Psalm 145 - Are 15 words missing from God's word in this Psalm?

Psalm 145:13 "Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations."

This is the reading of the King James Bible, Bishops' Bible 1568, Coverdale 1535, the Geneva Bible 1599, NKJV 1982, Revised Version 1881, ASV 1901, NASB 1963-1995, Hebrew translations of 1917, 1936, the 2001 Judaica Press Tanach, Darby, Spanish Reina Valera 1602-1995, Young's, Hebrew Names Version, Bible in Basic English, Living Bible, Amplified, and the Third Millenium Bible 1998. Not even Daniel Wallace's NET version includes the extra words, but reads as do the KJB, NKJV, NASB.

However in the NIV 1984 edition we read: "Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. THE LORD IS FAITHFUL TO ALL HIS PROMISES AND LOVING TOWARDS ALL HE HAS MADE." But wait! There's more. Now the brand new 2010 NIV has come out and they changed the verse once again. Now it reads: "The LORD is TRUSTWORTHY IN all he promises and FAITHFUL IN ALL HE DOES." So even the NIV has now changed "faithful" to "trustworthy" and "loving to all he has made" to "faithful in all he does." It just keeps getting better and better, huh.

Other versions that also include these extra words are the liberal RSV of 1952, followed by the NRSV, ESV (which places them in brackets) and now the Holman Christian Standard Version of 2003 (which does not place them in brackets)

The Holman Standard says: "Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; Your rule is for all generations. THE LORD IS FAITHFUL IN ALL HIS WORDS, AND GRACIOUS IN ALL HIS ACTIONS."

The NIV, RSV, ESV, Holman then have a footnote telling us that these extra 15 words come from one Hebrew manuscript, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Greek Septuagint and the Syriac, but that most Masoretic texts do not have these last two lines. "Most Masoretic texts"? How about all Hebrew manuscripts do not have them except one, and it placed the extra words at the bottom of the page?

The only Hebrew mss. that has these words is one where the extra words were added at the bottom of the page, and the Septuagint version I have does not agree with the NIV rendering. The LXX copy does NOT read like the NIV rendering. The LXX says: "The Lord is faithful in his words and holy in all his works". the NIV 1984 version says: "The Lord is FAITHFUL TO all his promises (not words) and LOVING (not holy) TOWARD ALL HE HAS MADE." But then of course we now have the brand new 2010 NIV which changes the verse once again, and now reads: "The LORD is TRUSTWORTHY IN all he promises and FAITHFUL IN ALL HE DOES."

Lamsa's translation of the Syriac says: "The Lord is faithful in all his words (not promises) and righteous (not loving, nor holy) in all his works (not 'towards all he has made', nor "faithful in all He does"). Neither the LXX nor the Syriac match the meaning found in the NIVs, but Hey, they can fudge a bit, can't they?

The other versions that also add these extra 15 words in one manner or another are the RSV, NRSV, the ESV (in brackets),the NEW Living Bible (the old Living Bible did not have it), the Message, CEV, Holman and all the Catholic versions like Douay, New American Bible, and the Jerusalem bible.

So are these extra words given by inspiration of God or not? Have they been lost from all Hebrew versions as well as the KJB, NKJV, NASB, or did the NIV, RSV, Holman Standard and Catholic versions add them to God's word? The opinions vary a great deal, as we shall see.

Gleason Archer, who is one of the NIV translators, in his book Enclylopedia of Bible Difficulties (page 39) says regarding Psalm 145:13 "Where is the verse in between? Fortunately it has been preserved in the Greek of the LXX; and by translating it back to the Hebrew, we come out with the PROBABLE (caps mine) original line...the verse beginning with nun became entirely lost in the Masoretic text."

It is of interest that Mr. Archer refers to this two line reading as a seperate verse, yet apparently the versions that include the extra verse, the NIV, RSV, NRSV, Holman and Douay, have a problem counting numbers. If it really is another verse, why then instead of making it number 14 in this Psalm do they make verse 13 twice as long as any other and retain the verse numbering of the KJB and the Hebrew texts? If they really believe it is another verse, then make it another verse!

