Another King James Bible Believer

Psalm 78:36 Can God be DECEIVED? - NASB, Youngs, NET, ISV, Holman Blunder

Psalm 78:36  KJB (NKJV, ASV, NIV, ESV) - "Nevertheless they did FLATTER HIM with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues."

NASB 1972-1995 - "But THEY DECEIVED HIM with their mouth And lied to Him with their tongue." 

Psalms 78 tells us of Israel's rebellion and sin against their God and of his continued compassion towards them. One of the people's many recorded sins is found in v.36: "they did FLATTER him with their mouth, and lied unto him with their tongue."

We can flatter God - say all kinds of nice things about him yet not really mean them. God is not fooled by mans false words of adoration. God says through his prophet Ezekiel - "And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: FOR WITH THEIR MOUTH THEY SHEW MUCH LOVE, but their heart goeth after their covetousness."  Ezekiel 33:31

Charles Spurgeon notes in his Treasury of David, a commentary on the Psalms, - Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. - "they did but FLATTER and lie, and play the hypocrites with God...A FLATTERER, you know, differs from a friend, in that he pretends much kindness, yet wants inward good will, doing it for his own ends...he being a God that knows the heart, to flatter him is the greatest mockery; for that is it which chiefly provoketh men to hate such as dissemble friendship."

Adam Clarke notes: "They promised well, they called him their God, and their fathers' God, and told him how good, and kind, and merciful he had been to them. Thus, their mouth FLATTERED him. And they said that, whatever the Lord their God commanded them to do, they would perform."

John Calvin translates it the same way it stands in the King James Bible and comments thus: "And they FLATTERED him with their mouth, and lied to him with their tongue. Here they are charged with perfidiousness, because they neither confessed their guilt with sincerity of heart, nor truly ascribed to God the glory of their deliverance. We are not to suppose that they made no acknowledgement at all; but it is intimated that the confession of the mouth, as it did not proceed from the heart, was constrained and not voluntary. This is well worthy of being noticed; for from it we learn, not only the duty incumbent upon us of guarding against that gross hypocrisy which consists in uttering with the tongue, before men, one thing, while we think a different thing in our hearts, but also that we ought to beware of a species of hypocrisy which is more hidden, and which consists in this, that the sinner, being constrained by fear, FLATTERS God in a slavish manner, while yet, if he could, he would shun the judgment of God. The greater part of men are mortally smitten with this disease; for although the divine majesty extorts from them some kind of awe, yet it would be gratifying to them were the light of divine truth completely extinguished. It is, therefore, not enough to yield an assent to the divine word, unless that assent is accompanied with true and pure affection, so that our hearts may not be double or divided." 

 John Gill comments: "Nevertheless, they did FLATTER him with their mouth…In prayer to him, they only drew nigh to him with their mouths, and honoured him with their lips; they showed much love to him and his ways and ordinances hereby; but their hearts were not with him, but after their lusts; they made fine speeches and fair promises, but their hearts and mouths did not agree; they spoke with a double heart, thinking and endeavouring to "deceive" the Lord...but he is not to be deceived, nor will he be mocked." 


"they did FLATTER him with their mouth"

Agreeing with the reading found in the King James Bible that the people FLATTERED God are Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, The Bill Bible 1671, The Longman Version 1841, The Boothroyd Bible 1853, The Jewish Family Bible 1864, Noyes Translation 1869, the Revised Version 1885, Calvin's Bible 1855, The Sharpe Bible 1883, Darby 1890, American Standard Version 1901, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible 1902, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - "they FLATTERED HIM with their mouth", the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company Old Testament (New York), The New Berkeley Version in Modern English 1969, the Amplified Bible 1987,  the NIV 1984 - 2011, NKJV 1982, the RSV 1952, NRSV 1989, The Word of Yah Bible 1993, The Koster Scriptures 1998, the KJV 21st Century 1994, Third Millennium Bible 1998, Green's 1998 Modern KJV, God's First Truth 1999, the World English Bible 2000, The Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, New Simplified Bible 2003, the Updated Bible Version 2004, Green's Literal 2005, the Context Group Version 2007, The Hebraic Transliteration Scriptures 2010 - "Nevertheless they DID FLATTER him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues.", the New European Version 2010, New Heart English Bible 2010, the NIV 2011, the Common English Version 2011, the Names of God Bible 2011, the Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011 - "they FLATTERED him with their mouths", the Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, the Katapi New Standard Bible 2012, Bond Slave Version 2012, The Hebrew Names Version 2014, The Modern English Version 2014, Tree of Life Version 2015 and the English Standard Version 2001 - 2016 (ESV).  


Foreign Language Bibles


Many foreign language Bible teach the same thing - the FLATTERED God but they certainly did NOT DECEIVE Him. Among these are  the Spanish Reina Valera of 1909, 1960 and the 2004-2010 Reina Valera Gómez Bible - "le lisonjeaban con la boca", the Italian Diodati 1649 and the Italian Nuova Riveduta of 2006 - "Essi però lo adulavano con la bocca" = "they flattered him", the Portuguese Almeida Actualizada and La Biblia Sagrada em Portugués - "Todavia lisonjeavam-no com a boca" = "they flattered him with the mouth", the French Martin 1744 and French Ostervald 1996 - "Mais ils faisaient beau semblant de leur bouche"  


Some Other Versions


The Bible in Basic English 1961 says: "But THEIR LIPS WERE FALSE TO HIM, and their tongues were untrue to him"


Rotherham's Emphasized bible 1902 - "So THEY SPAKE HIM FAIR WITH THEIR MOUTH, And, with their tongue, did promise him falsely"


New Life Version 1969 - "But THEY GAVE HIM FALSE HONOR with their mouth. They lied to Him with their tongue."


Living Bible 1971 - "But it was only with their words that they followed him, not with their hearts."


New Living Translation 2015 - "But all they gave Him was lip service"

The Message 2002 - "But THEY DIDN'T MEAN A WORD OF IT; they lied through their teeth the whole time."


The Common English Bible 2011 - "But THEY WERE JUST FLATTERING HIM WITH LIP SERVICE. they were just flattering him with lip service.  They were lying to him with their tongues."


The New International Reader's Version 2014 - "THEY DIDN'T MEAN IT WHEN THEY PRAISED HIM"


International Children's Bible 2015 - "BUT THEIR WORDS WERE FALSE. Their tongues lied to Him."


"they DECEIVED God"

But the NASB, as well as Young's "literal", the Holman Christian Standard Version 2009, the International Standard Version and Daniel Wallace and company's NET version all say "they DECEIVED him with their mouth".

A single Hebrew word can have many meanings, but not all of the possible meanings is the right meaning for the context.  The same Hebrew word #3117 yohm can mean either "days" or "years" (KJB, ESV, NKJV, NASB, NIV) and the same Hebrew word #1288 bah-rach can mean either "to curse" or "to bless" (See Job 1:5, 10, 11 and 21), but obviously is not the same in every context.

The KJB itself translates this single Hebrew verb (#6601 pah-thah) as "to deceive, entice, flatter, silly, persuade, enlarge and allure", but obviously all of them can be the correct one at any given time, especially when it comes to the perfect nature of our holy God.

Notice that the NASB, Youngs, NET, ISV and Holman Standard don't say "they TRIED TO deceive Him" or "they THOUGHT they had deceived him" but "they DECEIVED Him". This is utterly impossible. God certainly cannot be deceived.  

The Catholic versions -

As usual the Catholic versions are all over the place creating confusion, but at least none of them so far has gotten as bad as the NASB, NET and Holman Standard.  The Douay Rheims of 1610 did not follow the Hebrew at all, nor did the 1950 Douay but both said: "But they LOVED HIM with their mouth and lied unto him with their tongue."  

Then the 1968 Jerusalem bible changed this to "But they OUTWARDLY FLATTERED HIM with their mouth."  The 1970 St. Joseph New American Bible correctly has "they FLATTERED him with their mouth".  Then the 1985 New Jerusalem says "They TRIED TO HOODWINK HIM with their mouth" and now the 2009 Catholic Public Domain version has "And they CHOSE him with their mouth, and then lied to him with their tongue."



The so called Greek Septuagint

Both the so called Greek Septuagint and Lamsa's translation of the Syriac are wrong when they say "they LOVED him with their mouth" (Greek -agapeesan), but at least they didn't go so far off course as to say "they DECEIVED him."

Oh, but wait. Now the NEW English Septuagint Translation 2014 has come out and it now says: "And they DECEIVED him with their mouth, and with their tongue they lied to him."  

You can see this latest perversion here -

The Voice of 2012 has at least had the common sense to change their translation to "they TRIED TO DECEIVE Him".

If a person flatters another person, this never automatically means that the person flattered actually believes their words are sincere. When most people are flattered, they know that the other person is just saying nice things about them in an effort to be friendly or to get something. But to be flattered does not mean that you actually believe the nice things being said about you.

This is an important point. The flattery comes from man and is directed towards God. It tells us nothing about how it affected God in any way. In fact, by calling it "flattery" we assume that it was insincere. The Bible does not say "they complimented Him" but "they flattered him". Flattery is untrue or insincere praise.

However when we look at the word deceived, this tells us about how the words of mere mortal men affected God Himself. The NASB blunder says that "they DECEIVED Him". Here we are looking at the way in which God Himself was affected by what was said. The NASB translation and clear meaning is either stupid or from the pits of hell, or both. But it is not right and it is not inerrant. 

The absurd reading found in the NASB, NET, ISV, Youngs and Holman Standard that people DECEIVED God is a theological error. The word Theology literally means the study of God.

If we begin to list the attributes of God as found in Scripture, we can say that God is holy, God is righteous, God is love, God is light, and if we follow the NASB reading, we would also have to conclude that God is gullible - He can be deceived. Is this the true God of the Bible? I trow not.

This example of false doctrine being taught in the modern versions is not an isolated case. There are many examples of the true doctrines of God being either watered down or perverted in todays Bible Babble Buffet.  

Here are over 30 examples for you to consider.

Fake bible versions DO teach False Doctrines -

Get yourself the King James Holy Bible, the only one seriously believed to be the complete and infallible words of the living God. 

Notes from the Internet -

One of the people I encountered who criticizes the King James Bible has a lot of theory about the multitude of conflicting and contradictory bible versions out there, but his theories, in my opinion, certainly do not fit the facts nor even his own arguments when it comes to specific Scriptures.

A Christian who calls himself Grinch said: “I believe that while the translations have a few slight variations, the good exegetical practice of the faithful servant (who RIGHTLY divides the word of truth) takes the same meaning from them all...(which after all is the truth of God's word!). God's word is not the precise exact words but the meaning behind those words which in actuality is the miracle of God's word. What I mean is that words are important, however different words can be used to describe the same exact truth. The miracle of God's word is that it transcends all languages and vocabularies and still teaches the same truth when exegetically interpreted correctly! "

Grinch continues: "Many KJV words are totally obsolete and unused even by college-educated people in recent decades. "In KJV language the word "suffer" meant "let" in 1611, but means "endure pain" now. So which version actually teaches the truth of God's word to the English reader today?" Obviously in the case above the newer versions better teach the truth of the passage, yet use a different word." (End of Bible critic's comments)

First of all, Grinch seems to think there are only "a few slight variations" among the various bible versions. He couldn't be more wrong. Grinch says he likes the NASB and the NKJV, yet between these two versions alone there are some 5000 words either omitted or changed in the New Testament of the NASB as compared to the NKJV.

The NASB frequently departs from the Hebrew texts, and both these two versions have very different meanings in literally hundreds of verses; yet in Grinch's studied opinion, these thousands of very real textual and translational differences are but "a few slight variations".

Secondly, Grinch tells us that the words may be different but the meaning is the same. Sorry Grinch, but there are hundreds of verses, or NON-VERSES because of omission, that have totally different meanings, and no amount of juggling or sleight of hand maneuvering can ever make them "teach the same truth".

Thirdly, Grinch criticizes the word "suffer" as found in the King James Bible. If you look at a dictionary, the word "suffer", meaning to allow or permit, is not archaic at all. Have we been so dumbed down that we think a word can have only one narrow meaning? The Revised Version, the ASV, Darby, Young’s, Tyndale, Geneva Bible, Third millenium Bible, and the KJV 21st Century versions, all render this word as "suffer to come unto me."

See my article on this word "suffer" here -

“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”  Mark 10:14

April 2, 2003, a commentator on Fox News, in opposition to the war, stated that, " may be incumbent upon us to possibly SUFFER the presence of Saddam Hussein as leader of Iraq in order to maintain a buffer between the Sunnis and Shiites."

The Rocky Mountain News in 2003 said of a politician: "He does not suffer fools gladly, and Washington is full of fools."

The other person who attempted to refute my arguments about the NASB blunder in Psalm 78:36 is a man called David. He posted: "Will, Ps 78:35 KJV "And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. 36.Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. 37.For their heart was not right with him,neither were they stedfast in his covenant. 38.But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away and did not stir up all his wrath. 40.How oft did they provoke him, . . . 41. Yea, they turned back and tempted God. . .42. they remembered not his hand. . .

They flattered God -- c'mon Will, what's the matter? Do you ever read an entire statement, or just the parts you want. Yes, the KJV says Israel "flattered" God -- but notice it says they flattered God with their lips, and then please note "they lied unto him with their tongues." Is that not an attempt to deceive God? In the same passage, vs. 41 note that they "tempted" God. Now using your own rationalization "can God be tempted????" No, of course not. But the KJV says Israel tempted God. Why don't you think a little and read the whole context while you're thinking. This was a silly example for you to use."

I then responded to brother David in the following manner:

When the Mind turns to Mush.

Hi David, I find your answer regarding the NASB's rendering of how the children of Israel DECEIVED God to be of great interest.

You said: "They flattered God -- c'mon Will, what's the matter? Do you ever read an entire statement, or just the parts you want. Yes, the KJV says Israel "flattered" God -- but notice it says they flattered God with their lips, and then please note "they lied unto him with their tongues." Is that not AN ATTEMPT TO DECEIVE God? In the same passage, vs. 41 note that they "tempted" God. Now using your own rationalization "CAN GOD BE TEMPTED? NO, OF COURSE NOT. But the KJV says Israel tempted God. Why don't you think a little and read the whole context while you're thinking. This was a silly example for you to use. "

David, your thinking is decidedly unbiblical. I had first posted that the NASB does not say "they TRIED TO deceive" God, but that they DECEIVED Him. Apparently you missed this.

Secondly, you now tell me that the KJB says Israel TEMPTED God, and you say " Now using your own rationalization "can God be tempted?" No, of course not. "

Uh, David, may I suggest you take another look at your own NASB. Right here in this same Psalm 78 in verses 41 and 56 your favorite NASB says: "Again and again they TEMPTED God"...."Yet they TEMPTED and rebelled against the Most High God", and again in Psalm 106:14 your NASB says that the children of Israel "TEMPTED God in the wilderness."

You really need to learn a bit more about both your NASB and the English language, instead of being educated out of your faith in an inerrant Book.

The word "tempt" means to put to the test, to try, and your own NASB uses this same word in the same way as the KJB does.

Did God “tempt” Abraham?


Will Kinney

Then again Grinch answered: RE: Psalm 78:36 "You have got to be kidding me! Surely you cannot be serious. My goodness your nonsensical arguments are juvenile at best! This is precisely what I mean by KJVO's molesting Scripture by trying to create doctrines from verses yanked out of their context using single words. They lied to God and deceived Him with their mouths. Read the context for meaning. Will, you are obviously (for good reason) running from the issue.

Let me throw another stupid KJVO style argument back at you. Genesis 6:6

And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. Exodus 32:14

And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. So KJV teaches that God makes mistakes and thinks evil? I marvel at the hatred for context by professed Christians."(End of comments by Grinch)

My comments: Notice that Grinch did not address the issue that the NASB teaches that God the people DECEIVED God. Instead Grinch attempts the tactic of ridicule rather than of reason. I guess he thinks by making a lot of noise and casting dust into the air about how I "must be kidding; I can't be serious, my arguments are juvenile at best, we are molesting Scripture and yanking verses out of context"... that by this means he can distract us from the simple issue at hand. Does the NASB teach, not merely that they TRIED TO deceive, or practiced deception against God, but that they DECEIVED Him? And then Grinch has the nerve to tell me that I am the one running from the issue. The irony is simply overwhelming.

Grinch also sidesteps the issue of Psalm 78:36 by tossing out what he thinks is another error in the KJB. The fact that God repents of certain actions is recorded in a multiplicity of Bible translations, including Geneva, Coverdale, Bishops' Bible, the RV, ASV, the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, Darby, Youngs, Spanish, Diodati, the KJV 21st Century, the Third Millennium Bible, and Green's 1998 Modern KJV.

Grinch prefers the NASB, but I wonder if Grinch ever bothered to look up what his own favorite NASB says in Jeremiah 26:3. Here the NASB uses the word "repent" in exactly the same way he ignorantly criticizes in the KJB. The NASB says: "Thus says the LORD...Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, THAT I MAY REPENT of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds."

The word "repent" has several meanings of which Grinch seems to be ignorant. Besides meaning to turn from sin, the word in both Hebrew and English can also mean either to feel sorrow for something, to regret, or it can be used in an anthropormorphic sense when applied to God of "to change one's mind because of the actions of another".

Grinch then attempts another comeback saying: "Will states:You also said God cannot be tempted, yet your own NASB which you call reliable and infallible also says they tempted God."

Grinch says: KJV states: Exodus 17:7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD. KJV

(My Note: So? This is correct doctrine. They tempted, or put God to the test. There is nothing wrong with this statement and many other Bible versions agree with this reading. In fact, even the NKJV, which Grinch said he also likes, reads the same way: They TEMPTED the Lord.")

Then Grinch continues with these "insightful" words. He writes: "O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived; Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people KJV Jeremiah 4:10 and 20:7. Psalm 78:41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. GO KJV! KJV teaches that God is a liar and that God can be tempted. (following KJVO idiotic logic)"

What Grinch utterly fails to see is that the Bible itself DOES teach that God can deceive people, but God cannot possibly BE DECEIVED Himself. Simple truths, yet they escape the mind of people like Grinch.

Grinch then tries to defend the NASB reading that the people DECEIVED God by "going to the Hebrew" for us. He posts: "I even took the time on the other forum to explain that "deceived" is a Piel, Imperfect verb which means that it is to be understood that the people were in the act of deceiving the Lord, NOT that the Lord was "deceived" (the people deceived, not the lord was deceived) such that the NASB translation is not only acceptable but is actually more consistent with the Hebrew word used."

Now, please pay close attention to what Grinch says. He takes us to the Hebrew text and attempts to defend the NASB reading of "they DECEIVED HIM" by telling us "it is to be understood that the people were in the act of deceiving the Lord, NOT that the Lord was "deceived"; the people deceived, not the lord was deceived."

What Grinch fails to see is that his NASB and his own explanation still says "the people were in the act of deceiving the Lord...the people deceived". Well, if the people were deceiving the Lord, it still means that God was DECEIVED! He contradicts himself, and then resorts to "explaining" the text with his own words that are the direct opposite of what is found in the NASB.

Part of his "defense" of this ridiculous NASB reading is that the Hebrew word CAN have the meaning of "to deceive". I know it CAN, but not every POSSIBLE meaning of a specific Hebrew or Greek correctly applies to every CONTEXT.

