parable of the wise builder

The parable of the wise builder is translated in Yaosakor Asmat as “the wise builder is like the person who builds a house on stilts made of iron wood which last a long time, while the foolish builder is the one who builds a house on stilts made of white wood which will rot quickly.”

Daud Soesilio (in Noss 2007, p. 175) explains: “In Pirimapun, a swampy area on the southern coast of Indonesian Papua, the parable of the wise builder who builds on stone foundation and the foolish builder who builds on sand was rendered into the Asmat language as ‘the wise builder is like the person who builds a house on stilts made of iron wood which last a long time, while the foolish builder is the one who builds a house on stilts made of white wood which will rot quickly.’ This adaptation is necessary since one cannot find a single stone in this swampy area, and all houses are built on stilts. They use iron wood stilts for their more permanent houses, and they only use white wood stilts for the temporary houses that they use when they go hunting. White wood will not last. It is also interesting to point out that they use sand from the beach to make their walking paths firm.”

rock, sand

Fuyug houses are built with poles, which cannot be put into rock, so in this passage the Fuyug translation for the term that is “rock” in English becomes “firm ground” and “sand” becomes “soft ground.”

complete verse (Matthew 7:26)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 7:26:

  • Uma: “‘But the person who hears my words and does not follow them, that person is like the foolish person who builds his house on top of sand.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “And whoever hears those my words but does not follow/obey them, he is like a stupid man who built his house on sand.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And whoever hears these advices of mine and he doesn’t carry them out, he is like a stupid person. This stupid person, he built on a sandy bank.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “But the person who has been hearing what I am saying but he doesn’t believe/obey it, he can-be-illustrated by a foolish person who built his house on the sand/gravel.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “But the person who, although he hears this teaching of mine, doesn’t obey it, he is like a stupid/simple-minded person, who jerry-built his house on the sand and didn’t put-posts-down-deep.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “But concerning the person who hears all that I speak and does not do what I say, such a one is to be compared with a man who didn’t have any sense. He built a house on where it was sandy.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)