Judges 15:19 - Did God cause water to come out of the jawbone of an ass? Really?
KJB - "But God clave AN hollow place THAT WAS IN THE JAW, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived...."
NKJV (NASB, NIV, NET, Jehovah Witness NWT, Catholic New Jerusalem) - "So God split THE HOLLOW PLACE that IS IN LEHI, and water came out and he drank, and his spirit returned, and he revived.”
This reading speaks of the miraculous event when God caused water to spring out of the jawbone of an ass. God had previously caused water to spring out of a rock to give to drink thousands of the children of Israel in the wilderness. Is this too hard for God to do?
The word that is translated as "hollow place that was in THE JAW" is # 3895 lechiy as can be seen from this interlinear Hebrew Old Testament.
Strong’s Concordance also distinguishes between #3895 “jaw, jawbone, cheek” and # 3896 Lehi, as well as Wigram’s Englishman’s Hebrew and Caldee Concordance of the Old Testament page 637.
And this word # 3895 is the same one used in Judges 15:15 "he found a new jawbone"; 15:16 "with the jawbone of an ass", 15:17 "he cast away the jawbone" and in 15:19 "in a hollow place that was in the jaw".
It is also translated as “JAW” in Job 41:2 “or bore his JAW through with a thorn?”, “and there shall be a bridle in the JAWS of the people” (Isaiah 30:28); “But I will put my hooks in THY JAWS” (Ezekiel 29:4 and 38:4) and “I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their JAWS” (Hosea 11:4)
The word for Lehi is # 3896 found in Judges 15:9, 14 and 19 - “and spread themselves in LEHI”, and when he came unto LEHI” and 15:19 “which is in LEHI unto this day” and it comes from the Hebrew word for "jawbone".
Agreeing with the reading found in the King James Bible that God caused the water to spring out of THE JAWBONE are Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535, Matthew's Bible 1537, the Bishops' Bible 1568, Geneva Bible 1599, the Douay-Rheims 1610, the Bill Bible 1671, Webster's 1833, Julia Smith Translation 1855 - "God will REND THE SOCKET WHICH IS IN THE JAW-BONE, and waters will come forth from it.", the Sharpe Bible 1883, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, The Word of Yah 1993, KJV 21st Century Version 1994, The Revised Webster Bible 1995, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, God’s First Truth 1999 - “But God BRAKE A GREAT TOOTH THAT WAS IN THE JAW, and there came water thereout.”, The Complete Judaica Press Tanach 2004 - “And God CLEAVED THE SOCKET WHICH WAS IN THE JAWBONE, and water came out of it”, the Jubilee Bible 2010 - "God broke A TOOTH THAT WAS IN THE JAW, and water came out there."
The Complete Apostle’s Bible 2005 - “And God broke open a hollow place in THE JAW, and there came out water, and he drank.”, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, the Bond Slave Version 2009, the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, The Work of God’s Children Illustrated Bible 2011 - “Then the Lord OPENED A GREAT TOOTH IN THE JAW OF THE DONKEY and waters issued out of it.”, the BRG Bible 2012, The Revised Douay-Rheims Bible 2012, The New Brenton Translation 2012 - "And God broke open a hollow place IN THE JAW, and there came thence water and he drank.", The Biblos Interlinear Bible 2013 - "But God cleaved a hollow place THAT WAS IN THE JAW and there came therefrom water, and he drank"
The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - "But God clave an hollow place that was IN THE JAW, and there came water thereout"
And this Hebrew Interlinear Bible - "But God cleaved a hollow place IN THE JAW and there came therefrom water"
Jewish Virtual Library Complete Tanach 1994 - “But God clave an hollow place that was IN THE JAW, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day.”
The Hebrew Transliteration Scripture 2010 - "But Elohim clave an hollow place that was IN THE JAW, and there came water thereat."
Wycliffe 1395 - "Therfor the Lord openyde a wang tooth in THE CHEKE BOON OF THE ASSE."
The Bishops' Bible of 1568 says: "But God brake a great tooth that was IN THE JAWE, & there came water therout, and when he had drunke, his spirite came agayne."
Lamsa's 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta entirely agrees with the King James Bible. It reads: "And the LORD God OPENED THE HOLLOW PLACE THAT WAS IN THE JAWBONE OF THE ASS, and there came water from it."
And even the so called Greek Septuagint reads like the KJB with: "And God broke open A HOLLOW PLACE IN THE JAW, and there came thence water, and he drank."
I find it interesting that the modern version promoters will often pit either the Syriac or the Septuagint or both against the KJB when it suits their purpose of discrediting the King James Bible, but simply ignore them when they confirm the readings found in the KJB.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE BIBLES
that agree with the KJB reading that God caused water to come out of the jaw bone of an are the French Martinn 1744 - “Alors Dieu fendit une des grosses dents de cette mâchoire d'âne, et il en sortit de l'eau”, the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602, the Reina Valera 1909, and Reina Valera Gómez Bible 2010 - “Entonces quebró Dios una muela que estaba EN LA QUIJADA, y salieron de allí aguas, y bebió”, and the Romanian Fidela Bible 2014.
The Portuguese A Biblia Sagrada Traduzida por JOÃO FERREIRA DE ALMEIDA em 1681 - “Entäo Deus fendeu uma cavidade que estava na queixada; e saiu dela água, e bebeu; e recobrou o seu espírito e reanimou-se” = God opened a cavity in the JAW and water came out of it”
The Catholic Connection
The Douay-Rheims version 1610 and the 1950 Douay both say: "Then the Lord opened a great tooth IN THE JAW of the ass and waters issued out of it."
But later Catholic versions change the sense of the passage to match that found in such versions as the NKJV, RSV, NASB, NIV, and Holman Standard. The Catholic New Jerusalem bible 1985 says: : "The God opened A HOLLOW IN THE GROUND, the hollow there is at Lehi, and water gushed out of it."
BUT the Sacred Scripture Catholic Public Domain Version 2009 has gone back to - “And so the Lord opened a large tooth in the jawbone of the donkey, and water went out from it. And having drank it, his spirit was revived” and so has the Revised Douay-Rheims Bible of 2012 has gone back to "THE JAW OF THE ASS AND WATERS ISSUED OUT OF IT."
Likewise the Jehovah Witness New World Translation says: "So God split open A MORTAR-SHAPED HOLLOW that was in Lehi, and water began to come out of it."
The NKJV, NASB, NIV etc. all make the water to come out of A HOLLOW PLACE IN LEHI instead of the jawbone of an ass.
The NKJV says: "So God split THE HOLLOW PLACE that IS IN LEHI, and water came out and he drank."
The Easy-to-Read Version (And that is sooo important for today’s Comic Book Christians, don’t ya know) 2006 has: “There IS A HOLE IN THE GROUND at Lehi. GOD MADE THAT HOLE CRACK OPEN, and water came out.”
And the New Living Translation 2013 has: “So God caused WATER TO GUSH OUT OF A HOLLOW IN THE GROUND at Lehi, and Samson was revived as he drank.”
Many commentators accuse the King James Bible of being in error here, and some are quite strong about it. For example, Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers says: “The notion that God made a miraculous fountain in one of the tooth-sockets of the jawbone of the ass is one of the childish misinterpretations with which Scripture exegesis is constantly defaced.” [End of Bible critic's notes]
Imagine that. How silly to think that God could do a miracle and make water come out of the jawbone of an ass! Who does He think He is... God?
Every man, I suppose, is entitled to his own opinion. But ask any of these King James Bible correctors to show you a copy of what they honestly believe IS the complete and infallible words of God, and not one of them will ever do it. You see, they are still working on their own peculiar version of what it might be, and all you are going to get from them is their personal opinion.
But other men, like Worthington, have commented on this passage: “It is a greater miracle to draw water out of a dry bone, than out of the earth or stones. But all things are possible to God.”
John Gill wavers back and forth as he often does, but he first mentions the view of renowned Jewish scholars. Gill says: "And God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout…A socket in which was fastened one of the teeth, and was in the form of a mortar; SO JARCHI and BEN MELECH, as the word for an hollow place signifies; one of the grinders was knocked out, and so the place where it had been was left hollow, and out of that sprung a stream or flow of water; which was very wonderful, since out of such a place rather blood, or purulent matter, would naturally have issued."
John Wesley waffles a bit by offering both views, but he doesn’t outright reject the miracle of causing water to come out of the jawbone of an ass. He comments: - “In the Jaw - Either causing the jaw - bone to send forth water, as the rock formerly did, causing a spring to break forth in that Lehi, mentioned Judges 15:14, for Lehi is both the name of a place, and a jaw - bone.”
Matthew Poole’s Annotations - “in the jawbone which he had used, which God could easily effect, either by causing the jawbone to send forth water, as the rock formerly did, the miracle being in effect the same, though in a differing subject”.
I'm in agreement with the King James Bible, Matthew Poole and Mr. Worthington on this one - "It is a greater miracle to draw water out of a dry bone, than out of the earth or stones. All things are possible to God.”
All of grace, believing The Book - the Authorized King James Holy Bible. Don't head for "home" without it.
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