Acts 5:30 and 10:39 - "whom ye slew AND hanged on a tree"
King James Holy Bible 1611
"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew AND hanged on a TREE."
Mr. James White says on page 225 of his book The KJV Controversy: "The NKJV corrects the problem seen in the KJV rendering. Peter did not say that the Jews HAD SLAIN Jesus AND THEN HUNG (caps mine) him on a tree. Instead they put the Lord to death BY hanging Him upon the tree. It is difficult to see exactly where the KJV derived its translation, as there is no "and" in the text to separate "slew" and "hanged on a tree." [End of James White's comments]
James White objects to the AV's "and" but has no problem with the insertion of "by" in the modern versions. As a matter of fact the NIV, NASB, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, ESV all insert the little word "by". There is nothing incorrect about "adding" the word "and" when used before a participle, as is the case here. In fact, ALL bible versions do this scores of times. To see just a few of the numerous examples of this, look at the NASB and ESV adding the word "and" in Acts 2:23; 5:40; 9:37,39; Matthew 2:21; 4:9,13; 26:56 and John 19:2.
In Acts 5:30 and 10:39 the word "and" does not refer to a sequence of events, but to an additional description of what took place. James White reads into the passage something that is NOT there, and then criticizes the KJB for something it does not do. He said: "Peter did not say that the Jews HAD SLAIN Jesus AND THEN HUNG him on a tree." He is right; BUT NEITHER DOES THE KING JAMES BIBLE SAY THIS!
The use of "and" in this manner is common English grammar describing events which take place simultaneously. "We watched the college football game, AND had a great time, AND we ate hot dogs AND drank Cokes, AND clapped AND yelled till we were hoarse."
It is also of interest that Mr. White chose not to use the NASB, for whom he used to work, in his faulty illustration. The NASB says: "whom you had put to death BY hanging Him ON A CROSS."
The NASB not only adds the word "by" which also is not in any Greek text, but more importantly it translates the word xulon, which means "tree" or "wood", as "cross". The word for cross is stauros, not xulon, and by translating it as cross instead of the proper "tree", the NASB misses the whole point of what the Holy Ghost is saying in this verse through Peter.
Deuteronomy 21:22-23 says: "And if any man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a TREE: His body shall not remain all night upon the TREE, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (FOR HE THAT IS HANGED IS ACCURSED OF GOD;)" (caps mine)
We can then see the significance of the "tree" when we cross reference these verses with Galatians 3:13 "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a TREE."
For the Jews to hang another man on a tree was a special mark of the curse of God upon such an individual AND was an additional insult heaped upon the person who committed the crime. (Notice the use of "and" in this last sentence).
Peter is saying in effect, Not only did you kill the Messiah, but you also hung Him on a TREE - you marked Him out as an object of the special curse of God. You humiliated and debased Him to the lowest degree allowed under the law.
Peter is drawing the sharp contrast between this Jesus "whom God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour", and the shame, degradation and calumny to which the unbelieving Jews subjected Him.
John Calvin remarks in his commentary: "Neither was your cruelty satisfied with a plain and common death; for he was hanged upon a tree."
John Gill - (notice his use of the word “and”) - “whom ye slew AND hanged on a tree; this is said in defence of themselves, being charged that they intended to bring this man's blood upon them; they therefore insist upon it that they had slain Jesus whom God raised up, inasmuch as they had condemned him to death in their sanhedrim, AND had urged and importuned Pilate to crucify him, AND had imprecated his blood upon them AND on their children; AND were not content to put him to any kind of death, but insisted on his being crucified, or hanged on a tree; that is, stretched out upon the cross, which was both a painful and shameful death, to which they were manifestly accessary, and therefore justly charged with it.”
Matthew Poole’s Annotations - “Hanged on a tree; a tree, or wood, which is rather mentioned than a cross, that the allusion to Deuteronomy 21:23 might be more full, where he that is hanged on a tree is accursed; AND in that Christ was made a curse for us, Galatians 3:13.
Benson Commentary - “Whom ye slew and hanged on a tree — As if he had been the meanest of slaves, and the vilest of malefactors. You put him to death in the most infamous manner; but God has restored him to life.”
The King James reading is by no means in error here. Mr. White, with all his professed scholarship, is simply reading something into the passage that is not there, and he misses the whole point of the significance of Christ's being hung ON A TREE.
"whom ye slew AND hanged on a tree"
Not only does the KJB render this verse as "whom ye slew AND hanged on a tree", but so also do Tyndale 1525 - "The God of oure fathers raysed vp Ie Iesus whom ye slewe AND hanged on tre.", Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible (Cranmer) 1540, Matthew's Bible (John Rogers) 1549, the Bishop's Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587 - "The God of our fathers hath raised vp Iesus, whom ye slewe, AND hanged on a tree.", The Beza New Testament 1599, The Bill Bible 1671, Daniel Mace New Testament 1729, Whiston’s Primitive N.T. 1745, John Worsley New Testament 1770, The Clarke N.T. 1795, Luther's German translation (welchen ihr erwürget habt UND an das Holz gehänget), The Patrick Paraphrase Bible 1822, The Hammond N.T. 1845, John Wesley Etheridge's translation of the Syriac Peshitta 1846 "The God of our fathers hath raised up Jeshu whom you killed AND hanged on the tree", Webster's 1833 translation, The Revised New Testament 1862 - "whom ye slew AND hanged on a tree", The Dillard N.T. 1885, The Clarke N.T. 1913 - "whom ye slew AND hanged on a tree", the New Life Version 1969 - "the One you killed AND nailed to a cross.", The Word of Yah 1993, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994, The Revised Webster's Bible 1995, Third Millennium Bible 1998, the New Life Version 1997, God’s First Truth 1999 - "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you slew AND hanged on tree.", Tomson New Testament 2002 "whom you slew AND hanged on a tree", the 2003 Evidence Bible, The Resurrection Life New Testament 2005 (Vince Garcia) - "they slew him, AND hung him on a tree" (Acts 10:39), The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, Bond Slave Version 2009, The Conservative Bible 2010 (Acts 10:39) - "They had him killed AND hanged on a tree." and the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 - "The Elohim (אלהים) Aveniu raised up Yeshua (ישוע), whom ye slew AND hanged on a tree."
Another excellent article dealing with this verse and James White's unjust criticism see Marty Shue's comments at:
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