The mindset of many modern scholars is further revealed by looking at several other statements Mr. Gleason "scribal error" Archer makes in his book. On the very next page (page 40) Mr. Archer states there were an additional 26 words lost in the Hebrew texts which again are supplied by the Greek Septuagint. He says: "in 1 Samuel 14:41, where the Masoretic Text reads: 'And Saul said to Yahweh, O God of Israel, grant a perfect lot." But according to the LXX version, Saul prefaced this request for a correct lot by a lengthy petition, saying, "Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim; but if the men of Israel are at fault, respond with Thummin."... passing over no less than 26 Hebrew words in between. But here again the LXX supplies us with all the missing words in Greek, and from these we can reconstruct them in Hebrew, as has been done in the critical apparatus of Kittel's edition." (end of quote)

Apparently, however, not even the rest of the NIV translation committee agrees with the good doctor Archer because they did not include these extra 26 words in the NIV. Nor are they found in the Syriac Peshitta, nor in the NASB nor in the 2003 Holman Standard. But wait - the brand new ESV (English Standard Version) has now put all these words in their text.

Mr. Archer's book is riddled with statements like this concerning many passages of Scripture. He says things like "these transmissional errors, as we believe them to be", "quite possible to commit an error in textual transmission", "has undoubtedly undergone multiplication by ten because of an obscurity or misunderstanding" and "the alleged desire to embellish the record and exaggerate the glory of the past must have been a very modest one on the Chronicler's part"; "but there is strong evidence to indicate that the original text read a much lower number"..."a very justified suspicion that the text was inadvertently garbled in the course of transmission"; "the numeral has dropped out completely, and there is no way of ascertaining what it was."

Keep in mind that this man is one of the big shots on the NIV AND the NASB translation committees, a highly respected "scholar", and people like Hank Hannegraf highly recommend his book. Can you imagine what this type of intellectual drivel can do to the faith of the average Christian? "Yea, hath God said...?"

Does Mr. Archer recommend we use the Septuagint version where it adds scores of other verses not found in any Hebrew texts? Or how about the LXX version of Jeremiah?

Doctor E.W. Bullinger, of the Companion Bible fame, notes " The Septuagint translation of Jeremiah differs both in matter and form from the Massoretic Hebrew Text. It is a Paraphrase rather than a Version, and an Exposition rather than a Translation. It is not therefore to be regarded as representing an independent Hebrew Text, but as a paraphrase, often abbreviated, and often inaccurate. No Hebrew Manuscript ever seen corresponds with a text from which the Septuagint professes to have been derived. It omits about one-eighth of the Hebrew text, or about 2,700 words; while the changes manifest the carelessness and arbitrariness of the translator or translators. Indeed, the Hebrew language does not seem to have been understood, or its meaning apprehended."

Back to Psalm 145:13

Adam Clarke says regarding the added words of Psalm 145:13, "not in the Hebrew text, that answers to the nun, which is found in no printed copy of the Hebrew Bible; yet one manuscript, now in Trinity College, Dublin, has it thus, I suppose by correction, in the bottom of the page."

John Gill comments: "This psalm is written alphabetically, as is observed on the title of it; but the letter "nun" is here wanting. NOR IS THE ORDER ALWAYS STRICTLY OBSERVED IN ALPHABETICAL PSALMS; IN THE 37TH PSALM THE LETTER 'AIN' IS WANTING, AND 3 (letters) IN THE 25TH PSALM. (caps are mine). The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, supply this defect here, by inserting these words, "the Lord is faithful in all his words, and holy in all his works," as if they were begun with the word Nman, but they seem to be taken from Psalm 145:17, with a little alteration."

Not even Daniel Wallace's NET version includes the extra words in verse 13. He omits them and his version reads as do the KJB, NASB, NKJV and many others. He comments in his footnote: "Several ancient witnesses, including one medieval Hebrew manuscript, the Qumran scroll from cave 11, the LXX, and the Syriac, supply the missing nun verse, which reads as follows: "The Lord is reliable in all his words, and faithful in all his deeds." SCHOLARS ARE DIVIDED (Caps are mine) as to the originality of this verse. L. C. Allen argues for its inclusion on the basis of structural considerations (Psalms 101-150 [WBC], 294-95), but there is no apparent explanation for why, if original, it would have been accidentally omitted. The psalm may be a partial acrostic, as in Psalms 25 and 34 (see M. Dahood, Psalms [AB], 3:335). The glaring omission of the nun line would have invited a later redactor to add such a line."

