The Hebrew, Latin and the Greek that is translated into English as “chariot” is translated into Anuak as “canoe pulled by horse.” “Canoe” is the general term for “vehicle” (source: Loren Bliese). In Eastern Highland Otomi it’s translated as “cart pulled by horses” (source: Larson 1998, p. 98)

In Chichicapan Zapotec it is translated as “ox cart” (in Acts 8). Ox carts are common vehicles for travel. (Source: Loren Bliese)

In Chichimeca-Jonaz, it is translated as “little house with two feet pulled by two horses.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

It is illustrated for use in Bible translations in East Africa by Pioneer Bible Translators like this:

Image owned by PBT and Jonathan McDaniel and licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

See also cart.


The name that is transliterated as “Jerusalem” in English is signed in French Sign Language with a sign that depicts worshiping at the Western Wall in Jerusalem:

“Jerusalem” in French Sign Language (source )

While a similar sign is also used in British Sign Language, another, more neutral sign that combines the sign “J” and the signs for “place” is used as well. (Source: Anna Smith)

“Jerusalem” in British Sign Language (source: Christian BSL, used with permission)


Some languages do not have a concept of kingship and therefore no immediate equivalent for the Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin that is translated as “king” in English. Here are some (back-) translations:

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  • Piro: “a great one”
  • Highland Totonac: “the big boss”
  • Huichol: “the one who commanded” (source for this and above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Ekari: “the one who holds the country” (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • Una: weik sienyi: “big headman” (source: Kroneman 2004, p. 407)
  • Pass Valley Yali: “Big Man” (source: Daud Soesilo)
  • Ninia Yali: “big brother with the uplifted name” (source: Daud Soesilio in Noss 2007, p. 175)
  • Nyamwezi: mutemi: generic word for ruler, by specifying the city or nation it becomes clear what kind of ruler (source: Pioneer Bible Translators, project-specific translation notes in Paratext)
  • Ghomála’: Fo (“The word Fo refers to the paramount ruler in the kingdoms of West Cameroon. He holds administrative, political, and religious power over his own people, who are divided into two categories: princes (descendants of royalty) and servants (everyone else).” (Source: Michel Kenmogne in Theologizing in Context: An Example from the Study of a Ghomala’ Christian Hymn))

Faye Edgerton retells how the term in Navajo was determined:

“[This term was] easily expressed in the language of Biblical culture, which had kings and noblemen with their brilliant trappings and their position of honor and praise. But leadership among the Navajos is not accompanied by any such titles or distinctions of dress. Those most respected, especially in earlier days, were their headmen, who were the leaders in raids, and the shaman, who was able to serve the people by appealing for them to the gods, or by exorcising evil spirits. Neither of these made any outward show. Neither held his position by political intrigue or heredity. If the headman failed consistently in raids, he was superceded by a better warrior. If the shaman failed many times in his healing ceremonies, it was considered that he was making mistakes in the chants, or had lost favor with the gods, and another was sought. The term Navajos use for headman is derived from a verb meaning ‘to move the head from side to side as in making an oration.’ The headman must be a good orator, able to move the people to go to war, or to follow him in any important decision. This word is naat’áanii which now means ‘one who rules or bosses.’ It is employed now for a foreman or boss of any kind of labor, as well as for the chairman of the tribal council. So in order to show that the king is not just a common boss but the highest ruler, the word ‘aláahgo, which expresses the superlative degree, was put before naat’áanii, and so ‘aláahgo naat’áanii ‘anyone-more-than-being around-he-moves-his-head-the-one-who’ means ‘the highest ruler.’ Naat’áanii was used for governor as the context usually shows that the person was a ruler of a country or associated with kings.”

(Source: Faye Edgerton in The Bible Translator 1962, p. 25ff. )

Translation commentary on 1 Kings 12:18

King Rehoboam sent Adoram: Regarding the identity of Adoram, see the comments on 1 Kgs 4.6, which will also explain the reason for the rendering “Adoniram” in Good News Translation. The text does not state why Rehoboam sent Adoniram, but the meaning is clearly “to restore order” (New Living Translation).

Who was taskmaster over the forced labor: The word taskmaster is supplied by Revised Standard Version. Similarly, Revised English Bible adds the word “commander” in translation and New American Bible has “superintendent.” The Hebrew text, however, says simply “who was over the forced labor.” In many languages something will need to be added in order to make the sentence complete, as in Revised Standard Version and Revised English Bible.

For forced labor, see the comments on 1 Kgs 4.6.

As in the two previous verses, Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch identifies Israel as “the northern tribes” and this will be a good model for other languages as well. Compare also “the Israelites of the North” (Bible en français courant, Parole de Vie).

Stoned him to death with stones: In English it is redundant to add the words with stones, since the action of stoning someone implies that it was with stones or rocks. For this reason Good News Translation omits the words with stones (also New Revised Standard Version, New Jerusalem Bible). Many languages will say simply “executed him with stones” or “killed him by throwing stones on him.”

And King Rehoboam made haste to mount his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem: The Hebrew does not state that Rehoboam had also gone from Jerusalem into the northern kingdom, but the end of the verse implies that he must have gone with Adoram.

Made haste is literally “strengthened himself” or “proved to be strong.” Most interpreters understand this form of the Hebrew verb to mean “with haste” or “hurriedly” (Good News Translation, New Jewish Publication Society’s Tanakh). Others understand it to mean “to persist in something.” For made haste to mount, HALOT suggests the translation “managed to mount,” that is, Rehoboam persisted (and succeeded) in mounting his chariot. This is the interpretation followed by New American Bible. For the whole sentence, compare also “and King Rehoboam had to struggle to get up into his chariot in time to flee to Jerusalem” (De Vries) and “With effort, King Rehoboam had mounted his chariot to flee to Jerusalem” (Anchor Bible).

Both Revised Standard Version and Good News Translation seem to suggest that Rehoboam got into his chariot to flee after Adoram had been stoned to death. New Revised Standard Version, in fact, clearly makes the one action follow the other action in time by using the adverb “then” as follows: “King Rehoboam then hurriedly mounted his chariot to flee….” New Jewish Publication Society’s Tanakh is similar with “Thereupon King Rehoboam hurriedly mounted his chariot and fled….”

The form of Hebrew verb for made haste, however, may be understood as expressing simultaneous action; that is, while the people were in the process of stoning Adoram, Rehoboam hurried to mount his chariot and flee. If this understanding of the Hebrew verb is correct, then Rehoboam did not wait to flee until after Adoram had been killed, as New Revised Standard Version states.

Cogan (2000) provides another interpretation of the Hebrew verb. He says it is used here to introduce a parenthetical remark describing what Rehoboam did during the previous assembly at Shechem. If this interpretation is followed, then the following translation of the whole verse expresses the intended meaning:

• Later, King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him to death with stones. [Earlier when King Rehoboam had been in Shechem, he himself had mounted his chariot with effort to flee to Jerusalem.]

Quoted with permission from Omanson, Roger L. and Ellington, John E. A Handbook on 1-2 Kings, Volume 1. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2008. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .