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What does it mean that the Lord most high is "terrible" in the KJV?


Psalms 47:1 - 9

KJV - 1 O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. 2 For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.

Clarify Share Report Asked October 15 2019 Mini Timothy Taylor

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The Hebrew word in this verse that is translated as "terrible" in the King James Version reflects an English usage or meaning of the word that was more common or understandable in the seventeenth century (when that version was published) than it is today. The type of "terror" (which is the root of the word) associated with the word at that time was a reverent fear of God, which is (even today) an appropriate response to a Being who is immeasurably greater and more powerful than any human. (Even Jesus told his followers to have this kind of fear of God in verses such as Luke 12:4-5.) 

Other, more modern translations of the same verse (as can be found at the website biblehub.com) express this Hebrew word through terms or expressions such as "awesome", or "to be held in reverence".

(The use of "terrible" in the translation of the verse has no association at all with other potential meanings of the word, such as "extremely bad", "appalling", or "atrocious".)

October 15 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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