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Traces of Gold from the Grammar Mine

How awesome is the King James Text! Once we learn how to read it, we then begin to recognize the power of its accuracy and the wonders of every word and every mark. We (Bible believers) are sitting on a gold mine, and occasionally we discover a bit of gold dust for encouragement. In a recent daily reading, just such a nugget or bit of dust was found:

“Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee…” (Genesis 33:11).

Initially I noticed brought; for I’m reviewing the difference between Bring and Take.

(Both Bring and Take indicate a movement of someone or something — Bring indicates movement toward someone or something; Take indicates movement away from someone or something. In this text, Jacob brought an offering to Esau — he moved multiple droves of cattle toward Esau.)

Then I noticed, that. That and Which, when used in the KJV, seem to follow the contemporary rules of English grammar. That introduces a restrictive relative clause: fancy-talk for saying it’s providing some necessary information for the function of the sentence.

Which introduces a non-restrictive clause. The information it brings is additive, but not necessary. The main part of the sentence can function as designed, without the ‘which’ clause: “I can do all things through Christ” could be a complete sentence… adding “which strengtheneth me” is additive —more information, but not essential to the main point. In Gen. 33:11, the word that introduces necessary information to complete the sentence.

But the show-stopper was the little preposition to: “…brought to thee.” You probably noticed the same thing I did (!)… why doesn’t it say “brought unto thee”? We see to is used instead of unto. Why?

Well, we know unto is more exacting than the more ambiguous and general to. Unto implies delivered to a place or person…within the boundary walls of that place or person. To implies a direction, maybe an indicator or pointer, but not necessarily a personal delivery.

Jacob had sent an offering to his brother, but at this time, apparently Esau had not yet accepted it. The personal transaction, the delivery, was not yet completed. Therefore, regarding this offering, at this moment, it was still a to and not yet an unto. So interesting!—the Bible’s grammar is exactly correct! Moments later, as recorded at the back end of the verse, Jacob urges Esau to take the offering, and he did. It would then become an unto from that point of acceptance and forever after.

How exact, how wonderful, our Bible is! A bit of gold dust with the grammar pick and shovel.

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