The Berean Expositor
Volume 51 - Page 4 of 181
Index | Zoom
Archaic and Obsolete Words
of the Authorized Version.
p. 20
WANT. At the marriage at Cana in Galilee described in John 2: 1-11, we read "And
when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto Him, They have no wine". The
A.V. is ambiguous judged by modern usage of this word. Did they desire wine or did
they lack wine? The latter is true. The bridegroom who had supplied the wine according
to Jewish custom, had evidently miscalculated and not provided enough. "And when the
wine failed" or "ran short" is the correct meaning. The verb "want" did not begin to have
the meaning of desire until almost a hundred years later than 1611.
WARD.  As a suffix, "ward" means in the direction of, occurring in words like
inward, outward, upward, downward, etc. In middle English it was optional whether
­ward was put as a prefix or a suffix. "And such trust have we . . . . . to God-ward"
(II.Cor.iii.4) or towards God.  "His works have been to thee-ward very good"
(I.Sam.xix.4). Likewise we have "Thy thoughts which are to us-ward" (Psa. 40: 5). "His
power to us-ward who believe" (Ephesians 1: 19).  "More abundantly to you-ward"
(II.Cor.i.12) means "still more toward you".  "Which to you-ward is not weak"
(II.Cor.xiii.3). Most of these now archaic phrases were derived by the A.V. translators
from the Bishops' Bible and from Tyndale. We have pointed out before how greatly the
translators of the A.V. were indebted to him.
pp. 97 - 100
WAX. This is quite a common word in our English Bible and simply means to grow.
It only seems to be used today of the moon, waxing and waning. In modern English it
sometimes means "become". The mustard seed in Luke 13: 19 "grew and waxed a
great tree", meaning it "became a great tree". "Wax old" is equivalent to growing old.
"Is the Lord's hand waxed short?" (Numb. 11: 23) today would be rendered "is the Lord's
hand shortened?".
WEALTH.  In I Cor. 10: 24 we read, "Let no man seek his own, but every man
another's wealth". On the surface this appears to countenance theft in thought or action,
but in 1611 wealth meant more than money. It denoted well-being or welfare and so the
N.I.V. renders the verse, "Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others".