‘Let the children first be killed’: The 10 worst typos in the Bible
The most popular book in the history of mankind — if one discounts the opinions of fans of Ayn Rand — is believed to be the Bible.
Theologians have speculated that the most holy of Christian books was written by 40 authors over a period of 1,500 years with many true believers feeling that it is the actual word of God — technically making the authors “transcribers.”
With many versions of the Bible re-translated over so many years into multiple languages and idioms, it is understandable that “mistakes will be made,” although none quite as bad as Adam and Eve taking a bite out of the apple.
According to David Shariatmadari at The Guardian, a 1631 version that came to be known as the “Sinner’s Bible” was so egregiously bad that most copies were destroyed and the printer — Robert Barker — was stripped of his printing license, fined and imprisoned where he died 15 years later.
Typos in the Bible did not die out with Barker and are bound to continue with new versions and interpretations always on the horizon.
With that in mind, Shariatmadari has complied 10 of the worst typos in the Bible to date:
- “Sin on more” — This obvious one comes from a 1716 edition of the King James version and 8,000 copies were released before the error was noticed.
- “Let the children first be killed” — Wrong. From Mark 7:27, “Let the children first be filled” seems more in line with Christian charity.
- “If the latter husband ate her” — From the so-called “Cannibal’s Bible” dated 1682, it was supposed to read, “If the latter husband hate her.” The less said about this, the better.
- “To remain” — In an 1805 Bible, instructions to the printer on the placement of a comma — it was supposed to stay — became part of Galatians 4:29. “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit to remain, even so it is now.”
- “Owl husband” — It is well known from Leviticus that interspecies relations were frowned upon in the Bible, and the 1944 King James version that read “in the same way submit yourselves to your owl husbands” was meant to read “own husbands.”
- “Holy ghost” — A mistranslation from Greek of the word “pneuma” — meaning breath or spirit — had believers expelling ghosts when they exhaled.
- “Peace on Earth and good will toward men” — That is what the King James version says an angel told shepherds on a hill near Bethlehem. According to the earlier Greek version, God was a bit more choosy about his friends and the angel reportedly said, “peace on Earth to people he favours.”
- “Out of thy lions” — An 1804 edition substituted “lions” for “loins” and even if they had spellcheck back then, it wouldn’t have caught it. It happens to the best of us.
- “Jesus” — According to the earlier Greek version, His name was more likely “Joshua” or the Hebrew “Yeshua,” and it would take a miracle of Biblical proportions to recall all the “Jesus” merchandise.
- “Printers have persecuted me” — One would believe this was God complaining about all the typos, but a 1612 Bible was meant to read: “Princes have persecuted me.”