complete verse (John 9:13)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 9:13:

  • Uma: “Yesus mixed his spit with dirt and healed that blind man on the Sabat Day, the worship day of the Yahudi people. So, that blind man who could see was carried to the Parisi people.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Then the people brought the person who had been blind to the Pariseo.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And they took that cured blind person to the Pharisees.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “When that was so, they took that man to the Pharisees.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “They caused that blind person whom Jesus had made well to go with them to the Pariseo.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Then the man who had been blind was taken to the Pharisees.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)


The Greek that is a transliteration of the Hebrew Pərūšīm and is typically transliterated into English as “Pharisee” is transliterated in Mandarin Chinese as Fǎlìsài (法利賽 / 法利赛) (Protestant) or Fǎlìsāi (法利塞) (Catholic). In Chinese, transliterations can typically be done with a great number of different and identical-sounding characters. Often the meaning of the characters are not relevant, unless they are chosen carefully as in these cases. The Protestant Fǎlìsài can mean something like “Competition for the profit of the law” and the Catholic Fǎlìsāi “Stuffed by/with the profit of the law.” (Source: Zetzsche 1996, p. 51)

In Finnish Sign Language it is translated with the sign signifying “prayer shawl”. (Source: Tarja Sandholm)

“Pharisee” in Finnish Sign Language (source )

In British Sign Language it is translated with a sign that depicts “pointing out the law.” (Source: Anna Smith)

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

In French Sign Language it is translated with a sign that depicts the box of the phylacteries attached to the forehead:

“Pharisees” in French Sign Language (source: La Bible en langue des signes française )

Scot McKnight (in The Second Testament, publ. 2023) translates it into English as Observant. He explains (p. 302): “Pharisee has become a public, universal pejorative term for a hypocrite. Pharisees were observant of the interpretation of the Covenant Code called the ‘tradition of the elders.’ They conformed their behaviors to the interpretation. Among the various groups of Jews at the time of Jesus, they were perhaps closest to Jesus in their overall concern to make a radical commitment to the will of God (as they understood it).”

See also Nicodemus.

Learn more on Bible Odyssey: Pharisees .

Translation commentary on John 9:13

In Greek the verb took is in the present tense, often used in narratives for the sake of vividness. New English Bible translates as a passive (“was brought”), but since the Greek specifically identifies the subject as they (a reference back to verse 8 and 12), it is better to keep the active verb, with they as the subject.

The persons who questioned the man who was born blind are called Pharisees in verse 13,15 and 16; in verse 18 and 22 they are called “the Jews” (Good News Translation Jewish authorities). In verse 40 the Pharisees are again mentioned (Good News Translation some Pharisees); and the chapter concludes on the note of Jesus’ judgement against them (verse 41).

In some languages the manner in which the people took the man before the Pharisees must be made specific. It is important to avoid a term for took which would suggest “arrested him” or “dragged him before.” The implication is probably “they insisted that the man accompany them to the Pharisees.”

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 .