Psalm 12 - AV1611 historical references

Steven Avery

Michael Ayguan commentary verse refs & context

Hi Folks,

Thou shalt keep them, O Lord : thou shalt preserve him from this generation for ever.

Now we review the commentary with the verse references in the margin added.


Keep them: that is, not as the passage is generally taken, Keep or guard Thy people, but

Thou shalt keep, or make good, Thy words: and by so doing,
shalt preserve him--him, the needy, him, the poor--from this generation.

Thou shalt keep Thy word,
-- "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall nourish thee;"

Psalm 55:22 (#23 in text)
Cast thy burden upon the LORD,
and he shall sustain thee:
he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Thy word,
"I will inform thee, and teach thee in the way wherein thou shalt go"

Psalm 32:8 (#9 in text)
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go:
I will guide thee with mine eye.

Thy word,
"Fear not, little flock ; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom;"

Luke 12:32
Fear not, little flock;
for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

and so, preserving him from this generation, shalt hereafter give him a portion with that happier generation, the general assembly of the First-born which are written in heaven. .

Hebrews 12:23
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn,
which are written in heaven,
and to God the Judge of all,
and to the spirits of just men made perfect


The sharp reader will notice that this is the commentary of Michael Ayguan (Ay. in margin). This commentary is referenced in:
The Translational And Exegetical Rendering Of Psalm 12:7 Primarily Considered In The Churchly Tradition Of The 16Th And 17Th Centuries And Its Expression In The Reformation English Bibles: THEE GENIUS OF AMBIGUITY, By Peter Van Kleeck

This essay will show the diversity of the textual and exegetical tradition of Psalm 12:6-7 ... By so doing, the inadequacy of modern renditions of Psalm 12:7 will be exposed...

"Michael Ayguan (1340-1416) ... On Psalm 12:7 Ayguan comments, Keep them: that is, not as the passage is generally taken, Keep or guard Thy people, but Thou shalt keep, or make good, Thy words: and by doing so, shalt preserve him--him, the needy, him, the poor--from this generation..."

Reasonable enough. Not sure if Peter Van Kleeck says much more from the David Cloud extract. Now we know the Ayguan reference in more fulness. Michael Ayguan shows us that the inferior understanding "keep or guard thy people" was general in his time. However this would be no surprise at all in 1400, when the OT Latin text was often the center of Christian attention (in fact, it is rather surprising that Michael Ayguan saw what he did nonetheless.. did he read both the Hebrew and Latin ? were there variants in the Latin ? All this I am not sure .. my conjecture will be for now that he worked with the Hebrew text as primary, Latin as secondary. This may be discoverable within Neale and Littledale.)

All this changed when the Reformation in the 1500s moved to the direct translation from the Hebrew Bible, until then most non-Jewish commentators were actually working with "us and us", thus "people" or "poor and needy". Until the 1500s the bulk of "words" understanding was Jewish commentators, Ibn Ezra fullly and Rashi partially, and a Psalms midrash to research. The times were changing in the 1500s, where we go to Luther and Calvin and the Geneva Bible as primary sources, along with John Rogers and Becke, Coverdale and Matthew. Maybe we should summarize all those pre-KJB Reformation evidences in one post, including Ainsworth around 1610, although to a large extent that is exactly what is done in David Cloud quoting Peter Van Kleeck. So we are ok on that for now.

We also know that Michael Ayguan wrote a very strong commentary that views Psalm 12:7a, but not Psalm 12:7b as applying to the words of God ("split interpretation").

No huge revelations in these three posts, yet some fascinating history, blanks filled in, dots connected. Next we will watch the scholarly reaction of Doug Kutilek.

Get your dunce-caps ready.

And remember Doug Kutilek is the 'premier' anti-Psalm-12-preservation writer, the only one we know that actually wrote a full paper to try to deny the connection, the one that is quoted by others. We already saw he pulled a real slick deception on Rashi, next Doug Kutilek on .. the above.


Steven Avery

Doug Kutilek - an observation of some merit

Hi Folks,

In looking at the quotes above, Doug Kutilek makes an observation of some merit, one that deserves careful consideration. He says that to:

sunder apart the synonymously parallel clauses of verse 7a, applying the “you will keep them” to the words and “you will preserve him” to the believer, shows a lack of understanding of the basic feature of Hebrew poetry -- parallelism of thought. Hebrew poetic structure demands that both clauses “you will keep them” and “you will preserve him” be applied to the same object.

Well, "demands" is a very strong word in poetry and grammar, one which some may find objectionable. However in English as well we can see the basic point, you don't even have to have an MHP (Masters in Hebraic Poetry). Any split interpretation has to jump over real difficulties. It simply does not make much sense, it is not very comfortable, to have the two phrases applying to differing objects.

(Sidenote: Doug Kutilek morphs "poor and needy" to "believer" as a political tool. To speak too truthfully about the Psalm does not suit his purposes.)

Now .. looking at the verses in the simple and clear read.

Psalm 12:6-7
The words of the LORD are pure words:
as silver tried in a furnace of earth,
purified seven times.
Thou shalt keep them, O LORD,
thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Yet, let us reason together .. doesn't this cut in two directions ?
Anyone can see that Psalm 12:7a has a very natural sense as "words".

And there is less of a grammar objection (the plural agrees, thus only the relatively minor gender discordence, easily understood by the 'priority of the masculine', with the similar verse example in Psalm 119 involving the words of God) the word flow is far more direct to "keep them" than to the "preserve him" clause (proximity PLUS sentence flow -- something that Thomas Strouse possibly could emphasize, proximity is only one of 4 complimentary aspects -- proximity, sentence flow, consistency, context). And the manuscript evidence more certain. And the second pronoun is subordinate, the first primary.

Remember that Rashi applied this first clause to preserving Torah, not people, a point that Kutilek craftily hid.

Thus by the reasoning of Doug Kutilek, the split commentators, like Rashi, when they start with "words" in Psalm 12:7a, should really be consistent and strongly lean to "words" in Psalm 12:7b !

