complete verse (Acts 7:29)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 7:29:

  • Uma: “When Musa heard that his action was known [lit., exposed], he fled from the land of Mesir, going to dwell in the land of Midian. There he married and had two children.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “When Moses heard this, he was afraid because his killing of the man of Misil was known/surprise. Therefore he fled from Misil and he dwelt in Midiyan. When he was there he got married and had two sons.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “When Moses heard this he ran away and he went to live there in the land of Midian. And it was there in Midian that his two sons were born.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Moses became-afraid upon hearing that, and he ran-away to go live in Midian. He got-married there and there also is where-his two male children -were-born (lit. came-out).” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “When Moises heard that which was said, he ran away at once. He went to a far-away land called Madian. There is where he got married. They had two sons.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)


The name that is transliterated as “Moses” in English is signed in Spanish Sign Language in accordance with the depiction of Moses in the famous statue by Michelangelo (see here). (Source: John Elwode in The Bible Translator 2008, p. 78ff.)

“Moses” in Spanish Sign Language (source)

Another depiction in Spanish Sign Language (source: Carlos Moreno Sastre):

The horns that are visible in Michelangelo’s statue are based on a passage in the Latin Vulgate translation (and many Catholic Bible translations that were translated through the 1950ies with that version as the source text). Jerome, the translator, had worked from a Hebrew text without the niqquds, the diacritical marks that signify the vowels in Hebrew and had interpreted the term קרו (k-r-n) in Exodus 34:29 as קֶ֫רֶן — keren “horned,” rather than קָרַו — karan “radiance” (describing the radiance of Moses’ head as he descends from Mount Sinai).

Even at the time of his translation, Jerome likely was not the only one making that decision as this recent article alludes to.