Luke 22:46, (DRB):

And he said to them: Why sleep you? arise, pray, lest you enter into temptation.

Luke 22:46, (Latin Vulgate):

  1. et ait illis quid dormitis surgite orate ne intretis in temptationem

John 17:9, (DRB):

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me: because they are thine:

John 17:9, (Latin Vulgate):

  1. ego pro eis rogo non pro mundo rogo sed pro his quos dedisti mihi quia tui sunt

Rogo in Latin means:

  • Ask, ask for.
  • Introduce.
  • Invite.

Why Douay-Rheims Bible translated both "rogo" and "orate" as "pray"?

Are there versions of Latin Vulgate having "orate" rather than "rogo"?

Rogo had been translated in many verses as "beseech", for example:

Acts 21:39, (DRB):

But Paul said to him: I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city. And I beseech thee, suffer me to speak to the people.

Acts 21:39, (Latin Vulgate):

  1. et dixit ad eum Paulus ego homo sum quidem iudaeus a Tarso Ciliciae non ignotae civitatis municeps rogo autem te permitte mihi loqui ad populum.
  • The verb to pray did not originally carry any specifically religious connotations; you can see this by noticing that the expression I pray thee, and others similar to it, appears, in older versions of English scripture (King James and Douay-Rheims), in contexts which are not about religious prayer; or by recalling the English expression pray, tell, which is still used today.
    – Lucian
    Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


In Luke 22:46 and John 17:9, the Clementine Latin text and Jerome Latin text are the same.

In the Greek of these two verses there are different words corresponding to the Latin words. Specifically:

  • Luke 22:46 uses προσεύχομαι in Greek meaning specifically to pray; in Latin the word is "orate" with a very similar meaning.
  • John 17:9 uses ἐρωτάω in Greek meaning to ask a question or make a request which may or may not be in prayer; in Latin the word is "rogo" is a very similar meaning. Thus, this verse could have been translated as per the BSB, "I ask on their behalf. I do not ask on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those You have given Me; for they are Yours."

Many versions use "pray" for both words but some, as per BSB, NASB, ISV, etc, distinguish between the two to reflect the difference. Why DRB translated the way they did is not known. However, the fact that Jesus is making a request of the Father during prayer (John 17:9) suggests that "pray" is not entirely wrong.

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