The Herdsman of Tekoa

I’d appreciate your feedback. To keep up with my Hebrew and Greek, every day I translate the Bible following on the suggestion by my professor Heath Thomas. I’m currently alternating between the books of Amos and James. Here’s an excerpt from Amos which I invite you to give feedback on the naturalness of the English—no need to compare with other versions. In other words, when you read it aloud,

  • Does anything sound awkward?
  • Anything sound off?
  • Anything you would say differently, even if just one word?

You must know that the goal of my translation is to communicate clearly to my kids, without necessarily avoiding bigger vocabulary words. I’m not sure I always succeed, but this remains a sort of first draft anyways. As such, please note that I’ve not done any sort of spellcheck on this. I’ve drafted it using Paratext, the software which translators of non-dominant languages use when doing their Bible translations. In order for the translator to take advantage of Paratext’s spellchecking abilities, you first have to teach it your language so it knows what to look out for. I haven’t done that yet and, plus, I enjoy getting a experience closer to that of many of the translators with whom I work. Also, I haven’t put verse numbers because I want you to just read it.

Opening (Amos 1:1-2)

The words of Amos, one of the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw in a vision concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah and Jeroboam, son of Joash, king of Israel. This was two years before the earthquake. He said, “The Lord roars from Zion and from Jerusalem his voice thunders. The shepherd’s pastures are dried up and the top of Mt. Carmel dries out.

Crimes of Damascus (Amos 1:3-8)

Here’s what the Lord says, “Because of three crimes of Damascus and because of the fourth I won’t hold back punishment; because they have trampled them, Gilead, with iron threshing sledges. I will send fire upon the house of Hazael such that it will consume the guard shacks of Ben-hadad. I will break down the gates of Damascus and wipe out the people in the valley of Aven and they king holding the scepter from Beth-eden and the people of Aram will be exiled to Kir,” says the Lord.

“I won’t hold back punishment; because they made entire villages go into exile, handing them over to Edom. I will send fire against the walls of Gaza; it will devour its guard shacks. I will wipe out the people of Ashdod and the king holding the scepter from Ashkelon. I will turn my hand against Ekron and those who remain of the Philistines,” says the Lord God.