Explanations for problem passages in the Spanish Bible – Old Testament

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Genesis 1:5

Complaint: un día (1909 & 1960) instead of primer día. Source of complaint: Article by Shane Rice, promoter of the RVG.

Vindication: The KJV translated the underlying Hebrew word as “one” 687 times, so there was no reason to question this translation versus the ordinal number “first.” Every Bible in the Reina-Valera line I examined (1569, 1602, 1865 & 1909) had the same disputed reading as the 1960. See definition in Strong’s Concordance:

H259

אחד

‘echâd

ekh-awd’

A numeral from H258; properly united, that is, one; or (as an ordinal) first: – a, alike, alone, altogether, and, any (-thing), apiece, a certain [dai-] ly, each (one), + eleven, every, few, first, + highway, a man, once, one, only, other, some, together.

Genesis 3:5

Complaint: como Dios instead of como dioses.

Vindication: This situation is similar to that of Daniel 3:25. The translator is forced to interpret when he comes to this verse. The underlying Hebrew word is used interchangeably for the God of heaven as well as for heathen gods. The 1611 edition of the KJV had “Gods.” Strong’s Concordance demonstrates that the corresponding Hebrew word can be translated in more than one way:

H430

אלהים

‘ĕlôhîym

el-o-heem’

Plural of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: – angels, X exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

Genesis 18:19

Complaint: sé que instead of lo conozco. Source of complaint: Elephant book, Shane Rice, et al.

Vindication: The Hebrew equivalent of “him” is not in the Hebrew text. It was added by the KJV translators apparently because they felt it was implied, which is fine. See also how the 1568 Bishops Bible, universally recognized as being based on the Textus Receptus, translated this verse:

Bishops 1568: “I knowe this also”

Exodus 12:5

Complaint: animal instead of cordero. Source of complaint: Elephant book.

Vindication: the Hebrew word underlying “lamb” in this verse does not always mean “lamb” without exception. See the Masoretic text in The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew-Greek-English by J.P. Green as well as Strong’s Concordance:

H7716

שׂי שׂה

śeh śêy

seh, say

Probably from H7582 through the idea of pushing out to graze; a member of a flock, that is, a sheep or goat: – (lesser, small) cattle, ewe, lamb, sheep.

I do not consider the KJV reading to be wrong, but the Spanish reading makes more sense. Read the entire verse carefully and you should see why:

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats.”

The choice was to be made between the sheep and the goats. Since goats are one of the choices, and goats are not sheep, it makes sense for the Spanish Bible to refer to choosing an “animal” between the sheep and the goats.

Leviticus 2:12

Complaint: subirán (1909 & 1960) instead of quemarán. Source of complaint: Article by Michael Lemma.

Vindication: subirán is the traditional reading of this verse in 1569, 1602, 1865, etc. Notice Strong’s definition of the underlying Hebrew word:

H5927

עלה

‛âlâh

aw-law’

A primitive root; to ascend, intransitively (be high) or active (mount); used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literally and figuratively: – arise (up). (cause to) ascend up, at once, break [the day] (up), bring (up), (cause to) burn, carry up, cast up, + shew, climb (up), (cause to, make to) come (up), cut off, dawn, depart, exalt, excel, fall, fetch up, get up, (make to) go (away, up), grow (over), increase, lay, leap, levy, lift (self) up, light, [make] up, X mention, mount up, offer, make to pay, + perfect, prefer, put (on), raise, recover, restore, (make to) rise (up), scale, set (up), shoot forth (up), (begin to) spring (up), stir up, take away (up), work.

Judges 20:43

Complaint: Menúha instead of fácilmente. Source of complaint: Article by Michael Lemma.

Vindication: The KJV translators placed “with ease” in the text, but they also included the following marginal note in their 1611 edition: “Or, from Menuchah, &c.” The 1568 Bishops Bible, universally recognized as being based on the Masoretic Text in the Old Testament, has Menuha.

1 Samuel 5:6

Complaint: tumores instead of hemorroides. Source of complaint: Elephant book.

Vindication: See Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament under Strong’s #6076 where it has “tumour.” Hemorrhoids is further listed as a possible more specific definition. Also see 1 Sam. 5:6 in The Defined King James Bible by The Bible For Today (D.A. Waite, general editor, who is pro-KJV) where it defines the word in question with “tumors” among the possible definitions.

2 Samuel 14:14

Complaint: ni Dios quita la vida (1909 & 1960) instead of y Dios no hace acepción de personas. Source of complaint: Article by Shane Rice, promoter of the RVG.

Vindication: The key underlying Hebrew word naw-saw was translated dozens of different ways in the KJV, so it should be expected that one would allow some flexibility in the way foreign Bibles translate this word. The 1535 Coverdale Bible, recognized as being based on the Masoretic text in the Old Testament, translated the phrase in question as “And God will not take awaye the lyfe” in this verse, very closely matching the 1960.

2 Samuel 21:19

Complaint: hermano de omitted (1909 & 1960). Source of complaint: Elephant book, article by Shane Rice, et al.

