Genesis 36:24 “mules, hot springs, water or Imim?

King James Bible – “Anah that found THE MULES in the wilderness”  

NKJV, Catholic St. Joseph  – “Anah who found THE WATER in the wilderness”  

ESV, NIV, NASB, Jehovah Witness NWT, Catholic New Jerusalem – “Anah who found THE HOT SPRINGS in the wilderness”

Everyone is biased one way or another regarding the Bible version controversy. I am biased and I freely admit it. I believe God has kept His promises to preserve His inerrant words, and after having prayed a lot and examined much of the evidence, I came to the conclusion they are found in all their purity only in the King James Holy Bible.

I don’t know all the answers to every objection that is raised against my beliefs, but I believe I have seen enough confirmed to me by God over and over again to give me this conviction. So now I start from the position that the King James Bible is correct – always.

Mr. Rick Norris says in his book, the Unbound Scriptures, that we should examine the evidence on both sides and then make our decision. From reading his book and having interacted with him several times on the Christian internet boards it is abundantly obvious that the decision Mr. Norris has come to is that there is no such thing as a complete, inspired and 100% true Holy Bible in any language that he can show you.

(For a much fuller examination of Mr. Norris’ book, see my article  “A Bible Believer’s Response to Rick Norris’ ‘The Unbound Scriptues'”  here: ) 


Yet Mr. Norris is unrelenting in his efforts to try to “prove” that the King James Bible is not the inerrant, complete and inspired words of God. He does this not only by what he says, but by what he doesn’t say. A clear example of this is found in his opening salvo of verses he thinks are incorrect as found in the King James Bible.

The first example on page 322 in large, highlighted and underlined letters is Genesis 36:24.

The King James Bible says: “…this was that Anah that found THE MULES in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father.”

Mr. Norris says: “In Genesis 36:24, ALL HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS have a word THAT MEANS “water or hot springs” according to MOST Bible scholars, but the KJV translators followed the rendering of the Talmud and Luther (mules). The old Syriac Peshitta an the Latin Vulgate also have a word meaning “waters” or “springs”.

Mr. Norris then quotes a whole bunch of scholars that agree with him who tell us there is no way the Hebrew word can be rendered as “MULES”, but only as “HOT SPRINGS”. He tells us nothing about the other side of the story in defense of the KJB reading.

Among the bible versions that read “HOT SPRINGS” are the NASB, NIV, ESV, RSV, Jehovah Witness NWT and the Catholic New Jerusalem versions. 

The NKJV 1982, Catholic St. Joseph New American bible – “found THE WATER

 in the wilderness.”
Young’s ‘literal’ 1898 (hah!) either had no idea what it meant, so he transliterated it as “Ana found the 


 in the wilderness”.

A similar bible done in 1808 called The Thomson bible had: “this was that Ana who found the JAMEINS in the wilderness”

And the Jewish Family Bible of 1864 had: “this was that Ana who found THE YEMMIN in the wilderness.” Obviously they were not sure what it was that he found.

What Mr. Norris fails to mention is how many equally qualified scholars and Bible translators, many of them Jewish, have sided with the King James reading of “mules”.  


“MULES” is the reading not only of the King James Bible but also of The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, the 1936 Jewish translation by the Hebrew Publishing Company of New York, the more modern Jewish translation called the Judaica Press Tanach of 2004 – “Aiah and Anah he is Anah who found THE MULES in the wilderness when he pastured the donkeys for his father Zibeon.” Rashi’s Commentary on Genesis 36:24 – “who found THE MULES in the wilderness: Heb. הַיֵמִם, mules. He mated a donkey with a mare (female horse), and it gave birth to A MULE.”, the Holy Scriptures Revised of 1997 put out by the Jewish Publication Society, the 1993 The Word of Jah Bible and the Torah Transliterational Scriptures of 2008 and the Hebrew Interlinear Old Testament – “Ana that found THE MULES in the wilderness”  


You can see this Hebrew Interlinear here   

Besides all these modern day Jewish translations that agree with the KJB we have Tyndale’s translation of Genesis 1525-1530, Coverdale’s Bible 1535, the Great Bible of 1540, Matthew’s Bible of 1549, the Bishop’s Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, the Bill Bible 1671, Webster’s 1833 translation, the Lesser Bible of 1853, The Fenton Bible 1966 “he discovered the MULES in the wilderness”, the KJV 21st Century version 1994, The Revised Webster Bible 1995, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Apostolic Polyglot Bible 2003, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, the English Jubilee Bible of 2010, and even the New English Bible of 1970.  


Other English Bibles that translate this as “Anah that found THE MULES in the wilderness” are The Word of Yah 1993, God’s First Truth 1999, The Apostolic Polyglot Bible 2003 – “he found THE MULES in the wilderness”, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, the Bond Slave Version 2009, The Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011 – “this was that Anah that found THE MULES in the midbar, as he pastured the chamorim of Tziveon aviv.”, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 –  “this was that Anah that found THE MULES in the midbar, as he fed the asses of Ziveon his avi.”, Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011 – “the MULES”, Interlinear Hebrew-Greek Scriptures 2012 (Mebust), the Biblos Interlinear Bible 2013.


Foreign Language Bibles

 that read MULES
MULES is the reading found in the 1569 Spanish Sagradas Escrituras, the Spanish Cipriano de Valera 1602 and 1909 (but not the 1960, 95 RV), the Reina Valera 1865, the 1929 Versión Moderna by Enrique Pratt, Las Sagradas Escrituras of 1998 (los MULOS en el desierto), Spanish Jubilee bible 2010, and the 2010 Reina Valera Gomez, the Italian Diodati of 1649 – “

de’ MULI nel deserto”, the French Martin 1744 -”est celui qui trouva LES MULETS au désert”, La Bible King James Française Rev. 2011 – “

C’est cet Anah qui trouva LES MULETS  dans le désert”, Luther’s German Bible 1545 – “Ana, der in der Wüste Maulpferde erfand”, the German Tafelbibel of 1911, the Polish Biblia Gdanska 1881, the Czech Bible Kralicka – ” To jest ten Ana, kterýž nalezl mezky na poušti” = “found the MULES in the desert”, the Dutch Staten Vertaling Bible – “die de MUILEN in de woestijn gevonden heeft”, and the Romanian Fidela Bible 2014 – “acestaafostacel Ana care a găsit catârii în pustie, pe când hrănea măgarii lui Ţibeon, tatăl său.” = “found the MULES in the wilderness” 


Several modern versions are at least a bit more honest as to the uncertainty of what this Hebrew word really means, and they tell us so in their footnotes. The NRSV footnote says the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain or obscure.

Dan Wallace’s Net version footnotes that the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.

The NIV gives this informative footnote: “the Vulgate and Syriac say he discovered water, but the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.”

Likewise the 2011 Names of God Bible says “HOT SPRINGS in the desert” but then footnotes “Hebrew meaning uncertain.”

Mr. Norris makes it sound as though it is a slam dunk certainty that the King James Bible is wrong, when a more thorough examination of the evidence reveals that there are real differences of opinion even among those who have gone to “the original languages”.

John Calvin 

gives us his translation and exposition of this verse in Latin. He translates the specific word as “mules” and not as “hot springs” – MULOS in deserto, quum passceret asinos Sibhon patris sui.

Calvin then remarks in his commentary: “This was that Anah that found the mules. Mules are the adulterous offspring of the horse and the ass…”

Adam Clarke

 remarks in his commentary on this verse: “St Jerome, who renders it aquas calidas, (warm springs) says THERE ARE AS MANY OPINIONS CONCERNING IT AS THERE ARE COMMENTATORS.”

Mr. Clarke further states of the Syriac: “The Syriac renders it “many waters”; the author of this version having read in the Hebrew copy from which he translated µym mayim, waters, for µmy yemim, the first letters being transposed. The Targum of Johnathan ben Uzziel paraphrases the place thus: “This is the Anah who united the onager with the tame ass, and in process of time he found mules produced by them.” R.D. Kimchi says: “This Anah…caused asses and horses to copulate, and so produced mules. R.S. Jarchi is of the same opinion.

Gusset, in Comment. Heb. Ling., supposes that mules, not the Emin, were found by Anah. Wagenseil thought stronger reasons led him to believe that the word means a sort of PLANT.

Mr. Clarke concludes: “From the above opinions and versions the reader may choose which he likes best or invent one for himself.” He then states that he personally favors the reading of mules.

Matthew Poole comments on the verse: “Mules; so most understand the word Jemim, 

which is no where else used, and give this sense of it, that he found out the way of the generation of mules by the copulation of a horse and a mare.”

Thomas Coke Commentary – “Found the mules, &c.— It is difficult to come at the true meaning of this piece of ancient history. The rabbins, whom our version follows, render the word in the original ימים iemim, MULES: the Vulgate renders it, aquas calidas, hot waters”


Joseph Benson’s

 Commentary – “It has been generally supposed, however, that our translators are right, and that, in keeping asses, he discovered the method of breeding MULES; probably by accident.”

John Gill

 comments: “The Vulgate Latin version renders it, “hot waters”; but then to the fixing of either of these versions, the word must be altered either in its points or letters, for which there is no authority. The Targum of Onkelos renders it mighty ones or GIANTS…and with this AGREES THE SAMARITAN VERSION, “he found giants, in the wilderness”; Aben Ezra observes that many interpret the word of PLANTS OR HERBS ; and Wagenseil is of opinion that the word used is the name of an useful herb or plant, first discovered by Anah.”

So, do you see how the game is played? I like to call this process Scholar Poker. “Well, my scholar can beat your scholar.” “No, he can’t. I’ll see your scholar and raise you two more.” “Ok, you’re on. I call.” – and they’re both bluffing.

Mr. Norris and his band of Bible correcting scholars can assert all they want about the meaning of the word, but they have merely chosen the one they like. There are many others who just as vehemently would disagree with them, both in the English and foreign language Bibles.