1 Kings 22:38 - “Washed his armour” or “while the harlots bathed”, or "the prostitutes washed themselves in it"? - More New KJV, NASB, Jehovah Witness NWT, NIV, ESV, Holman nonsense.
In 1 Kings 22:38 we read of the death of wicked king Ahab. "So the king died, and was brought to Samaria: and they buried the king in Samaria. And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; AND THEY WASHED THE ARMOUR; according to the word of the LORD which he spake."
NKJV 1982 (NASB, NIV, Jehovah Witness NWT) - "And someone washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood WHILE THE HARLOTS BATHED, according to the word of the LORD which He had spoken."
But the RSV, NRSV, the new ESV 2001, and the Holman Standard 2003 go even further than the NKJV, NASB, NIV in that they tend to follow most of the LXX reading (while omitting the word "swine") and have: “the dogs licked up his blood, and THE PROSTITUTES WASHED THEMSELVES IN IT.”
"AND THEY WASHED THE ARMOUR"
"And they washed the armour" is the reading of the King James Bible, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Lamsa's 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta - "AND THEY WASHED HIS ARMOR", Young's 1898 - "and the dogs lick his blood -- when THE ARMOUR THEY HAD WASHED.", Webster's 1833, the Lesser Bible 1853, The Boothroyd Bible 1853, The Wellbeloved Scriptures 1862, The Revised English Bible 1877, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - "and THEY WASHED HIS ARMOUR", the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company translation, The Word of Yah 1993, Green's interlinear and Green’s ‘literal’ translation 2005, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, the Holy Scriptures Jubilee Bible of 2010, the Heritage Bible of 2003, The Apostolic Bible 2006 - "they WASHED HIS ARMOUR", The Concordant Literal Version 2009, Bond Slave Version 2012, the Revised Knox Bible 'You' Version of 2009, the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, The Biblos Bible 2013 - they WASHED HIS ARMOUR", the Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010, and The Holy Bible, Modern English Version 2014 - “The chariot was washed in the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up the king’s blood, and THEY WASHED HIS ARMOR according to the word which the Lord spoke.”.
the Modern Greek Bible - "επλυναν ετι και τα οπλα αυτου" = "and THEY WASHED HIS ARMOUR"
and the Modern Hebrew Bible - וישטף את הרכב על ברכת שמרון וילקו הכלבים את דמו והזנות רחצו כדבר יהוה אשר דבר׃
Jewish Virtual Library - The Tanakh [Full Text]
1 Kings 22:38 - "and the dogs licked up his blood; and THEY WASHED HIS ARMOUR; according to the word of the LORD"
This Interlinear Hebrew Old Testament - “and they washed his armor”
The Judaica Press Tanach of 2004, and the Jewish scholars behind this translation also agree with the sense of the King James Bible saying: “And he washed the chariot at the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked his blood, AND THEY WASHED THE WEAPONS THERE as according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken.”
Foreign language Bibles = "THEY WASHED HIS ARMOUR"
Foreign language translations that also say "AND THEY WASHED HIS ARMOUR" are Las Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909 (but not the more modern ones), Reina Valera Gómez 2010 and the Spanish Jubilee Bible of 2010 - “Y lavaron el carro en el estanque de Samaria; LAVARON TAMBIEN SUS ARMAS”, the Italian Diodati 1649 and the New Diodati 1991 - “LAVARONO poi il carro E LE ARMI a una piscina in Samaria e i cani leccarono il suo sangue”, the French Martin 1744 - “et les chiens léchèrent son sang, et aussi quand on LAVA SES ARMES, selon là parole que l'Eternel avait prononcée”, the French Ostervald 1996, the 2006 French KJV - "et on lava son armure", the Dutch Staten Vertaling - "waar de hoeren wiesen" = "they WASHED HIS ARMOUR", the Czech BKR Bible - " též když umývali zbroj jeho" = "they WASHED HIS ARMOUR", Hungarian Károli Bible - " és paráznák fürödtek ott", the 2014 Romanian Fidela Bible - "şi i-au spălat armura" = "and THEY WASHED HIS ARMOUR" and Smith & Van Dyke's Arabic translation - وغسلت المركبة في بركة السامرة فلحست الكلاب دمه. وغسلوا سلاحه. حسب كلام الرب الذي تكلم به. ="and WASHED HIS WEAPONS".
