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and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
Deuteronomy 8:17

My understanding is that italics in the KJV indicate words that are added by the translator(s) rather than being indicated by the text being translated.

My question is:

Why is the word "mine" italicized in the verse above?

(I have tried to look into the Hebrew myself, and it appears to me that the word "mine" is supported by the text itself.)

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The 1611 edition of the King James Version does not have the word “mine” in Roman-type but Blackletter. Hence, the editors of the original KJV did not add the word “mine” and did indeed translate it from the Hebrew.

https://bibles-online.net/flippingbook/1611/278/ Source: https://bibles-online.net/flippingbook/1611/278/

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  • 1
    Interesting choice of emoji at the end of verse 16 :)
    – OmarL
    Aug 8 at 19:11
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The use of italics in Bible translation predates the KJV and is a complex topic. A good introduction is here:

Some excerpts:

The original KJV of 1611, like its predecessor, the Bishops' Bible, was printed in black-letter type. Use was again made of roman type for words supplied by the revisers, but not found in the original languages. Numerous changes have been made in subsequent editions of the KJV. A few were unintentional, but most were deliberate attempts to correct errors. l1 IQ 1612 an edition in octavo was printed using a small clear roman type, and introducing the use of italics in this version. This was followed by a similar edition in 1616 also in roman type. The 1762 revision by Thomas Paris, published at Cambridge, extended and improved in accuracy the use of the italics. In 1769 the Oxford edition by Benjamin Blayney made more corrections and further extended the use of italics, probably beyond the limits that the original famous 47 revisers would have approved.

Reasons for italics include:

  • textual uncertainty

Sometimes there was a deviation between TR and another text, and if the translators believed the other text was correct, they would add the word in italics.

  • filling in context

When there were explanatory words useful for understanding the text but not present, italics could be used.

  • consistency with previous versions

The KJV was not a new translation but an update of existing well-regarded translations such as the Bishop's Bible and Geneva Bible, and when there was deviations with previous famous translations, italics might be used, or when the previous versions had italics, these might be carried over into the KJV.

Also keep in mind that the italics were revised over time, so you would need to check in which version of the KJV the italics appear, and then compare to the Hebrew Source text, the First Rabbinic Bible or Biblia Rabbinica, edited by Felix Pratensis, a jew who converted to Christianity, in 1517. Then look at other older Bible translations in order to try track down the reason for the italics.

Unfortunately I don't have access to the First Rabbinic Bible -- perhaps someone else on this site does -- so I can't confirm whether it has a missing yod in Deut 8.17 which might cause the KJV translators to add "mine" with italics. Or it could have been something as simple as a smudge that made the yod uncertain in the copy of the the rabbinic bible they had. That, or simply a printer's error, would explain the italics. In the Geneva Bible it is not italicized.

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  • I was under the impression that the Second Rabbinic Bible was the primary source text for the Old Testament of the KJV. Could that be right? Aug 7 at 23:51
  • @user2626868 see kjvtoday.com/home/reliable-hebrew-text "this first edition includes Joshua 21:36-37 and Nehemiah 7:68 whereas the second edition omits these verses."
    – Robert
    Aug 7 at 23:53
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    This seems to be unique to the 1769, perhaps done for emphasis(I'm guessing); there are a few(5 or 6) exclamation point differences in Deut. between relevant editions.
    – user21676
    Aug 8 at 3:31
  • @user21676 That is useful info, thanks.
    – Robert
    Aug 8 at 5:00
  • @Robert It seems worth noting too though that the article states "Except for these two passages, the KJV appeared to follow the Ben Chayyim text." Aug 8 at 16:59
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וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ כֹּחִי֙ וְעֹ֣צֶם יָדִ֔י עָ֥שָׂה לִ֖י אֶת־הַחַ֥יִל הַזֶּֽה׃ (Deut. 8:17, MT BHS)

יָדִ֔י -- this noun (hand) is construct with a 1st person singular suffix = "my hand" = τῆς χειρός μου (LXX) = manus meae (Vulgate).

וְעֹ֣צֶם - is construct prefixed waw conjunction; so it is "and might of"

כֹּחִי֙ - is construct with 1st person singular suffix = "my power"

Note ASV uses italics but doesn't italicize "my."

17and lest thou say in thy heart, My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth. (Deut. 8:17, ASV)

Thus, I don't know why mine is in italics in KJV.

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  • would you have access to a copy of the first rabbinic bible? I can't find it anywhere in Logos or online.
    – Robert
    Aug 7 at 23:40
  • No access to rabbinic bible.
    – Perry Webb
    Aug 8 at 0:48

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