formal pronoun: difference between Ziba and Shimei addressing David

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 theological 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, Ziba uses the respectful pronoun as he addresses David (1 Sam 16:4) in the Tuvan translation, whereas Shimei uses the informal pronoun, compounding the insult given by his words (1 Sam 16:7-8).

translations with a Hebraic voice (1 Samuel 16:7)

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

But Yhwh said to Shemuel:
Do not look at what you see of him, or at the tallness of his stature,
for I have rejected him!
For [God sees] not as a human being sees —
for a human being sees the [outer] aspect, but Yhwh sees the heart.

Source: Everett Fox 1995

Er aber sprach zu Schmuel:
Blicke nimmer auf sein Aussehn,
auf seinen ragenden Wuchs,
denn ich habe ihn verworfen,
denn nicht was der Mensch sieht ists,
der Mensch sieht in die Augen,
Er aber sieht in das Herz.

Source: Buber / Rosenzweig 1976

IHVH-Adonaï dit à Shemouél:
« Ne regarde pas son aspect ni la hauteur de sa taille,
Oui, je l’ai rejeté. Non pas ce que voit l’humain !
Oui, l’humain voit de ses yeux, mais IHVH-Adonaï voit au coeur. »

Source: Chouraqui 1985