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Old 07-18-2009, 10:57 AM
Steven Avery Steven Avery is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 462
Default Hebrews 7 capitalization - "King of righteousness"

Hi Folks,

The irony in this thread is that GreekTim has carefully been shown the beauty and accuracy of the King James Bible capitalization, and still he objects ! Note that GreekTim even acknowledged the accuracy :

Originally Posted by Greektim
The type might have been there, but the significance or the emphasis wasn't until the KJV.
Very good, GT ! So why do you continue to accuse ?
Let's go back to the your plaints.

Originally Posted by Greektim
Honest question with an honest inquiry.... If the KJV was bringing out a theological point like Melchizedek as a type of Christ by capitalizing "king", then what about the emphasis in capitalization pre-1611 or pre-English translations?
Clearly, they simply missed the nuance and perfection. e.g. In Hebrews 7 the Geneva goes all caps, Tyndale and Rheims NT the opposite -- all lower-case. (My quick glance.)

Originally Posted by Greektim
.... translators bias in the translation to make a theological point or new revelation.. I see bias in translation and interpretation..
Brother Tim saw your problem well.

Originally Posted by Brother Tim

How can one describe the beauty of a sunrise to another who will not open his eyes?

Do you think that the exclusive capitalization of "King" in Hebrews 7 just coincidentally occurred? Does it not seem curious to you that it matches the typology of Melchisedec to Christ? and that NO OTHER earthly king so given the capitalized title? ... a Book that has been so perfectly prepared under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, that even the capital letters have a message hidden in them, such as "Spirit"/"spirit" and "King"/"king".
So we see that GreekTim still wailed and accused the word of God, even after his specific questions were patiently and accurately answered.

Thank you Bro. Parrish and George for getting to the heart of the issues. And Matthew and Brother Tim for sharing so much. (Always have your antennae up when someone declares they are asking an "honest question" and then bypasses the true and deep answers.)

GreekTim, let us start at the beginning, using the Hebrews 7 example.

We appear to agree that the English offers us more information than the Greek in terms of capitalization, as in these verses in Hebrews.

Hebrews 7:1-2 (KJB)
For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God,
who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all;
first being by interpretation King of righteousness,
and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

And if this information is not used, e.g if "king of peace" is written, by your lock-box methods, that could also be considered a "translator bias", since the translator is then deciding that "king of peace" is not a divine title.

So we agree that the English gives us more information than Greek, and the translators are compelled to either be purer and wiser in English than the Greek, more precise as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Or they will lack competence and translate poorly. In other words, their translation must offer us more information, the question is whether they can be inspired by God to offer true understanding rather than inferior worldly translation.

Here is an example of a very poor translation, far inferior to the Geneva and the Tyndale above. They at least worked with a wooden consistency -- while missing the perfection given to us in the pure King James Bible.)

Hebrews 7:1:2 (HCSB - Holman)
For this Melchizedek-- King of Salem, priest of the Most High God,
who met Abraham and blessed him as he returned from defeating the kings,
and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything;
first, his name means "king of righteousness,"
then also, "king of Salem," meaning "king of peace"

Notice how the HCSB fights the sense and purity of the word of God. Ironically, the temporal king is capitalized -- and the three divine titles are uncapitalized. Not surprising from modernists. (Note: the HCSB does not make this error in Genesis 14:18, properly referring to the "king of Salem" where it is not a divine title..)

(Sidenote: the NKJV simply "loses" the accurate King James Bible capitalization of the divine titles. Another one is a long list of NKJV blunders.)

Now you ... trapped in your "GreekTim box", will have to accuse each of every English Bible of "bias". Remember there is no neutral choice in a translation decision like this, there is no middle ground between capitalization and non-capitalization. You will simply wallow in arrogance and accusation, because your vaunted Greek does not give you the full information.

So all translations simply cannot be true and pure, the word of God. And since you are limited to the Greek, Tim, you can never know from the Bible text directly the difference between the divine title and a human kingship.

And instead of understanding the English, you are forced to flail and wail at true and accurate translation, consistent and inspired by God, as "bias". Such a sad place to be. Better to simply be truly honest and learn -- and not be a false accuser of the word of God.


Those who want to read and study a bit about "King of righteousness", my suggestions from a commentary standpoint would be John Owen and Andrew Murray.

The holiest of all, an exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews - Andrew Murray

There is one book on the web that even has a section discussing this specific capitalization.

Who was Melchizedek? - Two Views - Jason Dulle and William Arnold III

Melchizedek is then called the King of righteousness. What pray tell could this possibly mean? Romans 3:10 says that "There is none righteous, no, not one." How much more to be the King (basileus - leader, ruler, king) of righteousness. The translators of the KJV, ASV, WEB, RWB, DBY, BBE and YTL even capitalize "King" here, realizing a claim to deity in the words "King of righteousness". Adam Clark comments:
The name Melchisedec is thus expounded in Bereshith Rabba, sec. 43, fol. 42, matsdie eth Yoshebaiv, "The Justifier of those who dwell in him;" and this is sufficiently true of Christ, but false of Jerusalem, to which the rabbins apply it, who state that it was originally called Tsedek, and that it justified its inhabitants.
"The Justifier of those who dwell in him?" It is only by being in God that anyone under any dispensation was ever justified. No one can be righteous on their own merit, and the source, the leader, the King of this righteousness is God alone.

Then we see that he is the "King of Salem, which is (or, "by interpretation," as said before), King of peace;" Now if this were talking about the geographical city of Salem, which later became Jerusalem, then why go on to explain it? This letter was written to the Hebrews. They of all people would know the meaning of the name of their holy city. Matthew, when writing to the Jews, takes no time to explain Jewish customs and ways as does Luke. This is because the people were already familiar with them. I believe that the writer was just giving an explanation of what is said about Melchizedek.

Incidentally one of the chapters in the Bible that has huge blunders in capitalization in many modern versions is Psalm 110 (the chapter with the second reference to Melchizedek) especially Psalm 110:1:

Psalm 110:1
The LORD said unto my Lord,
Sit thou at my right hand,
until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Psalm 110:4
The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent,
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

This also makes a fascinating study.

One thing that is nice about all the subtile question attempts : in understanding the tainted question and then looking for the pure responses. .. they do encourage us to learn the word of God more excellently !

Psalm 119:140
Thy word is very pure:
therefore thy servant loveth it.

Steven Avery

Last edited by Steven Avery; 07-18-2009 at 11:25 AM.