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Adulterer’s Bible

The King James “Adulterer Bible” or “Wicked Bible” omits one crucial word from the Seventh Commandment. It is printed, “Thou shalt commit adultery,” Definitely not the message on the stone tablets Moses brought down from Mount Sinai.

The printing error in Exodus 20:14 was discovered a full year after the King James Bible was published in 1631 in London. An angry King Charles I ordered every copy of the Adulterer Bible to be gathered and burned. But not all the Adulterer Bibles went up in flames, at least 11 copies somehow survived, and one of them went is on display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC.

The Adulterer Bible contains another error in Deuteronomy 5:24, which was intended to proclaim the “greatnesse” of God. Instead, the Adulterer Bible replaces the word “greatnesse” with a word Christians may find difficult to utter: “great-asse.”

The two blasphemous mistakes in the same Bible have led some scholars to conclude they were an act of sabotage. Some scholars suspect Bonham Norton, a rival of Barker, may have injected the errors to get Barker in trouble and take over his printing job. In order to print the Bible, you had to have a license from the king, Barker had the license. Other printers wanted the license and if they got Barker in trouble, they possibly could get the license for themselves.

The Adulterer Bible was published under the oversight of royal printer Robert Barker. He was punished severely for the mistakes, fined 300 pounds and his printing licenses revoked. Barker ended up dying in debtors’ prison.

History records some other grand biblical blasphemies, including a 1653 printing in First Corinthians 6:9, that transforms the passage to read: ” ‘Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God?’ ”

The “Breeches Bible,” a 1560 Geneva Bible that says in Genesis 3:7, “Adam and Eve put on ‘breeches instead of aprons.’ ”

The “Bug Bible,” also known as the 1535 Coverdale, which says in Psalms 91:5: “So yet thou shalt not need to be afraid for any bugs by night.”

The so-called “Murderer’s Bible,” which refers to three different Bibles, including a King James version from 1795 that contains a typo in Mark 7:27 that says: “Let the children be killed,” instead of “filled.”

The “Printers’ Bible,” a 1702 edition of the King James, contains an error in Psalm 119:161. Instead of saying “princes have persecuted me without a cause,’ David complains, ‘printers have persecuted me without a cause.’ ”

In a 1549 printing of the “Matthew’s Bible,” according Price and Ryrie, “a note on 1 Peter 3 offers husbands some terrible advice: ‘And if she be not obedient and helpful unto him [he] endeavoreth to beat the fear of God into her.” That version is called the “Wife Beater’s Bible.”

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