Nolite timere

Appearing numerous times in the Bible are the words fear not, constituting a negated imperative. To name but two examples, both drawn from the Douay-Rheims version: (i) at Matthew 1:20, in the birth of Jesus, an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; (ii) at Exodus 14:13, in the parting of the Red Sea, Moses tells the people: Fear not: stand and see the great wonders of the Lord, which he will do this day. This entry will examine the Latin, Polish and Friulian readings of fear not; the form taken by this phrase in these three languages depends on whether a single person is being addressed (first example above), or more than one person (second example above).

Latin: The Latin infinitive timere means to fear. Of the negated imperative fear not, the Latin equivalent is formed so: the second-person singular noli is placed before the infinitive timere when a single person is addressed, whereas the second-person plural nolite is placed before the infinitive timere when more than one person is addressed, whence noli timere in the words spoken to Joseph by an angel of the Lord at Matthew 1:20, and nolite timere in the words spoken by Moses to the people at Exodus 14:13. Wherefore: noli timere (fear {thou} not); nolite timere (fear {you} not).

Polish: The imperfective and reflexive verb bać się is Polish for to fear. When a single person is addressed, the second-person singular negated imperative nie bój się is employed for equivalent of fear not, whence nie bój się in the words spoken to Joseph by an angel of the Lord at Matthew 1:20; when more than one person is addressed, it is rather the second-person plural negated imperative nie bójcie się which is employed, whence nie bójcie się in the words spoken by Moses to the people at Exodus 14:13. Wherefore: nie bój się (fear {thou} not); nie bójcie się (fear {you} not).

Friulian: The Friulian vê pôre is customarily employed in the Bible for equivalent of the English to fear. The infinitive means to have, whereas the feminine noun pôre means fear; the Friulian vê pôre, then, translates literally as to have fear. The Friulian equivalent of the negated imperative fear not is formed so: the second-person singular no sta is placed before vê pôre when a single person is addressed, whereas the second-person plural no stait a is placed before vê pôre when more than one person is addressed, whence no sta vê pôre in the words spoken to Joseph by an angel of the Lord at Matthew 1:20, and no stait a vê pôre in the words spoken by Moses to the people at Exodus 14:13. Wherefore: no sta vê pôre (fear {thou} not; or, after the Friulian manner, have {thou} not fear); no stait a vê pôre (fear {you} not; or, after the Friulian manner, have {you} not fear).

The reader will find below the text of Exodus 14:13-14 in Latin, Polish and Friulian versions, where Moses, employing the second-person plural form of fear not, addresses the people.

Latin (Biblia Vulgata): Et ait Moyses ad populum: Nolite timere: state, et videte magnalia Domini quae facturus est hodie: Aegyptios enim, quos nunc videtis, nequaquam ultra videbitis usque in sempiternum. Dominus pugnabit pro vobis, et vos tacebitis.

Polish (Biblia Tysiąclecia): Mojżesz odpowiedział ludowi: «Nie bójcie się! Pozostańcie na swoim miejscu, a zobaczycie zbawienie od Pana, jakie zgotuje nam dzisiaj. Egipcjan bowiem, których widzicie teraz, nie będziecie już nigdy oglądać. Pan będzie walczył za was, a wy pozostaniecie spokojni».

Friulian (Bibie par un popul): Dissal Mosè a la int: “No stait a vê pôre! Tignît dûr e o viodarês ce che al sarà bon di fâ cumò il Signôr par salvânus, parcè che i Egjizians che o viodês vuê no ju viodarês altri. Il Signôr si metarà de vuestre bande; vualtris o vês dome di stâ cuiets”.