Leah’s Tender Eyes

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The King James Version translates Genesis 29:17 as follows: "Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured." The New International Version has, "Leah had weak eyes," while the New American Bible reads, "Leah had lovely eyes." What did the Hebrew original mean to say?

Revised: 14-May-13

The King James Version translates Genesis 29:17 as follows: “Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.” The New International Version has, “Leah had weak[1] eyes”; while the New American Bible reads, “Leah had lovely eyes.” The Hebrew text reads, literally, “And the eyes of Leah were tender, and [i.e., but] Rachel was beautiful of stature and beautiful of appearance.”

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  • [1] In a footnote, the NIV adds: “Or delicate.”

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