Genesis 50:20 "Ye thought - God meant" - James White has a Bee in his Bonnet
In Genesis 50:20 Joseph says to his brethren: "But as for you, ye THOUGHT evil against me; but God MEANT it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."
For some reason, perhaps known only to himself, Mr. James White has a bee in his bonnet about how the King James Bible translates this verse.
In his book, The King James Only Controversy, on page 230 Mr. White says regarding the KJV: "Another example of inconsistency can be found at Genesis 50:20. The Hebrew text provides a plain parallel here that is obscured by the curious KJV translation. Joseph told his brothers that while they had MEANT their actions for evil ends, God had MEANT the same actions for good ends. The KJV introduces a distinction that is not to be found in the text it is translating." [End of Docktor Wite Out's comments]
I'll wager that most people who have read this passage as it stands in the King James Bible have never had the thought jump out to them "You know, that just doesn't seem right. They missed that plain Hebrew parallel."
I was once involved with James White in an online discussion about the Bible version issue and we addressed this particular verse. Here is part of our conversation.
I said: "James, I will be happy to address Genesis 50:20. I thought it was one of your more ridiculous criticisms. Why don't you tell us all what is wrong with the KJB reading, so we will all be clear on why you consider it to be an error, and then I will be glad to respond".
James then posts: Genesis 50:20 (NASB) "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
Genesis 50:20 (KJV) But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
"The Hebrew presents a strict parallel, "you (Joseph's brothers) MEANT (chashav) evil" and then "God MEANT (chashav) it for good." Translating the verb as "thought evil" and then "meant it unto good" obscures the parallel that is so important in demonstrating compatibilism in this passage. It is not that the KJV is WRONG but that it is INFERIOR to the modern translations of the passage, including that of the NKJV: Genesis 50:20 "But as for you, you meant evil against me; [but] God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as [it is] this day, to save many people alive. (NKJ) So, upon what basis do you argue for the superiority of obscuring the parallel that is clear in the original tongue?" - James White.
You see, Mr. White doesn't have nor believe in a perfect, infallible Bible. Oh, he'll tell you that he believes "The Bible IS the infallible words of God", but when he is asked to show us a copy of this "infallible Bible" he SAYS he believes in, he will never tell you.
He used to use the NASB a lot, but it seems that lately he has been using the ESV. And Mr. White doesn't mind correcting either of them when he feels they go against his final authority for determining both text and meaning. What final authority might this be? Well, simply put, it is his own mind and understanding.
James is a professional Bible corrector and nobody has really gotten it right yet after all these attempts to give us God's words - not the KJB, RV, ASV, NKJV, NIV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, ESV - none of them. James should write his own bible version and be done with it: that is the only way he will be satisfied. It also would make him very happy if his made up bible version gained him boatloads of money and worldwide fame.
What James fails to notice is that many other Bible translators, just as qualified as himself, have not seen fit to render this verse in the same way he "thinks" (or should that be "means"?) to translate it.
In fact, other Bible commentators who are well known for "correcting" the KJB on occasion, have left this verse intact as it stands.
John Gill remarks: "But as for you, ye THOUGHT evil against me,.... That must be said and owned, that their intentions were bad; they THOUGHT to have contradicted his dreams, and made them of none effect, to have token away his life, or however to have made him a slave all his days: but God MEANT it unto good; he designed good should come by it, and he brought good out of it: this shows that this action, which was sinful in itself, fell under the decree of God."
Matthew Henry - "You THOUGHT evil (to disappoint the dreams), but God MEANT it unto good, in order to the fulfilling of the dreams, and the making of Joseph a greater blessing to his family than otherwise he could have been. Note, When God makes use of men's agency for the performance of his counsels, it is common for him to mean one thing and them another, even the quite contrary, but God's counsel shall stand."
Not only does the King James Bible translate this section as "ye THOUGHT...but God MEANT", but so also do the 1936 Jewish translation put out by the Hebrew Publishing Company of New York, Webster's 1833 translation, the Longman Version 1841, the Lesser Bible 1853, The Revised English Bible 1877, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - "you THOUGHT is for evil, but God MEANT it for good", Lamsa's translation of the Syriac Peshitta 1933, The Word of Yah 1993, the Modern King James Version 2000 by J.P. Green, the Amplified Bible 1987 (put out by the same people who make the NASB), the KJV 21st Century version 1994 and the Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 - “ye THOUGHT evil against me; but Elohim (אלהים) MEANT it unto good”, the Bond Slave Version 2012 - "you THOUGHT evil against me, but God MEANT it for good"
This online Hebrew Interlinear Old Testament - "ye THOUGHT EVIL me, but God MEANT it unto good"
The Geneva Bible of 1599 says: "ye THOUGHT evil against me, but God DISPOSED it to good" while the Coverdale bible 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, and Wycliffe 1395 all read: "Ye THOUGHT evil against me, but God TURNED it unto good."
