Re-Examining יְהוָה רֹעִי in Psalm 23: Implications for Akan Translations and African Biblical Studies

  • Emmanuel Kojo Ennin Antwi Department of Religious Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Keywords: Akan translation, Imagery, Ghana, Metaphor, Psalm 23, Shepherd.


Psalm 23 is one of the psalms that are familiar to Ghanaians. The translation of  יְהוָה רֹעִי in some Akan mother-tongue languages avoid the use of the shepherd imagery. The Mfantse translation, however, is very unique among the Akan translations. Its uniqueness lies in the translation of the shepherd imagery. The ‘shepherd’ is an indispensable imagery or a metaphor in the text. The rendering of   יְהוָה רֹעִי as Awurade ne me hwefo in the Twi translations misses the imagery that the source text seeks to convey. This paper examines the place of ’adônâ rõ‘i in the source language and its translations in the Akan versions of the Bible. It deduces its implications for African Biblical Studies and suggests that in the next revision of the Twi translations, due consideration should be given to the shepherd imagery.