Translation commentary on 1 Samuel 9:19

Samuel answered: literally “Samuel answered and said.”

High place: see the comments on verse 12.

The verb you shall eat is plural, which Good News Translation indicates with the addition of the word “both.” The second person pronouns you and your, which follow this verb, are singular, as is the verb go up. These presumably keep the focus on Saul, but, at least in the case of the verb go up, do not exclude his servant from the command. If the servant was invited to eat with the other two men, he would certainly have to go to the place where the meal would take place.

I will let you go: literally, “I send you [singular].” In some languages the meaning will be best expressed using a verb more like the literal Hebrew rather than speaking of allowing Saul to leave.

Mind: literally “heart.” See the comments on 1.8. The whole expression all that is on your mind may possibly be misunderstood as meaning that Samuel (having supernatural powers) is offering to read Saul’s mind. This, of course, is not the case. Rather he offers to “tell you about everything that is on your mind” (Anchor Bible). That is, he knows that Saul came to him because of some kind of question or problem with which he needed help. This, then, is an offer to give Saul the help he was seeking, but only after having a meal together.

In some languages it will be important to reverse the order of the last two elements in this verse to make them more logical. The chronological order of course is to let the two men go after having first told them what they wanted to know. New Century Version therefore translates “tomorrow morning I will answer all your questions and send you home.”

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 .

formal second person plural pronoun

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way Japanese show different degree of politeness is through the choice of a formal plural suffix to the second person pronoun (“you” and its various forms) as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017.

In these verses, anata-gata (あなたがた) is used, combining the second person pronoun anata and the plural suffix -gata to create a formal plural pronoun (“you” [plural] in English).

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )