There was not quite an equivalent term in the language, but we did find that we could call the Jewish authorities either “Jewish head men” or “Jewish big men”. Everything was going along quite well when suddenly at one point one of our men saw what we had put in the translation and laughed so hard that he nearly fell out of his chair.
We fixed the blooper, but then we talked more about this. We had seen throughout the Gospel of John that the Pharisees, the chief priests and the Jewish elders were very stubborn religious leaders who couldn’t open up their eyes or their hearts to accept Jesus. It reminded us that we should not become too rigid in our own church traditions to the point that we fail to see Jesus at work among us. Otherwise, we too may become known as “those stubborn old pumpkin-headed people”.
Norm Weatherhead is a Bible translator and consultant based in North America.