Damned Apostrophes

My sister, knowing my fondness for misplaced and missing apostrophes, sent me the following two emails:

Yesterday the conversation got onto dancing in church, [and then] onto religious dance in general and David dancing before the ark and being despised by his wife Michal for unbecoming behaviour, and I was skimming through 1 Samuel for the bits dealing with David’s relationship with Michal and and in Chap 25:42 I saw

And Abigail hasted, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of her’s that went after her…

I couldn’t cross-check immediately because I didn’t have another edition of the KJV [King James Version] to hand, but there was one from the Gideons in the Sunday-school cupboard so I looked up the verse this morning and it appears that the error lies with my edition rather than King Jimmie’s translators.

I have two copies of the aforesaid edition, published to commemorate the third jubilee of the British and Foreign Bible Society 1804-1954.  Edited by John Sterling with line drawings by Horace Knowles.

Not as memorable as breeches or adultery, but it seems that the printer’s devil tradition of giving rise to special editions of the bible is still alive and well.

Followed by:

Checked another edition of KJV while Christmas shopping and the apostrophe was in there as well, so it isn’t a case of the BFSBS Jubilee edition getting it wrong but of Gideons having corrected it.

Bible Gateway and Biblos don’t show the error in their King James texts, however Google gives two valid links with that spelling.

Incidentally, how come there is no apostrophe in “King James Version”?

3 responses to “Damned Apostrophes

  1. “the printers’ devil” shurely?

  2. Skeptics Annotated has it correct.

    My RSV has “And Abigail made haste and rose and mounted on an ass, and her five maidens attended her; she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.”

    Cunningly they’ve removed the need for the apostrophe altogether.

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