And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
Joshua 24:2

Another one of the sillier criticisms that I’ve seen of the KJV concerns Joshua 24:2. It escapes my memory which alleged Bible-believing archaeologist came up with this piece of nonsense, but I’ve seen it stated that the KJV got it wrong here by translating flood instead of river. Now this is a common mistake made by the New Agers in the so-called Christian Identity movement, most of whom are a little slow on the uptake, but it is a surprising one coming from a supposedly educated archaeologist. Of course, most people know that flood does mean river in this context, and don’t need a dictionary to define it, but here it is for those who do require a definition.

The Oxford Dictionary has it defined thus: “2. A body of flowing water; a river, stream, usually a large river.” Its meaning goes back to Old English where flod meant flood, wave, current, stream or river.

As obvious as this seems, it is amazing how many times that I have had to argue this verse. Identity preachers use this verse to suggest that the flood was local and that there were survivors of the flood other than Noah and his family, even though the verse only refers to the Euphrates River. The word, by the way, is nahar, which does mean river in Hebrew, as well as in Arabic. The word for a deluge type flood is mabbul and there is absolutely no interchangeability between the two. I find this a little amusing since Identity preachers frequently abuse Strong’s Concordance in order to force absurd meanings into the Bible. An example is the way they abuse one of the meanings of the verb adam, which means to be or become red, or by extension to blush, when they suggest that blacks are not human because “they do not get red in the face” as Adam would have. They stay clear of Strong’s when it comes to the Joshua verse. The reason is that this is how they make their nonsensical claim that blacks were a separate subhuman creation that survived the flood. If they were to use their usually beloved Strong’s they would be made to look ridiculous — as if they needed Strong’s for that. Bubba the Identity preacher at least has a rationale for this wacky mistake. He wants to dehumanize people that he does not like. Some of the wilder old earth creationists might follow the same interpretation to promote their brand of evolution. They also must contort logic in order to support their preposterous unbiblical and unscientific theories. I’m not sure what the archaeologist’s rationale would be; I suppose he just has a desire to tear down God’s Holy Word. If they really believe this is a serious criticism, they need to throw away their Hebrew and Greek dictionaries and buy a good English one. They might start understanding the Bible if they did.

John Hinton, Ph.D.
Bible Restoration Ministry
A ministry seeking the translating and reprinting of KJV equivalent
Bibles in all the languages of the world.