Harry Orlinsky, editor-in-chief of the NJPS, in a 1990 essay pointed to the example of three texts in the KJV as being faulty and showing Christian bias: Genesis 1:1-3, Psalm 2:12, and Isaiah 7:14. The Isaiah 7:14 text has been discussed in the first post above and the one following, so only a discussion of the other two texts needs to be done.
:בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ
:וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחֹשֶׁךְ עַל-פְּנֵי תְהוֹם וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל-פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם
:וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אוֹר וַיְהִי-אוֹר
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
When God began to create heaven and earth--the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water--God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light.
The translation of רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים in NJPS as 'a wind from God' follows the interpretation of Targum Onkelos, Josephus, Midrash Rabbah, Talmud Bavli Hagigah 12a, Saadia, Rashi ('the breath of His mouth'), Rashbam, Bechor Shor, and Ibn Ezra. JPS has 'the spirit of God' (small 's'). The KJV capitalizes 'Spirit,' and it is used as a proof text for the doctrine of a third person who is God (the doctrine of the Trinity),* the proof for the second person being, among others, Psalm 45:7a ('Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever'), another KJV mistranslation (compare Ibn Ezra, Rashi, JPS, NJPS), and Psalm 110:1 ('The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool'), likewise another KJV mistranslation (אדֹנִי in verse 1 of the MT is not the same word as אֲדֹנָי in verse 7 and should not be capitalized in translation: see Radaq, who points out that אדֹנִי has the nun with chireq and אֲדֹנָי has the nun with qamets).
*See in particular Genesis 41:38 KJV: 'And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?' According to this translation, Pharaoh believed in the third person of the Christian Trinity! - For other רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים texts in the KJV, see Exodus 31:3; 35:31; Numbers 24:2; I Samuel 11:6; 16:15, 16, 23; 19:20, 23; Job 27:3; 33:4; 2 Chronicles 15:1; 24:20. The same Trinitiarian bias occurs in רוּחַ-יְהוָה texts beginning in Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6, 9, 19; 15:14. Ditto for the רוּחִי texts, such as Joel 3:1, Isaiah 42:1, and 44:3. The same for the two 'holy spirit' texts: Psalm Isaiah 63:10 and 11 (רוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ is correctly rendered in Psalm 51:11 KJV [Psalm 51:13 MT]), the other 'holy spirit' text. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, this evolves into 'the Holy Ghost.' Most curiously, רוּחִי in Genesis 6:3 is correctly rendered 'My spirit' in the KJV, but inconsistently with the practice of the translators elsewhere. Recently, the NKJV has caught this inconsistency and changed it (incorrectly) to 'My Spirit.'
:נַשְּׁקוּ-בַר פֶּן-יֶאֱנַף וְתֹאבְדוּ דֶרֶךְ-- כִּי-יִבְעַר כִּמְעַט אַפּוֹ
:אַשְׁרֵי כָּל-חוֹסֵי בוֹ.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
pay homage in good faith [meaning of Hebrew uncertain]
lest He be angered and your way be doomed
in the mere flash of His anger.
Happy are all who take refuge in Him.
The KJV translates בַר as 'Son' (capital 'S'), implying that this refers to Jesus, but the Hebrew word for 'son' is ben (see verse 7, where it is used with a possessive adjective suffix: אֲסַפְּרָה אֶל-חֹק: יְהוָה אָמַר אֵלַי בְּנִי אַתָּה--אֲנִי הַיּוֹם יְלִדְתִּיךָ). Bar (var following a vowel) is an Aramaic word and means 'son,' 'a son,' or, in construct, 'son of,' 'a son of' if the absolute noun is indefinite, and 'the son of' if the absolute noun is definite. See כְּבַר אֱנָשׁ ('one like a son of man') Daniel 7:13 JPS, which in the KJV is mistranslated 'one like the Son of man' (definite article and capital 'S') in order to make it refer to Jesus, who used this idiomatic expression when referring to himself. But בַר אֱנָשׁ is indefinite. Bar also occurs in the earlier Aramaic text דָּמֵה לְבַר-אֱלָהִין ('is like to a son of the gods') Daniel 3:25 JPS, which is mistranslated 'is like the Son of God' (definite article and capital 'S') in the KJV, thus making Nebuchadnezzar know about and see the second person of the Christian Trinity, a common interpretation in Christian commentary. But the context clearly indicates that בַר-אֱלָהִין is indefinite. Moreover, verses 28 and 29 indicate that Nebuchadnezzar considered the god of the Jews one god among others, thus making it clear that אֱלָהִין is to be translated in the plural.* The Revised Version corrected the KJV mistranslation, and all Christian translations since that time no longer contain it, except, unsurprisingly, the NKJV, though in a footnote it concedes that 'a son of the gods' is an alternative rendering. 'the son' in Hebrew is הַבֵּן, and, as direct object, אֵת, the direct object marker, precedes it. In Aramaic, 'the son' is בְּרָא, and, as direct object, יַת בְּרָא. This construction does not occur in Psalm 2:12 MT. (For the curious thrice use of bar (Aramaic) in Proverbs 31:2 and ben in the plural construct form (Hebrew) in 31:8 in the oracle of King Lemuel, consult the commentaries; see also A. Hurvitz, 'The Chronological Significance of 'Aramaisms' in Biblical Hebrew,' Israel Exploration Journal, Volume 18, Number 4 : 234-240, for bar in Proverbs 31:2 consult 236).
