repent, repentance

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The Greek and Hebrew that is often translated as “repent” or “repentance” is (back-) translated in various ways: (click or tap here to see the rest of this insight)

  • Western Kanjobal: “to think in the soul”
  • Kekchí: “pain in the heart”
  • Northwestern Dinka: “to turn the heart”
  • Pedi: “to become untwisted”
  • Baoulé: “it hurts to make you quit it” (source for this and above: Nida 1952, p. 137)
  • Balinese: “putting on a new mind”
  • Chicahuaxtla Triqui: “be sorry on account of [your] sins”
  • Uab Meto: “to turn the heart upside down” (source for this and the two above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Central Mazahua / Chichimeca-Jonaz: “turning back the heart” (source: Nida 1952, p. 40)
  • Suki: biaekwatrudap gjaeraesae: “turn with sorrow” (Source L. and E. Twyman in The Bible Translator 1953, p. 91ff.)
  • Yamba and Bulu: “turn over the heart (source: W. Reyburn in The Bible Translator 1959, p. 1ff.)
  • Nyanja: kutembenuka mtima (“to be turned around in one’s heart”) (source: Ernst Wendland in The Bible Translator 2002, p. 319ff.)
  • Caribbean Javanese: mertobat (“tired of old life”)
  • Saramaccan: bia libi ko a Massa Gadu (“turn your life to the Lord God”)
  • Sranan Tongo: drai yu libi (“turn your life”) or kenki libi (“change life”)
  • Eastern Maroon Creole: dai yu libi (“turn your life”) (source for this and 3 above: Jabini 2015)
  • Eggon: “bow in the dust” (source: Kilgour, p. 80)
  • Embu: “changing heart” (“2 Cor. 7:10 says ‘For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.’ In ordinary speech the terms ‘repent’ and ‘regret’ are used interchangeably in Embu, so that this verse comes out as: ‘godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no repentance,’ which is contradictory. The problem was solved by using ‘changing heart’ in the first, and ‘sadness’ in the second.”) (source: Jan Sterk)
  • Anuak: “liver falls down”
  • Kafa: “return from way of sin to God” (source for this and the one above: Loren Bliese)
  • Latvian: atgriezties (verb) / atgriešanās (noun) (“turn around / return” — see turn around / convert) (source: Katie Roth)
  • Obolo: igwugwu ikom: “turning back (from evil)” (source: Enene Enene)
  • Mairasi: make an end (of wrongdoing) (source: Enggavoter 2004)
  • Luchazi: ku aluluka mutima: “to turn in heart” (source: E. Pearson in The Bible Translator 1954, p. 160ff.)
  • Chokwe: kulinkonyeka: “to fold back over” or “to go back on oneself” (source D.B. Long in The Bible Translator 1953, p. 135ff.).
  • Muna: dofetompa’ao dhosa bhe dodoli ne Lahata’ala: “to radically-end sin and to turn to God” (source: René van den Berg)
  • Bacama: por-njiya: “fetch sand” (“Before the coming of Christianity 100 years ago, when the elders went to pray to the gods, they would take sand and throw it over each shoulder and down their backs while confessing their sins. Covering themselves with sand was a ritual to show that they were sorry for what they had done wrong, sort of like covering oneself with sackcloth and ashes. Now idol worship for the most part is abandoned in Bacama culture, but the Christian church has retained the phrase por-njiya to mean ‘repent, doing something to show sorrow for one’s sins’” — source: David Frank in this blog post.)
  • “In Tzotzil two reflexive verbs to communicate the biblical concept of repentance are used. Xca’i jba means to know or to reflect inwardly on one’s self. This self inquiry or self examination is similar to the attitude of the prodigal son where Luke 15:17 records that ‘he came to his senses.’ Broke, starving, and slopping hogs, the prodigal admitted to himself that he was in the wrong place. The second reflexive verb ‘jsutes jba’ means turning away from what one is and turning to something else. In a sense, it is deciding against one’s self and toward someone else. It is similar to the attitude of the prodigal son when he said, ‘I will get up and go to my father’ (v. 18).” (source: Aeilts, p. 118)
  • Enlhet “exchange innermosts.” “Innermost” or valhoc is a term that is frequently used in Enlhet to describe a large variety of emotions or states of mind (for other examples see here). (Source: Jacob Loewen in The Bible Translator 1969, p. 24ff.)
  • San Blas Kuna: “sorry for wrong done in the heart” (source: Claudio and Marvel Iglesias in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 85ff.)
  • Desano: “change your bad deeds for good ones
  • Isthmus Mixe: “put your hearts and minds on the good road”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “change your thinking about evil and walk in the way of God”
  • San Mateo del Mar Huave: “just remember that you have done wicked, in order that you might do good”
  • Coatlán Mixe: “heart-return to God” (source for this and four above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
  • Sierra de Juárez Zapotec: “get on the right road”
  • Isthmus Zapotec: “heart becomes soft” (source for this and above: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

See also: convert / conversion / turn back and see Seat of the Mind for traditional views of “ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling.”

complete verse (Revelation 2:16)

Following are a number of back-translations of Revelation 2:16:

  • Uma: “That is why I way to you, repent from your sins! If not, when I come to meet you, I will wage-war against those people with the sword that appears from my mouth.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Therefore, regret your sins and leave them. Because if you don’t, I will soon come to you and fight/challenge them. That is what I will fight with, the weapon that comes out of my mouth.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Stop doing these bad things because if you don’t, I will come quickly to you and fight against these people. My weapon will be the sword here in My mouth which is My Word.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Repent therefore, because if you don’t repent, it won’t be long before (lit. and) I go there (near addressee), and I will use the sword that comes-out of my mouth to wage-war-against them.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Therefore they must repent and let go of these sins of theirs. For if they don’t, I will come in a short time and I will exterminate those people with this bladed-weapon which comes out of my mouth.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “But now do not give the road to these people who teach you the word taught by these I am talking about. Tell them to separate from this word they have learned, I will myself go to where you are and will fight with the sword which comes from my mouth the people who do not want to separate from that teaching.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

complete verse (Revelation 2:16)

Following are a number of back-translations of Revelation 21:6:

  • Uma: “After that he also said to me: ‘It-is-finished. I am the First and the Last. I am the Beginning and the End. Whoever of you is thirsty, I give water from headwaters that give good life forever. That water I give freely to you, you don’t need to buy it.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “And he said, ‘All is fulfilled. I am the first and I am the last, I am the beginning and I am the end. Whoever is thirsty I will give him drink free (without payment) from the spring of water that gives life without end.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And He said again, ‘All these things have come to pass. As for me, I am the Alpha and Omega, which is to say, the beginning and ending of everything. If anyone is thirsty I will let him drink at the spring which is the source of the water which gives eternal life, and I won’t make him pay.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Then he said, ‘All these-things will be totally fulfilled. I am the one designated as Alfa and Omega, meaning to say, I am the beginning-place and ending-place of everything. I will give the thirsty person free water which comes-from the spring (redundant to say spring of water) that gives life that has no end.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “And what he further said to me was, ‘Today all this has now been fulfilled. For I am the one who was first before all and I indeed am the one who will be at the very end. I am the one who created everything and under my authority is its conclusion/being-finished-with. Whoever is parched, it’s certain I will give him water which is without cost which comes from the spring which gives life.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Again he spoke: ‘Now had happened all which must have happened. I was living when all things began and I will continue to be living forever. It is like the first litter is A and the last letter is Z. And now, all who are thirsty, I will cause there where comes out the water of the new life, they will drink there without paying anything.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)