Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Who is a king of the glory?

I am not paying too much attention to the conventions of language sometimes. Should מֶלֶךְ הַכָּבוֹד [melek ha-kabod] be translated 'a king of the glory' or 'the king of glory'? There may be a convention - but the process of the last four verses seems to ask the question without necessarily knowing the answer in advance. What a concept!

And this psalm does not stand alone. Psalm 25 - the acrostic - comments on Psalm 24 through the repetitive use of the word נָשָׂא [nasa] to lift up - among its many meanings. How does one tell what a verb means? Examine the objects that a poet uses with it? Of lift up in Psalm 24 we have:
אֲשֶׁר לֹא נָשָׂא לַשָּׁוְא נַפְשִׁי who has not lifted up to emptiness his life,
יִשָּׂא בְרָכָה he will take away a blessing
שְׂאוּ שְׁעָרִים רָאשֵׁיכֶם lift up gates your heads
וּשְׂאוּ פִּתְחֵי עוֹלָם be lifted up doors of eternity
and in Psalm 25 to open the poem
אֵלֶיךָ יְהוָה נַפְשִׁי אֶשָּׂא I lift up my life to you
and, to close the circle, a prayer
וְשָׂא לְכָל חַטֹּאותָי lift up my sins

It is a remarkable set of differing objects.


Tim said...

They general rule is that when the noun in absolute is definite the whole chain is definite (the construct - I think - never takes the "article"), in this case also since this is poetry and the "article" ה is less common in poetry I think it is conclusive it is "the king of glory" or "the glorious king".

Bob MacDonald said...

Tim: thank you - Your note sounds like an ancient thought process - where the chain is introduced and the 'definite' follows in the aural sequence. This working of the mind in a different sequence is so important to grasp some of the otherness of the communication.