Pastor Kevin R Airrington
Job 3:8, “Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.” KJV
To understand this verse I need to give you some of the context of what happened before this verse. (Job 1:1-Job 3:7) God has allowed Job, an upright and righteous man to be messed with or cursed by Satan twice. The second time God allowed Satan to bring physical harm to Job. Job is sitting in the ashes (Jewish custom), his 3 friends are sitting with him. He is using a piece of broken pottery to pick the pus from his boils. Finally, Job has had enough and is ready to die and although he is a little scared he just wants it to come quickly. On v.8 he calls for the hired mourners to come and mourn his death. (Jeremiah 9:17).
One one of the people at the bible study (Elvis) read a footnote in his Bible. While I disagreed with the footnote it did open up a discussion and we all learned so much.
He read (I will paraphrase): those with magic powers: The Hebrew text has “those who can place a curse on the day and rouse up Leviathan,” which was some kind of mythical sea monster. Leviathan is either a sea monster or a crocodile with almost supernatural powers.
My immediate objection was the notion that Leviathan was a myth. Without getting into too much discussion we certainly can, Leviathan is a real creature that lived in the ocean. Probably a plesiosaur or similar. There is a mention of the Leviathan int he Bible and outside of the Bible. So…not a “sea creature”, crocodile and don’t make me laugh, with supernatural powers.” The footnote above came from the Contemporary English Version (CEV) Elvis was using a study Bible…not CEV. We have to be real careful of some of the modern translations. They deny the creation, dinosaurs and reduce the Bible down to a myth. More on this in another discussion.
Curious…I went deep…why in the world would Leviathan even be mentioned that that verse… I read it and read it…and I could not see a connection. So I went to the Hebrew. The KJV uses the word “mourning”. I looked that word up in my Hebrew dictionary (in fact from my Interlinear Bible: which is keyed to the Greek and Hebrew text using Strong’s Concordance.) Hang on this gonna be cool! 🙂
The Hebrew word used there is the word: !tywl The transliterated word (Transliteration is the practice of converting a text from one writing system into another in a systematic way. ): liwyaataan or Livyathan. But wait we are not done. The word also means “mourning“.
The Hebrew word liwyaataan has two meanings: Leviathan (perhaps the extinct dinosaur, plesiosaurs) and Mourning (an outward sign or grief for a person’s death).
Now I really disagree with the footnotes in Elvis’s Bible and the CEV. The KJV have the translation exactly right! You say how can the same word have two meanings? It is called a CAPITONYM. This word means a word that changes meaning when it is capitalized or a word with the same spelling but different meaning.
Here are some English examples:
bat (flying mammal), bat (used in the sport of baseball)
will (as in a living will), will (used to express desire, choice)
Catholic (the Roman Catholic Church, a religion or denomination), catholic (the universal church – if you are a Christian you are part of the catholic church, but not necessarily the Catholic Church)
Mosaic (having to do with Moses), mosaic (a kind of decoration)
Turkey (a country), turkey (a bird)
Job (man, book in the Bible), job (an occupation)
I think you get the idea.
Out of curiosity I went to some other translations to see how they handled Job3:8
(NIV) May those who curse days [a] curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan. Footnote: a. Or the sea
(NASB) Let those curse it who curse the day, Who are prepared to rouse Leviathan.
(NLT) Let those who are experts at cursing – whose cursing could rouse Leviathan [a] – curse that day. Footnote: a. The identification of Leviathan is disputed, ranging from an earthly creature to a mythical sea monster in ancient literature.
(ESV) Let those curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.
(NKJV) May those curse it who curse the day, Those who are ready to arouse Leviathan.
(ASV) Let them curse it that curse the day, Who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.
You might be asking yourself, “How in the world could all of those translations get it wrong and how could the KJV be the only one that got it right?” The most straightforward answer is that these “modern” translations are using the wrong text! More about this in our O.E.P.
Some of the translators have good intentions…but if the document that they are translating from is wrong to begin with, then logically the final product will be wrong. Still, other translators are deliberately on a mission to make God’s Word invalid. How? By denying the creation, by denying man lived with dinosaurs, by denying the deity of Christ and so much more. I hope you leaned as much as I did about Job3:8. God Bless you.