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Coverdale Bible 1535



1:1These are ye names of the childre of Israel, that came with Iacob into Egipte: euery one came in wt his house,
1:2Ruben, Simeon, Leui, Iuda,
1:3Isachar, Zabulo, Ben Iamin,
1:4Dan, Nephtali, Gad and Aser.
1:5And of all the soules that came out of the loynes of Iacob, there were seuentie. As for Ioseph, he was in Egipte all ready.
1:6Now wha Ioseph was deed, and all his brethren, and all they that lyued at that tyme,
1:7the children of Israel grewe, and increased, and multiplied, and became exceadinge mightie, so yt the lande was full of them.
1:8The came there a new kynge ouer Egipte, which knewe nothinge of Ioseph,
1:9and sayde vnto his people: Beholde, the people of the children of Israel are many, & mightier then we:
1:10Vp, let vs deale wysely with them, yt there be not so many of them. For yf there shulde ryse vp eny warre agaynst vs, they might ioyne them selues also vnto oure enemies, and ouercome vs, & so get them out of the lande.
1:11And he set worke masters ouer them, to kepe them vnder with burthens. (For they buylded the cities Phiton and Raemses, for treasuries vnto Pharao.)
1:12But the more they vexed them, the more they multiplied and grew.Therfore had they indignacio at the children of Israel,
1:13and the Egipcians compelled the children of Israel without mercy to do seruyce,
1:14and made their lyues bytter vnto them with greuous laboure in claye and brycke, and with allmaner of bondage in ye felde, and with allmaner of laboure, which they layed vpon them without mercy.
1:15And the kynge of Egipte sayde vnto the mydwyues of the Hebrueswemen. (Of the which one was called Siphra, and the other Pua:)
1:16Whan ye helpe the wemen of the Hebrues, and se vpon the stole, that it is a sonne, then slaye him: but yf it be a doughter, let her lyue.
1:17Neuertheles the mydwyues feared God, & dyd not as the kinge of Egipte commaunded them, but let the children lyue.
1:18Then the kynge of Egipte called the mydwyues, and sayde vnto them: Wherfore do ye this, that ye let the children lyue?
1:19The mydwyues answered Pharao: The wemen of the Hebrues are not as the wemen of Egipte, for they are sturdy wemen: or euer the mydwyues come at them, they are delyuered.
1:20Therfore God dealt well with the mydwyues. And the people multiplied, and became exceadinge mightie.
1:21And for so moch as the mydwyues feared God, he made them houses.
1:22Then Pharao commauded all his people and sayde: All the sonnes that are borne, cast in to the water, but let all the doughters lyue.
Coverdale Bible 1535

Coverdale Bible 1535

The Coverdale Bible, compiled by Myles Coverdale and published in 1535, was the first complete English translation of the Bible to contain both the Old and New Testament and translated from the original Hebrew and Greek. The later editions (folio and quarto) published in 1539 were the first complete Bibles printed in England. The 1539 folio edition carried the royal license and was, therefore, the first officially approved Bible translation in English.

Tyndale never had the satisfaction of completing his English Bible; but during his imprisonment, he may have learned that a complete translation, based largely upon his own, had actually been produced. The credit for this achievement, the first complete printed English Bible, is due to Miles Coverdale (1488-1569), afterward bishop of Exeter (1551-1553).

The details of its production are obscure. Coverdale met Tyndale in Hamburg, Germany in 1529, and is said to have assisted him in the translation of the Pentateuch. His own work was done under the patronage of Oliver Cromwell, who was anxious for the publication of an English Bible; and it was no doubt forwarded by the action of Convocation, which, under Archbishop Cranmer's leading, had petitioned in 1534 for the undertaking of such a work.

Coverdale's Bible was probably printed by Froschover in Zurich, Switzerland and was published at the end of 1535, with a dedication to Henry VIII. By this time, the conditions were more favorable to a Protestant Bible than they had been in 1525. Henry had finally broken with the Pope and had committed himself to the principle of an English Bible. Coverdale's work was accordingly tolerated by authority, and when the second edition of it appeared in 1537 (printed by an English printer, Nycolson of Southwark), it bore on its title-page the words, "Set forth with the King's most gracious license." In licensing Coverdale's translation, King Henry probably did not know how far he was sanctioning the work of Tyndale, which he had previously condemned.

In the New Testament, in particular, Tyndale's version is the basis of Coverdale's, and to a somewhat less extent this is also the case in the Pentateuch and Jonah; but Coverdale revised the work of his predecessor with the help of the Zurich German Bible of Zwingli and others (1524-1529), a Latin version by Pagninus, the Vulgate, and Luther. In his preface, he explicitly disclaims originality as a translator, and there is no sign that he made any noticeable use of the Greek and Hebrew; but he used the available Latin, German, and English versions with judgment. In the parts of the Old Testament which Tyndale had not published he appears to have translated mainly from the Zurich Bible. [Coverdale's Bible of 1535 was reprinted by Bagster, 1838.]

In one respect Coverdale's Bible was groundbreaking, namely, in the arrangement of the books of the. It is to Tyndale's example, no doubt, that the action of Coverdale is due. His Bible is divided into six parts -- (1) Pentateuch; (2) Joshua -- Esther; (3) Job -- "Solomon's Balettes" (i.e. Canticles); (4) Prophets; (5) "Apocrypha, the books and treatises which among the fathers of old are not reckoned to be of like authority with the other books of the Bible, neither are they found in the canon of the Hebrew"; (6) the New Testament. This represents the view generally taken by the Reformers, both in Germany and in England, and so far as concerns the English Bible, Coverdale's example was decisive.