For another example, Hoffman cited Psalm 23: "Adonai is my shepherd; I shall not want..." What does a shepherd look like? "Dirty guy in a sheepskin," someone offered. In our minds, he's a loner with a crook, wearing shmattes -- "not a people person!" But in antiquity, shepherds were brave, mighty, and regal. The opposite of what we think of when we think of shepherds now. "Back then, it would have been John Wayne!" Shepherds were like the Marines are in our consciousness today. So while ro'eh literally means shepherd, the English word has all of the wrong connotations. "When we read that line as 'the Lord is my shepherd,' we're missing the point." Shepherds weren't meek. They had extraordinary power. Picture a six-foot-six musclebound guy cradling a tiny lamb.
Bible Translation Worries
An interesting article over at the Velveteen Rabbi on the perils of Bible translation.