flesh (John 1:14)

The Greek that is translated in English as “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” is translated into Arop-Sissano as “God’s Talk became a person lamat and lived among us.”

Nystrom explains: “In Arop, if you want to talk about the real essence of something — its most important part — you talk about the lamat of it. Arops say, ‘I don’t want to tell you everything they said at the meeting, but the talk lamat is like this,’ and they proceeded to tell you the main point of what was said.” (Nystrom 2012, p. 198f.)

In the Danish Bibelen 2020, a Bible translation version intended for non-churched people, it is translated as menneske i kød og blod or “human in flesh and blood.” (Source: Iver Larsen)

See also true son in the faith, spirit / flesh, and flesh (human nature).

ark of the covenant

The Hebrew, Greek, and Latin that is sometimes translated as “ark of the covenant” in English (other English options: “pact chest” [translation by John Goldingay, 2018] or “Coffer of the Covenant” [translation by Everett Fox, 1995]) is translated in various ways:

  • Mairasi: Anasi Farjora or “Covenant Place” (source: Enggavoter 2004)
  • Uma: “Promise Box” (source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Covenant Chest” (source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Chest of the Agreement” (source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Chest of the Initiated-agreement” (source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Danish Bibelen 2020: kisten med den hellige aftale or “chest with the holy agreement” (source: Ehrensvärd in HIPHIL Novum 8/2023, p. 81ff. )

Following is reverse applique stitching (“mola”) by an unknown Guna artist depicting the ark:

Source: Sacred Art Pilgrim website .

In American Sign Language it is translated with a sign that combines “box” and the wings of the cherubim on top of the ark (see Exod 25:18 and following). (Source: RuthAnna Spooner, Ron Lawer)

“Ark of the covenant” in American Sign Language, source: Deaf Harbor

See also cherub and tabernacle (noun).

fear of the LORD (Isa 11:2)

The Hebrew that is translated as “fear of the Lord” in English is translated in the Danish Bibelen 2020 “love of God.”

Martin Ehrensvärd, one of the translators explains: “Another interesting case is Isaiah 11:2 where it says that the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. This last part, i.e. fear of God, we translate as ‘love of God’. That could be taking the biblical concept of fear a bit too far but I stand by it. Love probably at least was an aspect of the Hebrew concept of fear of God.” (Source: Ehrensvärd in HIPHIL Novum 8/2023, p. 81ff. )

See also fear (of God).

Send out your bread upon the waters - for after many days you will get it back.

The Danish Bibelen 2020 translates this as “Be generous to ungrateful people because you will receive your reward at some point.”

Martin Ehrensvärd, one of the translators explains: “The first text we worked on in 2013 was Ecclesiastes. We used it as a test case to find out how we would implement our principles. We agreed then that we couldn’t do anything about obscure texts such as the saying in Eccl. 11:1: ‘Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.’ It’s a proverb, known from other sources in antiquity, but we are not sure about the deeper meaning of it. But five years down line we decided, for better or worse, that we should also help the reader in such difficult cases, and so instead of saying anything about casting bread, we said: ‘Be generous to ungrateful people because you will receive your reward at some point.'” (Source: Ehrensvärd in HIPHIL Novum 8/2023, p. 81ff. )

acrostic in Psalm 112

The Hebrew text of Psalms 9/10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145 uses acrostics, a literary form in which each verse is started with one of the successive 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. According to Brenda Boerger (in Open Theology 2016, p. 179ff. ) there are three different reasons for acrostics in the Hebrew text: “for ease of memorization,” the representation “of the full breadth and depth of a topic, all the way from aleph to taw (tav),” and the perception of “the acrostic form as aesthetically attractive.” (p. 191)

While most translations mention the existence of an acrostic in a note or a comment, few implement it in their translation. The Natügu translation is one such exception. Boerger (see above) cites a strong tradition in singing the psalms and the fact that Natügu, like Hebrew, also has 22 possible initial letters as motivating factors to maintain the acrostics in that language.

Click or tap here for the complete psalm in Natügu

1 Awibzku mz Yawe! Murde amrlzle ncblo kx
Bilvzle natqde x amrluele nide.
2 Clvele mrnyzde kcng naxplrng mz nzaclve-krdr.
Doa nedeng kxnztubqng, sa na-amrlz Gct.
3 Esalz-ngrbz Gct bade da kxmrlzting kxkqlu.
Gct okatrle nide murde natubq.
4 Ipq ncblo lc kztedeng mz nzvz-nqblq-krde zmrlz ngrde, nzryckr drtwrde, x nztubq-krde.
Jzsle da kx naokatrle leplz kc-kzng, mz nzngini-krbzle lrpzki badr.
5 Kabzle da kxkqlu mz krkcng trnzrngiscung.
Lalztqbzle mz Gct x alele da kx rsakrlrngr mz nzwz-krde.
6 Murde ncblo kxtubq kxtr-rnrcti-lzbqu
Nadcpx zvz mz drtwr leplz.
7 Obqtipx-zvzle Yawe x
Prlxpxle kx nabzde trtaprlzpuu mz nrpa kxtrka.
8?Rnrcti-lzbq-ngrde? Trtingr, a’ tu-amqngile.
Sa namcle nzaovxiokr Yawe enqmi rdeng.
9 Tresakiu nzrka-krbzle da mz kxrsuti drtwr.
Vz zvz nzayzlu-krbz Gct bade mz nqmq krde lc tqtubq.
Wxbu me matq mz mzlir leplz.
10 X angya drtwr kxdrka’-ngrng mzli kc namc-ngrdr nide.
Ycpwz pipz kxdrka’-ngrng lcng sa namrbr, x mane nzmadqti-krdr nqngidr mz zngya.
Zbz da amrlx kcng tqmrlzbz badr sa nangitx brmrda x sa na-apulr zsikapu kx ngilia.

© 2008, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Danish Bibelen på Hverdagsdansk (publ. 1985, rev. 2015 et al.) also translated Psalm 112 into an acrostic. Due to the higher number of Danish letters, it skips the Danish letters C, Q, W, X, Z, Å, and Ø.

Click or tap here for the complete psalm in Danish

1 At adlyde Herren giver velsignelse.
Budene er til for at blive overholdt.
2 Du og dine efterkommere får fremgang og magt,
enhver, der handler ret, bliver velsignet.
3 Familien vil opleve velstand,
gode mennesker vil altid blive husket.
4 Herren gør de gudfrygtige til et lys midt i mørket,
især når de er venlige og barmhjertige.
5 Ja, velsignet er de gavmilde og hjælpsomme,
kendetegnet på deres handlinger er ærlighed.
6 Lever de sådan, får de styrke og fasthed,
mennesker med et godt ry bliver husket længe.
7 Når modgangen kommer, som kunne skabe frygt,
opgiver de ikke, for de stoler på Herren.
8 På trods af fjendens angreb
rider de stormen af og ender med sejr.
9 Sådanne mennesker giver gavmildt til dem, der er i nød,
taknemmelighed og ære bliver dem til del,
uselvisk godhed vil aldrig blive glemt.
10 Ved at se en sådan velsignelse bliver de gudløse vrede.
Ynkeligt sidder de tilbage med tomme hænder,
ærgrelsen står malet i deres ansigter.

Copyright © 1985, 1992, 2005, 2013, 2015 by Biblica, Inc.®

In the Zürich German dialect (Züritüütsch) of Swiss German, the Psalms were translated while maintaining the acrostic by Josua Boesch (publ. 2009 ).

Click or tap here for the complete psalm in Zürich German

1 Halleluja!
Am beschte gaat s dèm, wo uufrächt vor IMM labt,
Bi siine wiisige bliibt vo ganzem hèrze.
2 Chasch dèm sini naachkome gaar nüme zele.
Die wèrded gsägnet als gschlächt vo de graade.
3 Er hat au riichtum und woolschtand im huus.
Für siini bewèèrig mues me nöd soorge, die blübt.
4 Graade straalt imer es liecht im tunkle:
Hoffnig, vertrouen und liebi.
5 Iich glaube dèm lieber, wo vo hdrze vertleent,
Kän fuule drèè macht mit sine sache.
6 Lueg nu, de uufrichtig cha me nöd legge.
Me wiird an en tänke dur gänerazione.
7 Nüüt mues er füürche vom bööse gschwätz.
Ooni en wank vertrout er uf INN.
8 Pass uuf, dè bliibt getrooscht, er hat ja nüüt z füürche.
Ruig chan er waarten uf s änd vo de find.
9 Still täilt er den aarmen und dürftigen uus.
Tröi bliibt d grächtigkäit biin em für imer.
Und gachtet wiird er vo ale.
10 Vill z tänke und èèrger git daas bi de rueche.
Wie sell s die nöd pötzli verjage vor wuet!
Zietscht schwiint ene jedi hoffnig uf s glück, wo s gmäint händ chönid s erzwänge.

The English Bible translation by Ronald Knox (publ. 1950) maintains almost every Hebrew acrostic (even though Knox’s translation itself is based on the Latin text of the Vulgate rather than the Hebrew). Due to the higher number of letters in the English alphabet, it skips the letter K, X, Y, and Z.

1 A blessed man is he, who fears the Lord, bearing great love to his commandments.
2 Children of his shall win renown in their country; do right, and thy sons shall find a blessing.
3 Ease shall dwell in his house, and great prosperity; fame shall ever record his bounty.
4 Good men see a light dawn in darkness; his light, who is merciful, kind and faithful.
5 It goes well with the man who lends in pity, just and merciful in his dealings.
6 Length of days shall leave him still unshaken; men will remember the just for ever.
7 No fear shall he have of evil tidings; on the Lord his hope is fixed unchangeably.
8 Patient his heart remains and steadfast, quietly he waits for the downfall of his enemies.
9 Rich are his alms to the needy; still his bounty abides in memory. The Lord will lift up his head in triumph;
10 ungodly men are ill content to see it. Vainly they gnash their teeth in envy; worldly hopes must fade and perish. (Source )

elder (of the community)

The Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that is typically translated as “elders” in English is translated in the Danish Bibelen 2020 as folkets ledere or “leaders of the people.”

Martin Ehrensvärd, one of the translators, explains: “The term ‘elder’ turned out to pose a particularly thorny problem. In traditional bibles, you can find elders all of over the place and they never pose a problem for a translator, they are just always elders. But how to find a contemporary term for this semi-official, complex position? This may have been our longest-standing problem. A couple of times we thought we had the solution, and then implemented it throughout the texts, only to find out that it didn’t work. Like when we used city council or village council, depending on the context. In the end we felt that the texts didn’t work with such official terms, and throughout the years in the desert, these terms didn’t make much sense. Other suggestions were ‘the eldest and wisest’, ‘the respected citizens’, ‘the Israelites with a certain position in society’, ‘the elder council’ –- and let me point out that these terms sound better in Danish than in English (‘de fremtrædende borgere,’ ‘de mest fremtrædende israelitter,’ ‘alle israelitter med en vis position,’ ‘de ældste og de klogeste,’ ‘ældsterådet’). In the end we just said ‘leaders of the people.’ After a lot of hand-wringing, it turned out that we actually found a term that worked well. So, we had to give up conveying the fact that they were old, but the most important point is that they were community leaders.” (Source: Ehrensvärd in HIPHIL Novum 8/2023, p. 81ff. )

The German das Buch translation by Roland Werner (publ. 2009-2022) translates likewise as “leader of the people” (Anführer des Volkes).

day and night

The Hebrew that is often translated in English as “day and night” or “all day and all night” is translated in Danish as døgn, a word that specifically refers a more or less 24-hour period including day and night (unlike dag which refers to the time of daylight). (Source: Iver Larsen)

Thus says the LORD: “By this you shall know that I am the LORD.”

The Hebrew that is translated as “Thus says the Lord, ‘By this you shall know that I am the Lord.’” or similar in English is translated in the Danish Bibelen på Hverdagsdansk (publ. 1985, rev. 2015 et al.) as “But now the God of the Hebrews [hebræernes Gud] is telling you: You will see that I am their God.”

Iver Larsen explains: “Each nation had their own god who should protect the people and fight their enemies. The people should then worship their god. Pharaoh knew his own gods, and YHWH was not one of them. However, he is told that this unknown god, called YHWH, is the God of the Hebrews, the God of Israel. YHWH will now show that he is fighting for his people, the Hebrews. He will also show that he is more powerful than the Egyptian gods. For the last sentence maybe we could say: By this you will know that I am the God of the Hebrews. The implication is that the Hebrews are his people and he is going to fight for them.”

Sabaot translate this phrase in connection with verse 16 as this: “When he arrives, tell him, ‘The God of the people of Israel has sent me to come and tell you to release my people to go and worship/bow to me there in the wilderness. But you have made your head hard (stubborn) until now. So, he has said that you shall today know/understand who/how he is through the amazing things he is going to do.” (Source: Iver Larsen)