The corrupted (incomplete) Bible verses


I would like to know more about these verses of the Bible (for instance psalms) which we don’t have as complete.

My curiosity comes from the footnote in my Bible on Psalm 59 verse 9

9 Before your pots can feel the fire of the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.

in my bible it reds (translation from the italian, sorry)

Before your pots can feel the fire of the thorns, still living, as with a whirlwind he shall take them away

And the footnote says that the verse came to us** incomplete and it is difficult to translate**. It means the Lord will make the bad ones die before time.

Are there other incomplete verses that you may know? Thanks a lot


First off, it’s Psalm 58 (57).

But I looked it up in an interlinear Bible. The Hebrew literally translates to “Before can feel your pots the thorns, both living, in [his] wrath, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind”. (Yeah, apparently Hebrew has a verb that means just that) But at the same time, the “in [his] wrath” part seems fairly idiomatic. For example, the RSVCE translates it as “or ablaze”, and it’s otherwise a fairly literal translation.

And actually, I looked up that same verse in the CEI (adjusting for the fact they count the intro as its own verse). At least according to Google, since I don’t know very much Italian (yet), it seems to include “in [his] wrath”, or, again, at least an idiomatic translation, like used in the RSVCE.

So I’m not really sure what your Bible means by “incomplete”.


Well the numbering differs. In my BIble in italian it is as you say, 58 (57), but on the internet it is only 58, and the numbering of the verses is different. But that’s not the problem.

If you read italian, that’s my footnote:

58:10 : Verso corrotto e difficile a tradursi; vuol dire che il Signore farà morire prematuramente i cattivi.

And the verse : Prima che le vostre pentole sentano il calore del pruno, ancor vivo, come in un turbine, se lo porti via!

The sentence is incomplete in Italian. We do not have a clear subject to this lo [it], ad it translates

Before your pans feel the warmth of the plum tree, still living, as in a whirlwind, he shall take it away!


Many verses are badly corrupted in the Book of Job and had to be conjecturally reconstructed.

1 Samual 13:1 is also badly corrupted and no reliable manuscripts have been found to correct it. It said Saul was one year old when he began to reign and reigned for two years, when it was more likely he was around 30 and reigned for about forty years.


One of the more famous incomplete verses is Gen. 4:8, literally: “Cain said to his brother Abel ]. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.”


I am not a scholar, I just take it that the Bible I am reading, is the Bible God intends me to read, and everything is in it that I need for salvation.

The main messages of the Bible are repeated throughout, so I just take it on faith.



Right, no. You said 59 originally, I was correcting it to 58 to help other posters find the verse in question. The (57) is the Vulgate numbering for anyone using the DRB or certain other translations. (And some Bibles, like the Ignatius Bible, like both)

I only mentioned the verse number because I found it interesting that the CEI online gave the “subtitles” their own verses.

We don’t claim that it’s been perfectly transmitted throughout all of time. Parts can get shifted around slightly. For a more extreme example, look at Esther. St. Jerome moved the deuterocanonical parts into 6 more chapters at the end, but they definitely make more sense interspersed like in the Ignatius Bible or the NAB.


Job is among the worst-preserved Biblical book in the Hebrew and from the looks of it, the Greek LXX hasn’t been too helpful either.

It’s quite likely Job suffered major transmission problems such that verses got rearranged or became obscure due to copyist error. If you look at the old NAB, its verses are rearranged in many places such that the translation makes more sense (in other words, the translators determined that the verses were rearranged as part of transmission problems), and in some cases (e.g. 28:4), the translators didn’t even bother to guess; they simply replaced that verse with dots. It must have been so bad they couldn’t even reconstruct it (not that I would have done that; I would probably have referred to the Greek or Latin). It looks like this:

the NAB-RE translators weren’t so brutal and rearranged the verses much less and did render the difficult passages to the best of their ability.


Sure and that is my question. How is it that we can play around with verses? If we didn’t get the full text, is it prudent to reconstruct them ? I don’t know. I mean it is so, but I still hope we get full texts.


Because when translating, certain decisions need to be made. Not only should a translation be accurate; it should also be readable. Finding that balance, especially with corrupted source texts and multiple variant readings, can be very tricky, which is why multiple translations are important.


Yes, as long as the meaning is the same, and i am afraid the meaning could have been changed if verses from the previous chapter are to be found in the next one


Not necessarily. There could be no “the” meaning. It could be decided that one meaning was actually the correct one over the other. Things like context would be the determinants for such decisions, and neither rendition could be deemed incorrect.


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