Wednesday 5 January 2011

On built and builded in the KJB

Two correspondents have written to ask about the use of the verbs built and builded in the King James Bible. Is there a difference of meaning? There's evidently a debate going on somewhere online in which this issue is part of the evidence. I haven't explored what the debate is about, so the following observations are offered simply by way of providing linguistic data that might not otherwise be available to the participants.

First, some background. When build appears as a verb in early Middle English, its past tense form was mainly regular (recorded forms include bildide, bylded, builded), though some writers used an irregular form (e.g. bult, byld, built). The past participle form was mainly irregular, with a wide range of forms (e.g. gebyld, bilde, bilt, buylt), along with the occasional use of a regular form (e.g. bylded, builded). In the Early Modern English period, the two forms, regular and irregular, are both frequent, with the built form gradually dominating during the 16th century - an unusual instance of an irregular form defeating a regular one. There are instances of builded recorded as late as 1800, and it's still heard today in some regional dialects. We see both forms in use around 1600, the choice between them being dictated by external factors. Shakespeare, for example, normally uses built (15 instances), but has three instances of builded, each one using the extra syllable to fill out a metrical line. There are many instances in the plays of this sort of thing: for example, the choice between -s and -eth in the 3rd person singular of verbs is also often conditioned by metrical demands. But the reason for choosing one form over another is not always clear, and sometimes one is left with the impression that the choice is random, or perhaps reflecting the preferences of an individual scribe or compositor.

In Modern English, there are several verbs which have two past forms (e.g. dreamed and dreamt) - a situation I discussed briefly in an earlier post (17 April 2008). In British English (American usage differs) there's usually an aspectual distinction: the -ed form is used when the duration of an action or the process of acting is being emphasized, and the -t form when something happens once, or takes up very little time, or the focus is on the result of a process rather than on the process itself (see the post for examples). However, it's unclear whether this kind of contrast was already operating in Early Modern English. And in any case, the built/builded alternation is different. It's more like the Modern alternation between highlit / highlighted, input / inputted, or wet / wetted, where the choice is governed by such factors as euphony, rhythm, and specialized usage (eg highlighted is the norm in hairdressing), as well as preferences related to a person's age and taste. Occasionally the two forms develop different regional uses (e.g. US dove, snuck, gotten) or different meanings (he was hanged/it was hung, I sped/speeded), but this is unusual.

What is the situation in the KJB? There are 271 instances of build used in the following four ways: as a past tense (Modern Standard English built and the emphatic did build); as a past participle form (Modern e.g. have built); as part of a passive construction (Modern e.g. was built by the Romans); and as an adjective (Modern e.g. a well built house). There is just one instance in KJB of an adjectival usage (4 Ezra 5.25, 'and of all builded cities thou hast hallowed Sion unto thyself'), and only six instances of did build: see below at Ruth 4.11, 1 Kings 11.7, 1 Kings 16.34, 2 Chronicles 35.3, Nehemiah 3.3, and Esdras 5.67. Leaving these six aside, we find 196 instances of built and 69 of builded - a ratio of nearly 3:1. The norm for the translators, as for everyone else at the time, was evidently built.

The situation in relation to built and builded in Early Modern English seems very similar to that presented by highlight and the others today. Looking at the list of instances at the end of this post, there are many parallel sentences which suggest that the forms are in free variation:

Genesis 8.20 Noah builded an altar
Genesis 22.9 Abraham built an altar
1 Chron 22.5 the house that is to be builded
1 Chron 22.19 the house that is to be built

There is even an example of both forms in the same verse:

Philemon 3.4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.

This seems to be a case where rhythm is the governing factor: builded in the first clause preserves an iambic rhythm (try replacing it with built to see the effect). And the same rhythmical plus comes from using built in the second clause.

However, there are some grammatical differences between the two constructions. Built is more likely to be used on its own, without auxiliary verbs (e.g. 'he built it'): 112 of 196 instances (57%), compared with 26 of 69 (38%) for builded. And when we look at individual auxiliaries, we find a definite preference for using them with built. The modal verbs used in the dataset are cannot, may, might, shall, shalt, should: only 4 of these are used with builded, whereas 17 are used with built. Similarly, 12 uses of auxiliary have occur with builded compared to 44 with built. On the other hand, there's no such trend with auxiliary be: 18 instances with builded and 17 with built.

