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The two different interpretations seem to be completely opposite each other. In NKJV the verse is as follows:

He who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke, He who ruled the nations in anger, Is persecuted and no one hinders.

While the ESV bible is as follows:

... that struck the peoples in wrath with unceasing blows, That ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution.

I don’t think these verses are saying the same thing. Am I reading it wrong?

  • 4
    Interesting question; you may get a better answer if this was transferred to the Biblical Hermeneutics page. – Peter Kirkpatrick May 19 at 22:08
  • I recommend you ask this at Biblical Hermenutics because the issues with translations from old texts is what their scope and focus is. Good luck! – KorvinStarmast May 21 at 15:03
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The translation asserting that Deity 'is persecuted' appears to come from the KJV of 1611.

Neither the Coverdale 1535, The Matthew's 1537, The Great Bible 1539, The Geneva Bible 1560 or The Bishop's Bible 1568 have that rendering.

The Webster of 1833 follows the KJV in that place.

Neither Young's Literal Translation nor Green's Literal Translation follow the KJV :

He who is smiting peoples in wrath, A smiting without intermission, He who is ruling in anger nations, Pursuing without restraint! Young's Literal 1862.

All references are from Textus Receptus Bibles

Nor does that translation come from the Vulgate because neither the Wycliffe of 1388 nor the Douay Rheims (OT 1609) render the text in that way.

  • The translators notes to the KJV offer no explanation (you probably checked), which is odd given they differ from previous versions. However I am not sure 'He' refers to the Lord, but to the King of Babylon in verse 4 whose downfall is being celebrated. Some versions have 'it' making verse 6 refer to the King's rod or sceptre doing the striking or smiting. In most versions then verse 6 is entirely about the tyranny of the King of Babylon, but in the KJV the final part is about the reversal of fortunes - now it is the King himself who is being persecuted with nobody to help him. – davidlol May 20 at 6:46
  • @davidlol I agree. 'Since thou art laid down', verse 8. 'O Lucifer ... how art thou cut down' verse 12. Both seem to suggest that the KJV may, indeed, be correct, despite the agreement of the Young's and Green's literals. – Nigel J May 20 at 7:03

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