In Answer to Ruth 3:15

 

Textual Critics ask me all the time for my answer to the alleged problem encountered in Ruth 3:15 in the various editions of the AV.  This is my response.

The Question:

When it comes to Ruth 3:15, do you believe the Bible ought to say "he" or "she" went into the city, and why? Furthermore, if you believe it ought to mean "he and she" or "both" went into the city, please provide some evidence that would support that kind of variant reading.  Thanks for supporting straight answers.”

I think myself happy, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Textual Critics. (Acts 26:2).

It says “she” in every AV Bible preached today. I therefore believe and preach Ruth 3:15 with the word “she”. I am aware that there are some early printings of the AV1611 that read “he” instead of “she”. Some claim that “he” was a typo, instead of a textual type change – maybe so, maybe not. Perhaps someone could provide some solid evidence as to whether this was a textual change or a typographical error. Either way the current reading, “she” is the one preached and believed today. It is the “standard” reading accepted by the church of the living God. Hence, for the same reasons I outlined in “Recognizing the word of God in any language” I preach “she” went into the city with the authority of the AV of the Bible.

Are you asking what was in the “original”? I have no idea; nor do you Textual Critics. In fact this type of problem throws the Textual Critics into a tailspin for they have NO IDEA WHAT THE ORIGINAL SAYS! I might add that it gives some KJVO’s fits as well.

Which is the “correct” answer?

1.  She
2.  He
3.  Both
4.  None of the above


My first impression of this type of problem is:

Matthew 23:24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

This is, however, a good place to show the distinct approaches to textual problems and expose the “critical text” side to the fallacy of their position.

Critical Text Methods –
1. Honest Textual Critic -

He amasses all the evidence for variant readings in the “original languages” (Greek and Hebrew) in which he presumes the original autographs were written in. He of course would not want to forget the many early and later translations, lectionaries, and historic quotes from the early church Fathers. This would require trips to Rome, London, Berlin, Cambridge, Ann Arbor and several other cities spotted all over our globe. For the honest Textual Critic would not want to just take a “leap of faith” he would want to verify all evidence first hand. Once he had done this at considerable expense and time he would sit down and begin collating his evidence. He makes a presumption that there were not two or three different originals and assumes that one of the four possibilities (he, she, both, none) are an exact match of the original as far as he can reasonable determine. After gathering all the evidence he is shocked to find that all his original language readings are late readings and therefore must be inferior, corrupted, and supplanted readings by all his previous assessments of that vile Textus Receptus. That is the readings are 1000-2500 years removed from the date of the original autographs. He quietly kicks against the pricks of his conscience and charges on with his mission. His conclusion is....?

2. “Leap of faith” or “Fideistic” Textual Critic –

He opens up his favorite, preferred and superior Greek Septuagint or one of his pet modern versions and compares them with the best commentaries that money can buy. He of course takes a “leap of faith” believing that the Septuagint was translated directly from the original languages and also translated correctly. By his fideism he is convinced that his modern translations would never lead him astray. Nor would any of his favorite commentators ever deceive him. So he comes out, fudging of course, saying, I also believe the AV” and then selects his preferred reading from a modern version which says...?

KJO Method –

3. KJV matches the original autographs “jot and title” KJVO or “English Only” KJVO

He is not far removed from the Textual Critic for he holds a similar position in that he believes the KJV matches the original autographs word for word. Since we don’t have the original Greek and Hebrew but we do have the original KJV therefore he says, “God’s word NEVER changes” while quoting Matthew 5:18 in support of his views. “Things DIFFERENT are not the same”, he shouts unflinchingly. “If it’s different than the KJV that I have in my hands it must be an error”, he boldly cries out. “English is God’s ‘final language’ we must compare all versions with the ‘original English’.”  He condemns all Bibles even the Textus Receptus and all foreign language Bibles as 2nd rate, garbage worthy, or works of Satan, if they do not match his KJV “jot and title”. When exposed to an “original” reading of an AV1611 and other differences he pretends that “differences” no longer matter. He comes storming out with the conclusion that Ruth 3:15 must read....?

