What is “leasing” in the King James Bible?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The word “leasing” is found twice in the Authorized Version. Both occurrences are in the Book of Psalms. “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah” (4:2). “Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man” (5:6).

We often think of “leasing” in terms of finance or business—that is, renting, or paying to use another’s property. Of course, if applied to the Scriptures above, this sense is nonsense. “Leasing,” in the Bible, is something spoken (Psalm 5:6). Let us try using the context to understand what is going on here. Scanning Psalm 4 is of no help, but Psalm 5 says in verse 9: “For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.” Anything spoken that is not faithful is something not worthy of our faith or trust. In other words, it is a lie. As you might have guessed, our English term “leasing” (in the Bible sense) is derived from an Old English word “leasung,” from “leasian” (“to lie”), itself from “leas” (“false”).

The Hebrew word is “kazab,” and was rendered “lies,” “lying,” “deceitful,” “false,” and “liar” nearly 30 times in our King James Bible (Judges 16:10,13; Psalm 40:4; Psalm 58:3; Psalm 62:4,9; Proverbs 6:19; Proverbs 14:5,25; Proverbs 19:5,9,22; Proverbs 21:28; Proverbs 23:3; Proverbs 30:8; Isaiah 28:15,17; Ezekiel 13:6-9,19; Ezekiel 21:29; Ezekiel 22:28; Daniel 11:27; Hosea 7:13; Hosea 12:1; Amos 2:4; Zephaniah 3:13).

Also see:
» Is “corn” a mistake in the King James Bible?
» Why does the King James Bible say, “pisseth against the wall?”
» Is “rooms” a King James Bible mistake in Matthew 23:6?