the organization of work (image)

Click here to see the image in higher resolution.

Image taken from the Wiedmann Bible. For more information about the images and ways to adopt them, see here .

For other images of Willy Wiedmann paintings in TIPs, see here.


The Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek that is translated as “cubit” or into a metric or imperial measurement in English is translated in Kutu, Kwere, and Nyamwezi as makono or “armlength.” Since a cubit is the measurement from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, one armlength (measured from the center of the chest to the fingertips) equals two cubits or roughly 1 meter. (Source: Pioneer Bible Translators, project-specific translation notes in Paratext)

In Klao it is converted into “hand spans” (app. 6 inches or 12 cm) and “finger spans” (app. 1 inch or 2 cm) (Source: Don Slager)

large numbers in Angguruk Yali

Many languages use a “body part tally system” where body parts function as numerals (see body part tally systems with a description). One such language is Angguruk Yali which uses a system that ends at the number 27. To circumvent this limitation, the Angguruk Yali translators adopted a strategy where a large number is first indicated with an approximation via the traditional system, followed by the exact number according to Arabic numerals. For example, where in 2 Samuel 6:1 it says “thirty thousand” in the English translation, the Angguruk Yali says teng-teng angge 30.000 or “so many rounds [following the body part tally system] 30,000,” likewise, in Acts 27:37 where the number “two hundred seventy-six” is used, the Angguruk Yali translation says teng-teng angge 276 or “so many rounds 276,” or in John 6:10 teng-teng angge 5.000 for “five thousand.”

This strategy is used in all the verses referenced here.

Source: Lourens de Vries in The Bible Translator 1998, p. 409ff.

See also numbers in Ngalum and numbers in Kombai.

Translation commentary on Nehemiah 3:13

Hanun: This is the first of two persons with this name among those who repaired the wall of Jerusalem (see verse 30 below).

Zanoah was a town 23 kilometers (14 miles) southwest of Jerusalem.

The distance from the Valley Gate (see the comments at Neh 2.13) to the Dung Gate was a thousand cubits, that is, about 500 meters or 1,500 feet. For cubit see the comments at Ezra 6.3. This was the longest stretch of wall without a gate. The whole city from north to south was only about 1,200 meters or 3,600 feet. It is possible that there were a lot of people working on this one section, or possibly this part of the wall had not been seriously damaged.

The Hebrew has “Cheese Gate” instead of Dung Gate (see the comments at Neh 2.13), but this is a scribal error as is evident from the next verse. It should therefore be translated Dung Gate, as Revised Standard Version has done.

Quoted with permission from Noss, Philip A. and Thomas, Kenneth J. A Handbook on Nehemiah. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2005. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .