Leviticus 15:24 & 33 - When “flowers” are not “flowers”
Recently I have run across some wildly inaccurate and misinformed sites that are highly critical of the King James Bible, it’s texts, meanings and language.
Of course none of these people themselves actually believe that ANY Bible in ANY language is now or ever was the complete and inerrant words of God.
But that doesn’t seem to stop them from criticizing the only Bible that thousands of Christians, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, really do believe is God’s inerrant Book.
One of their complaints is “the word flowers conveys a very different meaning to the modern reader than was intended by the translators.”
Well, the word “flowers” is used only two times in this different sense in Leviticus 15:24 and 33 and it is perfectly accurate.
It’s more a case of the “modern readers” having been dumbed down in their understanding and knowledge of their own English language.
The two verses where the word “flowers” is used when it is not speaking of things like roses, tulips and daisies are both found in Leviticus chapter 15.
Here we read:
“And if any man lie with her at all, and her FLOWERS be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.” Leviticus 15:24
And again in Leviticus 15:33 -
“And of her that is sick of HER FLOWERS, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean.”
The underlying Hebrew word is # 5070 nid-dah, and it is variously translated as “the days of her SEPARATION”, “the time of her SEPARATION”, “AN UNCLEAN THING”, “FILTHINESS” and “a MENSTRUOUS WOMAN”. The word "flowers" is a more delicate and euphemistic manner of referring to her menstrual period.
Let’s look at the English Dictionaries
Webster’s New International Dictionary
Flowers - from Latin fluor - a flowing. Menstrual discharges. Lev. xv.24
Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary Unabridged
flowers- plural, the menstrual flow
Agreeing with the King James Bible’s “her FLOWERS be upon her” are the Geneva Bible 1587, Douay-Rheims Bible 1610, Webster’s Bible 1833, The Longman Version 1841, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - “her FLOWERS”, Douay Version 1950, The Word of Yah 1993, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, the Bond Slave Version 2009, the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 and The Revised Douay-Rheims Bible 2012.
As well as this online Interlinear Hebrew Old Testament - her flowers
John Gill - “and her flowers be upon her; or, "her separation", her monthly courses not being ceased”
Wycliffe 1395 - the time of blood that runneth by months
The Great Bible 1540 - her uncleanness
Bishops’ bible 1568, Young’s 1898 - her separation
Darby 1898 - the uncleanness of her separation
ASV 1901, JPS 1917, NRSV 1989 - her IMPURITY
Rotherham Version 1902 - her cause for removal
KJV 21st Century Version 1994 - her monthly discharge
God’s Word Translation 1995 - while she has her period
Holman 2009, Common English Bible 2011 - her menstruation get on him
NET 2006, ESV 2011 - her menstrual impurity
NIV 2011 - her monthly flow
This is not a case of my being against what many other bible versions say, but what I am pointing out is that the King James Bible is not wrong at all.
The “bait and switch tactic” so common today is to tell people about how hard it is to understand the King James Bible and to try to get you to switch to one of their modern versions. They really don’t care WHICH modern version you use, just as long as it is not the King James Bible.
The simple fact is, nobody seriously believes that any of these modern versions are the inerrant words of God and the polls show that people actually read them less, let alone actually study them.
Most of them reject thousands of inspired words found in the Traditional Reformation text of the King James Bible. They often reject the Hebrew readings, and not even in the same places, and some like the ESV add hundreds of words to the Old Testament from the so called Greek Septuagint.
And all of them corrupt sound doctrines to varying degrees, not so much by the variant readings, but by the way in which they mistranslate the same underlying texts. See many examples of these modern day corruptions in my article
Fake Bible Versions DO Teach False Doctrines -
The "archaic" language of the King James Bible
The slightly archaic feel to the English text of the King James Bible with all those “thou”s and “thee”s and “ye”s is actually far more accurate to the underlying Hebrew and Greek languages than is the generic term “you” of the modern versions. It is impossible to have an accurate translation without them. Most Christians today are not even aware of what the basic difference is between "thou" and "ye", but there IS a definite difference in meaning.
See much more about this “bait and switch tactic” in my article The "Old fashioned language" of the King James Bible - “Archaic and Inerrant" beats "Modernized and Wrong" Any Day of the Week.
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 8:8
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