Monday, September 19, 2005

Be a KJVO? Let it not be!

Another KJVO post... wheee! Well this is good, actually. Just a few nuggets of Scripture to suggest a problem with that line of thinking.

Rom 9:14 KJV What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

Oops. We have the Word of God taking our Lord's name in vain. Not just this once, but also _22_ other times:

Gen. 44:7, 17; Jos. 22:29; 24:16; 1Sa. 12:23; 14:45; 20:2; Job 27:5; Luke 20:16; Rom. 3:4, 6, 31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 11:1, 11; 1Co. 6:15; Gal. 2:17; 3:21; 6:14

You may say, that since we are dealing with the Bible here, the Bible is actually saying that God is forbidding this, and that the reference is not so casual as to be in vain. The first problem with this explanation is that, in the verses I have selected, the name of God DOES NOT APPEAR in the original language manuscripts. So the Bible is not trying to say anything about God in these verses where "God forbid" is used.
The second problem with this explanation is that it just doesn't work in some contexts, even if there were a textual basis for including God's name:

1Sa 14:45 KJV And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not.

Who says that God forbids that Jonathan die? Maybe He does, maybe He doesn't. Probably He used this incident to spare Jonathan but we have no reason to believe that these people received a revelation from God that He forbids Jonathan's death. The statement "God forbid" represents the sentiment of the people, not something the people knew about God's will.
Of course the entire issue is solved by realizing that "God forbid" was a dynamic translation on the part of the KJVO translators, and that "God" is not part of the original language texts in these places. In the NT, a more literal translation of the underlying Greek in these places would be, "Let it not be!" In the OT KJV occurances of "God forbid" a more literal translation would be, "Far be it!"
What about I Chr 1:19:

KJV And said, My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? for with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mightiest.

Here the name of "God" IS in the Hebrew text. However, this is while David is in the act of pouring out the water before the Lord and so he, before the Lord, makes his decision that he will not drink this water obtained at the price of blood. Obviously here this is not a casual reference, especially since David addresses God very personally- "_My_ God forbid it..."
However, the 23 places given at the beginning gives us a Bible that takes God's name in vain. How is "God forbid" any different than "God damn"? The only reason to insist on a difference is if you have to justify the KJV. Would you want your kids making "God forbid" a regular part of their vocabulary?
You certainly will not tell me that this version is the perfect preserved Word of God when it itself goes counter to the Scriptural command not to take God's name in vain.

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