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).

LORD of hosts

The Hebrew that is translated as “Lord of hosts” in English (or: “Yahweh of Armies” [translation by John Goldingay, 2018], “Hashem, Master of Legions” [ArtScroll Tanakh translation, 2011]) is translated in various ways: It’s translated as “God the Highest Ruler” in Kankanaey, as “Lord Almighty” in Newari, as Mndewa Imulungu or “Lord with all power” in Kutu (source: Pioneer Bible Translators, project-specific translation notes in Paratext), as Wànjūnzhī Yēhéhuá (万军之耶和华) or “Jehovah of 10,000 [=all] armies” in Mandarin Chinese, as “Yawe God of the universe” in Mandinka, and in the German (Luther) Bible the second part of the name is transliterated: Herr Zebaoth or “Lord Zebaoth” (Swedish, Finnish and Latvian use the same translation strategy). The Russian Orthodox Synod translation uses a transliteration of the second part of the designation as well: Господь Саваоф / Gospod’ Savaof.

The traditional French translation of l’Eternel/Yahve/le Seigneur/Seigneur des armées (“Lord of the armies”) presents a problem when listened to, as Jean-Marc Babut explains (in The Bible Translator 1985, p. 411ff. ):

“For the hearer, the traditional translation l’Eternel/Yahve/le Seigneur des armées can easily be taken in a bad sense: there is nothing, in fact, to prevent the listener from hearing l’Eternel désarmé, ‘the Eternal One disarmed’ or ‘stripped of his power’! (…). Thus the Bible en français courant [publ. 1997] has decided to use the expression Seigneur/Dieu de l’univers, “Lord/God of the Universe”. This formula, which has an undeniably liturgical ring, seems to have been favorably received by users.”

Other, later French Bibles who have chosen a similar strategy, include Parole de Vie (publ. 2017) with Seigneur de l’univers or Bible Segond 21 (publ. 2007) with l’Eternel, le maître de l’univers.

See also Lord of hosts, host / powers, Pantokrator, and Lord Almighty.