gnash teeth, grind teeth

The Greek that is translated into English as “gnashed their teeth” or “ground their teeth” is translated in Pwo Karen as “their eyes were green/blue with anger” (source: David Clark), in Yao as “they had itchy teeth” (“meaning they very anxious to destroy him”) (source: Nida / Reyburn, p. 56), in Estado de México Otomi as “gnashed their teeth at him to show anger” (to specify their emotion) (source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation, March 1965, p. 2ff.), in Coatlán Mixe as “ground their teeth in anger like wild hogs,” and in Rincón Zapotec as “showed their teeth (like a dog) because of their anger” (source for this and before: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.).

In Coatlán Mixe it is translated as “ground their teeth (in anger) like wild hogs,” in Rincón Zapotec as “showed their teeth (like a dog)” (source for this and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.), and in Gullah as suck dey teet or “suck their teeth.” (Source: David Frank)

In the the widely-used Mandarin Chinese Union Version it is translated with an existing Chinese proverb: yǎoyá qièchǐ (咬牙切齿 / 咬牙切齒) or “gnash teeth, grind teeth.” (Source: Zetzsche)

See also gnashing of teeth and contempt / scorn / ridicule / abuse.

anger

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “anger” in English in this verse is translated with a variety of solutions (Bratcher / Nida says: “Since anger has so many manifestations and seems to affect so many aspects of personality, it is not strange that expressions used to describe this emotional response are so varied).”

  • Chicahuaxtla Triqui: “be warm inside”
  • Mende: “have a cut heart”
  • Mískito: “have a split heart”
  • Tzotzil: “have a hot heart”
  • Mossi: “a swollen heart”
  • Western Kanjobal: “fire of the viscera”
  • San Blas Kuna: “pain in the heart”
  • Chimborazo Highland Quichua: “not with good eye”
  • Citak: two different terms, one meaning “angry” and one meaning “offended,” both are actually descriptions of facial expressions. The former can be represented by an angry stretching of the eyes or by an angry frown. The latter is similarly expressed by an offended type of frown with one’s head lowered. (Source: Graham Ogden)

See also God’s anger.

God's anger, wrath of God

The Hebrew and Greek What is translated into English as “the wrath of God” (Good News Translation: “God’s anger”) has to be referred to in Bengali as judgment, punishment or whatever fits the context. In Bengali culture, anger is by definition bad and can never be predicated of God. (Source: David Clark)

In Kikuyu the whole phrase that is translated in English as “storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath” or similar is translated as “you are increasing for yourself God’s wrath.” (Source: Jan Sterk)

In Quetzaltepec Mixe it is translated with a term “that not only expresses anger, but also punishment” (source: Robert Bascom), in Western Bukidnon Manobo as “the coming punishment of God on mankind” (source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation), in Kankanaey as “God’s fearful/terrible future punishing of people” (source: Kankanaey Back Translation), in Tagbanwa as “the coming anger/hatred of God” (source: Tagbanwa Back Translation), and in Tenango Otomi as “the punishment which will come” (source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation).

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way to do this is through the usage (or a lack) of an honorific prefix as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017. When the referent is God, the “divine” honorific prefix mi- (御) is used as in mi-ikari (御怒り) or “wrath (of God)” in the referenced verses.

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )

See also anger.

Honorary are / rare constructs denoting God (“peel off”)

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way Japanese show different degree of politeness is through the usage of an honorific construction where the morphemes rare (られ) or are (され) are affixed on the verb as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017. This is particularly done with verbs that have God as the agent to show a deep sense of reverence. Here, mukidas-are-ru (むき出される) or “peel off” is used.

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )

Translation commentary on Job 16:9

Job now speaks of God as if he were a wild animal tearing him apart. He has torn me in his wrath, and hated me: the picture in Revised Standard Version and Good News Translation is that of a wild animal that has caught its prey and is tearing it to pieces, or as Good News Translation says, “Tears me limb from limb.” In translation it may be necessary to make this line a simile; for example, “As a wild animal tears the flesh of its prey, he has torn me apart.” Translators may find it is better to shift and hated me to the beginning; for example, “He hated me and has torn me apart as a wild animal tears its victim.” Otherwise the translator may follow the model of Good News Translation. Good News Translation has taken and hated me from line a and made it a description of line c, “He glares at me with hate.”

He has gnashed his teeth at me means he shows his fury or anger. This line adds nothing to the meaning or intensity of line a, and Good News Translation does not translate it.

My adversary sharpens his eyes against me: the wording of Revised Standard Version is not idiomatic English. Sharpens his eyes is a figure meaning that the penetrating eyes of the animal (God) are fixed on Job as he tears Job’s flesh apart. Unlike Good News Translation, Bible en français courant keeps all the lines and with some adjustments renders verse 9 “In his anger, God chooses me as his prey, he pursues me, he gnashes his teeth at me; he, my enemy, pierces me with his look.” To gnash the teeth means to bare and strike the teeth together as a wild animal does when attacking its prey. Biblia Dios Habla Hoy translates lines b and c “He nails me with his eyes as if he were my enemy.” Here and hated me is translated “as if he were my enemy.” The whole verse may also be rendered, for example, “He has torn me like an angry animal; he has bared his teeth at me as though he hates me, and he fixes his angry eyes on me.”

Quoted with permission from Reyburn, Wiliam. A Handbook on Job. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 1992. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .