|Example||Text||KJV||Correct, literal translation||Probable meaning||Comment|
|1.||Num. 23:22 (also, Num. 24:8; Deut. 33:17; Job 39:9, 10; Psa. 22:21; 29:6; 92:10; Isa. 34:7||"unicorn"||"wild ox"||-||Because they were unfamiliar with the flora and fauna of the Holy Land, the translators of the KJV could not discern what animal reem signified. From incidental remarks on its appearance, they guessed that it was a unicorn, believing that the unicorn was a real beast. In fact, the unicorn exists only in mythology. The same translators misidentified other plants and animals mentioned in the Bible.|
|2.||Isa. 13:21; 34:14||"satyr"||"hairy one"||"devil"||The word is sair, which is 23 times translated "goat," 23 times "kid," and two times "devil" (Lev. 17:7; 2 Chron. 11:15). The satyr is, of course, another mythical creature.|
|3.||Dan. 3:5, 7, 10, 15||"sackbut"||"sambuke"||a small harp||Modern scholarship has established beyond reasonable doubt that the sambuke was a stringed instrument. The sackbut was the medieval forerunner of the trombone.|
|4.||Luke 3:27||"Joanna" (Iwanna)||"Joanan" (Iwanan)||-||Many manuscripts, including Byzantine, have "Joanan." Fewer but still many, including Byzantine, have "Joannan." Only a handful of late medieval manuscripts have "Joanna." The obvious impossibility of the last reading is that "Joanna" is a female name. Though a man's wife might be mentioned in a genealogy, the Jews never reckoned descent through a female ancestor. Nor does any other Biblical genealogy insert a woman in place of a man. It is evident that the reading "Joanna" is the result of a scribe transposing the last two letters of "Joanan" or dropping one letter from "Joannan."|
|5.||Psa. 139:16||"And in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."||"And in your book all of them were written the days. They were formed, and not one among them."||"And in your book all of them—all the days—were written. They were planned, and not one among them yet existed."||By adding "my members" and changing "the days" to "in continuance," the KJV erases the important teaching that God sees our lives before they happen. It is possible that the KJV rendering betrays an anti-Calvinistic bias in the translator.|
|6.||Job 39:13||"Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?"||"The wing of the ostriches flap joyously, though not the pinions of the stork of flight."||"The wings of the ostriches flap joyously, though not, as the pinions of the stork, for flight."||Because of its antiquity, the Book of Job is obscure in many places. The garbled translation cited here is only one of many examples in the KJV of this book. Modern study of ancient languages cognate to Hebrew, especially Ugaritic, has illuminated many texts with formerly uncertain meaning.|
|7.||Isa. 3:20||"tablets"||"houses of breath [or, 'soul']"||perfume bottles||In chapter 3, Isaiah lists many items of material culture that could not be identified several centuries ago. Some terms are still puzzling.|
|8.||2 Sam. 21:19||"the brother of Goliath"||"Goliath"||"the son of Goliath"||The italicized addition was an attempt by the KJV translators to remove from the received text what they believed was a corruption. The account in 1 Chron. 20:5 states that Elhanan slew not Goliath, whom David had slain earlier, but Goliath's "brother." But "brother" has the more general meaning "kinsman." The statement in 2 Sam. 21:22 limiting the giant's male offspring to "these four" implies that Goliath was not their brother. Hence, it is probable that he was the giant himself, and that the received text is missing the words "the son of."
I heard a speaker at Hyles-Anderson College argue that this passage proves the inferiority of the extant manuscripts to the KJV. What this passage really proves is the inferiority of the extant manuscripts to the original manuscripts. Since the extant manuscripts are the basis of all English translations, including the KJV, the KJV must also be inferior to the original manuscripts.
Several more discrepancies between Samuel-Kings and Chronicles leave little doubt that the received text of the former is imperfect. For example, compare 2 Sam. 8:4 and 1 Chron. 18:4. Notice, however, that God has provided us with parallel histories so that we can determine the original readings.
|9.||Dan. 11:16||"And he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed."||"And he shall stand in the glorious land with destruction in his hand."||-||Here is an example of a historical error in the KJV. "He" is Antiochus the Great. Although Antiochus overran Egyptian fortresses in Palestine, he did not consume the land itself.|
|10.||Daniel 11:38||"But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces."||"But in his place he will honor the god of forces."||-||The context establishes that "he" is the Antichrist, also that the Antichrist will not honor God. Yet "God," capitalized, always refers to the true God. So here is an example of a theological error in the KJV.|
© 2007, 2012 Stanley Edgar Rickard (Ed Rickard, the author). All rights reserved.