seek God, seek the LORD

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated “seek God” or “seek the Lord” is translated in most Polish Bible translations as szukaɫ Boga or szukaɫ Pana.

These phrases are also being used in modern Polish as metaphors meaning “‘to look for some manifestations of the existence and activity of God in the reality which surrounds us, to seek evidence for God’s existence in the world in which we live,’ less commonly: ‘to seek reliable, convincing information about God in philosophical doctrines.’ Therefore, this metaphor describes the intellectual efforts of man with religious needs man who was unfortunate enough to have been born in an age in which the belief in the existence of God diminishes, therefore in an attempt to solidify their own faith or to regain it, religious people seek, in the surrounding world, the signs that God exists and cares about the world and humankind. (…) [This] has a more profound, more subtle meaning, and what is more important — a meaning which corresponds more accurately to the spirit and the problems of our age than the original text or its semantically faithful translation. Our age faces a different problem than the one that was faced by people in Zephaniah’s times [see Zeph 1:6]. Today the problem is not that the faithful pray to other deities instead of the one God. Today the problem is that the people do not see the manifestations of the existence and the activity of God in the world that surrounds them and that they doubt in His existence. Therefore today a translation of the Bible which encourages looking for God in the present-day understanding of this metaphor is indeed of greater utility in terms of pastoral service than a translation which would encourage people to worship God or to pray to him instead of other deities. Obviously, the only translation which is philologically correct is a translation which renders the meaning of the metaphor which was ascribed to it by the authors of the original, i.e. in this case not ‘to look for God’ but ‘to offer penitential prayers to God.’ However, in a confessional translation, which reflects the religious needs and the theological gleanings of some religious community, there are numerous instances of departure from the principles of philology. In Catholic biblical exegesis theologians acknowledge that certain passages of the Old Testament announce the coming of Jesus Christ – therefore we admit that the Old Testament expresses certain senses which were not dreamed of by its authors at the time at which they wrote these fragments of the Old Testament.” (Source: Król / Piela 2021)

Moses

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.

See also Moses and Elijah during the Transfiguration.