I posted this thought on Facebook this weekend – that it was fun to think about translating vayomer as “and he was like” or “and he was all like” (for those he don’t know much Hebrew, this form is often translated “and he said” or something similar). That popped in my head after a recent visit to a mall where the teenage boy next to me used “quotative like” what seemed like 25 times in the brief time I sat near him.
I would never actually use quotative like to translate vayomer, not least of all because as Halliday states “Written language is not spoken language written down.” But, I kept thinking about different verses where it sounded funny. Moses at the burning bush was the funniest I could come up with, but feel free to try verses or passages in the comments or on your own blog that you think might be better.
3 Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3 Then Moses was like, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he was like, “Here I am.” 5 Then he was all like, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he was like, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
7 Then the Lord was all like, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10 So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 And he was like, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”
13 But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I Am Who I Am.” Then he was all like, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’ ” 15 God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations ….