The problem of Acts 13:17-20 in the modern english translations

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by RAdam, Apr 7, 2010.

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  1. RAdam

    RAdam
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    I recently have been studying biblical chronology and came upon this problem with the modern versions. In the KJV in Acts 13:17-20 Paul says, "The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought them out of it. And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness. And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot. And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet."

    If one goes back and looks at the book of Judges and adds up the years of servitude, years of rest, and years of judges (understanding that some judges were within periods of servitide or other judges), you get exactly 450 years.

    The problem is the modern translations (excepting the NKJ) read differently in Acts 13:20. They say that the period between God dividing the land and the judges is 450 years. This is just plain wrong. For one thing you have 1 Kings 6:1. For another you have Judges 11:26. In every version I've looked at Judges 11:26 is essentially the same. It says that Israel held Heshbon 300 years. That period began the year before Israel entred Caanan and ended during the period of the Judges. 450 < 300, so someone has to be wrong. Either the scripture writers are wrong or the modern versions which follow the supposed older and better manuscripts are wrong. I say let God be true but every man a liar.

    What say ye?
     
  2. RAdam

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    Another reading of this text in the modern versions is that the entire period from the choosing of the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) to the conquest of Caanan is 450 years. Problem is, it is not. From the covenant with Abraham to the Exodus is 430 years. Add 40 years for the wanderings and about 6 for the conquest and you arrive at 476 years. 476 > 450, so again someone is wrong.
     
  3. Trotter

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    All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.
    (Act 13:20 ESV)

    This all took about 450 years. After this He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.
    (Act 13:20 HCSB)

    "When He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land as an inheritance--all of which took about four hundred and fifty years. "After these things He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.
    (Act 13:19-20 NASB)

    All this took about 450 years. "After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.
    (Act 13:20 NIV)

    After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.
    (Act 13:20 NKJV)

    Then afterward he gaue vnto them Iudges about foure hundreth and fiftie yeeres, vnto the time of Samuel the Prophet.
    (Act 13:20 Geneva)

    And after that he gaue vnto them iudges, about the space of foure hundred and fifty yeeres vntill Samuel the Prophet.
    (Act 13:20 KJV-1611)

    And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.
    (Act 13:20 KJV)

    Maybe I'm missing something. They all say the same thing unless you are looking at some other translations that I don't have on e-Sword (I skipped several but hit the main ones).

    This is a part of a sermon given by Paul. If the chronology is off you can take it up with him and his math skills.
     
  4. annsni

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    I just read the passage in my NIV and I don't see what the issue is here. It says the same thing as the KJV.
     
  5. TomVols

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    Well, if the NIV is evil and it reads EXACTLY like the KJV, then........:laugh:
     
  6. RAdam

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    The point is it doesn't read like the KJV. The KJV says the period of the Judges was 450 years. So does the NKJV, the Geneva, and all others I've seen which come from the Textus Receptus. That period of time is exactly correct according to the dates given in the book of Judges.

    All those modern translations I've seen which come from the so called older and better manuscripts change this to say the period from the call of Abraham to the division of the land is 450 years. That number is wrong according to how they apply it. The modern versions are using manuscripts that enter error into the bible.

    Either Paul under divine inspiration was wrong or the so called older and better manuscripts are wrong.
     
    #6 RAdam, Apr 8, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2010
  7. Winman

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    No, they do not read the same. Read again carefully and you will see the difference.

    KJV-

    Acts 13:20 And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.

    Note that it says "and after that" he gave them judges for about 450 years. After what? After verse 19 which says God gave them the land of Canaan and divided it to them by lot. After the land was divided by lot the Jews were ruled by judges for 450 years.

    Now read the NIV-

    Acts 13:20 All this took about 450 years. "After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.

    Note the NIV says "all this" took about 450 years and then "after this" God gave them judges. What is "all this" that took 450 years referring to? It is referring to the preceding verses

    Acts 13:17 The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country,
    18 he endured their conduct [fn] for about forty years in the desert,
    19 he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance


    This gives a very different meaning, this adds up the time of the Jews being in Egypt, then the forty years in the wilderness, and then the time to overthrow seven nations in Canaan as 450 years. This is the "all this" in verse 20 of the NIV. And then the NIV says "after this", that is, the 450 years shown in "all this" the Lord gave them judges for an unspecified amount of time.

