What is a…
tenth deal in the King James Bible

also known as: 10th deal

Hebrew: עִשָּׂרוֹן —transliteration: issaron —meaning: a tenth part [of an ephah]; the fraction 1/10

The word “deal” is an added word used in the King James Version in a number of verses related to fractions of a dry measurement called an ephah.

For example, a “tenth deal” is 1/10th of an ephah, equal to an omer or six pints.

And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering. —Exodus 29:40 KJV

And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil. —Leviticus 14:10

In the King James Version, the word deal is also mentioned in:

1/10thLeviticus 14:21 KJV; Num. 15:4 KJV; Num. 29:4 KJV

Lev. 23:13 KJV; Lev. 23:17 KJV; Lev. 24:5 KJV; Num. 15:6 KJV; Num. 28:9 KJV; Num. 28:12; Num. 28:20 KJV; Num. 28:28 KJV; Num. 29:3 KJV; Num. 29:14 KJV; Num. 29:9 KJV


Num. 15:9 KJV; Num. 28:20 KJV; Num. 28:28 KJV; Num. 29:3 KJV; Num. 29:14 KJV; Num. 29:9 KJV

“several” 10ths

Num. 28:13 KJV; Num. 28:20-21 KJV; Num. 28:29 KJV; Num. 29:10 KJV; Num. 29:15 KJV

In the case of the “several tenths” of the KJV, the New King James Version differs. For example in Numbers 28:13:

KJV— “a several tenth deal of flour”
NKJV— “one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour”
NASB— “a tenth of an ephah of fine flour”

The same is true for all verses where the KJV says “several tenths;” it should read 1/10, as in the NKJV, NASB, ESV, etc.

See: Num. 28:13 NKJV; Num. 28:20-21 NKJV; Num. 28:29 NKJV; Num. 29:10 NKJV; Num. 29:15 NKJV

In the English of King James’ time, the word “several” did not mean more than a few, as it does today, rather it meant “each individual”—“each one separately” as in Revelation 21:21 KJV “every several gate was of one pearl.”

However, the word “deal” is not in the original Hebrew in these verses, just the tenth fraction. However, the fraction is implied to be of an ephah (“a measure” —word of of Egyptian origin). Therefore, most modern translations, including the New King James Version, simply use the word ephah with the fraction. Examples:

“one-tenth of an ephah” —Lev. 14:21 NKJV; Lev. 14:21 NASB

“a tenth of an ephah” —Lev. 14:21 ESV

Healed leper’s offering

To complete his purification, a recovered leper was required to bring a trespass offering, a sin offering, and a burnt offering, and to present a meal-offering, a tenth of an ephah or an omer of flour for each, with oil to make it into bread or cakes (Leviticus 14:10; 14:21; compare Exodus 16:36; 29:40).

More information

Article Version: July 29, 2021