Jeremiah 27:1 JEHOIAKIM or ZEDEKIAH? Has the Hebrew text been corrupted?
Jeremiah 27:1 - Is there another scribal error in the King James Bible and in the Hebrew Masoretic text?
Jeremiah 27:1 KJB - "In the beginning of the reign of JEHOIAKIM the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying...."
ESV, RSV, NIV, NASB, NET, Catholic New Jerusalem bible 1985 - "In the beginning of the reign of ZEDEKIAH the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD."
The name JEHOIAKIM and not Zedekiah is found in the Hebrew Masoretic texts and in the following Bible versions: the Latin Vulgate 425 A.D., The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, the Jewish translations of 1917 (Jewish Publication Society), the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company Bible, The New Jewish Version 1985, the modern Complete Jewish Bible 1998, the Judaica Press Complete Tanach of 2004, the Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011 and the Hebrew Names Version 2014.
Jehoiakim is the reading in Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540 - "In the begynninge of the reygne of Iehoakim", Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, the Douay Rheims 1610, King James Bible 1611, the Bill Bible 1671, Lesser Bible 1853, The Revised English Bible 1877, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible 1902, the Revised Version 1881- "In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah", the American Standard Version 1901- "In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim", Darby's version 1890, Young's 1898, the Douay of 1950, Hebrew Publishing Company translation 1936, the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970, The Living Bible 1971 (But the NEW Living Bible 2007 changed it to "Zedekiah"), the New King James Version 1982, the KJV 21st Century 1994, The Koster Scriptures 1998, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, Green's modern KJV 2000, The Apostolic Polyglot Bible 2003, the 2009 Catholic Public Domain Bible -"beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim", the Lexham English Bible of 2012, the 2012 Natural Israelite Bible - "In the beginning of the reign of JEHOIAKIM the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah"
Other Bible translations that also follow the Hebrew text and read JEHOIAKIM are The Word of Yah 1993, God's First Truth 1999, The World English Bible 2000, the Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, Green's Literal 2005, the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible 2008, Bond Slave Version 2009, Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, Jubilee Bible 2010, Online Interlinear 2010 (André de Mol), The New European Version 2010, Biblos Interlinear Bible 2013, The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible 2011, Conservative Bible 2011, Interlinear Hebrew-Greek Scriptures 2012 (Mebust), World English Bible 2012, Hebraic Roots Bible 2012, The Lexham English Bible 2012, the International Standard Version 2014 - "At the beginning of the reign of Josiah’s son JEHOIAKIM, king of Judah, this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord" and The Tree of Life Version 2015.
Foreign Language Bibles
Among the foreign language versions that agree with the Hebrew text and the KJB reading of Jehoiakim are: the Spanish Reina Valera 1602, 1909, 1960, 1995 and the 2010 R.V. Gómez Bible - "del reinado de Joacim", (But the Reina Valera Acualizada 2015 edition has now changed this to read "Zedekiah" - Sedequías), the German Luther of 1545 and the German Schlachter Bible of 2000 - "Im Anfang der Regierung Jojakims", the Italian Diodati of 1649, La Nuova Diodati 1991 and the Italian Riveduta Bible of 2006 - "del regno di Ioiachim", the French Martin 1744, Louis Segond of 2007 and the French Ostervald of 1996, - "du règne de Jojakim", the Portuguese Biblia Sagrada - "reinado de Jeoiaquim", Portuguese O Livro 2000, the Russian Synodal version "В начале царствования Иоакима, сына Иосии", Dutch Staten Vertaling, Danish, Hungarian Karoli Bible, Romanian Cornilescu and the 2009 Romanian Fidela Bible 2014 - "domniei lui Ioiachim", Tagalog - "Nang pasimula ng paghahari ni JOACIM na anak ni Josias", Chech BKR Bible, The Finnish Pyha Raamattu bible 1992 - "Jojakimin".
The Modern Greek translation (not to be confused with the so called Septuagint, which is missing the entire verse.) - "Εν τη αρχη της βασιλειας του Ιωακειμ υιου του Ιωσιου" = "in the beginning of the reign of JEHOIAKIM..."
and the Modern Hebrew Bible - בראשית ממלכת יהויקם בן יאושיהו מלך יהודה היה הדבר
Versions that Reject the Hebrew Text
However beginning with the liberal RSV (Revised Standard Version of 1952) a multitude of modern versions with conflicting footnotes have rejected the traditional Hebrew Masoretic textual reading of JEHOIAKIM and have replaced it with the name ZEDEKIAH.
Among those bible versions that continually cast doubt on the Hebrew texts and claim numerous "scribal errors" are the Amplified bible 1987, NASB, NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, Holman Standard 2009, New English Bible, the Message 2002, Daniel Wallace's NET version 2006, Names of God Bible 2011, The Voice 2012, New Living Translation 2013, Modern English Version 2014, and the Catholic New Jerusalem Bible of 1985.
