2 Kings 23:29 - Did the King of Egypt go up “AGAINST the king of Assyria" or "TO THE AID OF the king of Assyria"?
2 Kings 23:29 KJB - "In his days Pharaoh-nechoh king of Egypt WENT UP AGAINST the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him."
NKJV - "In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt WENT TO THE AID OF the king of Assyria, to the River Euphrates; and King Josiah went against him, And PHARAOH NECHO (Footnote - literally 'he') killed him at Megiddo when he confronted him."
A Bible corrector who has NO inerrant Bible to believe in named Al Maxey has listed what he believes are errors in the King James Bible. He calls these “ARCHAEOLOGICAL INACCURACIES IN THE KJV” and he writes: "The translators of the KJV lived and worked about 400 years ago. This is a considerable length of time, especially considering the many important discoveries made since then. These discoveries have shed light on areas of the text that they simply did not understand at the time. Through their lack of knowledge they made many unintentional errors in the text.”
Mr. Maxey then goes on to say: “In II Kings 23:29 the KJV reads, "In his days Pharaoh Nechoh king of Egypt went up AGAINST the king of Assyria." This is not true!! Pharaoh Nechoh went to the AID OF the Assyrian king; they were ALLIES, not enemies, as ancient records from that time have clearly demonstrated. The KJV translators did not have that information available to them, and thus assumed their meeting to have been one of enmity. It was an historically false assumption!! How many other false assumptions did these translators make, one is led to wonder?!!!” [End of Al Maxey’s “deep thoughts”]
Mr. Maxey uses the NIV and it says: "WHILE JOSIAH WAS KING, Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the Euphrates River TO HELP the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to meet him in battle, but NECO (not in text) faced him and killed him at Megiddo."
No Hebrew text reads with the NIV’s "while Josiah was king". This is a paraphrase. Even the NASB, RSV, NRSV and ESV all say "in his days". And the NASB, RSV, NRSV and ESV all also say “Pharoah Neco went up TO the king of Assyria”, not that “he went TO THE AID OF” or “TO HELP the king of Assyria”.
But the NKJV joins the NIV and says: "In his days Pharoah Neco went TO THE AID OF the king of Assyria."
Other perverted versions are Dan Wallace and company's 2006 NET version (Big surprise ;-) - "During Josiah’s reign Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt marched toward the Euphrates River TO HELP the king of Assyria."
the New English Version 1970, the New Living Bible 2013, The New International Reader's Version 2014 - "WENT TO HELP the king" and the Holman Standard Version 2009 edition.
The Holman 2009 edition now reads: "During his reign, Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt MARCHED UP TO HELP the king of Assyria at the Euphrates River."
However the Holman Standard 2003 edition (I have a hard copy) said: "During his reign Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt MARCHED UP TO the king of Assyia at the Euphrates river."
There is no Hebrew text that says "to the aid of" or "to help". This is what the Eugene Nida influenced modern translators refer to as "dynamic equivalence". It is not what the TEXT says but how the modern translator THINKS the text SHOULD read.
Those versions that read along with the KJB that "in his days Pharoah Necho went up AGAINST the king of Assyria" are The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, the Jewish translations of 1917 (Jewish Publication Society), 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company, The Jewish Family Bible 1864, The New Jewish Version 1985, the 1998 Complete Jewish Bible - "During his time Pharaoh N’khoh king of Egypt WENT UP toward the Euphrates River TO ATTACK the king of Ashur.", The Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah version 2001- "In his days Pharaoh-necoh king of Egypt WENT UP AGAINST the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates", the 2004 Judaica Press Tanach - "In his days, Pharaoh-Neco went up AGAINST the king of Assyria by the Euphrates River, and King Josiah went toward him, and he killed him in Megiddo when he saw him.", and The Orthodox Jewish Bible of 2011 - "In his days Pharaoh Nekhoh Melech Mitzrayim WENT UP AGAINST Melech Ashur."
The Jewish Virtual Library Complete Tanach 1994 - "In his days went up Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt AGAINST the king of Assyria"
And this online Hebrew Interlinear translation -
"In his days went up Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt AGAINST the king of Assyria..."
The English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible also reads this way -
"And in his days went up Pharao Nechao king of Egypt AGAINST the king of the Assyrians to the river Euphrates"
As does the Modern Greek Bible - “Εν ταις ημεραις αυτου ανεβη ο Φαραω-νεχαω, βασιλευς της Αιγυπτου, κατα του βασιλεως της Ασσυριας επι τον ποταμον Ευφρατην. = “he went up AGAINST (κατα) the king”
Also reading "went up AGAINST the king of Assyria" are Wycliffe 1395, Miles Coverdale 1535 - " In his tyme wete Pharao Necho ye kynge of Egipte vp AGAYNST the kynge of Assyria", the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishop's Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587 - "In his dayes Pharaoh Nechoh King of Egypt went vp AGAINST the King of Asshur", Douay-Rheims 1610 - "went up AGAINST the king", The Thompson Translation 1808, Brenton Translation 1851, Lesser Bible 1853, the Revised Version 1885, Young's literal 1898, The American Standard Version 1901 - "went up AGAINST the king of Assyria", Darby 1890, Rotherham's Emphasized bible 1902, Douay Version 1950, World English Bible 2000, Bible in Basic English 1961 "sent his armies AGAINST the king of Assyria", The New Berkeley Version in Modern English 1969, Amplified Bible 1987 - "went up AGAINST the king of Assyria", New Simplified Bible, The Koster Scriptures 1998, The Apostolic Polyglot Bible 2003, A Conservative Version 2005 - "went up AGAINST the king", Complete Apostle's Bible 2005, The Hebrew Transliteration Scripture 2010, The New Heart English Bible 2010, The New European Version 2010, The Jubilee Bible 2010, the 2011 Common English Bible (a critical text version) - "In his days, the Egyptian king Pharaoh Neco marched AGAINST the Assyrian king at the Euphrates River.", The New Brenton Translation 2012, The Concordant Version 2012, the Lexham English Bible 2012 - "went up AGAINST the king of Assyria", The Biblos Bible 2013, the Hebrew Names Version 2014, The Modern English Version 2014 and The Tree of Life Version 2015 - "went up AGAINST the king of Assyria".
Foreign Language Bibles
Among foreign language Bibles that also say "went up AGAINST the king of Assyria" are Luther's German Bible 1545 and the German Schlachter Bible 2000 - “der König von Ägypten, herauf gegen den König von Assyrien” = “went up AGAINST the king”, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909-1977, R.V. Contemporánea 2011 - "se dirigió al río Éufrates PARA LUCHAR CONTRA el rey de Asiria" = "went up TO FIGHT AGAINST the king of Assyria", the 1997 La Biblia de las Américas, and the 2010 Reina Valera Gómez Bible - "En aquellos días Faraón Nechâo rey de Egipto subió CONTRA el rey de Asiria al río Eufrates", the French Martin 1744, Louis Segond 1910, French Ostervald 1996, and the French La Bible du Semeur 1997 - "De son temps, Pharaon Néco, roi d'Égypte, monta CONTRE le roi d'Assyrie", the Italian Diodati 1649 and the New Diodati 1991 - "Durante il suo regno, il Faraone Neko, re d'Egitto, salí CONTRO il re di Assiria sul fiume Eufrate.", the Portuguese Almeida - "rei do Egito, CONTRA o rei da Assíria".
As we shall see, Mr. Maxey and these other perverted versions confuse the previous king of Assyria with the king of Babylon, who was referred to as the king of Assyria after he conquered it.
John Wesley notes: "The king- The king of Babylon, who having formerly rebelled against the Assyrian had now conquered him; as appears by the course of the sacred, and the concurrence of the profane history; and therefore is here and elsewhere called the Assyrian, and the king of Assyria, because now he was the head of that empire."
John Gill - "In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up AGAINST the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates; to Carchemish, a city situated upon it; see 2 Chronicles 35:20, the king he went against was the king of Babylon, who had conquered the Assyrian monarchy, and therefore called king of it."
E.W. Bullinger Companian Bible Notes - “went AGAINST him, the king of Assyria i.e. the king of Babylon, who had just conquered Nineveh, the rival capital.”
Matthew Henry - "The king of Egypt waged war, it seems, with the king of Assyria: so the king of Babylon is now called. Josiah's kingdom lay between them. He therefore thought himself concerned to oppose the king of Egypt, and check the growing, threatening, greatness of his power; for though, at this time, he protested that he had no design against Josiah, yet, if he should prevail to unite the river of Egypt and the river Euphrates, the land of Judah would soon be overflowed between them. Therefore Josiah went against him, and was killed in the first engagement."
Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible - “Pharaoh-necoh went up against the king of Assyria" (2 Kings 23:29). "That king of Assyria was Nabopolassar the father of Nebuchadnezzar. His proper title was `King of Babylon'"; a fact that became crystal clear following the battle of Charchemish (605 B.C.).”
The Pulpit Commentary - “The "King of Assyria," against whom Pharaoh-Nechoh "went up," was probably Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar. His proper rifle was "King of Babylon," which is what Nebuchadnezzar always calls him; but the Jews not unnaturally regarded him as the inheritor of the Assyrian empire, as indeed they regarded the Persian monarchs also (Ezra 6:22), and therefore gave him the title of "King of Assyria."
Dummelow’s Commentary - “The king of Assyria i.e. the king of Babylon. Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, fell in 607 before the united forces of the Median Cyaxares and the Babylonian Nabopolassar; and it was to dispute the spoils of the fallen empire with Nabopolassar that Nechoh advanced northward through Palestine. The king of Babylon is here called by the name of Assyria, the country he had conquered. Josiah WENT AGAINST HIM - Josiah's motives can only be conjectured, but it is probable that in the downfall of Assyria's power he hoped to extend his authority over what had once been the northern kingdom, and feared that his designs would be foiled by the Egyptian advance."
The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann- “In his days Pharaoh-nechoh, king of Egypt, WENT UP AGAINST the king of Assyria, to the river Euphrates, this being probably Nabopolassar, who was ruler of both Babylon and Assyria. And King Josiah WENT AGAINST HIM, to prevent him from marching through his country”
Whedon’s Commentary - “Went up against the king of Assyria — According to Josephus, this expedition of Necho was “to fight with the Medes and Babylonians, who had overthrown the dominions of the Assyrians.” In that case the king of Assyria here would mean the Babylonian conqueror, Nabopolassar, who had so recently become ruler of Assyria"
As you should be able to see, Mr. Maxey and his NIV, and the NKJV along with Dan Wallace's NET and the 2009 edition of the Holman Standard are wrong and it is the King James Bible that is right, as always.
"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Luke 8:8
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