inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Josh. 9:19)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). (Click or tap here to see more details)

The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).

For this verse, Bratcher / Newman recommend the inclusive form (including the leaders and the congregation). The Jarai translation and the Adamawa Fulfulde translation use the exclusive pronoun in the first part (“We have sworn” in English) and the inclusive form in the second part (“we must not touch them” in English).

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Josh. 9:20)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). (Click or tap here to see more details)

The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).

For this verse, both the Jarai translation and the Adamawa Fulfulde translation use the inclusive pronoun (including the leaders and the congregation).

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Josh. 22:19)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). (Click or tap here to see more details)

The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).

For this verse, both the Jarai translation and the Adamawa Fulfulde translation use the inclusive pronoun (including the priest, the ten chiefs and the people they are representing).

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Josh. 22:31)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). (Click or tap here to see more details)

The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).

For this verse, Bratcher / Newman recommend the us of the inclusive form (including the priest, the chiefs and the ones who are being addressed). The Jarai translation and the Adamawa Fulfulde translation, however, use the exclusive pronoun for the first occurrence (“today we know” in English) and the inclusive pronoun for the second occurrence (“is among us” in English).

Translation commentary on Joshua 2:16

The hill country would be the region on the west side of the Jordan River.

It may be more effective to place the two commands GoHide in closer relation to one another; for example, “Go into the hill country and hide, so that the king’s men will not find you. Stay (hidden) there….”

As the spies leave, she advises them to stay hidden in the hills for three days, that is, until two days later (see 1.11). For three days until they come back may be translated, “They will look for you for three days, and then will come back.”

After that, you can go on your way may be translated “After they return, you can go safely back to your camp.”

Quoted with permission from Bratcher, Robert G. and Newman, Barclay M. A Handbook on Joshua. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 1983. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

Translation commentary on Joshua 4:14

Verse 14 tells how the promise made in 3.7 is fulfilled (see also 1.5, 17). The Hebrew verb translated honored means basically “to fear, to be in awe of”; Revised Standard Version “stood in awe of”; An American Translation, New English Bible “revered”; New American Bible “respected.” The first sentence of this verse in Good News Translation represents considerable restructuring of the text, which in Hebrew is more literally rendered by Revised Standard Version, “On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel.” The means by which the Lord “exalted” Joshua (Revised Standard Version) was the miraculous act of bringing the people of Israel across the Jordan River, and the Good News Translation restructuring represents an attempt to make this meaning explicit. The verb “exalted” is represented in Good News Translation by made … consider … a great man. One may translate the first part of the verse “On that day the LORD placed Joshua in high esteem among the Israelites.”

Quoted with permission from Bratcher, Robert G. and Newman, Barclay M. A Handbook on Joshua. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 1983. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

Translation commentary on Joshua 6:19

All the metal objects were to be placed in the LORD’s treasury (see verse 24). Good News Translation is set apart for the LORD translates the Hebrew phrase “is holy to the LORD,” which means that all those metal utensils were to be used in the Israelite worship ceremonies: they were sacred vessels and were not to be used for ordinary purposes. A translation should make clear the distinction between “be holy to the LORD” and “be devoted (for destruction) to the LORD.”

Everything made of … is set apart for the LORD may be translated as an active: “Set apart for the LORD everything made of….” The passive structure It is to be put … may also be rendered as an active “We will put it….”

Quoted with permission from Bratcher, Robert G. and Newman, Barclay M. A Handbook on Joshua. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 1983. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

Translation commentary on Joshua 8:1

Now that Israel has been purged of sin, the Lord is ready to allow the Israelites to capture the city of Ai. He orders Joshua to proceed (verses 1-2). Joshua explains his strategy to his troops (verses 3-9), and the next day the campaign against the city is successfully executed. The city is captured and destroyed, and all its inhabitants, including the king, are killed (verses 10-29). Thus the Lord again demonstrates his invincible power, to which the ruins of the city and the huge pile of stones over the king’s grave are eloquent if mute witnesses.

Good News Translation rearranges the sequence of God’s instructions to Joshua by placing the command Take all the soldiers with you and go on up to Ai as the first part of God’s instructions. For the actual order of the Hebrew, see Revised Standard Version, which begins with the command for Joshua not to be afraid.

All the soldiers may be translated “all the soldiers of Israel” or “all your soldiers.” And the command go on up to Ai may need to be more specific: “attack the city of Ai a second time.” In Hebrew the natural way of saying this would be to use the directive “go up,” because the cities of Ancient Palestine were customarily built on hills or mountains for the sake of protection.

The Lord says to Joshua, Don’t be afraid or discouraged (as in 1.9), for he, the Lord, will give Joshua and his men victory. The Hebrew verbs translated be afraid and discouraged are virtually synonyms, except that the verb translated discouraged literally means “be shattered” or “be filled with terror.” This is a very strong formula in Hebrew, and it should be rendered in a way which is most effective in the receptor language, whether with a single verb or with two verbs. If the pattern of Good News Translation is followed, one may translate “Do not be afraid of the people of Ai! Do not be discouraged because of what happened before!” Using a single verb one may render “Do not be frightened!” or “Do not be the least bit frightened!”

The city, its king, his people, and all his land will be handed over to Joshua (Revised Standard Version “I have given into your hand”). Give you victory over and will be yours translate the one verb rendered “given into your hand” by Revised Standard Version. Many languages will have quite vivid idioms for describing power over one’s enemies. It may be more effective if a single verb is used; for example, “I have placed in your power the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.”

Quoted with permission from Bratcher, Robert G. and Newman, Barclay M. A Handbook on Joshua. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 1983. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .