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I had never heard of this translation, tending KJV myself.

The idea that people wish to be compensated for spiritual effort is perfectly capitalist. I may need to take a look. But if the tone of the ESV resembles the NIV, the ESV may be lacking bass in the mix for my taste.

You just can't improve on Ecclesiastes in the KJV:

"Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?"


Please review 1 Corinthians 9, which contains the quotation jonstaab cited. Paul there asserts that it is reasonable to be compensated materially for spiritual effort— although Paul personally chose not to avail himself of that right.

For Ecclesiastes 7:13, the ESV reads: “Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked?” With the subjective exception of the word “for”, I would consider this an unqualified improvement on the KJV, inasmuch as it is modern English rather than what was already overly formal English 400 years ago.

For general use, I wouldn't knock on someone using the KJV. While there are a decent number of differences between the KJV and other, more modern translations (NASB, ESV, etc), the majority of them are inconsequential. However, there are a few that are of significance. The most famous of those is the Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7). More modern translations are a result of collation from far more ancient texts, including the Oxyrhynchus Papyri that were discovered well after the KJV was translated.

Ecclesiastes is powerful in any human language, and belongs to the whole world, every nation, tribe and tongue. It would be a mistake to make it the sole property and possession of the KJV:

"Siehe an die Werke Gottes; denn wer kann das schlicht machen, was er krümmt?"

"Aanmerk het werk Gods; want wie kan recht maken, dat Hij krom gemaakt heeft?"

"Regarde l'oeuvre de Dieu: qui pourra redresser ce qu'il a courbé?"

Honestly, in Dutch (the second quote you posted) that phrasing will leave few impressed with the text due to its extremely archaic formulation and the pompous capitalisation of that god's pronouns (which is kind of modern in a sense, but surely not quite what the authors intended).

A better translation that will be more readily understood by readers of Dutch born in the last 70 years reads:

„Bezie het werk van God: wie maakt recht wat hij krom heeft gemaakt?”

Thanks! I am second-generation Dutch living in South Africa. I speak Afrikaans, so that translation sounded fine to me. Your translation does sound much more flowing.

I hope my point still stands, that what's important ultimately in Ecclesiastes is not so much any superficial style or dialect, but the substance being conveyed.

Of course, Ecclesiastes is full of beautiful poetry, and I appreciate it on that level, but the book is my favorite because of the ideas and lessons being taught, which I think transcend language and culture.

Not my translation of course, this one is the NBV (Nieuwe Bijbelvertaling) from 2004.

The ESV was specifically translated as an alternative to the NIV.

My favorite of late has become the Geneva translation. All the good parts of the KJV were lifted directly from the Geneva, with some effort to modernize the language, so you should feel right at home once you get used to the language. (or maybe I just enjoy saying the KJV too modern for my tastes)

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