This article was published in Joy! Magazine
We have all heard the quote, ‘God helps those who help themselves.’ Some of us facetiously add the reference, Hezekiah 4:13, because anyone who thinks the quote is from the Bible will probably also not know that there is no book of Hezekiah in the Old Testament. But my theme for this article is not the spurious use of the Bible to authenticate a folk saying, but the misquoting of what is actually in the scriptures.
Many misquotes result from poor translations or a lack of understanding of the biblical languages. One example is the often quoted Psalm 121:1-2. The problem started with the King James Version translation, ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth’. This could give the impression that our help comes from the hills, or the god of the hills. However, this is not the intent of these verses. In Old Testament times the pagan priests erected shrines and altars on top of hill, and other high places, and the devotees worshipped their false gods there. The Living Bible captures the real intended idea when it translates the text as; ‘ Shall I look to the mountain gods for help? No! My help is from Jehovah who made the mountains! And the heavens too!’