This is a sound point from Doug Kutilek, even if he did not realize he was making it. Split interpretations (12:7a words, 12:7b people) should tend strongly to be "words" interpretations, barring (non-existent) compelling reasons to resist this, or to make the second, auxiliary pronoun primary. In fact there is a compelling contextual reason to be added to making the full interpretation "words" from considering the "split" position -- the "for ever" clause in 12:7b (the one hid by NETBible) applies very beautifully to words (remember 1 Peter and many other verses) and very awkwardly, if at all, to the poor and needy.

1 Peter 1:23-25
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,
by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass
The word of the Lord endureth for ever

So Doug Kutilek has, after you unravel his own deceit (or slipperiness if you want to use the more cordial and forgiving word) on Rashi and think about his sensible (while slightly overstated) assertion above, given us strong support for the full "preservation of the words of God" interpretation.

Thanks, Doug.

However, wait. There is also another little issue of the Doug Kutilek competence and integrity and fairness and objectivity in research and writing, coming forth in this very section we are studying. Has it been picked up by any of our readers ? Granted, you may have to track down his little paper to see the problem. And remember, from the last post, keep the dunce-caps ready.


Steven Avery

Steven Avery

Symon Patrick - Doug Kutilek - dunce-cap #1

Hi Folks,

We know that a numbers game of commentators means little. Often they simply write as lemmings (see "strain at a gnat" if you have any doubt about the capabilities of lemming-gnats).

However, if you are going to be reviewing the commentators you should at least do it fairly and accurately. You should try to read the commentators and learn from them, enjoy and appreciate. learn and study. We saw above that perhaps the single most critical commentator, Rashi, was severely misrepresented by Doug Kutilek.

(Also other significant later Hebraic commentators and versions supporting "words" were simply omitted, although that might be more Doug Kutilek unfamiliarity with the material.)

Now we will be considering another situation, while challenging our readers with "how many things are wrong with this picture" re: Doug Kutilek on the Michael Ayguan discussion above.

While we await, let us look at how easy it is for Doug Kutilek to misrepresent and blunder.
Why Psalm 12:6,7 is Not a Promise of the Infallible Preservation of Scripture

"the promise of preservation applies to the persecuted people of God...
Among 19th century authors who concur are Adam Clarke, Symon Patrick..."

Wait a minute. Hmmm.

Symon Patrick in the 19th century ? Symon Patrick is in the 17th century, and quite a fine writer (and a strong supporter of the 'heavenly witnesses' verses).
Simon Patrick (1626 – 1707) was an English theologian and bishop.

Here is a writing sample. Notice that 1 John 5:7-8 starts the book, and is the theme of the whole work !
The witnesses to Christianity, or, The certainty of our faith and hope : in a discourse (1675)

Now that is pretty bad, two centuries off, however Doug Kutilek also misrepresents Symon Patrick on the Psalms verses at the same time !
A Commentary Upon the Old and New Testaments, with the Apocrypha - Symon Patrick

Ver. 6. The words of the LORD sre pure words ; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

For the promises of God are not deceitful like yours, but sincere, and void of all guile: the purest silver, refined to the greatest perfection, is not more free from dross, than they are from all mixture of falsehood.

Ver. 7. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shall preserve them from this generation for ever.

I am confident, O Lord, thou wilt perform them, and not suffer thy words to fail. Thou wilt ever preserve him that,confides in thee, from this perverse generation, how oft soever they renew their attempts against him.

Notice that Symon Patrick is giving a similar type of split interpretation as we just saw from Michael Ayguan.

For Patrick
Keep them == perform them (words)
Perserve them = protect them - from this generation.

"For ever" is given the very awkward sense of "how oft soever" straining the language, much like the NETBible "continually". There really is only a type of current protection, not true preservation for ever.

And using the Doug Kutilek theory of single interpretation, properly applied, the correction to Symon Patrick should be to preserving words.

However, to be fair, Symon Patrick really missed the concept of "preservation" altogether, even though it is totally clear in the verse !

Nonethess despite the split interpretation, despite the lack of preservation, Kutilek, after the strange blunder of missing two centuries (remember this paper could have been changed and updated over the years, Kutilek may still not know !) Doug Kutilkek also misrepresents the position of Symon Patrick ! Yoiks. Double-blunder.

Kutilek researched these commentaries in a very shoddy one-dimensional manner. (Something we often find from those without the pure Bible.) It is very hard to get Symon Patrick's date wrong ! You have to simply grab the date of an 1800s edition of his writing. You have to be totally uninterested in the man, his depth and insight. You must be a technocrat without deep heart and soul when "studying" the Bible. And you also have to be a bit slow, and miss the fact that his name in that spelling (Symon .. he is referred to both ways) is earlier English ! Very strange.

Then on top of that Doug Kutilek reads with superficial one-dimensional glasses, to misrepresent what Symon Partick actually says. You have to read for agenda, not insight.

Kutilek's deception on Rashi looked deliberate, not dunce-cap capable. However here we have a large dunce-cap for placing a man with a Puritan heritage, living around 1650 and writing some very sweet books, in the 1800s. Plus on top of the dunce-cap, we add the misrepresentation of the Symon Patrick position. And we learn a bit more about Doug Kutilek.

Steven Avery


Steven Avery

Samuel Horsley - "Keep them," that is, keep thy words, thy promises

Hi Folks,

Ok, I grant that looking at the errors of Doug Kutilek can be a smidgen tedious, so we will break for a couple of small tidbits.

Samuel Horsley was quite a respected Christian writer, well known for his controversies with the scientist Joseph Priestley. Priestley was actually an ebionite, denying the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Samuel Horsley (1733–1806) was an English divine.

Horsley commented with a clear "split interpretation" translation and commentary of Psalm 12.
The Book of Psalms - Samuel Horsley,

The words of Jehovah are pure words,
Silver assayed in a crucible of earthy Gold purified seven times.
Thou wilt keep them, O Jehovah ;
Thou shalt preserve us for ever from this generation.

