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March 08, 2021

The “She” Bible

The King James Bible contains more than 780,000 words in over three million individual characters. But one edition of this Bible is famous because of a single letter. In one edition of the 1611 King James Bible, Ruth 3:15 reads, “he went into the cit[y],” referring to the character of Boaz. This edition is called the “He” Bible. The other 1611 edition reads, “she went into the cit[y],” referring to Ruth, earning it the name, the “She” Bible. Interestingly, the discrepancy is probably not the mistake of a typesetter. In fact, the choice of “he” is more unusual than “she.” The difference can be traced to ambiguity in the context of the passage and in the use of different Hebrew manuscripts used for translation. Major Bible translations differ on this verse even today. Some describe Boaz, and some describe Ruth, going back into the city. Three million letters ... and a single one has separated these King James Bible editions for centuries.



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