Judges 14:15 - The Seventh Day or The Fourth Day? - a Puzzle inside a Riddle. Is the Hebrew text wrong?
"For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? (modern day scholar who corrects the true Holy Bible) where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" I Corinthians 1:19, 20.
It is sad to see so many modern bible versions that corrupt the true words of God. It is sadder still to see so many Christians who don't seem to care about it. Many scholars today sit in judgment upon the inerrant words of the living God and tell us there are numerous scribal errors in the Hebrew Masoretic text. They don't believe any version or any particular text is now the inerrant, inspired Holy Bible. The King James Bible is the only widely used English Bible that consistently follows the Hebrew text without changing it.
There is a riddle within a riddle put forth by Samson in the 14th chapter of the book of Judges. Many modern bible versions consider the Hebrew text to be in error in numerous places and have changed the Hebrew readings based on their own lack of understanding and unbelief. Versions such as the RSV, NRSV, ESV, Holman Christian Standard, Catholic New Jerusalem bible, NASB, Jehovah Witness NWT and the NIV frequently reject the Hebrew texts and follow instead the Syriac, Greek Septuagint, Latin Vulgate, or just make up their own text as they go along - and often not even in the same places.
Instead of leaning to our own understanding, let's examine the text as it stands in the Hebrew Scriptures and adopt what today would seem to be the novel approach of believing that God actually got it right. We will then offer a reasonable explantion to solve the apparent contradiction.
Samsom's riddle as put forth in Judges 14:12-18.
12."And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me WITHIN THE SEVEN DAYS OF THE FEAST, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments; 13. But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it. 14. And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not IN THREE DAYS expound the riddle. 15. And it came to pass ON THE SEVENTH DAY, that they said unto Samson's wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?"
In verse 15 the Hebrew text clearly says ON THE SEVENTH DAY.
This is the reading of the Latin Vulgate of 425 A.D., Wycliffe's translation of 1395, Coverdale 1535, Matthew's Bible 1537, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, the Douay-Rheims bible 1610, the King James Bible, the Revised Version 1885, American Standard Version 1901, Webster's 1833 translation, The Smith Bible 1876, The Revised English Bible 1877, Darby 1890, Young's 1898, The The Jewish Family Bible 1864, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, the 1917 Jewish Publication Society bible and 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company translation, The New Jewish Version 1985, the Hebrew Names Version 2014, the 1998 Complete Jewish Bible, Third Millennium Bible 1998, the KJV 21st Century Version, the Spanish Reina Valera 1960, the Portuguese de Almeida "E sucedeu que, ao sétimo dia", the Italian Diodati, and the French Louis Segond 2006.
And the Modern Greek Bible - Και την εβδομην ημεραν ειπαν προς την γυναικα του Σαμψων = and THE SEVENTH DAY
and the Modern Hebrew Bible - ויהי ביום השביעי ויאמרו לאשת שמשון פתי את אישך ויגד לנו את החידה פן נשרף אותך ואת בית אביך באש הלירשנו קראתם לנו הלא׃ = And it came to pass ON THE SEVENTH DAY...
The NKJV also reads "on the seventh day" but it has a footnote that says "some ancient authorities read the 4th day", thus casting doubt on the true reading.
Other English Bibles that follow the Hebrew text and say "ON THE SEVENTH DAY" in Judges 14:15 are the Julia Smith Translation 1855, The Word of Yah 1993, The Koster Scriptures 1998, God's First Truth 1999, Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, The Judaica Press Complete Tanach 2004, Green's Literal 2005, The Context Group Version 2007, the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible 2008, Bond Slave Version 2009, The Public Domain Version 2009, Hebrew Transliteration Scripture 2010, Online Interlinear 2010 (André de Mol), Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010, Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, The Work of God's Children Bible 2011, The Revised Douay-Rheims bible 2012, World English Bible 2012, the Natural Israelite Bible 2012 and the Hebraic Roots Bible 2012.
Many modern versions change the Hebrew text from THE SEVENTH DAY to THE FOURTH DAY, and their footnotes tell us the reading of the 4th day comes from "SOME Septuagint manuscripts (they are not all the same) and the Syriac", while the Hebrew text clearly says the 7th day.
