inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (2Chr. 2:16)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). 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, translators typically select the exclusive form, “since the contrast in verses 15 and 16 is between King Hiram and his Phoenician lumbermen on the one hand and King Solomon on the other hand (…). The pronoun we may include some Israelites as well (see verse 8b), but more likely includes only non-Israelites and would certainly not include Solomon.”