In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Dictionary, Shmictionary.”
‘Fess up. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve all used words when we have had absolutely no idea what it meant, and we’ve all gotten caught at it. My cousin has caught me at it multiple times. In fact, just the other day as she, my mom, and I were coming home from house hunting, I let slip the doozy, “It’s even got a basement on top of the two floors!” What I really meant to say was, “It’s even got a basement as well as the two floors!”
They lost it, of course, and I can’t blame them. It was funny, and I had to giggle when I found out what they thought I meant. I digress.
Words in the Bible have changed much over the centuries. Nobody carries around denarii and shekels of silver, and nobody measures out wheat in ephahs and wine in baths. I bet if you were to approach a random stranger on the street and attempt to convince them that these were real things used at one point in time, most people would probably look at you like you had suddenly sprouted three heads.
Take the word “you”, for example. Most commonly, we use the word “you” in a singular sense. “You have my book,” you might say as you speak to a friend of yours. Occasionally you might have someone who uses it in the plural sense as well, addressing a group of people where you could address a group of people at a wedding, “You have my sincerest congratulations!”
However, the King James Bible was written somewhere in the 1600s, and it is riddled with “thees,” “thous,” “thy”s, and “ye”s. You will also stumble across an occasional “you” as well. What does this all mean? What is the difference?
I have a pastor friend at work that I asked this question of, although I am not quite sure whether I agree with him or not. According to him, “thee” and “thou” are singular. They address one person in particular, whereas “ye” is plural and addresses a group of people.
Just to be one hundred percent sure that he would be correct, I looked these words up in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. No matter how much you trust anyone in your life when it comes to the Bible and spiritual truths, I suggest also reading the Bible or looking it up for yourself to be on the safe side.
Thou: used as a singular form of “you” when it is the subject of a verb
Thee: used as a singular form of “you” when it is the object of a verb or preposition
Ye: used originally only as a plural pronoun of the second person in the subjective case and now used especially in ecclesiastical literature or literary language and in various English dialects
As we can read now, he was quite correct. No wonder he prefers to read the King James Version, when he can understand old English much better than I can!