    So, the NIV and KJV are speaking of different times altogether. The NIV is speaking from Egypt till the judges, while the KJV is speaking only of the time of the judges.
     
  8. Trotter

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    Oh give me an ever-loving break! It says the same thing but in a different way.
     
  9. jonathan.borland

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    No, the Alexandrian and Byzantine manuscripts differ very distinctly. The Alexandrians say, according to modern translators, that there were about 450 years from the going to Egypt until the institution of the judges. The Byzantines say that there were judges for about 450 years.

    Jonathan C. Borland
     
  10. RAdam

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    No they clearly don't. Each has a 450 year period but applies that 450 years to a different period. They clearly do not say the same thing. One says the period from Abraham to the dividing of the land is 450 years. The other says after the dividing of the land the period of the Judges is 450 years.
     
  11. annsni

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    King James:

    NASB
    NIV
    I see each of these saying the same thing - although some in some clumsy forms.
     
  12. Dr. Bob

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    Just read it in the Greek (1555 Stephens) and it seemed clear to me.

    He talks about the captivity in Egypt, exodus, wandering and conquest and says 450 years. My own calculations are closer to 447-448 years, but Paul said "about 450". Then he begins the next thought. After this, the judges, etc etc

    What issue am I missing? This is straightforward and accurate.

    So checked it in other English translations and all say the same. Hmmm.
     
  13. annsni

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    It's a monster in the woods when one imagines it. For some, you will never convince them there is no monster and they will continue to be limited in life because of that perceived monster. That's too bad.
     
  14. Winman

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    The issue you are missing is that the KJV is not speaking of the Jews being in Egypt, then the 40 years in the wilderness, plus the years to capture Canaan at all.

    The KJV is speaking of the times of the judges, when judges ruled over the people for 450 years, from when the land was divided into lots until the time of Samuel. The 450 years in the KJV is not speaking of Egypt, the wilderness, or the defeating of the seven nations in Canaan whatsoever.

    It is not saying the same thing in a different way as Trotter said, the KJV and the NIV are speaking of absolutely different times in the history of Israel.

    Reading without comprehension is useless.
     
  15. annsni

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    I see the 450 years in the KJV applying to the "and after that" so it would be "and after that - a space of about 450 years".
     
  16. RAdam

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    But that's not what the text said in the KJV, which is essentially the same as the Tyndale and Geneva. It says that after that, meaning after all the events he just described, God gave them judges about the space of 450 years. The 450 years is applied to the judges period not the period preceding the judges period.
     
  17. RAdam

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    And by the way, the period covered from Abraham to the division of the land is about 476 years. From Abraham receiving the promise from God to the Exodus is 430 years, from the Exodus to entering Caanan is 40 years, and from entering Caanan to the division of the land is 6 years.
     
  18. Winman

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    And besides, it took far more than 10 years for Joshua to subdue the seven nations.

    We see in Exodus 33 that Joshua was a young man.

    Exo 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

    It does not say exactly how old Joshua was here, only that he was a young man. I think it is fairly safe to assume he was under 30 years old. But for the sake of argument, let's say he was 40.

    Now, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years when Joshua took leadership. That would make him around 80.

    But when the seven nations were finally defeated it said Joshua was very old.

    Jos 13:1 Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.

    Most of Canaan had been captured by this time, and soon the land would be divided into lots. But now Joshua was very old and near death. He died when he was 110 years old.

    Jos 24:29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.

    It was after Joshua died that the judges began to rule the Israelites.

    So, if Joshua was 40 years old in Exodus 33 (he was probably closer to 20 years old), and he was in the wilderness for 40 years, then it took approximately 30 (and as much as 50) years for the Israelites to drive out the seven nations in Canaan.

    This would be 400 years (Egypt) plus 40 years (wilderness) and 30-50 years driving out the seven nations in Canaan. So the total would be from 470 to 490 years, not 450.
     
  19. Winman

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    I did a little more study and found out Joshua was indeed forty years old when Moses sent him to spy out the land. So, I was in error before.

    Jos 14:7 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.

    And a few verses later it states his age again, about 5 years after they had entered the land.

    Jos 14:10 And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.

    However, at this time not all seven nations were driven out. I will have to do more study on this.
     
  20. Winman

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    Where did you find that 6 years?
     
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