complete verse (Genesis 35:26)

Following are a number of back-translations as well as a sample translation for translators of Genesis 35:26:

  • Kankanaey: “The children also of Zilpa the slave of Lea, Gad and Aser. All those children of Jacob, they were-born in Mesopotamia.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Newari: “From Leah’s maid servant Zilpah — Gad and Asher.” (Source: Newari Back Translation)
  • Hiligaynon: “His children with Zilpa [linker] the servant of Lea were Gad and Asher. They all (were) the sons of Jacob who were-born in Padan Aram.” (Source: Hiligaynon Back Translation)
  • English: “The sons of Leah’s female slave Zilpah were Gad and Asher. All those sons of Jacob, except Benjamin, were born while he was living in Paddan-Aram/Mesopotamia.” (Source: Translation for Translators)

Translation commentary on Genesis 35:23 - 35:26

The sons of: in each case the word sons is plural in Hebrew; however, in some languages the plural is not used for small numbers like two, and it is necessary to say “two sons” for all the mothers except Leah. In translation the arrangement of the mothers and sons should be in the most natural style for this kind of text. In some languages this means saying, for example:
• Leah had six sons. Their names were Reuben, who was the first of Jacob’s sons, then Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and the youngest Zebulun.
Rachel had two sons. Their names were Joseph and Benjamin.
Bilhah, who was Rachel’s servant, had two sons. Their names were Dan and Naphtali.
Leah’s servant Zilpah also had two sons. Their names were Gad and Asher.
All of these were Jacob’s sons, and they were born in Mesopotamia.

The last statement includes Benjamin among the sons born in Mesopotamia. However, this chapter makes clear that he was born in Canaan. Interpreters usually accept that the birth account of Benjamin in verses 16-21 is from a different tradition than the list of sons in verses 22-26.

Quoted with permission from Reyburn, William D. and Fry, Euan McG. A Handbook on Genesis. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 1997. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .