heaven is my throne and earth my footstool

The Greek and Hebrew that is typically translated as “heaven is my throne and earth my footstool” in English is translated in the following ways:

  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “heaven is where I have my power and earth is also where I have my power”
  • Highland Popoluca: “heaven I rule, earth I rule also”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “as a chair where kings sit is heaven where I sit. As is a low stool where my feet rest, is the earth”
  • San Mateo del Mar Huave: “if I wished, heaven could serve as my seat, and I could use the earth as a place to rest my feet if I wanted” (source for this and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
  • Kankanaey: “In heaven is where I sit to rule, and the world, that’s where-I-stretch-out-my-legs.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “The heavens really are my seat in kingship. The world is just the stepping-stool of my feet,” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

stiff-necked, uncircumcised in heart and ears

The phrase that is translated into English as “you stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears” is translated into Afar as “You dry stones that nothing enters, and people who have hearts that refuse God, and ears closed saying we didn’t hear God’s message.” (stiff-necked > dry stones, uncircumcised in heart > hearts that refuse God, uncircumcised ears > ears closed to hearing God’s message) (Source: Loren Bliese)

Other translations for “uncircumcised in heart and ears” include:

  • Rincón Zapotec: “it doesn’t enter your hearts or your ears. You are like those who don’t even believe”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “hard are your hearts and not a little bit open are your ears”
  • Morelos Nahuatl: “you have your heart as unbelievers, you do not want to hear God’s word”
  • Highland Popoluca: “you never wanted to do God’s will, never truly believed”
  • Teutila Cuicatec: “you are just the same as those who do not believe God’s word because you do not obey”
  • Huichol: “you have not been marked with God’s sign in your hearts or in your ears (you are unruly and unsubmissive like an untamed, unbranded bronco)”
  • Ojitlán Chinantec: “you do not have the word-sign in your hearts. Your ears are clogged”
  • Copainalá Zoque: “you just don’t understand”
  • Isthmus Mixe: “your hearts and minds are not open” (source for this and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
  • Kaqchikel: “with your hearts unprepared” (Source: Nida 1964, p. 220)

brother and fathers

The Greek that is translated as “brothers and fathers” in English is translated in Purari as “younger and older brothers.” (Source: David Clark)

In Teutila Cuicatec it is “all of you, officials of our nation and my brothers,” in Isthmus Mixe “old men and brothers (according to order of respect), in Lalana Chinantec “companions, men,” in Eastern Highland Otomi “you men, fathers,” in Chichimeca-Jonaz “you who are our relatives, and you whom I made my fathers,” in Highland Popoluca “my older uncles,” and in Rincón Zapotec “elders and brothers.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

anoint (chrió)

The Greek chrió that is translated as “anoint” in English is translated in Chol as “choose.”

Wilbur Aulie (in The Bible Translator 1957, p. 109ff.) explains: “Another illustration of translating a figure in a non-figurative manner is the treatment of chrió ‘anoint’. In Luke 4:18, Acts 4:27 and 10:38, and in 2 Corinthians 1:21 it is metaphorical of consecration to office by God. We translated the metaphor ‘choose’.”

Other translations include “place as Savior” in Highland Popoluca, “appoint to rule” in Coatlán Mixe, “give work to do” in Tepeuxila Cuicatec, or “give office to be our Savior” in Chuj (source of this and four above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.).

tongues as of fire

The Greek that is translated as “tongues as of fire” or similar in English is translated as “it was seen like little fires” in Eastern Highland Otomi, “like little balls of fire” in Rincón Zapotec, and as “little things like points of fire” in Highland Popoluca. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)


The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “witness” in English is translated as “truly have seen” in Highland Popoluca, as “telling the truth regarding something (Eastern Highland Otomi), as “know something” in Lalana Chinantec, as “verily know something to be the truth” in San Mateo del Mar Huave, as we ourselves saw this Desano, as “tell the truth about something in Eastern Highland Otomi, as “know something is true because of seeing it” in Teutila Cuicatec. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

enslave and maltreat

The Greek that is translates as “enslave (them) and maltreat (them)” or similar in English is translated in the following ways:

  • Lalana Chinantec: “they will become servants of other people, servant who don’t have any pay. The other people will mistreat them”
  • Teutila Cuicatec: “mistreat them and force them to work for them”
  • Desano: “they will help in the work like slaves and the people will scold them and beat them hard”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “they will be servants and have suffering”
  • Ayutla Mixtec: “will take your sons to be their property and will make them suffer”
  • Isthmus Mixe: “would be made laborers by force and be mistreated”
  • Highland Popoluca: “work them hard but not pay them” (source for this and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

complete verse (Acts 7:45)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 7:45:

  • Uma: “Some time after that, our ancestors died in that wilderness. And their children brought that worship tent into this land of Kanaan. At that time, God expelled the inhabitants of Kanaan, and Yosua lead the Israel people to win/obtain this land that we dwell in now. So, that worship tent was still in the midst of the Israel people long ago until the time of King Daud.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Then they left that house to their descendants for-many-generations. And our (incl.) forefathers brought it when they and Yussa’ entered into this land, after God had driven away the other nations/tribes that were living here. And that house was still here until-during the time when Da’ud was king.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And a long time after that as for the children of these ancestors of ours, when they inherited that shelter where God lived, they did not abandon it in their following Joshua when they came into this our land. And they came to own this land when God drove out the previous inhabitants here. And the dwelling place of God was still here when David began to rule.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “When Moses died, Josue took-his-place to lead them in their coming to this country. And that-aforementioned Tent which they inherited, they took-it-with-them in their taking-over the land of those who originally/formerly resided here whom God drove-out. And that-aforementioned Tent, it remained in our country until the time of King David.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “It was inherited by their childen who were then being led by Josue who succeeded Moises. They brought it with them when they entered this land which became theirs, when they drove out the previous inhabitants with the help of God. That really was their handed-down worship-place of God till the time of king David.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Highland Popoluca: “When Moses died, Joshua was chosen that he would lead our brothers passed-by (forefathers). And Joshua took our brothers from the desert to the land promised them by God. When they arrived there the land was occupied. But God put out these people that our forefathers should be able to go in. For a long time they the Israel people had their cloth house until David was their leader.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)