tithe

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “tithe” in English (which etymologically has the meaning of “the tenth”) is translated in Mokole as “(give) the tenth part.” This is the translation that most languages use that don’t use a specialized term like English does. See also complete verse (Hebrews 7:4) et al.

Source for Mokole: Hilary Deneufchâtel.

bless(ed)

The Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic that is translated into English as “(to) bless” or “blessed” is translated into a wide variety of possibilities.

The Hebrew term barak (and the Aramaic term berak) also (and originally) means “to kneel” (a meaning which the word has retained — see Gen. 24:11) and can be used for God blessing people (or things), people blessing each other, or people blessing God. While English Bible translators have not seen a stumbling block in always using the same term (“bless” in its various forms), other languages need to make distinctions (see below).

In Bari, spoken in South Sudan, the connection between blessing and knees/legs is still apparent. For Genesis 30:30 (in English: “the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned”), Bari uses a common expression that says (much like the Hebrew) , ‘… blessed you to my feet.'” (Source: P. Guillebaud in The Bible Translator 1965, p. 189ff.)

Other examples for the translation of “bless” when God is the one who blesses include:

  • “to think well of” (San Blas Kuna)
  • “to speak good to” (Amganad Ifugao)
  • “to make happy” (Pohnpeian)
  • “to-cause-to-live-as-a-chief” (Zulu)
  • “to sprinkle with a propitious (lit. cool) face,” (a poetic expression occurring in the priests’ language) (Toraja Sa’dan) (source for this and above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • “give good things” (Mairasi) (source: Enggavoter 2004)
  • “asking good” (Yakan) (source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • “praised, saying good things” (Central Yupik) (source: Robert Bascom)
  • “greatly love” (Candoshi-Shapra) (source: John C. Tuggy)
  • “good luck — have — good fortune — have” (verbatim) ꓶꓼ ꓙꓳ ꓫꓱꓹ ꓙꓳ — ɯa dzho shes zho (Lisu). This construction follows a traditional four-couplet construct in oral Lisu poetry that is usually in the form ABAC or ABCB. (Source: Arrington 2020, p. 58)

In Tagbanwa a phrase is used for both the blessing done by people and God that back-translates to “caused to be pierced by words causing grace/favor” (source: Tagbanwa Back Translation).

Ixcatlán Mazatec had to select a separate term when relating “to people ‘blessing’ God” (or things of God): “praise(d)” or “give thanks for” (in 1 Cor. 10:16) (“as it is humans doing the ‘blessing’ and people do not bless the things of God or God himself the way God blesses people” — source: Robert Bascom). Eastern Bru and Kui also use “praise” for this a God-directed blessing (source: Bru back translation and Helen Evans in The Bible Translator 1954, p. 40ff.) and Uma uses “appropriate/worthy to be worshipped” (source: Uma back translation).

When related to someone who is blessing someone else, it is translated into Tsou as “to speak good hopes for.” In Waiwai it is translated as “may God be good and kind to you now.” (Sources: Peng Kuo-Wei for Tsou and Robert Hawkins in The Bible Translator 1962, pp. 164ff. for Waiwai.)

Some languages associate an expression that originally means “spitting” or “saliva” with blessing. The Bantu language Koonzime, for instance, uses that expression for “blessing” in their translation coming from either God or man. Traditionally, the term was used in an application of blessing by an aged superior upon a younger inferior, often in relation to a desire for fertility, or in a ritualistic, but not actually performed spitting past the back of the hand. The spitting of saliva has the effect of giving that person “tenderness of face,” which can be translated as “blessedness.” (Source: Keith Beavon)

See also bless (food and drink), blessed (Christ in Mark 11:9), and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.

complete verse (Hebrews 7:6)

Following are a number of back-translations of Hebrews 7:6:

  • Uma: “Melkisedek, he was not a descendant of Lewi. But even so, he received one-tenth-part from Abraham. And also, even though Abraham had a promise from God, it was not Abraham who blessed Melkisedek, it was in-fact Melkisedek who blessed Abraham.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Malkisadik was not a descendant of Libi but Ibrahim gave his tithes to him. And Ibrahim, who had been promised by God, was yet asked blessing for from God by Malkisadik.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “However, as for Melchizedek, he is not, by contrast, a descendant of Levi. And in spite of that, he took the tenth part that Abraham gave him, and then as for Abraham, the one whom God had made promise to, Melchizedek blessed him.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “But even though Melkizedek wasn’t a descendant of Levi, Abraham still gave him a tenth. Second, Melkizedek blessed Abraham, even though Abraham was the one to whom God promised his promises.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Well, as for this Melquisedec, he was not included in those descendants of Levi, but he was given a tenth part coming from Abraham. And then he furthermore caused to be-pierced this Abraham with words which cause grace/mercy, he(i.e.Abraham) to whom God made promise.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “And here Levi was not related to Melchizedek, yet Melchizedek took the tenth from Abraham, the man whom God had promised to bless. And then Melchizedek asked God to bless Abraham.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)