The Hebrew word can variously be translated as: "to deceive, to flatter, to allure, to persuade, to prevail, to entice, to be silly, or to be simple". The word is correctly translated as deceive when it is God who does the deceiving, as in Ezekiel 14:9. There the Lord speaks about the false prophets and says: "And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet..."

However it would be incorrect in the context of Hosea 2:14 to translate this same word as "deceive". Here God is wooing Israel back to Himself and He says: "Therefore, behold, I WILL ALLURE her...and speak comfortably unto her...and she shall sing there as in the days of her youth." It would be totally inaccurate to translate this same Hebrew word as "I will DECEIVE HER" in this context, and it certainly is a grave theological error to translate Psalm 78:36 as "the people DECEIVED God".

Hundreds of Hebrew words can have totally different meanings depending on the context. For example, the word yohm can mean either Day or Year, but the context of Exodus 13:10, where it speaks of celebrating the Passover from "year to year" requires that it be translated as "year to year" and not "day to day".

The Hebrew word #2617 gheh-sed normally means something like "mercy, goodness, or lovingkindness", but bible versions translate this same word as "reproach" in Proverbs 14:34 "Sin is a REPROACH to any people". "Mercy", "goodness" or "lovingkindness" do not fit this particular context.

The same Hebrew word (#1288 bah-rach) can mean either "to bless" OR "to curse", depending on the context. See Job 1:5 and 10 where the same word is used, and translated both ways.

I am convinced that seeing the truth that God has preserved His pure words in the King James Bible is a spiritual revelation from God and not a mere "intellectual" exercise. "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain." 1 Corinthians 3:18-20. And in Psalm 19:7 we read: "The law of the LORD is PERFECT, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is SURE, MAKING WISE THE SIMPLE."

The more I see of how people think and reason, (those who do not believe any Bible or any text in any language is now the inerrant, complete and infallible words of God), the more convinced I become about the truth and purity of the King James Holy Bible. When I see what happens to their minds - their twisted logic and emotional tantrums - I am all the more thankful that God has had mercy on me, a vile sinner, and revealed to me and many others where His pure words are found today - in the Authorized King James Holy Bible. 

More Notes from the Internet -

Psalm 78:41 “Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and LIMITED the Holy One of Israel.”

A bible critic who does not believe that any bible in any language is the infallible words of God, tries to justify the false reading found in Ps. 78:36 in the NASB, NET and Holman versions where they teach that the children of Israel DECEIVED God.  He then comes back pointing to verse 41 where it says in the KJB that they “limited the Holy One of Israel.”  He then smugly asks - “Can God be limited? Isn’t that a doctrinal error?”

First of all, the King James Bible is not the only Bible to translate the verse in this way.  Also saying that “they turned back and tempted God and LIMITED the Holy One of Israel.” are the Geneva Bible 1587, Webster’s translation 1833, the Lesser Old Testament 1853 - “and set limits to the Holy One of Israel. “ Young’s literal,  the NKJV 1982, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994, the Living Bible, the Third Millenium Bible 1998 and the Orthodox Jewish Bible of 2011 - “and imposed limits on Kadosh Yisroel.”  

Many others give a similar meaning to the verse. The JPS (Jewish Publication Society) 1917 translation says: “they set bounds to the Holy One of Israel.”  The Bishops’ Bible 1568 is similar with “the prescribed bounds to the Holy One”.  

 Several foreign language translations have the same meaning.  The Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569 and the Reina Valera of 1865, 1909 and the Reina Valera Gómez 2004-2010 - “Y volvían, y tentaban á Dios, Y ponían límite al Santo de Israel.”, the Italian Diodati of 1649 - “E limitarono il Santo d’Israele.”, The French Martin 1744 - “et bornaient le Saint d'Israël.” = “and limited the Holy One of Israel and the Portuguese Almeida Corrigida E Fiel - “e limitaram o Santo de Israel.” = “and limited the Holy One of Israel.”

