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The Greek terms that are typically translated as “mercy” (or “compassion”) in English are translated in various ways. Bratcher / Nida classify them in (1) those based on the quality of heart, or other psychological center, (2) those which introduce the concept of weeping or extreme sorrow, (3) those which involve willingness to look upon and recognize the condition of others, or (4) those which involve a variety of intense feelings.

Here are some (back-) translations:

have mercy on me

The Greek that is translated in English as “have mercy on me” is translated in Roviana as (Tuna Devita,) tataru nau, mamu toka nau!: “(Son of David,) love me, help me!” (source: Carl Gross) and in Mairasi as (Dautuer tatnem,) omorafainenyo!: “(Daud’s Child,) desire my face (=love me)” (source: Enggavoter 2004).

See also mercy.

complete verse (Luke 18:39)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 18:39:

  • Uma: “The people walking ahead of Yesus were angry at him, they said: ‘Be quiet!’ But he just shouted louder, he said: ‘Descendant of King Daud, please have pity on me!'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “He was scolded by the people in front and told not to be noisy. But he caused his shouting to be even louder. ‘Oy, descendant of King Da’ud,’ he said, ‘have pity/mercy on me.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And those people who were ahead of Jesus, they told him to stop, but he kept on shouting even more, ‘Hey Jesus, descendant of King David long ago, pity me!'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Those who were going ahead, they scolded him so that he would-be-quiet koma, but he shouted even-more, ‘Descendant of David, please have mercy!'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “He was told by the people there in the lead to stop making so much noise. But he in fact shouted far louder, ‘Descendant of king David, please do really pity me!'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)


The name that is transliterated as “David” in English is translated in Spanish Sign Language with the sign signifying a sling and king (referring to 1 Samuel 17:49 and 2 Samuel 5:4). (Source: John Elwode in The Bible Translator 2008, p. 78ff.)

“David” in Spanish Sign Language (source)

The (Protestant) Chinese transliteration of “David” is 大卫 (衛) / Dàwèi which carries an additional meaning of “Great Protector.”

Click or tap here to see a short video clip about David (source: Bible Lands 2012)