Thursday, June 23, 2011

Older Than King James

All my recent research into Bible translation reminded me of one of my favorite versions of Psalm 23. This is from the Miles Coverdale Bible, published in 1535 - that's over 75 years before the KJV hit the shelves in 1611. You can see some of this Psalm in the KJV, but it has it's own style. If this had been the first version of the 23rd Psalm for me, I wouldn't have been so confused as to why he doesn't want the Lord to be his Shepherd - "I shall not want?!?"

One of the most beautiful musical settings of this Psalm, in my opinion, is John Rutter's from the Requiem which premiered in 1985. So, enjoy a Psalm older than the King James Bible:

Psalm 23

Dominus regit me.

THE LORD is my shepherd; *

therefore can I lack nothing.

2 He shall feed me in a green pasture, *

and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.

3 He shall convert my soul, *

and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness for his Name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; *

for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.

5 Thou shalt prepare a table before me in the presence of them that trouble me; *

thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full.

6 Surely thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; *

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


  1. And that is not how they talked back then. I have the 1534 Tendale Bibles; and the 1599 Genevia Bible, both of which are written in Old English. From the early 1960s the focus has been to re-translate even the older Bibles not only to modern terminology, but according to modern definitions; Which has totally and completely distorted what the Scriptures meant at the time they were written.

  2. I like reading many of the older English translations of Scripture. I wonder if you would mind giving some examples of which modern versions have "totally and completely distorted what the Scriptures meant at the time they were written." I'm not sure I follow your thoughts on this.



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