In Psalm 47:5, the NIV has

"God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets."

The NLT, HCSB, CEV/GNT, and NET all similarly translate "trumpets" in the plural. By contrast, the ESV has

"God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet."

Many other English versions translate "trumpet" in the singular like the ESV does. The MT has בְּק֣וֹל שׁוֹפָֽר, and Swete's LXX has ἐν φωνῇ σάλπιγγος. The NET has the following translators note on Verse 5: "tn Heb 'the Lord amid the sound of the ram horn.' The verb 'ascended' is understood by ellipsis; see the preceding line."

Is the use of a plural in some English translations based on a textual variant that I can't find?

1 Answer 1


Let's take a look at what it says: enter image description here

The Hebrew text of Psalm 47:5 reads "בְּק֣וֹל שׁוֹפָֽר" (bekol shofar), which can literally translate to "with the voice of the shofar" or "with the sound of the shofar." The word "shofar" is singular in Hebrew and refers to a type of horn typically made from a ram's horn. However, more people will understand the word trumpet rather than shofar.

I think the choice to translate "shofar" as "trumpets" being plural, at least in English versions, rather than a textual variant, is a matter of the translator's interpretation in order to render the phrase in more native English.

The context of the verse is that there's a festive and celebratory atmosphere. The plural "trumpets" may better convey this atmosphere, as it suggests multiple instruments.

Translations like the ESV choose to translate "shofar" in the singular as "trumpet" in order to express the literal rendering of the Hebrew text.

Is one better than the other? Both translations convey the essential meaning of the verse, which is that there's a joyous celebration. God has gone up with a shout.

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