Home‎ > ‎

“Ashes upon his face” or “Bandages over his eyes” in 1 Kings 20:38?

"So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face." (1 Kings 20:38, KJV)

This is partly a textual issue and partly a translation issue. “אפר ('ăphêr)” with the Ben Asher vowel marks means “covering.” The nature of the covering is open to interpretation. The NASB and ESV translate it as “bandages” whereas the NIV translates it as “headband.” The KJV follows the Ben Chayyim vowel marks and translates “אפר ('êpher)” as “ashes.” The context indicates that this covering was for a disguise. Ashes on the face can certainly serve to disguise one’s natural complexion. Also, “עין (‛ayin)” can be translated “face.” The NASB, ESV, and NIV translates “עין“ as “face” or “surface” in Exodus 10:5 and elsewhere.