Genesis 24:47 “earring upon her face” or “a nose ring on her nose”?
In the King James Holy Bible we read of the servant of Abraham traveling to a foreign land to find a virgin bride for Abraham’s son Isaac. The servant finds a young woman named Rebecca and he gives her “a golden EARRING and two bracelets for her hands” (24:20) Her brother Laban sees “the EARRING and bracelets upon his sister’s hands” (24:30) and the servant later testifies how the Lord God of his master Abraham had guided him and how he had “put the EARRING UPON HER FACE, and the bracelets upon her hands.” (Genesis 24:47)
"EARRING" is also the reading found in Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1534 - "And I put the earynge vpon hir face and the bracelettes apon hir hondes.", Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540 - "the man toke a golden earynge", Matthew's Bible 1549 - "he toke a golden earing", Bishops' Bible 1568 - "and I put the earring vpon her face", the Bill Bible 1671, The Thomson Bible 1808 - "Then I put the EAR RINGS upon her and the bracelets on her hands", Webster's translation 1833, Brenton's Translation 1851, the Lesser Bible 1853, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - "I put the EAR RING upon her face", The Word of Yah 1993, the KJV 21st Century version 1994, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, God's First Truth 1999, The Apostolic Polyglot Bible 2003 - "I put on her the EARRINGS", the Complete Apostle's Bible 2005 - "and I put on her the earrings", the 2008 Torah Transliteration Scripture, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 - "And I put the EARRING upon her face", The Conservative Bible 2010, the Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011 - "I put the EARRING ON HER FACE", The Work of God’s Children Illustrated Bible 2011 - “So I put earrings on her to adorn her face”, The New Brenton Translation 2012 - "I put on her THE EARRINGS", The Revised Douay-Rheims 2012 - "So I put EARRINGS on her to adorn her face, and I put bracelets on her hands.", The New English Septuagint Translation 2014 - "So I put the EARRINGS on her"
The Geneva Bible 1587 was more than a little weird with: "Then I put the abillement vpon her face, and the bracelets vpon her hands",
and even The Revised Geneva Bible 2005 doesn't do much to improve it, with: "Then I put THE HABILIMENT UPON HER FACE, and the bracelets upon her hands"
And the English Jubilee Bible 2010 is not far behind for obtuseness with its "And I put THE PENDANT OVER HER NOSE"
However versions like the NKJV, NASB, NIV, Holman Standard, RSV, ESV and NET translations tell us that the unnamed servant of Abraham didn’t give Rebeccah an EARRING but rather A NOSE RING to put in her nose.
The Jehovah Witness New World Translation says: "I put THE NOSE RING ON HER NOSTRIL and the bracelets on her hands."
The New Life Version 1969 has: “And I put THE GOLD OBJECTS ON HER NOSE and arms.”
The Ancient Roots Translinear Bible 2008 actually says: “I set THE HOOP OVER HER NOSE, and the bracelets over her hands.”
The Catholic Connection
Among the Catholic versions we see the usual confusion. The previous Douay-Rheims of 1610 and the Douay of 1950 both correctly read "EARRING", but the St. Joseph New American bible 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible of 1985 says: "Then I put this RING THROUGH HER NOSE".
But then the 2009 Catholic Public Domain version has now come out and it has gone back to the reading of "EARRINGS". -"And so, I hung the EARRINGS on her, to adorn her face, and I put the bracelets on her hands."
The Amplified bible 1987 can't seem to make up its mind, so it gives us BOTH readings, saying: "And I put the EARRING OR NOSE RING on her face and the bracelets on her arms." (Hey, it was one or the other; I just can't remember which one it was right now ;-)
NKJV 1982 - “the man took a golden NOSE RING”...”So I put THE NOSE RING ON HER NOSE” - Genesis 24:22,47.
The Hebrew word for “face” (#639 aph) has many meanings and is variously translated by all versions as “face, anger, nostrils, nose, wrath and forehead.” The NKJV has translated this same word as “face” some 20 times, and the NIV, NASB as “face” 19 times.
The Hebrew word translated as “earring” is # 5141 neh-zem, and is used only 17 times and the KJB correctly translates it as “earring” 14 of the 17 times, and as “jewel” three times. It is never translated as “nose ring” in the KJB. The NKJV, NIV, NASB and ESV have translated it as both “earring” and “nose ring”, with the NKJV having “earring” 10 times, the NASB 7 times and the NIV as “earring” 6 times.
You have to admit, there is a difference when your wife or girlfriend wears earrings and when she might chose to wear a nose ring. So, does God’s infallible Book tell us that Rebecca wore an EARRING of gold on her face (***the ear is a part of the face) or “a NOSE RING IN HER NOSE”? If you do not believe in an infallible Bible, then you will never know.
***The ears are part of the human face.
American Heritage Dictionary - the face - The surface of the front of the head from the top of the forehead to the base of the chin and from ear to ear.
Webster’s New World English Dictionary, 4th Edition. the Face - the front of the head from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin, and from ear to ear; visage; countenance.
The Wordsmyth English Dictionary - the face -the part of the head that extends from the forehead to the chin and from ear to ear.
The UltraLingua English Dictionary - the face - The front of the head from the forehead to the chin and ear to ear
Because we Bible believers do believe that God has in fact given us an infallible Bible in the Authorized King James Holy Bible, we maintain that it was an earring and not a nose ring that Rebecca, the young bride to be, wore on that day.
To repeat, a few of the other Bible translations that agree with the KJB that it was an earring.
Wycliffe 1395 - “hangide eere ryngis to ourne (to adorn) hir face”
Tyndale 1534 (he translated part of the O.T. before being put to death) - “And I put the earynge vpon hir face”
Coverdale 1535 - “Then layed I the earinge vpon hir face”
The Great Bible (Cranmer) of 1540, and Matthew’s Bible (John Rogers) of 1549 - “And I put the earing vpon hyr face, and the bracelettes vpon hyr handes.”
Bishops’ Bible 1568 - “and I put the earring vpon her face, and the bracelettes vpon her handes.”
Webster’s 1833 translation, and the 1851 Brenton Translation - “and I put the ear-ring upon her face”
The Douay-Rheims - “So I put earrings on her to adorn her face”
Lamsa’s 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta - “and I put the EARRINGS ON HER EARS and the bracelets on her hands.”
The so called Greek Septuagint has - “So I put on her the EARRINGS” (τὰ ἐνώτια) Verses 22, 30, 47.
And the Modern Greek translation reads the same having “I put the earrings on her face” - και περιεθεσα τα ενωτια εις το προσωπον αυτης
The 21st Century KJV 1994, the Third Millennium Bible 1998 and the 2001 Urim-Thummin Version all read like the KJB.
The 2008 Torah Transliteration Scripture - “and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands.”
The 2009 Catholic Public Domain Version - “And so, I hung the earrings on her, to adorn her face, and I put the bracelets on her hands.”
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