"Pure words," free of all untruth deceit or insincerity.
"Keep them," that is, keep thy words, thy promises; .

Notice that Horsely has no doubt at all about the first phrase, it means to keep thy words. This is such a smooth reading that in a certain sense anything else is very, very strained. Many, many translators and interpreters, Jewish and Christian alike, show this. As long as they do not have to deal with the Greek OT "us" corruptions in Psalm 12:7a.

The second phrase Horsley makes no comment, yet since he is using the deficient "us" translation the implication is preservation of people. Yet if he had the correct translation, "them", it is very likely that Samuel Horsley would have been consistent, with preservation of God's words for ever.

What is very clear is that Kutilek's Theorem applies here. Since Samuel Horsley saw the very clear and accurate application of Psalm 12:7a to words, without a smidgen of doubt or translation alternative, and since the common sense understanding is that all of verse 12 has the same object, the best adjustment is to have all of verse 12 apply to "words".


Steven Avery

Hi Folks,
Here is a very similar split understanding to that of Samuel Horsley right above, quite recent. And thus the same application of Kutilek's Theorem can apply.
Quite interesting is that this is in an ... NIV Commentary (!) series.
(The NIV has the decrepit "" translation.)
Sometimes the meaning of the verses is so clear that all the obfuscation and mistranslation attempts flounder. The commentator has a heart for the word of God and does not allow himself to be totally misled. He still understands the preservation of the words of God in Psalm 12.
Psalms - The College Press NIV Commentary Vol 1. - S. Edward Tesh, Walter D. Zorn (1999)
God's word endures. It was so in David's time, and for 3000 years it has continued to be so, having withstood every assault made against it. That Word has met successfully the test of time.
While not a direct verse-by-verse reference, clearly such an interpretation of the chapter is applying at least part of verse 7 to the words of God.
(Ironically elsewhere in the Psalm, verse 5, these commentators went off into a flight of Ugaritic emendation fantasy to try to shore up a NIV mistranslation.)
Steven Avery

Steven Avery

George Campbell Morgan - His words - Jehovah will "keep them" and "preserve them."

Hi Folks,

Next, a discussion of one a solid commentator on Psalm 12.
G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945) "A gifted Preacher and Teacher"
George Campbell Morgan: A Man of the Word By John Bishop

The question often arises where did the revival of the full and complete "words" view arise in the 20th century. The various opponents often try to paint this as an oddball King James Bible interpretation. Or they try to place it as a quirk of Benjamin Wilkinson around 1930 who as a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) can be a 'genetic fallacy' target. (Note, the SDA establishment generally rejected Wikinson's sound defense of the King James Bible.) For this they have to ignore the historical evidence through the Reformatin and the rabbinics.

In 1906 George Campbell Morgan had given a clear and straightforward commentary with the true interpretation. Even while he himself struggled with the inferior modern versions like the ASV ! Thus this was not coming forth from a King James Bible defender, just a believer who read the Psalm properly.
Record of Christian Work (1906)

Jehovah's Rule In The Midst Of Ungodliness.

Out of a consciousness of the terrible evil of his times the worshiper cries to Jehovah for help. The failure of godly men and faithful souls is always the gravest peril which can threaten a nation or an age. There is no trouble which more heavily afflicts the heart of the trusting. The note here is more characterized by faith than that of Psalm x. There, is a cry for help, but no suggestion that God is indifferent. Indeed there is an immediate affirmation of confidence in the interest and interference of God. It is very beautiful to notice how in answer to the cry and the affirmation of confidence, Jehovah speaks, so that the singer hears Him, and is able to announce His declaration in response ere the song ceases. This answer of Jehovah is most precious. It promises the preservation .of .the trusting. The psalmist breaks out into praise of the purity of His words, and declares that Jehovah will "keep them" and "preserve them." The "them" here refers to the words. There is no promise made of widespread revival or renewal. It is the salvation of a remnant and the preservation of His own words which Jehovah promises. Thus the psalm ends with a description of the same condition which it at first describes. It is the cry of a godly soul amid prevailing ungodliness, for help; and it is answered.

Usually this is attributed to the posthumous : (Notes on the Psalm, Revell Comp. (1947) p.32).
As in the Thomas Holland article where he properly references G. Campbell Morgan.

Doug Kutilek simply says:
"Later supporters of the “words” position include ... G. C. Morgan (1947)"
Before launching his strange, imbalanced attack on all such interpreters.

Now we have a bit more context, some background on George Campbell Morgan and the earlier date !

Steven Avery

Steven Avery

Psalm 12 - 1983 Kutilek article, Lackey, Moorman responses

Hi Folks,

The Doug Kutilek article goes back to 1983 (The Biblical Evangelist, 17:21, October 14, 1983) so he has had over 20 years to find the simple errors we are pointing out on this thread ! (Yes, there are more.)


Originally Posted by Man

For a review of Kutilek's article, see
This blog.
Hi Man,

That is one of the direct responses to the Doug Kutilek article. Another is given by David Cloud, relating his correspondence to Bruce Lackey (1930-1988) in 1984. David Cloud moves around his URLs, so here it is in
Fundamentalists Following Textual Critics in Denying/Questioning Biblical Preservation

This next Jack Moorman paper was also largely in response to the Doug Kutilek article denying preservation in Psalm 12.
Psalm 12:6-7 and Bible Preservation
by Jack Moorman - Foundation Magazine - March-April 1994

And Kent Brandenburg works directly with a few of the Kutilek claims, at least in some forums and blogs, perhaps in the book. Two examples.
Exegesis and Admitting Error - Sharper Iron Forum
The Promise Argument - Fred Butler Blog (opponent of Preservation in Psalm 12)

All of these responses to Doug Kutilek make good, solid points. Some could be more assertive for the best "words" interpretation and there are some weaknesses as well in the above.

Hopefully, as the thread moves along, we will be able to coalesce the best of the best, plus more, in a summary of the articles. Even specifically looking at least at :

Doug Kutilek article
Jack Moorman article
Bruce Lackey comments
blog comments above

For the opposition Kutilek at least does not make the tawdry blunder of attacking the King James Bible translation. Kutilek only opposes our interpretation. Some use the deficient translation to make their points (James White and Mark Phillip Purchase of New Zealand).

