In the long and eventful history of the Bible many noteworthy facts have occurred, a few of which, from many thousands, are given below:
The Bug Bible. This is Matthew's Bible, 1551, and is so called because of the rendering of Psalm xci., 5. Instead of, "Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night," as in our version, it has, "So that thou shalt not nede to be afrayed for any Bugges by night." Dore suggests that the translator may have meant bogies which, perhaps, is a little nearer than bugs to the idea of terror, though there might be a difference of opinion on that subject. Coverdale and Taverner's Bibles likewise have the word bugs. The word then meant terrors, not insects.
The Breeches Bible. The Genevan Bible, 1560, renders Gen. iii., 7, "They sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves breeches." Wycliffe, 1382, had the same; so there was a "Breeches Bible' before the Genevan.The Golden Legend, 1483, also made the same rendering.
The Treacle Bible. This is the Bishops' Bible, 1568. It has, in Jer. viii., 22, "Is there no tryacle in Gilead?"
The Rosin Bible. The Douay Version, 1610, has, in Jer. viii., 22, "Is there no rosin in Gilead ?"
An Improved Version. In 1754 there was published in London, Genesis, the .first Chapter by way of Essay towards an Interpretation of the whole Pentateuch. Cotton quotes from the "Gentleman's Magazine" for August, 1754, the following as a specimen: 1. "Ælohim, beginning, created lucide and illucide matter. 2. And the illu-cide, void of co-adjunct cohesion, was unmodified, and distinguishableness was nowhere upon the face of the chaos: And the Ruach of Ælohim emanated over the periphery of the fluctuation. 3. Until Ælohim said that Æther should coallesce to the production of light. 4. And Ælohim saw the light was good, when it was become a separation from obscurity. 5. And Ælohim deemed the daylight, and the obscurity was yet as night, which was light, and obscuration the consummation of the first day."
Cotton Mather tells of a Bible printed before 1702, in which David is made to say, in Psalm cxix., 161, "Printers have persecuted me without a cause."
The beautiful Cambridge Bible, of 1629, has, in spite of the care bestowed on it, at least one error, which ran through many subsequent editions. In 1 Tim. iv., 16, Paul says, "Take heed unto thyself and to the doctrine." This book has, instead, "thy doctrine."
The edition of 1638, though more correct even than the former, has in it one famous error, which was serious in its day because of the disputes between the Independents and the Episcopalians. In Acts vi., 3, it has "whom ye may appoint," instead of "whom we may appoint," which latter is correct.
In 1653 an edition of the Authorized Version was printed in London, in which I Cor. vi., 9, was made to read, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God?"
Another example of the omission of the negative is found in an Oxford Bible of 1711, in which we read in Isaiah lvii., 12, "I will declare thy righteousness and thy works, for they shall profit thee."
In an Oxford Bible of 1792, in Luke xxii., 34, the Saviour is represented as telling Philip that he should deny him thrice before cock-crowing.
Another Oxford Bible of 1804 makes Paul say, in Gal. v., 17, "For the flesh lusteth after the Spirit."
Still another Oxford Bible of 1807 has in Heb. ix., 14, "Purge your conscience from good works," instead of dead works.
A Genevan Bible, published in 1562, has two singular errors. In the chapter heading of Luke xxi. are the words, "Christ condemneth the poor widow," instead of com-mendeth. In Matt. v., 9, instead of "Blessed are the peacemakers," it has, "Blessed are the place-makers."
The Vinegar Bible is an edition of the Authorized Version published in Oxford in 1717, by J. Baskett. In the running title of Luke xx., instead of The Parable of the Vineyard, it has The Parable of the Vinegar. This Bible, issued in two folio volumes, is remarkable for its beautiful typographical appearance, but so numerous are the mistakes in it that a punster of the day declared that it Was "a Baskett-full of printer's errors."
Another famous Bible is called the to remain Bible. It is a Cambridge Bible of 1805. In examining the proof-sheet containing Gal. iv., 29, in which are the words "persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now," the proof-reader is said to have had a doubt about leaving the comma after the word Spirit. He sent a query to the editor, who wrote on the margin of the proof the words "to remain," meaning that the comma was to be retained. The compositor, in correcting the proof, found these words written in the margin, and, mistaking them for a correction, deliberately took out the comma, and substituted the intrusive words, so that it reads "persecuted him that was born after the Spirit to remain even so it is now."
But the worst of all errors is found in the celebrated Wicked Bible. This is an edition of the Authorized Version printed in London, by Barker & Lucas, in 1631. In Exod. xx., 14, the negative particle is left out of the seventh commandment, making it read, "Thou shalt commit adultery." The same error occurred in a German Bible, printed just a century later. Both may be seen side by side in the Lenox Library in New York.
Perhaps the most erroneous edition of our Authorized version that ever appeared was one called "The English Version of the Polyglott Bible." The plates passed through many hands, and are apparently still in use, though many of the grossest errors have been corrected in the New Testament portion. But it is on the market in America today; and it is not difficult to find a copy with all the old errors.