- - - , Algemeen, , Peter Kirk, August 26, 2005; There is another common Hebrew idiom which even Young avoided translating literally. This is found in Exodus 34:6, and in a number of other places which are more or less quotations of this famous divine self-disclosure. Astonishingly to English speakers, the LORD describes himself literally as having "length of nose", or "length of nostrils", Hebrew אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם 'erek 'appayim. So, those who call for idioms to be translated literally should, if they are consistent, call for this statement to be translated something like "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, the long-nosed one, ..."
Of course no one does translate like this - for the very good reason that such a literal translation would be immediately misunderstood, and in a very inappropriate way, in terms of the English idiomatic meaning of having a long nose, i.e. being excessively inquisitive. This is of course not what the Hebrew idiom means. Rather, in Hebrew the word אַף 'af and its dual form אַפַּיִם 'appayim, literally "nose" or "nostrils", have a regular metaphorical sense of "anger". This is found especially but not only in the idiom חֲרוֹן אַף haron 'af, literally "burning of nose", which means something like "fierceness of anger". Similarly, אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם 'erek 'appayim, literally "length of nostrils", has the idiomatic sense "slowness of anger", with "length" understood in a time sense. Thus most English versions correctly translate "slow to anger".
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