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Biblical Peace

By Kimberly Burnham

Peace is mentioned in many Bible verses. Here are just two, but with these two and others we can search out the word for peace in over 2000 languages.

Jude 1:2 (NIV), “Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.”

Let’s look at two verses in a few Middle Eastern languages.

In Hebrew Jude 1:2 is written רַחֲמִים וְשָׁלוֹם וְאַהֲבָה יִשְׁפְּעוּ עֲלֵיכֶם לְמַכְבִּיר. If you have some familiarity with Hebrew letters you may recognize שָׁלוֹם or shalom or peace as the second word from the right because Hebrew is written right to left. If you put this line into Google translate it comes out, “mercy and peace and love will go on you to the mighty.” So mercy, peace, and love are being translated in the same way but abundance is a little different. Mighty is not a word usually associated with peace. Consider how the nuance of the words is changed by substituting mighty for abundance.

In Kurdish “aştî” or “hasītī” is translated peace in Sorani Kurdish or Central Kurdish, the language of most Kurds in Iraq (4 to 6 million speakers) and Iran (5 to 6 million speakers). Jude 1:2 is written “Aştî, rehm û hezkirin ji we re zêde bibe” which Google Translate says it means “peace, love and love increase to you.” Do you consider mercy and love interchangeable? Are they the same?

Iran has an estimated 84 languages and dialects including Southern Balochi in which Jude 1:2 is written “shomay sará rahmat, sohl o ásudagi o mehr gésh o géshter bát” where “ásudagi” is peace, comfort and ease.

Spoken in Iraq, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan Jude 1:2 in Turkmen is written in Cyrillic letters “Гой, Худайың чәксиз мерхемети, парахатлыгы ве сөйгүси сизе яр болсун!” where ” парахатлыгы” is peace and quiet or in Roman letters, “asudalyk.”


The peace and quiet
in Turkmen the countryside
of Turkmenistan

In neighboring Turkish Jude 1:2 reads “sizlere merhamet, esenlik ve sevgi çoğalsın” where “esenlik” is peace even though the more common word is “barış.”

In English Psalm 122:8 (NIV) For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” While it looks very different in Farsi به‌خاطر برادران و یارانم می‌گویم: «صلح و سلامت بر تو باد!», or Hebrew לְ֭מַעַן אַחַ֣י וְרֵעָ֑י אֲדַבְּרָה־נָּ֖א שָׁל֣וֹם בָּֽךְ׃  where the word “shalom” carries much more that peace. It includes peace, health and wholeness. This is true of many of the Semitic languages like Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Amharic, Harari and even the European language Maltese.

Psalm 122:8 “Kardeşlerim, dostlarım için, “Esenlik olsun sana!” derim.” in Turkish looks more familiar but Google translates it “peace be unto you.” “Unto you” and “within you” seems a little different. The Turkish plays with the directionality of peace. Is it coming towards you or is it within?

What does the language within you say about peace?

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