The Greek that is translated into English as “crucify” is translated into Naro with xgàu which literally means “to stretch” as is done with a skin after slaughtering in order to dry it. The word is also widely accepted in the churches (source: Gerrit van Steenbergen). Similarly, Balinese and Toraja-Sa’dan also translate as “stretch him” (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel) and in Rendille as lakakaaha — “stretched and nailed down” (source: Holzhausen / Riderer 2010, p. 33).

In Ghari it becomes “hammer to the cross” (source: David Clark), in Loma “fasten him to a spread-back-stick” (source: Bratcher / Nida), in Sundanese “hang him on a crossbeam” (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel), in Aguaruna “fasten him to the tree,” in Navajo “nail him to the cross,” in Yatzachi Zapotec “fasten him to the cross” (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.), in Nyongar “kill on a tree” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang), and in Apali the different aspects of the crucifixion have to be spelled out: “nail to a tree piece put cross-wise, lift up to stand upright (for the crucified person) to die (and in some contexts: to die and rise again)” (source: Martha Wade).

In British Sign Language it is signed with a sign that signifies “nails hammered into hands” and “arms stretched out.” (Source: Anna Smith)

“Crucify” or “crucifixion” in British Sign Language (source: Christian BSL, used with permission)

See also the common sign language sign for Jesus.

Following is a painting by Wang Suda 王肅達 (1910-1963):

Housed by Société des Auxiliaires des Missions Collection – Whitworth University
(click image to enlarge)

Image taken from Chinese Christian Posters . For more information on the “Ars Sacra Pekinensis” school of art, see this article , for other artworks of that school in TIPs, see here.

Click or tap here to see a short video clip showing how crucifixion was done in biblical times (source: Bible Lands 2012)

See also cross, hang on a tree, and this devotion on YouVersion .

complete verse (John 19:41)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 19:41:

  • Uma: “Near the crucifying-place of Yesus, there was a garden, and in that garden there was a hole in the side of the mountain that was prepared as a grave. That grave was still new, it had not yet been used [lit. buried-in].” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “There where Isa had been killed was an orchard. There in that orchard was a burial cave, new yet, nobody had been buried there yet.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Near the place where they nailed Jesus was a place planted with trees. There was there a burial cave just finished and never buried in.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Near to where-Jesus -had-been-nailed, there was a place that was planted with trees which was the location of a cave that had not been used that had recently-been-chipped out of rock.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “At the side of where Jesus had been nailed, there was a plantation/garden. There, there was a burial-place which had recently been caused to be made, which was hollowed out rock. It was just being kept in store, no-one having yet been buried there.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Close to where Jesus was put on the cross was a woods and in it was a cave in which no one had been placed but it was made to put someone in.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

Translation commentary on John 19:41

John is the only Gospel to mention a garden in connection with Jesus’ burial. There was a garden in the place where Jesus had been put to death need not be pressed to mean that Jesus was crucified in a garden. The tomb was in the garden, and, as the following verse makes clear, the tomb was close to the place of crucifixion.

Where Jesus had been put to death is literally “where he was crucified.”

A new tomb where no one had ever been buried is in keeping with the elaborate burial preparations mentioned in verse 39. Buried translates the same Greek verb rendered placed in verse 42. Where no one had ever been buried may be rendered “where no body had ever been placed” or “where no corpse had previously been put.”

Quoted with permission from Newman, Barclay M. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on the Gospel of John. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1980. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .