What Does the Bible Mean by ‘Speak Leasing’?

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O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing?  Psalm 4:2

Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing…  Psalm 5:6

For us, “leasing” means renting. But in the King James Bible, in Psalms 4 and 5, “leasing” obviously must mean something bad. This odd use of an otherwise ordinary word actually derives from an Old English word meaning “lying” or deceit. It doesn’t mean God will be angry with you if you lease a car.

Living languages change over time. It’s been some 500 years since the scholars who produced the King James Bible opted to use an archaic term like “leasing.” It was archaic even that long ago. I don’t think we know why they did that.

I still prefer the King James over modern translations, even if that Bible’s age makes a few passages unclear to modern readers. I mean, heck, we’ve got computers, you can always look it up.And I’ve always found that worth the trouble.

And I like the beauty of the language.

8 comments on “What Does the Bible Mean by ‘Speak Leasing’?

  1. When I became a Christian 50 years ago, the first book I bought was a Bible. The second, a “Strong’s Concordance” with dictionaries of Hebrew and Greek words. I still use that concordance to look up the meanings of words in the Bible.

    1. That’s an excellent practice. Translations vary widely, when it comes to accuracy and there are definitely bibles out there which slant various passages to fit various agendas. By being able to refer to the original language, sometimes we can clarify matters. I’m not schooled in Hebrew or Greek, but I’ve seen examples given by truly learned scholars where the original language texts can shed significant light.

    2. I grew up in an environment where the King James Version didn’t get much respect. Over the years, I’ve learned to respect the King James and use it as a reference. I see value in using several translations, and comparing the wording. It can be quite illuminating.

  2. I use several translations, depending on my purpose, and I’ve always thought the King James is the most beautiful.

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