Another difference relates to verb transitivity. If people wanted to use the verb intransitively (i.e. without an object, as in Luke 17.28 'they planted, they builded') there is a definite tendency to use builded: 12 out of 69 instances are intransitive (17%), compared with only 3 out of 196 instances of intransitive built (1.5%). The phrasal verb build up is found with 10 instances of built up and 2 of builded up. However, the other syntactic sequences I looked at (I haven't looked at them all!) showed few or no differences, e.g. the sequence build + not is found with 1 instance each (built not, builded not).

In all cases, we are talking about trends, not sharp distinctions. The grammar of the two forms substantially overlaps, and I've found nothing to suggest a semantic contrast.

So, why are there any differences at all? One possibility is that the different committees had a preference for one form or the other. Here are the relevant statistics (builded--built--did build--Total):

First Westminster 15 (16%)--76--3--94
First Cambridge 27 (32%)--55--2--84
First Oxford 4 (14%)--24--0--28
Second Oxford 1 (10%)--9--0--10
Second Westminster 3 (37%)--5--0--8
Second Cambridge 19 (70%)--27--1--47

There's the suggestion of a difference between Oxford and Cambridge, but the figures are small, and the overriding impression is that each committee was comfortable with both usages.

Perhaps individual books prompted one usage over the other? The following table brings to light one interesting fact: Ezra and 4 Ezra stand out in their exclusive use of builded. Together their 22 instances amount to almost a third of all cases. I have no explanation for this, so I asked Gordon Campbell, author of Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011 (OUP 2010) for his opinion, and he commented: 'An individual translator is a possibility, but so is an individual compositor. There may have been rules or agreed conventions about tense endings, but on many issues compositors took decisions. These weren't based on principles but rather on habits (when there is consistency) or the need to save or occupy space (when there is inconsistency).' Yes, space-saving strategies and compositor preferences have long been known in the case of Shakespeare. It remains to be seen whether they play an equally important role in relation to the KJB.

There are few other instances of builded predominance. Perhaps the poetic qualities of Proverbs and Song of Solomon motivated the exclusive use of the older form, but the numbers are tiny. Only in two other books (Genesis and Nehemiah) are there more instances of builded than built. Genesis is curious: until chapter 13 we find only builded, then there is a switch, with just a single exception.

Here is a complete listing, book by book (built--builded--did build

Genesis 4--7--0
Exodus 3--1--0
Numbers 5--1--0
Deuteronomy 3--1--0
Joshua 6--1--0
Judges 5--0--0
Ruth 0--0--1
1 Samuel 3--0--0
2 Samuel 3--0--0
1 Kings 35--3--2
2 Kings 9--1--0
1 Chronicles 8--1--0
2 Chronicles 36--0--1
Ezra 0--12--0
Nehemiah 5--9--1
Job 2--1--0
Psalms 2--1--0
Proverbs 0--2--0
Ecclesiasticus 1--1--0
Song of Solomon 0--1--0
Isaiah 4--0--0
Jeremiah 9--1--0
Lamentations 1--0--0
Ezekiel 4--2--0
Daniel 2--0--0
Amos 1--0--0
Micah 1--0--0
Haggai 1--0--0
Zechariah 2--0--0
Matthew 2--0--0
Mark 1--0--0
Luke 4--1--0
Acts 1--0--0
1 Corinthians 1--0--0
Ephesians 1--1--0
Colossians 1--0--0
Hebrews 0--2--0
Philemon 1--0--0
1 Peter 1--0--0
Judith 1--0--0
Esdras 8--2--1
1 Maccabees 10--4--0
2 Macc 2--1--0
4 Ezra 0--10--0
Sirach 2--1--0
Wisdom of Solomon 1--0--0
Tobit 3--1--0

And finally, here's the list of all forms, in reading sequence, so that anyone can test other hypotheses for themselves.

The builded/built dataset
First Westminster Company
Genesis 4.17 he builded a city
Genesis 8.20 Noah builded an altar
Genesis 10.11 and builded Nineveh
Genesis 11.5 which the children of men builded
Genesis 12.7 there builded he an altar
Genesis 12.8 there he builded an altar
Genesis 13.18 and built there an altar
Genesis 22.9 Abraham built an altar
Genesis 26.25 And he builded an altar
Genesis 33.17 and built him an house
Genesis 35.7 And he built there an altar
Exodus 1.12 And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities
Exodus 17.15 And Moses built an altar
Exodus 24.4 and builded an altar
Exodus 32.5 he built an altar before it
Numbers 13.22 Hebron was built seven years before Zoan
Numbers 21.27 let the city of Sihon be built
Numbers 23.14 and built seven altars
Numbers 32.34 the children of Gad built Dibon
Numbers 32.37 and the children of Reuben built Heshbon
Numbers 32.38 and gave other names unto the cities which they builded
Deuteronomy 6.10 cities, which thou buildedst not
Deuteronomy 8.12 hast built goodly houses
Deuteronomy 13.16 it shall not be built again
Deuteronomy 20.5 that hath built a new house
Joshua 8.30 Then Joshua built an altar
Joshua 19.50 he built the city
Joshua 22.10 the half tribe of Manasseh built there an altar
Joshua 22.11 the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar
Joshua 22.16 ye have builded you an altar
Joshua 22.23 we have built us an altar
Joshua 24.13 cities which ye built not
Judges 1.26 and built a city
Judges 6.24 Then Gideon built an altar there
Judges 6.28 upon the altar that was built
Judges 18.28 and they built a city
Judges 21.4 and built there an altar
Ruth 4.11 which two did build the house of Israel
1 Samuel 7.17 and there he built an altar
1 Samuel 14.35 And Saul built an altar... that he built
2 Samuel 5.9 And David built round about from Millo
2 Samuel 5.11 they built David an house
2 Samuel 24.25 And David built there an altar
1 Kings 3.2 there was no house built unto the name of the Lord
1 Kings 6.2 the house which king Solomon built for the Lord
1 Kings 6.5 he built chambers
1 Kings 6.7 And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone
1 Kings 6.9 So he built the house
1 Kings 6.10 And then he built chambers
1 Kings 6.14 So Solomon built the house, and finished it
1 Kings 6.15 And he built the walls of the house
1 Kings 6.16 And he built twenty cubits... he even built
1 Kings 6.36 And he built the inner court
1 Kings 7.2 He built also the house of the forest of Lebanon
1 Kings 8.13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in
1 Kings 8.20 and have built an house
1 Kings 8.27 how much less this house that I have builded
1 Kings 8.43 this house, which I have builded
1 Kings 8.44 the house that I have built for thy name
1 Kings 8.48 the house which I have built for thy name
1 Kings 9.3 this house, which thou hast built
1 Kings 9.10 when Solomon had built the two houses
1 Kings 9.17 And Solomon built Gezer
1 Kings 9.24 her house which Solomon had built for her
1 Kings 9.25 the altar which he built
1 Kings 10.4 the house that he had built
1 Kings 11.7 Then did Solomon build an high place
1 Kings 11.27 Solomon built Millo
1 Kings 11.38 as I built for David
1 Kings 12.25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem ... and built Penuel
1 Kings 14.23 they also built them high places
1 Kings 15.17 and built Ramah
1 Kings 15.22 timber, wherewith Baasha had builded
1 Kings 15.22 and king Asa built with them Geba
1 Kings 15.23 and the cities which he built
1 Kings 16.24 and built on the hill ... the city which he built
1 Kings 16.32 the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria
1 Kings 16.34 In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho
1 Kings 18.32 he built an altar
1 Kings 22.39 all the cities that he built
2 Kings 14.22 He built Elath
2 Kings 15.35 He built the higher gate
2 Kings 16.11 And Urijah the priest built an altar
2 Kings 16.18 that they had built in the house
2 Kings 17.9 and they built them high places
2 Kings 21.3 For he built up again the high places
2 Kings 21.4 And he built altars
2 Kings 21.5 And he built altars
2 Kings 23.13 which Solomon the king of Israel had builded
2 Kings 25.1 they built forts around it
First Cambridge Company
1 Chronicles 6.10 the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem
1 Chronicles 6.32 until Solomon had built the house
1 Chronicles 7.24 Sherah, who built Bethhoron
1 Chronicles 8.12 Shamed, who built Ono
1 Chronicles 11.8 And he built the city round about
1 Chronicles 17.6 Why have ye not built me an house to dwell in
1 Chronicles 21.26 And David built there an altar
1 Chronicles 22.5 and the house that is to be builded
1 Chronicles 22.19 the house that is to be built
2 Chronicles 6.2 I have built an house
2 Chronicles 6.10 and have built the house
2 Chronicles 6.18 this house which I have built
2 Chronicles 6.33 this house which I have built
2 Chronicles 6.34 the house which I have built
2 Chronicles 6.38 the house which I have built
2 Chronicles 8.1 at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the Lord
2 Chronicles 8.2 That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them
2 Chronicles 8.4 And he built ... all the store cities, which he built in Hamath
2 Chronicles 8.5 Also he built Bethhoron the upper
2 Chronicles 8.11 the house that he had built for her
2 Chronicles 8.12 the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch
2 Chronicles 9.3 the house that he had built
2 Chronicles 11.5 And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities
2 Chronicles 11.6 He built even Bethlehem
2 Chronicles 14.6 And he built fenced cities in Judah
2 Chronicles 14.7 So they built and prospered
2 Chronicles 16.1 and built Ramah
2 Chronicles 16.6 and he built therewith Geba
2 Chronicles 17.12 and he built in Judah castles
2 Chronicles 20.8 And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary
2 Chronicles 26.2 He built Eloth
2 Chronicles 26.6 and built cities
2 Chronicles 26.9 Uzziah built towers
2 Chronicles 26.10 Also he built towers in the desert
2 Chronicles 27.3 He built the high gate of the house of the Lord
2 Chronicles 27.4 Moreover he built cities in the mountains of Judah, and in the forests he built castles and towers
2 Chronicles 32.5 he ... built up all the wall that was broken
2 Chronicles 33.3 he built again the high places
2 Chronicles 33.4 Also he built altars in the house of the Lord
2 Chronicles 33.5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven
2 Chronicles 33.14 he built a wall without the city of David
2 Chronicles 33.15 all the altars that he had built
2 Chronicles 33.19 the places wherein he built high places,
2 Chronicles 35.3 the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build
Ezra 3.2 and builded the altar of the God of Israel
Ezra 4.1 the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple
Ezra 4.13 if this city be builded
Ezra 4.16 if this city be builded again
Ezra 4.21 Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded
Ezra 5.8 the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones
Ezra 5.11 build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up
Ezra 5.15 and let the house of God be builded in his place
Ezra 6.3 Let the house be builded
Ezra 6.14 And the elders of the Jews builded... And they builded
Nehemiah 3.1 they builded the sheep gate
Nehemiah 3.2 And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri
Nehemiah 3.3 But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build
Nehemiah 3.13 they built it
Nehemiah 3.14 he built it
Nehemiah 3.15 he built it
Nehemiah 4.1 when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall
Nehemiah 4.6 So built we the wall
Nehemiah 4.17 They which builded on the wall
Nehemiah 4.18 every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded
Nehemiah 6.1 heard that I had builded the wall
Nehemiah 7.1 when the wall was built
Nehemiah 7.4 the houses were not builded
Nehemiah 12.29 the singers had builded them villages round about Jerusalem
Job 12.14 he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again
Job 20.19 he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not
Job 22.23 If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up
Psalms 78.69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces
Psalms 89.2 Mercy shall be built up for ever
Psalms 122.3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together
Proverbs 9.1 Wisdom hath builded her house
Proverbs 24.3 Through wisdom is an house builded
Ecclesiastes 2.4 I builded me houses
Ecclesiastes 9.14 there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it
Song of Solomon 4.4 Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury
First Oxford Company
Isaiah 5.2 and built a tower in the midst of it
Isaiah 25.2 it shall never be built
Isaiah 44.26 Ye shall be built
Isaiah 44.28 Thou shalt be built
Jeremiah 7.31 they have built the high places of Tophet
Jeremiah 12.16 then shall they be built in the midst of my people
Jeremiah 19.5 They have built also the high places of Baal
Jeremiah 30.18 the city shall be builded upon her own heap
Jeremiah 31.4 Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built
Jeremiah 31.38 the city shall be built
Jeremiah 32.31 from the day that they built it even unto this day
Jeremiah 32.35 And they built the high places of Baal
Jeremiah 45.4 that which I have built will I break down
Jeremiah 52.4 and built forts against it round about
Lamentations 3.5 He hath builded against me
Ezekiel 13.10 one built up a wall
Ezekiel 16.24 thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place
Ezekiel 16.25 thou hast built thy high place
Ezekiel 26.14 thou shalt be built no more
Ezekiel 36.10 the wastes shall be builded
Ezekiel 36.33 the wastes shall be builded
Daniel 4.30 Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom
Daniel 9.25 the street shall be built again
Amos 5.11 ye have built houses of hewn stone
Micah 7.11 In the day that thy walls are to be built
Haggai 1.2 The time is not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built
Zechariah 1.16 my house shall be built in it
Zechariah 8.9 that the temple might be built
Second Oxford Company
Matthew 7.24 unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock
Matthew 7.26 a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
Matthew 21.33 and built a tower
Mark 12.1 and built a tower
Luke 4.29 whereon their city was built
Luke 6.48 a man which built an house
Luke 6.49 a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth
Luke 7.5 he hath built us a synagogue
Luke 17.28 they planted, they builded
Acts 7.47 But Solomon built him an house
Second Westminster Company
1 Corintians 3.14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon
Ephesians 2.20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets
Ephesians 2.22 In whom ye also are builded together
Colossians 2.7 Rooted and built up in him
Hebrews 3.3 he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house
Hebrews 3:4 For every house is builded by some man
Philemon 3:4 but he that built all things is God
1 Peter 2.5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house
Second Cambridge Company
Judith 2 And built in Ecbatane walls
Esdras 1.3 the house that king Solomon the son of David had built
Esdras 2.24 if this city be built again
Esdras 4.51 until the time that it were built;
Esdras 4.55 them until the day that the house were finished, and Jerusalem builded up
Esdras 5.53 the temple of the Lord was not yet built
Esdras 5.58 So the workmen built the temple of the Lord
Esdras 5.67 they that were of the captivity did build the temple unto the Lord God of Israel
Esdras 6.14 it was builded many years ago
Esdras 6.19 that the temple of the Lord should be built in his place.
Esdras 6.24 the house of the Lord at Jerusalem should be built again
Esdras 6.28 I have commanded also to have it built up whole again
1 Maccabees 1.14 Whereupon they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem
1 Maccabees 1.33 Then builded they the city of David
1 Maccabees 1.54 and builded idol altars
1 Maccabees 4.47 and built a new altar
1 Maccabees 4.60 At that time also they builded up the mount Sion with high walls
1 Maccabees 5.1 the altar was built
1 Maccabees 10.12 the strangers, that were in the fortresses which Bacchides had built
1 Maccabees 13.27 Simon also built a monument
1 Maccabees 13.33 Then Simon built up the strong holds in Judea
1 Maccabees 13.38 the strong holds, which ye have builded
1 Maccabees 13.48 and built therein a dwellingplace
1 Maccabees 15.7 fortresses that thou hast built
1 Maccabees 16.9 Cedron, which Cendebeus had built
1 Maccabees 16.15 Docus, which he had built
2 Maccabees 1.18 after that he had builded the temple
2 Maccabees 4.12 For he built gladly a place of exercise
2 Maccabees 10.2 the altars which the heathen had built in the open street
4 Ezra 5.25 and of all builded cities thou hast hallowed Sion unto thyself
4 Ezra 7.6 A city is builded
4 Ezra 8.52 a city is builded
4 Ezra 9.24 where no house is builded
4 Ezra 10.27 there was a city builded
4 Ezra 10.42 there appeared unto thee a city builded
4 Ezra 10.44 even she whom thou seest as a city builded
4 Ezra 10.46 after thirty years Solomon builded the city
4 Ezra 10.51 the field where no house was builded
4 Ezra 13.36 being prepared and builded
Sirach 1.15 She hath built an everlasting foundation with men
Sirach 49.12 who in their time builded the house
Sirach 50.2 And by him was built from the foundation the double height
Wisdom of Solomon 14.2 the workman built it by his skill
Tobit 1.4 the temple of the habitation of the most High was consecrated and built for all ages
Tobit 13.10 that his tabernacle may be builded in thee again with joy
Tobit 13.16 For Jerusalem shall be built up with sapphires
Tobit 14.5 the house of God shall be built in it for ever


BarryP said...

This is a very gracious thing you have taken the time to do. It is an excellent post.

Given that another layer exists in the word choices found in the KJV (translation from the source languages Hebrew and Greek), any supposed differences must take the original tenses into consideration.

It has been shown in at least one two passages speaking of the same event (1Kings 8.27/2Chr 6:18) that "built" and "builded" share the same Hebrew grammatical tense, word position and syntax.

Translators do have a range of choices in many words with variant spellings.

Anonymous said...

My colleague and I were discussing about this variation. I thought it could be consistency in pronunciation although some suggested that the meanings have minor differences.

awake > awoke > awoken
awake > awaken > awakened

Which is preferred?

DC said...

This is off-topic in this post, and in any case is quite a large issue in its own right. All I can say here is to note that there are important collocational differences between the verbs 'wake', 'awake', and 'waken', in their various forms. There has been quite a lot of discussion of this online.

bunches of yarn said...

I appreciate, so much, the results of your research. I know the figures are slightly different in my searches because I did not include the Apocryphal books--which are between the OT and NT in my KJB 1611.
I love to study words, and have enjoyed your blog for some time.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge, it is refreshing in blogland. ^__^

John said...

Both forms are found in corresponding lines of each stanza of Blake's 'Jerusalem' (1804):

(1) And was Jerusalem *builded* here, among these dark satanic mills.

(2) Till we have *built* Jerusalem, in England's green & pleasant Land

Probably the variation was dictated mainly by the needs of the metre, but the passive/active contrast is interesting.