*In that light, should not all translations of Genesis 41:38 be revised? The JPS text reads: 'And Pharaoh said unto his servants: 'Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is?' But compare the words of Nebuchadnezzar in JPS in Daniel 4:5 and 6a (NJPS is similar): 'But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and I told the dream before him: O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, . . . ' Also the words of the queen of Babylon in 5:11a: ' there is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; . . .' Likewise, the words of Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, right next in 5:14: ' I have heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, . . .' The phrase in 5:14 is identical with the phrase in Genesis 41:38, except that רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים is translated 'the spirit of God' in the latter and רוּחַ אֱלָהִין 'the spirit of the gods' in the former. Since Pharaoh was a pagan like Belshazzar, should not רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים in Genesis 41:38 be rendered 'the spirit of (the) gods' as רוּחַ אֱלָהִין in Daniel 5:14?
Bibliography: Harry Orlinsky, 'The Role of Theology and the Christian Mistranslation of the Hebrew Bible,' in Translation of Scripture, ed. David M. Goldenberg (Philadelphia: Annenberg Research Institute, 1990), 127-132; 'Enigmatic Bible Passages: The Plain Meaning of Genesis 1:1-3,' The Biblical Archaeologist Volume 46, Number 4 (December, 1983): [email protected]; 'The Plain Meaning of Ruach in Genesis 1:2,' The Jewish Quarterly Review, 48 (1957-1958): [email protected]; 'The New Jewish Version of the Torah,'Journal of Biblical Literature, 82 (1963): 249-264; Notes on the New Translation of the Torah (Philadelphia, 1969), pp. 52-55; Joseph H. Hertz, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, page 202 (Genesis 49:10, Psalm 2:12, and Isaiah 7:14 discussed); here in Mi Yodeya my recently written answer to 'What's the Meaning of Shiloh in the Last Blessing of Yaakov on his Children?' in connection with the KJV mistranslation in Genesis 49:10 discussed by R' Hertz; Alan T. Levenson, 'Ambivalencies: Jews and the King James Version,' The Bible and Interpretation (2011);
Postscript: In the transcription of the Shem ha-Meforash (יְהוָה), which occurs 6,823 times in the Tanakh according to Jewish Encyclopedia ('NAMES OF GOD'), the translators of the King James Version made a decision to translate most of these as 'the LORD'. But in seven places they rendered it as 'Jehovah' (in four of these as 'JEHOVAH'), not knowing that the Masoretic pointing was intended to indicate that the name is read by Jews as 'Adonai' and not with the letters written in the text, 'Yhvh'.1 In Isaiah 12:2 and 26:4 יָהּ יְהוָה is rendered 'the LORD JEHOVAH', and not 'JAH JEHOVAH', but see Psalm 68:4 (68:5 MT), where יָהּ is rendered 'JAH'. Initially, the King James Version of 1611 spelled the name 'Iehovah', and it was pronounced Yehowah. This evolved in later editions into 'Jehovah', the J becoming a dental and the V a fricative, as in Jehovah's Witnesses.
Genesis 22:14 KJV
And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
Exodus 6:3 KJV
And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
Exodus 17:15 KJV
And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi.
Judges 6:24 KJV
Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Psalms 83:18 KJV
That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.
Isaiah 12:2 KJV
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
Isaiah 26:4 KJV
Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.
The mistransliteration 'JEHOVAH' has been traced to Pugio Fidei adversus Mauros et Iudeos ('Dagger of Faith against Moors and Jews'), an anti-Talmud work by the Spanish Dominican friar Ramon Marti (commonly known as Raymond Martin).
The New King James Version (NKJV) transcribes the Shem ha-Meforesh in those seven passages this way now:
Genesis 22:14 NKJV
And Abraham called the name of the place, [a]The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”
[a] Genesis 22:14 Heb. YHWH Yireh.
Exodus 6:3 NKJV
I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD[a] I was not known to them.
[a] Exodus 6:3 Heb. YHWH, traditionally Jehovah.
Exodus 17:15 NKJV
And Moses built an altar and called its name, [a]The-Lord-Is-My-Banner;
[a] Exodus 17:15 Heb. YHWH Nissi.
Judges 6:24 NKJV
So Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it [a]The-LORD-Is-Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
[a] Heb. YHWH Shalom.
Psalm 83:18 NKJV
That they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD,
Are the Most High over all the earth.
Isaiah 12:2 NKJV
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the LORD, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’ ”
Isaiah 26:4 NKJV
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in Yah, the LORD, is [a]everlasting strength.
Footnotes:[a] Isaiah 26:4 Or Rock of Ages.
1 The Revised Version in 1885 added eight other instances, introducing it in Exodus 6:2,6,7,8; Psalm 68:20; Isaiah 49:14; Jeremiah 16:21; Habakkuk 3:19. Going much further, the American committee which cooperated in the revision desired to employ the name Jehovah wherever Yhvh occurs in the original, and the American Standard Version published in 1901 contains all 6,823 occurrences accordingly. The use of Jehovah was discontinued in the Revised Standard Bible (1952), the New American Standard Bible (1971), and, the New King James Bible (1982).
Bibliography: 'JEHOVAH,' 'SHEM HA-MEFORASH,' Jewish Encyclopedia (0nline); also 'ADONAI (, literally "my Lord," the plural form of Adon, that is, "Lord" or "Lordship")', 'NAMES OF GOD', 'TETRAGRAMMATON'.