inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Matt. 27:63)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). (Click or tap here to see more details)

The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).

For this verse, translators typically select the exclusive form (excluding Pilate).

Source: Velma Pickett and Florence Cowan in Notes on Translation January 1962, p. 1ff.

complete verse (Matthew 27:63)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 27:63:

  • Uma: “they said: ‘Governor sir, we remember the words of that deceiver [out of sight yesterday] while he was still alive, he said: ‘After three days I will live again.'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “They said, ‘Sir, we remember that that liar said when he was living, that when he died, after three days he would live again.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “and they said to him, ‘chief, we remember that that lying person said while he was still alive that if he died he would be raised from the dead within three days.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “and they said, ‘Sir, we (excl.) remembered that when that lying person was still alive, he said he would come-to-life again when three days go-by.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “On arrival they said, ‘Excuse us, respects to you, we (excl.) have remembered that that one-making-false-claims said while still alive that he would indeed be made alive again on the third day.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “They said: ‘Listen, ruler, when that liar who died spoke, he said that when three days had passed after he died then he would resurrect from where he was buried.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)