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Featured Is "unicorns" better than "unicorn" at Deut. 33:17?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by Logos1560, Aug 29, 2021.

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  1. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    Considering the fact that the Hebrew noun for the animal at Deuteronomy 33:17 is singular in number, how did the makers of the KJV do a better job by changing the singular to a plural? Are you saying that it is not a problem to translate a singular as a plural?

    The one animal translated "unicorn" or "unicorns" had horns [plural]--two horns. Do you see nothing wrong with translating the name of an animal with two horns as unicorn [one-horned]?
     
  2. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    Concerning the word unicorn, the 1895 Sunday School Teachers' Bible maintained: "The LXX translation has passed into our A. V., but is erroneous, as the mention of two horns on one reem (Deut. 33:17) proves." The Illustrated Bible Treasury asserted: “That the translation [unicorn] is impossible, even if there ever had been such a creature, is shown by Deuteronomy 33:17, where the two horns of one reem are spoken of” (p. 283). McClintock and Strong also observed that this text "puts a one-horned animal entirely out of the question" and that one of its scriptural characteristics is "having two horns" (Cyclopaedia, X, p. 638). Worcester maintained that “the Bible says that the animal has ‘horns,‘ not one horn (Deut. 33:17)“ (Animals, p. 22). The unabridged Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary noted at its entry unicorn: "in the Bible, a two-horned, oxlike animal called reem in Hebrew: Deut. 33:17" (p. 1998). Since the Hebrew word reem is singular at Deuteronomy 33:17, Unger's Bible Dictionary and Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible also noted that "the reem had more than one horn" (p. 66; Hastings, IV, p. 834). The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible also confirmed that the Biblical animal "was 2-horned (Deut. 33:17), where the word is singular, and not plural, as in A. V.)" (p. 617). The Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible also referred to the animal's "2 horns (Deut. 33:17)" as "its outstanding characteristic" (I, p. 114). Likewise, Peloubet’s Bible Dictionary asserted that the reem had “two horns” (p. 714). The People’s Dictionary of the Bible also noted that “the passages mentioning it, correctly understood, require an animal with two horns” (p. 210). Based on this same verse, Cansdale pointed out that "there is no possibility of it [the reem] referring to a one-horned animal" (All the Animals, p. 82). Concerning this verse, Tristram maintained that “nothing could prove more clearly than this passage that the ‘unicorn’ was a two-horned animal” (Natural History, p. 146). At Numbers 23:22, Ellicott’s Commentary has a note that affirms that Deuteronomy 33:17 indicates “that the reem had more than one horn” (I, p. 546). J. C. Granbery also described this animal as “having two horns” (Bible Dictionary, p. 396). Robert Tuck noted that “the fact that the reem was an animal with two horns is settled by the passage, Deuteronomy 33:17” (Handbook, p. 341). Henry Hart maintained that “a two-horned animal is referred to” at Deuteronomy 33:17 (Animals, p. 214). William Houghton asserted that “the Hebrew word (Reem) denotes a two-horned animal, beyond a shadow of a doubt” (Annals and Magazine of Natural History, X, p. 365).
     
  3. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Pretty much proves that the Kjv 1611 was not a perfect translation !
     
  4. JD731

    JD731 Active Member

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    17 His glory [is like] the firstling of his bullock, and his horns [are like] the horns of unicorns: with them (unicorns) he (Joseph) shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they [are] the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they [are] the thousands of Manasseh. (They = Unicorns)

    I hate it when someone purposely and with intent deceives people as has happened here. I think this fellow knows that God and Moses was not speaking of a single unicorn, which would have a single horn. The context does not allow for that. But ten of thousands of Ephraim and thousands of Manasseh, the obvious reference in this passage as the typical meaning of the offspring of Joseph in describing his glory. Obviously one unicorn will not push the people together to the ends of the earth, but tens of thousands of the sons of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh shall. How do I know this. Because of what the text actually says. This is a prophecy that must come to pass. Does anyone know of it coming to pass yet?

    The quotations from these other bibles are commentary, not translation. Learn to read the scriptures is the best advice I have for anyone today and don't appear as a fool at the judgement.

    Joseph is the greatest type of Jesus Christ in the scriptures and Joseph is like him. So when these verses are read we have cloaked information for something that God is going to do through this nation that came through Ephraim, called Israel, as opposed to Judah, in the prophets.

    13 And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD [be] his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
    14 And for the precious fruits [brought forth] by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,
    15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,
    16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and [for] the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let [the blessing] come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him [that was] separated from his brethren. (what comes up on the top of heads = horns)
    17 His glory [is like] the firstling of his bullock, and his horns [are like] the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they [are] the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they [are] the thousands of Manasseh.

    How can Baptists fall for this kind of scholarship? We are people of the book. Others look to Baptists for guidance.
     
    #4 JD731, Sep 4, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
  5. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    You incorrectly assume that the animal was an unicorn with one horn, but that is not what God and Moses stated. God gave by inspiration to Moses the name of animal as singular in Hebrew; therefore, one animal. It is God who indicated that it was one animal with two horns.

    The context of the verse in Deuteronomy clearly supports the view that this one animal had more than one horn. In the context, the “them” of this verse refers back to “horns.“ George Paxton wrote: “Moses, in his benediction of Joseph, states a most important fact, that it has two horns; the words are: His horns are like the horns of (a reem, in the singular number) an unicorn. Some interpreters, determined to support the claims of the unicorn to the honour of a place in the sacred volume, contend, that in this instance the singular, by an enallage or change of number, is put for the plural. But this is a gratuitous assertion; and besides, if admitted, would greatly diminish the force and propriety of the comparison. The two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manassah, had been adopted into the family of Jacob, and appointed the founders of two distinct tribes, whose descendants in the time of Moses were become numerous and respectable in the congregation. These were the two horns with which Joseph was to attack and subdue his enemies, and by consequence, propriety required an allusion to a creature, not with one, but with two horns” (Illustrations of the Holy Scriptures, II, pp. 191-192). With the two horns of a reem, he [singular] shall push. Does some try to avoid or ignore the "he" [singular] in the verse?

    William Houghton observed: "The two horns of the reem are 'the ten thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh'--the two tribes which sprang from one, i.e. Joseph, as two horns from one head" (Hacket, Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, p. 3351). Likewise, H. B. Tristram commented: “For the two horns of the reem are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and the thousands of Manasseh, both growing out of one head, Joseph. This, then, entirely sets aside the fancy that the rhinoceros, which the Jews could scarcely have known, or any one-horned creature, is intended” (Natural History, p. 146). Wiley noted that "the emblem of Joseph was the re'em; and his two powerful sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were typified by two horns" (Bible Animals, p. 429). M’Clintock and Strong observed: “The two horns of the reem are ‘the ten thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh’--the two tribes which sprang from one--I.el., Joseph, as two horns from one head” (Cyclopaedia, X, p. 638). The two horns that picture or illustrate the two sons of Joseph are clearly indicated to be on one head [Joseph] (Deut. 33:16). John Gill noted that the horns “are figures of the power and strength of the tribes of Ephraim and Manesseh.“ T. E. Espin asserted that the “tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh are represented by the two mighty horns of the beast” (Cook, Bible Commentary, I, p. 743). Ellicott’s Commentary mentioned “the two-horned power of Joseph” (II, p. 94). The Companion Bible [KJV] suggested that the “horns” are “put by figure Metonymy” for Ephraim and Manasseh (p. 287). Robert Tuck wrote: “The two horns of the reem represent the two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, which sprang from the one tribe Joseph” (Handbook, p. 341). These observations concerning the context are also in agreement with another verse (Num. 14:4) which stated: “For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim“.

    In contrast, KJV-only advocates seem to ignore this credible evidence from the context that indicates that this one animal had two horns. Should the context be considered a decisive factor in deciding whether the animal had more than one horn or not?
     
    #5 Logos1560, Sep 4, 2021
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  6. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Ironically that what the translators of the LXX did.
     
  7. JD731

    JD731 Active Member

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    This is in the context of the ongoing prophecy of all the sons of Jacob. The text clearly states that the unicorns are the tens of thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh. Chapter 14:4 does not say the children of Joseph were the two sons of Joseph but the two tribes of Josephs sons.

    The intent of God and Moses is too clear to rate a debate.
     
  8. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    The intend of God and Moses is too clear for you to try to twist it into something that God did not say.

    Do you seek to try to change what God said was singular into a plural in order to try to rationalize your non-scriptural KJV-only reasoning?

    God in the Scriptures in the original languages given by inspiration referred to the strength of one reem [singular] (Num. 23:22) and to the horns of one reem [singular] (Deut. 33:17). That is presenting and affirming the truth in love.
     
    #8 Logos1560, Sep 4, 2021
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  9. JD731

    JD731 Active Member

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    17 His glory [is like] the firstling of his bullock, and his horns [are like] the horns of unicorns: with them (unicorns) he (Joseph) shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they [are] the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they [are] the thousands of Manasseh. (They = Unicorns)

    Would a unicorn still be a unicorn if it were de-horned? The answer is yes, it would still be a unicorn. Joseph is a bullock and Ephraim and Manasseh are horns of the unicorns. He received a double portion in inheritance and Levi, the priest, received no inheritance in the land. This left 12 tribes of Israel to inherit the land of Canaan. Ephraim and Manasseh are the heads of the unicorns, which are clearly defined by the text as the tens of thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh. Horns are defined as kings, rulers, in scripture, a horn is never defined as a tribe. When the kingdom of Jesus Christ , of whom Joseph is a type, is established in the earth, there will be heads over each of the tribes.

    Mt 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

    28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

    Re 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet;

    So, horns are kings in scripture whether they have received a kingdom or not. Why did God and Moses choose unicorns to represent the two tribes? Because a unicorn has one horn and Joseph had two sons. He received a double portion but he was not the head over them. They each had their own heads. Later, the Northern kingdom of ten tribes would be called "Ephraim," not Joseph. See Hosea.
     
  10. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    You are misunderstanding or misinterpreting the verse perhaps in order to try to rationalize the KJV's misleading translation of a Hebrew noun singular in number as a plural. You are dodging and ignoring what God gave by inspiration in the Hebrew. The Hebrew noun reem is not plural in number to be the antecedent for the plural pronoun.

    Joseph's glory is compared to one animal [the bullock], and Joseph's "horns" are compared to the two horns of one animal [the reem]. With them [the two horns which are picturing Joseph's two sons and their descendants], he [singular--Joseph (pictured as one reem) shall push. They=the horns. The Hebrew word reem [translated unicorns in the KJV] is not plural in number to be the antecedent for a plural pronoun.
     
    #10 Logos1560, Sep 4, 2021
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  11. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    This verse illustrates how a rendering in English in the KJV can lead to a misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

    Would the plural pronouns "them" and "they" have a noun singular in number in Hebrew as their antecedent?

    Plural pronouns would not have a Hebrew noun [reem] that is singular in number as their antecedent.
     
  12. JD731

    JD731 Active Member

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    The text quoted explains without ambiguity who the unicorns are. They are the tens of thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh. There are two entities with a single horn each. One + one = a plural. Joseph has a double portion of the inheritance. Ephraim and Manasseh are the heads of each of their tribes.

    17 His glory [is like] the firstling of his bullock, and his horns [are like] the horns of unicorns: with them (unicorns) he (Joseph) shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they [are] the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they [are] the thousands of Manasseh. (They = Unicorns)

    This is an end times prophecy that will be fulfilled when Jesus comes to the earth the second time.
     
  13. JD731

    JD731 Active Member

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    You don’t know Hebrew. The KJV is a translation of a different manuscript than most English bibles. But that doesn’t matter. I don’t need the Hebrew to understand what is being said in the text you have put in doubt. It is as plain as the nose on your face.
     
  14. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    Are you demonstrating that you incorrectly attempt to make the English renderings in the KJV superior to the actual Hebrew words that were given by inspiration of God to Moses? Do you in effect suggest that the KJV corrects the Hebrew in this verse?

    You have not demonstrated or proven that the Hebrew noun reem [singular in number] refers to any one-horned animal called an unicorn.
     
  15. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    Disagreeing with your misunderstanding of Deuteronomy 33:17 does not at all put the Hebrew text in doubt. I have not at all questioned what God gave by inspiration to Moses. You jump to an incorrect, bogus conclusion.

    Are you in effect putting in doubt what God gave by inspiration to Moses since you seem to reject the authority of God's word in Hebrew?
     
    #15 Logos1560, Sep 4, 2021
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  16. JD731

    JD731 Active Member

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    My argument is not about Hebrew. I can’t read Hebrew and neither can you. I can read the text and can know why God and Moses included the tens of thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh. It was to identify the the unicorns. What other purpose do they serve in the text?

    Your obsession with proving the KJV wrong is not healthy.

    Post the whole verse from the translation you think is most accurate. I want to read it.
     
  17. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    The Hebrew Masoretic text proves your understanding of the verse to be incorrect. The plural pronouns do not have a noun that is singular in Hebrew as their antecedent.

    Likely following the Greek Septuagint or Latin Vulgate or both, the earlier pre-1611 English Bibles (Wycliffe's, Tyndale's, Coverdale's, Matthew's, Great, Taverner's, Geneva, and Bishops') all had unicorn [singular] at Deuteronomy 33:17. At this verse, Lancelot Brenton’s 1851 English translation of the Septuagint has “unicorn” [singular] as does Henry Howard‘s 1857 English translation of the Pentateuch of the LXX. The 1569 Spanish Bible and 1602 Spanish Valera has unicornio [singular] at this verse. The 1611 KJV changed this noun that was singular in number in the Hebrew Masoretic text and in all the earlier English Bibles to a plural.

    The 1762 Cambridge standard KJV edition and the 1769 Oxford standard KJV edition have the following marginal note for the word unicorns: “Hebrew an unicorn.” The marginal note can be seen in an edition of the KJV printed in London in 1711 so it was added before 1762. Other KJV editions that had marginal notes such as the 1810, 1821, 1835, 1857, 1865, and 1885 Oxford editions, the 1853 American Bible Society standard edition, the 1769, 1844, 1872, 1887, and the 2005 Cambridge editions, and the 2002 Zondervan KJV Study Bible have this same marginal note at this verse. This marginal note in standard editions of the KJV affirms with the earlier pre-1611 English Bibles, the 1602 Spanish Valera, and the 1657 English translation of the Dutch that the Hebrew word was singular in number. Tristram affirmed that this marginal reading “is here undoubtedly correct so far as regards the singular number” (Natural History, p. 146). There is a plural form for this Hebrew word, which was not used at this verse (Deut. 33:17). The number of the Hebrew word at this verse is the same as its number at Numbers 23:22 [singular].

    In his 1828 Dictionary, Noah Webster defined an as “one; noting an individual, either definitely known, certain, specified, or understood; or indefinitely, not certain, known, or specified.” Webster noted that “an, a and one, are the same word, and always have the same sense.” Webster’s New Twentieth-Century Dictionary noted that a is “an abbreviation of Anglo-Saxon an or ane” with the meaning “one.” Therefore, “an” unicorn has the same meaning or sense as “one” unicorn, affirming that the Hebrew word is singular in number. In an edition of his Exposition that was printed in 1790, Matthew Henry cited the text of Deuteronomy 33:17 as follows “His horns are like the horns of an unicorn” (Vol. I, p. 742).

    The Bible in the original language referred to the strength of one reem (Num. 23:22) and to the horns of one reem (Deut. 33:17).
     
    #17 Logos1560, Sep 5, 2021
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  18. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    So what? Someone does not have to be able to read Hebrew to learn about Hebrew words and whether they are singular or plural in number. I know a Biblical Hebrew scholar who can read Hebrew.

    I have soundly checked multiple sources. Along with sources concerning Hebrew, evidence from the pre-1611 English Bibles of which the KJV was a revision, from early Spanish Bibles, and from standard editions of the KJV were provided that all affirm that the Hebrew noun is singular in number.

    Do you seek to dodge the fact that a Hebrew noun singular in number would not be the antecedent for plural pronouns?
     
  19. JD731

    JD731 Active Member

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    You continue to beat the air. If you want to know what is said and understand it then read the words and believe them. The text itself explains what is meant. The text reads “the horns of the unicorns.” It does not read ”the horns of the unicorn.” This is why the tens of thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh is in the text. You don’t know why they are there. For what purpose are they there?

    I think you are exposing your lack of understanding the ways of God but for whatever reason the KJV translators got it exactly right.

    Note to anyone who happens to read this.

    The author of this op states many of his opinions concerning the KJV but he will never quote scripture except maybe very rarely. I think I am right to say he has not quoted this verse that is the topic of his thread. I find that odd. He has ignored my request for his quote of the best rendering from a translation that demonstrates how the verse should appear.
     
  20. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    You may be describing your own repeated vain attempts to try to justify your apparent rejection of the plain truth that a Hebrew noun singular in number is not the antecedent of plural pronouns "them" and "they."

    Is proudly sticking with your personal, private interpretation more important than acknowledging and accepting the truth?
     
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