Vindication: The phrase is in italics in the KJV because it is not found in the Hebrew text (although it is found in a parallel passage in 1 Chron. 20:5). The Spanish translators decided to translate the verse literally. The KJV translators took some liberty in translating this verse (using italics) in order to avoid an apparent contradiction. However, the Spanish translators must not be faulted for translating literally and not adding to the text. Keep in mind what others say in defense of the KJV when a literal translation is perceived to be contradictory: “I feel it is imperative to go by what the Traditional Masoretic text has as its reading and let the Lord figure out what may seem contradictions to us.” (Waite, D.A. Defending the King James Bible. Collingswood, NJ: Bible For Today, 1995, p. 32)

2 Kings 10:25

Complaint: el lugar santo instead of la ciudad. The Elephant book considered this verse to be “an attack on the holiness of God.” The book continues: “Since when does God (and godly translators or revisers) consider idolatry ‘holy?’”

Vindication: In English we have “city of the house of Baal,” while in Spanish we have “holy place (sanctuary) of the house of Baal.” Keep in mind that the word “cities” in the KJV does not always carry the same meaning as “city” does today. See 1 Kings 9:19 for instance: “And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen…”

Adam Clarke’s Commentary (published 1810-1826) comments on the meaning of the phrase “city of the house of Baal”:

Does not this mean a sort of holy of holies, where the most sacred images of Baal were kept? A place separated from the temple of Baal, as the holy of holies in the temple of Jehovah was separated from what was called the holy place.

Considering what this conservative Bible commentator of the early 19th century had to say regarding this exact verse, the RV 1960 shouldn’t be dismissed so readily as an attack on the holiness of God. Also compare this allegation with Eze. 7:24, where the KJV uses the phrase “their holy places” for something pagan. “The holy place” is a reference to a sanctuary, which also existed in some pagan temples.

2 Kings 23:7

Complaint: lugares de prostitución idolátrica instead of las casas de los sodomitas. Referring to this verse, the Elephant book states that “in the 1960 there is ‘an attack on the severity of homosexuality…’”

Vindication: The Spanish word for sodomites actually appears more often in the 1960 than in the KJV. Check Job 36:14 and 1 Tim. 1:10. Using the logic of the Elephant book, the KJV would be guilty of the above accusation. That is certainly not the case. I believe in giving the KJV the benefit of the doubt—should not the Spanish Bible be given the same treatment? See also 2 Ki. 23:7 in The Defined King James Bible by The Bible For Today (D.A. Waite, general editor, who is pro-KJV) where it defines the word in question with “Heb male temple prostitutes” at the end of the definition. See also how often the Spanish word for sodomite and its derivatives appear in the RV 1960, compared to the English King James Bible. You might be surprised. The Spanish word for sodomy and sodomites occurs more frequently in 1960 than in the KJV! Notice Job 36:14 and 1 Timothy 1:10. Using the logic of those who attack the Reina-Valera, the KJV in English would be guilty of this shameful accusation. Of course this is not the case. I believe the KJV should be given the benefit of the doubt. Does not the Spanish Bible deserve the same treatment?

1 Chronicles 28:12

Complaint: en mente instead of por el Espíritu. Source of complaint: Article by Shane Rice, promoter of the RVG.

Vindication: The underlying Hebrew word was translated as “mind” five times in the KJV. Also it was translated as “in his minde” in this verse by the Bishops, Geneva and Coverdale Bibles, all recognized as being based on the Masoretic text in the Old Testament.

Ezra 2:43

Complaint: los sirvientes del templo instead of los Nethineos. Source of complaint: Elephant book.

Vindication: Strong’s Concordance.

H5411

נתוּן נתיןo

nâthîyn nâthûn

naw-theen’, naw-thoon’

The second form is the proper form, as passive participle; from H5414; one given, that is, (in the plural only) the Nethinim, or Temple Servants (as given up to that duty): – Nethinims.

Esther 8:10

Complaint: en mulos, en camellos y en dromedarios omitted. Source of complaint: Article by Shane Rice, promoter of the RVG.

Vindication: This is another passage that has caused translators much difficulty, as several underlying words only appear 1-4 times in the Scriptures, and their meanings are somewhat in dispute. It should be noted that the same animals in this story are brought up again, and in the Bible translations I have seen that mention four animals in Esther 8:10, they only mention two animals in Esther 8:14. As the 1960, the 1535 Coverdale Bible, recognized as being based on the Masoretic text in the Old Testament, mentions only one animal in Esther 8:10 and Esther 8:14. The 1960 and Coverdale Bible translate the passage in dispute as describing characteristics or origins of one animal, rather than mentioning several.

The descriptions and the fact that the coordinating conjunction “and” between the animals are not in the Hebrew led some translators to believe that as few as a single animal is being described instead of four different animals being listed. Strong’s Concordance defines the word underlying mules in the KJV as “a relay of animals on a post route,” and in 1 Kings 4:28 it was translated as “dromedaries.” At this point the KJV translators placed the following marginal note for dromedaries: “Or, mules, or swift beasts.”. The Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicon defines the word underlying camel at Esther 8:10 in the KJV as “royal (steeds),” which would be a horse at the king’s service or simply some kind of working animal. The Hebrew word underlying “dromedaries” in Esther 8:10 in the KJV according to Strong’s Concordance describe a mare (female horse).