John Calvin translated it the same way as the KJB and comments: “It is intimated, that when the people dared to limit the operations of God, according to their own pleasure, he was, as it were, shut up within bars of wood or iron, and his infinite power circumscribed within the narrow boundaries to which unbelief would confine it. And assuredly, whenever men do not go beyond their own understandings, it is as if they would measure God by their own small capacity, which is nothing else than to pull him down from his throne; for his Majesty must be brought into subjection to us, if we would have him to be regulated according to our own fancy.”  (John Calvin commentary)

John Gill comments - “and limited the Holy One of Israel...or they set bounds, so Kimchi; to his power and goodness, saying, this he could do, and the other he could not; see Psalm 78:19, and so men limit the Lord when they fix on a blessing they would have, even that, and not another; and the measure of it, to what degree it should be bestowed on them, as well as set the time when they would have it; whereas the blessing itself, and the degree of it, and the time of giving it, should be all left with the Lord; who knows which and what of it is most convenient for us, and when is the best time to bestow it on us.”

C.H. Spurgeon comments: “And limited the Holy One of Israel. Doubted his power and so limited him, dictated to his wisdom and so did the same. To chalk out a path for God is arrogant impiety. The Holy One must do right, the covenant God of Israel must be true, it is profanity itself to say unto him thou shalt do this or that, or otherwise I will not worship thee. Not thus is the Eternal God to be led by a string by his impotent creature. He is the Lord and he will do as seemeth him good.”

Matthew Henry comments: “ and limited the Holy One of Israel, prescribing to him what proofs he should give of his power and presence with them and what methods he should take in leading them and providing for them. They limited him to their way and their time, as if he did not observe that they quarrelled with him. It is presumption for us to limit the Holy One of Israel; for, being the Holy One, he will do what is most for his own glory; and, being the Holy One of Israel, he will do what is most for their good; and we both impeach his wisdom and betray our own pride and folly if we go about to prescribe to him. That which occasioned their limiting God for the future was their forgetting his former favours (v. 42): They remembered not his hand, how strong it is and how it had been stretched out for them, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy, Pharaoh, that great enemy who sought their ruin.”

The Pulpit Commentary sums it up best I think, saying: “And limited the Holy One of Israel . This may mean either "they set limits to his power in their own minds" (see ver. 20), or "they actually limited his power to help and succour them by their want of faith" (comp. Mark 6:5, "He could there do no mighty work," explained in Matthew 13:58 to have been "because of their unbelief").

We can also compare the verse found in all bible versions in  Mark 6:5-6 where it is said of Jesus: “And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief.”

In and by His grace alone,

Will Kinney

 Does God Sometimes Deceive People? - Ezekiel 14:9

There are many truths found in the Holy Scriptures that many present day Christians find unpalatable. Most Christians today do not read their Bibles, so they don't come across these truths, and the modern versions are doing their best to hide them, if one should stumble upon them in God's word. Such is the case with Ezekiel 14:9.

The context is clearly about a false prophet and the person who comes to him. Beginning at Ezekiel 14:7 we read: "For everyone of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself; And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. And IF THE PROPHET BE DECEIVED when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD HAVE DECEIVED that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity; the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him." (Eze. 14:7-11)

God does deceive. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 tells of those who received not the love of the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness and "for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie."

Isaiah 29:10

"For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered."

Matthew 11:25-26

"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because THOU HAST HID THESE THINGS from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight."

John 12:37-40

"But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

Therefore THEY COULD NOT BELIEVE, BECAUSE that Esaias said again, HE HATH BLINDED THEIR EYES, and HARDENED THEIR HEART; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."

Isaiah 63:17

"O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance."

In 1 Kings 22:19-23 the LORD was sitting on his throne and all the host of heaven were about Him. He asked who shall persuade Ahab that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead. A spirit volunteered to go forth and be a lying spirit in the mouth of his prophets. "Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets."

Job 12:16 tells us "the deceived and the deceiver are his."

