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In Exodus 14:1-2 it is written,

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp near Pi Hahiroth."

I have looked on the internet to find the translation,and each source has a different view. I would like to know the proper translation of Pi Hahiroth.

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Could you explain the concern about the translation? I mean, I would just use Wikipedia: – The Freemason Feb 12 '14 at 20:39
Very well, so then, you're just looking for ` לִפְנֵי פִּי הַחִירֹת` – The Freemason Feb 12 '14 at 20:49

According to the commentaries of Rashi and ibn Ezra, it's a place name. Thus, it translates into English as "Pi Hachiros", much as the English word "Chicago" translates into French as "Chicagot" (or however they'd write it).

Others may differ, though I haven't yet found any Jewish source that does so explicitly.

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@Bagpipes, "Jonah" is a man's name. It doesn't translate as (or mean) "Dove". Are you asking about etymology? The question says you're asking about translation. – msh210 Feb 12 '14 at 22:19
@msh210: When he said "Jonah," I'm sure he was referring to the original Hebrew יונה. He should be more precise though. – Simply a Christian Feb 12 '14 at 22:36
@H3br3wHamm3r81 "יונה" has two distinct translations (at least) corresponding to two referents of the word. One translation is "Jonah", a name; the other is "dove". In the book of Jonah is has the former translation; in Genesis, the latter. To say it translates as "dove" in the book of Jonah is an error. Likewise, to say "Chicago" (in the sentence "I went to Chicago Tuesday") translates into French as anything but "Chicagot", or "פִּי הַחִירֹת" (in Exodus) translates into English as anything but "Pi Hachiros", is an error. According to Rashi and ibn Ezra, anyway. – msh210 Feb 12 '14 at 22:43
@msh210: Yona/Yonah/Jonah is a transliteration, not a translation. – Simply a Christian Feb 13 '14 at 1:41
@H3br3wHamm3r81, it's a transliteration, to be sure. But it's the translation also, if you insist that the word has a translation; the alternative would be to say "don't translate names", which is certainly very reasonable. Either way works, really. Same for "Chicago". – msh210 Feb 13 '14 at 2:26

Pi HaHiroth is the name of a place, and therefore it's proper literal translation is "Pi Hahiroth," just as the translation of Migdol (later in the verse) would be Migdol.

However, the ancient Biblical translation Onkelos translates it as "Pum Chirasa," which is translating the Hebrew word for mouth (Pi) into the Aramaic word for mouth. So it would then be translated "Mouth of Hiroth." The commentary of Rashi states that Pi Hahiroth was two tall, erect rocks with a valley between them, and the rocks are like the lips of the mouth opening into the valley.

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The link i provide-Go down and you will see an illustration or drawing of a North Syrian cylinder seal found at Tell ed Daba.Is this the rocks you mention? – Bagpipes Feb 13 '14 at 17:00
@Bagpipes I don't know - I've never seen them. – Y ez Feb 13 '14 at 19:12

Apparently the "proper translation of Pi Hahiroth" depends on who you ask or what you read.


BDB = "place where sedge grows". Strong's = "mouth of the gorges". Wesley's Notes = "the straits of Hiroth".

There might be others.

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