In the classic Book of Common Prayer (Coverdale) psalter, there are these verses 5–7 of Psalm 14 (13 in the LXX/Vulgate numbering):

  1. Their throat is an open sepulchre, with their tongues have they deceived: the poison of asps is under their lips.
  2. Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood.
  3. Destruction and unhappiness is in their ways, and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes.

Similar verses are in the Vulgate and the Douay-Rheims Bible. But these verses are missing from the King James Version and other recent Bibles that I’ve looked at. What happened to them?

1 Answer 1


These verses are only found in a very few late copies of the Septuagint. They’re neither in the Hebrew Masoretic text of the Psalms, nor in the majority text of the Septuagint. For instance, the New English Translation of the Septuagint does not include them either, even though one sometimes sees it asserted that these are verses ‘from the Septuagint’.

They are quoted by Paul in Romans, probably intentionally from different psalms than 14, but since he preceded them with several verses from Psalm 14, by mistake they were later interpolated into the original text of that psalm.

Subsequently they were translated by Jerome into the Latin psalms, and from there into both the Coverdale psalter (which is based mainly on the LXX and the Vulgate, not on the Hebrew) and the Douay-Rheims version.

The King James translators, since they worked with the Hebrew text of the Psalms, did not include it at all; neither do most modern Bible/Psalms translations, which work either from the Hebrew text (most common), or from texts of the Septuagint which are deemed to be less corrupt than the few later manuscripts which have these verses.

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    For starters, Rahlfs' edition does contain them. Secondly, Paul, as well as other New Testament authors, conflate many other biblical passages together, when quoting from them (psalms, prophets, etc.), but the Septuagint's text does not seem to have been influenced by these other conflations, so it is not particularly plausible to believe that a supposed corruption took place in this case either.
    – Lucian
    Sep 9, 2019 at 6:00

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