Here in Ezekiel 14:9 the phrase "If the prophet be DECEIVED when he hath spoken a thing, I THE LORD HAVE DECEIVED that prophet" is the same in the Geneva Bible 1599, Coverdale 1535, Bishop's Bible 1568, the Revised Version 1881, the ASV 1901, the RSV, NRSV, the 2001 ESV, Green's interlinear, the 1936 Hebrew-English translation put out by the Hebrew Publishing Company, New York, the Catholic Douay Version 1950, the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970, Bible in Basic English 1961, the Spanish Reina Valera 1960, the KJV 21st Century, the Itlalian Diodati, the Greek Septuagint, Lamsa's 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, and the 2003 Holman Standard Version.

The NIV departs the least from the true reading with its "if the prophet is ENTICED to utter a prophecy, I the LORD have ENTICED that prophet."

The NKJV changes the whole meaning with: "if the prophet IS INDUCED TO SPEAK anything, I the LORD have INDUCED that prophet."

The NASB basically agrees with the NKJV saying: "if the prophet IS PREVAILED UPON to speak a word, it is I , the LORD, who have PREVAILED UPON that prophet."

Both the NKJV and NASB obliterate the sense of God's deceiving this prophet, and have blandly substituted the idea of God merely moving upon him to cause him to speak.

With the NIV, we could well ask: With what did God entice the prophet? It doesn't hint at any incentive given, or temptation offered. Rather, the prophet is deceived by God as well as the man who comes to him because they have separated themselves from the LORD and set up their idols in their hearts.

I personally believe a similar thing is occuring today with the Bible version issue. Many have set up their own intellects, respected men, and scholarship as an idol in their hearts, and God is handing them over to deception and unbelief. These modern versions are not God's true, inspired words, and the church is being deceived into thinking there is no inerrant, pure word of God on earth today.  

Does God sometimes deceive His own people?  Jeremiah 4:10 and 20:7

In Jeremiah 4:10 we read: "Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly DECEIVED this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul."

Not only does the KJB say "thou hast greatly DECEIVED this people...saying, Ye shall have peace" but so do Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, Darby, the RV 1881, ASV 1901, RSV, NRSV 1989, ESV 2001-2011, NASB, NIV, NKJV, Holman Standard, and the Jewish Publication Society translation 1917, to name just a few.

This can be understood in a couple of ways. It may express what Jeremiah and the people of Israel might have thought God had done to them in that He had promised to bless them and their land, and yet they did not take into account that God had also promised that He would judge them if they turned to idolatry and rebellion. Instead of peace they were now faced with judgment.  

Or it may express the thought that God Himself had allowed the false prophets to deceive the people in promising them peace, as we see in Jeremiah 23:17 where it is said of the false prophets: "They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace: and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you."  

Remember Ezekiel 14:9 "And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel."  

Jeremiah 20:7-8 "O LORD, thou hast DECEIVED me, and I was DECEIVED: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.  For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily."  

Not only does the KJB say "thou hast DECEIVED me, and I was DECEIVED" but so too Wycliffe 1395, the Great Bible 1540, Bishops' Bible, the Geneva Bible, the Revised Version 1881, Douay, the RSV, ESV 2011, NASB, NIV 2011, and the Holman Standard 2003.

The NKJV is wrong in that it says "O LORD, You INDUCED me, and I was PERSUADED; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me."  

The sense in the King James Bible and many others where Jeremiah complains that God had DECEIVED him seems to reveal the weakness and misunderstanding Jeremiah might have had of what he thought would have been the success of his calling. God had called him to be a prophet of the nations (Jer. 1:5) and said He would make him a defenced city and that the people would not prevail against him (Jer. 1:18-19).  Jeremiah had also found God's words to be unto him "the joy and rejoicing of mine heart" (Jeremiah 15:16), but now he was being hounded by his persecutors, smitten and placed in the stocks. (Jer. 20:1-2)

As John Gill and other Bible commentators have said: "O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived,.... What follows from hence to the end of the chapter is thought to have been said by the prophet, when in the stocks, or in prison, and shows mixture of grace and corruption in him; a struggle between flesh and spirit, and the force of a temptation under which he laboured, arising from difficulties and discouragements in his work; and he not only complains to God, but of him."



Will Kinney

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