[quote=Bobby Jim]Regarding “Thee” and “Thou”:
Once upon a time “thou” and “thee” served as the second person familiar pronouns in English… so this is how a parent would talk to a child, or a husband and a wife, or close friends, or other intimate relations. I think it is traditionally used with God because we are supposed to be intimate with Him. “You” was originally the formal pronoun… a servant speaking to his master, or to someone you don’t know so well, or to someone who is “better” than you.
I wonder why “Thee” and “Thou” fell into disuse - a lot of other European languages (e.g. Spanish, French, German) have both formal and familiar pronouns. I heard it was a backlash against the Puritans, who referred to everyone as “thou”, but I don’t know if that’s really true. But I think you can still hear the Amish speaking this way.
I’m taking a course right now in the history of the English language, and we’ve just been covering second-person pronouns.
Originally, the “th-” pronouns were second-person singular, not informal, while the “y-” pronouns were second-person plural. By the end of the 16th century (Shakespeare’s time), this usage had died out, and the familiar-formal usage had replaced it. The prof read a section from one of Shakespeare’s plays where a female character and a male character are talking, using, respectively, the “th-” pronouns (because she wants to be insulting) and the “y-” pronouns (because he’s trying to score points.
However, when it comes to English translations of the Bible, the usage goes back to the older singular-plural distinction. God is addressed as “Thou” because He is One, not because we are supposed to be familiar with Him. I can’t speak for the D-R translators, but the KJV translators intentionally preserved this usage from the older translations in order to preserve what they considered to be an elevated style of speech.
Also, because the KJV preserves the singular-plural distinction, we miss something in the more modern translations where all second-person pronouns are “you/your.” For example, Jesus tells Peter, “…Satan hath desired to have you (all of y’all disciples), that he might sift you (ditto) as wheat, but I have prayed for thee (specifically Peter), that thy (ditto) fath fail hot; and when thou (Peter) art converted, strengthen thy (ditto) brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32) Likewise, when Jesus is talking about the person to whom He will give the keys to the Kingdom of God, he is addressing Peter and using “thee.” That grammatical analysis is one of the main things that convinced me of the truth of the primacy of Peter. However, those distinctions are totally missing in the modern translations, leading Protestant evangelicals to get several points wrong.