Another King James Bible Believer


What About The English Word BEWRAY, as in “…for thy speech BEWRAYETH thee.”  Matthew 26:73?

What About The English Word BEWRAY, as in “…for thy speech BEWRAYETH thee.”  Matthew 26:73?

The verb “to bewray” is found 4 times in the King James Bible. Three times in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament.

Here are the passages -

Isaiah 16:3 KJB - “Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; BEWRAY not him that wandereth.”

Proverbs 27:16 KJB - “ Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which BEWRAYETH itself.”

Proverbs 29:24 KJB - “ Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and BEWRAYETH it not.”  And 

Matthew 26:73 KJB - “And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech BEWRAYETH thee.”

The meaning of the verb “to bewray”.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary - BEWRA'Y, verb transitive beray. To disclose perfidiously; to betray; to show or make visible.

Thy speech bewrayeth thee. Matthew 26:73

The American Heritage Dictionary - to bewray - to disclose, divulge, or betray.

Collins English Dictionary - to bewray, verb, transitive, an obsolete word for betray.

Infoplease Dictionary - bewray. 1. to reveal or expose.  2. to betray. Multi-Lingual Dictionary - to bewray  1. (obsolete) to divulge a secret.  2. (archaic) to inadvertently reveal (usually with reference to a person’s true character)

Technically speaking, the word “bewray” is not exactly the same thing as “to betray” and the specific Hebrew words used in the three O.T. passages are never translated as “to betray”, nor does the Greek expression mean the same thing as “to betray”, which is an entirely different Greek word. 

An Explanation.

The underlying Greek text in Matthew 26:73 “for thy speech BEWRAYETH thee” is η λαλια σου δηλον σε ποιει. Literally this would be “for the speech of you makes you known (or makes you manifest).  

It is composed of two words -  ποιει = it makes, and δηλον = manifest, evident, shown.

It is not the word that is frequently used to mean “to betray”, as in “Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him” or “the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” (Matthew 26:45).  This word is paradidomi, which literally is to hand or give over.

The King James Bible is actually more accurate, even though it uses a word that most people are not familiar with.

Versions like the NKJV, NIV, NASB, ESV say “your speech BETRAYS you”, which is not really the same thing.  To “betray” someone is to deliberately and treacherously hand them over to their enemies.

The Holman Standard 2009 and ISV 2014 and NET bible 2006, though very corrupt in many other ways, are actually closer to the correct meaning in this verse than are the NKJV, NIV, NASB. They say: “your accent GIVES YOU AWAY.”

"BETRAY" does come close to matching the secondary meaning of “to betray”, which is “to reveal unintentionally”.  The difference is that to “bewray” means to reveal, make manifest, disclose or divulge something or someone, and it can be done with intent and is not always accidental, as in “BEWRAY not him that wandereth.” in Isaiah 16:3. 

Not only does the King James Bible use the word “BEWRAY” in the sense of “to reveal, or make known something or someone”, but so too do the following Bible versions.

Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, The Geneva Bible 1599 - “for even thy speech bewrayeth thee.”, The Beza New Testament 1599, the Daniel Mace New Testament 1729 - “for thy speech BEWRAYS thee.”, the Webster Bible 1833 - “Whoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand which BEWRAYETH itself.”, The Revised New Testament 1862, the Revised Version 1885 - “for thy speech BEWRAYETH thee”, “hide the outcasts; BEWRAY not the wanderer.” (Isaiah 16:3), The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - “BEWRAY not him that wandereth” (Isaiah 16:3), “the ointment of his right hand which BEWRAYETH itself” (Proverbs 27:16), The Clarke New Testament 1913 -“thy speech BEWRAYETH thee”, The Word of Yah Bible 1993, God’s First Truth 1999 - “BEWRAY not them that are fled.” (Isaiah 16:3), The Tomson New Testament 2002 - “thy speech BEWRAYETH thee.”, The Hebrew Transliteration Bible 2010 - “hide the outcasts; BEWRAY not him that wandereth.”, “the ointment of his right hand, which BEWRAYETH itself.” (Proverbs 27:16), “he heareth cursing and BEWRAYETH it not.” (Proverbs 29:24) Yet it has “your speech BETRAYS you” in Matthew 26:73 - Go figure., The Bond Slave Version 2012 has “BEWRAY not him that wanders” in Isaiah 16:3 but in Matthew 26:73 says “your speech BETRAYS you.”

Though the word is not used much today outside of the Bible, the King James Bible’s use of the word BEWRAY is more accurate than “to betray”

See also “Some Thoughts on the “archaic” Language of the King James Bible.”

ALL of grace, believing the Book, the King James Bible,

Will Kinney

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