Joshua 19:2

Are there 13 or 14 cities in the list? Error in many bible versions.


In Joshua 19:1-6 we read of the lots being cast for the inheritance of the children of Simeon. Notice the number of the cities mentioned – 13 – and then number of cities listed in such versions as the NASB 1972-1977, Geneva, Bishops’ bible, Coverdale, The Great bible, Matthew’s bible, Wycliffe, RSV, NRSV, ESV and the Catholic Douay version.


The ever changing NASB has gone through 9 or 10 revisions so far, and each time they change textual readings of both the Old and New Testament, as well as their English translation. The 1972 and 1977 editions of the NASB say: “Beersheba AND Sheba, and….”, but in 1995 the latest NASB has now corrected its previous blunder in this verse and now reads “Beersheba OR Sheba…”


In the King James Bible we read: “And they had their inheritance Beer-sheba, OR Sheba, and Moladah, and Hazarshual, and Balah, and Azem, and Eltolad, and Bethul, and Hormahn, and Ziklag, and Beth-marcaboth, and Hazarsusah, and Bethlebaoth, and Sharuhen; THIRTEEN CITIES and their villages.” 


If you count the number of cities mentioned in the King James Bible, and correctly take the reading of “OR Sheba” to mean that the town of Beer-sheba was also known as Sheba, then we end up with exactly 13 cities mentioned.


The King James Bible is actually the first English Bible to get this right.


The Hebrew word Beer simply means a well or a pit, and it often formed a prefix for a more complete name. We can see this in names of other cities like the one mentioned in Ezra 2:24 and comparing this with Nehemiah 7:28. 


In Ezra we read a list of cities and the people who came from each. “The children of Azmaveth, forty and two” but in Nehemiah the same group is called “the men of BETHazmaveth, forty and two.” In both cases it is the same city, but in the one example we have the additional “Beth” but not in the other.


Bible Versions That Got It Wrong.


However such versions as the NASB 1968-1977, RSV 1952, NRSV 1989, ESV 2001-2016, Geneva bible, Bishops’, Coverdale, Darby, Young’s, Green’s MKJV, The Voice 2012, Biblos Bible 2013, Modern English Version 2014, Hebraic Roots Bible 2015, the so called Greek Septuagint, Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac, all Catholic Versions and the Jehovah witness New Word Translation all read: “And they had in their inheritance Beersheba, AND Sheba, and Moladah….THIRTEEN cities.” Yet a simple count from these wrong bible versions shows that they list FOURTEEN cities and not thirteen.


Good ol’ Dr. Daniel Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, with his ongoing scholarly disaster called the NET bible version simply omits the word altogether saying: “Their assigned land included Beer Sheba,(3) Moladah,…” Then in a revealing footnote Wallace tells us that he has “emended” the text (i.e. changed it at his own will) and that: “The MT has “and Sheba” listed after “Beer Sheba.” The LXX suggests “Shema.” The HEBREW TEXT APPEARS TO BE CORRUPT, since the form “Sheba” duplicates the latter part of the preceding name. If Sheba (or Shema) is retained, the list numbers fourteen, one more than the number given in the concluding summary (v. 6).”


This is so typical of today’s “Blinded Scholar’s Syndrome”. These men with all their education are judicially blinded by God in their proud unbelief. Rather than accept a simple and reasonable explanation as to why God’s preserved words are true, they prefer to believe that “the Hebrew text is corrupt”, when in fact it is their own minds that are corrupt and not the words of God.


John Gill comments on the passage saying: “Or, Beersheba, that is, Sheba; for so the particle “vau” is sometimes used, and must be so used here; or otherwise, instead of thirteen, it will appear that there are fourteen cities, contrary to the account of them, (Joshua 19:6); so Kimchi and Ben Melech make them one city.”  


Bible Translations that Got It Right.


Agreeing with the reading found in the King James Bible of “Beersheba, OR Sheba, and Moladah…” are the following Bible versions: the Revised Version 1885, the American Standard Version of 1901, Lesser O.T. 1835, the NKJV “Beersheba (Sheba) and…”, the NIV 1984 and 2011 editions, God’s Word Translation 1995, The Koster Scriptures 1998, the TNIV 2005, Holman Standard 2003-2017, the NASB 1995 edition (but not all the previous NASBs), World English Bible 2000, The Message 2002, The Mebust Bible 2007, Jubilee Bible 2010, New Heart English Bible 2010, Names of God Bible 2011, The Hebrew Names Version 2014, Tree of Life Version 2015

New Century Version 2005 – “hey received Beersheba (also called Sheba), Moladah”


The Hebrew Transliteration Bible 2010 – “And they had in their inheritance Beer Sheva, or Sheva, and Moladah,”


International Children’s Bible 2015 – “They received Beersheba (also called Sheba), Moladah…”


International Standard Version 2014 – “ Its inheritance included Beer-sheba (also known as Shebah), Moladah”


This online Hebrew Interlinear – Beersheba or Sheba


The King James Bible is always right.


Additional Notes:


The example here in Joshua 19:2 presents us with an interesting case of “printing errors”. When the original 1611 Bible came out, it read as do the Cambridge editions today – “Beersheba, OR Sheba, and…”. 


However some later Oxford editions changed this to: “Beersheba, AND Sheba, and…”. This printing error is easily explained. A later printer could have been proof reading the text and noticed that Joshua 19 is listing a series of cities followed time and again with the word AND. He could easily have thought that the word OR was a printing error, when in fact it was not. So he “corrected” what he thought was a printing error, and instead created one himself. Later editions merely repeated this error.


There is no copyright law that is now binding on the publication of King James Bibles. You can print one up in your own basement if you wish. My wife has a KJV from World Press and in Deut. 33:6 it reads: “is not he thy father that hath BROUGHT thee?” instead of “thy father that hath BOUGHT thee?”. 


Others have told me they have KJB bibles that read things like “the God of my LITE” instead of “the God of my LIFE”. 


Are we to toss out the doctrine of an inerrant Bible solely on the basis of an occasional printing error that can easily be corrected by comparing the underlying Hebrew and Greek texts of the KJB? I think not.


ALL of grace, believing the Book – the King James Holy Bible