Aren't scholars funny? What one firmly believes and asserts, another discredits in no uncertain terms. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes, and he becomes his own final authority.

If versions like the NIV, RSV, ESV and Holman Standard are so intent on following the very different Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts, one HUGE, GLARING difference is to be noted, which the NIV, RSV, ESV folks apparently don't want you to know. They never mention it in their "scholarly footnotes".

According to the recent book, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, by Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint & Eugene Ulrich, by Harper Collins Publishers 1999, not only do the Dead Sea Scrolls contain these extra 15 words in Psalm 145:13 BUT the DSS also contain the following words - "BLESSED BE THE LORD AND BLESSED BE HIS NAME FOREVER AND EVER", not just once, but 21 TIMES in this very Psalm! The whole phrase "Blessed be the LORD and blessed be his name forever and ever" occurs AFTER EVERY SINGLE VERSE IN THE WHOLE PSALM! So why don't the NIV, RSV, ESV and Holman follow the DSS in all these verses? This would add another 252 words to the Psalm.

There are a few other less obvious changes in this Psalm that illustrate the total inconsistency of these modern versions and their "scientific" findings.

145:5 "I WILL SPEAK of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works."

The NIV says: "THEY WILL SPEAK of the glorious splendor of your majesty...". Then in a footnote tells us that THEY comes from the Dead Sea Scrolls and Syriac, but the Hebrew says "I". The ESV, NASB and Holman follow the Hebrew reading here with "I", not "they".

The NKJV, NASB say: "I WILL MEDITATE". They both follow the Hebrew text as far as the subject of the sentence "I", but give a different meaning with "meditate" instead of "speak of". The word can mean to speak, to talk, muse or meditate. Even the NKJV and NASB have both translated this word as "to speak" or "talk" 5 times each, but the NKJV changes the word for the sake of getting their copyright.

In Pslam 145:18 we read the words: "The LORD is nigh UNTO ALL THAT CALL UPON HIM, to all that call upon him in truth." So read the Hebrew Masorretic texts and even the versions like the NKJV, NIV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NET and Holman Standard. However the Dead Sea Scrolls omit all the words "unto all that call upon him". So why didn't they follow the DSS here?

145:12 "To make known to the SONS of men HIS mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of HIS kingdom. Here the NIV omits "sons" but it is found in the NASB, NKJV.

Then the NASB, NIV, RSV ESV, and Holman Standard all say "YOUR mighty acts" and "YOUR kingdom". Why did the NASB, NIV, ESV and Holman reject the Hebrew "his" and change it to "your" twice? There is no contextual reason for doing this. The Holman Standard has a footnote telling us that YOUR mighty acts and YOUR kingdom, comes from the Syriac and the LXX, but that the Hebrew texts read HIS...HIS. The NKJV, RV, ASV, Geneva, Young's, Darby, and Jewish translations of 1917, 1936, and the 2001 Judaica Press Tanach all read "HIS acts and HIS kingdom" as does the King James Bible.

Psalm 145:12 - Out of curiosity, what do the Dead Sea Scrolls do with this verse? Well, THEY OMIT IT ALTOGETHER!!! Why don't the NIV, NASB, RSV, ESV just omit the verse too? What logical "science of textual criticism" would allow the NIV translators to ADD 15 words to verse 13 based on the DSS, and then NOT OMIT another 18 words from the previous verse based upon the same Dead Sea Scrolls, and then not ADD the additional 252 words found throughout the whole Psalm after every single verse saying: "Blessed be the LORD and blessed be his name forever and ever"? God only knows. Finding the true words of God in the modern versions is like throwing darts at a target or consulting an Ouija board - you never know what you are going to come up with.

God says in Deuteronomy 4:2 "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it" and in Proverbs 30:5-6 "Every word of God is pure...Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."

Psalm 145:13 is just one of hundreds of examples of real differences between the texts of the Authorized King James Version and the multitude of conflicting modern versions. Not all bible versions are the same, nor can they all equally be the inspired, infallible, complete words of God.

I'll stick with the one God has clearly set His mark of approval on - the Authorized King James Holy Bible.

Will Kinney