Amos 4:4 After Three YEARS or Three DAYS?
I have read James White's book, The King James Only Controversy, three or four times and have found many inconsistencies and outright hypocrisy on his part.
Regarding Amos 4:4 Mr. White writes on page 232: "At times the KJV attempts to get around difficulties, so to speak. For example, at Amos 4:4 the KJV renders the Hebrew phrase "three days" as "three years", ostensibly so that the passage would remain in accordance with Jewish law, which required the gathering of certain of the tithes each three years.
Interestingly enough, the NIV also chose to translate the "three days" as "three years", probably for the same reason. While it may be possible that both the KJV and the NIV are correct in their understanding of this passage, the point should be made that neither is strictly translating the text. Both are engaging in a certain amount of interpretation at this point. Given the tremendously strong language that has been used by KJV Only advocates against such translations as the NIV for doing that very thing, we see here another example where the KJV itself makes the KJV Only position self-contradictory and inconsistent."
Mr. White used to work for the NASB committee, so his bias might be towards this particular version for that reason. However, let's look at the provable facts.
"your tithes after THREE YEARS"
First of all not only does the KJB say "bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after THREE YEARS" but so do the NIV 1984 and 2011 editions, (as pointed out by Mr.White), the TNIV (Today's New International Version 2005), the Bishop's Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587 - "your tithes after THREE yeres.", The Bill Bible 1671, The Longman Version 1841, Youngs "literal" translation 1898- "And bring in every morning your sacrifices, EVERY THIRD YEAR your tithes.", Websters 1833 translation, the Calvin Bible 1855, The Jewish Family Bible 1864, Noyes Translation 1869, The Sharpe Bible 1883, the Word of Yah translation 1993, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, New International Reader's Version 1998, Sacred Names KJB 2002, The Word of Yah 1993, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, Ancient Roots Translinear Bible 2008, Bond Slave Version 2009, the English Jubilee Bible 2010 - "your tithes every three YEARS", Green's Modern KJV, the 21st Century KJV 1994, Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010, Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2011, Interlinear Hebrew-Greek Scriptures 2012 (Mebust), The New International Reader's Version 2014
And this online Interlinear Hebrew Old Testament - "after three YEARS" -
Jewish Virtual Library The Tanakh [Full Text] 1998
“and your tithes after THREE YEARS”
The NKJV, RV, ASV, RSV, ESV, Holman, NASB and all Catholic versions like the Douay-Rheims, St. Joseph NAB and New Jerusalem bible say every three DAYS instead of three "YEARS". The goofy International Standard Version actually says: "Bring along your morning sacrifices, and pay your tithes EVERY OTHER DAY."!
The NKJV says: "every three DAYS." but then it footnotes: "Or years (compare Deuteronomy 14:28)
Foreign language translations that also say "after three YEARS" are the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras, the Spanish Reina Valera 1865, 1909 and the Reina Valera Gómez Bible of 2004 - "y vuestros diezmos cada tres años.", the French Martin 1744 - "et vos dîmes au bout de TROIS ANS", the Romanian Fidela Bible of 2009 - "voastre dupa trei ani" and the Modern Greek Bible - τα δεκατα σας κατα πασαν τριετιαν.
Now it is interesting that a man who used to work for the NASB translation committee, as Mr. James White did. would accuse the KJB of not being as literal as the NASB. The much vaunted NASB is overall far less literal than the King James Bible and the NASBs keep on changing both their underlying Hebrew and Greek texts as well as the English text ever few years. Want proof? Here it is, and lots of it.
As for the King James Bible being far less than "literal" than these modern versions, see my article called "You Better Hope Your Surgeon is NOT a Modern Versionist" -
The KJB does give the correct meaning of "every three YEARS" because this corresponds to what is clearly taught in Deuteronomy 14:28 "At the end of three YEARS thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates".
When we look up what the Hebrew word is we find that it is yohm. This word is usually translated as "day", but not by any means is it always so translated.
We find that the KJB has translated this word 15 times as "year". Now if the NASB is more literal than the KJB, why then did the NASB translators themselves translate this same Hebrew word yohm as "years" not just 15 times as the KJB, but 29 times as "years" or "yearly" - almost twice as often? The NIV likewise has it as "years" some 25 times and 65 times they have not translated it at all.