ALL of these modern versions reject the traditional Hebrew Masoretic text, and instead of "JEHOIAKIM" have changed this to read "At the beginning of the reign of ZEDEKIAH son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord"
Dan Wallace and company's train wreck called the NET bible changes the text to read "Zedekiah" and then in their footnote they tell us: "It has long been recognized that the text of 27:1 is textually corrupt."
The Catholic Connection
The Catholic versions are in their usual disarray. The older Douay-Rheims 1610, the Douay Version 1950 and even the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 all correctly read JEHOIAKIM. But the Jerusalem bible 1968 and the New Jerusalem bible 1985 have both changed this to read ZEDEKIAH. But then the Catholic Public Domain Version of 2009 went back to JEHOIAKIM.
For numerous examples of how versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV, and Holman Standard reject the Hebrew texts, please see the following two articles:
Conflicting footnotes are often found in these various modern versions.
Regarding Jeremiah 27:1 the RSV simply tells us that "another reading is Jehoiakim", while the Catholic New Jerusalem 1985 says that Zedekiah is a conjecture (a guess) and that the Hebrew reads Jehoiakim.
The Catholic St. Joseph New American bible 1970 correctly reads "JEHOIAKIM" in the text, BUT in their footnote they tell us: "this gloss cannot be correct."
So like so many modern versions, they give you something in the TEXT and then tell you in their footnotes that IT IS AN ERROR. What "spirit" do you think would want to cast doubt like this on the words of the living God?
It's the "Yea, hath God said...?" syndrome of the serpent. See Genesis 3:1.
The New Berkeley Version in Modern English 1969 does the same thing in their footnotes. They corrupted the TEXT itself by saying: "At the beginning of the reign of ZEDEKIAH the son of Josiah..." and then in their footnote they tell us: "Hebrew text has "Jehoiakim" BUT the context demands "Zedekiah".
The NKJV online edition tells us that the Masoretic Text, Targum and Vulgate agree with the reading of Jehoiakim, but that some Hebrew mss., the Arabic and Syriac read Zedekiah; but then the Holman Standard informs us that even the Dead Sea Scrolls agrees with the reading of Jehoiakim as found in the King James Bible.
The verse is completely missing from the so called Greek Septuagint.
THOSE WHO CLAIM THE HEBREW TEXT IS CORRUPT:
Adam Clarke believes the Masoretic reading of Jehoiakim is an error. He says: "Verse 1. In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim. It is most evident that his prophecy was delivered about the fourth year of ZEDEKIAH, and not Jehoiakim, as in the text. Three of Kennicott's MSS. (one in the text, a second in the margin, and the third upon a rasure) have Zedekiah; so likewise have the Syriac and the Arabic. And it is clear from the third and twelfth verses, where Zedekiah is expressly mentioned, that this is the true reading."
Daniel Wallace and the Dallas Theological Seminary group. As is his usual custom, Dr. Wallace and his NET bible version rejects the Hebrew reading of Jehoiakim, and sides with the multiple versionists who believe the Hebrew texts have been corrupted.
Wallace says: " The majority of Hebrew mss and most of the versions read “At the beginning of the reign of Josiah’s son, Jehoiakim king of Judah” as in 26:1. The LXX does not have this whole verse. It has long been recognized that THE TEXT OF 27:1 IS TEXTUALLY CORRUPT... Hence it is preferable to read “Zedekiah” here in place of “Jehoiakim” and explain the error in the Hebrew manuscripts as AN ERRONEOUS COPYING of 26:1."
Gleason Archer. In his typical new evangelical outlook which considers the Hebrew texts to have been corrupted in numerous places, Dr. Gleason "Scribal Error" Archer says on page 273 of his Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties that a scribe inadvertently copied the wrong reading here and that "the original copy UNDOUBTEDLY read Zedekiah."
How the good doctor Archer would know "undoubtedly" what the original copy said is mere pedantic speculation on his part. Gleason Archer, of the NIV and NASB translation committees, does not believe ANY Bible or any text is now the inerrant and complete words of God, and neither will you if you follow such blind guides.
Rather than accepting the possibility that maybe God really meant what He said about preserving His words in "the book of the LORD" somewhere here on this earth and that there just might be another way to explain apparent contradictions like this, the modern Scholars Speculation Society would have you believe that there is no such thing as an inspired and inerrant Bible in any language on the face of this earth.
And no two of these men agree even among themselves about all of their textual suppositions, as is abundantly witnessed by the modern Bible Babble Buffet found today.
THOSE WHO DEFEND THE HEBREW MASORETIC READING:
John Gill at least offers a reasonable explanation of the Masoretic text reading of Jehoiakim saying: "others therefore think, that though the prophecy was delivered to Jeremiah, and the orders were given him to make the bonds and yokes after mentioned, at this time; yet this prophecy was concealed with him, and the orders were not executed till Zedekiah's time; or that the prophet, in the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign, made the yokes as he was ordered, and put one on his neck, to signify the subjection of Judah to the king of Babylon, which quickly took place, about the third or fourth year of this reign; and that the rest were sent to the ambassadors of the neighbouring nations in Zedekiah's time; which latter seems most probable."
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown mention John Calvin's supportive view of the correct Masoretic reading, saying: "Jehoiakim--The prophecy that follows was according to this reading given in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, fifteen years before it was published in the reign of Zedekiah to whom it refers; it was thus long deposited in the prophet's bosom, in order that by it he might be supported under trials in his prophetic career in the interim [CALVIN]."
Matthew Henry offers us Dr. Lightfoot's explanation as a solution to this apparent textual problem. He says: "Dr. Lightfoot solves it thus: In the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign Jeremiah is to make these bonds and yokes, and to put them upon his own neck, in token of Judah's subjection to the king of Babylon, which began at that time; but he is to send them to the neighbouring kings afterwards in the reign of Zedekiah, of whose succession to Jehoiakim, and the ambassadors sent to him, mention is made by way of prediction."
Bullinger's Companion Bible affirms the truth of the King James Bible and the Hebrew Masoretic text by simply stating that Jeremiah's prophecy was "given in the reign of Jehoiakim to Jeremiah. Declared, AFTER THIRTEEN YEARS, in the fourth year of Zedekiah."
John Calvin also went with the Hebrew reading of Jehoiakim in his Latin translation and then comments: "Jeremiah prefaces this prediction by saying, that it was delivered to him at the beginning of Jehoiakim’s reign. But this beginning, as we have said, extended to the whole of his reign while it was prosperous and entire. While, then, Jehoiakim enjoyed a quiet possession of the kingdom, Jeremiah was bidden to make known what had been committed to him, not to Jehoiakim himself, but, as we learn from the third verse, to Zedekiah who had not immediately succeeded him, but became at last king after various changes. God, then, committed this prophecy to his servant, but did not design it to be immediately promulgated."
Calvin continues - "If it be asked, why God designed what he purposed to be made known to be concealed for so long a time? the answer is this, — that it was done for the sake of the Prophet himself, in order that he might with more alacrity perform his office, knowing of a certainty that no one thought that it could ever happen, and certainly the thing was incredible. God’s design then was to communicate this to his Prophet himself, that he might see afar off what no one, as I have just said, had thought could ever come to pass. This is the reason, as I think, why this prophecy was not immediately published, but was like a treasure deposited in the Prophet’s bosom, until the ripened time came. I shall defer till tomorrow the explanation of this prophecy."
Matthew Poole comments on this passage; "To solve this difficulty, 1. Some think Jehoiakim was a common name to all the sons of Josiah, and that Zedekiah is here called Jehoiakim, but I see no foundation for that conjecture from holy writ. 2. Others think it is an error in those that copied out the prophecies, but it is dangerous to admit that. 3. Others think that the prophecy came in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, but was to be concealed until the reign of Zedekiah. I had rather agree with those who think that this command came to the prophet first in the time of Jehoiakim, but was to be repeated by the prophet often, and accordingly was so until and in the time of Zedekiah."
John Trapp Complete Commentary - "Ver. 1. In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim. By the date of this prophecy, compared with Jeremiah 27:12; Jeremiah 28:1, it should seem that it lay dormant for fourteen or fifteen years ere it was recited."
Peter Pett's Commentary - "The opening heading refers to the commencement of the reign of Jehoiakim. Whilst it is common practise to suggest that the name of Jehoiakim here in Jeremiah 27:1 is a scribal error because the remainder of the chapter concerns the reign of Zedekiah, it is not necessarily so. The heading may be referring to Jeremiah 27:2 alone, with the initial word that came being that of Jeremiah having to wear on his neck as a permanent symbol the imitation bonds and yokes described, because it was at this time that Judah had come under permanent bondage, first to Egypt and then to Babylon. This would be a continual reminder to Judah of Jeremiah’s message that their bondage was due to sin, and could over the years have become a recognised feature of the prophet. The remainder of the chapter can then be seen as describing how this symbol later came to be used in a special way when, in the reign of Zedekiah, these instruments, or copies of them, were sent to the kings of various nations."
All one has to do to clear up this apparent contradiction is to simply read the beginning of the book of Jeremiah chapter 1:1-3 where it tells us "The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. IT CAME ALSO IN THE DAYS OF JEHOIAKIM THE SON OF JOSIAH KING OF JUDAH, UNTO THE ELEVENTH YEAR OF ZEDEKIAH the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month."
There are many such prophesies in the Bible that were given long before the events occurred. Even in this prophesy itself found in Jeremiah 27 God says that he had already given all these lands, including Jerusalem, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, yet Jerusalem was not yet taken captive, and the false prophets were telling the people that it would not happen as God had said.
Compare also the words spoken in Jeremiah 44 to the Jews who "dwell in Egypt", even before they had gone to Egypt, or the prophecy recorded in Isaiah chapter 45 that spoke of Cyrus and his accomplishments long before he was even born. God sees the end from the beginning and it is no difficulty at all for Him to "call those things that be not as though they were" - Romans 4:17.
The King James Bible is right (as always) and the multitude of conflicting modern bible babel versions put out by men who deny the existence of an infallible Book of the Lord are all wrong.
All of grace, believing the Book,