And while there are other "Psalm 12 preservation of the words of God" opponents to note and comment upon (e.g. James Price, W. Edward Glenny, Lim Seng Hoo) most of the issues can be reached through the articles above.


Steven Avery

Francis Bacon - split poetic interpretation

Hi Folks,

Psalm 12:6-7
The words of the LORD are pure words:
as silver tried in a furnace of earth,
purified seven times.
Thou shalt keep them, O LORD,
thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

While we keep some other items on the warm burner, tonight we have a very unusual "split interpretation". Remember, by Kutilek's Theorem Enhanced we understand that any writer who sees Psalm 12:7a as clearly referring to the words and promises of God (the obvious and clear and simple flow of the verses) becomes a strong support for 'words' for the whole verse. Clearly the beginning of verse seven 'drives' the verse, not the reverse. (Granted, this is not easy to 'prove' and there are a number of factors, yet it is common sense plus .. with one of the pluses being 'for ever', matching Bible teaching well.) Looking at the Hebrew it is similarly hard to see, as with the English of our Holy Bible, how split interpretations can easily arise. Although dual interpretations can fit a bit more easily, driven by the first phrase and the verse flow.

Tonight we go right back to the early days of the King James Bible, into merry England, and we read ... Francis Bacon ! (We will bypass theories that he was William Shakespeare, or he wrote the King James Bible).
The Poet's Book of Psalms - Laurence Wieder (1999)

Francis Bacon Lord Verulam, (1561-1626) son of Queen Elizabeth's Lord Keeper, rose to be Lord Chancellor (1618) ... Bacon dedicated A Translation of Certain Psalms into English Verse, which he wrote during a sickness in 1624, to George Herbert. Sir John Davies (1569-1626) ...

And here is the Psalm section, whole Psalm in the book.
The Twelfth Psalm

And sure the word of God is pure and fine,
....And in the trial never loseth weight;
Like noble gold, which, since it left the mine,
....Hath seven times passed through the fiery straight.

And now thou wilt not first thy word forsake,
... Nor yet the righteous man that leans thereto;

While very much a paraphrase, we see in the early 1600s that "keep them, O LORD" was seen as referencing the words and promises of God.


Steven Avery

Thomas Francis Cheyne - jigsaw puzzle textual adjustment

Hi Folks,

The Reformation high view of the words of God changed in the 1800s, when the criticisms came forth, strongly influenced by the German scholarship, which became the cutting edge of a dull knife.

And only in the last decades has there been a revival of understanding of Psalm 12 more fully for the words of God. (Early strong exceptions being George Campbell Morgan in 1906 and Benjamin Wilkinson around 1930.)

In the late 1800s Thomas Francis Cheyne :
Thomas Kelly Cheyne - Wikipedia (1841-1915)

English divine and Biblical critic ... Oxford University ... studied German theological methods at Göttingen... joint editor of the Encyclopaedia Biblica (London, 1899–1903), a work embodying the more advanced conclusions of English biblical criticism. In the introduction to his Origin of the Psalter (London, 1891) he gave an account of his development as a critical scholar. His publications include translations, commentaries, and supplemental research ... became a member of the Bahá'í Faith by 1914.

was one of the big names in techie textual circles. And even wrote an interesting letter about some of the other attempted retranslations (tamperings - e.g. changing "a furnace of earth") with our verses in the Expository Times in 1897. Issues which we have not made our focus in this thread, yet are quite fascinating as an adjunct learning course !

However when it came to his own version of Psalm 12 Cheyne is an excellent example of the awkwardness of the modern translations/interps. In order to deal with the problem of the 'generation for ever' not fitting smoothly (with his interp) Cheyne even went so far as to move verses around to 'smooth' the difficulties !
The Book of Psalms - Thomas Kelly Cheyne (1884)

The words of Jehovah are pure words,
silver smelted, seven times refined.
All around, the ungodly walk to and fro,
Thou, Jehovah, shalt keep us,
and shalt guard us from this generation for ever.

Ver. 8 is placed before ver. 7, because " this generation " points back to "the ungodly. (p.219)

Error begets error.



Steven Avery

Albert Leverett Gridley

Hi Folks,

We should be well aware that those who see Psalm 12 as referring to the preservation of the words of God are often those who believe in and defend the tangible, pure word of God. No surprise there.
And not surprisingly, those who believe the Bible today is corrupt and unreliable, faulty and errant, are very unlikely to see Psalm 12 declaring the preservation of what they do not believe.

Albert Leverett Gridley was an early defender of the word of God against the errors of evolution, science so-called. And against the criticisms, especially the higher criticisms that ran rampant in his day. Such ideas, like two or three Isaiahs, virtually ruled the scholastic establishment. Daniel and Psalms and other books as very late writings, even post-Malachi or in the Maccabean period. Evolution as a supposed science was influencing many. Albert Gridley was a defender against many of these deceptions.

Even today, often the same 'scholars' who foisted the decrepit criticism arguments are the origin or primary sources for the anti-pure-KJB attacks that we see. They will be quoted approvingly by evangelicals for their technical interpretations, often convoluted, confused and contradictory. Without concern for their overall unbelief about the word of God.

As a defender of the Bible the simple and true understanding of Psalm 12 came to Albert Gridley very naturally.
The First Chapter of Genesis as the Rock Foundation for Science and Religion
By Albert Leverett Gridley (1913)

The voice of God comes to us in remembering or reading the written word of God, the Bible. An incident to illustrate the latter.

On one occasion I had been reading Dr. Behrends' book, "The Old Testament Under Fire." I was myself a little disturbed in mind as to the outcome of recent criticism and was about to retire for the night. I had gone about half way up stairs when a strong inward impulse came, "Go back and read a passage of scripture." I was about to disregard it and go on, but it came again,

"Go back and read a passage of scripture." I returned asking myself what message there was for me. Opening my Bible at random my eyes fell upon the twelfth Psalm. I read the first few verses and thought that there was nothing in particular there, but in the 6th and 7th verses I read, "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, 0 Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever."

