Matthew 6:9-10

'Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."' ESV. My emphasis. [v9 heaven/ouranois v10 heaven/ourano]

In Matthew 6:9-10 on Bible Hub in 26 out of 28 translations the difference between "ouranois" and "ourano" is lost because both are translated as [single] "heaven".

Why do translators so often ignore the plural "ouranois"?

Matthew 6:9 YLT

'thus therefore pray ye: "Our Father who art in the heavens! hallowed be Thy name.'

Does the close proximity to each other of these two similar, but different words, suggest a difference in meaning between them?

[Edit: Michael16 has referenced two answers to help. One points to a difference in meaning i.e. "to contrast the heavenly realm with the earthly". That helps. But my other question remains: Why do translators generally not make a difference between these words?].

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  • Second duplicate: searched "heaven heavens plural" keyword hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/52984/…
    – Michael16
    Jun 1, 2023 at 15:14
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    YLT has a flawed framework for translation, in that it fails to consider the idioms, syntax and tense aspect, etc of language by presenting a very unnatural English translation. This is a harmful translation and it doesn't even have consistent vocabulary for each word as often believed. It is a misguided work by an amateur with an eccentric theory in mind. bible-researcher.com/young.html
    – Michael16
    Jun 1, 2023 at 15:34
  • @Michael16 Thanks for your help. Can "Berean L.B." & "Literal Standard Version" be dismissed in the same way as you dismiss YLT? They also put "heavens".
    – C. Stroud
    Jun 1, 2023 at 15:50
  • LSV is a revision of YLT, so their framework is the same, although they have corrected some odd errors in YLT on some instances. I downloaded LSV recently on theword.net but then deleted it, it's not useful. BLB is a good one, and doesnt follow such flawed translation approach. There are a few other Literal translations which don't follow a fundamental erroneous approach, like Disciple's Literal NT, they can be consulted for comparison.
    – Michael16
    Jun 1, 2023 at 15:58

1 Answer 1


In Greek the translation depends on the root word. In this case the root of both of these is 'οὐρανῷ'. In v9 we find 'tois ouranois', with the article (tois) being a plural while in v10 we see 'en ouranō' where the article (en) is singular.

The Greeks recognized 3 heavens based on context: The sky, space, and the spiritual realm. Jesus is saying that the father is in "the heavens", all 3 (omnipresence) but asking that His will be done on Earth as it is in the spiritual realm. The context of both differs slightly but whether we use "heavens" or "heaven" in v9 the meaning does not change: God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. Therefore, being everywhere he is in heaven (spiritual), heaven (space, universe) and heaven (the sky) all at the same time. Because there is no effective difference the translation holds true and the meaning does not change at all.

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