translations with a Hebraic voice (1 Kings 3:9)

Some translations specifically reproduce the voice of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible.

English:
So give your servant an understanding heart
to judge your people, to discern between good and evil.
For who is able to judge this your weighty people?

Source: Everett Fox 1995

German:
so gib deinem Diener
ein hörendes Herz,
dein Volk zu richten,
den Unterschied von Gut und Bös zu unterscheiden,
denn wer vermöchte dies dein gewichtiges Volk zu richten.

Source: Buber / Rosenzweig 1976

French:
Donne à ton serviteur un coeur qui entende,
pour juger ton peuple, pour discerner le bien du mal.
Oui, qui pourrait juger ton peuple, ce poids ? »

Source: Chouraqui 1985

addressing God with informality

Like many languages (but unlike Greek or Hebrew or English), Tuvan uses a formal vs. informal 2nd person pronoun (a familiar vs. a respectful “you”). Unlike other languages that have this feature, however, the translators of the Tuvan Bible have attempted to be very consistent in using the different forms of address in every case a 2nd person pronoun has to be used in the translation of the biblical text.

As Voinov shows in Pronominal Theology in Translating the Gospels (in: The Bible Translator 2002, p. 210ff.), the choice to use either of the pronouns many times involved theo-logical judgment. While the formal pronoun can signal personal distance or a social/power distance between the speaker and addressee, the informal pronoun can indicate familiarity or social/power equality between speaker and addressee.

In these verses, in which humans address God, the informal, familiar pronoun is used that communicates closeness.

Voinov notes that “in the Tuvan Bible, God is only addressed with the informal pronoun. No exceptions. An interesting thing about this is that I’ve heard new Tuvan believers praying with the formal form to God until they are corrected by other Christians who tell them that God is close to us so we should address him with the informal pronoun. As a result, the informal pronoun is the only one that is used in praying to God among the Tuvan church.”

In Dutch translations, however, God is always addressed with the formal pronoun.