Pharaoh

The term that is used for monarchs in ancient Egypt and is transliterated as “Pharaoh” in English is translated in Finnish Sign Language with the sign signifying the “fake metal beard (postiche)” that was word by Pharaohs during official functions. (Source: Tarja Sandholm)


“Pharaoh” in Finnish Sign Language (source )

formal 2nd person pronoun (Spanish)

Like many languages (but unlike Greek or Hebrew or English), Spanish uses a formal vs. informal second-person pronoun (a familiar vs. a respectful “you”). Spanish Bibles all use only the informal second-person pronoun (), with the exception of Dios Habla Hoy (third edition: 1996) which also uses the formal pronoun (usted). In the referenced verses, the formal form is used.

Sources and for more information: P. Ellingworth in The Bible Translator 2002, p. 143ff. and R. Ross in The Bible Translator 1993, p. 217ff.

See also the use of the formal vs. the informal pronoun in the Gospels in Tuvan.

complete verse (Genesis 40:19)

Following are a number of back-translations as well as a sample translation for translators of Genesis 40:19:

  • Kankanaey: “because when three days go, the king will have- your (sing.) head -cut-off. Then they will hang you from a post and birds will eat your (sing.) flesh.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Newari: “Within three days Pharaoh will cut off your head, and will hang you on a tree. Winged birds will eat your flesh, by pecking with their beaks.”” (Source: Newari Back Translation)
  • Hiligaynon: “Before the three days will-end, the king will-cause- you (sing.) -to-get-out from prison, but he will-have- you (sing.) -killed/[lit. cut your head] and your (sing.) corpse/dead-body will-be-caused-to-be-impaled on a standing/erected wooden-pole/tree, and the birds will-peck you (sing.).'” (Source: Hiligaynon Back Translation)
  • English: “Within three days the king will command that your head be cut off. Then your body will be hung on a tree, and vultures will come and eat your flesh.'” (Source: Translation for Translators)

Translation commentary on Genesis 40:19

Pharaoh will lift up your head: in this second use of the expression lift up your head, the narrator makes a play on words. He uses the same words as in verse 13 and then adds from you, which gives the expression not an idiomatic but a literal meaning. This literal meaning is either “remove your head [behead you]” or “hang you [by your head].” Translators should attempt to keep the wording of the expressions in verses 13 and 19 as similar as possible. If the translation has said in verse 13 “the king will release you,” then in verse 19 it may say “the king will bring you out and then cut off your head.” Since the king will not actually execute the man himself, some translations say “the king will bring you out, and the police will cut off your head” or “… and tell the soldiers to cut your neck.”

And hang you on a tree: according to Anchor Bible hang should be rendered “impale” here and in verse 22. Impale means to run a sharp stake through the body, or to fix the body on a sharp stake. This is followed by New American Bible and New Jerusalem Bible. Most modern versions prefer “hanged”; but in this case you may need to be rendered as “your body,” if hanging follows beheading, as in Good News Translation. Some translations say “And they will hang your body on a post.”

According to Deut 21.23, for an Israelite to be executed by hanging was to be accursed by God. In the Egyptian view a body eaten by birds could not be preserved as a mummy and therefore was prevented from obtaining immortality.

Birds will eat the flesh from you: birds here refers to birds of prey, as not all birds eat flesh. The name of a particular bird such as “vultures” may be used if there is no general term for birds of prey.

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 .