"the FOURTH day"
Among these versions that reject the Hebrew text of "the seventh day" and change it to "the fourth day" are the NASB, NIV, RSV, NRSV, NEB, Dan Wallace and company's NET version 2006, the Holman Christian Standard 2009, the Living Bible, New Living Translation, Bible in Basic English 1960, the 2001-2011 English Standard Version, Today's English Version, The Message 2002, the New Century Version, The Voice 2012, The Jehovah Witness New World Translation, the Names of God Bible 2011 and the Modern English Version 2014.
THE CATHOLIC CONNECTION
The earlier Catholic Versions like the Douay-Rheims of 1610 as well as the Douay Version of 1950 both followed the Hebrew text in Judges 14:15 and say: "ON THE SEVENTH DAY".
However the 1968 Jerusalem bible, the 1970 St. Joseph New American bible and the 1985 New Jerusalem all reject the Hebrew reading of "ON THE SEVENTH DAY" and change this to "ON THE FOURTH DAY", thus following some Septuagint copies and the Syriac. But the Catholic Public Domain Version 2009 and the Revised Douay-Rheims bible 2012 go back to the Hebrew text and say "and on THE SEVENTH DAY they said to Samson's wife..."
The Jehovah Witness New World Translation also rejects the Hebrew text and says "ON THE FOURTH DAY".
The International Standard Version of 2014 follows NO text and merely says "AND THE NEXT DAY"
The first major version to introduce this textual change in number was the liberal RSV of 1952. Even the Revised Version and the American Standard Version did not change the Hebrew text here. The NASB has no footnotes in this place. The NASB frequently changes the Hebrew text but doesn't tell the reader when they have done so.
The NIV, ESV and Holman do have a footnote that tells us the reading of "the fourth day" comes from "some Septuagint manuscripts and the Syriac", but the Hebrew says "the seventh day".
16. "And Samson's wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou has put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee? 17. And she wept before him THE SEVEN DAYS, WHILE THEIR FEAST LASTED: and it came to pass ON THE SEVENTH DAY, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people. 18. And the men of the city said unto him ON THE SEVENTH DAY before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stonger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle."
The NASB, Holman, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NET and NIV read in verse 15 "ON THE FOURTH DAY". These version translators think the Hebrew text is wrong and has been corrupted. In fact, all these modern versions reject NUMEROUS Hebrew readings, and not always in the same places.
You can see clear examples of their rejections (and additions) to the inspired Hebrew texts.
The NIV, NASB, ESV, NET and other Vatican Versions reject the Hebrew Texts
Part One - Genesis through Psalms
NIV, NASB, ESV, NET and other Vatican Versions Reject the Hebrew - Part Two
Proverbs through Malachi
Now, for a reasonable explanation that vindicates the inspired Hebrew text as found in the King James Bible. This explanation of the "riddle within a riddle" DOES NOT CONTRADICT any of the information provided in the text.
Samson proposes the riddle three days BEFORE the first seventh day mentioned in verse 15. What would "the seventh day" mean to Samson who was a Jewish Nazarite from his mother's womb? It would be the seventh day of rest mentioned in the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:10 "But THE SEVENTH DAY is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates."
Many Bible commentators miss what is going on here and make a bunch of silly statements or else they more wisely omit any commentary about "the seventh day".
However, I think John Gill, Kimchi and Jarchi (both Jewish commentators) got it right.
John Gill explains: "NOT ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF THE FEAST...BUT ON THE SABBATH DAY, as Kimchi, and Jarchi say, ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF THE WEEK, NOT the seventh day of the feast...the Septuagint, Syriac and Arabic instead of the seventh read the fourth day."
A reasonable and obvious explanation is that Samson proposed the riddle to the Philistine companions three days BEFORE the first Sabbath. As a Jewish believer, a Nazarite from the womb, he rested on the Sabbath day, and then began the wedding feast which lasted seven days.
Three days after Samson proposed the riddle the men knew they couldn't solve the riddle, so they approached Samson's wife with their threats on that first Sabbath day BEFORE the feast began. She then wept before him the whole 7 days of the feast, as we are clearly told in verse 17, and right before the feast ended, Samson told her the answer to the riddle.
In this way the riddle is solved without contradicting any of the information provided in the Biblical text. The inspired Hebrew text and the King James Bible reading of "on the seventh day" are shown to be correct.
Modern versions like the NASB, NIV, Holman, ESV, NET, modern Catholic versions and the Jehovah Witness New World Translation are false witnesses and have changed God's inerrant words.
The King James Bible is ALWAYS RIGHT.
"I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word." Psalm 119:158
Return to Articles - http://brandplucked.webs.com/kjbarticles.htm