The name that is transliterated as “Moses” in English is signed in Spanish Sign Language and Polish 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 )

American Sign Language also uses the sign depicting the horns but also has a number of alternative signs (see here).

In French Sign Language, a similar sign is used, but it is interpreted as “radiance” (see below) and it culminates in a sign for “10,” signifying the 10 commandments:

“Moses” in French Sign Language (source )

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.

In Estonian Sign Language Moses is depicted with a big beard. (Source: Liina Paales in Folklore 47, 2011, p. 43ff.)

See also Moses and Elijah during the Transfiguration.

Translation commentary on Deuteronomy 31:24

In Revised Standard Version verses 24-26 are one sentence. It is not complex nor overly long; but a translation may wish to follow Good News Translation and make verse 24 one sentence and verses 25-26 another sentence, or follow Contemporary English Version, which has two sentences in verses 25-26.

The words of this law: see 28.58.

A book: many readers will assume that a book at that time was like books at the present time, in the form of a volume of pages called a codex. But at that time it was a scroll made of sheets of animal hide or papyrus, sewn together. In some languages it may be necessary to make this clear; but since the nature and function of a scroll, at that time, and of a book, in the present time, are one and the same, it seems acceptable to use the word “book” and its equivalents in other languages. Such a thing is done for other artifacts, such as clothing and containers, which were quite different in biblical times from what they are today.

To the very end: in the context this means to the end of the book we have now. Bible en français courant offers a good model for this verse: “Moses wrote in a book the complete text of the law of God. When he had finished….”

Quoted with permission from Bratcher, Robert G. and Hatton, Howard A. A Handbook on Deuteronomy. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2000. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .