    Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance;

    When ye were a few men in number, Of small account, and strangers in it.
    When they were a few men in number, of small account, and strangers in it.

    And they went from nation to nation, And from one kingdom to another people.
    And they went from nation to nation, --- from one kingdom to another people.

    He suffered no man to oppress them, And reproved kings for their sakes,
    He suffered no man to oppress them, and reproved kings for their sakes,

    [Saying,] Touch not mine anointed ones, And do my prophets no harm.
    [Saying,] Touch not mine anointed ones, and do my prophets no harm.
    Darby has retained the Hebrew differences with a minimum of different English words. Darby has consistantly rendered "men in number" for both passages (several other places of consistancy as compared with the KJV are distinguished with bold type).

    He has only indicated by brackets one significant subjective word inserted by the translator ("[Saying,]" in the last set of verses); the KJV had distractingly bracketed such irrelevant (but necessary) words such as is, are, which, and, for, but, & when. For some unexplained reason the Darby text has consistently capitalized the first word of the second phrase in the verses of 1 Chronicles 16. The punctuation is virtually identical between the Darby pasasges.
     
    #8 franklinmonroe, Oct 19, 2009
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  9. franklinmonroe

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    If this is not proof of an error in the KJV (even if intentionally left out), then it is not possible to 'prove' anything is an 'error'.
     
  10. franklinmonroe

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    What might the 'KJV-perfectionist' say now?

    Can the fact that the Hebrew word micpar ("number") is present in both passages in the underlying text of the KJV be denied? No.

    Could the KJV translators have been unaware that many ancient translations (Greek LXX, Latin, etc.) had a word representing micpar in their text at both passages? No.

    Could those KJV scholars have been unaware of the Hebrew meaning of micpar? No.

    Could the KJV translators have been unfamiliar with so many other early English Bibles that clearly had "number" in their renderings of both passages? No.

    Can the fact that (virtually) every translation made since 1611 recognizes the Hebrew word and includes "number" in their text of 1 Chronicles 16:19 be denied? No.

    Can the fact that the very same KJV men translated precisely the same Hebrew construction as "men in number" in their English text of Psalm 105:12 be denied? No!

    Can the fact that the king's revisers deliberately removed the words "men in number" while working with the Bishops' text be denied? No!

    Can the fact that the KJV translators intentionally left the word micpar untranslated in their main text at 1 Chronicles 16:19 be denied? No!

    Are not ALL of the words of God equally important and inspired? I suppose the 'KJV-perfectionist' might say that the Hebrew was not important or inspired, thus making the KJV the FIRST inspired words of God. That would have been too bad for all Christians prior to 1611, eh?

    Have the KJV translators not subtracted from God's words here? Alternatively, I suppose that the 'KJV-perfectionist' might claim that the KJV translators were supernaturally motivated to remove words causing a SECOND inspired text. When faced with these translation problems it seems Ruckmanism is the only (il)logical solution.
     

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