There was my message. The words were a revelation and an assurance. Why, I thought, it was no new thing, even in David's time for the word of God to be under fire, to be tried as in a furnace of earth. And, by the way, there may be a good deal of the earthly element now in the trying of the word of God.

But the assurance that sustained the Psalmist is encouraging still. "Thou shalt keep them, 0 Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever."

These are a few instances of a great many in which the printed word has been not only a guide but a source of encouragement, of hope and instruction. The word of God in its simplicity, as it reads, is an authority for instruction. It is more, it is life giving. I am assured by my own experience that it is not dogmatism to say that the Bible is God's word. And my experience is not unique. It is the testimony of the experience of multitudes in all ages and climes. The Bible not only contains God's word, mixed up with a mass of verbiage of human authority, leaving to each reader the responsibility of picking out God's part, but as a whole it is God's message to men.

We can see how even Albert Gridley's view was watered down under the onslaught of the day. (This was also true of some of the strong textual defenders.) Nonetheless, Gridley fought well, and the clearest and simplest and true understanding of Psalm 12 came to him very naturally, seeking the wisdom of God. And Albert Gridley adds some interesting thoughts for our consideration.

Steven Avery

Steven Avery

plethora of Kutilek errata

Hi Folks,

The debate on the preservation of God's words in Psalm 12 became sharper in modern times with the Doug Kutilek article (1983) mentioned upthread which aggressively attacked the "preservation of words of God" position.

We saw above that Kutilek was very deceptive on the significant interpretation of Rashi (post #119). And he misrepresented Patrick Symon and apparently had no idea who Symon actually was, missing his life and writings by two centuries ! (#142). And we briefly discussed the history of the discussions back and forth (#147) between Kutilek, Moorman, Lackey and others. Shortly we hope to place a "Top Resources - both sides" list in one post, with short reviews, showing the modern history of the debate.

Returning to the Doug Kutilek article, there are a total of about 10 factual errors in his own hand-picked resource list. Rather an astounding number for a short, published Journal article. Granted, most are minor, yet at least three are major. Generally the dates and names are garbled. Even 20+ years after first publication. This does not say much for the heart of Doug Kutilek towards actually trying to understand these commentaries and seek the depth of the writings and lives of these men. Nor for his AQ (Accuracy Quotient). These errors are on top of the usually abbreviated references. (Often lacking publication name, page numbers, etc.)



(in addition to Rashi misrepresentation and Symon misrepresentation and wrong century)


"George Horne" - dates were 1730 -1792 - not 19th century
"(Alexander) Maclaren" - Psalm publication is 19th century, not 20th
"(Thomas Kelley) Cheyne" - Psalm publication is 19th century, not 20th


"Joseph Excell in Biblical Illustrator"...Joseph Samuel Exell
"Arno Gabelein"................................Arno Clemens Gaebelein - Annotated Bible
"W. O. E. Oesterly" ..........................William Oscar Emil Oesterley
"W. Randolf Thompson" ............................. W. Ralph Thompson


"George Murphy" (?)
James Gracey Murphy - A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Psalm (1875) - if this is meant, the name is very wrong, if there is a George Murphy, who is it ?



"W. E. Barnes" - William Emery Barnes

"C. B. Moll in Lange’s" - this is only a quote from Perowne without comment.
A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures - Johann Peter Lange

Cohen is likely Abraham Cohen, the Soncino Press edition of Psalms.

It is a bit surprising that Mitchell Dahood is included, considering that he is the originator of many absurd cognate theories.

G. C. Morgan (1947) .. we showed above this is actually earlier (1906)

Two others, "F. B Meyer" and "J. M. Neale and F. R. Littledale" will receive individual study.


The Doug Kutilek list is far from complete (upthread I mention many commentaries and translations that he neglected) however it was generally a decent referencing .. other than 3 huge problems (Rashi and Symon above are two) and the bumbling on the most basic facts. It is definitely true that the majority of the interpreters work with "poor and needy" or some "persons" interp, at least for Psalm 12:7b, less so for Psalm 12:7a.

It is also true that "Counting scholarly noses does not constitute proof". (Kutilek). I would take that one step further. Counting noses, on any widely split interpretation, by itself is barely a minor evidence.

Remember, this list was chosen by Doug Kutilek, so you would think he would get the names and dates right ! (Doug Kutilek is notorious for harumphing at others on small issues, assuming his own projections.) Most, not all, of these above are qualitatively small errors. We show all these errors to help the scholarship along. And they indicate that Kutilek's apparent familiarity with these sources is a chimera, he simply tried to quickly extract from them for a one-dimensional and oft-distorted presentation. And his level of academic expertise and accuracy in submitting this to a journal and then to the public with a plethora of errors was grossly deficient.

We can see this example where Doug Kutillek, who does not see God's word today as pure and perfect, not surprisingly had a low standard for his own words.

Psalm 119:140
Thy word is very pure:
therefore thy servant loveth it.

Steven Avery

Steven Avery

Frederick Brotherton Meyer

Hi Folks,

One of the more interesting commentators mentioned is "F. B Meyer". This is a commentator who was not simply a technocrat, he looked at the Bible and the Psalms with a devotional heart.
Frederick Brotherton Meyer

Meyer wrote many books on Psalm topics, most of which would take some effort to track down, so we do not know yet what he says that may place him on the "people" side of the table.

"The Christian" Bible readings: the Psalms (1891)
David : shepherd, psalmist, king - (1910)
Psalms, notes and readings - (1912)
Through the Bible Day by Day: (1918)

"Bible Commentary"
Published in 1984 by Tyndale House, and it is unclear what was the original source.

So it would be helpful to see what he wrote on the interpretation.

