translations with a Hebraic voice (2 Kings 2:6-11)

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

English:
Then Eliyyahu said to him:
Pray stay here,
for Yhwh has sent me to the Jordan.
But he said:
By the life of Yhwh and by your own life, if I should leave you. . . !
Thus the two of them walked on.
Now fifty men of the Sons of the Prophets went
and stood opposite, at a distance,
while the two of them stood by the Jordan.
And Eliyyahu took his mantle, folded it up, and struck the waters,
and they split in half, to here and to there,
and the two of them crossed over on dry-ground.
It was when they crossed that Eliyyahu said to Elisha:
Make-request: what may I do for you before I am taken from beside you?
Elisha said:
Pray let a twofold measure of your spirit be upon me!
He said:
You have made a difficult request.
If you see me being taken from you, it will be thus for you,
but if not, it will not be.
And it was, as they were walking, walking along and speaking
that here, a chariot of fire and horses of fire:
they parted the two of them,
and Eliyyahu went up in the storm to the heavens.

Source: Everett Fox 2014

German:
Elijahu sprach zu ihm:
Verweile doch hier,
denn Er hat mich an den Jordan gesandt.
Er aber sprach:
Sowahr Er lebt, sowahr deine Seele lebt:
verlasse ich dich je, …!
So gingen sie beide.
Mitgegangen aber waren von den Jungkündern fünfzig Mann,
die blieben gegenüber stehn, von fern,
als die beiden am Jordan standen.
Elijahu nahm seinen Mantel,
er ballte ihn
und schlug das Wasser,
das spaltete sich hierhin und hierhin,
auf dem Sandgrund schritten die beiden hindurch.
Es geschah nun, als sie hindurchgeschritten waren,
zu Elischa sprach Elijahu:
Wünsche,
was soll ich dir tun,
ehe ich von dir hinweggenommen werde?
Elischa sprach:
Geschähe doch, daß mir würde von deinem Geistbraus das Erstlings-Doppelteil!
Er sprach:
Schweres hast du erwünscht!
darfst du mitansehn,
wie ich von dir hinweggenommen werde,
wirds dir so geschehn,
sonst aber: wirds nicht geschehn.
Es geschah:
während sie weitergingen, gingen und redeten,
da, Feuergefährt und Feuerrosse,
sie trennten die beiden.
Elijahu stieg im Sturm zum Himmel.

Source: Buber / Rosenzweig 1976

French:
Élyahou lui dit: « Siège donc là, oui, IHVH-Adonaï m’envoie au Iardèn. »
Il dit: « Vive IHVH-Adonaï, vive ton être, je ne t’abandonnerai pas. »
Ils vont, les deux.
Cinquante hommes, des fils des inspirés, vont et se tiennent en face, de loin.
Les deux se tiennent sur le Iardèn.
Élyahou prend sa cape, l’entortille, frappe les eaux.
Elles se divisent, là et là. Ils passent, les deux, à sec.
Et c’est à leur passage, Élyahou dit à Èlisha‘:
« Demande ce que je ferai pour toi, avant que je sois pris loin de toi. »
Èlisha‘ dit: « Que deux bouches de ton souffle soient donc en moi ! »
Il dit: « Tu es dur en demandes.
Si tu me vois pris loin de toi, pour toi, ce sera oui. Sinon, ce sera non. »
Et c’est eux, ils vont, vont et parlent.
Et voici, un char de feu, des chevaux de feu, séparent les deux.
Élyahou monte, dans la tempête, aux ciels.

Source: Chouraqui 1985

prophet

(To view the different translations of this term in a simplified graphical form on a new page, click or tap here.)

Eugene Nida wrote the following about the translation of the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek terms that are typically translated with “prophet” in English:

“The tendency in many translations is to use ‘to foretell the future’ for ‘prophesy,’ and ‘one who foretells the future’ for ‘prophet.’ This is not always a recommended usage, particularly if such expressions denote certain special native practices of spirit contact and control. It is true, of course, that prophets of the Bible did foretell the future, but this was not always their principal function. One essential significance of the Greek word prophētēs is ‘one who speaks forth,’ principally, of course, as a forth-teller of the Divine will. A translation such as ‘spokesman for God’ may often be employed profitably.” (1947, p. 234f.)

Following is a list of (back-) translations from other languages (click or tap for details):

  • San Blas Kuna: “one who speaks the voice of God”
  • Central Pame and Vai: “interpreter for God”
  • Kaqchikel, Navajo, Yaka: “one who speaks for God”
  • Northern Grebo: “God’s town crier” (see more about this below)
  • Sapo: “God’s sent-word person”
  • Shipibo-Conibo, Ngäbere: “one who speaks God’s word”
  • Copainalá Zoque: “one who speaks-opens” (a compound meaning “one who discloses or reveals”)
  • Sierra Totonac: “one who causes them to know” (in the sense of “revealer”)
  • Batak Toba: “foreteller” (this and all the above acc. to Nida 1961, p. 7)
  • Alekano: “men who were ambassadors of God’s wisdom” (source: Ellis Deibler in Notes on Translation July, 1967, p. 5ff.)
  • Aguaruna: “teller of God’s word” (source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125)
  • Ekari: “person who speaks under divine impulse”
  • Chinese: 先知 xiānzhī — “one who foreknows” (or the 1946/1970 translation by Lü Zhenzhong: 神言人 shényánrén — “divine-word-man”)
  • Uab Meto: “holy spokesman” (source for this and two above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • Kouya: Lagɔɔ gbʋgbanyɔ — “the one who seeks God’s affairs” (source: Saunders, p. 269)
  • Kafa: “decide for God only” (source: Loren Bliese)
  • Martu Wangka: “sit true to God’s talk” (source: Carl Gross)
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “word passer” (source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation November 1964, p. 1-22)
  • Obolo: ebi nriran: “those with power of divine revelation” (source: Enene Enene)
  • Mairasi: nonondoai nyan: “message proclaimer” (source: Enggavoter 2004)
  • Highland Totonac: “speaker on God’s behalf”
  • Central Tarahumara: “God’s preacher” (source for this and above: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

In Ixcatlán Mazatec a term is used that specifically includes women. (Source: Robert Bascom)

About the translation into Northern Grebo:

In some instances these spiritual terms result from adaptations reflecting the native life and culture. Among the Northern Grebo people of Liberia, a missionary wanted some adequate term for ‘prophet,’ and she was fully aware that the native word for ‘soothsayer’ or ‘diviner’ was no equivalent for the Biblical prophet who spoke forth for God. Of course, much of what the prophets said referred to the future, and though this was an essential part of much of their ministry, it was by no means all. The right word for the Gbeapo people would have to include something which would not only mean the foretelling of important events but the proclamation of truth as God’s representative among the people. At last the right word came; it was ‘God’s town-crier.’ Every morning and evening the official representative of the chief goes through the village crying out the news, delivering the orders of the chief, and announcing important coming events. ‘God’s town-crier’ would be the official representative of God, announcing to the people God’s doings, His commands, and His pronouncements for their salvation and well-being. For the Northern Grebo people the prophet is no weird person from forgotten times; he is as real as the human, moving message of the plowman Amos, who became God’s town-crier to a calloused people.” (source: Nida 1952, p. 20)

See also prophesy and prophesy / prophetic frenzy.