complete verse (Romans 10:19)

Following are a number of back-translations of Romans 10:19:

  • Uma: “Also let us not say/think like this: ‘The Israel people did not understand God’s purpose to give salvation [goodness] to mankind.’ They did understand it! First of all, there is the Word of God that was announced by the prophet Musa, it sounds like this: ‘You Jews, I will make you jealous when you see my love to people who are not Jews. You will be irritated/angry [lit., your hearts will be little]at them seeing my care/watching-over people who did not know me.'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “I have another question: Didn’t the nation Isra’il understand that the nations not Yahudi belong to God also? They indeed really understood. Musa was the first who answered. God caused him to write his words, God said, ‘I will heed/pay-attention-to the people not Yahudi, the people of whom you say that they are a nation/tribe without use. So then you (pl.) will be jealous and you will be angry because I heed/pay-attention-to people who do not know me.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And it might be that we (incl.) are thinking mistakenly that the descendants of Israel have not understood what was preached to them. However, they have already understood it before, because there’s a written word of God long ago to them by means of the word of Moses in which he says, ‘I will cause you Jews in the future to be jealous of my helping the people who are not my chosen ones. And I will make it so that you become angry because of my pitying the people who long ago did not know who I am,’ he said.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “One other question: Is it maybe possible that they didn’t understand what they heard? They indeed understood, because even the Gentiles, they were able-to-understand-it. Here is what God said to the Jews which Moses wrote saying, ‘I will make-you -jealous on account of collective-people that you despise. I will make-you -angry on account of collective-people who know nothing concerning me.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “So then, didn’t the Jews understand in their hearts about the word which was told to them? But other people understood in their hearts about the word they were told. In past days Moses said: ‘God will save the people who are not Jews in order that the Jews will be jealous of those who are saved. They will be angry because the people who do not have intelligence are the ones who encountered the blessings of God.'” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)


The name that is transliterated as “Moses” in English is signed in Spanish Sign Language in accordance with the depiction of Moses in the famous statue by Michelangelo (see here ). (Source: John Elwode in The Bible Translator 2008, p. 78ff.)

“Moses” in Spanish Sign Language (source )

American Sign Language also uses the sign depicting the horns but also has a number of alternative signs (see here).

In French Sign Language, a similar sign is used, but it is interpreted as “radiance” (see below) and it culminates in a sign for “10,” signifying the 10 commandments:

“Moses” in French Sign Language (source )

The horns that are visible in Michelangelo’s statue are based on a passage in the Latin Vulgate translation (and many Catholic Bible translations that were translated through the 1950ies with that version as the source text). Jerome, the translator, had worked from a Hebrew text without the niqquds, the diacritical marks that signify the vowels in Hebrew and had interpreted the term קרו (k-r-n) in Exodus 34:29 as קֶ֫רֶן — keren “horned,” rather than קָרַו — karan “radiance” (describing the radiance of Moses’ head as he descends from Mount Sinai).

Even at the time of his translation, Jerome likely was not the only one making that decision as this recent article alludes to.

See also Moses and Elijah during the Transfiguration.