However the NKJV, as well as the NASB, NIV, Jehovah Witness NWT, says: "the dogs licked up his blood WHILE THE HARLOTS BATHED." Then in a footnote tells us "Syriac and Targum read 'they washed his armor'."
This footnote implies that the Hebrew text could not possibly read as does the KJB and others, but that the KJB translators got their "erroneous reading" from some other source than the Hebrew. Do you see the subtlety of the attack on God's infallible word?
The King James Bible translators were aware of this variant translation, and chose to reject it. The earlier Great Bible of 1540 had: "AND HARLOTS WASHED BY THE POOL SIDE" but Matthew's Bible of 1549 read: "AND HARLOTS WASHED HIM" So this is not a case of "new light" being shed on the possible meanings of the Hebrew text.
The NASB, Jehovah Witness NWT and Dan Wallace's NET version are very similar and read: "(NOW THE HARLOTS BATHED THEMSELVES THERE)", while the NIV has "WHERE THE PROSTITUTES BATHED.”
But the NIV has a footnote that says: "Or, and cleansed the weapons." - which would be more in line with what the King James Bible and many others say.
The Greek Septuagint reads "the SWINE AND THE DOGS LICKED UP THE BLOOD AND THE HARLOTS WASHED THEMSELVES IN THE BLOOD.”
The RSV, NRSV, the new ESV 2001, and the Holman Standard 2003 go even further than the NKJV, NASB, NIV in that they tend to follow most of the LXX reading (while omitting the word "swine") and have: “the dogs licked up his blood, and THE PROSTITUTES WASHED THEMSELVES IN IT.”
Other bible versions have yet a completely different meaning.
The Ancient Roots Translinear bible 2008 says: “The chariot overflowed over the dam (?) and the dogs lapped his blood. THEY WASHED AND BANISHED HIM as the word of Yahweh spoken to him.” (Huh?!)
The Catholic Connection
The earlier Douay-Rheims 1610 as well as the 1950 both (apparently following the Latin Vulgate) read: "And they washed his chariot in the pool of Samaria. And the dogs licked up his blood. AND THEY WASHED THE REINS, in accord with the word of the Lord which he had spoken."
However the 1970 St. Joseph New American bible has: "When the chariot was washed at the pool of Samaria, the dogs licked up his blood, AND THE HARLOTS BATHED THERE, as the LORD had prophesied."
And the 1985 New Jerusalem reads "...the dogs licked up the blood, AND THE PROSTITUTES WASHED IN IT"
But now the 2009 Catholic The Sacred Bible has gone back to "AND THEY WASHED THE REINS".
I do not trust any scholar or commentator but rather the living God who promised to preserve His pure words till heaven and earth pass away. I believe He did this in English only in the Holy Bible, also referred to as the Authorized King James Bible.
If you get ten scholars in a room you will come up with 15 different opinions. Notice what John Gill says regarding this verse.
John Gill’s commentary. "And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria,.... and the dogs licked up his blood; mixed with the water of the pool; the Septuagint adds, "the swine," which is not probable, such creatures not being bred in the land of Israel: and they washed his armour; his coat of mail, through the joints of which the blood issued, and ran upon it. The word is sometimes used for whores, and is so translated here in the Greek version, and by Munster and Castalio; and so Josephus writes, that afterwards it was a custom for whores to wash in this pool; though some say two whores were painted on Ahab's chariot, by the order of Jezebel, to inflame his lust, and these were what were washed; BUT THE WORD SIGNIFIES ARMOUR, or ornaments, clothes, jewels."
Here you see the conflicting suppositions of the "scholars", yet in this instance John Gill sides with the KJB reading.
Matthew Henry expounds the verse as it stands in the KJB with no corrections to the text. Matthew Henry- . "The royal corpse is brought to Samaria and buried there (v. 37), and hither are brought the bloody chariot and bloody armour in which he died, v. 38."
If you think the scholars have the final authority you are mistaken. God promised to preserve His words somewhere on this earth. They are either in the King James Bible which has been used by God far more extensively and far longer than any other, or they are lost forever.
The New KJV is just another poor imitation. For a series of articles on the NKJV see: "Is the NKJV the infallible words of God? Not a Chance!"
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