4. Honest KJO –

He recognizes that there are indeed differences in all Bibles. He even recognizes that there are differences in various additions of the KJV. He does not automatically assume that “differences” mean “error”. He recognizes that there are differences in the Gospels, differences in direct quotes of the Old Testament as found in the New Testament and even differences in the list of the 10 Commandments as found in Exodus and Deuteronomy. He is not sure if every reading “matches” the original for no one has the “original” to make such comparison. He recognizes that born again scholars on both sides of this debate have reached different conclusions on these matters. He is convinced however that the Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. The Holy Spirit convinces him through varies means that the AV is the authoritative word of God in English today. To the best of his ability he applies Scriptural principles in reaching his conclusion. He recognizes that God has done something with the AV that he has done with no other Bible in the English language – he had all sides agreeing for 350+ years that the AV was THE STANDARD. Even critics of the AV today recognize this fact. He realizes of course that the “brethren” are going to push him for the “correct”, “most clear”, “best”, and “original” reading of Ruth 3:15. He politely tells them that “she”, “he” or “both” would be correct. Not necessarily the original but nonetheless correct for they both went into the city. He is not sure that any of the readings are clearer or better than others. He is however persuaded that the Holy Spirit has borne witness that the AV is the authoritative word of God in English and it reads – “she”! That is the authoritative word – whether it is the clearest, or the best he’ll leave to those who think they know what is best. He recognizes that both sides profess that the AV is indeed the very word of God. He honestly believes the AV as it stands without doubt or fudging and does not merely profess belief in the AV he therefore boldly sticks with the reading that God has providentially given him today – “she”.

I consider myself an honest believer of the AV Bible in English.

Now to the evidence:



REVISED WEBSTER 1995 Also he said, Bring the veil that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her:and she went into the city.

REV 1989 He said unto her, “Take the cloak you are wearing, and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured in six measures of barley and lifted it for her to carry, and she went off to town.

NRSV 1989 Then he said, "Bring the cloak you are wearing and hold it out." So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley, and put it on her back; then he went into the city.

NWT 1984 (Polish)
Jeszcze rzekł: „Weź okrycie, które masz na sobie, i je nadstaw”. Nadstawiła je więc, on zaś odmierzył to na nią, po czym wszedł do miasta. [...he went into the city., Ed.]

[Note: I presume the current JW’s Bibles read the same in English as they do in Polish. They follow the “critical text” much more closely I might add than most modern Bibles. That is when the critical text doesn’t include the verse the JW’s are “honest” enough to leave it out!]

NIV 1984 He also said, "Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out." When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and put it on her. Then he went back to town.

NKJV 1982 Also he said, "Bring the shawl that is on you and hold it." And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley, and laid it on her. Then she went into the city.

NASB 1977 Again he said, "Give me the cloak that is on you and hold it." So she held it, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her. Then she went into the city.

RSV 1947 And he said, "Bring the mantle you are wearing and hold it out." So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley, and laid it upon her; then she went into the city.

Jewish Publication Society 1917 And he said: Bring the mantle that is upon thee, and hold it’; and she held it; and he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her; and he went into the city.

SPANISH REINA VALERA 1909 Después le dijo: Llega el lienzo que traes sobre ti, y ten de él. Y teniéndolo ella, él midió seis medidas de cebada, y púsoselas á cuestas: y vínose ella á la ciudad. [...she went into the city., ed.]

ASV 1901 And he said, Bring the mantle that is upon thee, and hold it; and she held it; and he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and he went into the city.

DARBY 1889 And he said, Bring the cloak that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And she held it, and he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her; and he went into the city.

WEBSTER 1833 Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.

POLISH 1632
Nadto rzekł: Daj płachtę, którą masz na sobie, a trzymaj ją; a gdy ją trzymała, namierzył jej sześć miarek jęczmienia, i założył na nię, i weszła do miasta. [...she went into the city., ed.]

AV 1611 Also he said, Bring the vaile that thou hast vpon thee, and holde it. And when she helde it, he measured sixe measures of barley, and laide it on her: and he went into the city. [Some claim this as a typo, but I’m not sure]

Polish 1596 (Roman Catholic)
I znowu rzekł: “Rozciągnij płaszcz twoj, któreym się odziewasz, i trzymaj obiema rękoma.” A gdy rozciągnęła i trzymała, namierzył sześć korcy jęczmienia i włożył na nią, a niosąc je, weszła do miasta. [...she went into the city., ed.] [1962 reprint version]

SEPTUAGINT (Vaticanus 4th Century) And he said to her, Bring the apron that is upon thee: and she held it, and he measured six measures of barley, and put them upon her, and she went into the city. [Translated by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton, 1997]

Do you see the problem Textual Critics have? Presumably the “scholars union” in their capacity as scholar’s gathered all the evidence at their disposal in 350, 1596, 1611, 1632, 1833, 1889, 1901, 1909, 1917, 1947, 1977, 1982, 1984, 1989, 1995. What was their conclusion? The scholar’s said in

350- she was the original

1596- she was the original

1611- he & she [typo?] was the original

1632- she was the original

1833- she was the original

1889- he was the original

1901- he was the original

1909- she was the original

1917- he was the original

1947- she was the original

1977- she was the original

1982- she was the original

1984- he was the original

1989- he was the original

1989 – she was the original – the scholars union could not make up their minds in 1989!

1995- she was the original!

 

 Do you see the problem you Textual Critics get into when ‘appealing to the original, or original languages? No one knows WHAT the original said.  What NEW evidence were the Textual Critics finding over all these years to persuade them that the correct reading was “she” then “he” and then back to “she”?  In the middle of 1989 was something new found in the Egyptian sands that persuaded the scholars union to change opinion once again and decide that “she” is now correct?  This should prove once and for all that Textual Criticism is an ART and not a science. 

Does the majority win?  Shall we go with “she” then? How about the oldest? That would be “she” again. But where does that leave the NIV, which follows the “oldest and best” manuscripts? Of course we could divide the whole pot into Textus Receptus Bibles and Critical Text Bibles – then we’d split the pot right down the middle! A draw! What then? We’d have to conclude “both” went into the city! :-)

If the preponderance evidence leaned toward “she” would not ALL scholars insist therefore that “the evidence indicates that “she” is the original reading”?  We can only conclude that when the evidence comes up split 50-50 that BOTH were correct and BOTH variants were in the originals! You can bet your last dollar, peso, or zloty that if one MORE piece of evidence were given for the reading of “he” the scholars would become SURE of the NEW CORRECT READING!! This is the problem with critics on both sides of the fence – “The oldest is best” – what do you do when you find an “older” manuscript? “The majority is best” – and when the majority becomes the minority? 

The average believer in the WORLD has no way of knowing what the “original”, “original Greek”, or “original English” says. They never make appeals to them. They do know which book God has “breathed upon” and set his seal of approval upon. They do know which book the Holy Spirit has borne witness to, which book the church of the living God has received as the word of God, which book was responsible for the birth and growth of the church.  The particular reading of that God blessed book is the authoritative reading and should be submitted to.

Do you realize the amount of work that goes into finding the “correct” reading of one word in one verse as found in the Old Testament? Nobody on this board investigates every word in every verse; they take a “leap of faith” and trust someone’s translation or collation. Imagine what an “honest Textual Critic” would have to do for every word of every verse! Has it ever dawned on anyone that the authoritative reading is “correct” even if we think there is something better?

Not one of us on this board is an “honest textual critic” for no one has investigated ALL the evidence. Are we to trust the few men that came close to gathering all the evidence? Trust them more than the AV? What testimony has the Spirit of God borne upon them that we must trust THEIR conclusions? The AV has been tested and proven to be true by the myriads of born again believers who have BELIEVED it, preached, and lived it for the past 350+. There is tangible evidence that the AV is the word of God for it has been received by the church of the living God as the very word of God. You textual critics concede that the AV is the word of God – that is you profess that it is. All other versions including the original AV1611 are no longer received. They have been rejected, abandoned, and deserted over the years. God’s word is LIVING! It lives on! Yes, it can be translated, modernized and improved! Improved in the sense that it can be made available in English, with verse and chapter numbers, printed out in clear print, etc. This is no pretext to change God’s word to something you think might be vaguely similar to what could perhaps have been the original. This is no excuse for you to profess to believe the AV and then “help it out” so that you can finish your sermon outline with a “he” instead of a “she”. There is no reason to tell the church of the living God that you intend to “update the archaic” language of the RECEIVED BIBLE and then make textual changes at every turn and thus produce an entirely NEW BIBLE based on “unbiblical preferences”. The “scholars” do not all agree on their “principles” of judging let alone their conclusions. We must therefore stick with the STANDARD that all sides have recognized – the AV. God’s word is the STANDARD; the standard is God’s word!

“She” is the straightforward, direct and authoritative answer!

Ruth
3:15 Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.

May God have mercy upon us all as we go into that great city together! 


 


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