The NASB, NKJV say: "you meant...God meant"
The Common English bible 2011 (another critical text edition) - "You PLANNED something bad for me, but God PRODUCED something good from it"
God's First Truth 1999 - "you THOUGHT evil against me, but God TURNED IT unto good"
The Biblos Interlinear Bible 2013 - "you INTENTED evil against me, but God MEANT it to good"
Dan Wallace and company's 2006 NET version - "you MEANT to harm me, but God INTENDED it for a good purpose"
The International Standard Version - "you WERE PLANNING evil against me, but God INTENDED it for good"
The Lesser Bible of 1853 reads like the KJB - " though ye THOUGHT evil against me, God MEANT it unto good"
The Amplified Bible 1987 reads just like the KJB saying: "As for you, you THOUGHT evil against me, but God MEANT it for good"
As does Lamsa's translation of the Syriac Peshitta 1933 - "you THOUGHT evil against me; but God MEANT it for good
NIV "you intended....God intended"
J.P. Green's 'literal' translation of 2000 - "you INTENDED evil against me, but God MEANT it for good"
Holman CSB and Rotherham's Emphatic Bible "you planned...God planned"
Young's "ye devised...but God devised"
New Jerusalem "you planned...but by God's design"
The Common English Bible 2011 - "You PLANNED something bad for me, but God PRODUCED something good from it"
The word used here has many meanings. In fact the NASB that Mr. White used to use, when it suits his needs, has translated this same Hebrew word as not only "meant", but also "thought" (5 times), account, purpose, consider, compose, calculate, devise, esteem, execute, to make, to have, intend, pondered, reckoned, regard, require, scheme, seem, skillful, value and workman.
It really bothers Mr. White that the King James Bible says "ye THOUGHT.. but God MEANT it unto good", even though the meaning is the same as the new versions he promotes, and several other translators have translated the phrase the same way as the KJB.
However, it doesn't seem to bother him that in this same verse both the NASB and NIV have changed the literal meaning of the Hebrew "as it is THIS DAY".
The KJB, RV, ASV, NKJV, and Young's all say: "God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, AS IT IS THIS DAY, to save much people alive." The Hebrew here for "this day" is two words, #2088 this, and # 3117 yom - day. Yet the NASB says: "to bring about THIS PRESENT RESULT" ("present result" replacing the literal word "day"), while the NIV paraphrases with: "to accomplish WHAT IS NOW BEING DONE".
I personally have no big quarrel with either the NASB or NIV here, and I certainly would not put this in any book as an egregious example of how wrong these versions are. Yet Mr. White seems content to strain at gnats in the KJB, and neglects to point out the liberties these other versions take with the literal Hebrew. Such is the mind of a Bible corrector.
I think Mr. White is pretty hard up to find some kind of "error" in the King James Bible and will go to almost any ridiculous extreme to produce one. This is just another silly example from the fertile mind of someone who sets himself up as the final authority regarding the true words of God.
James White also says Luke 23:34 is not inspired Scripture
Mr. Wite Out says the words “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do.” is NOT inspired Scripture and does not belong in the Bible, even though these words are found in the ESV, NIV, NASB, NET, Holman, NKJV, etc.
I wonder how many of his fans agree with him on this. And guess who put up the video of this. A Muslim. They love this guy because he keeps telling people that numerous whole verses don’t belong in The Bible.
Mr. White cannot tell you where you can get a copy of God's preserved words in any language, including "the" Hebrew and "the" Greek. Why? Because he doesn't have one. I have read his book several times and never found out where I can get a copy of an infallible Bible.
He will recommend several "reliable translations", all of which contradict each other hundreds of times in both text and meaning, but not even these are perfect according to Mr. White. If you want to know what God REALLY said, you have to ask Mr. James White. Want a second opinion? Ask him again.
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