Pineth Away - and other James White Follies

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Will J. Kinney, Feb 15, 2004.

  1. Will J. Kinney

    Will J. Kinney
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    Pineth away and other James White follies

    All three articles about "the turtle" "observed" and "pineth away" can be seen together at this site titled The Turtle Observed Pineth Away - James White Follies

    http://www.geocities.com/brandplucked/turtle.html


    PINETH AWAY

    Let's now look at the second objection James White brings up in his chapter called Problems in the KJV.

    On page 225 James continues after his complaint about "observed him" versus "Kept him safe" in this manner: "A similar less-than-perfect translation is found at Mark 9:18.

    KJV "And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, AND PINETH AWAY: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not."

    NASB "and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and STIFFENS OUT."

    (Here the NKJV, NIV and ESV read "becomes rigid".)

    Mr. White continues: "It is difficult to get "stiffens out" or "becomes rigid" (NIV) from "pineth away". The KJV rendering is obviously less than adequate in comparison with the modern translations."

    Now, to address this criticism.

    First of all, the word used here is xeeraino and has several meanings including "to wither away, to dry up, to be ripe, and to pine away". To pine away simply means to fail gradually in health or vitality. The word is frequently translated in all versions as "to wither", as in the fig tree or other plant withers. If a plant withers, it gradually looses its strength and vitality and shrinks in size. It first becomes limp, and only after it is dead does it become dry and rigid. The little boy in this case was not dead, but had for many years been afflicted by the unclean spirit and his strength was pining away, as the KJB correctly has it.

    Secondly, other scholars disagree with Mr. White as to the possible meanings of this word. In Joseph Henry Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, 19th printing 1978 on page 432 Mr. Thayer says of the word xeepaino that "of members of the body, to waste away, to PINE AWAY" and then he lists Mark 9:18.

    Thirdly, not only does the King James Bible say that the boy who had the dumb spirit "pineth away", but so also do Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Bishop's Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, John Wesley's 1755 translation, Webster's 1833 translation, the Revised Version 1881, the American Standard Version 1901, Young's literal translation, Weymouth's translation 1902, Douay version 1950, the KJV 21st Century Version, and the Third Millenium Bible.

    Other versions that read in a similar way are Goodspeed 1943, World English Bible, Hebrew Names Version, and Green's interlinear with "wastes away", and Darby's with "is withering away", and Rotherham's Emphasized Bible 1902 "weareth himself out", and the Bible in Basic English 1970 "his strength goes from him."

    John Gill comments: "and pineth away; his flesh is withered, dried up, and consumed away."

    Matthew Henry also says: "and though the fits go off presently, yet they leave him so weak, that he pines away, is worn to a skeleton; his flesh is dried away."

    Actually the first major English translation to render this word as "becomes rigid" was the liberal RSV, and since then the NRSV, NIV, NASB, ESV, and NKJV have followed this meaning. Again, Mr. White is dogmatically expressing his own opinion as to the correct meaning of the word used in Mark 9:18, but many others throughout history disagree with his conclusions.

    Will Kinney
     
  2. Orvie

    Orvie
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    No comment (yet),....except that I'm glad your posts are getting shorter! (are ya going to say like the NIV? :eek: )
     
  3. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    can u list reasons why the change might have occurred in the RSV n later MVs? it wld be good if u cld summarise the evidence offered.

    how wld u compare the evidence/grounds given for changes the KJB itself made upon the older versions of the Bible?
     
  4. Will J. Kinney

    Will J. Kinney
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    Hi Forever Settled, I think perhaps one reason the RSV began to change the meaning from "pineth away" to "becomes rigid" or "becomes stiff" is the liberal tendency to explain away miracles and demonic possession.

    The RSV liberals may have tried to explain the boy's affliction as epilepsy, and so during an attack of this physical affliction his body would become stiff.

    Rather, it was a case of an unclean spirit who had for years been attacking this boy - since a child, the text says. It was gradually sapping his strength and wearing him down, and so the KJB and others are correct in that "he pineth away".

    Will K
     

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