high places

The Hebrew that is translated as “high places” in English is translated in Chitonga as malende. Ernst Wendland (1987, p. 57) explains: “The preceding expression [‘place for worship/sacrifice on top of hills’], though intelligible linguistically, sounds rather strange to the Tonga who live on the relatively flat plains of southern Zambia. There are ‘hills’ in their country, but normally no one would ever worship regularly there. For this reason the new translation will try out a cultural substitute (see below), malende, the ‘local shrine’ of Tonga traditional religion, where the ‘priest’ (clan head, who may be a chief as well) makes sacrifices to the spirits in time of corporate calamity, especially drought. This would seem to approximate quite closely the main elements of both form and function of the term ‘high places’ in the Old Testament, which were not always or even usually set upon hills, especially in the latter days of the monarchy (cp. 2 Kings 17:9, 29).”

In the Chichewa interconfessional translation (publ. 1999), it is translated as “shrines for worshiping images there.” (Source: Ernst Wendland in The Bible Translator 2002, p. 319ff. )