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From BibleHub: "whom ye"

From BibleDotCom: "whom he"

From KJV 1611 on Amazon: "whom ye"

From KJV 1611 on Bible Protector: "whom ye"

From Wikipedia (wikisource): "whom he"

I also checked New King James Version

From NKJV on Amazon: "whom he"

From NKJV on BibleDotCom: "whom you"

From NKVJ on BibleHub: "whom you"

On a forum post, they also listed "whom he"/"whom ye" on different KJV versions, the forum only concluded that "whom ye" was right without discussing why there's "whom he".

So why is there "whom he" and "whom ye"? Is there any good reason for this confusion?

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  • 1
    This is odd. My own printed KJV bible (1769) says 'whom ye', but the internet versions are saying 'whom he'. My printed Young's says 'he' as do the online. Up-voted +1 for noticing the discrepancies. J N Darby also has 'whom ye'.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 3, 2023 at 14:36
  • 1
    Wycliffe (1382), Coverdale (1535), Matthews Bible (1537), Great Bible (1539), Geneva Bible (1560), and Bishop's Bible (1568) all have 'whom ye'. See Textus Receptus Bibles. Webster's (1833) and Young's (1862) have 'whom he'. I think the key to this is the KJV of 1611 has 'whom ye' but the 1769 version of the KJV has ''whom he'. I am wondering of there was a simple typographical mistake in the 1769 KJV.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 4, 2023 at 8:39
  • 1
    . . . . . . . or only some printings of the 1769, it seems.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 4, 2023 at 11:19
  • Recommended reading bible.org/article/changes-kjv-1611-illustration and bible.org/seriespage/3-kjv-rv-elegance-accuracy and the KJV wikipedia page.
    – Michael16
    Feb 4, 2023 at 14:18

5 Answers 5

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I am flummoxed by the OP's question - an extensive survey of sites like this one: https://biblehub.com/parallel/jeremiah/34-16.htm all show that almost all versions have either "you" or "ye". I also checked my paper versions of:

  • KJV 1611 - "ye"
  • KJV 1769 - "ye"
  • NKJV - "you"
  • etc

Further, the Hebrew is שִׁלַּחְתֶּ֥ם is 2nd person masculine plural and so must be translated, "ye/you(pl)" as per Green's literal version as well.

The LXX also has "whom you(pl)" as well.

However, I have now found a few versions that for some inexplicable reason have "whom he", namely, LSV, YLT, AKJV.

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Your question is partly about what that version is supposed to say. The simple answer is to check the printed Bibles, and my copies of what I call the Authorised Version (that's KJV in American) say "whom ye". This is confirmed by the context; Jeremiah ch34 vv12-22 is the story of how the citizens of Jerusalem were persuaded to free their slaves and then changed their minds. In this verse, the Lord is addressing the citizens and saying "YOU freed them (at my request) and then subjected them again".

If some internet versions differ from the original printed version, in a way that goes against the sense of the passage, that points to poor proof-reading. And I've just noticed that the letter "h" is just below "y" on the keyboard (or at least the QWERTY keyboard). This looks like accidental substitution. One careless finger, and "ye" becomes "he".

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  • 2
    I very highly doubt that the online versions were made by someone typing the entirety of the Bible in manually
    – sbell
    Feb 3, 2023 at 16:40
  • 1
    Logical point, so the error may have occurred in quotation from the entirety. If the variation happened at all, it happened somehow. Feb 3, 2023 at 18:30
  • 1
    Or if the error was not manual, it happened via the software. This is actually quite an important question for textual criticism in the digital age. Feb 3, 2023 at 19:57
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Wycliffe (1382), Coverdale (1535), Matthews Bible (1537), Great Bible (1539), Geneva Bible (1560), and Bishop's Bible (1568) all have 'whom ye'. See Textus Receptus Bibles.

Webster's (1833) and Young's (1862) have 'whom he'. See same reference.

I think the key to this is that the KJV of 1611 has 'whom ye' but the 1769 version of the KJV has 'whom he'. Same reference again.

I am wondering if there was a simple typographical mistake in the 1769 KJV.

2
  • My 1769 KJV has "whom ye" - the same as on biblehub.com/jeremiah/34-16.htm Perhaps there are typos in some printings
    – Dottard
    Feb 4, 2023 at 9:44
  • @Dottard 'Curioser and curioser' (said Alice).
    – Nigel J
    Feb 4, 2023 at 11:16
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The difference is one of the few significant and various continuous editorial revisions or differences in the edition of the KJV. Unlike the modern Bible version editions, the difference in KJV are less known, since it is very old & its publishing house has been divided. The significant changes are due to editorial differences and the "schism" between the Cambridge and Oxford uni press.

According to this article, following are some of the substantial changes (since 1611 version):

1 Samuel 16:12 -- “requite good” changed to “requite me good”  
Esther 1:8 -- “for the king” changed to “for so the king”  
Isaiah 47:6 -- “the” changed to “thy”  
Isaiah 49:13 -- “God” changed to “Lord”
Isaiah 57:8 “made a” changed to “made thee a”
Ezekiel 3:11 -- “the people” changed to “the children of thy people”
Naham 3:17 -- “the crowned” changed to “thy crowned”
Acts 8:32 -- “shearer” changed to “his shearer”
Acts 16:1 -- “which was a Jew” changed to “which was a Jewess”
1 Peter 2:5 -- “sacrifice” changed to “sacrifices”
Jude 25 -- “now and ever” changed to “both now and ever”

Further, there are a few differences between the Oxford and the Cambridge corrected editions that can still be found in current editions of the KJV. Following is one example:

Jeremiah 34:16 -- Cambridge has “whom YE had set at liberty” while Oxford has “whom HE had set at liberty”

  1. The most thorough study ever done on the various editions of the King James Bible was by Frederick Scrivener in the late 19th century.

He was the author of the Cambridge Paragraph Bible, which was an “elaborate attempt to publish a trustworthy text of King James’ version.” It first appeared in 1873 and was republished in 1884 accompanied by Scrivener’s valuable Introduction and Appendices as The Authorized Edition of the English Bible (1611): Its Subsequent Reprints and Modern Representatives (Cambridge: University Press, 1884). One of the Appendices is a “List of original readings of the Bible of 1611 examined and arranged” and another is a “List of wrong readings of the Bible of 1611 amended in later editions.” Scrivener also analyzed the KJV’s underlying Greek text and tabulated the number of times that it varied from the Stephens and the Beza editions of the Received Text. A reprint of Scrivener’s book is available from Bible for Today.

This article by rickbeckman points out another change:

  • 2 Timothy 2:2 — “heard from me” vs. “heard of me”

The Wiki page gives a great detail about the continuous editions or evolutions of KJV editions.

By the mid-18th century the wide variation in the various modernized printed texts of the Authorized Version, combined with the notorious accumulation of misprints, had reached the proportion of a scandal, and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge both sought to produce an updated standard text. First of the two was the Cambridge edition of 1760, the culmination of 20 years' work by Francis Sawyer Parris,[101] who died in May of that year. This 1760 edition was reprinted without change in 1762[102] and in John Baskerville's fine folio edition of 1763.[103]

This was effectively superseded by the 1769 Oxford edition, edited by Benjamin Blayney,[104] though with comparatively few changes from Parris's edition; but which became the Oxford standard text, and is reproduced almost unchanged in most current printings.[105] Parris and Blayney sought consistently to remove those elements of the 1611 and subsequent editions that they believed were due to the vagaries of printers, while incorporating most of the revised readings of the Cambridge editions of 1629 and 1638, and each also introducing a few improved readings of their own.

They undertook the mammoth task of standardizing the wide variation in punctuation and spelling of the original, making many thousands of minor changes to the text. In addition, Blayney and Parris thoroughly revised and greatly extended the italicization of "supplied" words not found in the original languages by cross-checking against the presumed source texts. Blayney seems to have worked from the 1550 Stephanus edition of the Textus Receptus, rather than the later editions of Theodore Beza that the translators of the 1611 New Testament had favoured; accordingly the current Oxford standard text alters around a dozen italicizations where Beza and Stephanus differ.[106] Like the 1611 edition, the 1769 Oxford edition included the Apocrypha, although Blayney tended to remove cross-references to the Books of the Apocrypha from the margins of their Old and New Testaments wherever these had been provided by the original translators. It also includes both prefaces from the 1611 edition. Altogether, the standardization of spelling and punctuation caused Blayney's 1769 text to differ from the 1611 text in around 24,000 places.

[...] .. For a period, Cambridge continued to issue Bibles using the Parris text, but the market demand for absolute standardization was now such that they eventually adapted Blayney's work but omitted some of the idiosyncratic Oxford spellings. By the mid-19th century, almost all printings of the Authorized Version were derived from the 1769 Oxford text—increasingly without Blayney's variant notes and cross references, and commonly excluding the Apocrypha.[108] One exception to this was a scrupulous original-spelling, page-for-page, and line-for-line reprint of the 1611 edition (including all chapter headings, marginalia, and original italicization, but with Roman type substituted for the black letter of the original), published by Oxford in 1833 [..] By the early 20th century, editing had been completed in Cambridge's text, with at least 6 new changes since 1769, and the reversing of at least 30 of the standard Oxford readings. The distinct Cambridge text was printed in the millions, and after the Second World War "the unchanging steadiness of the KJB was a huge asset."[116]

Both press seemed to have used different NT editions, and after some time they tried to standardize their edition when Cambridge used Blayney's version, then it reversed some differences and in early 20th century. Cambridge's press seems to have been promoting itself as particularly unchanged, this is from where the Pure Cambridge version seems to have come from. This article cites some facts about the changes in the two versions.

It should be noted that there has never been a single uniform and correct version of KJV. Even the 1611 editions contained minor errors, and none of the press versions have remained uniform. A list of various changes can be found here.

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There is a distinct difference between the Robert Barker "1611 King James" Bibles, and the Authorised text. There also seems to be a substantial amount of revisionism in the history surrounding these bibles.

Oxford and Cambridge had their own presses, and the Authorised bibles that I use contain a royal seal, and the words: Authorised King James Version, Printed by Authority.

The Robert Barker unauthorised "1611" bibles seems to contain wildly differing spellings, and careless errors, as well as an Apocrypha and variant readings. As Robert Barker has no grave, it is hard to tell for sure whether he even really existed. But I do have a Robert Barker bible with an 18th century date.

The 1611 "facsimile" that I have access to is clearly typeset in TeX and printed using Times New Roman, and I have seen many "1611" bibles that look far too young.

James 5:3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

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