Behold! Eh? What century is this? 7

This has always bothered me…

So tell me, how would you translate הנה (biblical Hebrew) or הא (Aramaic) into “modern” English? Ignoring it, as some are wont to do, seems to be lying to hiding something from the reader and using “just then,” as the NRSV, seems to convey something other than that intended. See Ruth 2:4.



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7 thoughts on “Behold! Eh? What century is this?

  • John Hobbins

    Italian “eccomi” is a perfect match for hinneni. Since I spent plenty of time doing simultaneous translation from Italian to English, I can tell you what comes to mouth as it were: “What do you want?” That works in Gen 22 in some sense, but not in general.

    As for hinneh = ecco, think ecce homo. Something like “here comes ….” or “there came” sometimes works. As in “Here comes the bride.” Or “Here comes Chris Brady, his nose preceding him” [had to throw that in].

    My main point is that if we know Hebrew at all, we know the function of hinneh. But it will often make sense to leave it untranslated.

  • Chris Brady Post author

    Thank you all for the comments and suggestions! (Except for John’s comment about the nose. I am kind of sensitive about my profound proboscis.)

    John – I understand the sense of not translating it at all. In the context of this sort of translation, where I tend towards more literal than “proper” English, and since this is a translation of a translation, so to speak (that is, of the Targum rendering the Hebrew), representing each word is important to me.

    Ed – The immediacy I get, but is there also a sense of awareness, that is “seeing” the approaching figure or event?

    I tend to think of that Bugs Bunny cartoon. “Lo! The king approacheth!”

  • Steve Caruso

    Hehe, I have translated הא (depending on context, company and formality) as:


    And once, pledging almost immediately afterward never to do so again, as: