Biblical language question (KJV): Why does it say "when the wine giveth *his* color in the cup?

From the Book of Proverbs, here.

While the message here is simple enough, I’ve always wondered why, in this passage:

(bolding mine)

the pronoun his is used. I’m reasonably certain that the gender of “wine” in Old English was masculine, just as der Wein is in German today. But I thought all traces of grammatical gender had disappeared from English long before the KJV was published.

In the page I linked to, other translations of the passage say “its color”, or are reworded to eliminate the need for any possessive pronoun, but I’d say the KJV wording is still the most familiar to a great many people, religious or not.

Was the “his” just a clerical–hah!–error that stuck?

WAG - retcon to provide continuity with the wine = blood conflation in the New Testament?

“His” was the Middle English form of “its”.

The scholars that wrote the KJV were all fairly old and the language they used was considered old fashioned at the time (early 17th century) it was written. So it shouldn’t be too surprising they used an old form of this pronoun.

Note that Shakespeare wrote his plays in the same era (a few years earlier) and you will also find some of those MIddle English pronouns used in some of his plays.

Similar usage occurs in Matthew26:52 in the KJV.

This usage goes back to Chaucer, even:
“Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote.”

Right. The KJV actually mostly tries to avoid using either “its” or the older “his.” The translation instead uses “thereof” quite a lot. Apparently this didn’t work in a few places.

Also, the language was intentionally older for another reason–older language was considered more respectful and even poetic. And one of the purposes of the KJV was to make a version that sounded “good” when read aloud.

In my limited bible studies I’ve heard my former pastors say that for the OT (applies to the OT only, not the NT), one of the more accurate translations from the original language (Greek? Aramaic? - can’t recall exactly, but anyway…) is the RSV translation.

(RSV) Prov 23:31
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly

Bible, Revised Standard Version)

The KJV has some beautiful language, especially Psalm 23 which IMO is the only way to say it, but apparently isn’t as accurate as the RSV for the OT.