I must admit that I always have mixed emotions when reading the bible prophecies about the end times. It is not that I do not understand what the prophets are saying, it is that I do. My hope in the completion of God’s glorious Day is tempered by the sadness and downright awfulness of Judgment. The last chapter of Isaiah is one such passage—judgment and hope mixed together. But I always got one word wrong in reading this chapter.

I gave up preaching from the King James Version (KJV) many years ago because of the outdated language. I still use the majestic language of the KJV at funerals and on some special occasions. I found myself spending too much time within Sunday sermons translating Elizabethan English into the American vernacular. I have an affinity for the New American Standard Version (NASV) but found that the New International Version (NIV) hit the right tone for my preaching. Clarity in our words helps us avoid confusing others with insider jargon or religious speech.

Once again while reading Isaiah 66, I came across the one odd word in the bible that I probably misread repeatedly. When I read it properly for the first time (in 2013!) I thought maybe it was a misprint in the text. That happened in “The Wicked Bible,” the 1631 King James Bible where the printers failed to include the word “not” in the seventh commandment, the one about adultery. Little words can make a big difference. 

This odd word is only found in Isaiah chapter 66:12. In an extended metaphor about a nursing mother and her child, the prophet tells of a future joyous time when “you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.” I am certain that I always read it as dangled. Turns out the word is translated from the Hebrew as dandled in all the standard bible translations. Check your favorite Bible. Dandled is past tense for “move up and down.” Some very recent paraphrases are beginning to use the more meaningful language, “bounced on her knees.”  Now I understand.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Words matter. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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