Adam Clarke’s Commentary (published 1810-1826) comments as follows regarding this passage:

But there is really so much confusion about these matters, and so little consent among learned men as to the signification of these words, and even the true knowledge of them is of such little importance…

Job 2:9

Complaint: bendice instead of maldice. Bendice applies to the 1569, 1602, and some editions of the 1909. Source of complaint: Article by Manny Rodriguez, promoter of the RVG

Vindication: Strong’s Concordance. The definition of the underlying Hebrew word demonstrates that there is either an implication or a euphemism that can apply to its translation:

H1288

בּרך

bârak

baw-rak’

A primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason): – X abundantly, X altogether, X at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse, X greatly, X indeed, kneel (down), praise, salute, X still, thank.

Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies also explains this Hebrew word quite well:

bârak: to bless; sometimes the word means to blaspheme, to curse; not from its natural force, but because pious persons of old accounted blasphemy so abominable, that they abhorred to express it by its proper name; and therefore, by a euphemismus or decent manner of speaking, instead of “curse God,” said “bless God.”

The underlying Hebrew word was translated as “bless” 302 times and “curse” 4 times in the KJV.

Job 11:12

Complaint: The passage supposedly makes it sound like an animal can give birth to a man. The controversial Elephant book says the Reina-Valera teaches evolution based on this verse!

Vindication: The 1960 translated the verse literally, although words could have been added for clarification as in the 1909. The verse in dispute is using figurative language, as is the case a few verses later in Job 12:8 when it makes reference to fish making declarations. It is as ridiculous to say that Job 11:12 teaches evolution as it would be to say that Job 12:8 teaches that fish can talk.

Job 21:13

Complaint: en paz instead of en un momento. It is alleged in the Elephant book that it teaches here that men can go to hell in peace.

Vindication: The underlying Hebrew word is rega, which in its definition in Strong’s Concordance refers us to raga, a related word which has been translated as “find ease” in the KJV:

H7280

רגע

râga‛

raw-gah’

A primitive root; properly to toss violently and suddenly (the sea with waves, the skin with boils); figuratively (in a favorable manner) to settle, that is, quiet; specifically to wink (from the motion of the eye lids): – break, divide, find ease, be a moment, (cause, give, make to) rest, make suddenly.

Also, the context in nearby verses speaks about God’s wrath towards the wicked. The wicked may die in peace, but the Spanish Bible does not state they will have peace in hell. Verse 20 of the same chapter states: “His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.”

Psalms 2:12

Complaint: honrad instead of besad. Source of complaint: Elephant book.

Vindication: The French 1996 Ostervald Bible, published by Bearing Precious Seed and based on the Textus Receptus. It has rendez hommage, (render homage) which is synonymous with “give honor.”

Psalms 12:6

Complaint: limpias (1909 & 1960) instead of puras. Source of complaint: Article by Shane Rice, promoter of the RVG.

Vindication: Every Bible in the Reina-Valera line I examined (1569, 1602, 1865 & 1909) had the same disputed reading as the 1960. The underlying word in the Hebrew was translated as “clean” 50 times in the KJV.

Psalms 12:7

Complaint: los (twice in verse) instead of las (twice in verse). Source of complaint: Article by Humberto Gómez, reviser of the Reina-Valera-Gomez.

Vindication: The words “them” and “word” in some languages can be translated in either masculine, feminine, or neuter forms. However, in Ps. 12:6-7 “them” is masculine in Hebrew. In English “them” is neuter, because it does not distinguish between masculine or feminine. In Spanish los can mean either masculine only, or both masculine and feminine (but not feminine only). Las in turn means feminine only. It is my belief that in Ps. 12:7 the Lord is promising to preserve both his words (verse 6) and the oppressed and needy (verse 5). I know that some believe either one or the other, but not always both. The RVG restricts it arbitrarily to only one of those two options. For the first time in Spanish Bible history (as far as I can tell) Humberto Gómez translated a Hebrew masculine pronoun as a feminine pronoun in Spanish at Ps. 12:7. The RVG official website accuses previous Spanish Bibles of being in error in this passage. The RVG in Ps. 12:7 now reads …Las guardarás; Las preservarás… I know that the motive of strengthening a Bible doctrine is noble, but I disagree with the tactic of manipulating a translation in the process. I have asked Brother Gómez on more than one occasion for evidence showing that the Hebrew pronoun in question was feminine, but to date my requests for such evidence has been ignored. There is a reason why all other Spanish Bibles have los instead of las. All others are translating the Hebrew literally! Even though preservation has been taught with Ps. 12:6-7 as it was in the Spanish Bible, even if it is believed that it was less clear before, it should be kept in mind that the doctrine of the preservation of the Scriptures does not hinge only on this verse. There are many other verses in the Bible that clearly teach the preservation of the Scriptures.

Psalms 68:11

Complaint: las que llevaban buenas nuevas (1960) or las evangelizantes (1909) instead of aquellos que la publicaban. It has been alleged that this verse refers to women evangelists. Source of complaint: Article by Humberto Gómez, reviser of the Reina-Valera-Gomez.

Vindication: In the first place, all Spanish Bibles do not read the same in this verse, but all apparently use the feminine gender, which is the issue here. Some critics wrongly translate the underlying reading in the 1909 las evangelizantes (the evangelizers, female gender) as “women evangelists” to make it sound as if these Spanish Bibles were endorsing women preachers, even though the common word for women evangelists would be las evangelistas. The 1960 reading has even less reason to be connected with women preachers, as it translates to English merely as “they (feminine) that carry good news.” All the Spanish Bibles I checked on, starting with the 1553 Ferrara Old Testament, have the feminine gender. Even the English Geneva Bible, recognized as being based on the Textus Receptus, added “women” to provide the verse in a feminine gender. Respected commentators such as Albert Barnes agree that in Hebrew the key word in Ps. 68:11 is in a feminine gender: “More literally, ‘The women publishing it were a great host.’ The word used is in the feminine gender.” The Spanish Bible has simply been translating this passage over the centuries in a strict literal sense. Why is it suddenly wrong 400+ years later?

Psalms 75:2

Complaint: Al tiempo que señalaré (1960) or tuviere tiempo (1909) instead of reciba la congregación. Source of complaint: Article by Michael Lemma.

Vindication: Since 1569 the Reina-Valera line has translated this verse similar to the 1909 and 1960 reading. Strong’s Concordance demonstrates that the underlying Hebrew word can be translated several ways:

H4150

מועדה מעד מועד

mô‛êd mô‛êd mô‛âdâh

mo-ade’, mo-ade’, mo-aw-daw’

From H3259; properly an appointment, that is, a fixed time or season; specifically a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand): – appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synagogue, (set) time (appointed).

Psalms 138:2

Complaint: Word order. has engrandecido tu nombre, y tu palabra sobre todas las cosas (1909 & 1960, slight variation between them) instead of has magnificado tu palabra por sobre todo tu nombre. Source of complaint: Article by Shane Rice, et al.

Vindication: As far as word order is concerned, the Hebrew can be translated either way. J.P. Green’s The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew-Greek-English based on the Masoretic text has: “for you have magnified above all your name your word.” The Geneva, Coverdale and Bishops Bible each translate it slightly different, but with a meaning that is closer to the Reina-Valera.

Proverbs 17:8

Complaint: el soborno para el que lo practica instead of el don a quien lo posee. Source of complaint: Article by Shane Rice, promoter of the RVG.

Vindication: The Hebrew keyword underlying “gift” was translated as “bribes” three times and “bribery” one time in the KJV. In no way is the 1960 promoting bribery, as in verse 23 in the same chapter the 1960 warns that bribery perverts the ways of judgment. Albert Barnes in his Barnes Notes on the Old and New Testaments has an interesting comment regarding this verse:

A half-satirical description of the power of bribery in palaces and among judges. The precious stone (literally as in the margin) is probably a gem, thought of as a talisman, which, “wherever it turns,” will ensure “prosperity” to him who, being the possessor, has the power to give it.

The complaint about this verse in the Spanish Bible included a translation to English that was slanted to put it in a bad light. It was wrongly translated as “A bribe is as a precious stone for him that does it.” The literal translation should be as follows, with implied words in brackets: “[the] Precious stone is the bribe for him that practices it; Wherever it turneth, [it] findeth prosperity.” It is not saying that bribery is as something precious as alleged, but rather that the precious stone is the bribe.

Proverbs 29:18

Complaint: profecía (1909 & 1960) instead of visión. Source of complaint: Article by Shane Rice, promoter of the RVG.

Vindication: The underlying Hebrew word has been translated in a variety of creative ways in Bibles based on the Masoretic text. The Bishops 1568 Bible has “When the worde of God is not preached…” The 1535 Coverdale Bible has “Where no Prophet is…” closely matching the Spanish Bible. The 1995 Almeida Portuguese Bible by the Trinitarian Bible Society has Nao havendo profecia. Every Bible in the Reina-Valera line I examined (1569, 1602, 1865 & 1909) had the same disputed reading as the 1960.

The English reading of the KJV (Where there is no vision, the people perish) has endeared itself to the English-speaking people, and it is frequently a title for missionary-related themes. But this does not mean that foreign-language Bibles should be revised in this verse to exactly reflect the English reading. There are phrases in foreign Bibles that have endeared themselves to its readers, but that doesn’t mean that the English Bible should be changed to reflect them.

Ecclesiastes 3:15

Complaint: restaura (1909 & 1960) instead of demanda. Source of complaint: Article by Michael Lemma.

Vindication: The Bishops 1568 Bible, known for being based on the Masoretic text in the Old Testament, has restoreth.

Song of Solomon 2:10

Complaint: amiga instead of amada. Source of Complaint: Article by Shane Rice, promoter of the RVG.

Vindication: Several Bibles recognized as being based on the Masoretic text have the 1960 reading. This would include the 1649 Diodati Italian Bible (amica) and Luther’s 1545 German Bible (Freundin).

Isaiah 7:14

Complaint: la virgen instead of una virgen. Source of complaint: Article by Shane Rice, promoter of the RVG.

Vindication: In cases anyone thinks that the phrase “the virgin” somehow implies some kind of a conspiracy to introduce Catholic-sounding words in the Spanish Bible, keep in mind that this is the reading of Cipriano de Valera’s revision of 1602. He wrote a scathing book of over 700 pages against the Catholic Church. “The virgine” is also the reading of the 1587 Geneva Bible, recognized as being based on the Masoretic text in the Old Testament. Ironically, even though this complaint also showed up in a pro-RVG book, the RVG2010 itself refers to Mary as “the virgin” in Luke 1:27!

Isaiah 9:3

Complaint: no omitted. Source of complaint: Elephant book.

Vindication: Both Albert Barnes and John Gill in their Bible commentaries state that the KJV reading of “not” comes from the keri reading. If their statement is correct, this means the KJV did not follow the normal Masoretic text concerning the word in dispute, but rather a note in the margin of the Hebrew text.

Isaiah 14:12

Complaint: Lucero instead of Lucifer in the 1569-1960. In 2 Peter 1:19 Christ is referred to as lucero, so the allegation is that Christ and the devil are the same in the Spanish Bible. Source of complaint: Elephant book, et al.

Vindication: Isaiah 14:12 is one of the few cases in which the KJV transliterated from the Latin Vulgate. The underlying word in the Latin Vulgate is lucifer, when the underlying word in Hebrew is haylale. Strong’s defines haylale as follows:

H1966

הילל

hêylêl

hay-lale’

From H1984 (in the sense of brightness); the morning star: – lucifer.

Notice that Strong’s Concordance lists a dash before Lucifer. That represents how the KJV translators translated (or in this case transliterated) the word.

The Reina-Valera 1569, 1602, 1865, 1909 and 1960 all have Lucero or the old spelling of Luzero. The Spanish-English dictionary at wordreference.com defines Lucero as follows:

lucero m bright star

lucero del alba o matutino, morning star

lucero vespertino, evening star

– Diccionario Espasa Concise: Español-Inglés English-Spanish

© Espasa-Calpe, S.A., Madrid 2000

As can be seen, the Spanish translation closely follows the meaning of the underlying Greek word.

Part of the objection is that Christ is called lucero in 2 Peter 1:19. This may be why the KJV translators chose the Latin transliteration in Isa. 14:12. However, the Reina-Valera has historically translated the word in question literally, which should be considered honorable. Also notice that in 2 Peter 1:19 lucero is not capitalized as in a title, which helps distinguish it from the capitalized reading in Isa. 14:12. Notice also the marginal note at Isa. 14:12 placed by the KJV translators themselves in their 1611 edition still available as a reprint: “Or, O day-starre.” The KJV and Reina-Valera refer to both Christ and the devil as a lion (Lion of the tribe of Judah, roaring lion). We have no problem with this, just as Spanish-speakers have no problem with the traditional reading in their Spanish Bible heritage, knowing it does not violate the Greek and Hebrew.

The Italian Diodati 1649 translation, recognized as being based on the Masoretic text and the Textus Receptus, has stella mattutina (morning star) in both Isa. 14:12 and 2 Pet. 1:19.

Keep in mind what others say in defense of the KJV when a literal translation is perceived to be contradictory: “I feel it is imperative to go by what the Traditional Masoretic text has as its reading and let the Lord figure out what may seem contradictions to us.” (Waite, D.A. Defending the King James Bible. Collingswood, NJ: Bible For Today, 1995, p. 32)

Isaiah 44:21

Complaint: no me olvides (1909 & 1960) instead of yo no me olvidaré de ti. Source of complaint: Article by Shane Rice, promoter of the RVG.

Vindication: All the pre-1611 English Reformation-era Bibles I looked up based on the Masoretic text in the Old Testament matched the 1960 reading. The Bishops, Geneva and Coverdale Bibles all have “forget me not.”

Isaiah 64:5

Complaint: ¿podremos acaso ser salvos? instead of y seremos salvos (question instead of statement). The allegation is that the 1960 reading puts in doubt the assurance of salvation. Source of complaint: Carlos Donate’s book.

Vindication: The phrase in question is somewhat ambiguous in the Hebrew, and has caused translators some difficulty. The 1535 Coverdale Bible translated the phrase as “and there is not one whole,” for example. Barnes Notes on the Old and New Testaments explains the matter quite well and vindicates the 1960 reading:

But it seems to me that Castellio has given an intelligible and obvious interpretation by regarding it as a question: ‘Jamdiu peccavimus, et serv-abimur?’ ‘Long time have we sinned, and shall we be saved?’ That is, we have sinned so long, our offences have been so aggravated, how can we hope to be saved? Is salvation possible for such sinners? It indicates a deep consciousness of guilt, and is language such as is used by all who feel their deep depravity before God. Nothing is more common in conviction for sin, or when suffering under great calamities as a consequence of sin, than to ask the question whether it is possible for such sinners to be saved. I have thus given, perhaps at tedious length, my view of this verse, which has so much perplexed commentators. And though the view must be submitted with great diffidence after such a man as Lowth has declared it to be without sense as the Hebrew text now stands, and though no important doctrine of religion is involved by the exposition, yet some service is rendered if a plausible and probable interpretation is given to a much disputed passage of the sacred Scriptures, and if we are saved from the necessity of supposing a corruption in the Hebrew text.

Over and over again conservative commentators often defend a reading to which anti-1960 proponents have ascribed evil motives. The above example is only one of many. I’m afraid that many who reject the 1960 as corrupt have rushed in their judgment and have not given this honorable Spanish translation a fair hearing.

Isaiah 66:9

Complaint: no pariré? (1909) instead of no haré nacer? It has been alleged that this passage has God giving birth. Source of complaint: Article by Michael Lemma.

Vindication: The context clearly indicates that the statement is figurative. The previous verse speaks of nations giving birth.

Jeremiah 5:17

Complaint: comerá a tus hijos y a tus hijas instead of y comerán tu mies y tu pan, [que habían] de comer tus hijos y tus hijas. The brackets in the previous sentence represent words in italics that are not in the Hebrew. The controversial Elephant book accused the Reina-Valera of teaching cannibalism based on this verse.

Vindication: The Spanish Bible reading in question is a literal rendering from the Hebrew Masoretic text. Words could have been added (like italics as the KJV did) for further clarification. The context demonstrates that it refers with occasional figurative language in prophetic terms to the condition of the wicked. It does not really “teach” cannibalism, as this would be an extreme exaggeration.

Daniel 3:25

Complaint: hijo de los dioses (1909 & 1960) instead of el Hijo de Dios. Source of complaint: Elephant book, et al.

Vindication: the very same Hebrew Chaldee word ellah underlying “God” in that verse was translated “gods” in 11 other places in Daniel in the KJV according to Strong’s Concordance. The underlying Hebrew Chaldee word is used interchangeably for the God of heaven as well as for heathen gods. When translators come to this verse they are forced to interpret. One line of thinking is that the heathen king could not have recognized that the fourth man in the fire was the Son of God, and it could be further added that in verse 28 the king referred to the fourth man as an angel, hence the translation “son of the gods.” The other line of thinking reasons that since the fourth man is considered an epiphany in the OT, it should be rendered as “Son of God.” Since the Hebrew is somewhat ambiguous in this verse, the Spanish revisers decided to leave it ambiguous so everyone could interpret for himself, instead of the revisers doing the interpretation for them in an arbitrary manner. It is interesting to note that in the first edition of the 1611 KJV “son” was not capitalized. In Daniel 5:14 king Belshazzar refers to the God of Daniel as “the spirit of the gods” in the KJV. If Dan. 3:25 is wrong in the Reina-Valera, then Dan. 5:14 would have to be wrong in the KJV for the same reason.

Amos 7:14

Complaint: era (1909 & 1960) (before profeta and before boyero) instead of soy. Source of complaint: Article by Shane Rice, promoter of the RVG.

Vindication: The KJV has the words in dispute in italics in this verse, meaning that they were not in the Hebrew but added to make sense in English.

Continue to Part 2: Explanations for problem passages in the Spanish Bible – New Testament

Part 3: Explanations for criticized words and phrases appearing multiple times in various verses in the Reina-Valera

6 Responses to “Explanations for problem passages in the Spanish Bible – Old Testament”

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  1. Jason Wells says:

    Regarding the supposed vindication of 2 Samuel 21:19 ,it really doesn’t matter what the King James translators said or didn’t say. Our concern here is the Spanish Bible. The point is that the Reina Valera 1960 states in this verse that someone other than David killed Goliath, which is a lie. End of story.

  2. Calvin George says:

    Re: Supposed vindication of 2 Samuel 21:19

    Thank you for commenting. On the surface your point may seem convincing. But we need to consider the repercussions of treating the matter so haphazardly. If we can say outright that the reading without “the brother of” is a lie, then that means the KJV was based on a text that was a lying text, and that the KJV should correct the Hebrew (because the Masoretic text does not have “the brother of”). This would make the KJV superior to its source, which is one of the teachings of Ruckmanism. If it could be said that the KJV was based on a lying text, that would not help us to have the right confidence in the KJV. If we can be so flippant about this passage and declare it to be a lie as it stands in the Masoretic text, consider what would happen if we used the same flippant approach in “problem” passages in the KJV. For example, James 1:13 says of God “neither tempteth he any man,” but in Gen 22:1 it says that “God did tempt Abraham.” Are we supposed to declare flippantly “this is a lie!”? Certainly not. The KJV deserves better treatment than that. There are other “problem” passages in the KJV, which are not a problem in the Reina-Valera. Act 9:7 has “…hearing a voice…” and in the cross reference in Act 22:9 it has “…they heard not the voice…” Once again, are we supposed to flippantly declare this to be a lie in the KJV? Certainly not. The KJV deserves to have these passages interpreted in the light of established rules of interpretation (hermeneutics) as the Reina-Valera and Masoretic Text does in 2 Sam. 21:19. I’m fine with the KJV having added the phrase “the brother of” in italics under the circumstances. But when the Reina-Valera does anything along those lines in other passages when the KJV translators did not do the same, some are quick to invoke Rev. 22. That is a double standard.

  3. Nelson says:

    2º Samuel 21:19

    1. The phrase is found in the Hebrew Text, if you turn to 1º Chronicles 20:5.

    The KJV translators and the 1960 revisers applied the same principle. They also took some liberty in keeping the Italicized word in Luke 6:16 “Judas hermano de Jacobo, y Judas Iscariote, que llegó a ser el traidor.” (1960) The same in Acts 1:13. Here we see that the expression “the Brother ” is in italics in the KJV. The phrase is not found in the Greek.

    The NIV reads “Judas hijo de Jacobo, y Judas Iscariote, que llegó a ser el traidor.”

    The Lenguaje Actual version reads “Judas hijo de Santiago, y Judas Iscariote, el que después traicionó a Jesús.

    “Judas, hijo de Jacobo, y Judas Iscariote, que llegó a ser traidor.” Biblia de las Américas.

    Judas, hijo de Santiago, y Judas Iscariote, que fue quien traicionó a Jesús. Dios habla hoy.

