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Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. [1 Peter 2:24 KJV]

All twenty six translations listed on Biblehub give the plural (wounds, stripes etc) for μωλωπι, despite the fact that the Biblehub Interlinear states the word is dative, masculine, singular and despite the fact that Bagter's Analytical Greek Lexicon states the same - dative, masculine, singular.

There is no textual dispute between TR (Beza, Stephens, Elzevir and Scrivener all identical) and W&H/NA/Novum Testamentum Graece, save that the word αυτου appears in the TR, emphasising 'himself' but not affecting the case in point.

The Wycliffe (1382) renders the word as a singular :

... by whose wan wound ye were healed ...

which is noteworthy as the Latin of the Vulgate (from which the Wycliffe was translated) reads 'livore' - a plural.

The Englishman's Greek New Testament (Bagster 1870) goes one step further (I would say) in its interlinear and literal rendering, stating :

... by whose bruise ye were healed ...

After the Wycliffe, Tyndale (1534) translates as a plural and all the other versions that I can find (including YLT) follow suit until the EGNT.


My 1,700 page Special Edition Liddell & Scott tells me that μωλωψ means the mark of a stripe, a weal, or (generically) a 'skin-wound'.

Bagster's Analytical Greek Lexicon renders the word 'the mark of a blow' and Bagster's Englishman's Greek New Testament, as stated above, calls it 'bruise'.

That the word is singular would suggest to me that neither the scourging of Jesus of Nazareth (prior to crucifixion) is in view nor the multiple incisions caused by the act of crucifixion.

That the word seems to concentrate on the skin, not the internal organs, would suggest to me that the thrusting of the lance into the side of Jesus, causing both blood and water to issue forth, is also not what Peter is referring to.

Nor would it suggest to myself (what appears to be the interpretation of the vast majority of translations) the invisible sufferings of Christ due to his bearing of sins in his body. Peter refers to this specifically in the first part of the verse, but then changes concept and refers to a single skin-wound. Many sins suggests many stripes, I understand and appreciate, but that is not what Peter has referred to.


By suggesting 'bruise' I take it that the EGNT are making reference to the bruising of the heel of the seed of the woman, referred to by God, prophetically, when the Serpent's conduct was judged in Eden.

Now a serpent has no means of damaging a man since it has no claws, no horn and no limb capable of percussive force. Therefore it must be the fangs of the serpent that 'bruise' or, I would now suggest, 'wound'.

Thus, although the EGNT has prompted my thought in a certain direction, it is the Wycliffe which carries forward the thought - 'wan wound'.

The purpose of the wound is not to damage the foot itself : the purpose of the incision is to inject venom, and that into the whole body. And this is a reciprocal action for the seed of the woman is wounded but the serpent receives a massive outcome - a buised head, which, in the followance of all other scriptures and the finality of the Apocalypse, I would see as a fatal blow, though not of immediate result, yet an inevitable consequence.


Thus my question is whether the Hebrew of Genesis :

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. [Genesis 3:15 KJV] ...

can bear the meaning 'wound' rather than 'bruise'.

This is actually quite a difference. A bruise does not break the skin. A wound certainly does, as far as I understand the meaning of the word.

And if this be so, that Peter is actually referring to the matter of sin itself, the venom of the serpent, the entering of sin into the world ; then he is referring to what Paul makes further clearer :

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV].

Thus we have a progression of concept which conveys the sufferings of Christ not (as elsewhere is made very clear) in consequence of sinful actions, thus the sufferings required to satisfy the righteousness of God in response, but (another matter altogether) the eradication of sin itself and the consequence of that eradication to the Entity who first promoted sin in Eden.

Thus Peter, in speaking - firstly - of the bearing of sins within the body of the Lord Jesus - and then (as a separate issue and making use of a totally different concept) in regard to the singular 'wound' is making clear, I would suggest, two separate parts of the doctrine of Christ.

And is he, thereby, giving us further enlightenment about the words of God to the serpent ?

I would point out that I am looking to the Hebrew of the Masoretic Text, not the Greek of the Septuagint LXX in pursuit of my enquiry : should the translation in Genesis 3:15 be 'wound' not 'bruise' ?


NOTE : If translators are referencing Isaiah 53:5 'with his stripes we are healed' then some explanation needs to be forthcoming as to why Peter uses the singular in quoting Isaiah who used the plural.

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  • 2
    Truly superb question that I wish I could upvote more than once!
    – Dottard
    Jul 18, 2021 at 22:02
  • @Dottard It was actually Matthew (8:17) quoting Isaiah (53:4) that prompted me ( Himself took our infirmities, and bore our diseases ) since the KJV margin refers in that place to 1 Peter 2:24. And then I spotted the singular noun . . . . .
    – Nigel J
    Jul 18, 2021 at 22:23
  • Based on the analogy of the serpent's venom, I prefer the word "bruise." A wound from a snakebite punctures the skin and poisons the blood. Jesus' blood, I believe, remained unstained (Mt 27:4, 1 Pet 1:19).
    – Nhi
    Jul 22, 2021 at 18:01
  • @Nhi Himself took our infirmities and bore our diseases Isaiah 53:4. He hath made him to be sin for us 2 Corinthians 5:21. He was offered without spot. Then he bore sins and then he was made sin.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 22, 2021 at 18:05
  • @Nigel I understand what you mean. Still, I like the rendering of the word "bruise." He bore our sins, he was made to be sin, but he himself never sinned. The idea that he was bruised but not wounded sort of captures this difference.
    – Nhi
    Jul 22, 2021 at 18:17

1 Answer 1

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The word μώλωψ in 1 Peter 2:24 is a hapax legomenon, and, according to BDAG means:

welt, wale, bruise, wound, caused by blows ... from the Attic ... "the swelling from a blow"

Further, the word as we find it in the text of 1 Peter 2:24 is indeed dative singular. Thus, the text should be strictly rendered something like:

... by whose bruise you have been healed.

Peter does appear to allude to Gen 3:15 about the serpent and the seed of the woman "bruising"each other as the Hebrew שׁוּף (shuph) means (BDB) "bruise". [The LXX translates this verse with the verbs τηρήσει & τηρήσεις - to watch", but that is another matter.]

However, while "bruise" appears to be the intent of both Gen 3:15 and 1 Peter 2:24, most versions appears to translate so as to more strongly allude to Isa 53:5 -

... by his stripe/scourging [singular] we are healed

The word used here is חַבּוּרָה = "stripe, blow" (BDB) which is also singular.

Further, we must also consider the internal vs external nature of what is being said. The blow causes the bruise. That is, the blow is the external action that causes the internal damage of the bruise. 1 Peter 2:24 uses the word for a the internal bruise, while most versions translate this words as "stripes" - the external blow. This misconstrues the text still further!

Thus, we are given a very interesting insight into Christ's sacrifice - it was NOT the external blows that was the means for our salvation and atonement, it was Christ's bruising - his internal injury in which I would include His humiliation and rejection and loneliness ["My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"]. It is only here that we begin to understand the staggering magnitude of the sacrifice of Jesus which He offered voluntarily and thus, willingly for our salvation.

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  • +1 Peter quoted from Isa. 53.
    – Perry Webb
    Jul 18, 2021 at 22:56
  • @PerryWebb Isaiah says 'with his stripes [plural] we are healed'. But Peter refers to a single wound. Can you answer and make this clear, please ?
    – Nigel J
    Jul 19, 2021 at 5:25

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