Neesings, Habergeons, and leasing
Job 41:18 "By his neesings a light doth shine"
There are many King James Bible critics who find fault with some of the "archaic" or old fashioned words in the Authorized 1611 Holy Bible. When these critics bring up lists of difficult or archaic words they hope you will then turn to something like the NIV, NASB, NKJV, Holman Standard or the ESV, as though all these conflicting bible versions were just the same as the King James Bible but with only the language updated to be more modern.
One such Bible critic begins by addressing the issue of archaic or hard to understand words found in the King James Bible, leads you through a few examples of some older words and then finally comes around to where he was headed all along. He ends his article with these conclusions:
(By the way, I firmly believe his conclusions are totally wrong, but we do see where he really wanted to lead us by first raising the smokescreen of those nasty old "archaic" words.)
He concludes by saying: "The King James Version has some problems
* It relies on faulty texts of the original languages particularly the Greek
* It adds words and phrases not in the original languages
* It mistranslates some words due to the primitive state of Hebrew and Greek scholarship in the 17th century.
* It uses obsolete English words
* It uses words whose meaning has changed since the 17th century * It's muddled in places
* It doesn't take advantage of recent archeological and manuscript discoveries
* The grammar and phrasing do not conform to modern style standards
* It's plain hard to read (12th grade reading level)
* It uses "churchy" words that obscure the commonplace ideas in the original text."
Edwin Palmer of the NIV committee is another Bible critic. He also reveals his motivation for alluding to the so called "archaic words" in the King James Bible. He wrote the booklet called The NIV - The Making of a Contemporary Translation. His article is so full of misinformation and faulty reasoning, I can only conclude that this poor man is just plain blind to the truth of where God's infallible words are found today. In my opinion, he calls darkness light and light darkness.
His whole article is found here, but I will note his salient points. http://www.ibs.org/niv/mct/14.php
CHAPTER 14: Isn’t the King James Version Good Enough? (The KJV and the NIV Compared) by Edwin H. Palmer
Mr. Palmer says: "I love the King James Version. I was converted under it, my first memory verses were taken from it, and I have been blessed by it. And God still uses the KJV to bring many people to salvation in Christ. This version was translated by godly men who did an excellent job with the tools they had in the language of four centuries ago. Countless millions have been converted, sanctified, and nurtured through it. Thank God for that marvelously used translation.
The KJV is not, however, the best translation to use today. This is so for two reasons: (1) it adds to the Word of God and (2) it has now-obscure and misleading renderings of God’s Word."
Again, Mr. Palmer thinks the King James Bible uses inferiour manuscripts which ADD at least 17 whole verses to the New Testament Scriptures, which are OMITTED by the NIV. He professes great love for the King James Bible and then turns around and tries to rip it to shreds. After mentioning several "archaic words" like neesings, habergeon, blains, scrabbled, froward, fanners, and nitre, he then concludes saying:
"Do not give them a loaf of bread, covered with an inedible, impenetrable crust, fossilized by three and a half centuries. Give them the Word of God as fresh and warm and clear as the Holy Spirit gave it to the authors of the Bible. For any preacher or theologian who loves God’s Word to allow that Word to go on being misunderstood because of the veneration of an archaic, not-understood version of four centuries ago is inexcusable, and almost unconscionable."
Instead of the time tested and God honoured King James Bible, Mr. Palmer would have us turn to the NIV which itself uses over 150 different English words most high school students today would not be able to define; it rejects the Hebrew texts scores of times; follows corrupt Greek manuscripts, and contains many obvious theological and textual blunders.
Mr. Palmer says: "we believe that the Bible is God’s Word inspired and inerrant, an infallible guide for our lives", but does he really think the NIV is this inerrant word of God? No, he does not. He could not show you any Bible on this earth that he really believes is the inerrant, inspired word of God.
The NIV's own Preface admits on page xx: "Like all translations of the Bible, made as they are by imperfect man, this one undoubtedly falls short of its goals."
There are two wrong statements here and one that is correct. First, God's word clearly teaches that a translation CAN BE the inspired words of God. See my article Can a Translation be Inspired?
Most modern versions also use many difficult words that most people today would have no idea what they mean. See my article on The Old Fashioned Language of the King James Bible.
Secondly, God always uses imperfect men to accomplish His purposes. He used imperfect men to give us the originals in the first place, didn't He? The NIV editors' thinking is not biblical thinking at all. It is humanistic and evolutionary in spirit.
