Genesis 22:1 "And it came to pass after these things, that God DID TEMPT Abraham, and said unto him...Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest...and offer him there for a burnt offering..."
Bible critics and wannabe scholars sometimes bring up this verse as an example of an alleged error or contradiction in the King James Bible. One such self- appointed authority recently criticized the KJB in this typical way.
James 1:13: "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:"
While Gen 22:1 says, "And it came to pass after these things, that God did TEMPT Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am." (KJV)
Then he said: "Even though tempt may mean several things without study, this appears to be a conflict of scripture. Are there any other contradictions in the KJV? If the King James is inerrant, wouldn't they have used a different word in Gen 22:1?" (End of comments by the Bible critic.)
Instead of straining at gnats, this Bible critic would be better served by consulting an English dictionary and learning more of his own native tongue of English.
The Cambridge Dictionary gives a modern example of the use of the word to tempt in the sense of PUTTING TO THE TEST. It lists: "You're tempting fate by riding your bike without wearing a cycle helmet."
Wordsmyth Dictionary list four modern meanings of the word "to tempt", and #3 is the meaning found in Genesis 22:1 as well as other places in the Bible.
1. to entice or try to entice (someone) to do something unwise or wrong, as by promising pleasure or reward.
2. to be attractive or strongly appealing to
. Example The idea of a swim right now tempts me.
3. to provoke or PUT TO THE TEST.
Example Such recklessness tempts fate.
4. to cause to be strongly inclined or disposed.
Example I was tempted to reply to their rudeness.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary 1998 also gives these definitions and examples.
Tempt, v. t. O.E. tempten, tenten, from OF. tempter, tenter, F. tenter, fr. L. tentare, temptare, to handle, feel, attack, to try, put to the test, urge, freq. from tendere, tentum, and tensum, to stretch.
1. TO PUT TO TRIAL; TO PROVE; TO TEST; TO TRY. God did tempt Abraham. --Gen. xxii. 1.
Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God. --Deut. vi. 16.
2. To lead, or endeavor to lead, into evil; to entice to what is wrong; to seduce. Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. --James i. 14.
Not only does the King James Holy Bible read that God did TEMPT Abraham in Genesis 22:1, but so also do Miles Coverdale 1535, the Bishop's Bible 1568 - "God did TEMPT Abraham", the Douay-Rheims 1610 and 1752, The Bill Bible 1671, The Patrick Paraphrase Bible 1822, Webster's translation 1833, the Brenton Translation 1851 - "and it came to pass that after these things God TEMPTED Abraam", the Lesser Bible 1853- "that God did tempt Abraham", the Douay version 1950, the 1936 Jewish translation put out by the Hebrew Publishing Company of New York, Brenton's translation of the Septuagint - "And it came to pass after these things that God TEMPTED Abraam", the Bond Slave Version 2009, the 2008 Torah Transliteration Scripture, the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 (Yerusha Shen), the Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible 2011, the BRG Bible 2012 and the New Brenton Translation 2012 - "And it came to pass after these things that God TEMPTED Abraam, and said to him, Abraam, Abraam; and he said, Lo! I am here."
The King James Bible translators were well aware of different ways to translate this passage. Several previous English translations like those of Tyndale 1534, Great Bible 1540, Matthew's bible 1549 the the Geneva Bible 1587 all said "God DID PROVE Abraham". So they obviously knew what they were doing when they deliberately chose to translate this as "God did TEMPT Abraham." It was not some kind of mistake or blunder and it was reviewed some 14 different times in several different committees before finally going to the printing press. They knew what they were doing here.
Words obviously have more than one narrow meaning, and this is true in Hebrew and Greek as well as all other languages. Notice THE CONTEXT in James 1:13-14 is TEMPTATION TO SIN. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted WITH EVIL, neither tempteth he any man: (context, context, context - "with evil") But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."
Many Bible commentators have had no problem understanding the meaning of the passage as it stands in the King James Bible.
John Calvin comments: "
John Gill on Genesis 22:1 - “God did tempt Abraham; not to sin, as Satan does, for God tempts no man, nor can he be tempted in this sense; and, had Abraham slain his son, it would have been no sin in him, it being by the order of God, who is the Lord of life, and the sovereign disposer of it; but HE TEMPTED HIM, that is, he tried him, to prove him, and to know his faith in him, his fear of him, his love to him, and cheerful obedience to his commands.”
Jamieson, Faussett and Brown - “God did tempt Abraham--not to incite to sin (James 1:13), but try, prove--give occasion for the development of his faith (1 Peter 1:7).”
Matthew Poole’s commentary on the Bible - “God did tempt Abraham. The word tempt is ambiguous and signifies either 1. To entice to sin, in which sense devils and wicked men are said to tempt others, but God tempts no man, James 1:13; OR 2. To prove or try, AND IN THIS SENSE God is said TO TEMPT MEN - Deut. 8:2; 13:3, Judges 2:22. THUS GOD TEMPTED Abraham, i.e. He tried the sincerity and strength of his faith...”
Matthew Henry comments: “GOD TEMPTED HIM, not to draw him to sin, so Satan tempts (if Abraham had sacrificed Isaac, he would not have sinned, his orders would have justified him, and borne him out), but to discover his graces, how strong they were, that they might be found to praise, and honour, and glory, 1 Peter 1:7. Thus God TEMPTED Job, that he might appear not only a good man, but a great man. God did tempt Abraham.”
If, as some Bible critics suggest, there is a contradiction in the KJB, then many other modern versions likewise suffer from a similar contradiction in James 1:13. Both the NASB 1995, NIV, ESV and the 1982 New KJV say God cannot be tempted with evil.