Some examples of where the NASB, NIV, ESV, NKJV and KJB have yohm as "years" are Exodus 13:10 when speaking of the yearly Passover: "Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from YEAR TO YEAR." (yohm to yohm)
In Numbers 9:22 the children of Israel journeyed when the cloud was taken up "whether it were two days (yohm) or a month, or a year" (yohm). NASB, NIV, NKJV.
In 1 Samuel 2:19 speaking of Samuel: "Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from YEAR TO YEAR" (yohm to yohm); NASB, ESV, NIV, NKJV. see also 1:3, 21; 20:6; and 2 Samuel 14:26 speaking of Absalom: "And when he polled his head,(for it was at every YEAR'S end that he polled it) he weighed the hair of his head..."
and in 2 Chronicles 21:19 speaking of the wicked king Jehoram whom the LORD smote in his bowels with an incurable disease: "And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two YEARS, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness".
Not only has the "more literal" NASB translated the word yohm as years almost twice as often as the KJB, but it also has "literally" translated this same Hebrew word as: "afternoon, age, always, battle, birthday, Chronicles, continually, course of time, daylight, each, entire, eternity, evening, ever, fate, first, forever, full, life, long, now, older, once, period, perpetually, present, recently, reigns, ripe age, short-lived, so long, some time, survived, time, usual, very old, when, while, whole and yesterday" How is that for being more literal than the KJB?!
Likewise the NIV 1984 edition has translated the Hebrew word yohm not only as "days" but also as "years (25 times), time, when, annals, life, times, reigns, some time, date, daytime, during, live, age, fate, light, season, sun, two" and 65 times just didn't translate it at all.
In the New Testament the NASB has also three times translated the Greek word hemera, or day, as YEAR. See Luke 1:7,18 and 2:36.
Those King James Bible critics who mention how the NASB is more literal than the KJB, would be wise to refrain from mentioning the good Doctor White's example of Amos 4:4 as being an instance of such "getting around the difficulties, so to speak".
Bible Commentators who agree with the King James Bible reading of "after THREE YEARS"
John Calvin translates Amos 4:4 in the following manner, and then comments on the verse.
Amos 4:4. Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three YEARS."
Amos 4: 4. Ita in Bethel et scelerate agite, in Gilgal adjicite scelerate agendum, et adducite mane sacrificia vestra, ad tres dies (hoc est, tertio anno) decimas vestras; - (translation- after three days, that is, three years)
Then Calvin comments: After three years,(* Editor’s footnote) that is, in the third year, “bring also your tenths”; for thus it was commanded, as we read in Deuteronomy 14:28. Though, then, the Israelites worshipped God apparently in the strictest manner, yet Amos declares that the whole was vain and of no worth, yea, abominable before God, and that the more they wearied themselves, the more they kindled the wrath of God against themselves.
*Editor of Calvin’s commentaries footnote: Literally, “on the third of days, but days here are evidently for years. “I cannot doubt,” says Dr. Henderson, “but that the Prophet has in view the enactment recorded in Deuteronomy 14:29, 26:12 , days, mean here, as in Leviticus 25:29, Judges 17:10, the fullest complement of days, i.e., a year.” — Editor.
Adam Clarke commenting on Amos 4:4 - “continue to support your present vicious priesthood by the regular triennial tithes which should have been employed in my service.” (For those who may not know what triennial means, it means THREE YEARS.)
John Gill commenting on Amos 4:4 - “your tithes after three years; the third year after the sabbatical year was the year of tithing; and after the tithe of the increase of the fruits of the earth, there was "maaser sheni", the second tithe, the same with "maaser ani", the poor's tithe, which was given to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless; and the widow, to eat with them, (Deuteronomy 14:22-28) (26:12) ; and this they are sarcastically bid to observe in their idolatrous way. It is, in the Hebrew text, "after three days"; and so the Targum, “your tithes in three days;'' days being put for years, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe. It may be rendered, "after three years of days", three complete years.”
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown comment: “after three years--every third year; literally, "after three (years of) days" (that is, the fullest complement of days, or a year); "after three full years."
John Wesley comments: “Three years - God had Deuteronomy 14:28, commanded every third year that all the tithe of that year should be brought, and laid up in a publick store-house.”
Matthew Poole - "And after three YEARS - God had, Deut. 14:28, commanded every third year that all the tithe of that year should be laid up in a public storehouse; to this law doth the prophet allude here."
The King James Bible is always right. Don't let some self appointed Bible corrector who himself does not believe that ANY Bible IS the infallible words of God convince you otherwise.
