Another King James Bible Believer

BORROW or ASK? - Another King James Bible "error" bites the dust

Exodus 3:22 "But every woman shall BORROW of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians."


See also Exodus 11:2 - "Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man BORROW of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold."

and Exodus 12:35 - "And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they BORROWED of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment."

Lots of Bible critics love to bring up this alleged error in the King James Bible. They tell us that "borrow" is a poor and misleading translation. One site that calls itself Christian Answers Net says:

"The Israelites "borrowed" from the Egyptians (Ex. 12:35, R.V., "asked") in accordance with a divine command (3:22; 11:2). But the word (sha'al) so rendered here means simply and always to "request" or "demand." The Hebrew had another word which is properly translated "borrow" in Deut. 28:12; Ps. 37:21. It was well known that the parting was final."

Christian Answers Net is completely wrong when they say the word shaal means SIMPLY AND ALWAYS to request or to demand. Not only has the King James Bible translated this Hebrew word shaal # 7592 as to borrow, but so has the NASB, NIV, NKJV, ESV and an host of other bible versions both old and new.

For example, the NASB, ESV have translated this same word as "borrow" three times. So too the NKJV, and the NIV twice. Exodus 22:14 "And if a man BORROW ought of his neighbour, and it be hurt, or die, the owner thereof being not with it, he shall surely make it good." (ESV, NKJV, NIV, NASB)

In 2 Kings 4:3 the prophet Elisha tells the widow woman: "Go, BORROW thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours..." (ESV, NASB, NKJV) and again in 2 Kings 6:5 when one was felling a beam, "the axe head fell in the water, and the man cried out, and said, Alas, master! for it was BORROWED." (ESV, NIV, NKJV, NASB)

The NASB, NIV, NKJV, ESV etc. certainly do not "always" translate this word as to request or to demand, but also as to "ask, beg, borrow, consult, dedicate, desire, greet, give, granted, inquire, lent, looks, a medium, obtain decisions, pray, question, require, said, sought, tell, took, and wish."

Another site called Christian Courier says: "The KJV suggests that the Israelites were to “borrow” certain objects from the Egyptians. But there was never any intention of repayment. The King James translation is poor here; later renditions, including the NKJV, translate the verb sa’al by “ask”."

In answer to this alleged error in the King James Bible, let's first look at other Bible versions that agree with the KJB reading and then offer some explanations as to why the King James Bible is not in error at all.

Not only does the King James Bible tell us in Exodus 3:22, 11:2 and 12:35-36 that "the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they BORROWED of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they LENT unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians", but so also do the following Bible versions:

William Tyndale 1530, Miles Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568, The Bill Bible 1671, Webster's 1833 translation, The Sharpe Bible 1883, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, Lamsa's 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company translation, The New Jewish Version 1985 - "The Israelites had done Moses’ bidding and BORROWED FROM the Egyptians objects of silver and gold, and clothing..", the KJV 21st Century version 1994, the Third Millennium Bible 1998.

Some previous English versions like Wycliffe and the Geneva bible read "ask", so the KJB translators were not unaware of this reading, but deliberately and providentially chose to translate it as "borrow".


Other English Bibles that also tell us the Israelites BORROWED jewels of silver and gold from the Egyptians are The Word of Yah 1993, The Complete Jewish Bible 1998, God's First Truth 1999, Bond Slave Version 2009, The Conservative Bible 2010, the Hebraic Transliteration Scriptures 2010 - "Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man BORROW of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.", The Biblos Bible 2013 - "But shall BORROW every woman of her neighbor...", and The Modern English Version 2014 - "...and let every man BORROW of his neighbor and every woman of her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold.”  

And this online Hebrew Interlinear Old Testament -  "shall BORROW every woman of her neighbour"


The Explanation

In The Book of Bible Problems, Gerardus D. Bouw, Ph.D., explains on pages 32-33: "It has long puzzled critics that Exodus 3:22 says that the Israelite women BORROWED jewels from their Egyptian neighbors, for to borrow means that there will be a time to pay them back. Much of the silver and gold carried from Egypt went into the construction of the tabernacle, which later was used in the temple. In 1 Kings 14:25-26 we have the record of the Israelites repayment to the Egyptians."

He then quotes the passage which says: "And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem: And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made."

Just as in Genesis the Lord predicted the sojourning of the nation of Israel in the land of Egypt and their departing from it with great substance, so also in Exodus is the veiled prophecy of their returning to the Egyptians what they had once "borrowed".

In Genesis 15:14, hundreds of years before it happened, God told Abraham "And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance."

We see the fulfillment of this in Exodus 3:21-22 where God tells Moses: "And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty...and ye shall spoil the Egyptians."

Everything we have is on loan from the Lord; nothing is really ours but everything is borrowed. God tells His people in Deuteronomy 8:17-18 to beware that they forget not the LORD "And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God; for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth..."

We are again reminded of this truth when David prays before the congregation after they had amassed treasures for the building of the temple. King David says to God: "Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all...But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and OF THINE OWN have we given thee...O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, AND IS ALL THINE OWN." 1 Chronicles 29:12-16.

The modern versions like the NKJV, NIV, NASB that say ASK instead of BORROW actually end up missing the mark.  "But every woman SHALL ASK of her neighbor..articles of silver, gold...So you shall plunder the Egyptians." If we merely "ask" for something, that doesn't mean we will necessarily get it. If we borrow something, we do get it.

AND it is all on loan. It is not ours to keep. Notice the wording in the King James Bible in the very next verse where we read in Exodus 12:36 - And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that THEY LENT unto them such things as they required. And the spoiled the Egyptians."  

Yet, as we all know if we read the rest of the Bible, all these riches eventually DID end up back in the coffers of the king of Egypt, as recorded in 1 Kings 14:25-26, when God judged the nation of Israel for their multiplied sins against Him. 

The King James Bible and all the others that have correctly translated this word as "borrow" not only allude to the prophetic fact that the treasures of Egypt would one day be returned, but also convey the Biblical idea that everything we have is on loan from the Lord and it all belongs to Him.

John Calvin comments on Exodus 3:22 - “But every woman shall BORROW.  Those who consider these means of enriching the people to be but little in accordance with the justice of God, themselves reflect but little how widely that justice of which they speak extends. I acknowledge that it is His attribute to defend every one’s rights, to prohibit theft, to condemn deceit and rapine; but let us see what every one’s property is. Who will boast that he has anything, except what is given him by God? And all is given on this condition, that each one should possess according to His will whatever God pleases, who is free to take away at any moment whatsoever He has given.”


Exodus 15:2 "I will prepare him an habitation"

The modern versions like the NKJV often mess up or miss the prophetic application of many verses found in the King James Bible. A case in point is also found in Exodus, chapter 15 and verse two.





Not all bible versions end up teaching the same things, even when they translate the same Hebrew texts.

In the King James Bible, immediately after the children of Israel are delivered through the Red Sea and Pharoah and his armies are drowned, we read in Exodus 15:2: "The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, AND I WILL PREPARE HIM AN HABITATION; my father's God, and I will exalt him."

So reads the King James Bible, which I firmly consider to be the true, inerrant, complete, and perfect word of God. It is also the reading found in The Bill Bible 1671, Webster's 1833 translation, The Word of Yah 1993 - "I WILL PREPARE HIM AN HABITATION", the KJV 21st Century 1994, The Revised Webster Bible 1995, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Judaica Press Complete Tanach 2004 - “…this is my God, and I WILL MAKE HIM A HABITATION, the God of my father, and I will ascribe to Him exaltation.” - Rashi’s Notes: “and I will make Him a habitation: Heb. וְאַנְוֵה. Onkelos rendered it as an expression of habitation (נָוֶה) [as in the following phrases]: “a tranquil dwelling (נָוֶה)” (Isa. 33:20)” 

The Bond Slave Version 2009, English Jubilee Bible - "I will prepare Him a habitation", Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 - "I WILL PREPARE HIM AN HABITATION; my father's Elohim (אלהים), and I will exalt Him.", The Jubilee Bible 2010 - “The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I WILL PREPARE HIM A HABITATION;  my father's God, and I will exalt Him.”

The Interlinear Hebrew Old Testament - "he my God, and I WILL PREPARE HIM A HABITATION".  

You can see this Hebrew O.T. here -


The Geneva Bible 1587 is basically the same as the KJB and says: "He is my God, and I will prepare him a tabernacle."

The New Jewish Version 1985 - “This is my God and I WILL ENSHRINE HIM; The God of my father, and I will exalt Him.”

The Smith Bible 1876 says: "I will cause Him to rest"

The Julia Smith Translation 1855 has - “this my God, and I will cause him to rest”  


Foreign Language Bibles

Spanish Jubilee Bible 2010  and the Spanish Reina Valera Gomez Bible 2004 - “ éste es mi Dios, y a éste prepararé HABITACION”, the French Martin 1744 - “Je lui dresserai un Tabernacle; c'est le Dieu de mon père, je l'exalterai.” = "I will build him a Tabernacle", and the Romanian Fidela Bible 2014 - “ el este Dumnezeul meu şi îi voi pregăti o locuinţă; Dumnezeul tatălui meu şi îl voi înălţa.” = “he is my God and I WILL PREPARE HIM A DWELLING, God of my father and I will exalt him.”

The Portuguese Almeida Corrigida 2009, Almeida Bible of 1681 and A Sagradas Escrituras em Portugúes all read like the KJB with: - “este é o meu Deus; portanto, lhe farei UNA HABITACAO (uma habitação); ele é o Deus de meu pai; por isso, o exaltarei." = "I will make him AN HABITATION"

However when we look at the NKJV, NIV, RSV, ESV, NASB we read instead: "He is my God, AND I WILL PRAISE HIM."


The King James Bible translators knew of this way to translate the verse because Coverdale 1534, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549 and the Bishops' Bible 1568 all basically read this way, and they deliberately rejected it in favor of "I will prepare him an habitation."


Now, you have to admit there is quite a difference in meaning between "I will prepare Him an habitation" and "I will praise him". At least, I hope your thinking has not degenerated to the point where you can no longer see that these two phrases do not mean the same thing.

The King James Bible is always right, and I will try to show why this is so in Exodus 15:2. There is only one Hebrew word used here which is rendered as "I will prepare him an habitation". The verb is # 5115 nah-vah and is found only twice in the entire Old Testament. The other time the verb is used is in the book of Habakkuk 2:5 where even the NKJV and NASB translate the verb as "stay at home". Your home is your habitation.

The noun form of the verb #5115 nah-vah is a very common noun used many times. It is #5116 nah-veh, and is frequently translated by all versions as "habitation". In fact, in the same context of Exodus 15:13 it is used in the same song of Moses when they say: "Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy HABITATION."

Neither the verb nor the noun have anything to do with "praise" as the NKJV, NIV, NASB, RSV, ESV have rendered Exodus 15:2. In the King James Bible and a few others we read that the children of Israel would prepare "an habitation" for their God. This is exactly what we are told they would do later in the book of Exodus.

In Exodus 25 God commands Moses to tell the children of Israel to bring offerings of precious metals, linen and animal skins to build the tabernacle where God will meet with them. In verse 25:8 God says: "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." This is what is prophetically referred to in Exodus 15:2 when the King James Bible has Moses and the children of Israel singing "and I will prepare him an habitation."


As usual, the commentators disagree among themselves, but

John Gill notes: "Moses, or the people of Israel, or both, determine to "prepare" him an "habitation"...and seem to have some respect unto, and knowledge of an habitation hereafter to be built, the tabernacle and temple."

The Geneva Bible Study Notes - “I will prepare him an habitation - to worship Him in it.”

Ellicott’s Commentary - “I will prepare him an habitation.—So Onkelos and Aben-Ezra”

Benson’s Commentary mentions - “I will prepare him a habitation — This version is countenanced by the Chaldee, Extruam ei sanctuarium, I will build him a sanctuary, referring probably to the tabernacles soon to be built, to which there seems also to be an allusion in Exodus 15:13.

Matthew Poole’s Commentary -“An habitation; a place for his service and worship, where he will dwell by his special presence.”


A.W. Pink remarks: "He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation" (v. 2). Beautiful is this. A spirit of true devotion is here expressed. An "habitation" is a dwelling-place. It was Jehovah’s presence in their midst that their hearts desired. And is it not ever thus with the Lord’s redeemed—to enjoy fellowship with the One who has saved us! "

The King James Holy Bible is ALWAYS right.  Get used to it.

Will Kinney

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