Mistranslations of Text

Christian translators have manipulated many parts of Scripture to “force” it to conform with their prejudicial notion that it is replete with references to Jesus if one were merely open-minded enough to see it. Let’s take a look at some mistranslations:

“For dogs have surrounded me; the assembly of the wicked have encircled me, they pierced my hands and feet.”

(KJV Psalms 22:17)

Missionaries use this passage to convince the unwitting Jew that right there in his own Tanach is an allusion to the crucifixion of Jesus! What the translators have done is take the phrase ילגרו ידי יראכ, which means, “Like a lion my hands and my feet,” and intentionally mistranslate יראכ to mean “pierced.” The word for pierced in Tanach is רקד. In misappropriating this word to conform to their agenda they have even extracted the letter א in order to read the word as if it were ירכ. Any cheder student knows that the word ירכ means, “to dig,” as we indeed find in (Exodus 21:33), and not “to pierce,”

Moreover, the astute student should express skepticism at being presented this verse as a messianic-type prophecy, for there is nothing to indicate in this chapter of Psalms that King David is relating anything more than his own travails as he is being pursued by his enemies. Any attempt to attach prophetic meaning to these verses is to take them out of context, which is precisely what the Christian translators have done here.

In the Book of Romans of the New Testament, Paul wants to draw our attention to a passage in Isaiah that seems to define the major role of the Messiah:

“And thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”

Romans 11:26-27

What Paul is doing is trying to establish that that the Messiah will somehow take away our sins, the major tenet of Christianity.

A closer look at the actual verse in Isaiah reveals quite a different picture:

“A Redeemer will come to Zion and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, declares the Lord.”

Isaiah 59:20

The Messiah’s role in Judaism has never been understood to take away our sins. We are taught, just the opposite, when we put aside our sins then the Messiah will come! It is significant that many Christian translations of Isaiah have this translated correctly, while Paul in Romans insists on advancing his agenda.

We can have seen ample selections to demonstrate this pattern of distortion associated with the writers of Christian Scriptures. For that reason alone, it is imperative we express to our charges the importance of learning Tanach in its original language and context. There are many other examples of distorted proof-texts, and we will share some more of them in the pages to follow.

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Categories: Bible, Christianity

30 replies

  1. Actually the oldest texts unmistakebly say “pierced” ie the dead sea scrolls say pierced. The later texts say lion. There is speculation that the Jews changed the wording because Psalm 22 so obviously points to Jesus.

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    • Which text is your Bible then?

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    • Don’t let truth get in the way of a good christophobic narrative against Christ and the Church.

      For people who claim to revere a book that tells you not to follow conjecture, you guys sure do follow a lot of conjecture.

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    • That’s not an argument Paulus. Your namesake intentionally misquoted the Jewish scriptures. Do you deny this fact?

      Liked by 2 people

    • If, in the NT, Saul of Tarsus referenced and intentionally misquoted verses from the OT in order to “advance his agenda”, then doesn’t that not only make his theology absolutely wrong, but also indicate that he was an intentional liar and deceiver?

      I can only wonder how many lost souls have been misled over the centuries into Trinitarianism and away from the one true God of Abraham, by such simple deceptions. They have clearly been cheated out of the truth.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. It is tragic. Paulus must be shaken in his faith.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a variant. The Koran has them too.

      I’ve read several books from scholars looking at the issue of the Nt use of the OT. As per usual, you simplify an enormous topic on typology, prophecy, bios, jewish madrish, etc, down to the illogical yes or no approach.

      I’m sure you are aware of these discussion Bilal, so why exactly do you need to resort to illogical fallacies these days. What is Islam doing to you?

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    • I can hardly believe my eyes. Did Achilles just claim that the dead sea scrolls use the word ”pierce’? Guess it is about time amateurs apologists save themselves embarrassments by investigating facts a bit more fairly.
      Anyway sir, neither the dead sea scrolls nor the Masoretic text used the word. Moshe Rosen (from whom you most likely copied the claim) was himself thoroughly ‘thrashed’ and forced to back down by Rabbi Tovia Singer. Below I reproduce an excerpt from the article ‘Crucifixion Psalm’
      ‘ In his book, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible (2002) ,
      Dr. Peter Flint claimed that scraps of scroll
      found at the Nahal Hever Cave support the
      Christological reading rather than the
      Masoretic Text which clearly reads, “like a
      lion.” The Nahal Hever Cave is located about
      30 km south of Qumran. The document Flint
      is making reference to is designated as
      5/6HevPs.
      Bear in mind that the Nahal Hever
      manuscripts are considerably younger than
      the Dead Sea Scrolls. While the Qumran Dead
      Sea Scrolls manuscripts predate the first
      Jewish War (66 CE), the manuscripts from
      Nahal Hever came from a later period;
      between the two Jewish Wars (between 70 CE
      and 135 CE). Despite the claims made by
      Professor Flint in the Dead Sea Scrolls Bible,
      the passage in 5/6HevPs does not
      “unambiguously read pierced.” ‘.
      Unlike other ancient texts, the writing
      on this script found at Nahal Hever is not
      sharp or uniform. If, for argument’s sake, we
      conclude that the debated word written in the
      Nahal Hever script is כארו (ka’aru), as Rosen
      and Flint argue, it is obvious that this
      anomaly is the result of the scribe’s poor
      handwriting or spelling mistake. There is clear
      evidence, in fact, from an obvious spelling
      mistake in the script itself that the second
      century scribe was not meticulous. The very
      next word after the debated word is “my
      hands.” The Hebrew word in Psalm 22:17 is
      ידי (yadai). The Nahal Hever scribe, however,
      misspelled this word [as well][/as] by placing
      an extra letter ה (hey) at the end of the word.
      Thus, the Nahal Hever 5/6HevPs reads
      ידיה instead of the correct ידי . The Hebrew
      word ידיה (yadehah) means “her hands,” not
      “my hands.”

      Rabbi Tovia Singer ‘The Crucifixion Psalm’.

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  2. Wow Paul. Linking Jews for Judaism. Mate, that is scaping the bottom of the barrel. Can you link their view on the prophethood of Muhummad?

    Actually i think Paul was referring to Ezekiel not Isaiah. The language in Romans 11 mirrors Ezekiel 38 &39

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  3. The writers of the NT feel free to misquote and misinterpret the OT and conflate verses

    Liked by 2 people

  4. mistranslation aside whether intentional or not Why are we conflating a narrative about David with the crucifiction nonsense?

    Is this the level of discourse now? I’m sure the bible has words that make an appearance in Harry Potter. Does that mean their is foreshadowing between the broom stick in the sky and the ascension of Jesus?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The information age is the bane of christianity.
    Getting this kind of information once required a lot of time , resources, connections and knowhow…today all it takes is a few clicks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Musa,
      So true. The Christian Clergy have known about these problems for hundreds of years and kept them silently hidden. Now the lay people are catching on and the jig is up, even now Christianity is either dying or morphing in order to survive, into some new age cult, that isn’t even recognizable as part of the traditional Abrahamic faith.

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  6. As has been pointed out Psalm 22:16-17 it is not a mistranslation but a variant reading like what we have with the Qur’an.

    But the whole post misses the point. Christians do not rely on one or two verses translated a particular way. We read the entire Jewish scriptures as they are. Often we simply read them with no comment. The Torah Prophets, Psalms and Gospel all teach the image of God, the fatherhood and son of God, sacrifice of atonement, God dwelling with his people, the continuity of the covenants, etc. There is a unity of scripture that is beautiful. The books of the prophets build on each other and are meant to be read together. Together they give us God full message.

    Islam and Bahai are very different. These religions are based on one man and what he says to believe about everyone else. What Christians believe comes from reading all the prophets.

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    • Samuel do you agree that Paul
      in Romans has altered the teaching of Isaiah to make it conform more closely to his theology?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Samuel you say what Christians believe comes from reading all the prophets. Can you show me an example of any prophet teaching the Trinity?

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    • > Samuel you say what Christians believe comes from reading all the prophets. Can you show me an example of any prophet teaching the Trinity?

      Yes, they teach that God has oneness and diversity never oneness alone.
      They teach the Father, Spirit, Son relationship.
      They speak of the Holy Spirit as the breath of God and the divine son.
      This comes to its fulfilment in Jesus.

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    • They teach the Father is the only true God and there is no God beside him

      Liked by 1 person

  7. > Samuel do you agree that Paul in Romans has altered the teaching of Isaiah to make it conform more closely to his theology?

    No. He is following the LXX translation.

    20 καὶ ἥξει ἕνεκεν Σιων ὁ ῥυόμενος καὶ ἀποστρέψει ἀσεβείας ἀπὸ Ιακωβ

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    • Exactly the point Mr Green. While the LXX writers opted for the word ‘oruksan’, Paul thought that ‘diatretos’ was a better fit. Hardly an attitude to be found in a honest theologian.
      Although claims that both words are synonyms have been made popular by men such as yourself, Prof. Bruce Metzger and the editors of the NRSV reject them. In their opinion, it is difficult to determine with confidence what the word ‘oruksan’ means in Psalm 22.

      Liked by 2 people

    • But your “word of God” is not based on the LXX. It is based on the Hebrew masoretic text, No?

      Why did the gospel writers use the Septuagint, an inferior translation of the Old Testament?

      Did the Holy Spirit fail to inspire them with the more accurate Hebrew text, the one accepted today?

      Liked by 1 person

    • A good point. Samuel must believe in two inspired texts, the Greek and the Hebrew.

      Liked by 1 person

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