Notes from the Internet Forums
After having posted this information at the Fighting Fundamentalist Forum, and man who prides himself on his knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, a seminarian named Barry Pendley, who himself does not believe there is now nor ever was a complete, inspired and 100% true Bible in any language but thinks God has "preserved" His words out there somewhere in all those partial "original language manuscripts" posted this response:
Reading through the Hebrew text, this prepositional phrase appears as "every third day." This is the way I take it because it flows with the irony of the text. Amos is creating the irony by telling them to take their traditional third year sacrifices and just do them every third day.
With that said, it is true that a case could be made, exegetically, to translate this "every third year." This would be a rare usage, yet there are at least two reasons why it is possible...*
1) The closest Hebrew parallel, grammatically, is found in 1 Samuel 2:19 and is translated there as "from year to year."
2) BDB notes a rare usage when the "Lamed" is added to the word, the meaning of "day" can denote the "close of a period."
I am of the opinion that the passage makes best sense with the normal usage of the Hebrew word "day."
I'm sure it would sell like hotcakes. You'd be famous world wide and would make a truck load of money. Any possibility I could get an autographed copy from you? I'd be so proud to have it in my personal library.
Another example of James White's hypocrisy
In the ninth chapter, which is titled "Problems in the KJV", on page 231 Mr. White states: "Jack Lewis notes that the KJV is also well known for the large variety of ways in which it will translate the same word. Now certainly there are many times when one will wish to use synonyms to translate particular terms, and context is vitally important indetermining the actual meaning of a word, but the KJV goes beyond the bounds a number of times. For example, the Hebrew term for "word" or "thing" is rendered by EIGHTY FOUR different English words in the KJV!
Another term, "to turn back" is rendered in one particular grammatical form by SIXTY different English words! Those who have attempted to follow the usage of a particular Hebrew or Greek term through the AV know how difficult such a task can be, and the inconsistency of the KJV in translating terms only makes the job that much harder." End of quote.
Most people who read this in Mr. White's book would think something like: "Oh, that nasty KJV. What a lousy translation it is and how unscholarly. Why would anybody want to use that?"
Most people would never take the time to verify if there is any validity to what Mr. White says here; they would just accept his statements as facts. The word for "word" or "thing" is # 1697 Dabar. I only counted 78 different meanings found in the KJB, but I'll give Mr. White the benefit of the doubt and let him have his 84.
James White now works for the New American Standard Bible organization. He knows both Hebrew and Greek and professes to be an expert in textual matters. He either didn't check the validity of the claims of Jack Lewis, or he is deliberately misrepresenting the facts to bolster his attacks on God's preserved words in the King James Bible. In either case, his hypocricy is inexcusable.
A simple look at the complete NASB concordance shows that the NASB has translated this single word Dabar in at least NINETY THREE very different ways while the NIV has over 200 different English meanings for this single Hebrew word.
Among the 94 different English words the NASB uses to translate this single Hebrew word are: account, act, advice, affair, agreement, amount, annals, answer, anything, asked, because, business, case, cause, charge, Chronicles, claims, commandment, compliments, concerned, conclusion, conditions, conduct, conferred, consultation, conversation, counsel, custom, dealings, decree, deed, defect, desires, dispute, doings, duty, edict, eloquent, event, fulfillment, harm, idea, instructed, manner, matter, message, nothing, oath, obligations, one, order, parts, pertains, plan, plot, portion, promise, proposal, proven, purpose, question, ration, reason, records, regard, reports, request, required, rule, said, same thing, saying, so much, some, something, songs, speaks, speech,talk, task, theme, thing, this, thoughts, threats, thus, told, trouble, verdict, way, what, whatever, word and work.
As I said, the NIV has over twice this amount of different meanings - well over 200 - as compared to the KJB's 84.
The second word mentioned by Mr. White is "to turn back" and it is # 7725 Shub, and in this case Mr. White is correct in that the KJB does translate it some 60 different ways. However what James forgot to mention is that his favorite NASB has translated this same single Hebrew word at least 104 different ways! while the NIV again has over 200 different meanings!
What makes this whole section in White's book all the more ridiculous and hypocritical, is that Jack Lewis (the man Mr. White quoted in his book) is one of the translators of the NIV, which is far more "guilty" of the very thing he criticizes the KJB of doing! This is the type of scholarship men like James White employ to discredit the truth of the King James Bible.
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