Another King James Bible Believer


1 Kings 5:11 - "TWENTY measures" or "TWENTY THOUSAND"?

1 Kings 5:11 “TWENTY measures” (Hebrew text, KJB, NASB, ISV) or “TWENTY THOUSAND baths” (NIV, LXX) “20,000 cors” (RSV, ESV, NET)?



King James Bible - “And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food TO HIS HOUSEHOLD, and TWENTY MEASURES of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year.


ESV (RSV, NRSV, NIV, NET) - “while Solomon gave Hiram 20,000 core of wheat as food for his household, and 20,000 cors of beaten oil. Solomon gave this to Hiram year by year.” ESV Footnote 20,000 = Septuagint; 20 = Hebrew.  


If these Vatican Versions think the so called Greek Septuagint got it right instead of the Hebrew text, then why didn’t any of them follow the LXX text in this same chapter just two verses later where instead of the Hebrew number of 3,300 chief officers that ruled over the people, the LXX says 3,600 instead of 3,300?  


Then the so called Greek Septuagint completely changes the Hebrew text for all of verse 18.  Instead of reading: “And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stone squarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house.”  The LXX says: “And they prepared the stones and the timber DURING THREE YEARS.”  


And instead of reading in 1 Kings 6:1 “And it came to pass in the four hundred and EIGHTIETH year after the children of Israel were come out…”  The LXX says “in the four hundred and FORTIETH year…” Yet none of these new versions followed the LXX number readings in either of these verses.


Can you see how the “$cience of Textual Critici$m Game” is played?


The Holman Standard paraphrases even the texts it uses, but it has also rejected the Hebrew reading. It says: “and Solomon provided Hiram with 100,000 bushels of wheat as food for his household and 110,000 gallons of beaten oil.” 


Then it footnotes that the so called Greek LXX says 20,000 baths but the Hebrew reads 20 cors.


Some versions, like the New Life Version 1969 just make up their own numbers out of thin air. It reads: “Then Solomon gave Hiram 200,000 baskets of grain as food for those of his house, and 200 jars of beaten oil.” There is NO text anywhere that reads “200”.

Likewise The Voice of 2012 (another Critical Text version from Thomas Nelson, Inc.) says - “130,000 bushels of wheat and 1,200 gallons of purified oil. Solomon gave this same amount to Hiram every year.”  

It doesn’t agree with the Holman paraphrase of 110,000 gallons and there is NO number of 1,200 gallons in ANY text on this earth.  They just made it up!

You may be asking yourself, “So, what’s the big deal about different numbers and names in the same places? Is any DOCTRINE being affected?”  How about the DOCTRINE of the inerrancy of Scripture, is that important to you or not?  Most Christians today do NOT believe that any Bible in any language (including those never seen and non-existent originals) IS the infallible words of God.

Yet even such a lame Evangelical confession as the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy affirms that inerrancy also has to do with the historical facts recorded in God’s words, and not just theological issues. 

See  “The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy = just more Evangelical mumbo jumbo signifying nothing” and take The Bible Agnostic’s Test. See how you do on it.


Some Bible Commentators on 1 Kings 5:11


Jamieson, Faussett and Brown - And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food to his household, and TWENTY measures of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year.  Food to his household. This was an annual supply for the palace, different from that mentioned in  2 Chronicles 2:10, which was for the workmen in the forests.

E.W. Bullinger’s Notes - “Not the same as 2 Chronicles 2:10.  That was for Hiram"s workmen in Lebanon. This was for his royal household at Tyre.”

The Hebrew text and the King James Bible are correct. There is a rather simple explanation of the different items and the numbers of them for each passage. Notice the differences.  

In 1 Kings 5:11 there are only TWO things listed and they are for “the HOUSEHOLD” of Hiram, while in 2 Chronicles 2:10 there are FOUR items listed and some are for “his SERVANTS, the hewers that cut timber.”

1 Kings 5:11 tells us that “Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food TO HIS HOUSEHOLD, and TWENTY measures of PURE OIL: thus Solomon gave to Hiram year by year.”

But in 2 Chronicles 2:10 we read Solomon say: “Behold, I will give TO THY SERVANTS, THE HEWERS THAT CUT TIMBER, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and TWENTY THOUSAND BATHS OF OIL.

In the case of 1 Kings, the TWENTY measures of PURE oil was for Hiram’s own household.  In 2 Chronicles the TWENTY THOUSAND baths of oil, was the more common oil (not the purest) and it was given for his SERVANTS, those who cut the timber.

There is no contradiction, just different items listed in each account; one item for Hiram's household and the other for his servants who cut the timber.

Many Modern versions, all of which are getting worse and not better, are changing the Hebrew text in 1 Kings 5:11 from “TWENTY measures of pure oil” to the Septuagint’s TWENTY THOUSAND”.  

The first major version to do this was the liberal RSV of 1946-1973, followed by the NRSV 1989, ESV 2001-2011, NIVs 1978-2011, Dan Wallace’s NET, the Holman Standard paraphrase 2003 and the Common English bible 2011. All of these are Critical Text versions.

The Catholic Connection

The older Catholic Douay-Rheims 1610 as well as the 1950 Douay Version both follow the Hebrew text and read - “provision for his house, and TWENTY MEASURES  of the purest oil”.  

However the 1970 St. Joseph New American bible and the 1985 New Jerusalem bible both rejected the Hebrew text and went with the LXX reading of “TWENTY THOUSANDS measures of pure oil” (St. Joseph NAB).

Agreeing with the inspired Hebrew text and reading TWENTY measures of pure oil for Hiram’s household are the following Bible translations - Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587 - “foode to his householde, & TWENTIE measures of beaten oyle”, the Revised Version 1881, ASV of 1901 - “food to his household, and TWENTY measures of pure oil”,  Darby 1890, Youngs 1898, Rotherham’s Emphasized bible 1902 - “TWENTY MEASURES”, the Jewish Publication Society 1917 and the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company Bible - "TWENTY measures of pure oil", Bible in Basic English 1961, the New English Bible 1970, Hebrew Names Version - “TWENTY measures of pure oil”, Amplified bible 1987,  NASB 1963-1995, Updated Bible version 2003, The Judaica Press Tanach 2004, Green’s literal 2005 - “TWENTY measures”, the Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, Conservative Bible 2011 - “TWENTY measures of pure oil” and the International Standard Version 2014 as well as the Modern Greek Bible - “του οικου αυτου και εικοσι κορους ελαιου” = TWENTY.

The King James Bible is always right. Accept no substitutes.

Will Kinney

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