The text goes (it's Leviticus chap. 11, verse 21): KJV: Yet these may ye eat of every flyi
The text goes (it's Leviticus chap. 11, verse 21):
KJV: Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that
goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap
withal upon the earth;
Hebrew: Akh eth-zeh thokhlu mikkol sheretz ha`oph haholekh
`al-arba` asher-lo khra`ayim mimma`al leraglaw lenatther
Word for word: However (akh) that (eth-zeh) ye'll eat (thokhlu)
out of all/every (mikkol) vermin (sheretz) the-flying (ha`oph)
the-walking (haholekh) on (`al) four (arba`) who/which/that
(asher) not (lo) knees (khra`ayim) from above (mimma`al) [down]
to (le-) their legs/feet (raglaw) to jump (le-natther) with them
(bahen) on (`al) the ground/land (haaretz).
In English: However, eat of every vermin that flies and walks on
all fours and that has NO knees above their legs to jump with on
I have translated "kra`ayim" by "knees", even though
Langenscheidt give "the legs, the lower parts of the thigh"
1. it is derived from the same triliteral root as the verb
"kara`: to bend the knees, to kneel down, to sink down, to cower,
to writhe in pain".
2. the context ("to jump with them on the ground") makes it clear
that what is referred to is the *articulation* essential for
Now, there is a footnote in the text that means: for "lo" (not)
read "lo" (to it). That boils down to this: what is written is
"that has NO knees above their legs" but you should read
instead: "that HAS knees above their legs". Just in case you
think I'm pulling your collective leg, I'll quote verbatim out of
J. Weingreen's "Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew", second
edition, 1959, Oxford, p.22, so that you may check yourselves:
"An interesting feature in the printed Hebrew Bibles is that
corrections of recognized errors are made in the margin or
footnote, while the uncorrected words are retained in the
text. The refusal to change the text, even where obvious
errors are recognized, is due to the extreme reverence felt
for it and acts as a safeguard against tampering with it."
The word for "not" is spelt lamed, aleph, and must have been
pronounced [lo?] ([?] = glottal stop) in ancient times. The word
for "to it/him" is spelt lamed, waw and must have been pronounced
[lo] (without glottal stop). By the time the exact pronunciation
was recorded by adding points and strokes to represent vowels and
geminate consonants, it seems that the glottal stop had become
silent, at least in syllable-final position.
I find it rather amusing that fundies should go about brandishing
the literal interpretation of the scriptures when such parts of
the scriptures as the one above have to be amended to mean the
very contrary of what they read in order to make sense.
It also turns out that the nonsensical KJV "which have legs above
their feet" means in fact, when you look at the original,
"which have legs the upper extremity of which is
articulated for jumping".
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank