If you’re a di- or a polyglot, you’ll know some colourful phrases and expressions that don’t translate well into other languages. For example, ‘It’s raining cats and dogs.’ As I was preparing my blog post on Jonah I read through all the footnotes in the NET Bible (it’s got over 60,000), and was delighted by some Hebrew expressions that don’t translate well into English.
|HEB||the ship seriously considered breaking apart|
|KJV||the ship was like to be broken|
|NIV 1984||the ship threatened to break up|
|ESV||the ship threatened to break up|
|HCSB||the ship threatened to break apart|
I think the English does get the idea across, though not quite as earthily.
|HEB||the sea was walking and storming|
|KJV||the sea wrought, and was tempestuous|
|NIV 1984||the sea was getting rougher and rougher|
|ESV||the sea grew more and more tempestuous|
|HCSB||the sea was getting worse and worse|
This is one of my favourites!
|HEB||the men feared the Lord with a great fear, they sacrificed sacrifices and they vowed vows|
|KJV||Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.|
|NIV 1984||At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.|
|ESV||Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.|
|HCSB||The men feared the LORD even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.|
I heard that emphasis in Hebrew is made by repetition, such as the noun-verb pairing above. Another example is the angels’ cry, “Holy, holy holy.” In English, we more often use adverbs and adjectives for emphasis.
|HEB||worthlessnesses of nothingness/ vanities of emptiness|
|NIV 1984||worthless idols|
|HEB||the burning of his nose/ face|
|KJV||his fierce anger|
|NIV 1984||his fierce anger|
|ESV||his fierce anger|
|HCSB||his burning anger|
Anger is indeed like a fire: destructive when out of control.
|HEB||long of nostrils|
|KJV||slow to anger|
|NIV 1984||slow to anger|
|ESV||slow to anger|
|HCSB||slow to become angry|
I like this idiom a lot. Here’s what the NET notes say: “Because the nose often expresses anger through flared nostrils it became the source of this idiom meaning ‘slow to anger’ (e.g., Exod 34:6; Num 14:18; Neh 9:17; Pss 86:15; 103:8; 145:8; Jer 15:15; Nah 1:3).”
May you, dear reader, be long of nostrils that this and similar boring blog posts may not burn to you. May you not cling to worthlessnesses of nothingness, but may your faith in Yahweh walk and become strong as you fear Him with a great fear. Amen.