Thread: 1611 vs 1769
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:13 PM
Steven Avery Steven Avery is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 462
Default Matthew 14:9 - nevertheless for the oath's sake

Hi Folks,

Matthew 14:9
And the king was sorry:
nevertheless for the oath's sake,
and them which sat with him at meat,
he commanded it to be given her.

At least one very important point was not covered above, and lest readers get misled by some uncritical thinking, a little more exposition is in order.

Originally Posted by Critical Thinking
Among people that understand Greek, is there any disagreement that the word translated "oaths" is plural in Greek here?
A Greek plural form .. definitely .. a plural of number when translated into English .. most assuredly not. (This is similar in concept to all those places in Hebrew, familiar to many, where a plural form is not 'number' and translates to a singular in English.)

First, note that three learned historical commentators (I only looked up three, three of quality and depth, and four as Matthew Henry references Henry Hammond), all extremely Greek-savvy and all at times departing from the King James Bible, fully and completely took Matthew 14:9 as one (singular) oath.

Matthew Henry
Herod’s grant of this demand (v. 9); The king was sorry, at least took on him to be so, but, for the oath’s sake, he commanded it to be given her. Here is, [1.] A pretended concern for John. The king was sorry. Note, Many a man sins with regret, that never has any true regret for his sin; is sorry to sin, yet is utterly a stranger to godly sorrow; sins with reluctancy, and yet goes on to sin. Dr. Hammond suggests, that one reason of Herod’s sorrow was, because it was his birth-day festival, and it would be an ill omen to shed blood on that day, which, as other days of joy, used to be graced with acts of clemency; Natalem colimus, tacete lites*We are celebrating the birth-day, let there be no contentions. [2.] Here is a pretended conscience of his oath, with a specious show of honour and honesty; he must needs do something, for the oath’s sake.

(continues with more discussion of the singular oath)

Albert Barnes
For the oath's sake -
Herod felt that he was bound by this oath; but he was not. The oath should not have been taken: but, being taken, he could not be bound by it. No oath could justify a man in committing murder. The true principle is, that Herod was bound by a prior obligation - by the law of God - not to commit murder; and no act of his, be it an oath or anything else, could free him from that obligation.

John Gill
Nevertheless for his oath's sake;
that he might not be guilty of perjury, chose rather to commit murder; though it would have been no iniquity in him, to have acted contrary to such a rash promise, and wicked oath; which would have been better to have been broke, than kept;

In fact, Jeffrey Nachimson in one article even shows a more modernist Greek grammarian viewpoint on this, including "Zerwick calls it pluralis categoriae", and discusses verse examples where the Greek plural does not have to be an English plural of number. Max Zerwick (1901-1975) was the author of " A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament", which was likely the reference. I will forego for now going into any additional technical stuff.

As an aside, this is one of the dozens of "hard errors" in many modern versions .. however not due to the alexandrian text, simply mistranslation.

Oh, there are some ironies here. This is one of the few Daniel Wallace NetBible non-blunders. Following the proper grammar and the context consistency the NetBible has the singular 'oath', "Although it grieved the king, because of his oath". And the NKJV, not surprisingly, blunders away with the errant "because of the oaths". (Suggestion: keep that handy for the NKJV error listings.)


One other comment on the thread above.

I simply cannot agree with looking some of the 1611 changes that were discussed as: "extremely high degree of probability" (Matthew) of typographical error. In some cases, as I indicated in my post on page 1, I believe it very possible that the 1611 had a flaw that was corrected, most especially in the two revisions that were done in the early 1600s, the latter one definitely including two of the original King James Bible translators. Yes, it is possible that each and every such flaw was a "typographical error", however I see no "extremely high probability" of this. Personally, I see no difficulty in the purification process continuing beyond 1611 unto perfection in the Bible in our hands.

Steven Avery

Last edited by Steven Avery; 07-19-2009 at 11:42 PM.