By the Sound of a Great Crowd. In this short writing our purpose is to examine the problems of translation and interpretation of Jeremiah 11,16. In this biblical verse the word hmlh has many possibilities of translation. After a short presentation of the biblical background I will examine the Hungarian, English, German, Dutch, French, Greek and Latin translations of this biblical verse, and finally I will present my own translation. At the end of this paper I am going to draw a parallel between the meanings of this image in the Old and New Testament. The Hebrew dictionaries given many meanings of the word hmlh: roaring sound, tempest and crowd. The LXX renders the word hmlh by circumcision, which is grammatically impossible. Hieronymus translates it with loquella, which means speaking. In Calvin’s Latin translation we read sermo, and in an additional note tumultus. In the German translations we can read große (Kriegs-) Getöse, ein großes Geprassel, Mordgeschrei. In the French translations we read about un bruit fracassant and au bruit d’un grand fracas. The Dutch versions translate it either by tempest, or by een geluid van een groot geroep. The majority of the English translations keep the ambivalence of the text, translating the word hmlh with tumult. But Robert Davidson translates it by tempest, and in other less known English translations we find: But I will set you on fire, fire that will blaze with a mighty roar – He has set fire to it, and its branches are consumed with a great roaring sound. Finally I have suggested the following translation: By the sound of a great crowd He has set fire to it. According to this translation the meaning of this biblical passage is changing as follows: the secret sin will be followed by a public punishment – As the thief is shamed when he is discovered, so the house of Israel is shamed (Jer 2,26). As a New Testament parallel we should read John 15,1–8.
Református Szemle 100 / 1 (2007)›