Thirdly, the only thing the NIV got right in their introductory statement is that the NIV "undoubtedly falls short". With this I heartily agree.
Now let's look at a couple of these words so often criticized in the King James Bible. Both are found in the 41st chapter of the book of Job.Job 41:18 "By his neesings a light doth shine"
The meaning of the word.
Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary 10th edition - Habergeon: a medieval jacket of mail shorter than a hauberk.
Compact Oxford English Dictionary - Habergeon: a sleeveless coat of mail or scale armour.
American Heritage Dictionary 2000 - Hebergeon: a sleeveless coat of mail.
None of these modern dictionaries even list the word habergeon as being archaic. Neither is "coat of mail" archaic, yet these have not been used in battle for a couple of centuries now.
The King James Bible -"The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the HABERGEON."
The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary merely says: habergeon - coat of mail.
Adam Clarke remarks: "Habergeon - armour for the head, neck and breast."
Matthew Henry comments: "The defensive weapons which men use when they engage with the leviathan, as the habergeon, or breast-plate, often serve men no more than their offensive weapons."
Easton's Bible Dictionary says: "Habergeon is an Old English word for breastplate. In Job 41:26 (Heb. shiryah) it is properly a "coat of mail"
Not only does the King James Bible read "habergeon" but so also do Wycliffe 1395 spelled "haburioun", the Geneva Bible 1587, Webster's 1833 translation, Noyes Translation 1869, and the 1936 Hebrew Publication Society's translation.
Some versions have BREASTPLATE. These include Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishop's Bible 1568, the 1950 Douay Version, the KJV 21st Century, and the Third Millenium Bible.
Rotherman's 1902 Emphasized Bible, The Heritage Bible 2003, the Holy Scriptures Jubilee Bible 2000 and the Complete Tanach 2004 say: "spear, dart, or COAT OF MAIL"
The Lesser Bible of 1853 says "armor"
The Ancient Roots Translinear Bible of 2008 has "the mail"
But the meaning becomes drastically changed in these following versions that don't even agree among themselves.
American Standard Version 1901 - "Nor the spear, the dart, nor THE POINTED SHAFT."
NKJV, RSV, NASB, ESV, NIV - "Nor the spear, the dart or the JAVELIN."
Holman Standard 2004- "nor will a spear, dart, or ARROW."
The Message - "Javelins bounce harmlessly off his hide, HARPOONS ricochet wildly."
God's Word Translation 1995 - "Neither will a spear, lance, or DART."
Young's - "spear, dart, and lance".
I would much rather have the true Holy Bible that gives me the correct meaning of a verse even though it uses a word with which I am not familiar and need to learn (i.e. habergeon) than to use one of these updated, modern versions (NKJV, NIV, NASB) that misses the correct meaning, even though it is easier to read. How about you?
Besides changing the meaning of the verse, many modern versions don't even agree with each other. According to them, was it a "javelin, a pointed shaft, a dart, an arrow, a lance, or a harpoon"? Hey, they may not be right, but at least they are easier to understand :-)
Next time you encounter one of these lists that criticize uncommon words found in our beloved King James Bible, realize that this smokescreen is usually a cloud of ignorance. Their real agenda is to get you to no longer believe that any Bible is the complete, inerrant, and inspired word of God.
Psalm 5:6 "Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing."
The King James Bible critics love to pounce on this verse because of the use of the word “leasing”. They tell us “leasing” is an archaic word and imply or state outright that we should abandon the King James Bible and start using some modern version like the NASB, NIV or the NKJV.
A typical Christian site that promotes the use of a modern language version will frequently list a series of difficult or archaic words that are found in the King James Bible. They often say things like (and I am quoting from such a site) "The English of the KJV is not the same language that we speak today. In fact, to get the most from the KJV effectively requires learning a whole other dialect."
These sites will usually then tell us about all the thousands of manuscripts that have been discovered since the 1611 King James Bible and the advances made in the study of Hebrew, and then recommend we use such versions as the NIV, NRSV or even the Jerusalem Bible. However they fail to mention the fact that the vast majority of these newly discovered manuscripts support the readings found in the King James Bible rather than the modern versions which are based primarily on two conflicting witnesses (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) which don't even agree with each other. They also fail to mention the fact that such versions as the NASB, NIV, NRSV, and ESV often reject these same Hebrew readings, and not even in the same places.
Please see my article showing the true nature of these corrupted and conflicting "oldest and best" Greek manuscripts (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) upon which most modern versions are based.
