Obama on Eagle’s Wings (Misquoting the Bible)

I am loathe to point out that Fox News might be technically correct in something, but I have already seen this a few times today (here and on Facebook). Fox Nation is accusing President Obama of ‘misquoting’ the Bible. Media Matters has said this is not a misquote, but a different translation. The problem is that President Obama has indeed left out a part of the verse. Media Matters reports that Obama quoted Isaiah 40:31 as:

Those who wait on the Lord will soar on wings like eagles, and they will run and not be weary, and they will walk and not faint,” the president said during a speech to several thousand people at the breakfast.

They say that this is from the NIV, not the KJV. But, the NIV renders the verse as:

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (emphasis mine, as the part President Obama left out).

What did President Obama do? What I have done countless times in my own sermons: try to say the verse by memory or not looking at a script or not typing it out correctly (likely because I was trying to do it from memory), and end up getting it slightly wrong!

Indeed, Fox Nation is trying to make President Obama look foolish and pushing their point he must be some sort of antichrist because he got a verse slightly wrong. I dare any of Fox Nation’s supporters to claim they have never got a Bible verse wrong in their entire life. It is, as Richard Hall titled his post (linked above) ‘Smearing Obama’.

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2 thoughts on “Obama on Eagle’s Wings (Misquoting the Bible)

  1. If you look at the context, it is clear that he did not introduce this as a “verse” he was going to read, as implied by Fox’s portrayal. The phrases, all of which appear identically in at least one translation, are weaved informally into a longer casual sentence. The fact that he did not include “will renew their strength” does not make it a “botched quote” as claimed by Fox, so they are not even technically correct. Moreover, substantively, it’s quite a fair abridgment since the point is made rather clearly by the remaining phrases.

    It is fair to ridicule Fox’s efforts here to 1. take the quote out of context to suggest he was trying to read a complete verse and 2. use the KJ version as the comparator for the sole purpose of maximizing the differences in words and word order.

    This was motivated by nothing but a desire to continued the propaganda that Obama is separate from and threatening to American Christian culture. To accept this as “evidence” for that, one must be possessed by hatred and fear.

  2. I would still think President Obama was likely attempting to quote the verse, as I don’t think there is a formula for when one does it. Everything else is nearly exact to it. Still, I take your point about it. I would rather not say Fox news was correct either. On the whole, I agree with your assessment of the situation and that’s what I was trying to say in this post.

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