King James Bible Translators
Personal and Family Life
Geoffrey King was born about 1567 in the London parish of St. Sepulchre, Newgate. His parents were Richard and Alice King. Richard was a prosperous cordwainer (leather merchant). Geoffrey had at least two brothers, Matthew and John, and two sisters, Mary and Isabell.
Geoffrey left home at an early age to begin his preparatory education at Eton. He continued his studies at Cambridge spending several decades there as student, teacher and scholar. In the course of his life King was given many positions of responsibility and trust including his role as one of the Translators of the King James Bible. He walked with royalty, as chaplain to King James I, and ministered to the poor as a parish priest.
Geoffrey King died in 1630 at age sixty-three. Whether he was married, or had children in unknown, as is his place of burial.
Geoffrey King received his preparatory training at Eton College, one of the outstanding schools of his time. In 1583 he moved from Eton to King's College, Cambridge for his university studies. There he graduated B.A. in 1588, he proceeded M.A. in 1594, and B.D. in 1599.
Geoffrey King's university career began in 1586 with his election as a fellow of King's College, a position he held for seventeen years. In 1595 at age twenty-nine he took on holy orders in London, being first ordained a deacon, and then priest. His first ecclesiastical offices were as curate of Caldwell, Essex, and rector of Edburton, Sussex (1602-6). He left his college fellowship in 1603. King later became vicar of Horsham, West Sussex (1605), and Lancaster, Lancashire (1609-30). He also was twice instituted as rector of Aldingham, Lancashire (1615 and 1623), but never served .
After his selection as a Translator, he was named regius professor of Hebrew at Cambridge (1607-8). He also served as chaplain to Bishop Richard Bancroft, and to King James. The position he occupied at the time of his death in 1630 was vicar of St. Mary's church, Lancaster.
Geoffrey King and the Translation
Geoffrey King was a member of Lancelot Andrewes' First Westminster Company which had responsibility for translating the first twelve books of the Old Testament. He had been a student at Cambridge when Edward Lively, the preeminent Hebraist of his time, held the regius professorship in Hebrew. Likely, King was taught and mentored by Lively. His appointment as regius professor in 1607 demonstrates the confidence the king and fellow Translators had in his scholarly abilities, particularly his knowledge of Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament. How the First Westminster Company approached the task of translation and their division of labor and individual roles in the effort, is unknown. Certainly each Translator reviewed the work of his own company as well as having the opportunity to scrutinize the translations of the other companies. It was a great collaborative endeavor in which Geoffrey King played a significant part.