For examples of where these modern versions reject the Hebrew texts, see my articles about this here:
Nor do these Christian sites that criticize the King James Bible mention the undeniable fact that the Greek and Hebrew texts they recommend aren't the same Greek and Hebrew that are spoken today, but are "a whole other dialect".
People are funny. If they "go to the Hebrew and the Greek" to look up some crusty old word they will never use except to impress the flock, they feel like they are smart and highly intelligent people. But if they have to look up an unfamiliar English word in an English dictionary they feel like they are uneducated and dumb.
The word leasing is indeed an archaic word; it simply means falsehood, deception, or lying. Heaven forbid that we should have to learn the meaning of an unfamiliar English word! There are scores of unfamiliar words found in the modern versions too, besides the crucial fact that they are based on the wrong underlying texts.
Let's first look at the meaning of the word "leasing" and then consider some of the differences in meaning among the various versions in the two Psalms where this word occurs in the King James Bible. The word leasing is found only twice in the KJB - once in Psalm 4 and again in Psalm 5.
Webster's Revised Unagridged Dictionary 1996, 1998
Leasing n. [Anglo Saxon. leásung, fr. leás loose, false, deceitful. The act of lying; falsehood; a lie or lies. [Archaic]
Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing. Ps. v. 6.
Blessed be the lips that such a leasing told. Fairfax.
Leasing making (Scots Law), the uttering of lies or libels upon the personal character of the sovereign, his court, or his family. Bp. Burnet.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
LEASING -lez'-ing "to devise," "to fabricate," hence, "to lie"; occurs but twice in the King James Version; the Hebrew word is translated "liars" (Ps 116:11); "lie" or deceive (Job 6:28)): The idea of treachery, lying, and deceit, lies at the root of this word.
King James Bible - Psalm 4:2
"O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and SEEK AFTER LEASING? Selah".
Coverdale 1535 - "and seek after LIES"
Bishop's Bible 1568 -" ye seeke after lyes"
Geneva Bible 1587 - " and seeking lyes?"
King James Bible - Psalm 5:6
"Thou shalt destroy THEM THAT SPEAK LEASING: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man."
Coverdale 1535 - "Thou destroyest THE LYERS: the LORDE abhorreth the bloude thurstie and disceatfull."
Bishops' Bible 1568 - "Thou wilt destroy THEM THAT MAKE A LYE: God wyll abhorre both the bloodthirstie and deceiptfull man."
Geneva Bible -"Thou shalt destroy THEM THAT SPEAK LYES: the Lorde will abhorre the bloodie man and deceitfull. "
Even the older English Bible versions had the word "lies" in these two places in Psalm 4:2 and 5:6. It seems obvious that the King James translators made a deliberate choice to include the older English word "leasing" in these two verses. It was not an accident nor were they following the reading of older English Bibles.
The King James Bible translated this same Hebrew word #3577 kah-zahv, as "lies" 23 times, lying 2, leasing 2, deceitful 1, false 1, and liar 1 time. However the word "leasing" was also used in previous English Bible versions.
The Coverdale Bible of 1535 uses the word "leasings" in Revelation 22:15, where the KJB has "a lie" - "For without are dogges and inchaunters and whormongers, and mortherers, and ydolaters, and whosoeuer loueth or maketh LESINGES."
The Bishops' Bible of 1568 contained the word "leasings" where the KJB has the word "lies".
Isaiah 59:3 the Bishops' Bible reads: "For your handes are defiled with blood, and your fingers with vnrighteousnesse: your lippes speake LEASINGES, and your tongue setteth out wickednesse."
The Wycliffe Bible of 1395 used the word "leasing" seven times, in both the Old and New Testament. Here by way of example are six of the seven verses where Wycliffe uses the word "leasing" in the sense of "lies" or "falsehood".
Psalm 4:2 "seek after leasing?"
Psalm 14:5 A feithful witnesse schal not lie; a gileful witnesse bringith forth a leesing.
Proverbs 21:6 "He that gaderith tresours bi the tunge of a leesing, is veyne, and with outen herte; and he schal be hurtlid to the snaris of deth."
2 Thessalonians 2:11 "And therfor God schal sende to hem a worching of errour, that thei bileue to leesing,"
1 Timothy 4:1 "But the spirit seith opynli, that in the laste tymes summen schulen departe fro the feith, yyuynge tent to spiritis of errour, and to techingis of deuelis; that speken leesing in ipocrisie,"
1 John 2:21 "I wroot not to you, as to men that knowen not treuthe, but as to men that knowen it, and for ech leesing is not of treuthe."
