Genesis 20:16 "he is to thee a covering of the eyes...thus she was reproved."
Genesis 20:16 KJB - "And unto Sarah he said, BEHOLD, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: BEHOLD, HE IS TO THEE A COVERING OF THE EYES, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: THUS SHE WAS REPROVED."
Genesis 20:16 presents us with another clear example of paraphrasing which misses the whole meaning of the passage and results in conflicting versions of nonsense.
Abraham had been told by God that He would give him a son by his wife Sarah. Yet again we see the faltering steps of faith in our spiritual father as he and Sarah sojourned in the land of Gerar. Upon entering the region of king Abimelech, Abraham thought "Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake."
So, he told Sarah to say that he was her brother. The result of this was that Abimelech took Sarah into his house, thus putting her into a very precarious position. Then God came to Abimelech by night in a dream and told him that Sarah was Abraham's wife and that he was "but a dead man".
Abimelech arose early in the morning and called Abraham and asked him why he had done this. Then the king gave Abraham sheep, oxen, men and women servants and restored him Sarah his wife and told him to dwell where he pleased.
Then in Genesis 20:16 we read: "And unto Sarah he said, BEHOLD, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: BEHOLD, HE IS TO THEE A COVERING OF THE EYES, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: THUS SHE WAS REPROVED."
"Covering of the eyes" is the literal reading of the Hebrew and is also found in the 1917 and 1936 Jewish translations, the RV, ASV, Young's, Darby, Douay, Geneva, Spanish Cipriano de Valera and many others as we shall soon see. Even the NKJV shows in its footnote that the literal Hebrew is "covering of the eyes".
I believe God has blinded the modern version editors and they are not able to see the obvious meaning of this passage and that is why they have paraphrased it to mean what they think it is saying rather than what it actually says.
Abimelech is saying to Sarah that the truth is now known by all that her "brother" is in fact her husband and that Abraham will serve as a covering of other men's eyes so that they will not look upon Sarah as a potential wife. Thus she was reproved for her part in the deception that almost cost Abimelech his life.
However the NASB, NIV, ESV, NKJV, LXX and Catholic versions all miss this point and even contradict each other.
Instead of the KJB's "Behold, HE IS TO THEE A COVERING OF THE EYES, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: THUS SHE WAS REPROVED."
the NKJV says: "INDEED, THIS VINDICATES YOU before all who are with you and before all others. Thus she was REPROVED."
The NASB has: "Behold, IT IS YOUR VINDICATION before all who are with you and before all men YOU ARE CLEARED."
The ESV has: "IT IS A SIGN OF YOUR INNOCENCE in the eyes of all who are with you, and before everyone YOU ARE VINDICATED."
while the NIV reads: "THIS IS TO COVER THE OFFENSE AGAINST YOU before all who are with you; you are COMPLETELY VINDICATED."
The so called Greek Septuagint (LXX) it totally different from them all and says: "Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver, THOSE SHALL BE TO THEE FOR THE PRICE OF THY COUNTENANCE, AND TO ALL WOMEN WITH THEE, AND SPEAK THE TRUTH IN ALL THINGS." (Yeah, that's pretty close, huh?)
And the Catholic St. Joseph New American bible 1970 reads: "See, I have given your brother a thousand shekels of silver. LET THAT SERVE AS A VINDICATION before all who are with you; YOUR HONOR HAS BEEN PRESERVED WITH EVERYONE."
So which is it- was she reproved as the KJB, NKJV and others say or was she cleared and vindicated as the NIV/NASB/ESV have it?
And what on earth does "this vindicates you" mean? The NIV omits the word "behold" three times in verses 15, 16, adds "offence" though it did get "cover" more or less right but yet the meaning is totally different than either the NKJV, NASB (ESV) or the KJB.
"Behold, HE IS TO THEE A COVERING OF THE EYES, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: THUS SHE WAS REPROVED."
Bibles that agree with the Hebrew text and the King James Bible "Behold, HE IS TO THEE A COVERING OF THE EYES, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: THUS SHE WAS REPROVED." are Tyndale 1534 - "beholde he shall be a couerynge to thyne eyes vnto all that ar with the and vnto all men", Coverdale 1535 - "he shall be to thee a covering of the eyes", The Great Bible 1540 - "a couerynge of thyne eyes vnto all that are with the & thus with all was she reproued.”, Matthew's Bible 1549 - " a couering to thyne eyes & vnto al that are wyth thee", the Bishops' Bible 1568, Webster's Bible 1833, The Sharpe Bible 1883, the Revised Version 1885 - "for thee a covering of the eyes to all that are with thee", Darby 1890, Young's 1898 - "to thee a covering of eyes, to all who are with thee", Rotherham's Emphasized Bible 1902 - "a covering of the eyes", The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - "Behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other. Thus she was reproved.", the JPS 1917 - "for thee a covering of the eyes to all that are with thee", The Word of Yah 1993, The Koster Scriptures 1998 - "to you a covering of the eyes before all who are with you and before all others", Green's Literal 2005, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, The Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 - “he is to you a covering of the eyes, to all that are with you, and with all other: thus she was reproved.", the Online Interlinear 2010 (André de Mol), The English Jubilee Bible 2010, The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible 2011 - "for a covering of the eyes to all who are with you", The Hebraic Roots Bible 2012- “is for you a covering of the eyes to all who are with you. And with all this you are reproved.”, The Biblos Bible 2013 - "he is to you a covering of the eyes, to all that are with you and with all other"
And this Interlinear Hebrew Old Testament - "and he shall be to thee a covering of the eyes, and to all that are with thee, and with all, thus she was reproved."
Hebrew Transliteration Scripture 2010 - “Hinei, (Behold) he [is] to you a covering of the eyes, to all that [are] with you, and with all [other]: thus she was reproved.”
Foreign Language Bibles -
Spanish Cipriano de Valera 1602 = KJB word for word - “Y a Sara dijo: He aquí he dado mil monedas de plata a tu hermano; mira que él te es por velo de ojos para todos los que están contigo, y para con todos: así fué reprendida.”
The Reina Valera Antigua 1909 (the more recent ones are messed up), and the Spanish Reina Valera Gomez bible 2010 - “mira que él te es como velo de ojos para todos los que están contigo, y para con todos; así fue reprendida.”
The French Martin Bible 1744 - “Et il dit à Sara : Voici, j'ai donné à ton frère mille pièces d'argent; voici, il t'est une couverture d'yeux envers tous ceux qui sont avec toi, et envers tous les autres; et ainsi elle fut reprise.”
The Italian Diodato 1649 - “Ed a Sara disse: Ecco, io ho donati mille sicli d’argento al tuo fratello; ecco, egli ti è coperta d’occhi appo tutti coloro che son teco. E con tutto ciò, ella fu ripresa.”
The Portuguese Almeida Corrigida 2009 - “E a Sara disse: Vês que tenho dado ao teu irmão mil moedas de prata; eis que elas te sejam por véu dos olhos para com todos os que contigo estão e até para com todos os outros; e estás advertida.”
And The Modern Greek Bible - “ιδου, αυτος ειναι εις σε σκεπη των οφθαλμων προς παντας τους μετα σου και προς παντας τους αλλους. Ουτως αυτη επεπληχθη.” = “he is to thee a covering of the eyes, to all that are with you and to all others. Thus she was reproved.”
Geneva Bible notes 1599
Genesis 20:16 And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved. God caused this heathen king to reprove her because she concealed her identity, seeing that God had given her a husband as her veil and defence.
John Calvin is right on, saying: - “HE IS TO THEE A COVERING OF THE EYES. Moses, in this place, rather points to the husband; and this best suits the sense. For Sarah is taught that the husband to whom she is joined was as a veil, with which she ought to be covered lest she should be exposed to others…it applies more aptly to married women; because they are veiled, as by the very ordinance of marriage. I therefore thus explain the words, ‘Thou, if thou hadst no husband, wouldst be exposed to many dangers; but now, since God has appointed for thee a guardian of thy modesty, it behoves thee to conceal thyself under that veil. Why then hast thou of thine own accords thrown off this covering?’ This was a just censure; because Sarah, pretending that she was in the power of her husband, had deprived herself of the divine protection. THUS SHE WAS REPROVED. INTERPRETERS DISTORT THIS CLAUSE ALSO. The natural exposition seems to me to be, that the Lord had suffered Sarah TO BE REPROVED by a heathen king, that he might the more deeply affect her with a sense of shame. For Moses draws especial attention to the person of the speaker; because it seemed a disgrace that the mother of the faithful should be reprehended by such a master.”
Matthew Poole’s Annotations on the Bible - “He is to thee a covering of the eyes, i.e. a protection to thee from the wanton eyes and attempts of others, whilst they know thee to be the wife of another man, and he such a one whom they reverence and fear; and therefore thou didst take a very wrong course to disown him, whereby thou didst expose thyself to great danger.”
Matthew Henry and John Wesley both say the same thing -"He gives to Sarah good instruction, tells her that her husband (her brother he calls him, to upbraid her with calling him so) MUST BE TO HER FOR A COVERING OF THE EYES, THAT IS, THAT SHE MUST LOOK AT NO OTHER, NOR DESIRE TO BE LOOKED AT BY ANY OTHER. Note, Yoke-fellows must be to each other for a covering of the eyes. The marriage-covenant is a covenant with the eyes, like Job’s, ch. 31:1."
John Gill comments: "behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee; a protection of her person and chastity: so an husband, in our language, is said to be a cover to his wife, and she under a cover: thus Abraham being now known to be the husband of Sarah, would for the future be a covering to her, that no one should look upon her, and desire her, and take her to be his wife."
Now if you wish to defend the NASB, NIV, NKJV, ESV as being "reliable versions", go right ahead, but I and thousands of other Bible believers will have no part of it.
The King James Bible is right, as always. Get used to it.
For many more examples like this, see "A Comparative Study of Genesis - Yea, hath God said?"
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