By Will Kinney
Jeremiah 31:3 “unto ME”, “unto HIM”, “unto THEM”, “unto US” or “to ISRAEL”? (Hey, it’s all the same meaning, right?)
Jeremiah 31:3 – “The LORD hath appeared of old UNTO ME, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
The Lord hath appeared of old UNTO ME, is the Hebrew text reading and is found in Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, the Douay-Rheims 1610, the KJB 1611, the NKJV, the Revised Version 1881, the 1901 ASV – “Jehovah appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”, the 1917 Jewish Publication Society version, the 1936 Jewish translation, the Judaica Press Tanach of 2004, the Hebrew Names Bible, Rotherham’s Emphasized bible 1902, Darby, Youngs – “From afar Jehovah hath appeared TO ME, With love age-during I have loved thee, Therefore I have drawn thee with kindness.” Douay 1950, New Berkeley Version in Modern Speech 1969, World English Bible, Green’s interlinear 2000, Third Millenium Bible 1998.
The word “thee” seen twice in this verse, is the SINGULAR you, as opposed to the plural English “you” found in the KJB, Geneva Bible, RV, ASV and JPS 1917 – “the LORD appeared unto ME, Yea, I have loved THEE with an everlasting love; Therefore with affection have I drawn THEE.”, and the only reading that grammatically makes sense is the Hebrew reading found in the KJB – the Lord appeared to ME, saying, I have loved THEE…
Foreign language translations that follow the Hebrew text and read like the KJB are Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac Peshitta – “The LORD has appeared TO ME from afar, saying, Yea, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn you.”, the Portuguese Almeida Actualizada – “De longe o Senhor ME apareceu, dizendo: Pois que com amor eterno te amei, também com benignidade te atraí.” = “to ME…therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”, the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569 and Reina Valera 1909 – “El SEÑOR se manifestó a mí hace ya mucho tiempo, diciendo : Con amor eterno te he amado , the Italian Nuova Diodati of 1991 – “Molto tempo fa l’Eterno MI è apparso, dicendo: «Sí, ti ho amata di un amore eterno; per questo ti ho attirata con benevolenza.” = “appeared TO ME…I have drawn thee with lovingkindness.”, the French Martin 1744 and Ostervald 1996 – “De loin l’Éternel m’est apparu, et m’a dit: Je t’ai aimée d’un amour éternel”, Luther’s German Bible 1545 and the Modern Greek Bible – “Ο Κυριος εφανη παλαιοθεν εις εμε, λεγων, Ναι, σε ηγαπησα αγαπησιν η αιωνιον· δια τουτο σε ειλκυσα με ελεος” = “The Lord appeared to me of old, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love. Therefore with mercy (lovingkindnes) HAVE I DRAWN THEE to me.”
However the NASB says: “The LORD appeared TO HIM from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
The RSV, NRSV, ESV and Holman Standard read the same as the NASB (to HIM), but they all have a footnote that says Greek -to him; Hebrew – to me. The NASB, RSV, NRSV, ESV have all followed the LXX and rejected the clear Hebrew text.
Even the Dead Sea Scrolls agrees with the traditional Hebrew Masoretic text and says: “The LORD appeared TO ME long ago, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love, so I have drawn you…”
The ESV has not only rejected the Hebrew reading of “to ME” and changed it to “to HIM” but has changed the meaning of the verse. The ESV reads ” the Lord appeared to HIM  from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have CONTINUED MY FAITHUFLNESS TO YOU.”instead of “I HAVE DRAWN THEE.” The Hebrew word is “to draw” (as even the RV, ASV, NASB, NIV have it) and is used in “heifer which hath not DRAWN in the yoke” (Deut. 21:3); “a certain man DREW a bow” (1 Kings 22:34); “when he DRAWETH him into his net” (Psalm 10:9), “DRAW me, we will run after thee” (Song of Solomon 1:4); “and they DREW Joseph out of the pit” (Genesis 37:28); “Canst thou DRAW OUT Leviathan with an hook?” (Job 41:1), “So they DREW up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon.” (Jeremiah 38:13) etc.
Furthermore, the ESV says they got their reading of “TO HIM” instead of “TO ME” from the so called Greek Septuagint, but they don’t mention the fact that the LXX has chapter 31 not in 31 but in chapter 38 of Jeremiah, AND even the Greek LXX reads “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore I HAVE DRAWN THEE”!!! This is how modern “scholarship” works, folks.
The Catholic bible versions present us with their typical ever-changing textual changes. The older Douay-Rheims of 1610 and the Douay of 1950 both agree with the Hebrew text and the KJB saying “to ME”, but the St. Joseph New American bible of 1970 and the Jerusalem bible of 1968 say “to HIM”, but then the New Jerusalem bible of 1985 has now gone back to reading “to ME”.
Dan Wallace’s NET version is so messed up it is unrecognizable. It says: “In a far-off land the Lord will manifest himself TO THEM. He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.” This goofy version is much like the ESV and changes the Hebrew “to thee” to “to them” and has altered so many things in the Hebrew text that it is beyond recognition. Also reading “to THEM” is the New English Version 1970 and the Revised English Version of 1989.
The NIV has something even different with its “The LORD appeared to US in the past, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” the NIV has “TO US” instead of the Hebrew “to me” or the Greek “to him”, and just makes up their own text as they go along. However, the NIV Spanish edition follows the Hebrew and says “to ME” – La Nueva Versión Internacional 1999 – “Hace mucho tiempo se ME apareció el Señor y ME dijo…”
The 2007 New Living Translation now has: “Long ago the LORD said TO ISRAEL: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”
Let’s see – to me, to him, to us, to them or to Israel…Yep, pretty much the same thing, right?
Friends don’t let friends read perverted bible versions. Get yourself a King James Holy Bible and you will never go wrong. God bless.