Psalm 147.19 in Brian Simmons’ ‘Passion Translation’: Israel displaced by the Christian church

The name יַעֲקֹב  (Yaʿăqōḇ, Jacob) occurs thirty-four times in the Psalms.  Each of these occurrences is translated as Ἰακώβ in the Septuagint. 1 Each is translated as Jacob in the Clementine Vulgate. Each is translated as Jacob in the King James Version, in the New American Standard Version, in the English Standard Version, and even in Eugene Patterson’s book ‘The Message’.

In Brian Simmons’ ‘translation’ of the Psalms, however, the name Jacob occurs just seventeen times, exactly half the number of occurrences in the original text. For example, in Psalm 147.19, which reads in the original (BHS):

מַגִּ֣יד דְּבָרֹו לְיַעֲקֹ֑ב חֻקָּ֥יו וּ֝מִשְׁפָּטָ֗יו לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

and in the NASB:

He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.

Brian Simmons has:

In the same way, he speaks to his people and to Israel, bringing them his life-giving words.

In the original, there is only one people in view, the people of Jacob, the people of Israel, to whom God speaks and gives His holy law. Simmons replaces ‘Jacob’ with ‘his people’, and distinguishes this people of God from Israel by inserting the conjunction ‘and’. He thus reverse engineers, so to say, the Christian church back into the Psalm, displacing Israel as God’s people. This is really outrageous and ought to be stopped, with Simmons’ book being removed from publication.



  1. Ἰακώβ occurs also in Psalm 97.3 (98.3) LXX, making a total of 35 occurrences in the Septuagint.

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Andrew Chapman

I live for Jesus. He is my life, my hope, my Saviour and Redeemer and Lord. Hallelujah! God has blessed me with a wonderful wife called Alison, and we serve the Lord together with gladness and joy. Pray for us that we may fulfill our calling and persevere to the end on the narrow path that leads to life.

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