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Intreat vs. Entreat

Updated: May 4, 2022

I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word, Psalm 119:58.


I received a phone call from a man whose four daughters are engaged in memorizing Psalm 119. His daughters had discovered that Psalm 119:58 had variant spellings for the the word entreated/intreated depending on which King James Bible they used. After looking up both words in dictionaries and after being disappointed by the ambiguous results, the father called me to point out the discrepancy.

This is one of those cases in which two distinctly different words lost their identities by the disuse of "intreat" and the gradual morphing of "entreat" to be used for either definition. Those of us who uphold the King James Bible are in the process of extending its use to another generation and insuring its continuance well into the 21st century and beyond. It is imperative that we flag these discrepancies, understand what is lost when they occur. we must renew our call for a pure King James Bible in which a divergent vocabulary enriches us.

Intreat and entreat have distinctly different uses and definitions in our bible and a look at each of them in context will demonstrate that.


And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived, Genesis 25:21.


What did Isaac do? He earnestly asked the Lord to intervene. He intreated. What did the Lord do? He allowed himself to be convinced to intervene. He was intreated.


And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage, Deuteronomy 26:6.


What did the Egyptians do? They treated the Jews with evil and afflicted them.


Throughout your King James Bible to intreat is to earnestly ask for something. To entreat is how you treat someone.


Which one is correct for Psalm 119:58? Intreat has been the spelling for centuries, but as American printers are ever wont to do, they have updated the spelling in Psalm 119:58 to reflect current usage. In doing so, they changed the meaning. Our King James Bible is meant to uplift the mind, not dull it as if we could never figure out what intreat meant. Intreat is now considered archaic.


Entreat in its various forms in our King James Bible is always modified by an adverb or adverb phrase.


And Julius courteously entreated Paul, Acts 27:3

And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, Matthew 22:6.

And the Egyptians evil entreated us, Deuteronomy 26:6.

I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well, Jeremiah 15:11


Intreat is always used differently and cannot be interchanged.


Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts, Proverbs 19:6.

Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, 2nd Corinthians 8:6.

And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour, Psalm 45:12.

Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, 1st Kings 13:6.


There is a never-ceasing attempt out there to blunt the edge of the sharpest sword ever known. Obscuring meanings of words by modernizing spelling is just one of those. Our churches, our children and those to whom we introduce this book of books will never be hurt by having their vocabulary expanded.

With that in mind, what does the Apostle Paul tell us to do with elders with whom we disagree? Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren, 1st Timothy 5:1. He is not speaking of our behavior towards that elder other than how we ask him to change his mind. We are to intreat him. We are to earnestly ask him to change his mind just as we would our own fathers. How are we to earnestly ask younger men? We are to do it as if they were our own brothers. I'll bet that advice could have saved more than a few broken churches.

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3 Comments


S Android
S Android
Dec 03, 2022

I really appreciate lessons like this... Biblical, historical and grammatical all in one. Thank you.


I love the KJV and do not feel it is too old or too difficult to read. As you said, we should instruct new and younger generations to expand their minds, not reduce them. Placating to ignorance is not the wise path for our future.

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I checked bible gateway and I saw too many differences. But I wonder is the key here is not the next substantive: favour or face.

For me you can't look or ask for like if God were bribable ("...he knows perfectly what you need"). But you can say Him you looked for the truth and the justice, fought evil etc. all your life even understanding He already knows it. Then is not a man looking for some reward, but a lesson about what you must do in your life.

I'm from a catholic country, but one time I went to an evangelic "church" because a work mate invited to me. I remember when the pastor told "who looks for Him,…

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Those who never were merciful unto his brother, praying and asking God to be merciful... Revealing.

But the Prophet warned: "...I will not hear: your hands are full of blood".


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