EVEN MORE words in the King James Version that now mean something else


Titlepage and dedication from a 1612-1613 King...

Title page and dedication from a 1612-1613 KJV

Continued from my first and second lists of such words:

moist fresh, Num 6:3. Hmm. Not everything in my fridge that is moist turns out to be fresh.

eloquent skillful enchanter, Isa 3:3. I’ve always suspected . . .

owl(s) ostrich(es), Deut 14:15; Job 30:29; Isa 13:21; 34:13; 43:20; Jer 50:39; Mic 1:8. Some major zoological confusion on this and the next one.

ox, wild antelope, Deut 14:15. Don’t try hitching this “ox” to your cart, unless you like bouncing across the veldt as cheetahs pursue you, trying to make a nice snack of you.

prevent(ed) (1) come before, Job 41:11; Ps 88:13; Amos 9:10. (2) came upon, 2 Sam 22:6, 19; Job 30:27; Ps 18:5, 18. (3) precede, 1 Thess 4:15. (4) spoke first to, Matt 17:25. (5) anticipate(d), Ps 119:147, 148. (6) receive, Job 3:12. OK, I confess my head is spinning on this one.

reins (1) kidneys, inner parts, Job 16:13; Ps 139:13; Isa 11:5; Lam 3:13. (2) heart (metaphorically,as seat of emotions), Job 19:27; Pss 7:9; 16:7; 26:2; 73:21; Prov 23:16; Jer 11:20; 12:2; 17:10; 20:12; Rev 2:23. This one is not “anatomically correct” as far as I know . . .

scattered (1) tall, Isa 18:2, 7. (2) broken, Ps 60:2. Wait, what?

suburbs (1) pasture lands, Josh 21:2–42; 2 Chr 6:55–81. (2) precincts (Hebrew uncertain), Ezek 45:2. Better keep that pasture trimmed, or the neighbors will kick up a fuss.

traveleth, one that a robber, Prov 24:34.Which is pretty much what the TSA figures, or worse . . .

turtle(s) turtledove(s), Lev 12:8; 15:29; Num 6:10; Song 2:12; Jer 8:7. BIG difference here, unless you’ve been drinking a little too much, or eating those special mushrooms.

unicorn(s) wild ox (oxen), Num 23:22; 24:8; Deut 33:17; Job 39:9, 10; Pss 22:21; 29:6; 92:10; Isa 34:7. Rats. So much for the biblical evidence on this one.

wounds tasty morsels, Prov 26:22. Only to Team Edward or Team Jacob.

Source of terms (the commentary all my fault): Translation that Openeth the Window: Reflections on the History and Legacy of the King James Bible, ed. David G. Burke (Society of Biblical Literature, 2009), Appendix B. According to this source, KJVs printed by the American Bible Society have long contained the list from which these definitions, and those in the previous post, are taken.

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7 responses to “EVEN MORE words in the King James Version that now mean something else

  1. “Reins” is French for kidneys, a language which much influenced English after the Norman Conquest.

  2. With regards to the definitions of “reins” –
    (1) kidneys, inner parts, Job 16:13; Ps 139:13; Isa 11:5; Lam 3:13.
    Still anatomically correct as per modern French. We need to remember that English has many French loanwords in it, some of which have been replaced by others. This is one such loanword.
    (2) heart (metaphorically,as seat of emotions), Job 19:27; Pss 7:9; 16:7; 26:2; 73:21; Prov 23:16; Jer 11:20; 12:2; 17:10; 20:12; Rev 2:23.
    The Hebrews thought (not sure if they still do) of the kidneys as the seat of emotions.

  3. Matthew 19:14
    But Jesus said, “Suffer” little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
    –‘Suffer’ is an older English word which means today ‘to let or allow’ and so it simply means ‘allow the children’ or ‘let the children.’ It has absolutely nothing to do with ‘suffering’ as we understand it today in terms of hardship or pain.

    1 Timothy 5:4
    But if any widow have children or “nephews”—-rather, as Greek, “descendants,” or “grandchildren” . “Nephews” in old English meant “grandchildren”

  4. Pingback: Bible Translation Difficulties « Ramblings from Red Rose

  5. prevent(ed)– think of Wesley’s idea of prevenient grace. Grace that comes before you have any idea of God’s work in your life. I like that prevented and prevenient are so similar to each other, there is a rich theological discussion there.

    • Dan–thanks! I don’t think I saw it back in February when you first posted this response. I agree. We could have many theological discussions based in an extended romp through the OED . . .

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