inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (1Sam 25:40)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). (Click or tap here to see more details)

The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).

For this verse, the Jarai and the Adamawa Fulfulde translation both use the exclusive pronoun, excluding Abigail.

David

The name that is transliterated as “David” in English is translated in Spanish Sign Language with the sign signifying king and a sling (referring to 1 Samuel 17:49 and 2 Samuel 5:4). (Source: John Elwode in The Bible Translator 2008, p. 78ff.)


“Elizabeth” in Spanish Sign Language, source: Sociedad Bíblica de España

In German Sign Language it is only the sling. (See here ).


“David” in German Sign Language (source )

The (Protestant) Mandarin Chinese transliteration of “David” is 大卫 (衛) / Dàwèi which carries an additional meaning of “Great Protector.”

Click or tap here to see a short video clip about David (source: Bible Lands 2012)

formal 2nd person pronoun (Spanish)

Like many languages (but unlike Greek or Hebrew or English), Spanish uses a formal vs. informal second-person pronoun (a familiar vs. a respectful “you”). Spanish Bibles all use only the informal second-person pronoun (), with the exception of Dios Habla Hoy (third edition: 1996) which also uses the formal pronoun (usted). In the referenced verses, the formal form is used.

Sources and for more information: P. Ellingworth in The Bible Translator 2002, p. 143ff. and R. Ross in The Bible Translator 1993, p. 217ff.

See also the use of the formal vs. the informal pronoun in the Gospels in Tuvan.

Translation commentary on 1 Samuel 25:40

Carmel: regarding the town of Carmel, see the comments on verse 2.

They said to her: literally “And they said to her, saying.”

If the direct discourse of this verse is not natural in the receptor language, translators may say “They told her that David had sent them to take her back to become his wife.”

Quoted with permission from Omanson, Roger L. and Ellington, John E. A Handbook on the First and Second Books of Samuel, Volume 1. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2001. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .