centuries and a half had held the position of an English classic. They have therefore departed from it only in cases where they disagreed with the Translators of 1611 as to the meaning or construction of a word or sentence; or where it was necessary for the sake of uniformity to render such parallel passages as were identical in Hebrew by the same English words, so that an English reader might know at once by comparison that a difference in the translation corresponded to a difference in the original; or where the language of the Authorised Version was liable to be misunderstood by reason of its being archaic or obscure; or finally, where the rendering of an earlier English version seemed preferable, or where by an apparently slight change it was possible to bring out more fully the meaning of a passage of which the translation was already substantially accurate.
It has been thought advisable in regard to the word 'Jehovah' to follow the usage of the Authorised Version, and not to insert it uniformly in place of 'Lord' or 'God', which when printed in small capitals represent the words substituted by Jewish custom for the ineffable Name according to the vowel points by which it is distinguished. It will be found therefore that in this respect the Authorised Version has been departed from only in a few passages, in which the introduction of a proper name seemed to be required.
Terms of natural history have been changed only where it was certain that the Authorised Version was incorrect and where there was sufficient evidence for the substituted rendering. In cases of doubt the alternative rendering has been given in the margin; and even where no doubt existed, but where there was no familiar English equivalent for the original word, the Old Version has been allowed to remain, and the more accurate term has been placed in the margin.
In some words of very frequent occurrence, the Authorised Version being either inadequate or inconsistent, and sometimes misleading, changes have been introduced with as much uniformity as appeared practicable or desirable. For instance, 'the tabernacle of the congregation' has been everywhere changed to 'the tent of meeting', on account of Exodus xxv. 22, xxix. 42, 43, and also because 'the tabernacle of the congregation' conveys an entirely wrong sense. The words 'tabernacle' and 'tent', as the renderings of two different Hebrew words, are in the Authorised Version frequently interchanged in such a manner as to lead to confusion; and the Revisers have endeavoured throughout the Pentateuch to preserve a consistent distinction between them. Their practice in regard to the words 'assembly' and 'congregation' has been the same in principle, although they have contented themselves with introducing greater consistency of rendering without aiming at absolute uniformity. In consequence of the changes which have taken place in the English language, the term 'meat offering' has become inappropriate to describe an offering of which flesh was no part; and by the alteration to 'meal offering' a sufficiently accurate representation of the original has been obtained with the least possible change of form.
As regards the use of words, there are only a few cases in which it has been found needful to deviate from the language employed in the Authorised Version. One of these deviations occurs so frequently that it may be well to state briefly why it was adopted. The word 'peoples' was nowhere used by King James's Translators in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament it occurs only twice (Rev. x. 11, xvii. 15). The effect of this was to leave the rendering of numerous passages inadequate or obscure or even positively misleading. Thus in one of the best known Psalms (Ps. lxvii.), where the Septuagint has λαοί and the Vulgate populi, the English had 'Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee'; leaving it at least doubtful
- As for instance, 'coney' (Lev. xi. 5), 'fitches' (Is. xxviii. 25, 27), 'gourd' (Jon. iv. 6).