1 Kings 20:38 "ashes upon his face" or "a bandage over his eyes"?
1 Kings 20:38 KJB - "So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself WITH ASHES UPON HIS FACE."
NKJV - (ESV, NIV, NET, NASB, Jehovah Witness NWT, Modern Catholic versions) - "Then the prophet departed and waited for the king by the road, and disguised himself WITH A BANDAGE OVER HIS EYES."
There is a pretty well known site called "KJV Only Advocates Refuted" that is passed around a lot by the bible agnostics who do not believe that any Bible in any language is or ever was the complete, inspired and infallible words of God.
We have often had the King James Bible critics copy and paste the link to this site and toss it in our faces, with the attitude of "So There. Take that! How do you like them apples?"
Of course, most of these Bible agnostics (they do not know for sure what God may or may not have said in His Book) have never really studied these examples themselves to see if there is any merit to them.
This particular anti-King James Bible site has a list of what he calls: "Indisputable, Universally Recognized Errors in the KJV". Then he subtitles it: "Errors where the KJV translation disagrees with the Textus Receptus."
Apparently our "serious scholar" is not aware of the fact that the Textus Receptus has only to do with the text of the New Testament and nothing at all to do with the Hebrew Old Testament, but this mere triviality hasn't stopped our intrepid Bible corrector from putting into his laundry list several examples taken from the Old Testament.
And it is also glaringly obvious that his "final authority" is not the Textus Receptus anyway, since he continually quotes from the ever changing NASBs, which are based not on the Textus Receptus at all but on the UBS/Vatican critical texts for their "interconfessional", ever evolving New Testament.
As further proof that this self appointed Bible critic is out there in left field all on his own, is that he also includes in this list the word "Baptism" (entire New Testament) Acts 2:38; 22:16", which he thinks is one of these "Indisputable, Universally Recognized Errors".
Of course, not even his referred to NASB or the ESV, NIV, NKJV, NET, Holman, RV, ASV, RSV, NRSV etc. agree with him that this is a "universally recognized error", but such are the ways of those who set out to "correct" God's Book.
So, let's take a closer look at the verse here in 1 Kings 20:38 to see if there is any truth to this "Indisputable, Universally Recognized Error", or if he is just relying on his own limited understanding and man made opinion that he in turn picked up from some other guy who likewise does not believe in the existence of an infallible Bible in any language on the earth today either.
In 1 Kings 20:38 we read in the King James Holy Bible: "So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ASHES UPON HIS FACE."
The NKJV along with the NASB, Holman Standard, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NET, Jehovah Witness New World Translation and the more modern Catholic versions says: "Then the prophet departed and waited by the road, and disguised himself with A BANDAGE OVER HIS EYES."
The NIV has: "He disguised himself with HIS HEADBAND DOWN OVER HIS EYES."
The New Century Version says "The prophet WRAPPED HIS FACE IN A CLOTH."
Rotherham's 1902 Emphasized Bible has: "disguised himself with HIS TURBAN OVER HIS EYES."
Darby's translation says: "disguised himself with A SASH OVER HIS EYES."
The Douay-Rheims 1610 has: "disguised himself by SPRINKLING DUST ON HIS FACE AND HIS EYES."
The KJV Today website informs us regarding the different Hebrew readings found for this verse.
“Ashes upon his face” or “Bandages over his eyes” in 1 Kings 20:38?
"So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face." (1 Kings 20:38, KJV)
This is partly a textual issue and partly a translation issue. “אפר ('ăphêr)” with the Ben Asher vowel marks means “covering.” The nature of the covering is open to interpretation. The NASB and ESV translate it as “bandages” whereas the NIV translates it as “headband.” The KJV follows the Ben Chayyim vowel marks and translates “אפר ('êpher)” as “ashes.” The context indicates that this covering was for a disguise. Ashes on the face can certainly serve to disguise one’s natural complexion. Also, “עין (‛ayin)” can be translated “face.” The NASB, ESV, and NIV translates “עין“ as “face” or “surface” in Exodus 10:5 and elsewhere. [End of KJV Today comments]
The word for "ashes" is number 666 aphehr and is found only two times in the Hebrew texts. The other time is in verse 41 where it says "he hasted, and took the ASHES away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets."
According to Wigram's Hebrew Concordance and Strong's, this word # 666 comes from # 665 ehpher meaning "ashes" and is used in such places as Genesis 18:27 where Abraham says: "Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ASHES" and where Job says in Job 42:6 "Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ASHES."
Not only does the King James Bible tell us that the prophet disguised himself with ASHES upon his face, but so also do the following Bible versions:
Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1530 (he translated part of the O.T.), Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible (Cranmer) 1540 - "with asshes, which he layed vpon hys face.", Matthew's Bible (John Rogers) 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599,- "& disguised himselfe with ASHES VPON HIS FACE.", Webster's translation 1833, Young's Literal translation 1898 - "and disguiseth himself with ASHES on his eyes.", the 1936 Jewish translation by the Hebrew Publishing Company, New York - "he disguised himself with ASHES UPON HIS FACE", God's First Truth 1999 - "put ASHES upon his eyes", the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible 2008 - "WITH ASHES ON HIS FACE", the 2008 Torah Transliteration Scripture, the Urim-Thummim Version 2001, Lamsa's 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta - "and disguised HIS FACE WITH ASHES.", the KJV 21st Century Version, Green's Literal 2005 - "and disguised himself with ASHES on his eyes.", the Amplified Version 1987 (Lockman Foundation) - "and disguised himself with ASHES UPON HIS FACE.", The Word of Yah 1993, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, the Apostolic Bible 2006, Bond Slave Version 2009, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, The Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011 - "WITH ASHES ON HIS FACE", the Conservative Bible 2011 and The Holy Bible, Modern English Version 2014 (Military Bible Association) - “So the prophet departed and waited by the road for the king and disguised himself WITH ASHES ON HIS FACE.”
The Interlinear Hebrew-Aramaic Old Testament, by Jay P. Green, Sr., published by Hendrickson Publishers, Second Edition 1985 has both the Hebrew text and the English translation. When you go to this Hebrew text it clearly has the Hebrew word #666 "ASHES" (aphehr).
Green's English translation of this Hebrew text is "and disguised himself with ASHES on his eyes." The word for "eyes" is #5869 gah-yin and it has the various meanings of "eyes, sight, FACE (Numbers 14:14 "that thou Lord are seen FACE to FACE) COUNTENANCE (David was "of a beautiful COUNTENANCE" 1 Samuel 16:12).
Online Interlinear 2010 (André de Mol) - “he disguising himself in the ASH over the eyes of him.”
Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 -“and disguised himself WITH ASHES UPON HIS FACE."
Jewish Virtual Library - This online Jewish Tanach = 1 Kings 20:38 - “and disguised himself WITH ASHES UPON HIS FACE”
God's First Truth 1999, The Ancient Roots Translinear Bible 2008, Hebraic Roots Bible 2012 and the Interlinear Hebrew/Greek Scriptures 2012 (Mebust) all say: "disguised himself with ASHES OVER HIS EYES."
The Work of God’s Children Illustrated Bible 2011 says: “and disguised himself by SPRINKLING DUST ON HIS FACE AND HIS EYES.”
Foreign Language Bibles
Among foreign language Bible that also read "disguised himself with ASHES UPON HIS FACE" are the 2004 Spanish Reina Valera Gomez translation = the KJB saying “y se disfrazó poniendo CENIZA SOBRE SU ROSTRO.", Luther's German Bible 1545 - "und verstellete sein Angesicht mit Asche.", the 1681 Portuguese de Almeida says "ASHES UPON HIS EYES" -"e disfarçou-se com cinza sobre os seus olhos." the Finnish Biblia 1776 - "ja muutti kasvonsa tuhalla.", the Dutch Staten Vertaling - "en hij verstelde zich met as boven zijn ogen." = "and disguised himself with ashes upon his face.", the Portuguese Almeida Corrigida 2009 and A Biblia Sagrada em Portugués both have - "e disfarçou-se com cinza sobre os seus olhos." = "he disguised himself with ASHES over his eyes.", the Bulgarian Bible 1940 - "като бе се предрешил с покривало на очите си.", the Romanian Fidela Bible 2014 - "s-a deghizat cu cenusa pe fata lui." = "disguised with ashes on his face.", the 2006 French KJV -"et se déguisa avec de la poussière sur son visage.", the Russian Synodal Version 1876 - "прикрыв покрывалом глаза свои." = "disguised himself with ashes on his face."
and the Modern Hebrew Bible - = "The prophet went and stood on the road king and masquerade as ASHES ON HIS EYES." וילך הנביא ויעמד למלך על הדרך ויתחפש באפר על עיניו׃
The Catholic Connection
The Catholic versions are interesting. The older Douay-Rheims 1610, the Douay 1950 and the 2009 Catholic Public Domain Version all say: "and he changed his appearance by SPRINKLING DUST AROUND HIS MOUTH AND EYES.",
but the St. Joseph NAB 1970 and New Jerusalem bible 1985 match the modern Vatican Versions (ESV, NIV, NASB, NET), the Jehovah Witness New World Translation and the NKJV with "disguised himself WITH A BANDAGE OVER HIS EYES."
BUT, now the 2009 Catholic Public Domain Version has come out and it goes back to reading much more like the King James Bible with: "and he changed his appearance by SPRINKLING DUST AROUND HIS MOUTH AND EYES."
If a Bible critic comes along who says the King James Bible is in error for telling us the prophet disguised himself "with ashes upon his face", he then places his own mere opinion against many other men just as learned and knowledgeable as he is, if not much more so, who disagree with him and affirm the Authorized King James Bible to be correct.
John Trapp Complete Commentary (English Puritan) - “And disguised himself. He slurried his face with ashes cast upon blood, that he might not appear to be a prophet; for then guilty Ahab would not have heard him, especially being now puffed up by his great victory.”
Commentators as well as the multitude of Bible versions all offer different and conflicting opinions. What one affirms another categorically denies. The thing to remember is that no Bible commentator, no modern Bible translator, and no self-appointed King James Bible critic believes that any Bible on this earth is the complete, inerrant, inspired words of God. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes.
I and thousands of other Bible believers will continue to maintain that God has given us His perfect and preserved words of truth, and that for the last 400 years they have been found in the King James Holy Bible.
From KJV Today - "Does the Hebrew Masoretic text underlying the KJV have any errors?"
Many believe that the KJV is based on the Hebrew Masoretic text of the Second Rabbinic Bible, edited by Jacob Ben Chayyim and printed by Daniel Bomberg in 1525. However, the KJV appeared to follow the First Rabbinic Bible, edited by Felix Pratensis in 1517-1518, as this first edition includes Joshua 21:36-37 and Nehemiah 7:68 whereas the second edition omits these verses. Except for these two passages, the KJV appeared to follow the Ben Chayyim text. Many recent versions of the Bible are based on the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, the third edition of the Masoretic text edited by Rudolph Kittel. There are eight places where differences between the two texts (the Ben Chayyim and the Rudolph Kittel) affect translation – they are: 1 Kings 20:38, Proverbs 8:16, Isaiah 10:16, Isaiah 27:2, Isaiah 38:14, Ezekiel 30:18, Zephaniah 3:15, and Malachi 1:12.
1 Kings 20:38
“ashes upon his face”
“bandage over his eyes”
“all the judges of the earth”
“all who judge rightly”
“vineyard of red wine”
“Be held back”
“table of the LORD”
“table of the Lord”
With only eight significant variants between the Jacob Ben Chayyim and the Rudolph Kittel editions, the Hebrew texts underlying the KJV and modern translations are fairly similar. However, modern textual critics believe that some verses in the Bible are erroneous in all editions of the Masoretic text. These critics believe that a Bible translation must consult the Masoretic text as well as other ancient witnesses such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, Samaritan Pentateuch, Aramaic Targum, Septuagint, and the Latin Vulgate. The prefaces of some of the leading translations have the following to say about the translators' view of a deficient Masoretic text:
“The translators also consulted the more important early versions – the Septuagint; Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion; the Vulgate; the Syriac Peshitta; the Targums; and for the Psalms the Juxta Hebraica of Jerome. Readings from these versions were occasionally followed where the Masoretic Text seemed doubtful and where accepted principles of textual criticism showed that one or more of these textual witnesses appeared to provide the correct reading.”
“In exceptional, difficult cases, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac Peshitta, the Latin Vulgate, and other sources were consulted to shed possible light on the text, or if necessary, to support a divergence from the Masoretic text.”
“In the present translation the latest edition of Rudolf Kittel’s Biblia Hebraica has been employed together with the most recent light from lexicography, cognate languages, and the Dead Sea Scrolls” (The NASB then lists these witnesses of cognate languages under its Abbreviations page: Aramaic, Septuagint, Latin, Syriac)"
These scholars consult these other sources because they believe that some passages are corrupt in all editions of the Hebrew text.
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