Yet in the NASB we read in Psalms 78: 41 and 56 of the children of Israel: "again and again THEY TEMPTED God, and pained the Holy One of Israel", and "Yet THEY TEMPTED and rebelled against the Most High God." Also in Psalms 106:14 the NASB says "THEY TEMPTED God in the wilderness."
Jesus Himself is God and the NASB tells us that Jesus was tempted in Matthew 4:1 - "And He was in the wilderness forty days being TEMPTED by Satan", Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2, Hebrews 2:18 and Hebrews 4:15.
Likewise the NKJV has Moses asking the Israelites "Why do you TEMPT the LORD?", and "he called the place Massah...because they TEMPTED the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us or not?". The NKJV also says in Psalms 78:41 that "again and again they TEMPTED the LORD and limited the Holy One of Israel."
The ESV tells us that Christ was tempted, and the Lord Jesus Christ is God. Hebrews 2:18 - "For because he himself has suffered when TEMPTED, he is able to help those who are being tempted." Hebrews 4:15 - "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been TEMPTED as we are, yet without sin."
ESV - Matthew 4:1 - "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness TO BE TEMPTED by the devil."
ESV - Mark 1:13 - "And he was in the wilderness forty days, BEING TEMPTED by Satan."
ESV Luke 4:1-2 -"And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit...was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, BEING TEMPTED by the devil"
The Holman Standard tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:9 - "Let us not TEMPT Christ as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. "
And the NIV tells us that Jesus, being God, was also tempted: Matthew 4:1 - Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be TEMPTED by the devil. Mark 1:13 - and he was in the desert forty days, being TEMPTED by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. Luke 4:2 - where for forty days he was TEMPTED by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. Hebrews 2:18 - Because he himself suffered when he was TEMPTED, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 4:15 - For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been TEMPTED in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin.
The ASV of 1901 - Exodus 17:7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the striving of the children of Israel, and because THEY TEMPTED Jehovah, saying, Is Jehovah among us, or not?
Numbers 14:22 - because all those men that have seen my glory, and my signs, which I wrought in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet HAVE TEMPTED ME these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
Deut. 6:16 - Ye shall not TEMPT Jehovah your God, as YE TEMPTED him in Massah.
Psalm 78:18 - And THEY TEMPTED God in their heart By asking food according to their desire.
Psalm 78:41 - And they turned again and TEMPTED God, And provoked the Holy One of Israel.
Psalm 78:56 - Yet they TEMPTED and rebelled against the Most High God, And kept not his testimonies;
Psalm 95:9 - When your fathers TEMPTED me, Proved me, and saw my work.
Psalm 106:14 - But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And TEMPTED God in the desert.
So if God cannot be tempted with evil as the NASB, NKJV, ESV, NIV say in James 1:13, and we limit the definition of this word to one narrow meaning, then there is also a contradiction in these other modern versions when they tell us the evil and rebellious children of Israel tempted God again and again. Obviously one of the meanings of the word "to tempt" is to put to the test, to try or to prove.
The King James Bible is not in error in Genesis 22:1 where we are told that God did tempt Abraham. God tried and tested him, and this is one of the meanings of the word. In fact, when the same event is referred to in Hebrews 11:17, there we read: "By faith Abraham, when HE WAS TRIED, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son." The King James Bible is its own best commentary and the Bible critics would do well to learn their own English language a bit better before they come up with these silly objections.
Another similar verse one Bible critic brought up was James 1:2. He writes: "count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations" however it should really mean trials instead of temptations." Again, the "problem" is not with the King James Bible but with this man's understanding of his own English language. The word "temptations" clearly can carry the meaning of trials or testing.
Not only does the King James Bible translate James 1:2 as "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers TEMPTATIONS"
but so also do Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, the Great Bible 1540, the Bishops' Bible 1568 - "ye fall into diuers temptations: Geneva Bible 1587 - "when ye fall into diuers tentations", Whiston's N.T. 1745, Wesley's Translation 1790, Etheridge Translation 1849, Emphatic Diaglott N.T. 1865, Noyes N.T. 1869, Darby 1890, Young's literal 1898, Godbey N.T., the ASV of 1901, Rotherham's Emphasized bible 1902, Godbey N.T. 1902, Worrell N.T. 1904, The Twentieth Century N.T. 1904, Lamsa's translation of the Syriac Peshitta, J.B. Phillips Translation 1962, American Bible Union N.T., Montgomery N.T., The Word of Yah 1993, KJV 21st Century Version 1994, Interlinear Greek New Testament 1997 (Larry Pierce), The Complete Jewish Bible 1998 - "various kinds of temptations", the Hebrew Names Bible, The World English Bible, The Amplified Bible 1987, the Third Millenium Bible 1998, God's First Truth 1999, Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, Tomson New Testament 2002, The Evidence Bible 2003, the Updated Bible Version 2003 - "when you fall into manifold TEMPTATIONS.", Bond Slave Version 2009, the New Heart English Bible 2010, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible 2011 - "when you shall fall into diverse TEMPTATIONS", the World English Bible 2012 and the Holy Bible, Modern Literal Version 2014 - "when you fall into diverse TEMPTATIONS".
What I have always found to be the case with Bible critics who attempt to find just one little error in the King James Bible, is that none of them has any final authority other than their own minds and understanding. If you ask them: "Do you believe there is any text, be it in Hebrew or Greek, or any Bible version in any language that you consider to be the infallible, preserved, complete words of God that you would not alter in any way?", without exception they do not have one.
They always have an inflated view of their own intellects and abilities to pick and choose which texts they feel are God's words, and how they themselves prefer to translate them. Their particular mystical bible that exists only in their own minds always differs from everybody else's. They are their own Final Authority, and every man does that which is right in his own eyes.
For me and thousands of other Bible believing Christians, we will stick to the tried and true King James Holy Bible and not accept any spurious substitutes.
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