What is clear is that Meyer had a true heart for the basic theme of the Psalm, even in the time of the confusion caused by the decrepit Revision.
Our Daily Homily by F B Meyer (1847-1929)

"A Homily," says an authority, "is distinct from mere exegesis or exposition; because the latter is addressed to the understanding, while the Homily is meant to affect the heart also, and to persuade those who hear to apply the lessons of Scripture for the reformation of their lives."

Our Daily Homily - 5 vols were first completed / published between 1898-1899.
Our Daily Homily, Psalms by F.B. Meyer

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth - Psalm 12:6

What a contrast is presented in this Psalm between God's words and man's! "They speak vanity, with flattering lip and double heart." God never flatters; his words are absolutely pure because they have passed through the furnace of his holiness, but they are therefore absolutely reliable and trustworthy.

As silver enriches its owner, so does the Word of God enrich its lovers. Nothing so strengthens the intellect, clears the judgment, enlarges the views, purifies the taste, quickens the imagination, and educates the whole man. The humblest daylabourer who imbibes the Bible becomes rich in thought and speech, and able to dispense his riches to others.

As silver is beautiful to the eye, so fair is the Word of God. After a boy born blind had been suddenly possessed of sight through an operation by a skilful oculist, his mother led him out-of-doors, took off the bandages, and gave him his first view of sunshine, sky, and flowers. "Oh, mother," he cried, "why did you never tell me it was so beautiful?" With starting tears, she said, ""I tried to tell you, my dear, but you could not understand me." We need opened eyes, and then the Bible is more to be desired than fine gold.

As silver is pure, so is the Word of God; and it purifies. It has been the main purifying agent of the world. Though it deals with the corruptions of the human heart, it does so in such a delicate and holy manner as to excite within us something of the abhorrence of the Holy God. Like the passage of water through a sieve, it cleanses the heart and life.

Steven Avery

Steven Avery

Neale/Littledale -- Michael Ayguan -- Kutilek blunderama

Hi Folks,

The remaining blunderama scholarship reference from Doug Kutilek is a bit of a doozy.
Let us go to his article:
Why Psalm 12:6,7 is Not A Promise of the Infallible Preservation of Scripture
- Doug Kutilek

J. M. Neale and F. R. Littledale are the most emphatic in insisting on this position: “Keep them: that is, not as the passage is generally taken, keep or guard Thy people, but thou shalt keep, or make good, Thy words: and by so doing, shalt preserve him -- him, the needy, him, the poor -- Thou shalt keep thy work” (p. 181).

Much bold assertion, but not evidence! That Neale and Littledale sunder apart the synonymously parallel clauses of verse 7a, applying the “you will keep them” to the words and “you will preserve him” to the believer, shows a lack of understanding of the basic feature of Hebrew poetry -- parallelism of thought. Hebrew poetic structure demands that both clauses “you will keep them” and “you will preserve him” be applied to the same object. Note also that they acknowledge that the usual interpretation is that the reference is to preservation of God’s people.

The first problem is very simple, as we discussed in post #138, 139, 140.
Psalms: From Primitive and Mediaeval Writers - Neale & Littledale

Neale and Littledale, as the title of their book shows, are simply quoting the historical commentaries ! And they are quoting Michael Ayguan -- from 450 years earlier ! A rather amazing commentary in its own right. And the reference is 100% clear in their book.

So Doug Kutilek somehow misses the most basic fact -- and then goes into a rant, totally weird and out-of-place, against Neale and Littledale ! Even if the quote had been theirs, the tirade was insipid. They were not involved in the Kutilek anti-preservation-of-words debate. And to write against them from your own misperceptions is a tawdry type of writing.

Yet this is made even far worse by not even noticing the simple and obvious aspect of the writing -- Neale and Littledale are simply referencing Michael Ayguan. Likely they even translated his Latin. Their purpose of the book is in the title of the book, in the long explanation called Dissertation II in the front of the book, and Ayguan's name is right on the page ! What more do you need ?

This was such insipid writing from Doug Kutilek that even I was amazed.

The irony is that Kutilek's Theorem about one object for Psalm 12 is actually a sensible consideration, as I discussed above. (And it actually undercuts a lot of his own position.) However not as an awkward, misplaced, stumbling rant. Surely not against Michael Ayguan. And just as bad when used to attack the wrong writers. Neale and Littledale, who wrote a fine, accomplished work many centuries later.

Many interpreters use the "split interpretation" idea, some mixing it with a "dual interpretation" -- if we want to point out a potential weakness in that position, fine. There is no reason to go haywire in rigged rant, as Doug Kutilek does above. Made even worse by his own scholarly incompetence. So incompetent that he could not even recognize that Michael Ayguan from the 1400s was the quote source. Kutilek was so quick to falsely accuse that he didn't even have the most basic facts straight.

Sound familiar ?

As for Neale and Littledale, they are not even taking a position. They quote all sorts of early church writers, the good, the bad, the excellent, and possibly some ugly. They were scholars who wrote a fine historical commentary, at a time when resources were far less easy to collate than today. They wrote an excellent book and are to be commended for giving us an excellent resource, even a century and more later. These men are not here to speak in their own behalf, yet they are owed an apology from Doug Kutilek.

Steven Avery

Steven Avery

Summary of Doug Kutilek scholarship problems

Hi Folks,

In summary, Doug Kutilek has three major blunders that effect the evidence evaluation in his short section on references. They are listed in terms of significance to his argument. And a fourth is included separately in this summary because it is so strange.

For more details on each one it is necessary to go back to the posts. Although I am not putting post numbers here, I plan to make up an index that can be bookmarked shortly.



1) Rashi

Doug Kutilek craftily misrepresented his position, and this gives every appearance of being a deliberate, conscious deception.

This was very significant since the only "commentator by numbers" argument of any real weight was the apparent agreement of Kimchi and Rashi against Ibn Ezra in terms of the ancient highly respected rabbinics, along with the related general "Hebraists" argument. (e.g. general Christian commentators often deal with the influence of the mistranslations of the Greek and Latin.) With Rashi seen to have been misrepresented, this ancient rabbinics evidence becomes essentially even. (With much modern religious Jewish interpretation emphasizing "words".) Thus the argument that "words" is somehow a strange or unusual or just a KJVO understanding must be seen as a fabrication of convenience.

Plus we learn that Doug Kutilek pulled a crafty deception / misrepresentation in one of the most vital commentators in the artic.

2) Neale and Littledale - (Michael Ayguan)

This one shows that Doug Kutilek really cannot read without huge doctored glasses. To miss the 1400's writer, a solid Psalms commentator, who is very significant is rather amazing, especially as the information was right in front of Kutilek's eyes. This was combined with a puerile rant against -- the wrong people ! Amazing.

This was very significant to the argumentation since Michael Ayguan is an early "words" proponent for the first part of the verse. A highly respected commentator, who would be working largely with the Latin and Greek traditions of us-us.

Plus we learn a bit about the competence of Doug Kutilik.

3) Patrick Symon

Misrepresented as simply a "persons" proponent. Placed in the the 1800s instead of 1600s.

The Christian Hebraist movement was very strong in the late 1500s and 1600s. Thus the handful of commentators from that period are of special interest, also as a window to the King James Bible understanding.

Plus we learn more about the superficial source management from Doug Kutilek.


4) George Murphy

Did Doug Kutilek actually get a commentator's name completely wrong ?
If so, that tells us a lot about his competence and understanding of the works and men he is referencing. If not, we would like to know who is this commentator.

Bonus Scholarship Issue #5


Samson Hirsch and other rabbinics and Jewish translations shown on this thread indicate, especially after the Rashi adjustment, that the claim that top Hebraics supports "people" over "words" is simply not true. Historic Jewish exegesis tends to support the words of Torah being kept (Psalm 12:7a) with the split occurring more in the preservation for ever (Psalm 12:7b). While Historic Christian exegesis from the Hebraists tends more toward "people", yet also with the split.

There are also omissions throughout the thread of others who support the words for part or all of the verse. A list is planned shortly. Generally Doug Kutilek is not faulted on this account (fully comprehensive lists are very difficult) -- i.e. beyond the misrepresentations above and a lack of familiarity with the Hebraics.


Then we have seven other problems in spelling and dates and including a reference that simply quotes another reference without comment. Although these are minor they are rather an astounding number of errors in a short article for publication, However, like #4 above, these do not effect the overall argumentation. They should definitely be remembered whenever Doug Kutilek takes another writer to task on claimed minor scholarship problems. Ten errors in a short summary on a Journal paper still being presented to the public after 20 years is a bit mind-boggling.

This takes care of the scholarship problems that were shown by my research, now we can discuss more the actual debate and do some overall summary and reference posts as well. While always seeking to dig out more fascinating material, especially from the stronger Christian commentators.

Steven Avery


Steven Avery

Hi Folks,

One other point needs to be highlighted. The aggressive, belligerent attack stance of Doug Kutilek in his paper. This was rebutted with grace and pizazz by Bruce Lackey and belongs here, after the many Kutilek misrepresentations and scholarship difficulties have been highlighted.
Why Psalm 12:6,7 Is not a Promise of the Infallible Preservation of Scripture - Doug Kutilek

Based on clear evidence from grammar and context and confirmed by the best Bible expositors, it can only be concluded that Psalm 12:6, 7 has nothing at all to do with the preservation of God’s Word. It says nothing for or against it. It does not speak to the issue at all. It is, therefore, wholly irrelevant to the discussion and must not be appealed to as a proof text regarding Bible preservation. We can understand how some through ignorance have misapplied this text, but with the above evidence in hand, to continue to apply these verses to any doctrine of Bible preservation is to handle the Word of God deceitfully and dishonestly, something unworthy of any child of God. Let the Scriptures speak, and let us follow them wherever they lead us.

Bruce Lackey responds. No need to add anything, I will place one highlight.

Fundamentalists Following Textual Critics In Denying/Questioning Biblical Preservation
4. In the last paragraph, he [Kutilek] says that those who apply these verses ‘to any doctrine of Bible preservation’ are guilty of handling ‘the Word of God deceitfully and dishonestly, something unworthy of any child of God.’ But earlier, he admitted that such illustrious interpreters as John Wesley, Henry Martyn, G. Campbell Morgan, and Kidner, agreed with the preservation interpretation. Sounds like a mouse attacking elephants! They might have been wrong on some points, but they were certainly not deceitful and dishonest.

Now granted, Kutilek tried to cover his attack-tracks some by claiming that he had conclusively proven his position and acting as if he was only chastising unnamed future writers (rather a tawdry writing style, trying to cut off rebuttal from those who know the Hebrew and the heart of the Psalm with more skill and understanding than Doug Kutilek has demonstrated).

Yet of course many of the commentators supporting words knew all about the other commentators, the Hebraics and the grammatical issues -- so Kutilek is accusing them as well. Bruce Lackey is right as Kutilek really adds nothing new other than a distorted historical summary. (Along with what I will fondly call - Kutilek's Theorem of One Object - which actually works against his position.) In fact, we may summarize the Kutilek position in one or two paragraphs, easier now that the fluff is gone.


From this perspective of arrogance it is no surprise that Doug Kutilek thinks very highly of his performance, and then quotes himself (!) as the main authority in writing against others.

Wilkinson ... misapplies Psalm 12:6-7, incorrectly presuming the verses are a promise of Divine preservation of the Scriptures, when in fact they are a promise of Divine protection for persecuted saints of v. 5. (I established this latter interpretation as certainly correct ...) Wilkinson’s Incredible Errors - Doug Kutilek [Baptist Biblical Heritage, Vol. I, No. 3; Fall, 1990]

Not surprisingly, the Doug Kutilek article that had that quote was itself rife with more errors and misrepresentations (as is his Johannine Comma article, reviewing the Michael Maynard book, which is especially needing of review of the review).
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Steven Avery

historic summary - words for Psalm 12 - part 1

Hi Folks,

Here is a quick summary of those supportive of the words understanding, either of the whole verse or for Psalm 12:7a, God keeping his words. Dates are not exact, yet always close, And other historical important folks are added, such as comments about others that had the words view. This is part 1 -- up to a bit after 1800.

Rashi.......................1090 keep (Torah) in their hearts (split)
Ibn Ezra...................1150 words
Michael Ayguan.........1415 Thou shalt keep, or make good, Thy words (split)
Coverdale.................1535 words are kept, 'us' perserved
John Rogers..............1535 recognizes Ibn Ezra, prefers Kimchi
(Matthew Bible) ............... similar to Coverdale, words are kept
John Calvin...............1540 some give thy words (Calvin is pro-persons)
Luther.....................1540 hymn 'thy truth thy will preserve'
Becke......................1550 'some understand here certain men, some others word."
King James Bible........1611
Francis Bacon...........1624 thou wilt not first thy word forsake (split)
Henry Hammond........1650 Thou, О Lord, shalt keep, or perform those words (split)
Symon Patrick...........1675 I am confident, O Lord, thou wilt perform them (split)
Matthew Poole..........1685 poor and needy .. or thy words or promises
John Wesley.............1775 keep them - Thy words or promises .. this generation for ever.
Herny Martyn............1805 words
Alexander Geddes......1807 Jehovah, then, will be their guardian (split)

To research more:

Midrash on Psalms
Gilbert Ironside - sermon on Psalm 12 (1691)


Steven Avery

Henry Hammond

Hi Folks,

From the list above.
Henry Hammond (1605 - 1660) ... His writings, published in 4 volumes. fol. (1674 - 1684), consist mostly of controversial sermons and tracts ... four volumes of his Miscellaneous Theological Works (1847 - 1850) ..his Paraphrase and Annotations on the New Testament ... He read widely, and was a diligent scholar.

Henry Hammond is usually mentioned indirectly in this discussion. Referenced in Studies in the Book of Psalms - William Swan Plumer (1867). The John Calvin editor, James Anderson, mentions his view in the 1845 edition of Calvin's writings.
John Calvin - Psalm 12:7-8

Some give this exposition of the passage, Thou wilt keep them, namely, thy words **

** This is the view adopted by Hammond. He refers the them to the words of the Lord mentioned in the preceding verse, and the him following to the godly, or just man, and explains the verse thus: ”Thou, O Lord, shalt keep, or perform, those words, thou shalt preserve the just man from this generation for ever.” The Chaldee version reads, “Thou wilt keep the just;” the Septuagint, Vulgate, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, “Thou wilt keep us;”:

The actual note is quite interesting and more complete. It includes the Hebrew, Greek and Syriac fonts as well. Note that the 1850 editor (Thomas Brancker) offers a disagreement. Looking at the Hammond learned commentary, we see that he, along with many, see an awkwardness in the "persons" interpretation. I will only include a smidgen here, the link is available for the full read. First Henry Hammond emphasizes the wide diversity of conflicting translations and interpretations on "persons" (the just, them, us.. I would add the poor and needy of v.5 rather than the just of v.1).
A paraphrase and annotations upon the Books of the psalms, by Henry Hammond (1850 edition)

"that which removes all difficulty is, to understand the them of the words of the Lord .. the him following will certainly be the godly or just man... Thou, O Lord, shalt keep, or perform these words, thou shalt preserve the just man from ---"

Original edition.
The works of the reverend and learned Henry Hammond, D.D. The fourth volume containing A paraphrase & annotations upon the Psalms : as also upon the (ten first chapters of the) Proverbs : together with XXXI sermons : also an Appendix to Vol. II. (1684)

Thus Hammond gives us a learned split interpretation.

(Note: this was totally unmentioned by Doug Kutilek, despite Henry Hammond being clearly referenced by others, including the same John Calvin commentary.)

Steven Avery

Steven Avery

John Johnson - Holy David and His Old English Translators Clear'd:

Hi Folks,

The next is an addition to the list above. This next Psalm book utilizes the respected scholarship of Henry Hammond (#156) and Symon Patrick (#142) (as discussed in the preface).
John Johnson (1662-1725)
Johnson was vicar of St. John’s, Margate, then Cranbrook, Kent ...His major theological work was The Unbloody Sacrifice and Altar Unvailed and Supported. (1714-18)
John Johnson .. a paraphrase, with notes, on the Book of Psalms
John Johnson ..His works display the highest scholarship, a mastery both of the Greek and Hebrew languages, and a deep research into the Holy Scriptures

And this is from the book, which actually is defending the Great Bible translation. And especially the Book of Common Prayer, which maintained the historic Great Bible reading rather than updating to the Authorised Version.
Holy David and His Old English Translators Clear'd: Containing,
I. Directions for the More Devout Use of Psalms, and a Short Historical Account of the Translation and Translators. :
II. The Psalter Or Psalms of David, After the Translation of the Great Bible; Pointed as They are to be Sung Or Said in Churches; with large Explanatory Notes
III. A General Defence of this Old Translation, in answer to all the Objections and Cavils that have been rais'd against it.

By John Johnson (1706)

8 Thou fhalt keep [them,] O Lord: thou shalt preserve * him from this generation for ever.
8 [Thy Promises}
* Him: that is, the upright Man, against whom the enemy swells ver. 6

Thus John Johnson's book (quite an interesting book) is added to our split interpreters above.


Steven Avery

Brady & Tate- Psalms of David - Book of Common Prayer

Hi Folks,

The next is another addition to the list above. (1754) (1839) (1751)
A New version of the Psalms of David : fitted to the tunes used in churches

Brady, Nicholas (1659-1726) and Tate, Nahum (1652-1715)
This psalter was first published in England in 1696. It was the work of two men, Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady. Tate was poet laureate of England, as well as being a playwright and an adapter of other's plays. Brady was an Anglican clergyman, poet and author.

You will also find this directly given in the Book of Common Prayer, in many editions.
The Book of Common Prayer (1822)

6 The word of God shall still abide,
and void of falsehood be,
As is the silver, seven times tried,
from drossy mixture free.

7 The promise of his aiding grace
shall reach the purposed end;
His servants from this faithless race
he ever shall defend.