By Will Kinney
Isaiah 48:1 “waters”, “loins” or “seed”?
Isaiah 48:1 KJB – “Here ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are ome forth out of the WATERS of Judah…”
The word here in the Hebrew Masoretic text is cleary WATERS of Judah, and is so rendered by the KJB, Wycliffe 1395, the Geneva Bible – “Heare yee this, O house of Iaakob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come out of the waters of Iudah”, the Douay-Rheims of 1610, the Revised Version 1881, ASV 1901, Rotherham’s Emphasized bible 1902, Young’s, Webster’s 1833, Douay of 1950, the New Berkeley Version in Modern English 1969, Green’s literal 2000, the Judaica Press Tanach – “and who emanated from the waters of Judah”, the Apostolic Bible Polyglot, the Concordant Literal Version, the Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011, Lexham Bible 2012, the Third Millenium Bible 1998 and even the 2001 English Standard Version.
The NKJV needlessly alters this to the WELLSPRINGS of Judah, but at least retains the idea of water. The NASB, RSV, and NRSV say ‘the LOINS of Judah” with a footnote in the RSV telling us this is a correction to the text and that the Hebrew reads ‘waters’. The reading or interpretation of ‘loins’ comes from some Targum commentators but it is not what the Hebrew actually says. John Gill says the ‘seed of Judah’ is a Targum interpretation. The NIV likewise says “from the LINE of Judah.” According to a book on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the reading is “the LOINS of Judah” but they have a footnote telling us that the word was misspelled.
The Holman Standard of 2003 is a bit weird in that it just omits the phrase altogether and reads: “who are called by the name Israel and have DESCENDED FROM  Judah”, but then in their Footnote they tell us “Literally ‘have come from the waters of Judah”. Perhaps the Holman is following the so called Greek Septuagint here because the LXX likewise omits the phrase altogether and simply says “are come from Judah”.
Dan Wallace and company’s NET version likewise omits the phrase and has “and are descended from Judah.” He then footnotes “The Hebrew text reads literally “and from the waters of Judah came out.” The Latin Vulgate of 405 A.D. follows the Hebrew text in this place and says -“et de aquis Juda existis” = “waters of Judah”.
Once again we see the purification process in the previous English Bibles. Wycliffe 1395 correctly has “the waters of Judah” but Coverdale 1535 and the Bishops’ Bible 1568 erroneously have “the STOCK of Judah”. The Geneva Bible the went back to the Hebrew reading of “the waters of Judah”.Among the Catholic versions we see the usual confusion. The older Douay-Rheims 1610 and the Douay of 1950 both followed the Hebrew text and say “the WATERS of Judah”. But then the 1969 Jerusalem bible and the 1970 St. Joseph New American Bible both changed this to “the STOCK of Judah”. Oh, but wait! Now the 1985 New Jerusalem bible and the 2009 Catholic Public Domain Version have gone back to the Hebrew reading of “the WATERS of Judah”. Nothing like consistent inconsistency, is there.
Foreign language Bibles that also read “the waters of Judah” are Luther’s German bible 1545 and the 2000 Schlacher Bible – “aus dem Wasser Juda’s”, the Spanish Reina Valers 1960, 1995 – “los que salieron de las aguas de Judá”, the Portuguese A Biblia Sagrada em Portugués and the Almeida Corrigida E Fiel – “e saístes das águas de Judá”, the Italian Diodati of 1649 – “e siete usciti delle acque di Giuda”, and the Dutch Staten Vertaling Bible – “en uit de wateren van Juda”. The Modern Greek Bible reads “the fountain of Judah” – “και εξελθοντες εκ της πηγης του Ιουδα·”
For additional articles defending the KJV, see the index of articles on his website here.