1 Samuel 5:9 - "and he smote the men of the city...they had EMERODS IN THEIR SECRET PARTS." King James Bible
NKJV - "He struck the men of the city...and TUMORS BROKE OUT ON THEM." Footnote: Probably bubonic plague.
The word emerods is a slightly archaic spelling of the more modern word hemorrhoids, however it may surprise you how many Bible translations still use the word "emerods". One thing for sure, they were not "tumors associated with the bubonic plague".
As usual, the "scholars" are all over the board with this one, each offering his own opinion as though it were the absolute truth. Let's look at some of the differing opinions and Bible versions regarding this single verse.
The Coffman commentary says: "What was this disease? There is little doubt that it was anything other than an epidemic of the bubonic plague, the black death that wiped out a major fraction of the human race in the mid-14th century."
"Little doubt" huh? Well, many others disagree with this man's opinion.
In typical fashion, Daniel Wallace and company, of Dallas Theological Seminary, play around with the text and comes up with something "new". Their NET version reads: "He struck all the people of that city with SORES."
Here Wallace simply omits the Hebrew words "both small and great" and goes with neither emerods, hemorrhoids, or tumors. Instead he chose "sores", which are none of the above. I have sometimes had sores on various parts of my body, but they were quite different from tumors or hemorrhoids.
David Guzik's commentary remarks: "Older commentators often describe them as hemorrhoids, and newer commentators often describe them as signs of the bubonic plague. Either way, they were bad. "According to the Rabbins, swellings on the anus." (Keil and Delitszch)."
Smith's Bible Dictionary says: "Emerods - (1 Samuel 5:6,9, 12; 6:4,5,11) Probably hemorrhoidal tumors or bleeding piles, are intended."
Adam Clarke comments: "Smote them with emerods. The word apholim, from aphal, to be elevated, probably means the disease called the bleeding piles, which appears to have been accompanied with dysentery, bloody flux, and ulcerated anus.
The Vulgate says, Et percussit in secretiori parte natium; "And he smote them in the more secret parts of their posteriors." To this the psalmist is supposed to refer, Psalm 78:66, He smote all his enemies in the HINDER PARTS; he put them to a perpetual reproach. Some copies of the Septuagint have "in their posteriors." The Syriac is the same. The Arabic enlarges: "He smote them in their posteriors, so that they were affected with a dysenteria." I suppose them to have been affected with enlargements of the haemorrhoidal veins, from which there came frequent discharges of blood."
John Gill says: "and they had emerods in their secret parts; and so had the men of Ashdod; and the design of this expression is, not to point at the place where they were, which it is well known they are always in those parts, but the different nature of them; the emerods or piles of the men of Ashdod were more outward, these more inward, and so more painful, and not so easy to come at, and more difficult of cure."
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown concur: "smote them with emerods--bleeding piles, hemorrhoids (Psalm 78:66), in a very aggravated form."
Matthew Henry says: "it is expressly said (1 Samuel 5:12) that those who were smitten with the emerods were the men that died not by the other destruction, which probably was the pestilence."
John Wesley comments: "Hidden parts - In the inwards of their hinder parts: which is the worst kind of emerods, as all physicians acknowledge, both because its pains are far more sharp than the other; and because the malady is more out of the reach of remedies."
Various Bible Versions
The NASB is an interesting case. Up until 1972 the NASB used to read HEMORROIDS, but then in 1977 and again in 1995 they changed this to "TUMORS". Other versions that have "tumors" are the NKJV, NIV, RSV, ESV, the Catholic New Jerusalem, and the Holman Standard.
The Bible translations that actually read "EMERODS in their secret parts" are Matthew's Bible (John Rogers) 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Webster's 1833 translation, The Revised English Bible 1877, the Jewish Publication Society's 1917 translation, Young's 'literal' version 1898, Douay-Rheims American edition 1899, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - "they had EMERODS in their secret parts", the Douay version 1950, The Word of Yah 1993, God's First Truth 1999, Sacred Name KJB 2002, Bond Slave Version 2009, Concordant Literal Version 2009 - "and break forth on them do EMERODS.", The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible 2011, and the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2012 .
The Lesser Bible 1853 - "the had hemorrhoids in their secret parts"
The Jewish Family Bible 1864 - "they had tumors in their secret parts"
Those that read HEMORROIDS are the NASB 1972, Darby 1890, The New Berkeley Version in Modern English - "so that HEMORRHOIDS broke out among them.", Green's 1998 Modern King James Version, and Green's Literal Translation, the Catholic 1970 New American Bible, the KJV 21st Century version 1994, the Third Millennium Bible of 1998, English Jubilee Bible 2010, and Hebraic Roots Bible 2012 - “and HEMORRHOIDS broke forth on them.“
The recent Jewish translation called the Judaica Press Tanach 2005 reads: "And it was, after they had brought it around, that the hand of the Lord was upon the city (with) a great panic, and He smote the people of the city, both young and old, and HEMORRHOIDS broke out in THEIR HIDDEN PARTS."
The French Louis Segond version agrees with the KJB saying: "une éruption D'HEMORROIDES."
The 1991 Italian Nuova Diodati also agrees with the KJB reading: "che grandi con un'epidemia di EMORROIDI."
The 2006 Italian Riveduta has: “e un flagello d’EMORROIDI scoppiò in mezzo a loro.”
The 2009 Portuguese Almeida Revisit e Corrigenda reads: “desde o pequeno até ao grande; e tinham HEMORROIDAS nas partes secretas.”
And the Spanish Reina Valera 1909 & Cipriano de Valera of 1602 and the 1865 Revised y Corregida read "con HEMORROIDES" (though later RV revisions have now changed this to "tumores") - "é hirió los hombres de aquella ciudad desde el chico hasta el grande, que se llenaron de HEMORROIDES.
The Spanish Jubilee Bible 2010 - “desde el chico hasta el grande se llenaron de HEMORROIDES.”
The New International Reader’s Version 1998 has: “The Lord made them break out with GROWTHS in their bodies.”
The Living Bible 1971 says: “the Lord began destroying its people, young and old, with THE PLAGUE”
This single example serves as an illustration of what goes on literally hundreds of times throughout the pages of what passes today as "the Bible".
Today's Christian scholars do not believe that any Bible in any language (including the Hebrew or "the" Greek) is the inspired, complete and inerrant words of God. Each one considers himself to be an expert, and they ALL disagree with each other hundreds of times as to what the correct texts are and how they should be translated. Each one has become his own final authority, and (in their view) apparently God has failed to keep His promises to preserve His words in "the book of the LORD".
"Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail..." Isaiah 34:16.
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