an-shents: This word (except in one instance) renders the Hebrew word zeqenim, (pl of zaqen), which should always be translated "old men" or "elders." The Hebrew word never has the connotation which "ancients" has in modern English. The words "I understand more than the ancients" (Ps 119:100 the King James Version) do not mean that the Psalmist claims greater wisdom than his distant forbears but than his contemporaries with all their age and experience. In the parallel clause "teachers" is the corresponding word. In such phrases as "ancients of the people" (Jer 19:1 the King James Version), "ancients of the house of Israel" (Eze 8:12), "elders" would obviously be the correct rendering, as in the Revised Version (British and American). Even in Isa 24:23 ("before his ancients gloriously" the English Revised Version) "elders" is the right translation (American Revised Version). The writer probably alludes to the Sinaitic; theophany witnessed by the "seventy .... elders" (Ex 24:9-18) Generally speaking the word suggests the experience, insight and practical acquaintance with life which age ought to bring with it (Ps 119:100; Eze 7:26). In one instance (1Sa 24:13) "ancients" is the right rendering for the Hebrew word qadhmonim, which means "men of former times."

See the definition of ancient in the KJV Dictionary

Thomas Lewis

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