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Summer 2016

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When Bible Translators Find Just the Right Word

  • July 8, 2016

Why are they throwing their crowns?

Revelation 4:10 describes the scene around God's throne in heaven. The Husa translation in Southeast Asia said that the 24 elders around God's throne "take off their crowns and throw them in front of the King's throne." As this passage was being checked with a consultant, one of the Husa readers said, "I don't think that's right. It sounds disrespectful to throw their crowns like that."

This was a helpful comment to the team. Yes, the 24 elders do "throw" their crowns in front of God's throne. It is a symbolic act showing their submission to him, showing that all power and honor belong to him. But in the Husa language and culture, a literal translation of this symbolic act communicates disrespect rather than submission. The Husa translators revised their translation so that it now says that the 24 elders "lay their crowns in front of the King's throne."