    Judas hijo de Jacobo, y Judas Iscariote, que llegó a ser el traidor. Reina Valera Contemporanea.

    2. We see that five bible versions in spanish added “son” in stead of “brother”. The question is: Where did they get “brother”? Why did other bibles rendered “son”?

    3. ¿Does it make a difference?

    4. The KJV “took the liberty” because there were two men named Judas in the very Gospels. How do we know who is who?

    Jude verse 1 “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called..”

    5. The phrase “the brother” in Italics in Luke 6:16 is provided from Jude 1. The question is, By what authority did the translators insert these words? The Scriptures itself! Those new bibles made a mistake. They did not consult the Scripture itself. The five versions above made the same mistake in Acts 1:13.

    6. The question rises: Is the same Judas the one in Acts 1:13, whose FATHER was James, but now became his BROTHER in Jude 1? Is that an “apparent contradiction”? The same happens in 2 Samuel 21:19.

    7. The Authority is found in Jude 1.

    The point is, The KJV and the RVG translators added the Italicized word in the Old Testament, for the very same reason the 1960 revision Kept the Italicized word in the New Testament.

    This example can be seen in other places where the RVG also added italicized words. Deuteronomy 8:3 as well as Deuteronomy 25:4. They are not found in The Original Masoretic Text. ¿By what authority did the RVG added this words? By the Authority of The Lord Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul.

    I guess your vindication of the Old Testament, can´t be applied to the New Testament of the very bible you are trying to defend.

  4. Calvin George says:

    Nelson,

    You would have a good point if I believed that the KJV and RVG were wrong at 2 Sam. 21:19. If I believed the KJV was wrong here, then you would have just proven that I have a double standard by allowing the RV1960 to do basically the same thing in Luke 6:16 as the KJV and RVG did in 2 Sam. 21:19. However, I do not believe the KJV translators were wrong in what they did, even though the translation of the verse is not as literal as in the RV 1960. On this very webpage I referred to what the KJV translators did here as “in order to avoid an apparent contradiction” and in a recent common on this page I wrote, “I’m fine with the KJV having added the phrase…” On another page of this website (http://en.literaturabautista.com/node/53) I referred to what the KJV translators did in this verse as “honorable.”

    You wrote:

    “The phrase is found in the Hebrew Text, if you turn to 1º Chronicles 20:5”

    It is also found in the RV 1960 text, if you turn to 1º Chronicles 20:5.

    Why did the RV 1960 revisers sometimes add words not in the text in order to clarify such passages as Luke 6:16 but not in 2 Sam. 21:19? This seems to be the question you are asking. It is a fair question. I do not know the answer. None of the revisers are alive, so we cannot ask them. But by the same token, why did the KJV translators go to the extent of adding words not in the text to avoid an apparent contradiction in such passages as 2 Sam. 21:19, but left what would appear to be a contradiction between James 1:13 and Gen. 22:1 (God never tempts anyone, but he tempted Abraham)? The underlying meaning of the Hebrew word in Gen. 22:1 vindicates the KJV here, but they translated it in a manner that could be confusing to those who don’t know that “tempt” can also mean try/test in Hebrew. Why did the KJV translators do this? I don’t know. None of the translators are alive, so we cannot ask them. Other examples could be given. It should be understood that translators and revisers are fallible and don’t do their work under inspiration as in the case of the original writers. It is impossible for translators to be perfectly consistent in every detail everywhere, especially considering that in its translated form, the Bible has around ¾ million words. An example of the KJV translators being inconsistent would be in the area of italics. In a given situation they used italics, but in other identical situations involving the very same words not in the text they didn’t use italics (examples available on request). Regardless, the KJV translators did a marvelous work, and I consider the KJV to be the best translation in English.

    Do you agree with what the book “God’s Bible in Spanish” (to which you contributed a testimony) says about the lack of “the brother of” in 2 Sam. 21:19 in several Spanish Bibles? On p. 233 it refers to it as “…the text falsely says…” If it can be said outright that the reading without “the brother of” is a falsehood, then that means the KJV was based on a Hebrew text that was a lying text, and that would make the KJV superior to the Hebrew (because the Masoretic text does not have “the brother of” here). This would make the KJV superior to its source. Isn’t that teaching called Ruckmanism?

    The fact that the common Spanish Bible translates 2 Sam. 21:19 literally from the Hebrew but it is still severely criticized here and called a lying text demonstrates that the underlying issue for the anti-Reina Valera movement is not so much the Greek and Hebrew text, but rather the KJV.

    You wrote:

    “The phrase ‘the brother’ in Italics in Luke 6:16 is provided from Jude 1. The question is, By what authority did the translators insert these words? The Scriptures itself!”

    I would not be so dogmatic as to say that insertions into the text such as this are done on authority of Scripture. I would be more careful and say the insertions were based on interpretation of Scripture by the translator. Consider that Jesus himself had brothers by the names of James and Judas/Jude. See Mat. 13:55: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?”
    Re: 2 Samuel 21:19

    One theory out there is that Judas/Jude, the brother of Jesus, was converted at some point after the resurrection, and wrote the book of Jude. I am only presenting it here as a theory held by some; but it is plausible, being that Jesus had both a brother named James as well as Judas, which matches the only identifying remarks of the author (Jude 1:1). What makes that theory unlikely in my mind is that Jude did not identify himself as the brother of Jesus, although some would counter that this was out of humility. Regardless, I don’t have a problem with the reading on Luke 6:16 in the KJV. Even though interpretation is involved, I personally give it the benefit of the doubt.

  5. Nelson says:

    2º Samuel 21:19

    The issue in this context is that modern bible revisers, take away this words, but add and change the italic words. (See the NIV in Luke 6:16).

    They criticize the KJV, but they do the same.

    You don´t seem to understand my point. The reading of 2º Samuel 21:19 “the brother of” is found in the Hebrew Masoretic Text. It´s source is found in 1º Chronicles 20:5.

    The reading is based in the Hebrew. It is suplied in the very Scriptures.

    The problem lies in the fact that it doesn´t go the way you think it should.

    You think it should be right under 2º Samuel 21:19 (Which it´s not).

    I will show examples in the Scriptures.

    There are instances where Jesus, not only translated, but while translating (He is the Author of all languages) added words.

    Matthew 4:4 “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

    We see Jesus quoting the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 8:3

    “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”

    Jesus did not translate the exact wording of the Hebrew Text. There is a word for “Lord” in the Greek. Not only that, but he added “word”.

    Jesus added something not found in the Hebrew for Centuries. So, when it comes to Deuteronomy 8:3, ¿Is the word for “Word” found in the Original Hebrew Masoretic Text?

    NO. It´s in Italics. Are the italics inspired? Who added this words? Am I dogmatic?

    So we see that the source to add this inspired word in Deuteronomy 8:3, is not even in the Hebrew, but the Greek text adding a word. Then it is an italicized inspired word, because Jesus himself added it.

    So, whenever you think that an italicized word is not part of the Text, and it should be right under the text in question, you´re wrong. God does not fit your logic.

    The KJV nor the RVG have a lying text. Revision was needed. You said “You would have a good point if I believed that the KJV and RVG were wrong at 2 Sam. 21:19.”

    Then, if it´s not wrong, it is RIGHT.

    When you add words, it´s because the text is not complete. (Jeremiah 36:32). God did this, Jesus did this. That´s why the RVG added the words. It´s a Bible procedure.

    Also, your argument on James 1:13 and Gen. 22:1 has nothing to do with the subject. There are not italicized words in the text. This problem has a solution. (2 Timothy 2:15).

  6. Calvin George says:

    Re: 2º Samuel 21:19

    There is a major difference between Christ, the author of Scripture, adding to an OT quote, making the addition in the NT inspired, and an uninspired translator adding words not in the immediate text for clarification, no matter how accurate his addition is. When Christ was adding to an OT quote, it was forming part of the inspired canon of the NT. When prophets or apostles added to OT quotes under direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it also cannot be compared to an uninspired translator adding words, no matter how accurate or necessary the translator’s interpretation may be. It is not wrong for a Bible translator to add words for clarification (it happens all the time in every translation), but those interpretations are not inspired, no matter how accurately they clarify the text or conform to parallel passages. Inspired means “God-breathed.” God does not breathe out the English or Spanish words that uninspired translators add for clarification.

    You wrote:

    “Also, your argument on James 1:13 and Gen. 22:1 has nothing to do with the subject. There are not italicized words in the text.”

    The heart of the issue was an accusation that 2 Sam. 21:19 was a lying text without “the brother of” because of an apparent contradiction. The italics matter was only incidental to the issue. I found it interesting that your proposed solution to James 1:13 and Gen. 22:1 was not to modify the text, but rather to study (2 Tim. 2:15). Does studying not resolve the issue of 2 Sam. 21:19 if someone doesn’t have an agenda?

    Whether to add “the brother of” to 2 Sam. 21:19 is a matter of preference of the translator. The translators of the Bishops, Geneva, Coverdale, Ferrara 1553, Reina 1569, and Valera 1602 Bibles did not add the phrase to the text.

    If the KJV’s italics were inspired as you seem to imply, the logical outcome of that belief would be that the Hebrew text would be inferior to the KJV, because of its lack of those “inspired” words.

    You wrote:

    “So, whenever you think that an italicized word is not part of the Text, and it should be right under the text in question, you´re wrong. God does not fit your logic.”

    It is not part of the original text because God did not place it in the immediate text when the one and only original inspiration took place when He breathed out the words! It can remain there for the sake of clarification, but it should be recognized that the added words are not breathed out by God.

    What interesting is that in this case in which the RVG added something not in the immediate Masoretic Text, you call it a “Bible procedure.” But if the 1960 were to do the same in other passages not matching the RVG, your crowd would be quick to invoke Rev. 22:18 about not adding to the Scriptures!

    You wrote:

    “Then, if it´s not wrong, it is RIGHT.”

    Re: 2º Samuel 21:19

    As I said, it was not wrong for the KJV translators to add words of clarification to 2 Sam. 21:19 from another passage. But it would not make that addition inspired in 2 Sam. 21:19, even though the words added are inspired in 1 Chr. 20:5. I can’t even think of a KJV only author who believes the italics in the KJV are inspired, except for possibly Peter Ruckman, based on an accusation in D.A. Waite’s literature.

    A question you have not answered directly is whether those texts that do not include “the brother of” in 2 Sam. 21:19 are a lying text. Please do not avoid the question.

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