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Old 01-04-2009, 11:53 AM
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Will Kinney Will Kinney is offline
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Location: Colorado, a beautiful state with four distinct seasons; sometimes in the same day!
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Default Proverbs 22:20-21 and the Bible Babel

Originally Posted by George View Post

The following "counsel" is as appropriate today as it was in Solomon's day:

Proverbs 22:20 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,
21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?
Hi saints. Great proverb. However it too has been messed with in many modern versions.

Proverbs 22:20-21 "Have not I written to thee EXCELLENT THINGS in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of THE WORDS OF TRUTH; that thou mightest answer THE WORDS OF TRUTH to them that send unto thee."

"Have not I written unto thee EXCELLENT THINGS" is the reading found in the Revised Version 1881, the American Standard Version of 1901, the Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, and the 1998 Complete Jewish Bible, the NKJV 1982, the NASB 1972-1995, Darby 1870, the Amplified bible 1987, Green's MKJV 1998, Third Millenium Bible, the 1997 Biblia de las Américas, and the Italian Diodati - “cose eccellenti”, the Portuguese Almeida - “excelentes coisas “, and even the 2000 Portuguese NIV called O Livro, put out by the International Bible Society - “coisas excelentes.”

Such versions as the Geneva bible, the Spanish Reina Valera and Youngs render this as: Have not I written to thee THREE THINGS...?. The Catholic versions are all over the board. The Douay says "THREE MANNER OF WAYSt"; while the St. Joseph New American Bible has "Have not I written to you "The Thirty"?, and the Jerusalem Bible has "to you the THIRTY CHAPTERS?"

Lamsa’s 1936 version differs from them all saying: “Behold, THIS IS THE THIRD TIME that I have written them to you”, but it does have “the words of truth” twice, as does the KJB and the Hebrew texts.

On the other hand, the RSV, NIV, ESV, and Holman Standard tell us: "Have I not written to you THIRTY SAYINGS...?".

The second part of these two verses is all confused and messed up in some of the modern versions as well. The King James Bible as well as the Hebrew text itself repeats the same phrase “the words of truth”, that thou mightest answer “the words of truth” to them that send unto thee.”

Agreeing with the KJB in translating both phrases as “the words of truth” are the Geneva Bible, the Jewish translations of Jewish Publication Society 1917, the Hebrew Publishing Company 1936 translation, the Complete Jewish Bible, the Judaica Press Tanach, the RV, ASV, Darby, the NKJV 1982, Green’s literal 2000, the French Martin 1744, Louis Segond 1910 and the 1996 Ostervald - “paroles de vérité”, Italian Diodati -”palavras de verdade”, the Portuguese Almeida -”palavras de verdade”, and the Spanish Reina Valera 1960, 1995 - “las palabras de verdad”.

However instead of the definite and authoritative“the words of truth” many modern versions weaken, dilute, downgrade and obscure the meaning of this phrase. Instead of “the words of truth” we now have “reliable and sound answers”, “correctly answer” and“ a dependable report”.

The NIV says: “Have I not written THIRTY SAYINGS for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching you TRUE AND RELIABLE WORDS, so that you can give SOUND ANSWERS to him who sent you? “

The NASB also weakens and downgrades the “words of truth” to this: “Have I not written to you EXCELLENT THINGS of counsels and knowledge, To make you know the certainty of the words of truth That you may CORRECTLY ANSWER him who sent you?”

The Holman Standard has: “Haven't I written for you THIRTY SAYINGS about counsel and knowledge, in order to teach you true and reliable words, so that you may give A DEPENDABLE REPORT to those who sent you?”

As is often the case, the scholars disagree with each other on how this passage should be translated. John Gill notes different ways some render the passage, but sides with the King James Bible reading. He says: "Have not I written to thee excellent things…In the Scriptures. Some render it, "three things" and think that Solomon refers to the three divisions of the Scriptures among the Jews, the law, the prophets, and holy writings; so Jarchi; but some of those writings then were not: or to the three books written by him; the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs... But it is best, with Kimchi, Gersom, and Ben Melech, to render it, "excellent things", as we do."

Will Kinney