NIV / TNIV Revisited – The Major Prophets

In general in these books, and probably for the rest of the Old Testament, there are fewer changes noted in these discussions. This is mainly because certain types of changes we have already seen such as accuracy in kinship terms – “fathers” changed to “ancestors” or “alien” changed to “foreigner” – have been mentioned in previous surveys.

Let’s look at the stats:

  • Total Change from the NIV to the TNIV: 3.4%
  • Isaiah – 3.5% variance from the NIV
  • Jeremiah – 2.9%
  • Ezekiel – 3.7%
  • Daniel – 2.8%


The changes are not significant in this book. And most of those I could point out as common changes have been discussed else previously. But with that said, here are a few of the new ones: Harlots become prostitutes, craftsmen become workers, redeem becomes deliver, righteousness becomes righteous acts, sanctuary becomes holy place, the “law” becomes “God’s instruction,” “Gentiles” becomes “the nations,” “Sea” becomes “Mediterranean, “cut off” becomes “destroyed,” “Oracles becomes “prophecies, “bowmen” become “archers,” the “grave” becomes the “realm of the dead.” These are all pretty common.

Also like previously we find the phrase “made love” to refer to sexual acts.

In 1.14, the NIV’s

Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates.

Becomes in the TNIV,

Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being.

In 1.24, instead of God getting “relief from my foes,” in the TNIV, he “will vent [his] wrath on my foes.”

in 5.7, the men of Judah were, “the garden of his delight,” but in the TNIV, they are “the vines he delighted in.”

The distant streams of Egypt, in 7.18, become the “Nile Delta in Egypt” in the TNIV.

Isaiah 19:18 has a change that comes from textual criticism:

NIV: One of them will be called the City of Destruction.

TNIV: One of them will be called the City of the Sun.

Both versions have notes. The TNIV note says, “Some manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, Dead Sea Scrolls, Symmachus and Vulgate; most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text the City of Destruction.

The NIV’s “filth” in Isaiah 36:12 becomes “excrement” in the TNIV.

The NIV’s “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field,” in Isaiah 40:6, becomes “All people are like grass, and all human faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.”

Isaiah 47:8’s “wanton creature” in the NIV is a “lover of pleasure” in the TNIV.

A very good change in terms of English is at Isaiah 47:12, where the NIV’s “these you have labored with and trafficked with since childhood” is changed to “these you have dealt with and labored with since childhood.” I don’t think we use “trafficked” in such a manner these days…


One regular change not seen previously (at least not to this extent) is the change of the phrase, “be handed over to” in the NIV to the TNIV’s “given into the hands of.” This is seen first at 32.4 and is used eight more times in the book.

A rather vivid change happens in Jeremiah 2:16 where the NIV’s “shaved the crown of your head” is changed to “cracked your skull” in the TNIV.

In Jeremiah 5:28, the NIV’s “do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, they do not defend the rights of the poor” becomes “they do not seek justice. They do not promote the case of the fatherless; they do not defend the just cause of the poor.”

Jeremiah 25:34 has a major change where the TNIV follows the LXX while the NIV follows the MT:

NIV: You will fall and be shattered like fine pottery.

TNIV: You will fall like the best of the rams.

The TNIV has a note for the decision. The MT is the preferred reading for the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project.

But other than these few changes, there are no changes that have not been discussed previously.


This book has some of the most extensive textual changes I’ve seen so far in my survey through the NIV and TNIV. A common change in the later chapters in Ezekiel is the NIV’s “outer sanctuary” being changed to the TNIV’s “main hall.”

Verse one is more clear in the TNIV because it changes “in the thirteenth year” to “in my thirteenth you.”

Ezekiel 3:12 has textual emendation:

NIV: Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound— May the glory of the Lord be praised in his dwelling place!

TNIV: Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound as the glory of the Lord rose from the place where it was standing.

This emendation goes back at least as early as 1886:

Most since Cornill (190–91) have adopted a conjectural emendation made by S. D. Luzzato and independently by Hitzig (24), ברום “when … arose” for MT ברוך “blessed,” as the context seems to demand. The doxology in the MT is “certainly a somewhat peculiar utterance” (Fairbairn 41). Kraetzschmar (32) called the emendation one of the most brilliant conjectures ever made in OT study”
Leslie C. Allen, vol. 28, Ezekiel 1-19 (WBC, Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 4n12a.

Ezekiel 9:1contains a clarifying change:

NIV: Bring the guards of the city here, each with a weapon in his hand.

TNIV: Bring near those who are appointed to execute judgment on the city each with weapon in hand.

This change makes more clear the kind of guards the text means.

Ezekiel 11.15has a large change:

NIV: “Son of man, your brothers—your brothers who are your blood relatives and the whole house of Israel—are those of whom the people of Jerusalem have said, ‘They are far away from the Lord; this land was given to us as our possession.’

TNIV: “Son of man, the people of Jerusalem have said of your fellow exiles and the whole house of Israel, ‘They are far away from the Lord; this land was given to us as our possession.’

The essential part of the change is italics and underlined. Both the TNIV and the NIV has the other rendering in a note.

In Ezekiel 16:16, the Hebrew is uncertain:

NIV: You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. Such things should not happen, nor should they ever occur.

TNIV: You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. You went to him, and he possessed your beauty.

The TNIV has a note, but it seems that the problem is more complicated because the NIV puts a textual note on the previous verse with very similar wording, Allen writes:

The MT has here לו־יהי “so that they might be his” and in v 16b לא באות ולא יהיה “not coming things and it/he will not be.” These readings appear to be alternatives (cf. Cornill 261–62). The latter was evidently a marginal variant that was subsequently inserted into the text at a point that was judged feasible. The LXX*, which lacks the first case, is a development of this stage. The first and shorter text has been explained by Driver (Bib 35 [1954] 151) as a purpose clause that uses a juss without the copula, as in Job 9:33 (cf. GKC 109i; Joüon 116i): “so that it might become his.” Like Keil (204), he took יפיך “your beauty” as the antecedent, which is rather distant (cf. Hitzig 105). Greenberg (280), though he interpreted as an exclamation (“it was his!”), is to be preferred in regarding תזנותיך “your harlotry” as the subj, in line with most medieval Jewish exegetes (cf. Barthélemy, Critique 3:98). Greenberg has noted that the phrase היה ל “become” frequently has a masc. verb despite a fem. subj (Joüon 150k, 1). As for the counterpart in v 16b, which Greenberg (280) has called “hardly coherent,” Driver (Bib 35 [1954] 151–52, 312), adapting an earlier proposed emendation made by Cornill, proposed לו בָאת ולו יהיה “to him you came so that it might become his.” The LXX “you will (not) come” lends some support to his interpretation of the first verbal form, in which an expression normally used of a man is strikingly applied to a woman. Again he took “beauty” as the subj of the second verb, an unlikely expedient. If he was right in his slight reconstruction לו באת “to him you came,” v 16b does not fit in its present place, but admirably completes v 15. Then the end of v 15 in the MT represents a truncated text that has suffered from parablepsis, whereas the reading found in v 16b constitutes a corrupted form of the longer, original text. In v 15b the Tg. represents לא־יהי “so that it will not be,” in reversal of the לו/αλ error that underlies the MT (Allen, 224).

The NIV translates verse 15 one way and 16 the other, while the TNIV translates them both in the same manner.

In 16.30, instead of God declaring, “How weak-willed you are!,” as in the NIV, the TNIV has him declaring, “I am filled with fury against you.”

In 21.7, the NIV’s “become as weak as water” becomes “every knee be wet with urine” in the TNIV.

At 26.1, the NIV has “In the eleventh year, on the first day of the month.” The TNIV has “In the eleventh month of the twelfth year, on the first day of the month.” This is a textual change. The TNIV has a note saying, “probably reading of the original Hebrew text; MT does not have month of the twelfth.

Ezekiel 27:18-19has a large change:

NIV: Damascus, because of your many products and great wealth of goods, did business with you in wine from Helbon and wool from Zahar. Danites and Greeks from Uzal bought your merchandise; they exchanged wrought iron, cassia and calamus for your wares.

TNIV: ‘Damascus did business with you because of your many products and great wealth of goods. They offered wine from Helbon, wool from Zahar and casks of wine from Izal in exchange for your wares: wrought iron, cassia and calamus.

Neither translation has a note to explain the difference, which is unfortunate. But luckily, there are plenty of helpfu people out in the blogging world. Suzanne and Kevin Wilson helped me on this one. Essentially, the Hebrew is a mess. The NIV attempts to make sense of the MT, while the TNIV goes with the LXX on this difficulty. But for both of them, a note would have been nice.

I don’t really know what to do with this change…

Ezekiel 31:17 also has an unusual change:

NIV: Those who lived in its shade, its allies among the nations, had also gone down to the grave with it, joining those killed by the sword.

TNIV: They too, like the great cedar, had gone down to the realm of the dead, to those killed by the sword, along with the armed men who lived in its shade among the nations.

Basically, “its allies” and “like the great cedar” are attempts to explain corrupt text. The Hebrew “literally” says, “and his arm, they lived in his shade among the nations.” The TNIV and NIV have been sought to make sense of this nonsensical statement in two different ways. Again, Allen writes,

MT “and his arm, they lived in his shade among the nations” makes no sense. LXX (cf. Syr.) implies וזַרעו ישבי “and his descendants who lived … ” The most feasible of a number of emendations is (ישבי) וְגָוְעוּ “and (those who lived …) perished” (Bertholet 110; Fohrer 175; Zimmerli 145). LXX ἀπώλοντο “they perished” at the end of v 17 (see BHS) may represent an incorporated gloss to this effect. Driver repointed to וְזֹרְעוּ “and … were scattered” ( = neb) with appeal to Syr. zr cent. (Bib 19 [1938] 179), but a reference to death seems to be required (cf. Boadt, Ezekiel’s Oracles 121).

Leslie C. Allen, vol. 29, Ezekiel 20-48 (WBC; Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 124.

Ezekiel 32:27has another textual change:

NIV: Do they not lie with the other uncircumcised warriors who have fallen, who went down to the grave with their weapons of war, whose swords were placed under their heads? The punishment for their sins rested on their bones, though the terror of these warriors had stalked through the land of the living.


But they do not lie with the fallen warriors of old, who went down to the realm of the dead with their weapons of war—their swords placed under their heads and their shields resting on their bones—though these warriors also had terrorized the land of the living.

This verse has two notes. The TNIV follows the LXX in “the fallen warriors of old” The second change is a textual emendation.

In 43.7, the NIV’s “lifeless idols” become “funeral offerings” in the TNIV. This is an interpretive decision, the Hebrew is formally, “memorial monuments.”


Of the “major” Prophets, Daniel has the least amount of change. But there are some significant ones in terms of meaning, for example, the phrase, “O King” is often changed to “Your Majesty.” This phrase is also inserted to help clarify in a couple other places. Also, the word “Saints” in the NIV is regularly changed to “holy people,” which is a similar change we will see in the New Testament as well. These are the main changes of any significance.