Bible Question:

What is the correct meaning of Ezekiel 14:13? — Is KJV or the NKJV best?

Bible Answer:

Since there are a variety of Bible translations, some Bibles are less accurate. They cannot all be equal in accuracy since they are different. Therefore, we should always be concerned about which Bible is more accurate. For example, what is the correct meaning of Ezekiel 14:13?

Being Unfaithful To God Is Like Commtting Adultery

Being Unfaithful To God Is Like Commtting Adultery

Since the Hebrew text of Ezekiel 14:13 is the same for the KJV and the NKJV, the difference is due to translators’ choice. We will be reading the KJV and NKJV translations. God is speaking in this verse through the prophet Ezekiel. God said,

“Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it: ” Ezekiel 14:13 (KJV)

The NKJV states,

“Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it.”  Ezekiel 14:13 (NKV)

The italics are added to both verses to highlight the major difference in the translations.

There are only two Hebrew words that are translated by the KJV as “trespassing grievously” and by the NKJV as “persistent unfaithfulness”. The first Hebrew word is a verb and it means “to act unfaithfully, or “to act treacherously” and the second Hebrew word is the noun form of the verb and it means “unfaithful” or “treacherous.” Therefore, the correct translation of the two words or phrase is to “to act unfaithfully unfaithful,” or “to act treacherously treacherous.” This reveals that when God gave this message of warning to the prophet Ezekiel, He added great emphasis by repeating the words that essentially have the same meaning of “unfaithful” or “treacherous.” That is, the people living in Jerusalem were extremely unfaithful. They were unfaithfully unfaithful people. In addition, the Hebrew words reveal that being unfaithful toward God is a treacherous act. God considers unfaithfulness toward Him to be treacherous behavior.

The NKJV is more accurate than the KJV. For”to act unfaithfully unfaithful” means that the Israelites would be really unfaithful. They would be persistently unfaithful. The NASB translation provides a more accurate sense of the verse.

“Son of man, if a country sins against Me by committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it, destroy its supply of bread, send famine against it and cut off from it both man and beast.” Ezekiel 14:13 (NASB)

In the book of Ezekiel, the concept of unfaithfulness is emphasized. For the people in Jerusalem were violating their relationship with God by not obeying Him. Unfaithfulness is more than sinning. It implies a personal violation of the relationship by the one who does not respect God by disobeying Him. God considers our persistent and unrepentant sins a violation of the relationship. God considers such a person to be almost like an unfaithful spouse who commits adultery. God considers persistent and unrepentant disobedience an unfaithful act because Christ died for our sins to rescue us from eternal punishment. We then just violate the relationship when we persistently sin.

Ezekiel 18:9 paints the picture of a godly man or woman who is being faithful,

“If he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully — he is righteous and will surely live,” declares the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 18:9 (NASB)



So, the NKJV is more accurate than the KJV in Ezekiel 14:13. The NKJV Bible is the more accurate Bible when compared to the KJV. However, the NASB is the better translation.

Suggested Links:

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