In Rick Norris's book, The Unbound Scriptures, he plays the same game of Scholar Poker. He amasses his various scholars who all tell us the King James reading of "in their selfwill, they digged down a wall" is totally incorrect and the true reading should be "in their self-will they hamstrung an ox" as the NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, and most Catholic versions have it.
In Genesis chapter 49 Jacob is telling each of his sons something about what will befall them in the last days, and of their blessings or penalties. There we read what Jacob said concerning his two sons Simeon and Levi. "Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill THEY DIGGED DOWN A WALL."
Genesis 49:6 = "They digged down a wall" is the reading of the King James Bible 1611 - "in their selfwill THEY DIGGED DOWN A WALL." Wycliffe 1395 - "for in her woodnesse thei killiden a man, and in her wille thei myneden the wal", the Great Bible 1540, - "in their selfe wyll they, digged downe a wall." the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, Webster's Bible 1833, 1936 Jewish Publication Society translation, the Torah Transliteration Scripture 2008, the Douay-Rheims Bible 1609 - "Let not my soul go into their counsel, nor my glory be in their assembly: because in their fury they slew a man, and in their selfwill they undermined a wall." Douay 1950, Hebrew Names Bible, the 2000 Holy Scriptures Jubilee Bible, the 2009 Catholic Public Domain Version, the Knox Bible 'You' Version 2009 -"raging, they slew their enemy, recklessly they broke down a city wall.",the Sagradas Escrituras 1569, the Reina Valera 1602 - "y en su voluntad arrancaron muro.", the Reina Valera 1865 Angel de Mora - "y en su voluntad arrancaron muro." the 2004 Reina Valera Gómez Bible - "que en su furor mataron varón, y en su voluntad arrancaron muro." the Italian Diodati 1649 - "spianato il muro.", the Modern Greek Bible - "εν τω πεισματι αυτων κατηδαφισαν τειχος.", the KJV 21st Century 1994, Third Millenium Bible 1998 = KJB.
You can see this latest Catholic bible called the Catholic Public Domain Version of 2009 here -
In Mr. Norris' previous example of "hot springs" versus "mules" he summoned the Syriac Peshitta version to his side; however this time Lamsa's 1957 Ancient Eastern Manuscript Translation of the Syriac Peshitta reads the same as the KJB -”"in their rage they destroyed a town wall." Also agreeing with the Authorized Version's "digged down a wall" are the Arabic, the Targum of Jonathan, the Targum of Onkelos, the commentary by Hebrew scholar Ibn Ezra, the Vulgate, the Ebionites, Aquilla, and Symmachus!
Steven Schwenke, another King James Bible believer, comments on this verse saying: "Considering the FACT that the KJV translators were not only FLUENT in Greek, Hebrew, and many other related languages, which gave them a better understanding of the the "nuances" of the vocabulary, idioms, and figures of speech, It is no surprise to me that they would translate things in a way that modern "scholars" don't quite understand. Our modern scholars are not even fluent in Greek or Hebrew, let alone the related languages, which puts a very strong limitation on their abilities to grasp these concepts.
However the NKJV says "THEY HAMSTRUNG AN OX", the NIV "they hamstrung OXEN" and the NASB says "they LAMED AN OX." Likewise, several modern Catholic versions agree with the other Vatican Versions and the New Jerusalem bible of 1985 says "they have hamstrung oxen at their whim" and the St. Joseph NAB 1970 has: "they maimed oxen." Young's has "THEY ERADICATED A PRINCE"! So what is going on here?
From what I have read by some it all has to do with the pointed consonants introduced in the 6th century after Christ, and the points are not considered inspired. It is well know that an individual Hebrew word can multiple meanings. Only God can guide as to the true meaning of a text or word. We believe He has done this in the King James Bible.
John Calvin sides with the King James reading. He translates into Latin " et voluntate sua eradicaverunt murum". Then he comments: "Interpreters also differ respecting the meaning of the word (shor.) Some translate it "bullock," ... But a different exposition is far preferable, namely, that they "overturned a wall." For Jacob magnifies the atrociousness of their crime, from the fact, that they did not even spare buildings in their rage."
The King James Bible translators themselves were not unaware of the possible meanings of the Hebrew text. Some 47 of the greatest scholars ever assembled in one place were used of God to bring forth His masterpiece called the King James Holy Bible. In many instances individual differences of opinion existed of how to translate a passage. The KJB margin gives this note here: "digged down a wall, or, houghed oxen." They were well aware of this other reading, but God had them put into THE TEXT that which He intended them to put there. That is what we Bible believers maintain. The reading of "digged down a wall" makes more contextual sense than "houghed oxen" since Simeon and Levi "came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house." Genesis 34:27-29. Rather than maiming the oxen to make them of no use and of little value, they instead took them to themselves as their own wealth.
John Wesley notes: Genesis 49:6 They slew a man - Shechem himself, and many others; and to effect that, they digged down a wall, broke the houses to plunder them, and murder the inhabitants.
J.N. Darby also writes in his footnotes that some translators read this as “digged down a wall”.
To show the confusion among scholars, let’s look at what some others have said. Adam Clarke in his commentary on the whole Bible says: “They murdered a prince-Hamor, the father of Shechem. Instead of shor, which we have translated a wall, and others an ox, I read sar, a prince, which makes a consistent sense.”
Matthew Henry comments: “They slew a man, Shechem himself, and many others; and, to effect that, they digged down a wall, broke the houses, to plunder them, and murder the inhabitants.”
The reading of "hamstrung an ox or oxen", as found in the NKJV, is also contrary to the context. We are told in Genesis 34:27-29 that Simeon and Levi came upon the city of Hamor and Shechem his son and slew all the males; they spoiled the city and took their sheep, oxen and their asses and carried away all their wealth, their wives and children. They did in fact destroy the city but they did not kill or hamstring the oxen, but rather took them alive for themselves. Why would they damage what was now their own property?
The King James Bible is right, as always. Don’t let the Bible Correctors, who themselves do not believe that ANY Bible in ANY language is the complete, preserved, inspired and 100% true words of God, fool you into not believing The Book.