What is meant by “Thou shalt not revile the gods”?


Exodus 22:28 in the King James Version states we are not to revile the gods. Some explain it meaning governors while some translations state "do not revile God." What is the true history of this verse?

Thank you.


The word in question is elohim in the Hebrew. This word is typically translated "God," but depending on the context it can also be translated "gods" (Genesis 31:30) and sometimes "rulers or judges" (Psalms 82:1). It is the context that determines which is intended.

The translators of the King James Version apparently were swayed by the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament to see Exodus 22:28 as a reference similar to Psalms 82:1. Their idea was that you do not curse those who represent God (rulers or judges ) nor the more ordinary government officials. The problem is that there is nothing in the context to support this.

The more common way to look at Exodus 22:28 is that you don't curse God, who is the source of all authority, nor do you curse rulers because they derive their authority from God (Romans 13:1-2). I believe this view is more accurate.

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