Now let's look at some of the different meanings in these two Psalms as found in such versions as the NKJV, NASB and NIV.
Psalm 4:1 "Hear me when I call, O GOD OF MY RIGHTEOUSNESS."
This phrase means that it is God who both imputes and imparts His righteousness to the needy sinner. "O God of my righteousness" is the reading found in the KJB, RV, ASV, NKJV, the Jewish translations of 1917 and 1936, the 2001 ESV, Spanish Reina Valera, and the NASB. However the NIV puts a different spin on this verse by saying: "Answer me when I call to you, O MY RIGHTEOUS GOD." This reading merely states that God Himself is righteous and excludes any thought of our righteousness coming from Him.
The Holman Standard gives us yet a different meaning than them all. It says: "Answer me when I call, God, WHO VINDICATES ME." Then we have the older RSV and NRSV both of which say: "O God OF MY RIGHT!". But notice that the revision of the revision of the revision (the ESV) has now gone back to the reading found in the KJB.
Psalm 4:2 "O ye SONS OF MEN, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after LEASING?"
The first part of this verse literally reads: "SONS OF MEN" and is the reading of the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, the RV, ASV, NASB, Spanish R.V. and the NKJV, but the NIV, RSV and ESV omit the word "sons" and have merely "O men", while the Holman Standard says: "EXALTED MEN"; the NEB (New English Bible of 1970) says: "MORTAL MEN", and The Message has: "YOU RABBLE".
In Psalm 4:2 , instead of "leasing" the NKJV says "seek falsehood", the NASB has "aim at deception", but the NIV gives a very different meaning by saying "How long will you love delusions and seek FALSE GODS".
Psalm 4:3 "But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself". This is the reading found in the Jewish translations, the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and the RSV. However, the New English Bible of 1970 says: "Know that the LORD HAS SHOWN ME HIS MARVELLOUS LOVE".
Psalm 4:4 "STAND IN AWE, and sin not. COMMUNE WITH YOUR OWN HEART UPON YOUR BED, AND BE STILL." This is the reading of the Revised Version 1881, the American Standard Version of 1901, Webster’s 1833 translation, the Hebrew Publishing Company 1936 translation, the Hebrew Names Version, KJV 21, and the Third Millenium Bible. The idea is to stand in awe of God with an attitude of holy reverence.
The NASB, Geneva bible, the Jewish Publication Society 1917, and Young’s are similar with "TREMBLE, and sin not. Commune with your own heart, and be still (or be silent)." The Bible in Basic English says: "Let there be fear in your hearts, and sin not."
However the NKJV says: "BE ANGRY, and do not sin." The NIV is slightly different from the NKJV and says: "In your anger do not sin." There is a big difference in meaning between "stand in awe" before God, and "be angry". The Message has: "COMPLAIN IF YOU MUST, BUT DON'T LASH OUT."
Instead of "commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still" (which is the reading of the Jewish translations, the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and the ESV) the NEB actually says: "THOUGH YOU LIE ABED RESENTFUL, do not break silence."
Daniel Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, often rejects the Hebrew texts and paraphrases his own unique translation. In Psalm 4:4 his NET version reads: "Tremble with fear and do not sin! Do some soul-searching as you lie in bed, and REPENT OF YOUR WAYS!"
Psalm 4:6 "LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us." So read the Jewish translations, the RV, ASV, RSV, ESV, NASB, NIV and NKJV, but the NEB again has a wildly different meaning saying: "But the light of thy presence HAS FLED FROM US, O Lord." Wallace's goofy NET version says: "SMILE UPON US, O Lord."
In this Psalm we find the second instance where the King James Bible uses the word leasing. Here we read in verse six: "Thou shalt destroy THEM THAT SPEAK LEASING: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man." Most modern versions say something like "You destroy those who tell lies" or "those who speak falsehood."
However the meanings of the verses themselves have often been altered in the various versions. In verse one we read: "Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider MY MEDITATION."
A meditation would be the Psalmists thoughts and considerations on a matter. "Consider my MEDITATION" is also the reading found in both Jewish translations of 1917 and 1936, the Revised Version, American Standard Version, the Geneva Bible, Bishops' Bible, Spanish Reina Valera 1909, and the NKJV.
However the NASB, RSV, and ESV say: "Consider my GROANING", while the NIV, NRSV have: "consider my SIGHING". Groaning and sighing are not the same thing as a meditation. The word "meditation" # 1901 is used only twice, the other time being Psalm 39:3 "while I was musing" (NASB "musing", NIV "meditation"), and comes from the verb #1897 meaning to meditate.
Psalm 5:3 "in the morning will I direct MY PRAYER unto thee, and will look up." PRAYER is the reading found in the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, the RV, ASV and the NASB. The NIV is similar with "my requests", but the RSV and ESV say: "I WILL PREPARE SACRIFICE FOR THEE", while the NRSV and the Holman Standard have: "I will PLEAD MY CAUSE TO YOU."
Psalm 5:5 "The FOOLISH shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity."
The FOOLISH is the reading of the KJB, Spanish Reina Valera, KJV 21, the Geneva and the Bishops' Bible, but the NKJV, NASB read: "The BOASTFUL" while the NIV has "The ARROGANT".
Psalm 5:10 "DESTROY THOU THEM, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee."
"Destroy thou them" is to bring utter ruin upon them. This is the reading of the Geneva Bible, Bishops' Bible, Webster's 1833 translation, the 1936 Jewish translation, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909, and the Third Millenium Bible. Even the New English Bible says "bring ruin on them" and the Bible in Basic English has: "Send them to destruction". The Holman Standard, and the Spanish R.V. 1960 have: "Punish them."
However the NKJV says: "PRONOUNCE THEM GUILTY", while the NASB reads: "Hold them guilty" and the NIV "Declare them guilty". These expressions do not mean the same thing as "Destroy thou them".
Finally in Psalm 5:11 we read: "let them ever shout for joy, BECAUSE THOU DEFENDEST THEM."
"Because thou defendest them" is a statement of fact and is the reason why they shout for joy. "Because thou defendest them" is also the reading of the RV, ASV, NKJV, KJV 21, Bishops' Bible, the Geneva Bible, and the Spanish Reina Valera. But the NASB makes it a request instead of a statement with: "Let them ever sing for joy; AND MAYEST THOU SHELTER THEM" (NASB 1977 edition).
The NIV makes the phrase neither a statement of fact nor a request, but a command by saying: "let them ever sing for joy. SPREAD YOUR PROTECTION OVER THEM."
The silly paraphrase called The Message actually says: "But you'll welcome us with open arms when we run for cover to you. LET THE PARTY LAST ALL NIGHT! Stand guard over our celebration."
Here are just two of many examples that show what the NIV is doing with the Hebrew text
In Psalm 72:5 we read: "THEY SHALL FEAR THEE as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations."
This is the reading of the KJB, Revised Version, ASV, NASB, NKJV, the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, the Spanish, Young's, Darby's, Geneva, and the 2001 revision of the RSV called the English Standard Version.
The NIV, however reads: "HE WILL ENDURE as long as the sun..." This is also the reading of the liberal RSV and NRSV, though the new ESV has again gone back to the KJB and Hebrew reading.. But the footnotes found in the NIV, RSV, and NRSV all tell us that the reading of HE WILL ENDURE comes from the Greek Septuagint, but that the Hebrew reads "they shall fear thee".
So why did the NIV change the clear Hebrew reading? Doesn't the Hebrew make sense? Didn't God inspire the words of the Old Testament in Hebrew and not in Greek, Syriac or Latin?
The second example is found in Psalm 73:7. There the Psalmist is speaking of the foolish and wicked who prosper in this world. He says of them: "THEIR EYES STAND OUT WITH FATNESS: they have more than heart could wish."
This is the reading of not only the KJV, NKJV, NASB, RV, ASV, but also of the RSV, NRSV and the ESV versions. However the NIV says: "FROM THEIR CALLOUS HEARTS COMES INIQUITY". Then in a footnote the NIV tells us this reading comes from the SYRIAC, but that the Hebrew says "their eyes bulge with fat."
Again, why would the "good, godly, evangelical scholars" who worked on the NIV change the text, if the Hebrew clearly makes sense and there is no doubt about what it says?
Now, I know that many who criticize the King James Bible will say that the Hebrew texts can be translated many different ways and that no Bible is the perfect, inerrant word of God and that all Bible versions have errors in them. I hear these reasonings from the Biblical Relativists every day of the year. They don't believe that ANY Bible is the inspired word of God.
As I have said before, if I have to choose between that old King James Bible that occasionally uses an unfamiliar word I might have to look up, and a modern multiple choice version that omits thousands of God's inspired words, and changes the meaning of hundreds of verses, it is not a difficult decision to make. I will take the inspired and inerrant King James Holy Bible that God has clearly set His mark of approval on for the last 400 years.
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