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bible translation

§introduction

i have spoken before about how much i like the bible, in fact i consider it part of my {essential media}. but there are some parts of it i don’t enjoy. this is a long term project to provide a personal paraphrase for me to use.

it does not intend to be any superlative translation. instead, i want to strike a healthy balance between factors, with one overarching goal: this version should be fun to read.

the bible is full of stories, but most modern copies have chapters (introduced ~13C) and verses (introduced ~16C). these are useful, but make it difficult to simply read the text. and being an ancient compilation of legend, it’s worth reading.

there are some other changes i intend to make as well. the first relates to the use of pronouns: i will avoid using gendered language when talking about catch-alls for humanity, and avoid using gendered language or pronouns for God. i do not believe that this alters any important meaning of the text.

the second is to take liberties with the poetry. i need to further research how poetry works in the biblical languages, and see how best to translate that across to english. the psalms, song of solomon, and lamentations should be more poetic, but in my opinion so should some of the myths, like the story of Job and the creation myth.

the next few regard language. i plan to use human units for dimensions a la the new life version, replacing cubits or metres with strides or hands. this is partially for fun, and partially to avoid either feeling (a) like i have no idea how big anything is, or (b) anachronistic.

i am tempted to avoid contractions, and want to minimize the vocabulary (but not to the point of absurdity).

also, i will update euphemisms to make sense to me (that is, no more “foot covering”) and do the same with set phrases (see the beginning for my first attempts of that). if place names are metaphorical (such as the land of Nod), i will translate them (in that case, to the land of wandering). if imagery or history obscures the meaning, expand it out or state it explicitly (eg. the implications of john’s outfit in mark).

to further that, sometimes place names seem relevant, other times they are just ancient middle eastern locations. i haven’t yet decided exactly what i’m going to do here, but i’m tempted to be as generic as possible if no meaning is obscured; i’ve hearded enough half-embarrassed butcherings of those names to last a lifetime. for now, i’m enclosing locations in curly braces. finally, some of the book names are obscure words (genesis, exodus, etc). once again, i’m not exactly sure where i stand here, but i am leaning towards renaming them more explicitly into english (which makes some of the next intention easier).

i want to make some splits and merges. this is obvious from the get-go, as i’ve split genesis into two books, “the beginning” and “the patriarchs”, the former covering the first eleven chapters on how the world came to be, and the latter covering abraham and co. i’ve also merged both samuels and both kings into a single book “reigns”, as it is found in the septuagint. similarly, chronicles, ezra, and nehemiah have been merged; the two chronicles are quite obviously meant to be a single book, and it is generally accepted that the latter two are a continuation. i have also merged luke and acts into a single book.

i also want to do some rearranging. the old testament prophets should be arranged generally in chronological order, as should the new testament epistles, but taking into account correspondence to make reading through as intuitive as possible. where no particular position is obvious, similar texts should be grouped (the books of song and the books of wisdom, for example). i see no reason for all the gospels to be next to each other. by merging luke and acts, there is already a split with john if we keep the traditional order. i am not certain on the ordering yet, so this is all subject to change.

finally, i am interested in adding the apocrypha, which i know very little about. this is a stretch goal.

so far, i haven't done much. i've put this on hold, as i pursue other things.

§in the beginning

this is the first part of my {bible translation}. it is made up of the eleven chapters of genesis.

part 1

when God decided to create everything, the earth was in a sea of chaos. So God stood over the chaos and said,

let there be light.

and as God spoke, it happened. God was pleased with the light, so he separated it from the darkness, and called the light “day”, and the dark “night”. Then came an evening, then came a morning. That was the first day.

then God said,

let there be a dome within this water, to separate it in two. i will call this dome “the sky”.

and as God spoke, it happened. then came an evening, then came a morning. that was the second day.

then God said,

let the water under the sky come together in one place, so dry land can be seen.

and as God spoke, it happened. God called the dry land “land”, and the water “sea”. God was pleased and said,

let the land produce plants, and let the plants produce seeds. let there be trees with fruit, and let those fruits have seeds.

and as God spoke, it happened. plants grew across the land, and from their seeds even more plants grew. trees grew across the land, and fruits grew on the trees, and from their seeds even more trees grew. God was pleased.

then came an evening, then came a morning. that was the third day.

then God said,

let there be lights in the sky that will divide the day and night. they will show the days and the years, the seasons and celebrations.

and as God spoke, it happened. God made two big lights, the sun to rule over the day, and the moon to rule over the night, and God made the stars, and put them all in the sky to light up the land and separate the light from darkness. God was pleased.

then came an evening, then came a morning. that was the fourth day.

then God said,

let the seas be full of living creatures. let birds fly in the sky above the earth.

God made big sea creatures and all the other creatures living in the sea, and all the birds. God was pleased and blessed them, saying,

have lots of children, so that the sea is full of fish and there are plenty of birds on the land.

then came an evening, then came a morning. that was the fifth day.

then God said,

let the land make every kind of living creature. let there be cattle, let there be reptiles, let there be wildlife.

and as God spoke, it happened. God made all sorts of wildlife, cattle, and reptiles, and was pleased.

then God said,

let’s make a person who is like me, who can rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky. they can rule over the cattle and the reptiles and the wildlife.

So God created humans in God’s likeness. God created humans to be like God. God made male and female humans. Then God blessed them saying,

have lots of children so there will be lots of you. fill the land and rule over it. you will rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals on the earth. i give to you every plant that produces seeds, and every tree that produces fruits filled with seeds. these will be what you eat. i give the green plants to the animals as food.

God looked at everything that God had made, and was very pleased. then came an evening, then came a morning. that was the sixth day.

so the heavens and the earth and everything in them had been created. on the seventh day God had finished working, so God took a rest. God blessed the seventh day, the holy day, because it was the day all God’s work was finished.

part 2

Once upon a time, just after God had made the earth and the heavens, there were no plants growing because God had not sent any rain and there was nobody to farm. Then an underground spring sprung and watered all the land, and God formed a person from a lump of clay. God breathed life into them, and they become a living person.

God planted a garden in the fertile lands to the east, and put the new person in it. God made lots of trees grow, and they were all beautiful and had good fruit. Then God put two trees in the middle of the garden. The first had fruit that let people live forever. The second had fruit that let people tell the difference between good and evil.

the garden was watered by a river, which flowed out of the garden and split into four. first the [Pishon] which winds through the land of [Havilah], full of gold, onyx, and sweet resin. second the [Gihon], which winds through the land of [Cush/Ethiopia]. third the [Tigris/Hiddekel], which runs along the east of [Ashur/Assyria]. and fourth the [Euphrates].

God put the person in the garden to farm the land and look after it. God told them,

you can eat from any tree, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. if you do, you will be sentenced to death.

then God said,

it is not good for this person to be alone. i will make them a companion.

and God formed all the different animals and birds, and showed them to the person, who named them all. they named all the cattle, all the birds in the sky, and all the wildlife. but the person didn’t find the right companion.

so God made them fall into a deep sleep, and took out one of their ribs. then God made another person from the rib, and showed them to the first person who said,

their bones have come from my bones. their flesh has come from my flesh. they are a woman, because they were taken out of a man.

(this is why a person leaves their parents to join their spouse. in sex they become one, and live together with loyalty and care.)

the two people were naked, but they were not ashamed.

§obadiah

(here is a reading someone on fedi did. i cannot find who it was in my notifications, so if you know please let me know! also note i've made some changes since then, so there may be discrepancies.)

click here for a reading


this is prophet Obadiah’s vision, which showed him God’s opinion of Edom, the city of Esau.

God has sent us a message, and a person is telling all the nations: get ready! we are going to war against Edom.

listen up, people of Edom: i am going to make you small among the nations and make everybody hate you. you got too proud and it made you foolish. you think that because you live high up on the mountains nobody can touch you, nobody can bring you down. you can fly like an eagle and make a nest in the stars, but i can still touch you, i can bring you down, because i am God.

when thieves come in the night, they only take the things they want. when grape pickers come to pick grapes, they always miss a few. but you will be destroyed! every single thing that Esau owns will be found and taken, just to fuck you over. all your allies will force you out of your country. all your friends will lie to you and take your power. the people you feed will set a trap for you, and you won't even realise it. when these things happen, i will destroy all the wise people in edom. i will destroy them, and your soldiers will be terrified, and everyone living in your mountains will be killed.

you killed your brother Jacob. Then your people did bad things to his people. because of that, you will be covered in shame and destroyed forever. you stood and watched strangers entered Jerusalem and stole the riches, and divided the land among themselves. you did nothing, so you are just as bad. the people in Jerusalem were in a bad place. the people of Judah were killed. laughing at them was wrong. talking about how great you are as they suffered was wrong. you should not have invaded them. you should not have enjoyed their pain. you should not have stolen from them. you should not have waited to kill the ones who tried to escape. you should not have captured the ones left alive.

soon God is going to judge every nation. all the bad things you have done will happen to you. you will be punished, a head for a head. you drank on my holy mountain and made the water dirty. all the nations will keep drinking, they will drink so much, and then they will disappear. but the people on mount Zion who stayed with me will not disappear. i will make the mountain holy again, and i will give Jacob's people the land. Jacob's people and Joseph's people will be like a fire, and Esau's people will be dry grass. Esau will burn and nothing will survive. believe me—i am God.

people from the south will live in Esau's mountains. and people from the plains will live in the land of the Philistines, and on the farms of Ephraim and Samaria, and Gilead will belong to the people of Benjamin. these people exiled from Israel, will take their land back, all the way from the north and the south. the good people who were saved on mount Zion will rule over the mountains of Esau, and the rule will honour God.

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