Exodus 34:3 New International Version

No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain."

in front of
אֶל־ (’el-)
Strong's Hebrew 413: Near, with, among, to

English Standard Version

No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.”

How is it that ESV translates it as opposite?

  • I think you need to look at this: biblehub.com/text/exodus/34-3.htm
    – R. Emery
    Sep 11 '20 at 21:48
  • The Biblehub Interlinear indicates there are two prepositions there אֶל־ and מ֖וּל and the Biblehub Interlinear gives 'before the front of'. YLT gives 'over against'. I find the comment made by @Lucian to be quite inappropriate and I think it would be desirable if such condescending remarks were to cease on this website. Flagged for Moderator assessment and I have cancelled the down-vote with an up-vote.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 12 '20 at 8:47
  • @NigelJ: It is a simple factual remark. And there's nothing wrong with asking appropriate questions on appropriate sites.
    – Lucian
    Sep 12 '20 at 8:57
  • @Lucian The problem with your remark is that you appear to be making a remark about someone of whom English may, or may not, be their first language. There is SE-English Language and Usage, And there is SE-English Language Learners. Which were you suggesting ? And in any case, the user is asking about a situation where there are two Hebrew prepositions and the translators have clearly had difficulty expressing that into English. BH is all about 'vocabulary'. We examine it all the time.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 12 '20 at 9:03

Thanks to NigelJ's pointer in his comment. There are actually 2 Hebrew prepositions before the noun mountain.

אל מול

The second preposition can mean opposite.

https://biblehub.com/hebrew/4136.htm, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance

over against, before, forefront, from, Godward, toward, with Or mowl (Deuteronomy 1:1) {mole}; or mowtl (Nehemiah 12:38) {mole}; or mul (Numbers 22:5) {mool}; from muwl; properly, abrupt, i.e. A precipice; by implication, the front; used only adverbially (with prepositional prefix) opposite -- (over) against, before, (fore-)front, from, (God-)ward, toward, with.

ESV translation of “opposite that mountain” in Exodus 34:3 is justified by מול.

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