peace (being at peace)

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated into English as “peace” (or “at ease”) is (back-) translated with a variety of idioms and phrases:

together, with one accord

The Greek that is translated as “together” or “with one accord” in English is translated in Yamba and Bulu as “(with) one heart.” (Source: W. Reyburn in The Bible Translator 1959, p. 1ff.)

In Enlhet it is translated as “their innermosts did not go past each other.” “Innermost” or valhoc is a term that is frequently used in Enlhet to describe a large variety of emotions (for other examples see here). (Source: Jacob Loewen in The Bible Translator 1969, p. 24ff.)

Following are some other translations:

complete verse (Acts 12:20)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 12:20:

  • Uma: “One time, Herodes became very angry at the townspeople of Tirus and Sidon. That’s why the Tirus and Sidon people made plans with one heart to send people to go to the town of Kaisarea, wanting to seek peace with the king. Because the people of Tirus and Sidon received their food from the land that Herodes ruled. First before they go-before the king, they smooth-talked one of his servants who organized the king’s house, named Blastus, so that he was on their side, and only then did they go before the king looking for peace.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “At that time King Herod was very angry with the people of the place Tiros and with the people of the place Sidon. Then the people of those two places went together to see Herod. They first befriended Balastus, one of the trusted ones in the king’s palace, in order that he would side with them. Then they went to Herod to ask him for reconciliation because it was from the king’s country where they got their food.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And at that time King Herod became very angry with the inhabitants there in the towns of Tyre and Sidon. They got Blastus to help them who was a trusted person of Herod who was boss over his palace. And they gathered together because they would go to Herod, because they would beg him that his anger toward them might be removed. The reason they did this was because it was only in the country of the king that they were able to get food.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “While Herod was staying there, his anger was excessive toward the inhabitants of Tiro and Sidon. Therefore they searched for a way to appease him, because his territory was where-they -got their food. What they did, they made-friends with Blasto who was-in-charge of Herod’s house. Then they gathered to go entreat Herod so that his anger toward them would be removed.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “While he was there at Cesarea, some people arrived from Tiro and Sidon. Herodes’ anger was extreme against those two lands. Therefore, because Herodes’ land was where most of the food came from for the taga Tiro and Sidon, they arranged to go to Herodes and ask him for reconciliation. When they arrived, they made friends with the most-trusted-servant of Herodes who was the overseer of his personnel. His name was Blasto. He was caused to help those taga Tiro and Sidon to ask the king that, if possible/acceptable, they could be reconciled.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)


Some languages do not have a concept of kingship and therefore no immediate equivalent for the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic that is translated as “king” in English. Here are some (back-) translations:

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  • Piro: “a great one”
  • Highland Totonac: “the big boss”
  • Huichol: “the one who commanded” (source for this and above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Ekari: “the one who holds the country” (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • Una: weik sienyi: “big headman” (source: Kroneman 2004, p. 407)
  • Pass Valley Yali: “Big Man” (source: Daud Soesilo)
  • Ninia Yali: “big brother with the uplifted name” (source: Daud Soesilio in Noss 2007, p. 175)
  • Ghomála’: Fo (“The word Fo refers to the paramount ruler in the kingdoms of West Cameroon. He holds administrative, political, and religious power over his own people, who are divided into two categories: princes (descendants of royalty) and servants (everyone else).” (Source: Michel Kenmogne in Theologizing in Context: An Example from the Study of a Ghomala’ Christian Hymn))

Faye Edgerton retells how the term in Navajo was determined:

“[This term was] easily expressed in the language of Biblical culture, which had kings and noblemen with their brilliant trappings and their position of honor and praise. But leadership among the Navajos is not accompanied by any such titles or distinctions of dress. Those most respected, especially in earlier days, were their headmen, who were the leaders in raids, and the shaman, who was able to serve the people by appealing for them to the gods, or by exorcising evil spirits. Neither of these made any outward show. Neither held his position by political intrigue or heredity. If the headman failed consistently in raids, he was superceded by a better warrior. If the shaman failed many times in his healing ceremonies, it was considered that he was making mistakes in the chants, or had lost favor with the gods, and another was sought. The term Navajos use for headman is derived from a verb meaning ‘to move the head from side to side as in making an oration.’ The headman must be a good orator, able to move the people to go to war, or to follow him in any important decision. This word is naat’áanii which now means ‘one who rules or bosses.’ It is employed now for a foreman or boss of any kind of labor, as well as for the chairman of the tribal council. So in order to show that the king is not just a common boss but the highest ruler, the word ‘aláahgo, which expresses the superlative degree, was put before naat’áanii, and so ‘aláahgo naat’áanii ‘anyone-more-than-being around-he-moves-his-head-the-one-who’ means ‘the highest ruler.’ Naat’áanii was used for governor as the context usually shows that the person was a ruler of a country or associated with kings.”

(Source: Faye Edgerton in The Bible Translator 1962, p. 25ff.)